Indigo30 DAY 20: Ten days left. Time to prepare for the real world.

image.pngOkay people, we are nearing week 3. You have ten days to go. We’ve had our few days of not feeling great, we are now on the mend. Now it’s time to RALLY! The Whole30 Day by Day makes a great point on Day 20: “While ten days to go can be an exciting prospect, Day 20 is a reminder that you only have ten days left. Which might lead to, ‘I’m not there yet.'”

Ah yes, a daunting thought for sure. Perhaps you’re either wondering if you will achieve certain goals or still worried you won’t figure it all out. Maybe you’ve had experiences in the past with roller coaster diets that you crash on and rebound after. So that cycle might feel like a prospect to you and that is, of course bothersome. But the reason we have invested so much time in educating you is to help you realize that you now have tools that will last you, well, forever if you want. Like it or not, you know stuff about food now. And you know stuff about yoga. You know that the two together are possibly the two very best things — sustainable things — that you can do for your health. So no matter what Day 31 brings for you, you have tools in your pocket that no one and nothing can take away. Not even your dastardly SCALE.

You may also be starting to think about how you will maintain after Day 30; many of you are already planning to keep going. Or, you might actually have some stress around the idea — I usually hear something like this from participants: “I don’t want to blow everything I’ve worked so hard for, but I’m not sure how to maintain this pace, this diet, this much yoga and this lifestyle — in more moderation.”

These are fair concerns. And the short answer is: with a plan.

I was asked recently if I was going to do a follow-up on the habit blog… a follow-up that included some thoughts about how to sustain a habit after creating it. You have learned about the structure of a habit; how it starts, that it needs a cue, a routine and a reward. Once you have the habit formed, your brain lets that habit ride on auto pilot while it moves on to other things. You know how you can run up a flight of stairs after you take the first few steps without even thinking about it? Or how you can back your car out of your driveway without hardly any deliberate thought? That’s a habit. Those are acts of will that are so ingrained that they take very little presence and almost no deliberation. You’re not quite in the stage of transformation where you no longer have cravings or you don’t have to think about how to structure your day. You’re probably not quite there yet with your diet and yoga, but you are laying very solid groundwork. Now, you are likely asking, when will this willpower become automatic? What if my old habits start creeping back?

“The problem is that your brain can’t tell the difference between bad and good habits, and so if you have a bad one, it’s always lurking there, waiting for the right cues and image.pngrewards,” says Charles Duhigg, in The Power of Habit. “Without habit loops, our brains would shut down, overwhelmed by the minutiae of daily life.” So they are actually a good thing, if they are a good thing. And, you’ve created a lot of additional good habits. The question is, how do we sustain them and not let the old ones come back?

One of the keystone good habits of success is a little thing called willpower. Willpower is not only a keystone, but a necessity for sustaining good habits.

Now you may be thinking — if I need willpower to create a habit (i.e., I  need discipline to get to my mat every day) and I need a habit to create willpower (i.e., I need to get to my mat every day to feel strong enough to build up my willpower) — which comes first? Duhigg suggests this answer to the riddle: Make the willpower itself, the habit. “Sometimes it looks like people with great self-control aren’t working hard — but that’s because they’ve made it automatic,” Angela Duckworth, a University of Pennsylvania researcher says. “Their willpower occurs without them having to think about it.”

One of the first things you can do to prepare for “moments of weakness,” when you are no longer in the protective arms of your Indigo30 team, is get clear about what those scenarios might look like. I’m willing to bet that for the most part, you all are doing the program really well most of the time. And, I’m willing to bet that the times that you falter, weaken or even fall off the wagon are times when you are stressed, squeezed emotionally, pressured, uncertain or under duress. It’s in those times that willpower seems to evaporate. What is needed to strengthen the willpower in times of strain is… a plan.

