For those of you that have not heard of Whole30, here is a little background. Whole30 is a 30 day program challenging you to eat only clean, whole foods to achieve total health. The program’s basic guidelines are eat meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and natural fats. So, the main things I had to cut out where dairy, sugar, legumes, alcohol and grains/pasta. Whole30 has a book that I read prior to beginning my 30 days and it outlines every single detail about the program and why the rules are set the way they are. There are tons of recipes in the book (and a separate cookbook) to help give you ideas and get you started with the program! This was amazingly helpful for me to stay committed to Whole30!! There is also sooo much awesome info on their website and lots of recipes and ideas on pinterest!!! Definitely check out the website if you think this is something you’re interested it. Make sure to read everything before trying Whole30 to truly understand the why behind it all.
The Reasons I Tried Whole30
There are many, many reasons I took the Whole30 plunge and tried it this month. First of all, I needed to do this for myself. I took it as a challenge and no matter what anyone said or tempted me with, I was going to finish. During the summer months, Matt (my fiancé) and I are soo busy, constantly on the go and usually not eating anything good for us. Pizza, sandwiches, chips, beer, ice cream, wings, I mean the list can go on and on. We love food and often take the quick route over the healthy one. I really needed to get my mind and body off of that consistent garbage and get on a better track for my health today and years to come. I loved that in the book they emphasize not to get on the scale at all during the 30 days, because this is not a weight loss program. It is about whole health, and it starts with what you put into your body. The book recommend measuring yourself prior to starting and then again at the end. Losing inches is just an added benefit of the program.
What I learned
First, I learned that I can actually live without cheese or sugar. Two things that are near and dear to my heart. I also learned that sugar is in EVERYTHING. I learned how to read food labels because you really have to be careful when purchasing foods to make sure there is no sugar, peanuts, soybean oil, etc. I learned soooo much about spices- I never really used them except garlic here and there. The Whole30 recipes really incorporate so many different spices and seasonings that it taught me how to make chicken breasts and pork chops very flavorful!! I always needed a BBQ sauce or ranch. I have also learned how to make my own dressings, mayo, and many other things. Most of all, Whole30 has taught me how to plan all my meals and has broken any emotional connections to food. I honestly don’t have any cravings at all, which I never thought was possible!!!
1. Switching my creamer in my morning coffee to almond milk was scary to me and difficult the first couple days but I got used to it very quick, so I’m going to say it was easy.
2. I love fruit and vegetables so I had no problem eating more!
3. Eating more eggs surprisingly didn’t bother me!! I love them too!
4. Another surprising thing, no alcohol was super easy! I just stayed busy doing things that would not be tempting.
5. No cheat days… the only reason this was easy for me is because I simply can not comprehend a cheat day!! I am a sucker for sweets so I wouldn’t be able to just have one ice cream scoop, I’d eat the whole container. It is a slippery slope for me, once I start I can’t stop. So it was actually good that I couldn’t cheat and had to detox for the entire 30 days.
1. I miss ice cream!!! I don’t even miss the taste I just miss it because it is summer and Matt & I often get ice cream at night in summer.
2. Cooking every day. It wasn’t necessarily difficult to cook, but we don’t have a dishwasher. So, we spent so much of our time washing dishes:( So we tried to grill as much as possible to save on dishes!!
3. No pizza!!! Especially when I was at my parents and the whole family is indulging in my favorite pizza and I’m eating shrimp and salad.
4. I never felt like I ate enough. I would get shaky and hungry quick because I wasn’t eating carbs to keep me full. I started eating a lot more potatoes during the second half of the 30 days.
5. Drinking enough water. I blame this on my field of work, I am an operating room nurse and you can not have water in the OR and I am often scrubbed in or busy all day except at lunch. It was very hard for me to drink enough water at work, so I started drinking extra water in the morning and then tons and tons when I got home from work.
A Typical Day
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and a protein. Either compliant ham/turkey lunch meat or compliant turkey sausage. I made the eggs and sausage every Sunday and packaged it up for every morning. This helped me so much because I am not a morning person and I actually take my breakfast to work to eat.
