Hey friends! Are you sick of hearing about this yet? Yea, yea I hear you. But don’t worry, because today is DAY 30 and Whole30 is DONE after today! Fist bumps all around.
Let’s get straight to the point.Throughout this whole experiment people had questions – and lots of them. Anytime anyone is trying something new (and seemingly crazy), having questions is a totally normal thing. So let’s dig in, shall we?
1. Why did you do this?
I think what people were really wanting to ask was…..why would you do this to yourself?! 🙂 This was probably the most frequently asked question I got. I did this because I wanted to understand how food was affecting my body. I wanted to know if the food I was consuming really DID have that much of an effect on my body, both physically and emotionally. I ate fairly healthy leading up to this, so I was extremely curious to find out if anything would change if I only ate whole foods. Would doing this really change my relationship with food? Was I addicted to anything? Did I have food habits I didn’t even know about? Would I really do that much better in my workouts if I ate cleaner?
So the short answer? Pure curiosity.
2. Was it worth it? Would you do it again? Why or why not?
Absolutely, it was totally worth it. Was it easy? Hek no. Was it enjoyable? Definitely not in the beginning. But now that I’m at day 30 I can say that I’ve learned so much about how my body and my emotional state are contingent on my food choices.
Yes, I would totally do it again. This experience is perfect for anyone who is looking to jump start their health, is stuck in a food rut, is trying to reach some sort of physical goal, etc. But just know, that the results are so much more than just physical. Sounds so cliche, but it’s the real deal.
I’m not sure how else to explain this without it sounding redundant or lame, but to know that healthy eating and it’s effects are right in the palm of my hand to control at my discretion is incredibly empowering. It’s like a gift I never knew I could have, or never fully understood. This seems silly to say because we all know if we eat better and exercise a little bit, our health improves. But as a person who has always been fairly healthy, this is certainly the first time I’ve ever experienced a direct cause and effect like this. I wish that I could wrap this feeling up and give it to people. Eating healthy is hard. Exercising is hard. But it gets easier, I promise. And when you realize how your mood changes, your energy changes, your vibrancy changes and your body changes…it’s all worth it.
3. What were some of the hardest things to give up?
Oh man. So many things were such a struggle to give up during the first 12 or so days. All of my comfort foods, my “go-tos,” the habitual things. Coffee creamer, popcorn, Cheez-Its, pretzels, pizza, mini Saltine crackers…basically all the salty snacks…plus beer and wine. This tells me that I was a snacks addict. I was shocked to realize that I didn’t really miss any dairy products, pastas or breads like I thought I would.
4. What do you actually eat during Whole30? Wait, you ARE eating, aren’t you?
Contrary to popular belief among individuals who haven’t heard of Whole30 before…Whole30 is NOT 30 days of eating a “whole lot of nothing.” (I see what you guys were trying to do there.)
Yes, I’m definitely eating and was eating during this whole thing. Sometimes I felt like I was eating too much! What did I keep my kitchen stocked with and use most in my food prep? Eggs, chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, garlic, onions, zucchini, cauliflower, turkey burger, almond butter, apples, bananas, almonds, cashews, Lara bars, dried mangos, and the ever-amazing plantain chips.
Basically – eggs, meat, veggies, fruits and nuts. I never knew there were so many different concoctions you could create with these 5 things. Pinterest is your best friend during Whole30. SO MANY IDEAS! Here’s a link to my foodie board that has tons of Whole30 recipes. (Don’t mind the cookies and cakes you see on there… my sugar cravings took image form during this process. And let’s be real – life calls for these things from time to time.)
5. What were your favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes?
There are so many amazing Whole30 recipes out there, but I knew I had to focus on easy meals to make this work for me. My favorites?
Breakfast: Prosciutto Egg Cups
*Easiest recipe ever. Have it with a few nuts and a piece of fruit on the side – and BAM – breakfast of champions.
Lunch: Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
*Jon’s recipe: grapes, celery, chicken & EVOO – let me know if you want the recipe proportions! Good with or without the lettuce wraps.
Dinner: Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topping
*I could eat this EVERY week. So delicious.
6. What did you learn?
>I learned that you can have amazing food without all of the additives and extra crazy ingredients. It was an eye opening experience finding out how just about everything has things in it that I can’t even pronounce. AND everything seems to have “natural flavoring” in it. So what exactly IS “natural flavoring?” Right. We have no idea. Knowledge is power my friends.
>I learned about how hard discipline is. The kind of discipline that doesn’t accept an “Oh, I’ll just have one” attitude. But I also learned about how rewarding it is once you’ve achieved that goal. You can look back on that thing and say… “I did that!” It gives you that little extra pep in your step.
>I learned how good black coffee can be. Yes, for real. You can actually taste the different flavors and “notes” in coffee when you’re not caking it in coffee creamer. I’ve grown a whole new appreciation for you crazy folks that always drink their coffee black. I may be a new convert.
