My Whole 30 Journey - Judith Forman

Hi there! We are so honored to introduce you all to our guest blogger, Judith Forman -- a fabulous Whole 30 Coach from Massachusetts. Georgia Grinders greatly values our partnership with the Whole 30 and all of the amazing connections it has brought us. We would love to share a little more about Judith with you all! Her Whole 30 Journey is included below. Enjoy!

My first memories of dieting as a child were tied to going to the doctor. Months before my annual physical, I would start to think about what I could do to drop a few pounds so the doctor (or the nurse or my mom) wouldn’t tell me I was fat. I was never super overweight as a child but I was always conscious of my stomach and the number on the scale.

When I got to college, I gained the “Freshman 15,” and took up running to try to lose them. Thank goodness I laced up my sneakers back then because that move led me to discover one of greatest passions in life -- and I have the Boston Marathon medals to show for it!

But, I continued to struggle with my weight.

After college, I discovered Weight Watchers and soon enough, I wore my size 2 jeans like a badge of honor. But, old habits die hard and I found myself back in the cycle of binging and restricting. I felt like I couldn’t keep certain foods in my house (I’m looking at you, cereal!) because my eating was extremely all-or-nothing. While I still looked “skinny,” I was miserable on the inside.

Fast forward 15 years. I no longer live like that. I am happy and empowered around food. I am strong and in great physical shape. I am a fabulous home cook and I no longer think twice about keeping “dangerous” foods in my house.

How did I get here? In 2015, I discovered Whole30, “a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”

Whole30 asks you to eliminate foods that fail to meet at least one of the four “Good Food Standards” outlined in It Starts with Food, the first book in the Whole30 series. To be included in the Whole30, foods must:

  • Promote a healthy psychological response
  • Promote a healthy hormonal response
  • Support a healthy gut
  • Support immune function and minimize inflammation

This translates to eliminating the following food groups for 30 days: Added sugar (real or artificial), dairy, grains, alcohol, soy, legumes, certain additives (including carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites) and recreated baked goods or “treats” made with Whole30 compliant ingredients. You also toss the scale and focus solely on eating well.

What’s left? Plenty of REAL food, including protein, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fat. It may not sound like much but there are plenty of ways to enjoy creative and delicious meals – and thousands of Whole30 recipes to inspire you.

I admit that I first approached Whole30 as another “diet” with weight loss as the end goal. But, over time, it clicked. I realized that the elimination of certain foods – and the subsequent reintroduction of them – gave me invaluable data about how different foods make me feel.

From there, I’ve been able to determine which foods are “worth it” – and when. For example, I now know that a lot of sugar and gluten make me feel tired, headache-y, and gives me stomach pain. So, before I dive into a dessert, I think it through carefully, weighing how I know it will make my feel, what else I have to do that day, and if the dessert if something I really NEED. (For me, it’s usually NOT worth it!) I know how to fuel my body to be my best self and that means lots of proteins, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fat, including Georgia Grinders nut butter!

Shortly after I took on Whole30 in 2015, I began posting pictures of my meals in a small Facebook support group of about 40 moms from north of Boston. I was a regular poster and at the end of 2015, I was asked if I wanted to take over the group.

I said yes. I had no idea that that YES would change my life. Today, that group has more than 43,000 global members, and 7 admins (including me!) running it around the clock. To complement the group, we started a Whole30 blog, Everyday Whole, to provide additional support, tips, recipes, and Whole30 inspiration!

Over the years, many people I helped in the group with Whole30, told me I should be an official leader or coach – but such a thing didn’t exist. I shrugged them off, I was just happy to help people as a hobby. But, then the Whole30 coaching program was announced in 2017, and in March 2018 I applied for a Whole30 coaching scholarship from The New Primal.

I was announced as one of the winners the following month and the path of my life truly changed forever. As a Whole30 Certified Coach, I run small closed coaching groups on Facebook, where I offer clients daily posts, support, recipes, discounts, access to Whole30 partners, giveaways, Facebook LIVES, and more. It’s super fun and rewarding for me to share Whole30 with others, and clients receive lots of personalized attention to help them succeed!

One of the best parts of becoming a Whole30 coach has becoming introduced to several incredible Whole30 Approved brands, including Georgia Grinders. I am a huge proponent of eating lots of healthy fat on Whole30 (I eat more than recommended) because I know now that fat DOES NOT make you fat! It does the opposite – it keeps you happy and satisfied and fuels your body to do amazing things.

When I first tried Georgia Grinders nut butter, I almost dropped my spoon! It tasted SO much better than any store-bought nut butter I had ever had. I *may* have gone through my first jar of almond butter in just a few days (it is that good!) – I added it to fruit (with my meal), I used it to make Asian-inspired chicken dishes, like this Paleo Cashew Chicken Skillet, and incorporated it into some Paleo treats like this Breakfast Pumpkin Custard. I’ve also used it to make a Paleo Thai Sauce, like this one from I Heart Umami, which is great on eggs, meat, salads, veggies, and more.

I was hooked! And when I tried the other Georgia Grinders’ Whole30 Approved nut butters, there was no turning back. My favorites are the Pecan Butter and the new Hazelnut Butter! The ingredients are simple, the flavor is out of this world, and I love supporting a family business that is rooted in tradition.

I recently told a friend that I feel like “Judith 2.0” since discovering Whole30 – the program and the community. I have become a better all-around human being. I am a better mother, a better friend, a better daughter, and a better employee. I am calmer, more organized, and more focused. I’ve gone from a non-cook to someone who makes her own mayonnaise. I’ve run my fastest road races and lifted heavy weights. I’ve become confident and proud of myself and everything my body does for me. I no longer focus on a goal of being skinny, I focus on being healthy and present every day. I am forever changed from Whole30 and a firm believer that it does truly start with food.

Learn more about Judith here. For more Whole30 inspiration, follow her on Instagram @jujuswhole30.