Call it an exit plan, an emergency plan, or even a contingency plan, almost every company, building, or event has a plan in case things break down or get out of hand. It’s interesting that humans don’t have these kinds of standard operating procedures. (I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we all came with manuals?) Call it a 911 plan or call it a routine, it’s something we can call on and follow when our willpower loses its steam and when the ice starts cracking under our feet. We need something to help us not crack with it.

But here’s the thing. It’s not a quick fix. It’s something you have to practice. Your backup plan for when (not if, but when) you start to crack under pressure is something you have to practice and make a routine. You have to determine right now, on Day 20, what that plan is going to be, and start practicing it now… not on Day 31, but today, so that you are ready when the shit hits the fan. Because when the shit hits the fan, it’s not going to wait for you to practice your response. Your main job, from today forward, is to create a new habit loop of willpower that will be automatic after Day 30.

One willpower habit loop you all already have is your small group (if you are engaging with them. If you are not, then you have not created a habit loop of accountability.) So after Day 30, you will likely keep up communication, especially when you hit rough patches. This routine of checking in with one or all members of your group will re-invigorate your willpower. You just don’t realize it’s already happening. So going forward, you can say to yourself, “When I find myself skipping yoga for more than 2-3 days, my plan is to … (check in with my group/make a yoga date with one of my group pals/etc.) You are already doing it. Your work now is to keep the habit loop alive.

It would be beneficial for you to determine which parts of the Indigo30 you want to sustain once the program is officially over. After you have that written down, make a list of situations that you think would throw you off — they don’t have to be unpleasant, necessarily — scheduling, travel, social situations — aren’t negative, but they absolutely have the capacity to disrupt a positive habit loop. Work through these scenarios (role play) with your family and friends (and small group) so they don’t just live in your journal or in your head.

“This is how willpower becomes a habit: by choosing a certain behavior ahead of time, and then following that routine when an inflection point arrives,” says Duhigg. The better you get at recognizing what will trigger, the more you can ready your plan. And before you know it, you will be communicating with your pals about going to yoga together without actually consciously thinking through how you are trying to get back on track. It will just happen because it’s a bona fide habit.

Friends, you have all the control in the world over what you eat and how you take care of yourself. You have choices that millions of people do not. Take these small lessons, the ones that arrive on your Facebook feed each morning, the ones that your leaders are sharing with you because they love you, and all the little tidbits in between, and take action. Do something amazing with the insight and education you are being given, that I believe is being channeled through me and your other teachers, to help you be the very best version of you. Don’t take it for granted and please don’t let the small things trip you up. You are too grand, too wise, and too informed to let that happen.

Now start planning. You only have ten days left.

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B

Indigo30 Day 4: Wild-eyed and drooling

ADMISSION: I love gummy worms. The Black Forest kind that you can only get at Tom Thumb or Walgreens, the ones that are so soft and chewy. And today, I craved them like the desert craves the rain.

Okay it wasn’t quite that dramatic. But gosh at about 2pm, they sure did sound better than the carrots that were sitting all perky and bright in the Ziplock in my bag.

No doubt, you had some cravings today too. The cravings were either like someone annoyingly tugging at your sleeve or left you all wild-eyed and drooling, wanting to ravage the pantry in search of relief. No amount of “You should go to yoga” can temper a craving at its height; in fact, those five words can sometimes send you diving head first into the canister of sugar, even if just out of sheer defiance. I wish I could say that these days will be the only days you will find yourself longing for something currently forbidden, but they will likely be with you for the duration of your Indigo30 and beyond. Yes, yoga will definitely help, as will other distractions, like taking a walk, calling a friend, taking a nap, or brushing your teeth. But here is the clincher, my friends. If your habits are strong enough, if you have repeated them enough times, no amount of image6.pngdistraction will help. Your brain has learned that getting something desirable comes from a certain cue — i.e., “If you get an A on this test, we will get ice cream!” (see how early it starts?) or, “If I make it to Friday (or just to 5 o’clock) I get a cocktail,” or, “If I feel lonely, I will go shopping,” or, “When I hear my phone ding, I will stop everything to look at it.”  The real problem comes from when you get the cue and you don’t get the reward you are used to or anticipate getting. The result is a neurological pattern associated with desire AND frustration exploding in your mind. If the happiness you are used to getting from a certain thing doesn’t arrive, that happiness transforms into a craving that, if unsatisfied, turns to anger or depression. And no amount of distraction will seduce a strongly anticipated reward and its subsequent thirst. No amount of love, devotion, support or help can compete with the absolute stronghold of a craving.  This is exactly why habits are so powerful — they change our neurology. They construct neurological cravings. So when people quip, “Oh it’s just all in your head,” the irony is, they are right.

