Hints of Spring in this new year, yellow crocuses showing around yards, birds singing and children swinging in the park till late in the afternoon, as the evensong prevails.  Another cycle around the sun, as the expression goes!!!

How do we beings, in our processes of aging, welcome rebirth and come alive again?  Is it enough to have felt the inward, dark, introspective, cold period of winter to feel a spring in one’s step and a stirring of joyful celebration as, once again, we are given gifts of renewal in tiny buds, new growth, communities shedding their layers and greeting each other in the increasing warmth of the sun’s rays………………  This year I’ve done it a bit differently.  I was deep into my hovel, covers pulled up and w little inspiration.  I carried around me a swarth of fat carried over from lovely indulgences while traveling in South America just before the end of the year.  And of course, with that extra weight came persistent chatter from my familiar inner critic….with the “if only’s” and “why don’t you” and the old favorite, “you should _______ ” fill in the blank.

    I knew for my peace of mind, I needed to find an end of that inner cord to grab hold of in order to initiate change.  For what stirs the system more and lights the inner spark than a new ‘purpose’, ’cause’ or ‘passion’?  For me, that’s what it takes  Well, one day, thanks to a usual perusal of FACEBOOK, a seed was planted by a post from the wife of a fellow firefighter, where they announced that they were several weeks into their annual ‘cleanse’, using a program entitled WHOLE30.COM.  Something about Rosie’s writing and the wealth of information available for ‘free’ on-line got me stirred up and on that drab Sunday, I spent a number of hours reading the 4 full pages of introduction on the WHOLE30.COM Site, going on to the shopping list, the pages discussing the challenges faced throughout the 30 day program, reading participants’ experiences and, in general, getting my internal cheerleaders geared up for this new game plan, as I felt in my gut, that this plan made sense, did not involved buying into ‘anyone’s’ multi-level marketing scheme and drinking shakes made w ingredients I could not pronounce.  Rather the core of WHOLE30.COM is to eat organic, healthy, carefully raised proteins along with similar grown fruits and vegetables, nuts and a variety of suggested snacks and for 30 DAYS, eliminate, all alcohols, diary products ( I felt some panic to ‘let go’ of my cheese consumption), all grains and gluten products, legumes, all sweeteners including stevia…… yes, there was a releasing of lots of familiar and comfort foods, especially my breads, muffins and glutens, even though I had already become familiar with the inflammation that affected my body when eating such food ( as evidenced in the rapid weight gain – see GRAIN BRAIN and THE PLAN).

Today is day 30 for me!!!!!……….I feel lighter, chiseled, my skin is even softer than usually and with a very healthy glow, my clothes feel complimentary on me again and I feel alive, pleased w my body and confident of my relationship w food, not a slave to it.  Through out the program, I ate well and found a constant source of amazing recipes that thrilled my tastebuds and was fully enjoyed by my sweet and loving partner, who a year ago, was challenged by pancreatic cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy, hair loss and wacked out liver enzymes.  So we both benefitted from my month long commitment….. so much so that while I will enjoy several days of eating yogurt and kefir, some bread and cream and stevia in my coffee, next Monday I will be back on the program for another 30 day round, preparing for our departure to Europe, Turkey and Greece, where again, I will enjoy the local fare w flourish until I return home and resume this ‘LIFESTYLE OF HEALTH AND WELL-BEING’….okay, occasionally I will want to have a glass of wine!!!

Listed below is a page copied from the website,  I agree w much that she wrote……How bout you feeling like this as you age!??!?!  Gives a whole new definition, eh!!!

30 Reasons To Do a Whole30

These are the things that I’ve experienced myself and loved about the Whole30. Not everyone’s experiences are the same, and you might not enjoy all of these things during your month (and I can pretty much guarantee you won’t experience them every day of the month… some days are just hard). But I can pretty much promise you, if you tackle a Whole30 and really commit to the spirit of the whole endeavor, it will change you and your perceptions of yourself and the world for the better. That’s a tall order, I know! But it’s also drenched in truthiness.

In no particular order…

1. You’ll sleep longer and more soundly.
When sugar is out and protein/fat is in, you sleep the sleep of the righteous.

2. You’ll enjoy consistent energy.
Forget energy that peaks and drops like a roller coaster, you’ll become a bullet train.

3. You’ll wake up feeling optimistic and alert.
There is nothing, and I mean nothing, better than waking up with a smile and open heart.

4. You’ll say goodbye to digestive distress.
Forget about farts and tummy rumbling and…let’s call them “uncomfortable bathroom experiences.” You might have a little discomfort at first if you’re not used to eating lots of veggies, but after that, smooth sailing.

5. You’ll be happier.
No joke. When blood sugar is stable, life is happier. Period.

6. You’ll be more peaceful.
The swirly thoughts and anxiety that can be brought on the sugar joyride just vaporize and leave calm in their wake.

7. You’ll be more clear-headed.
Goodbye brain fog and tip-of-the-tongue syndrome; hello Mensa!

8. You’ll drink more water.
Sugary drinks are out, so you’ll naturally find yourself drinking more water — which is a brilliant thing. Might I also recommend some lovely rooibos tea?

