I recently tried a program called Whole30. I wasn't trying to lose weight, but I needed a reset button. Remember what they say about sugar being addictive? They aren't lying... sugar addictions can happen to everyone. For me, it was one too many trips to the coffee shop. The syrup in my specialty drink just made me crave more. I had to nip it in the butt. When I heard about Whole30, I decided to take the plunge.
In Whole30, for 30 days you give up grains (rice, corn, wheat, oats, etc), legumes (that's beans - but green beans were ok), seeds, dairy, added sugar, alcohol, and more. You can have meat (but should be grass fed or free range) and lots and lots of fruits and vegetables.
I was excited at first because fruits and vegetables are Snackster Sam approved! In the first week, I felt good. I was dealing with the anxiety of making sure I was eating approved items, but overall I was craving less sugary food. I felt healthy! Great! By the second week, my sweet tooth cravings were completely gone. This is awesome. When we are able to abstain from added sugar, we really will crave it less!
Even though I wasn't craving sweets, I never felt full or satisfied. I was not enjoying my meals, because I never really felt full. By the third week, I was miserable. My husband noted that I just seemed really unhappy and depressed. I knew I didn't feel "right". Each day seemed it was harder to feel happy. One day, after much debate, I decided I didn't like how the diet was affecting me, and I quit. The first thing I ate was grains... instantly I felt better. I truly believe this was not a mental perspective, but a biological change... and science backs it up.
A study by Princeton University researchers showed withdrawal of sucrose can decrease dopamine levels, meaning you can experience mood changes, anxiety, fatigue, intense cravings and a depression. In my experience, my mood had changed and I found myself eating MORE because I never felt full. I attributed this feeling to the lack of grains, seeds, and legumes, also known as complex carbohydrates (which your body converts to sugar and uses for energy). I researched more about removing complex carbohydrates in your diet and found an article that perfectly summarized my experience.
Ryan Andrews who holds two Masters degrees - one in Exercise Science and one in Nutrition of Precision Nutrition
shared, "...when I eliminate grains, I overeat on other foods. This leads to body fat gain and lethargy after meals. Not good. Through self-experimentation, I’ve learned that eating grains helps me moderate my total food intake and improve my health."
Yes! This was exactly how I felt! After two weeks back on my normal diet (and fewer trips to the coffee shop), I am eating less than when I was on Whole30. This has cut down my grocery bill significantly. I was shocked that I spent an additional $200 on groceries while I was on the Whole30 diet, because I was eating so much more than I normally eat. YIKES!
What I've observed is diets only encourage you to reach the finish line, and of course when you "finish"... what do you look forward to doing? Binging on everything you couldn't eat while you were on the diet. That's not healthy at all.
What's the solution?
Snackster Sam is a much better plan than a diet! It is really so simple... just eat more of what grows from the ground and on trees from the blue planet with sparkling seas! (Learn about that in the book, Snackster Sam's Big Adventure!) Grains, seeds, and legumes come from the ground and are Snackster Sam approved! They also help you feel full faster and stay full longer, providing sustenance to your meals. Additionally, these fibrous foods are more affordable and can stretch your dinner! Encouraging children to eat these foods from the start helps set them up for a healthy relationship with food!
What do you think? Have you tried a diet? Did it work for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Learn more about what foods are Snackster Sam approved and how to get kids to eat healthy in just 5 minutes with the list of Snackster Sam approved snacks!
Danielle is the mother of two and creator of Snackster Sam. She has been concerned about healthy habits and nutrition for over a decade, and conducted an award-winning scientific study on portion control. She created Snackster Sam to make eating healthy more fun for parents and children. Learn more about the mission here.