Last winter, I completed my first Whole30. If you aren’t familiar with the Whole30, it’s like “pushing the reset button on your health, your habits, and your relationship with food” It’s more than just a diet and a cleanse. Essentially, you remove certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes) from your diet for 30 days. These food groups are selected because the “scientific literature…has shown to be the most commonly problematic in one of four areas – your cravings, metabolism, digestion, and immune system” At the end of the 30 days, you slowly, and I mean slowly, reintroduce each food group in to your body in a systematic way, to see just how your body responds.
I did Whole30 with my husband and mom, and basically Whole30 lite with my kids (They still ate cereal – so sue me; I have a short window to feed and water them in the morning before school). It was a very stretching exercise for us. None of us had ever done anything like this before. Not only was the diet challenging and the cravings very real, the amount of prep and clean up I did on a daily basis was just insane. At one point, I felt as though I was using every dish we owned to make breakfast for 5 people on a Saturday morning. Around day 14 however, I noticed that my mood became less irritable, I wasn’t snoozing my 5am gym alarm, and I was generally more awake and productive throughout the day. By day 20, I was walking on sunshine. Dishes were no match for me! I could simultaneously be running around the house with my kids, answering emails, and being the most hospitable host to multiple guest with ease. I was practically invincible! When day 30 rolled around, sure I missed the occasional bowl of ice cream, but if I felt this good, I didn’t need it anymore. But to follow the plan, I reintroduced each food group slowly and systematically. I wish I could tell you that my energy stayed, my habits had completely rewired, and my relationship with food was magically changed. By the end of the following month, I regularly enjoyed ice cream, stuffed myself full of tortilla chips, and consumed my weight in Girl Scout cookies (I mean – WHY do they come out at the start of each year?!). I realized that while the changes I experienced on Whole30 were real, I needed a better way to make them more sustainable in my life for good.
Needless to say, I was less than surprised to read in Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, when Cal Newport went to great lengths to point out that if one wants to change their patterns, they need a full reset. And lo and behold, what does Newport suggest? He proposes selecting 30 day period to take a break from technology you consider optional while you intentionally discover or re-discover things you might find enjoyable, followed by a reintroduction of optional technology to see how your mind, body, and soul respond. Newport says, “The problem is that small changes aren’t enough…to reestablish control, we need to move beyond tweaks and instead rebuild our relationship with technology from scratch, using our deeply held values as a foundation.”
While Newport does give plenty of tips and tricks along the way (I’m definitely thinking more before I click “like” or make a comment on Facebook and Instagram now), he advocates for a full reset of our technological framework. In fact, the goal is really to radically and permanently transform your relationship with technology.
This last January, I did Whole30 again. I found myself in many of the exact same positions on day 14, 20, and 45 (those darn thin mints!), but this time, it was easier overall. I was more prepared. I knew what I was getting myself in to. I’ve managed to stay on a relatively healthy eating plan. I’m beginning to optimize what is right for my body. Maybe next month I’ll consider a digital de-clutter. Just promise me the Girl Scouts won’t come out with an app.
 Melissa Hartwig, Whole30 Fast & Easy: 150 Simply Delicious Everyday Recipes for Your Whole30 (New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), viii.
 Ibid., vii
 Cal Newport: Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World (Penguin Random House, 2019), xvi.
 Ibid., 59
 Ibid., 27
 Ibid., 70