“There is nothing programmed into our brains that makes us see a box of doughnuts and automatically want a sugary treat. But once our brain learns that a doughnut contains yummy sugar and other carbohydrates, it will start anticipating the sugar high. Our brains will push us toward the box. Then, if we don’t eat the doughnut, we feel disappointed.” — (Wolfram Schultz, professor of neuroscience at the University of Cambridge).

It’s like the brain is in the honeymoon phase when it learns to anticipate the reward. It’s all fun and games until the toilet seat gets left up and you fall in.

Don’t lose hope just yet. You do and can have power over your cravings. There are tools and practices we can learn that can help us ignore the temptations. But the only way to suppress the habit is to identify which craving drives the behavior. We have to have awareness of the anticipation — a consciousness of it — we are at its complete mercy. And then, you have to have a plan to create a new habit.

If you want to go to early morning yoga every day, you have to chose a simple cue (like laying out your yoga clothes the night before) and a clear reward (a green star on the star chart). Seems simple enough. But that is not actually enough to make the habit last. Only when your brain starts to anticipate and expect the reward of the green star and thus craves the endorphins of excitement and sense of achievement, will it become nearly unconscious, or automatic, to lay out your clothes each night and go to yoga in the morning.

Burn this into your craving, lusting, habit-hungry/reward-crazed brains: THE CUE, IN ADDITION TO A TRIGGERING ROUTINE, MUST ALSO TRIGGER A CRAVING FOR THE REWARD TO COME. So for those of you who could seriously care less about a star on a chart? We need to find you a different reward. STAT. Or you won’t develop a craving for the reward of accomplishment, and you will give up, eventually, searching out something different that drives a zealous anticipation and a powerful craving.

None of this is going to happen overnight, so do me a big favor and right now, just take a deep breath. You are in a discovery phase, and these phases of personal growth can feel so overwhelming — the new routines, the new information, the new expectations. You are going to have days when grit will not win over grief. And it’s okay. What I can promise you is this: in the recesses of your mind and soul, you will remember these things. And when you are ready, which many of you are already, you will soak this up and keep going, no matter how many times you backpedal. You will call on your reserves and the people walking right beside you, going through the same things, and you will keep trying, until you come to a time when you no longer have to try so hard. When making a food decision won’t be such a negotiation. When getting up to hit the redeye class isn’t a chore, but a gift. When joy doesn’t come from a star, but from your kid or your spouse or even a stranger looking into your eyes and saying how much you inspire them. And then you will know that you have transformed into a better version of you. But it won’t come without having to tough it out, over and over again.

Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned. — Tony Dungy

KEEP GOING,

B

Indigo30 DAY 3: Whole30 v. Paleo v. Keto

So many diets, so little time.

Welcome to Day 3. You’ve triumphed through two days of no sugar, no alcohol, no beans, no grains and no dairy. BRAVO! Give yourself lots of back pats today, my friends. You have trekked up the mountain a good distance; basecamp is just barely in sight.

