“My tastes have changed, the way I grocery shop has changed, and the way I cook has changed.”
*This post will be a little longer than usual, but I have a lot to say*
Toward the end of December, my coworker told me that she was planning to do the Whole 30 in January. I was intrigued. I had never heard of the Whole 30 before, so I borrowed her book and read through it.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Whole 30, you can read the full “rules” here, but it’s basically the following:
- No Sugars, real or artificial. (Be sure to read your labels because lots of companies sneak sugar into their products).
- No alcohol whatsoever, not even for cooking.
- No grains.
- No legumes.
- No dairy.
- No carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites.
- No baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients.
Essentially, the Whole 30 encourages you to eat meat, seafood, eggs, and whole, unprocessed food along with plenty of natural fats, herbs, spices, and seasonings. They encourage you to read your labels and consume foods that have few ingredients. You can also eat potatoes (regular and sweet). As I write that, I realize that it’s been a month now since I’ve had anything processed. That’s amazing.
When I first read the rules, I was like, “what will we eat? I’ll starve!” But we definitely didn’t starve.
I mentioned the Whole 30 to Ryan, and he started doing his own research. We looked up recipes, read all the “rules” thoroughly, and decided we would start the Whole 30 on January 2 (so it wrapped up on January 31.) I was a little nervous and may have eaten a lot of unhealthy food the weekend before we started (I DO NOT advise doing that).
We went on a huge grocery shopping trip on NYE and stocked up on groceries we thought we might need. I picked out a few recipes for us to try, and we went to bed on January 1st, not knowing what the next 30 days might hold.
Here we are, 30 days later…
When I tell you that my ENTIRE relationship with food has changed drastically, you might think I’m crazy—that I’ve been drinking too much of the Whole 30 Kool-Aid—but I promise I’m not. What I have been doing is eating delicious, healthy food and feeling better than I’ve felt in years.
Honestly, before we started this journey, I felt “blah” a lot. My digestive system never seemed to be regular, and my stomach was always upset. I passed it off as a “sensitive stomach”, but that sensitivity really affected my life in the last couple years. I never knew when my stomach might get upset or when I might need to find the nearest bathroom, and I lived in near-constant fear of my “sensitive stomach” acting up. I often drank ginger ale to “settle” it, and I chewed about 2-3 antacids a day.
Since we’ve started the Whole 30, my stomach issues have disappeared almost completely, and it’s wonderful! I feel a newfound freedom that I haven’t had in so long. Other minor aches and pains (tendonitis in my foot) have eased significantly, too, and I haven’t had a migraine all month. I’ve also been sleeping so well, and I have more energy during the day. And I haven’t used a single antacid in thirty days.
Ryan has loved the Whole 30, too, and has benefited from many of the same improvements in his overall health as I have. We’ve both lost weight, but that’s really not the point of the Whole 30. It’s not a diet designed to help you lose weight. It’s a system reset, to help you get rid of junk in your body. It’s about eating clean and healthy more than it is about losing weight. I do NOT want to go back to eating the way I was before and feeling the way I did before. I want to keep feeling the way I feel now!
A few things to note about the Whole 30 (and I welcome questions):
- If you have any medical concerns, it’s best to check with your doctor before starting the Whole 30. I saw my Internist about a week after we started, and she was so excited when she found out I was doing the Whole 30.
- It is going to be unbelievably hard some days. Seriously. On the 20th day of the Whole 30, I was in Starbucks, and I could smell every single morsel of a chocolate cupcake in the bakery case. Not even kidding. It was agonizing. But I stayed strong!
- You’re not going to feel good for the first 7-10 days probably. Toxins are leaving your body, you’re changing your eating routines, and your body will react. In fact, you may have some upset stomach in the first week or so (I did). It’s normal.
- Ladies, prepare for your hormones to go a little wacky. My monthly cycle did some strange things (TMI probably, but true). Also, I was really moody some days… In fact, I got so angry about something small one day that I had an uncharacteristic outburst (not proud of this).
- If in doubt about Whole 30 compliant products, use Google. I spent a lot of extra time in the grocery store each week because I was Googling products to see if they were compliant!
- Find blogs that are dedicated to Whole 30 recipes and USE THEM! The Defined Dish was our lifesaver this month, and her recipes are delicious. We especially enjoyed her Sloppy Janes and Loaded Sweet Potato Fries and Mexican Enchilada Skillet… you get the idea.
Loaded Sweet Potato Fries with Tessamae’s Avocado Ranch dressing. Tessamae’s dressing are Whole 30 Approved, and you can find them at Whole Foods & Earthfare. We actually found ours at Harris Teeter, a local Kroger affiliate, and they were about a dollar cheaper than at Whole Foods. Whole Foods had a better variety, though, and also carried the Tessamae’s Ketchup and BBQ sauce.
This is the bacon we bought while doing the Whole 30. It’s not that much more expensive than regular bacon, and you can often catch it on sale! It’s still just as delicious, and honestly, I barely noticed a difference in the taste.
Ryan made salt ‘n vinegar chicken wings in the oven, and they were yummy!
Before Whole 30, these items were NEVER in my house, and now I can’t imagine NOT having them. Arrowroot Starch is a great substitute for corn starch or another thickener.
I’m sorry if this is information overload. I’ve just never felt so strongly about something as I do the Whole 30. I told Ryan jokingly that we should just make it the Whole 365, but I’m actually kinda serious. I want us to keep cooking healthily instead of eating out so often. Sure, there will be the occasional treat from time-to-time, but I want to feel this good all the time. It’s really funny, actually. A year ago, I would’ve been like, “cauliflower rice? Yuck!” but not anymore. My tastes have changed, the way I grocery shop has changed, and the way I cook has changed. I’m not saying that I won’t EVER cook anything unhealthy (I do miss my buttermilk biscuits), but I will certainly start reading my labels and being very careful about what food we bring into the house and put into our bodies.
I hope you enjoyed reading about this journey. I still have so much I could say about it, but I could go on for pages, so I’ll stop here. But like I said, questions are welcome, and if you want to know how much weight I actually lost, I’ll be happy to tell you. I’m not really concerned with the number, but I do know that my clothes fit much better now.