7. Did you snack a lot? What did you eat?
Ugh, yes. This part was really hard for me. I learned that I like to eat when I’m bored, when I’m watching TV, when I’m with friends, when I’m driving…and usually always when I wasn’t even hungry. My nemesis’s were plantain chips and dried mangoes. Surprisingly, I struggled more with this at the end of my Whole30 than at the beginning. This is something I’m still working to be conscious of beyond Whole30.
8. Now that it’s over, are you going to keep eating this way?
I’m going to practice the 80/20 rule. I’m still going to prep all my meals for the week in Whole30 style, but if I meet a friend for lunch or dinner or if there’s a family gathering, I’m not going to beat myself up over having a piece of cake or a burger and fries. Life is short people. You just need to be smart about it!
9. What can you not wait to have?
You guessed it. Pizza and beer. And popcorn. And maybe a Snickers.
10. What were some unexpected side effects?
>The weight that came off my body. You guys, I lost 10 pounds. I was shocked. I could feel my body composition changing a bit during the 30 days, and I knew that losing weight was a possibility during this process, but it wasn’t expected, nor was it the goal. I worked out typically 4-5 times a week prior to starting this, whether that meant doing a CrossFit class, playing in a soccer game or going for a run – and I changed nothing about my workout regime during these 30 days. The only thing that changed was the types of food I removed from my diet. And I wasn’t really eating less food either (see points 4, 5 & 7 you doubters!).
>The domino effect of Whole30 with people. I started Whole30 because I had a friend who introduced it to me in Alabama. I chatted with my sister about it and she decided to buy in. Then I began my Whole30 and a friend in Arizona started it and another friend in Alabama hopped on board. Alabama friend #2 has since had two of her other friends start it as well. And now my mom and step-dad are also in on it! This thing spreads like wildfire, and now I understand why. If you can find a friend, family member, or co-worker to do this with you, it makes things so much easier as you can commiserate in your misery together, but also have someone to help hold you accountable and celebrate in the triumphs with you.
>My “lady time” was waaay different. Sorry boys, but this is something worth sharing. When that time of the month rolled around, I didn’t experience the same things I typically do (ladies you know what I’m talking about here), my cramps were non-existent and things were just much more “pleasant” (if the time of the month can even be explained using that word).
>My skin cleared up! I’ve always struggled with uneven skin tone and blemishes; I noticed a huge difference in my complexion while going through Whole30.
11. Would you recommend doing this?
Yes!! At least one time in your life. If I can do it, you can do it. It’ll be so, so worth it, I promise.
12. Do you think you could have done this without prepping your food?
For me personally…100% no. Finding healthy food choices on the fly is so tough, unless you just grab a piece of fruit or some nuts (which are obviously still great choices). But don’t forget that you need actual nourishing meals on top of that. Food prep saved me big time. It stinks the first time because you’re slow at it and you feel like it takes forever, but once you get to week three, you’ll be whipping through it like a pro and feeling awesome the whole week because you don’t have to worry about cooking a thing!
13. Did you cheat or fall off the wagon at all during the 30 days?
I have to be honest here. I went to the Westsider Cafe around day 11 or 12 and carefully read through the menu to make sure I ordered something Whole30 compliant. I ended up getting a veggie omelet with potatoes – which was a solid choice, however, as I was eating my omelet I knew I tasted butter… there was just no doubt about it. By that time I was about half way done. And then I finished it. I felt so guilty. That was my big mess up. But I kept charging forward with the program anyway. No one’s Whole30 is going to be perfect, but you have to commit to doing your best. That was a lesson learned for sure.
Side note: You’ll have some crazy dreams about food while you’re doing Whole30. When you wake up, the dreams feel so real that you need to double check your cupboards and fridge to make you didn’t actually ravage your kitchen.
14. Any final advice or insights?
>Precut veggies are the bomb and will save you so much time with food prep.
>Get rid of the “bad stuff” and temptations in your house before you start Whole30. I bought a 6 pack of Oberon about a week ago (because it was on sale, had to save that $1.00!) to have for a family trip this weekend, and I put it in our garage by the door….so I’ve been walking past it every day and all I can think about is how much I want to enjoy the citrusy goodness. Bad move. Get that stuff outta there! Out of sight, out of mind.
>Going out to restaurants is going to be tough no matter how you look at it, but you can do it. There’s just no beating around the bush with that one. Check menu’s before you go out to find something you can eat. Restaurants are usually very accommodating! Just have a plan before you get there.
So, there you have it. My last Whole30 post. Hallelujah! If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot them my way…I’d love to chat! If you’re at all on the fence about doing this, HOP OVER. You can do it! I know you can!
The Floss 30 Challenge: Oh, and if you see my hubs, congratulate him on his “Floss 30 Challenge.” Yes, that really was a thing. He successfully flossed for 30 days straight. He went 30 days straight right alongside of me. His dentist would be proud. 😉