All the literature about the Whole30 says this is one of the toughest days. And we’ve been talking quite a good bit about what is going to be difficult so far, to prepare you. So instead of continuing to shine a light on what’s hard, let’s divert our attention to something that is of interest to many of you: the difference between Whole30, Paleo and Keto. But before I dive into the battle of the diets, I want to give you just a little bit of Indigo30 motherly love. Today you may feel pretty rough. So if you can, go easy on yourself. If a nap is anywhere possible for you, take one. When you get on your mat, downshift a gear, take a few extra child’s poses. If there’s a chance at a longer savasana or as we call it at Indigo, “extended rest,” then seize the rest. Your body is detoxing, quite literally. It is starting to heal from the damage done by your old less-healthy food choices and perhaps an inconsistent yoga practice. Acne, rashes, fatigue, digestive distress, mood swings — all normal. Not fun, but normal. You may even feel like you are coming down with something. Again, normal. But, don’t reach for the saltines; drink some club soda or sparkling water, lie down for a bit, have some bone broth to comfort or some peppermint tea to soothe. It’s all going to be okay, pumpkin!

So now let’s learn something today. I want you fully and excitedly equipped with useful information from this program.

A popular question of late is, “What is the difference between Whole30, Paleo and Keto?” All three approaches have gained worldwide momentum, and it’s a great topic to break down so that you know which works best for you.

Obviously you are choosing Whole30 now, but knowing about Paleo and Keto for later may suit you in a lovely way for the long term. All have distinct similarities, most notably that they are low-carbohydrate approaches to nutrition. Keto is structured to be extremely low-carb. Paleo and Whole30 are just naturally low-carb because they eliminate all processed food, grains, and refined sugars, which are naturally carbohydrate-dense. All three approaches encourage a move toward clean, whole food eating and educate followers on the importance of knowing where their food came from and what is in it.

The best way to understand each is to examine what you can or cannot eat and some of their specific nuances.

PALEO

The Paleo diet focuses on eating whole, healthy, natural foods, avoiding (but not necessarily eliminating forever) inflammatory and processed foods. Paleo takes out foods like breads, flour, rice, corn, other grains, legumes (including soy and peanuts) and dairy. This approach is particularly good long-term for people who have gluten sensitivities, celiac, and/or wheat and nut allergies. Refined sugars are also eliminated on the Paleo diet, but many recipes use maple syrup, honey or stevia to sweeten. Alcohol, although obviously not encouraged in quantity or consistency, is not off limits.

Paleo is notorious for having amazing recipes with all-natural, compliant ingredients that mimic typically “unhealthy” food; you’ve probably all heard about the infamous Paleo Banana Pancakes, or the muffins, or my personal favorite, the Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (sorry, I know that’s painful to read right now.) Because of the flexibility and modifications Paleo offers, many find it to be the most suitable approach long-term.

WHOLE30

The Whole30, first and foremost, is a 30-day elimination challenge, or reset. It is not a diet and it is not meant to be done nor is it really even realistic to do long-term. The Whole30 eliminates sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy and legumes. At the end of 30 days, a “reintroduction” allows you to determine which of the 5 groups mentioned above cause you sensitivities. The Whole30 takes Paleo a step beyond by not allowing any kind of “SWYPO” (you can to read the Whole30 book to find out what that acronym means) or imitation/modified versions of junk foods, baked goods and treats. The Whole30 (and Paleo) do not restrict food intake, or track/count macros, calories or carbs. It discourages the use of the scale and encourages the acknowledgement of “non-scale-victories,” or NSVs.

The Whole30 is most certainly restrictive and “all-in,” which is a really great approach for those who are wanting and willing to drastically clean house and pinpoint food reactions and intolerances. It’s motivating, it teaches followers to think differently about food, it has a remarkable global community and is an overall great reset.

(Can you tell I’m partial?)

