I don’t know if D.A.R.E. ever worked to keep kids from drinking or doing drugs, but they definitely had some effective marketing techniques that really stuck.
I can’t believe how often I think of the old “Drug Abuse Resistance and Education” classes or joke about it with my classmates.
If you’re not familiar with good old D.A.R.E., you’re probably not a child of the 80s and 90s.
Here’s what it was:
A police officer would come into schools and teach kids to “Say NO to Drugs.” I’m sure it was a massive state or federal expense, and I think its effectiveness was often questioned, but the taglines of the era somehow got burned into my brain, like, “Just Say NO!” and “D.A.R.E. to keep kids off drugs,” and the commercial about the fried egg: “This is your Brain. This is your Brain on Drugs.”
I feel like the program painted high schools as evil bastions of peer pressure, and “those kids” out there were going to try very hard to get you to drink and do drugs. It ultimately created an entire language and thought process about peer pressure that still impacts my generation today.
Most recently, my husband and I were the evil peer pressure initiators, and there was a LOT of “Just Say NO!”
I think it’s probably difficult to be friends with us.
How to Fail at the Whole30
We helped throw our friends into the deep end.
In this series of two posts, you’ll meet some of my husband’s and my closest friends, both of whom embarked on a Whole30 after hearing about our experiences with it last year. They both made it all 30 days, and they both ditched almost all of it afterward, but for very different reasons.
If you’re a glass-half-full sort of person, you’ll see two successes.
If you’re a glass-half-empty, you’ll see two failures.
I think there’s plenty to learn from all the sides of the story.
What’s it Like to be Best Friends with the Kitchen Stewardship® Lady?!?
Imagine what it’s like to see me every day!
My poor neighbor.
When we were looking at our house as prospective buyers, we knocked on some doors to ask if there were kids in the neighborhood, and imagine our surprise when one man literally picked up a little girl and set her in front of mine.
Before us we saw two pint-sized, blond-haired, blue-eyed three-year-olds who were destined to be the closest of friends, but it would be six months before the moms would meet and discover kindred spirits as well.
Cherie and I are both sarcastic, no-frills former teachers with little patience for stupid people, a fervent passion for our faith (one Catholic and one Christian Reformed, but with more in common than not), a frugal streak and a great dedication to our families. She’s the best neighbor and comrade in the parenting battle that I could ask for…and here’s what she has to say about being friends with ME:
Pick your friends carefully, it can make you a better person or cause huge problems for you.
In my case my friend pressures me to be a better, healthier version of myself. She loves me for who I am but I feel like I can do better when I am with her. With that being said … the first few days of my Whole30, I did not like her very much.
The “More Energy, Less Gut Ache” Reason
To my credit, this was her idea, not mine! We’re passive peer pressure friends, not pushers. Cherie had wondered over the past year or two if she should try to cut gluten or grains from her diet to see what happened, but I was surprised when she announced she was just going to do a complete Whole30 during Lent, just like my husband was doing.
The first day of Cherie’s Whole30 was, I have to say – hilarious. She was hungry, cranky, and shocked that it was already so hard! On day two I saw her at the bus stop at 8 a.m. and she said something like this:
She would go on to say that she really didn’t struggle with hunger at all after the first few days transition. She made it for 30 days and started to transition back to some of the no-no food groups (grains, dairy) as Easter approached.
Some of you might recognize the cute girls in the photo from Chicago – they’re our sidekicks in the video cooking lessons inside the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse, and this picture is from the celebration dinner that the kids cooked. It was NOT Whole30 approved, but was 100% real food!
I interviewed Cherie after it was all over:
- Why did you decide to try a Whole30? I have some health issues and energy issues that go along with Hashimoto’s auto immune disease. Reading up on this, sometimes food sensitivities are a trigger so fixing this may help with symptoms.
- What concerned you the most about starting? The planning and cravings. Because I didn’t get rid of everything in the house that I couldn’t have, avoiding things I love was going to be tough.
