After we published our Whole30 Recipes post last week, we had several questions asking what exactly Whole30 is. For me, everywhere I turned I was hearing about Whole30. My best friend was doing it, my neighbor just completed it, EVERYONE on Instagram was posting photos of their Whole30 meals, what the heck was this thing all about? I was dying to find out. After doing some research I decided Whole30 would be perfect for me and I gave it a shot. I am now nearing the very end of my 30 days and it has been amazing for so many reasons.
We are all greatly affected by the foods we eat. We might not necessarily see it straight away, but bad food does a body harm, whether it’s that day or later in life. I have a terrible sweet tooth. After I eat a big bagel smothered in cream cheese, I feel disgusting. After I eat a bunch of candy in the movie theater, I feel sluggish for a good 24 hours after. Let me preface this by saying that I am a pretty clean healthy eating vegetarian but I have always suffered from bad cravings. Whole30 claimed to help rid you of those cravings and that alone sold me on the deal. I am also always up for a good challenge and 30 days without eating sweets (and a whole lot of other stuff) sure was going to be a challenge for me!
The first thing you need to do before starting Whole30 is to establish a time frame of 30 days when you’re going to complete it. It needs to be 30 consecutive days. Whole30 acts as a short term nutritional reset designed to help you put an end to unhealthy habits and bad cravings. It will also help you restore a healthy metabolism, digestive track and immune system. You can read up on all of the benefits but trust me when I say that there’s a LOT of great benefits, both physically and mentally that this program will do for you.
Here’s the Whole30 rules. The number 1 and most important rule is that you eat REAL FOOD. Meat, seafood, eggs, tons of veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. Eat foods that have little or even better yet, NO ingredients in them. You want everything to be natural and unprocessed. Avoid all added sugar of any kind. No honey, sweetener, or syrups. Do not consume alcohol of any kind or in any form, even if it’s cooked. No grains. That means no breads, pastas, corn, or starches. You also can’t have any dairy, white potatoes, sweets, junk food etc.
The hardest part for me was the first few days. Doing my first shopping trip for Whole30 was also a little stressful. 90% of my cart was from the produce aisle and half of it was full of veggies I hadn’t even heard of before. Like I said earlier, I am a vegetarian, so this proved to be even more difficult for me than the average person doing Whole30 because I couldn’t eat meat.
The best thing about Whole30 for me was that it forced me to experiment, try new recipes, and eat new healthy foods. That in itself was worth it. I learned that sweet potato chips are just as delicious as McDonalds French Fries if baked properly, and they are way less calories. I also learned that brussels sprouts are my new favorite food even though my husband plugged his nose every time I made them, and halfway through Whole30, strawberries and bananas tasted as sweet and delicious as candy to me! Yes, I’m serious!
Whole30 is also great for weight loss. I actually see a nutritionist from time to time and she gave me strict orders that I couldn’t stand to lose any weight so while the weight loss part of this wasn’t for me, it sure would help those looking to shed a few pounds or inches! If you’re not looking to lose weight, it will still make you feel lighter and at your best!
Whole30 boosted my energy immensely. I am someone who needs to clock in 10 hours of sleep or I will wake up like an evil zombie on the war path. During Whole30, I clocked in significantly less sleep each night than I did before, and I still woke up each morning feeling more energized than ever. It really made me feel amazing. I felt lighter, cleaner, healthier, and much more mentally sharp. I had way more energy to chase around my 3 year old and halfway through I was really settled into the whole thing like it had become the norm. When my husband had chips at night or donuts in the morning, I never thought once to take a bite. We even celebrated my son’s 3rd birthday while I was on Whole30 and I didn’t even have one bite of his cake! I just didn’t crave it like I did before and that amazed me.
Now that I am nearing the last final days of this adventure, I’ve started to think about what I’m going to do after. I am not going back to snacking, that’s for sure. I will be adding in almond butter and beans on occasion as well as my occasional Starbucks vanilla latte (let’s not get crazy here) but besides those few things, I think this has become a way of life for me. No, I’m not going to beat myself up about eating half a slice of cake on my birthday next year, but I hope I won’t go back to my old ways of snacking as much. I plan to continue to leave dairy out and as much breads and grains as possible.
Here are some tips I want to share with everyone thinking about doing Whole30:
1. Try to get all of the junk food out of your house before you begin so you won’t be tempted.
2. Don’t be afraid to try new fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle. I became a huge fan of brussels sprouts, squash, and asparagus while doing Whole30.
3. Meal plan! I noticed that on days I didn’t have some sort of plan of what to eat, I began to panic a little and think about how much easier it would be to just grab one of my husbands donuts.
4. Overstock your house. Fill your kitchen with tons of healthy options so you’re never at a loss of what to eat.
5. Plan on making more trips to the grocery store now. Fruits and vegetables and healthy food doesn’t last as long as junk food so I found that I was at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods twice as often as I was before.
6. Try to shop organic.
7. To get rid of that pesky sweet tooth the first few days, eat strawberries, bananas, and other yummy fruits whenever you get a craving for something sweet.
8. Have support. Make sure that friends and family are on board this with you, even if they aren’t participating themselves. It’s a big commitment and you need support!
If you’re at all interested or think Whole30 might be right for you, I encourage you to read up on it! You can Learn more and get started here.