KETO

The Ketogenic Diet, or “Keto” diet, can be considered the strictest of the three options. It is a strict low-carb, high-fat (let me be clear — high “good fat”) approach to dieting and most specifically, weight loss. The goal of the diet is to achieve, by way of diet, a state called nutritional ketosis. In ketosis, your body shifts from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning from fat reserves (simply because there aren’t enough carbohydrates to fuel your metabolism.) It requires significant carb restriction and a significant increase in fat consumption. Many low-carb diets are high-protein and low fat, but Keto is high-fat and moderate-protein. img_0019

One specific differentiator between Keto and Whole30/Paleo is the tracking of macros (daily intake of carbs, fat and protein) or following a detailed meal plan to keep your carb count in the 20-50 grams per day range. Some keto dieters also test their levels of ketones with urine strips. Keto can help people become very aware of how many carbohydrates they are consuming, but because of the restrictiveness and the diligence of macro tracking, it can be difficult to maintain long-term.

In Conclusion

Now you know the difference. In a nutshell, one is a reset (W30), one is long-term (Paleo), and one is primarily for weight loss (Keto), although it has a lot of other great benefits too; however, it is neither a reset nor an easy long-term approach given it’s strict and restrictive nature.

And — you may find something really useful and helpful in all three approaches, perhaps using each of them at different times of the year depending on your needs and desires. I know many people who adopt a little or a lot from all three for custom blend that works great for their needs and lifestyle. Often I hear, “I’m about 80% Whole30 about 80% of the time. The rest of the time I’m more Paleo. And like 2% of the time, I have a cupcake. And I love it.”

I love that approach. Even though the math doesn’t actually work, I still love it.

The great news about all three is that they encourage us to eat unprocessed, whole, natural foods, educate ourselves about that food and inquire with ourselves on our relationship with it. Great news indeed.

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Brooke’s Besties!

RECIPE: My infamous “Tajin Almonds”

I was taught this recipe from a dear friend who lives in Monterrey, Mexico. Her housekeeper made these for us when visited a few years ago. She gave me a handful and said, “Try these, you are going to die.” And I did. I’ve shared them with every Indigo30 group since then, and they have become a signature snack and best kept Indigo30 secret!

Ingredients:

Raw Almonds, Orange Juice, Lemon Juice, Kosher Salt, Tajin Seasoning (available anywhere)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with non-stick tin foil. I always get a big bag of raw almonds at Costco (best price, great quality). Dump them all in a big bowl and pour orange juice over until they are barely submerged. Then add some lemon juice (I don’t have exact quantities, the housekeeper just told me, in Spanish, what was in them, I watched as she made, and I have since guessed!) Let the almonds soak for about 3 minutes. Don’t soak any longer or they will get too soggy. Drain the juice by straining. Return almonds to the bowl and thoroughly coat with kosher salt and Tajin. Stir up really well. Line the baking sheet and bake for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, gently turn over/around the almonds (add more seasoning now if you want!) Return them to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Let them cool. As they cool, they will get crispy again. Best stored in glass jars. ENJOY!

And, keep going.

B

Indigo30 DAY 2: Your brain on Indigo30

“The only way out is through.”

My teacher, Baron Baptiste, has been quoted to say many things. But this is probably in his top five. And nothing could be more true. You probably read in the books, and saw on the calendar that today is Day 2, but it’s Hangover Day 1. And for most of us, we know what that means; the only thing that will make it better is time. It may seem like more of what you used to eat would make everything better, but if we are using the analogy of a hangover, then we know where more of what’s not good for us eventually leads…

I know that may seem dramatic, but the parallels are not that far off. Reaching for food to numb out, to self-soothe, to distract, to fill a void — these are not new concepts in any realm of addiction. And even if you know nothing about the topic, you do know that the only way out is through. So this is where you have to dig in deep, and find the fighter within, and not cave to the crave.

As I have mentioned before, this program is about a lot more than food and meal planning. It’s also about education. So to understand the stripped down basics of what’s happening neurologically on Days 2-3, let’s look at how the brain forms a habit.

