As promised - a more in depth discussion of Whole30! If you are just catching this post, Whole30 is a 30 day eating cleanse that includes (bio) meat, vegetables, fruit and certain nuts. (No alcohol, processed foods, sugar, dairy, legumes, grains).
I loved doing it, it has taught me so much about food, how I eat and how my body feels in relation to what I'm eating. I was so nervous to start because I couldn't imagine having to plan and prepare so many meals. It definitely took major planning and sifting through recipes, but...once a couple weeks passed it seemed like second nature, it was just how I ate. And I had some recipes that I knew and loved to fall back on so it wasn't such a huge task at the end. It definitely took a lot of time and dedication, but the annoyance of that was balanced out by how good I felt. I've broken down some of the things I've learned in to categories or else I would just ramble on I think!
- Energy: This was by far the most amazing thing about Whole30. Once I was past the detox period, I had consistent energy throughout the whole day and felt so great.The downsides:
- No guilt: I didn't have to feel bad for eating too much dessert, alcohol, etc. Or for putting those 2 spoonfuls of sugar in my coffee.
- No hangovers!
- No sugar highs and crashes
- Feeling full longer between meals. I didn't need to snack, generally.
- I acquired the taste for and started loving my coffee black.
- No hunger between meals
- Feeling clean, not bloated from carbs/dairy, etc.
- 11 lbs lost
- Clothes fit better now, feel much leaner
- My runs felt so much better - I felt so energetic. (The amount of protein you are eating on this diet helps your body to recover from exercise quicker).
- Knowing that my body was spending the energy burning real fat as opposed to all of the sugar and processed junk that it had to burn on my normal diet.
- From reading testimonies of others on their website, many people found healing of a lot of different symptoms like skin problems, stomach problems, etc. I didn't really have anything major to start with to notice this though.
- The detox period: For a week or so I felt so tired and not good - but its necessary as your body is detoxing from the sugar, etc.Secrets to my Success:
- A lot time was spent grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking. There's no room to grab something quick for lunch with your coworkers or go out to eat if you're too lazy to make dinner.
- Going out for drinks with your friends when they are all drinking :)
- No desserts! (Although, I did make this topping from almond meal, coconut oil and salt that tasted like peanut butter to put over bananas or to just eat from the spoon!)
- I read their book, "It Starts with Food". This gave me a really good foundation of knowledge for why I would be eating the way I did. It helped to know the science behind it and what my body was doing.And so I'm done now. I have to admit, on that first day of freedom I was walking by like all these bakeries and snack shops with shining eyes...it was like I was in a new world! Like I had just been let out of prison or something! But, despite that, its so much easier now to make good choices. Sure I've had some chocolate and alcohol, but I don't need them. I don't crave the dessert anymore. We went out to eat this weekend and I still ordered fish and vegetables because I wanted them. For lunch today I had the choice of cereal and milk or making chicken and roasting vegetables - I went with the chicken...I almost craved the clean earthy taste of that food. I've totally switched to drinking black coffee and sweet things just don't taste the same now. Moving forward, I'm not sticking to it totally, but I can tell that the way that I want to eat has changed for the better. Afterall, I'm armed with experience, real results and a healthy feeling that is really hard to ignore!
- Pre-planning: I spent a lot of time before I officially started collecting recipes that I was excited to try and pinning them to Whole30 dedicated pinboards. I made sure I had located and bought some ingredients that I wasn't familiar with like coconut oil, compliant meats, clarified butter). There is no version of Whole Foods here so for instance, Ghee had to be bought at a shop in Zurich, etc.
- Planning specific meals throughout the week, making sure I had what I needed. If I knew I wanted to make a soup during the week that needed chicken broth, for instance, i'd make sure to make homemade broth on the weekend.
- Leftovers! Sometimes Mark would make his own thing so I'd have a break from cooking every single day. Or I'd double recipes to make sure I had something for lunch/dinner the next day
- Nut butter. That is all.
- Doing it with a friend. This was priceless. We could bitch, share cravings, share meal ideas, share homemade mayo...and on and on. We'd keep eachother accountable and send eachother pictures of our meals.
Changes I will stick with:
- Cooking with coconut oil and Ghee instead of butterIf you ever do this or want to discuss it more, feel free to email me. I'd love to help support the occasion. Its a big deal and its a lot of work and it helps so much to be able to talk it through! (Also, the website and forums are a great resource)
- Using almond meal/coconut flour instead of flour
- Black coffee (no more spoonfuls of sugar every morning)
- Using compliant mayo (homemade), dijon mustard, tomato paste, etc. All the little products I found that are ok.
- Nut butter in place of peanut butter
- Trying my hardest to stay away from processed foods.
- Homemade chicken broth
- Using Cauliflower rice in place of rice and cous cous.
P.S. If you missed it, here is a post with my favorite Whole30 meals!