I went on the Whole30 Diet and here is what I have learned:
I recently graduated from college and have moved home to work full-time while applying to Graduate School. Because of the change in living and everyday life, I have decided to do something a little bit different with my eating habits now that I am on more of a “regular” schedule. In college I ate what was cheap and convenient, meaning eating out quite a bit, late night snacking, and lots and lots of chips and ramen noodles. Because of my poor eating habits I felt sluggish, tired, bloated, and irritable quite often. Although I exercised when I could, it didn’t make up for poor food choices. Since moving home, I have decided to make a lifestyle change. My coworker Shaunna had asked me to complete the Whole30 with her starting on September 1st.. To be honest, I had never heard of the Whole30, and had no idea what I was truly getting myself into, but with a determined mind to start feeling better, I of course said YES!
So here we are, 17 days in as I write to you all today. I have completed a little over 2 weeks of the Whole30 and I wanted to fill everyone in on how it is going so far. As you all know, Shaunna gave us all some great tips to consider before starting the Whole30 this past week, and I couldn’t agree more with them! If you haven’t already had a chance to look at them, I highly recommend you do! Now it is my turn to tell you guys about my experience thus far, so here we go!
Why the Whole30?
Whole30 is a restrictive dietary program that promises to “change your life” in 30 days by making some nutritional changes, including: no dairy, no added sugar, no grains, no alcohol, and no legumes. Why these types of foods? Because they are common irritants. My motive behind completing the Whole30 was not to lose weight. Some people think that this is a weight-loss program, but that is not at all the purpose of this plan, although plenty of people do lose weight- myself included. The purpose of this program is to feel better than ever and that is why I chose the Whole30!
September 1st- the start of our Whole30 journey!
I started the program with determination in my heart. Thankfully, this program is very popular so having resources such as friends and family who have done it, all of the online resources readily available, and of course my awesome partner-in-crime, Shaunna, has made my experience that much better. Whether it is having your co-worker to hold you back when you smell gustos pizza in the air, or your aunt passing you an Rx Bar while everyone else is eating homemade ice cream (even though there is no such thing as something better than homemade ice cream) , the support is truly amazing and I couldn’t of made it this far without all the ongoing support. I have been going grocery shopping every Sunday and only buying enough food to last me a week. Some of the common foods I buy include: chicken breasts, ground beef and ground turkey, eggs, all sorts of vegetables, fruits, and different kinds of nuts.
Once I started cooking meals, things got a whole lot easier- and it was actually really fun :)
In my opinion, you can either eat the same foods every day on the Whole30, or you could take the 30 days as an opportunity to learn and grow in your healthy eating recipes (this is option I chose!) While I hadn’t cooked much before since I didn’t have all of the necessary ingredients while in college, I felt inspired by my limitations! For breakfast I have 2 hard boiled eggs and whatever vegetable I am in the mood for. Lunch consists of some form of protein (chicken, ground beef, or eggs) combined with vegetables. My mid-afternoon snack consists of some kind of nuts or an Rx Bar. I finish off my day with whatever protein, fruit, and/or vegetable that sounds good to me!
Here are just a few of my favorite meals I’ve thrown together:
Most days are good, some days are harder than others, but like Shaunna mentioned in her blog post, it really is helpful completing this program with someone you are with 5 days a week to hold you accountable. So here are some of my main takeaways (thus far):
Let's talk results! Even though I still have 13 days to go, I still have seen some amazing improvements already being made in my life. I have missed my chips and salsa, but instead I have been eating sweet potato fries, and guess what? It has made SUCH a difference! There is not just a difference noticed with my sweet potato fries choice, but with all of the alternative healthy food choices that I am making now instead! I feel the results; I have never had so much energy, I have never been happier, I have never slept so good, and have never had fewer digestive problems. And even though the Whole30 isn’t a weight loss program, being more mindful about the foods I eat have carried the added benefit of me dropping a few pounds!
I have learned to read the label! Did you know that sugar is pretty much in EVERYTHING that isn’t wholesome and fresh? That is probably the biggest thing I have learned through this program. To know that there was sugar in my garlic pepper that I love from hyvee, or that my favorite frozen vegetables and favorite lunch meat BOTH had sugar in them! What?? Finding things that didn’t have even less than 2% of sugar was impossible unless it was a fresh vegetable or fruit. I spent a lot of time in the organic aisles and at the farmers market getting the best foods to put into my body, and I have never felt better! Eating clean really does make a difference!!
I actually really like Kombucha, as well as other things I have made a point to try during the Whole30 that I had never tried before. Kombucha has been my saving grace when I want something other than water, and I have grown very fond of a few different flavors! In addition, I have ventured out to try spaghetti squash, zucchini, dried cherries, blueberries, and even bone broth. All of the new foods I have introduced into my diet during the Whole30 will continue to be apart of my everyday diet because they are actually all amazing, and they are amazingly good for me- what a bonus!
If any of you are contemplating trying the Whole30 or not, I would say yes, yes, 100X YES! There is always going to be something going on (for me it was missing out on the Iowa State Vs. Iowa Game because of tailgating) where you could cheat on the program or fall off track, but don’t do it! The Whole30 is working for me and most importantly, I feel the best I have ever felt, and that is all that matters! Don’t you want to feel better, have more energy, sleep better, and learn about all the amazing foods that are great for our body? Well if so then consider the Whole30 because it has been the best decision I made to get my healthy eating habits back on track.
Here is to the last 2 weeks of my Whole30 adventure, but to a lifetime of eating wholesome, fresh, organic, good for me foods!