Humans — our brains, actually — do not like uncertainty. Even reading the word, uncertainty, probably makes you feel a level of stress. To deal with this anxiety, the brain will begin looking for something — a cue — that gives it a sense of pattern. A cue is a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and choose a habit you have already formed. It could be the time of day, the route you drive, the way a co-worker speaks to you or it could be breaking up a fight between your kids for the millionth time. It could be the grade you get on a test or if/when your partner texts you, “Good Morning!” After imageyour brain identifies the cue, then it has a routine, which can be emotional or physical. The time of day — hearing the alarm, for example — is the cue, and the routine, perhaps, is to moan and groan and hit snooze, even though you know that hitting snooze will make you late. The brain isn’t stupid… it’s only doing this routine bit for one thing, and that is a reward (in this case, more sleep and the potential satisfaction of being able to complain about having to get up). A reward helps your brain figure out if the whole song and dance is even worth it. Worth what, you ask? Worth remembering. 

As time goes on, this “habit loop” becomes default; it becomes so automatic that no actual consideration on our part at all is needed. The cue and the reward become so enmeshed that something new is created — anticipation. And from that anticipation comes craving, and not just a oh-yum-thats-good craving, it’s an I-NEED-THIS-NOW craving. And, eventually, a habit is born.

This all sounds kind of bleak. But remember — just like most things in life, there are usually two sides to things. There are good habits and bad habits. All habits can be changed, ignored or replaced. It’s important to understand the loop — the process behind how a habit is formed — so you can be more aware when one is forming or … as you will discover today, tomorrow and maybe even on Day 4 … when you are letting one go. What will be a game changer for you is a basic truth about how your brain works: when a habit is created, your brain takes a break. It literally stops fully participating in decision making. It says, “Oh cool, her habit has this. I’m going to go focus now on the stuff that isn’t automatic.” So unless you deliberately break a habit down, like you are going to do today and maybe even for the duration of your Indigo30 by experiencing and adopting new routines, the pattern will simply be your default. Knowing this about yourself will ultimately make the habit easier to control. Knowing this means you now have the keys to the kingdom. So the bigger question is, will you use them?

The first thing you can do is just acknowledge where you are. “The amount of suck you are feeling today is in direct proportion to the amount of junk you ate before your Whole 30 began…” (Melissa Hartwig, Whole30 Day by Day). And, “the amount of suck you may feel in your yoga practice is in direct relation to the amount of junk you ate before your Indigo30 began, and the amount of time you did or didn’t spend on your mat before your Indigo30 began.” (Brooke Hamblet, Day 2 Hangover Blog). So here’s the thing … either beat yourself up about it and waste a bunch of time or just don’t. Cutting yourself down is a habit too, and one that is not doing a bit of good for anyone, anywhere. There is absolutely nothing inspiring about self-deprecation or self-beat. In fact, it just makes everything harder and more uncomfortable for you and those around you. So, the second thing to do, instead of throwing the pity party and the flirting with the give-ups, is say this to yourself:

“Self, you got yourself here. Now it’s time to climb out, and on the way out, PAY ATTENTION: there are lessons everywhere.” Like this one: your “hangover” is actually a miraculous transformation — it is an absolutely normal and expected experience as your body starts to transition from being sugar-dependent to being a fat burning power machine. image.pngAnd what’s even better is this: it won’t last forever. So if you feel terrible, you have two choices: you can either complain and be a victim to it, or you can realize that your body is actually HEALING ITSELF. Then you can talk to your brain and say, “Brain, listen up. I’m not playing your BS habit game anymore. I’m onto you, and guess what, I’m not feeding your dumb loop any longer. You either take care of the good loops or we will have to go through this all over again UNTIL YOU GET IT.”