Lunch: At work I have a large apple, almond butter, 2 hard boiled eggs, and either nuts, compliant sweet potato chips, or another fruit. Before Whole30, I ate an apple with peanut butter, eggs, and chips or some sort of snack food so it was an easy transition.
Dinner: This varied depending on the night but I typically made a meat, veggie or two, and fruit. Since it is summer we used the grill a lot for the meat!!
1. Drink as much water as you can!! Often when you are craving bad things it is because you’re actually dehydrated. Like I said earlier, this was hard for me, but I noticed a big difference. Days I was able to drink extra water I felt amazing!! I also grew to LOVE La Crois and would drink it after dinner as a little treat.
2. Grill as much as you can! I thought the meat we grilled had so much more flavor (and we do clean our grill) and was more tender than the meat I baked.
4. Start Whole30 with a friend!! I had a couple awesome friends that started whole30 around the same time as me and we were each others cheerleaders!! Make sure those close to you understand that you’re starting Whole30 and you’ll need their support too!! Matt was super supportive and respectful of my choice to do Whole30. He didn’t do it with me, but still ate all the dinners I made. He really liked a lot of the recipes I tried, so I know I will make them again!!
5. If you have a party or event to go to while you’re on Whole30, offer to bring the main dish or a salad/side dish. That way you know there will be something there for you to eat. And kindly explain that you’re doing Whole30.
Here are a few of my favorite meals…
This is grilled chicken (recipe is out of Whole30 book- Harvest Grilled Chicken Salad), sweet potato fries (recipe in Whole30 cookbook), and steamed broccoli with salt and pepper.
Grilled pork chop with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and chili powder! I dipped it in delicious compliant spicy brown mustard, roasted potato chips, and pineapple. Also, I loveeee La Croix, perfect alternative if you love soda or beer – my favorite flavor is berry!!
Baked walnut crusted pork loin (in Whole30 book) was so delish, field greens with sweet peppers and walnuts, and strawberries. I also LOVED the Whole30 Dump Ranch from the Whole Sisters, they have tons of awesome recipes too!! The Tessamae dressings are great compliant dressing if you don’t want to make your own, sold at Kroger.
More Recipes: Mexican Twice Baked Potatoes (cookbook) & Stuffed Peppers (whole30 book)
A big worry I had prior to starting Whole30 was that I would miss eating out. I love going out to dinner with friends, or lunch with my mom, but I just planned out my meals and stayed focused on things I could have and could do instead of missing the things I couldn’t have!! It is truly a mind set and you have to be able to stay focused and committed to get the results you want. I am sooo thrilled to say I feel amazing. I haven’t been bloated once, no stomach aches after eating, or having that “stuffed” feeling after eating a big meal. Many people gave me a hard time about eating clean, but I didn’t let it bother me!! I knew I was doing it for myself and not them. Now, I understand how much butter, sour cream, ranch, grains, and so much more leave you feeling gross after eating them. Today, I measured myself again and I have lost 2 inches in both my breast and waist measurements and 3 inches in both my hips and butt measurements. This is just an added motivation. After these 30 days, I am left with so much knowledge and hopefulness for my future. I will definitely continue on this journey of eating whole, clean foods with the occasional indulgence:) It is not realistic to live the Whole30 life every single day with no breaks. But, it is important to remember how your body looks and feels when following it!! I challenge you to just try Whole30 for the 30 days, and afterwards do what you please, but I am positive you’ll be hooked as well!!!
Now, my challenge will be to try and incorporate the different groups slowly back into my diet to see how my body reacts to them. We are headed to the Lake of the Oazrks for 4th of July weekend so this will be very hard for me!!
If you have any questions about Whole30 don’t hesitate to ask, I am no expert, but I’ll try to help:) I have actually enjoyed my whole30 journey so far and can’t wait to see what else I learn!!! Thanks for much for stopping by and reading about something important to me!!
Have a great 4th of July weekend!!!