Posts Tagged ‘Whole30’

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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13 days in. My Whole30 experience

Almost halfway in to this. How am I doing? Great!

larabarlemon

Yummy.

First off, I know this isn’t a “diet” and I know I’m breaking the rules by weighing myself during this ride, but I was just too curious to avoid the scale completely. After ten days, I had dropped five pounds without ever feeling hungry or deprived. Really.

I also think this experience is going to adjust the way I will eat long term. It’s become pretty clear to me that, even with a generally healthy diet before, I was eating too much sugar.

This eating plan appeals to me because it makes sense to avoid additives and sugars. I won’t completely avoid dairy and whole grains beyond this month, and I will look forward to having an occasional beer or glass of wine again. I also miss oatmeal, quinoa, and bread. But not in a way that makes me crave any of it.

I honestly have not had any cravings on this plan at all.

If you are considering a Whole30 experience, I would say:

  1. Recruit your spouse or a friend to join you. My husband and I are doing this together and it’s made meal planning and shopping so much easier. Plus I like that we are sharing the experience.
  2. If you are used to drinking anything in your coffee–cream, milk, sugar–the first 3-4 days are going to make you sad. I’ve been drinking black coffee, whereas my husband has quit drinking coffee altogether. Yes, he had a caffeine-withdrawal headache for a few days. I, however, did not.
  3. You will probably find yourself eating the same few meals over and over. My favorite breakfast has become a baked potato (microwaved, actually) with one or two fried eggs and salsa on top. My favorite dinner is a burrito bowl. I take shredded greens and top them with cooked, seasoned meat, and add salsa and guacamole. Mmmm.
  4. Snack bars are a lifesaver in case you do get hungry between meals (yes, I know
    bison

    Also yummy.

    snacking is discouraged), or if you find yourself somewhere at mealtime and what is being offered is non-compliant (Whole30 vocabulary). So far, my favorites are Epic Bison Cranberry bars and Turkey bars. When something sweet sounds good, I am opting for Larabars–several are compliant and my favorites are lemon and key lime pie. (I’ve also ordered coconut cream pie and can’t wait for them to arrive).

  5. Traveling can be a bitch. That seems pretty obvious. My husband, who travels every week for work has had more challenges than I, but with prior planning, and some backup snacks, he seems to be doing fine. Plus, he reports that he is feeling so good, the effort is worth it.
  6. There are a TON of resources online. If I’m at the grocery store and wonder if something is compliant, all I do is Google it. There are also several bloggers sharing some great looking recipes and great cookbooks out there. There are also Facebook and Reddit groups focusing on Whole30.
  7. Stock up on ghee and olive oil. You’ll be able to cook almost anything with these two oils and they are permitted.
  8. Focus on what you CAN eat and not on what you can’t. This is stated in so many ways when you start to browse Whole30 resources, and it’s true. What CAN I eat? Steak, salmon, shrimp, chicken, ground beef (really almost any meat), eggs, avocados, guacamole, salsa, any fruit, almond butter, most nuts, almost any vegetable–including potatoes and sweet potatoes. As far as drinks go, I’m drinking mostly water but can also have club soda, LaCroix, tea, and kombucha. Sure, this will get boring pretty fast, but doing this for a month certainly won’t be hard.

I’m entering into the promised “feel good stage” of the plan and I am really looking forward to that. I feel good now so hearing the best is yet to come sounds amazing.

Timeline of the plan is found HERE. Evidently, I’m going to start wanting familiar comfort foods about now then I’m supposed to feel especially energetic and strong starting at day 16.

I guess we’ll see. I’ll let you know.

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whole30

From the Whole30 website