During the month of January I took the challenge of doing a Whole30 – removing diary, grains, legumes, sugar and alcohol from my diet for 30 days. The experience was incredible… so much so that it’s taken me a few weeks to fully soak in the impact.
By the end of the Whole30 I was feeling so amazing that I didn’t even want it to be over… My energy was sky rocketing, my body felt lean and running so smoothly, my mood was consistent, my sleep was sound every night and my skin was so clear. Some people loose a little bit of weight, but I was more interested in the way my body shape shifted… thinner in a few inches here and there made my clothes feel better. (No more needing to unbutton my pants after a meal, you know what I mean?)
I was challenged to cook in ways outside of my comfort zone by switching up my usual go-to ingredients and looking for clever ways to use new produce. The way fruit tasted during the Whole30 is something I will never forget. My friends laughed when I described blackberries as “nature’s Gushers” but it’s so true… the burst in my mouth of the sweet blackberry juice made me want to eat the entire pint! Having eggs every morning has continued to be my routine. I love the way I feel full and energized for hours, not having to think about lunch for several hours, versus my old habit of wanting to snack every after meal.
The recipes I tried or developed throughout the month are ones I’m still craving now, regardless of the fact that I can eat anything! Well… maybe not anything. I have to admit, I completely went off the plan during the reincorporation phase that Whole30 recommends. The program asks you to bring each of the groups you eliminated back into your diet one by one every three days following the 30 days so you can see how your body reacts. I was SO excited about this part of the “experiment,” but work parties, friends visiting and social outings tempted me to jump back in after the 30 days… and I caved.
While I didn’t follow the program schedule exactly, I could very clearly tell which foods did not agree with my system. Undeniably, gluten, cheese and wine impact my stomach. I’m still feeling out how much of these foods I can have without feeling the pain and also giving it some time just in case my body needed to reorient to the reintroduction. Otherwise, oats, rice and corn feel fine. Peanut butter went smoothly, too, thank goodness!
After learning all this, I am making a commitment to cook Whole30 at home. I am going to watch my use of sugar and avoiding gluten and dairy as much as possible. Because of working in the food industry and how much I love to be social and eat out, I am going to use this experience to guide decisions of foods I taste and things I order moving forward. Moderation is hard for me… it’s almost easier to just be black or white, so part of me wishes I could just live Whole30 (or even Paleo) while still drinking socially, but I do want to be able to have a chocolate chip cookie, cappuccino or bowl of pasta every once in a while.
I truly look forward to the next time I get to do a Whole30 and hope I don’t wait until January to do one again. If you are thinking about doing this, I cannot recommend it enough. It will truly open your eyes to the way you think about food, the way you cook, your social life, your body and the way you feel. I highly recommend mentally blocking off about 45 days though, which I know sounds much more scary than 30. I think if I would’ve told myself 45 days, I would have loyally followed through with the reincorporation phase and had even more clarity about the food that trigger my body.
I’m working on a post next with a complete guide to Whole30 that I hope is a great resource for you! Thanks to everyone who cheered me on during the program and listened to me talk about it for 30+ days. Any questions about the challenge, comment below!
Love food. Love self. Love life.