My experience with Whole30

Today is the final day of my Whole30 experiment. My review? It’s definitely worth doing and I’ll probably repeat it again at some point. More importantly, it’s going to positively affect how I eat on a regular basis from here on out.

nutrition

Google images. (Pretend this photo doesn’t include bread or dairy!)

Here’s what I learned.

  1. The American diet is filled with sugar, preservatives, and So. Much. Corn. Being on Whole30 forces to you to pay very close attention to food labels and you’ll be surprised at how much unnecessary crap is in our food.
  2. Eating clean is not hard. There’s no need to eat any of the crap because most of us are fortunate enough to have easy access to healthy food choices. Note: most.
  3. I tend to think a lot about my food planning and choices on a regular basis, but this took food obsession to an entirely new level. (One thing I didn’t like).
  4. Not drinking alcohol for a month was easy. Normally, I’m within the medically suggested “moderate” guidelines of one drink a day or less, so it wasn’t a big deal for me to quit drinking altogether. I did, however, think about how a glass of wine would be nice with dinner on several occasions, though. That thought crept into my head less and less as the month progressed.
  5. Black coffee is still good. Rather, GOOD black coffee is still good. For the first two weeks, I really missed having milk and sugar in my coffee. Today, I’m enjoying it black, particularly if it’s cold brewed.
  6. There are so many resources available online. Whether you use search engines or almost any type of social media, you will find whole communities of people following the plan and offering advice. The accessibility of information made it so much easier.

What I liked about Whole30.

  1. I dropped a few pounds. As I’ve gotten older, it’s become more difficult to keep my weight in check. I half-jokingly observe that I gain five pounds on one weekend splurge and then it takes me a month of serious dieting to lose it. In this case, I didn’t feel like I was dieting at all, yet I’ve lost 8 pounds even while eating the same number of calories. Note: Here’s where I broke Whole30 rules. While on Whole30 you are instructed to not weigh yourself or count calories. I did both.
  2. I slept so much better! A lot of people on Whole30 experience this. Improved sleep could be due to not drinking alcohol, but others surmise that the non-inflammatory qualities of this diet is the reason. In any case, it was great. I slept through the night every night I was on this eating plan when normally, one or two nights a week, I wake up around 3:00 or 4:00 AM and can’t get back to sleep.
  3. I didn’t get sick, despite being exposed to colds and flu. I had several opportunities to pick up various bugs that were going around and I didn’t get sick once. I credit the diet and exercise.
  4. Food tastes better. Fruit is sweeter and overall, I’m enjoying my food more. I’m more aware of how it tastes and I’ve become one of those people who consider a nice piece of fruit a perfectly satisfying dessert.
  5. I learned about some new food options that I will continue to eat in “normal life.” Riced cauliflower, coconut aminos, ghee, Epic bars, and many Luna bars are all great food choices whether or not you are on a restricted diet. A couple of compliant dinner recipes will remain longer-term favorites.
  6. I have a better appreciation and understanding for people who medically have to be on a restricted diet. I now know what diabetics or those with gluten sensitivities must go through on a daily basis.
  7. My digestion improved. 
  8. My skin became clearer.

What I didn’t like.

  1. The need to meal plan so meticulously forced me to constantly think about food to the point where it became obsessive. I didn’t like having to constantly think about upcoming meals and the need for grocery trips.
  2. I missed social gatherings. I’m not a regular party goer by any stretch of the imagination, but I found myself skipping out on a few events because I knew I would have a hard time with the food choices. I missed a couple of work celebrations as well as a Friday afternoon happy hour invitation when normally I would have gone.
  3. I cooked less for my family. I have two college-aged kids still living at home and I have to admit–they were pretty much on their own this month because they didn’t particularly care for most of my compliant meals. It worked out fine because they are so self-reliant, but this would likely be difficult with young children or a spouse who wasn’t also on board.
  4. So. Much. Meat. The first thing I will do is bring back legumes into my diet. While I enjoy beef, chicken, fish, and pork, I definitely ate more on Whole30 than I normally do because protein shakes, dairy, quinoa, and black beans are non-compliant. I look forward to incorporating more meatless meals into my diet again.

In summary, this was a great experience for me and my husband and the positives outweighed the negatives. We both feel healthier, we both dropped a few pounds, and we have both said that we will continue to “mostly” eat like this in going forward. I would say it was a win.

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