I am proud to say that today starts day seventeen of Whole30 for us. It’s been an eye-opening experience and we’re feeling seriously awesome.
I plan on doing an entire post on our results and thoughts on the experience, but for today I thought it would be good to do a midway check-in to answer all of the questions I have been getting.
What is Whole30?
In summary, Whole30 is a way to reset your body by cutting out alcohol, sugar, grains, legumes, dairy and all additives. Essentially, you eat all “whole foods”- vegetables, fruit, high-quality meat, nuts and natural fats. After the thirty days are complete, you add each group back in one by one to experiment and find out which foods work best with your body. You can learn more here if you’re interested.
Why did we decide to do Whole30?
I read It Starts With Food a few years back and was fascinated with reading about all the ways that certain foods affect your body. Whole30 sounded too hard and I wasn’t sure if it was something I could do, so I filed the information in the back of my mind.
Last year Rich started Crossfit and got hooked. He’s been going consistently three times per week for the past seven months and recently started to become more interested in nutrition. I told him about Whole30 and we started talking to several friends who had completed it.
I went back and forth about going on a “diet” because I had made so much progress emotionally when it came to food the past few years. This past holiday season was the first time ever I did not think twice about the foods I was eating and subsequently maintained my weight. In short, I had gotten to the point where food wasn’t a problem but something that I enjoyed without any drama.
But, the more and more I read about the program and considered it, the more that I thought that it could be the final step in removing the emotional aspect of food for me. It is more of a lifestyle change than a diet and is not meant to be depriving. You do not count calories or watch your portion size but instead stay in-tune with your body’s hunger signals. I decided it would be a good way to continue my shift in mindset from using food as a coping mechanism and instead learning to check my emotions and take care of myself.
For Rich, he wanted to do Whole30 because he was ready for a challenge. He had made significant progress with exercise alone but knew he wanted something more. He was ready for a reset after the holidays and wanted something that would help him make permanent changes in the way he fueled his body.
How are we feeling?
After sixteen days of eating completely clean, I’m feeling extremely energetic. My blood sugar seems to have stabilized and I maintain consistent energy throughout the day. I sleep so soundly and rarely wake up during the night which has been a welcome change. Also, overall this has been a way for us to slow down and focus on our health as a family. The effects have bled over into other areas of our life and overall I feel focused.
That’s not to say that there have not been challenges. It takes a lot of work to prep and plan and I am glad that I already did that well. The first few days I felt legitimately hungover and in the beginning social situations were a bit anxiety inducing but no where near where I expected. Two weeks later, this feels like more of a lifestyle for me and I plan on making long term changes to the way that I eat.
Rich had an extreme increase in energy right off the bat. He’s also sleeping much better and feels that he has stronger workouts eating this way. Also, he says that he feels sharper mentally and this has inspired him overall to have a more positive attitude. I’ve also noticed that this has caused him to shift how he’s taking care of himself and I’ve seen him focus more on self care than ever before.
What are we eating?
For breakfast, we’ve been all about eggs. I made this Butternut Squash and Sage Breakfast Casserole the first week and then again yesterday morning to have on hand for this week. I also made the Pepperoni Pizza Egg Casserole which was delicious but did not hold up as well as I had hoped. My absolute favorite breakfast is soft boiled eggs over roasted sweet potatoes and as bonus I’ve learned I can take it to work!
Packing food for work has been absolutely crucial. We’ll pack breakfast, leftovers for lunch and lots of snacks. We hit up Trader Joe’s for additive-free dried fruit and nuts, Chomps meat sticks, RXbars, fresh fruit and cashew butter.
I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of the recipes we already love for weeknight dinners were already compliant or were easily modified. These favorites include One Pot Spaghetti Squash and Meat Sauce (without the cheese), Beef Taco Bowls (again, without the cheese), Garlic Lime Pork Chops with Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice, Grilled Rosemary Lamb Chop and Crock Pot Picadillo over Cauliflower Rice. (thank you, Trader Joe’s for the frozen kind!)
In addition we’ve made some new recipes that we have enjoyed. We’ve made No Bean Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili, Spicy Shrimp and Asparagus over Zoodles, One Pot Mexican Chicken Stir Fry and our absolute favorite Thai Green Curry. (over cauliflower rice, obviously!)
Last but least once each week I made us dessert- banana ice cream! Technically making compliant versions of “off limit” foods is a no-no, but overall I feel we’ve made so many positive changes that one little treat each week is not going to throw us over. So, I’ve made it and we’ve really enjoyed it- way more than I ever thought I would enjoy blended frozen bananas. The first time I made it with two frozen bananas and 1/2 cup of frozen mango and topped it with coconut. Over the weekend my combo was two frozen bananas, a tablespoon of cashew butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It was SO GOOD.
Are we ready for Whole30 be over?
Nope, not at all and I’m pretty shocked. There have been a few days I really wanted to wind down with a glass of wine, but overall I’m enjoying eating this way. We plan on doing a slow reintroduction period and want to hold onto the positive changes we’ve seen as much as possible. Like I said, this experience has been extremely eye opening!
I’m looking forward to sharing our experience once we’ve completed our Whole30. So far things have been great and I’m looking forward to the next two weeks!