One last thing. Melissa Hartwig mentions, in the Whole30 Day  By Day Journal, that “habit experts say the key to staying motivated and feeling rewarded by your efforts is setting small mini-goals — achievable daily goals that give you the feeling of a ‘win.'” This, my friends, is the magic of the star chart at our studio. That little sticker is not just a sticker — it is a badge of success. And it’s not just the sticker that is the win;  it’s the action of putting the sticker on the chart, where others can witness your hard work — that makes the sticker so powerful. If it works for you at Indigo, have one at home (you can get them at any hobby or teacher supply store, or make one — or have your kids make you one!) that helps you take the program one day at a time, not 30 in one gulp. Small wins every day add up. That is how you build a healthy loop with a healthy cue, a healthy routine and a healthy reward: a lifetime of strength, vitality and inspiration. And by the way, your kids (even the ones who aren’t yours) are watching you and your habits. Make them proud.

Keep going.

B

Indigo30: T-2. The Great Smoothie Debate

The rubber is about to hit the road … you’re two days out from your official Indigo30 Launch. You have your shopping tackled if not at least planned, you have some ideas on hand, and you have loads of people cheering you on. So let’s take a moment and look at some of the sneakier sides of the program. I have found that over the years, one of the hottest topics of debate is the SMOOTHIE.

Why would I dedicate an entire blog to the innocent little smoothie? That sweet little pick-me-up, that delicious little day-saver, that wonderful little blend of 100% compliant, nutritious ingredients?

Well, because the hardline/bottom line is that they are not encouraged on the Whole30. But before you smoothie-lovers ask for a refund, let me tell you the why. And then, I will give you some things to consider before you are free to make your own, educated choices.

As I mentioned in my the “It’s Not All About Food” blog yesterday, food is a very sensitive topic. We can be totally confident that people who find the Whole30 have done other nutrition programs, diets, crash diets … probably all of their life. A lot of their focus and likely their main goal will be weight loss. In many cases, they equate their weight with their self-worth and many, if not all, of their decisions are dictated in some way by what they eat, how much of it they allow themselves to eat, and the resulting weight gain or loss. This is very real for a lot of people. It’s also safe to say that there are a fair amount of people who live with this way of operating on a somewhat of a “low-grade” level. Perhaps it doesn’t dominate their thoughts, but it is always there, informing food decisions and our self-worth grade on any given day.

This all brings me to the why behind the “we’d rather you didn’t” answer in the Whole30, when participants ask about smoothies. Whether they are for snacks or breakfast or even meal replacement.

“This is a very popular question with a very unpopular answer. Smoothies (generally made using a lot of fruit) are technically compliant on your Whole30, but we strongly recommend against them. Food that you drink sends a different satiety signal (more on satiation and satiety in a later blog) to your brain than food that you chew. So when you drink your meal, your brain isn’t getting the feedback it needs to tell your body that you’ve eaten — and you get hungry again fast, even though you just ingested plenty of calories (mostly from sugar). Plus as they are generally fruit heavy, a breakfast smoothie sets you up for cravings, hunger, and volatile energy throughout the day. In summary, skip the smoothie, especially for breakfast.” – Whole30, page 72.

Okay, you have to admit. This makes sense, and I bet we can all agree on these points. So truly let them distill before you decide to keep your morning smoothie run routine on deck during the Indigo30. Additionally, part of the commitment during these 30 days is to allow ourselves to be educated in new ways — to set aside all of our old patterns for just 30 days in order to see if something proven to be a healthier actually works better for us. Part of that commitment is to take a month and learn to appreciate real food, how it tastes, the satisfaction you get from preparing your own, and most of all, learning to see that the food we eat fuels our bodies and brains for work, exercise, parenting, communication and overall vitality.

