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The idea of making drastic changes to your diet and lifestyle can be intimidating. I had 40+ years of ingrained habits to overcome. Eventually I got to the point where I said, “Enough. The things that are traditionally recommended clearly aren’t working.” About that time, I came across a random post on Facebook by an acquaintance I went to high school with. She had just finished a “Whole 30”. She felt great and had lost several pounds. I was intrigued. That day I started reading about the Whole 30 and was introduced to the Paleo diet and lifestyle. I haven’t stopped reading and researching since. It wasn’t long before I decided to do my own Whole 30. I had never felt better. Over the course of the next several months, I would lose 55 pounds – and I haven’t put them back on since. I was also able to stop taking heartburn medication and all other prescription and OTC medication, including Advil and cold medication, as I don’t have the headaches and joint pain I used to, and I hardly ever get sick.

When I talk to people about doing an elimination diet like the Whole 30, the reaction I get is almost always the same:  OMG! Give up bread and cheese and sugar! What would you eat! It’s too extreme! It’s too much! I get it. It wasn’t easy (worth it, but not easy.). So I decided to design a program that would ease people into the process. Adding one healthy thing and eliminating one not-so-healthy thing each week until all factors are incorporated. Then, after you get everything in place, you keep it there for just three weeks – to allow your body to adjust to the added nutrition and start to heal from the elimination of inflammatory foods.

After those three weeks, you can start adding foods back in – one at a time – to see what works for you, and what doesn’t. Personally, I’ve found that wheat and dairy don’t work for me, but some grains (like corn and rice) are tolerable occasionally. Others find that they tolerate full fat dairy. Still others find that there are still things present in their diet that aggravate their system and further experimenting is necessary. One thing that’s important to remember is that everyone is different. We’ve all had different journeys. Some are younger, some are older. Some have a lot of issues to address, some just a few. Your journey is your own, but no matter where you are, I believe this program can help.

Will it all be happiness and light? No, but you’ll get there. I’ve tried to design the process so it is a more gradual transition to a healthier style of eating, but there may still be a bit of an adjustment period. The standard American diet relies heavily on processed grains that quickly turn to sugar in the body for quick fuel. When you transition away from that quick & easy source of fuel, your body will probably protest. You may feel tired and foggy. You may feel like you’re coming down with a cold. These effects will pass as you get used to more stable blood sugar and get away from the morning rush and afternoon crash.

So, what’s the up-side? Reclaiming your health. Weight gain, aches and pains, medications, and cognitive decline don’t have to be accepted as ‘just a part of getting older’.

What’s in a name? You may be wondering what Embrace the Fork has to do with anything. As I was running through all of the arguments / protests / complaints about eating this way, one of the biggest issues that comes up is convenience. How am I going to eat without bread, buns, tortillas, crackers, etc.? As I look back on how I adjusted, I realized that it’s simple, and you do get used to, eating things like burgers and tuna salad with a fork instead. They are just as tasty – especially when you add guacamole and bacon to your burger – but they don’t leave you with the bloat and discomfort associated with grain-based conveyances. So I say, “Embrace the Fork” and eat good food – your body will thank you.