Today is day 31! I've officially completed my first Whole 30!
(But if you're following along on Instagram you know that I opted for a Whole 28. I mean could YOU resist District Doughnuts?!)
For those unfamiliar, Whole30 is a health reset of sorts. You remove all bloat inducing and habit forming food to reset you body. The idea is that by removing sugar, grains, legumes, soy, dairy, and alcohol, you body more accurately responds to hunger cues and you're better able to identify a need for nourishment rather than a want for food. Other benefits include high energy levels, better sleep, brighter skin, and less bloat.
And you know what? I'm a believer. I thought there was no way in hell I would be able to give up wine and cheese for a month, but I wasn't craving it even after a week. The Whole30 is more inconvenient than it is restrictive. I had loads of (delicious) at home meal options but it can challenging to find Whole30 compliant food while eating out. So I only felt restricted when I didn't plan ahead or forgot my lunch at home.
Moving forward, I plan to do Whole30 70/30 meaning I'll stay compliant 70% of the time but will allow myself some wine and cheese now and then. It's all about balance. :)
// T H E P R O S //
- I feel fantastic! Seriously. Aside from my body feeling lighter, I mentally feel better and have a good energy.
- Bloat is gone! I thought I knew what bloat was (hello, Mexican food!) but I had no idea that even my regular diet was leaving me bloated. The bloat I felt in the past was an excessive bloat. I feel so much better without dairy, grains, or legumes!
- My skin is brighter. Aside from the first week when I had a major breakout (perhaps due to a new cleanser) my skin has been bright and clear.
- I'm for the most part not craving junk or sweet food. And if I do, that craving is satiated by a Whole30 compliant cheat like a "milkshake" made with frozen bananas and almond milk. Note: the point of Whole30 is not to fight these cravings completely and not make these cheat foods. So I may have failed in that sense, but for me, this works really well. It feels like a win to me to want ice cream and eat a banana instead...
- It's eye opening to see how many of our favorite foods had loads of sugar in it. For no reason!
// T H E C O N S //
- I really hated thinking about food all.the.time. To be successful with the program, you have to plan ahead. I felt as if I was always thinking about my next meal or making sure I had the right ingredients on hand so that I didn't slip. I had to remember not to be fixated on food but to be mindful which can be a challenging distinction.
- It takes a lot of prep and clean up. Cooking two meals a day and packing a lunch takes a lot of prep, and in turn a lot of clean up. Thank goodness for our dishwasher or I would have caved on day 3.
- The first 7-10 days are pretty rough. I was uber irritable and pretty crabby. I didn't sleep well at all and woke up and went to bed with a headache every day. That being said, you will feel so much better after that hump. You're essentially detoxing from unhealthy food. One study suggests that highly processed foods may share the same characteristics with drugs of abuse so think about that when you're detoxing that first week.
- Depending on your lifestyle, it may be more expensive than your usual groceries. Aaron and I eat out quite a bit because there are so many convenient places around our apartment. So while we spent more on groceries than we usually do, we ate out way less so it about evened out.
- If I have to eat another chicken sausage for breakfast, I will do unspeakable things. Meals, especially breakfast, can feel repetitive. You can combat this by meal planning but I'm barely a functioning human before 9am let alone a creative cook before 9am.
// T I P S //
- Do it with a friend! Aaron and I did it together and it was so much easier to plan meals together but also to have someone hold you accountable.
- Costco is your friend. Aaron and I went to Costco twice and stocked up on staples like veggies, eggs, and meat. Costco also has great prices on nuts and oils which you will use a lot of. We love their almond butter.
- Stay stocked up. Rather than planning each meal, we made sure our fridge and pantry were stocked with Whole30 compliant foods so we could get creative and have lots of options to choose from. This helped us feel like we weren't on a diet.
- Give yourself lots of time to grocery shop and shop at a few different stores. Prior to the Whole30, Aaron and I shopped almost exclusively at our local Harris Teeter which is similar to a Safeway, Vons or Albertsons for all you west coasters. It's only a few blocks from our apartment and the prices are competitive. For the Whole30, we shopped at different stores for different products. We picked up a few items from Whole Foods, like sugar free bacon or almond milk cream cheese, picked up bulk at Costco, and used our local grocery as a supplement. While we didn't actually got to Trader Joes during our Whole30 but they carry tons of compliant products, too.