And on the other side of the coin …

We lead incredibly busy lives. And there will be times when you may end up going all day without eating because you don’t have something prepared and waiting for you, or you are running from one kid drop off to the next meeting to the next errand, back to pick up the kids and off to baseball practice (or something like that) – and you look up and realize, you have had nothing except black coffee all day. I have gone days where I even do have plenty of things prepared but have been so busy that I didn’t even get to them until I was literally starting to see stars. In these cases, especially if you are still on deck to get to yoga class, I say, if it’s an option, swing by Clean JuiceJuice Junkies, or Boulevard of Greens and get something that is made W30 compliant. Don’t you dare walk into a hot yoga class not having eaten a thing all day! A smoothie will digest quickly so that you don’t have reflux during class. The point here, is to not make it a habit.

What you always have to request when ordering is that there is NO SUGAR added. Occasionally there may be a smoothie made with oats, but those are pretty rare. Keep the rules about the protein shake in mind though: almost all protein powders contain off-limit ingredients like whey, casein, soy, pea protein, rice bran and added sweeteners. We aren’t talking about formulated or processed meal replacement shakes right now, but it’s still worth mentioning that they are always off-limits and just kind of horrible in general because, well, they are processed. They all include off-plan ingredients like pea protein, rice bran and stevia. On this note, make a wide circle around Smoothie King. I know the kiddos love that place, but it is a sugar factory. I jokingly call it Sugar King!

The bottom line is this: we are trying to teach ourselves to eat in a really solid, healthy way and create better patterns for ourselves. If you have had emotional struggles with weight and food, then I highly encourage you not to replace meals with smoothies or juices. Meal replacement and fasting is not what we are doing on the Whole30, and will not meet your Good Food Standard of promoting a healthy psychological response. But if you feel strong in your emotional relationship with food and find yourself simply on the run and calorie/nutrient deficient, then fuel your machine fast with something from one of our trusted juice partners.

As your leader of this thing, you may think I have it all together and do it all perfectly and with no struggle. Oh that is so not true.

I was a gymnast growing up. So I stayed pretty fit and active as a kid. Then in the fourth grade and sprouted up to be the tallest kid for at least 2 years. I quit gymnastics because I was too tall and just kept getting hurt, which just led to being scared to do it at all. Although I was an athlete all through high school, playing volleyball in the winter and golf in the spring and summer, sports soon gave way to, for me, work. I worked full time, every day after school and every weekend as a junior and senior in high school. In college I also worked full time to get myself through and pay for it — three jobs. (One of which was waiting tables at a Korean restaurant, so I can tell you about kimchi ALL DAY!) I was not only taking a full load of classes but was President of my sorority, which, contrary to likely belief, is a lot of work. My adolescent life, starting at 14 (you can work and drive at age 14 in South Dakota), became a model for the rest of my life. 60-70 hour work weeks are average for me. And there have been many years where nutrition and working out just didn’t make the priority list over making rent and paying tuition. Weight gain crept in and on, and even though my height managed it somewhat, I always had that 10-15 pounds on me that didn’t feel good. The worst was when someone would say, “You are just a big girl!” (gnassshh) Fatigue was my worst enemy, even though I knew most of it had to do with my food choices, not just that I was busy. I say that like it was in the past — I still spar with it from time to time. When I am worried or stressed, overwhelmed or feeling alone in the world, I continue to work at a mad pace – and – I drink too much creamy, sugar-laden coffee, eat on the run (I won’t eat fast food, but I also won’t take the time to really think about the true nutrition of what I am eating), crave sugar like a fiend, and tend to make “winding down” more like “WINE-ing down.”

So I get the challenges here. I’m not immune just because I’m the Indigo lady and a Whole30 coach. I’m right here in it with you. But what I do know for sure is that the more I learn about it, the easier the decisions become. The more I take the time to understand my own triggers and patterns, and learn tools for resetting versus reacting, the less I fall into the traps of the last 44 years. Transparency and willingness are key.

If you have to have a smoothie, have one. It’s not a deal breaker. It’s better than my grande breve latte with 2 pumps of peppermint and 2 pumps of vanilla. Baby steps forward all day, my friends. Because even though they are small, they are going in the right direction.

Keep going.

B