- What were you expecting from it? I hoped to feel better and have more energy.
- Tell us about the first 3-5 days – challenges? I was very hungry for the first couple days and really craved sugar which was a surprise for me as I am a person who loves salty snacks.
- What things (foods, strategies, mental states, whatever) became your saving grace in getting all the way through it without giving up? Monkey salad was a life saver for me because I am not a big breakfast eater and because it touched on a lot of cravings. Salt, sweet, crunchy. (Note: Monkey salad is a trick I learned from Jessica of Good Cheap Eats – a sliced banana, cashews, and coconut.) I added apple slices as well. Cashews were great. Having an end date helped a lot.
- What 3 things did you learn that you enjoyed that you didn’t expect? I enjoyed being creative in my cooking. It really made me think about my menus because I get easily bored with repetition. I learned that I really like cashews, and I forgot how much I like mangos.
Katie’s note: I love that part about the Whole30 too – it gets me out of my routine and reminds me/introduces me to new foods that are good for all of us!
- Did you see any positive results? What happened? I lost weight I think. (‘Cause she’s a no-frills gal with no scale in the house!) I realized I eat more sugar than I thought. It gave me more compassion for those that have an allergy to deal with and have no option to ‘cheat.’
Katie: We were both so bummed that there wasn’t a decisive “I feel better” revelation for Cherie. The hoped-for miraculous energy boost didn’t really happen. Some days, her gut pain wasn’t evident, other days, it was, so she didn’t feel like she learned anything about her Hashi’s symptoms as related to food, which was super disappointing!
- What did you dislike about the experience? It was very difficult to go out or to anyone’s house or party at any location. It felt very isolating.
- How did you do “re-entry” – coming back to normal afterward? Did you learn anything through that process? Introduction was supposed to be one thing at a time. Dairy, gluten were the two major ones I was wondering about. Because I didn’t feel better while doing the whole 30 I wasn’t as deliberate as I might have been.
- Will you continue to do anything differently in your eating habits now, after you’re finished, because of what you experienced/learned through the Whole30? I will definitely read labels more and make more items at home.
Cherie has always made quite a bit from scratch, both because of her penny-pinching Dutch heritage and personal preference, like making homemade salad dressings because they just taste better.
So her skill in the kitchen was a pretty high level, as was the “real food” status of the pantry and refrigerator (although she’ll be the first to tell you, with wide eyes, that the Whole30 does a number on a food budget with all the fresh meat, veggies and nuts you need!). She didn’t need to baby step her way into cooking from scratch, because she was pretty much already there.
Her Whole30 was a success: She completed all 30 days, learned about herself and her cravings, lost some weight and found (some) more energy. She’ll be able to apply some of the new cooking techniques/recipes she learned into her normal life.
Or it was a failure: She didn’t pinpoint any food sensitivities, didn’t really enjoy it at all, and didn’t experience the reduction of inflammation that the diet seeks.
And she was darn happy to have a big glass of milk and a bowl of salty, buttery popcorn when it was all over!
In part 2 I introduce you to one of my husband’s closest friends who also jumped into a Whole30 this year on his own volition. His story is completely different and has even better lessons for us to learn. His Whole30 story is the the “Losing Weight, Killing Cravings” reason, if you’re curious.
Printable Whole30 Shopping List
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More Whole30 Info:
- Whole30 (and anti-cavity) Rookie Meal Plan
- Whole30 Veggie Side Dish Ideas and Meal Plans
- Tastes like Pizza Breakfast Hash (Whole30 compliant)
- Whole30 Instant Pot Boneless Pork Rib Recipe
- Whole30 Failure Story: Didn’t Help my Friend’s Hashimoto’s
- Whole30 Failure Story: Too Hard for Bachelor to Manage
- Easy BBQ Chicken for Instant Pot or Slow Cooker (no sweetener)
- Whole30 Grocery Shopping List to Stock Up for Success
- Instant Pot Greek Beef Roast (Whole30 compliant)