My boyfriend actually brought up the idea of trying Whole30; his coworker had done it and was convincing enough to talk my boyfriend into doing it – which is definitely a feat on it own, trust me. I consider myself to be a pretty healthy eater, I don’t restrict much from my diet, but in the few months before we started the program we had been eating out and excessively going to dessert places (can’t stay away from my boba teas and delicious pastries *insert heart eyes emoji*), basically just heading towards unhealthy habits – so when my boyfriend told me about the program, I was like why not?
We made a deal to start on the coming Monday, which is probably the first mistake we madeThe weekend before the start date consisted of binge-ing all of the unopened packages and non-compliant eats that riddled my kitchen, possibly causing us to crash, and crash hard during the first week.
In the first few days of this program I was extremely “hangry” it was awful. My boyfriend was miserable, I was miserable. I had headaches constantly and I felt sleepy all the time; the week went by so slowly it was torture. Throughout the whole week I thought of quitting about 500 times, but instead, I went online and read through other people’s experience and read about helpful tips. I learned that preparation is key. Preparation is KEY – just going to repeat that.
Week One Tips & Observations
- Have tentative meal plans (consisting of 5 meals, 3 lazy meals, & a couple of researched compliant restaurants on hand)
- Schedule meals
- Prepare enough food so that there are enough leftovers for lunch the next day.
- Larabars, not delicious … but over the period of thirty days became delicious. My favorite was the coconut cream pie one – tasted like an Almond Joy without chocolate.
- Buy potatoes in bulk from Costco
- Following a lot of food feeds on Instagram is a bad idea, your phone may start fearing for its life.
The first week was finally over and which gave me a little sense of comfort, if I could go a week I can make it through the program. Then we fell into this mundane schedule of eating the same things over and over again, my taste buds needed variety but were constantly disappointed. Over the weekend we were invited to my Aunt’s house for dinner so I told her what we were doing. She responded with “just eat what you want” and to that, we said, “it’s ok we’re just doing this for thirty days”. It seems that no one in my family really understands the concept of food restrictions, and it got really annoying over the thirty-day period. After that dinner, my boyfriend and I decided not to accept any invitations from my family.
Week Two Tips & Observations
- Don’t eat the same thing over and over again. It gets old real fast
- You will spend most of your time google-ing “can I have ….. on Whole30” or “Whole30 approved eating out” and a whole slew of Whole30 related questions
- Sometimes you can forget you’re doing Whole30 for a few seconds and it’s the best feeling until you remember again
The third week flew by. This was the easiest week. My boyfriend and I got into a good groove, nothing much to report this week. I was used to preparing ingredients in the beginning of the week making enough for dinner and leftovers for the next day’s lunch. It was easy breezy. My initial headaches went away and I hadn’t felt hungry during the day as much as I had. My skin looked clearer, but this could be because of a new skin care regime that I have been using – who knows, my skin is still doing perfectly after about two weeks of reintroduction. I felt that the benefits I felt according to the non-scale victories listed on the Whole30 site, could be attributed to other changes I made in my lifestyle as well. I discussed not feeling different with my boyfriend and he agreed.
Week Three Tips & Observations
- It gets easier.
- Remember when I said that following food feeds on Instagram was a bad idea? It’s not … this will become your porn.
- Whole30 approved bacon is pretty difficult to find.
- The cravings are still there but they aren’t as bad
- Whole30 blogs are lifesavers for much-needed variety my two favorites were I Heart Umami and 40 Aprons.
- I miss freshly baked baguettes, and how they smell coming out of the oven.
WEEK FOUR (Last Week!)
During this whole week, I was debating whether or not I should just quit. It was only 3 more days how much of a change can that really be. My boyfriend was adamant about finishing what we started so I powered through the last couple of days. This week was an odd week. I felt conflicted because I knew it was only a few more days until food freedom, but I was having doubts about reintroducing them back into my diet. I debated whether or not I missed pastries and cheese-filled delights, or was it the idea of them that I was missing? I was excited to finally have a cortado again. I don’t mind black coffee but there’s only so much a girl can take. The end of the program was so close yet so far.
When the day after we finished Whole30 came about, my boyfriend and I were confused, it was like a diet outside of Whole30 never existed. We had so many plans on what to eat after Whole30 was finished, plans that consisted of cheesecake and Chik-Fil-A. Unfortunately, we ended up eating compliantly to the program. I was surprised, it turned out I actually didn’t really want anything that I was craving – I think it was mostly the idea. I had my cortados with whole milk and nothing really happened to me everything was fine, I slowly incorporated grains back in, finally had rice again, FINALLY. The only thing that negatively impacted me upon reintroduction was a chocolate chip cookie I had four days after Whole30 ended. My stomach started to feel bloated but tight and it was uncomfortable. After the cookie, I never really felt cravings for sweets, I had some cake on Mother’s Day that was about six days after the challenge ended and I didn’t experience any negative consequences. These reactions just showed me that anything is good in moderation.
Week Four Tips & Observations
- Don’t quit, even though the end is only two days away, you’re soooooooo close to finishing!
- Add sugar back slowly, don’t bomb your system with chocolate.
- A Whole30 buddy is going to be your saving grace
- Don’t leave the house on hot days because you WILL see people walking around carrying ice cream cones you can’t have, these ice cream people will rudely flaunt the ice cream in your face.
- It’s difficult to rewire your brain to not categorize food or drinks as “compliant” and “non-compliant”
As I stated in my previous post, Whole30 or at least my experience with it was average. I would tell people to give a try if they want, I wouldn’t waste my breath on convincing them to do it though. I hated thinking of food in categories like good or bad because food is so much more than that. I recommend giving the documentary “Cooked” by Michael Pollan a view. The documentary is based on his book “Cooked”, and that along with his other works has definitely made a significant impact on my relationship with food; a relationship that I felt I disregarded for thirty days.
As promised here are few recipes and resources that I found most helpful during my Whole30 experience:
- Caramelized Grilled Pork BBQ Skewers by I Heart Umami
- Another one by I Heart Umami Vietnamese Restaurant style Grilled Lemongrass Pork (Make sure to take a look at the Whole30 approved version of the recipe)
- Chorizo & Sweet Potato Chili
- A bunch of recipes in the Whole30 cookbook, I especially like the Turkey Chilli, Ratatouille, or any recipe in the One-Pot Recipes section.
- This guy’s Instagram feed, recipe inspirations for days
- The Whole30Recipes instagram feed is a solid resource, and they showcase a different Whole30 blogger every week
- Pinterest: searching for “__________ Whole30” seems to be a good start especially when you fill in the blank with what you’re craving.