Hi, my name is Charity and as of today I am a proud “graduate” of the Whole 30, healthy living program.
Have you heard of Whole 30 before? In short, the program is a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help end unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism and balance the immune system. You practice this way of eating for 30 solid days to complete the entire program.
The program consists of selecting foods that are clean. Fruits, veggies, and proteins (chicken, shrimp, steak & eggs) while eliminating any processed foods, dairy, alcohol and sugar or soy.
While I thought I was going to be lost without my morning yogurt, evening cheese, and red wine, I found other yummy things to substitute just fine. Pinterest & the Whole 30 website became great sources of recipe inspiration. Mr. C and I had a shared page for all sorts of recipes that we would share with one another to keep mealtimes creative and super yummy.
Everyone keeps asking if it was “hard” and to be honest it really wasn’t. I’m not saying it wasn’t full of situations when I wanted to quit…it totally was. It was SUPER tempting to dip into my sons Easter basket for leftover chocolate eggs and jelly beans but I resisted. It was not super fun to stay home while everyone celebrated Tribe Opening Day. I had to pass up a few fun bloggers dinners (and drinks) out and that was very unlike me. And…OMG…the cooking and cleaning up and cooking and prepping was OUT OF CONTROL, but we made it.
So while it wasn’t HARD per say, it was a focused effort for 30 days to eat clean and control exactly what went into my body.
My 3 biggest takeaways from our Whole 30 experience.
#1 Meal prep is key.
Sunday evenings were reserved for chopping, dicing, hard boiling, roasting and grilling. I tried my best to make a weeks worth of “grab-&-go” breakfasts as well as some key dinner options that would eventually roll into leftover lunches. If I wasn’t able to get all my prep done, it really made for some late weeknights. There is no way around this part of the experience, there are no shortcuts to eating clean just a bunch of cooking and even more clean up.
#2. The scale isn’t the only validation.
If you know anything about Whole 30 you know you are NOT supposed to step on a scale the entire 30 days. As someone who has always had the case of the “yo yo’s” I HAD to know how all the clean eating was affecting my weight. To be honest, in the end, it didn’t make a huge difference, a nominal weight loss but there were many other motivators. One afternoon I got a “congratulations” notification from my Fitbit that my resting heart rate had dramatically dropped so that we pretty cool. I also saw a difference in my blood pressure and as someone who has a family history of high blood pressure, this was assuring. So while I didn’t loose a bunch of lbs, I gained health measurements that made all scrubbing pots and pans worth it.
#3. Better sleep. Glowing skin.
Since I wasn’t being “over-served” for 30 days, morning wake-ups were easy peasy. Weekend mornings I bounced out of bed ready to take on the day and I could go strong into the night not feeling sluggish or tired. I don’t think I ever experienced the infamous Whole 30 “tigers blood” but instead for sure had a level of alertness that carried me through the entire 30 days. My skin also benefitted from the clean eating approach. I’m not sure if it was all of the kombucha mocktails or the lack of baked goods, but I don’t think I had one imperfection during the month. I actually had a few “your skin looks great” compliments and I just smiled and chalked it up to lack of alcohol, pizza, and chocolate.
Next steps? So what’s my strategy for next steps? I plan to eat mostly gluten and dairy-free and to limit my alcohol, grain, and legume intake. Eating things like bread, beans, and rice only a couple of times a month, rather than daily. I will slowly re-introduce alcohol but not every night, two glasses approach…at least not for now. Have you done Whole 30? Have any special tips for me? Want to geek out and talk about ghee and coconut aminos? Drop me a note and we can all geek out together!
(photo of homemade pickles…I also have become a huge fan of homemade ketchup…both without any sugars!)