9. You’ll eat more vegetables.
Get ready to eat like a bunny! You want 2-3 cups of veg per meal. Per. Meal. Think of all the nutrients!

10. You’ll savor your food more.
For me, shining the spotlight on quality food makes me appreciate its nutritive power and flavor more than usual. I slow down, enjoy every bite, and think about how it’s making me strong while it tastes so damn good.

11. You’ll feel the difference between emotional appetite and real hunger.
You know that mindless eating that happens when you’re stressed or distracted? That’s emotional appetite, and it’s junky. During the Whole30, as your body gets off the sugar high and settles into better insulin management, your appetite starts to diminish, but real hunger — the need for quality food that signals when it’s time to eat — kicks in and it feels So Good.

12. You’ll find new favorite foods.
Who knows which vegetables, spices, and meat preparations will become your favorites?! It’s exciting to think about, no? There’s so much room in your kitchen and on your plate for new stuff when you banish the grains, beans, and dairy.

13. You’ll have fun experimenting in the kitchen.
The Whole30 is essentially what got me into the kitchen and playing with recipes. I was inspired to see what I could do with veg+meat+fat… and I encourage you to do the same. Play with your food!

14. You’ll get more organized.
Woot! Free bonus! The Whole30 kinda requires you to do a little bit of planning to ensure your success and that organization can trickle into other areas of your life, too.

15. You’ll get out from under the burden of emotional eating.
Most of us tend to blame ourselves for “lack of willpower,” but the truth is that much of our mindless eating is driven my our hormones. When we manage our hormonal response by eating the right foods, the correct messages about hunger are delivered through our bodies. No more hoovering through the kitchen cabinets!

16. You’ll learn about yourself.
By focusing on your habits for 30 days, you’ll learn all kinds of things, including what triggers your appetite, who’s part of your support system, what you need for self care, what time of day you go to the bathroom, and more!

17. You’ll slay the sugar demon.
Vanquish that bastard! And then, later, if you dance with the sugar demon again, you’ll know that it’s within your power to take a sword to his carotid again when the time comes.

18. You’ll make new friends.
There’s a huge community of Whole30 participants online and offline, and during your Whole30, you can tap into their support, knowledge, sense of humor, successes, and challenges. A great place to start is the Whole9 Forum.

19. You’ll positively influence others.
Yes, you’ll inevitably get the “You need to eat whole grains” argument from some well-meaning acquaintances, and that will be annoying. But if you quietly stick to your program, you’ll also have a positive impact on the people around you when they see your results. I can’t tell you how many people were envious of my Whole30 packed lunches in my office, and that is the perfect way to open the door to a great conversation.

20. You’ll learn more about how your body works.
This is a two-fold win: first, by understanding the principles of the science behind the Whole30, you’ll learn a bit about how human bodies function; and second, you’ll learn how you — a special, special snowflake — work, in particular.

21. Your skin will be brighter.
Sleep + water + vegetables + fat + no sugar = clear, younger-looking skin.

22. Your hair will be shinier.
Sleep + water + vegetables + fat + no sugar = glossy hair. (And stronger nails, too.)

23. Your tummy will be flatter.
The end-of-day bloat from dairy and legumes is gone, baby, gone!

24. Your workouts will feel invigorating.
Workouts fueled by real food are the bomb. That is all.

25. You might PR.
You might. Really.

26. You’ll feel accomplished. (Or maybe even smug.)
I’ve stopped pursuing discipline for discipline’s sake, but I wholeheartedly believe that committing to a short-term program like the Whole30 helps develop mental toughness that is valuable in all aspects of our lives. And yes, I do enjoy feeling smug about that once in a while.

27. You might lose weight — or gain muscle. Or both.
If  losing body fat is your goal, a Whole30 can be a great way to start that process. Just don’t cheat yourself out of a lot of joy if you make that your only focus.

28. Your body image will improve.
There is an undeniable connection between treating ourselves well and how we feel about our bodies. If you look at the Whole30 as an act of self care, then affection, love, acceptance, and celebration of your body — how it feels, what it can do, the amazing things it carries you through every day — will surely follow.

29. Food will become both more important and less important.
I used to be really attached to food. I was sad at the end of the day when my eating was over until tomorrow, and when faced with my favorite foods, I wanted to eat them until I was stuffed, lest I never see them again. But when I got my blood sugar under control with the Whole30, that changed. Food is both more sacred — it nourishes and sustains us — and less sacred — we get to eat again in a few hours (!). The emotional triggers attached to the food on my plate are gone. Don’t get me wrong: I still feel deep affection for favorite foods, and I love to eat, but I feel now that there’s a world of abundance out there. Fear of food — and fear of not having favorite foods — is gone.

30. You’ll stop dieting and just eat.
This might be the best reason of all. When you take out the non-food food and replace it with real food, you can stop over-anaylyzing how much you eat, when you eat, where you eat. Yes, quantities still matter to some degree, but you can throw off the shackles of calorie counting and denial… and just eat. Peacefully. Healthfully. Robustly. With joy and pleasure and laughter. And cumin.