Last month a friend sent me a book called Whole30. I’d heard of Whole30 before but didn’t know much about it. These are the first few lines of the book:
“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your ‘struggles’.”
I was intrigued. I liked their style. As I read more, I realized this Whole30 thing was pretty intense. The general idea is to eliminate all foods from your diet that could be negatively affecting you. It’s not necessarily that the foods are bad for you, but they could be preventing you from feeling as great as you potentially could feel. For 30 days you eliminate the following foods from your diet:
- Added sugar of any kind (real or artificial – this includes splenda, honey, agave, maple syrup, stevia… the works)
- No grains or anything containing gluten
- No legumes (including peanuts, peanut butters, soy, any form of soy, and all beans)
- No Dairy. period.
- No MSG, sulfites, carrageenan (basically no processed foods)
- No re-creating things you can’t have (basically, if you think it feels like cheating, it’s cheating)
- No alcohol.
- No snacking… this isn’t a hard rule, but a strong recommendation. The idea is to have 3 solid meals and no grazing in between.
After reading the restrictions, I knew it was going to be hard. Maybe not “beating cancer” hard or “quitting heroin” hard, but hard nonetheless. For that reason, I was going to do it. When I started, I don’t think I actually thought I would make it. I’m not great about long term commitments to programs soI assumed I would cheat along the way. But guess what: I didn’t.
I completed the Whole30 with absolutely no cheating. Yay!
Here are my top 15 key takeaways from the last 30 days with no dairy, beer, gluten, sugar or any other form of dietary pleasure…
- It’s a good thing I’m not a vegetarian. The Whole30 is based largely on a meat, veggie & fruit diet – I happen to love steak, fish, pork, eggs and sometimes chicken. I’ve also recently mastered of cooking and seasoning veggies so that helped.
- Meat and produce is expensive… but not as expensive as eating out
- I love Costco and buying humongous pieces or pork and steak and fish
- I eat a lot of Carter’s food while feeding her – it’s a bad habit I didn’t know I had until I couldn’t eat her food. Now the habit is gone… hopefully it will stay gone!
- If you cook extra at dinner time, lunch the next day is simple. Not sure why it took the Whole30 for me to figure that one out, but luckily it’s figured out and the habit of packing lunch out of dinner’s leftovers will stay in practice for the foreseeable future.
- Black coffee isn’t that bad. Not as good as a skinny vanilla latte but for being calorie free and packing a punch of caffeine, I’ll take it.
- I LOVE cheese, but I don’t HAVE to have it.
- Guacamole SAVED me during the Whole30. Guac is allowed… I ate it daily.
- I NEED snacks in my life. Going from 7am -noon and then noon-6 with no food is no fun. The no snacks rule is not sticking around for me
- There is added sugar in almost everything – lunch meat, condiments, bacon…seriously, as Americans, we have a sugar addiction.
- I missed beer the most.
- It’s easier with support. Blake didn’t think I could do it, but he was very supportive the whole time and, for the most part, ate the same things I did.
- I didn’t notice a ton of changes. A lot of Whole30 websites and blogs talked about an overabundance of energy that hit around day 20… I never got the “tiger blood” energy. I think I slept better…maybe… but that’s about it.
- It wasn’t THAT hard. In the beginning it was difficult but after the first 10 days or so, new habits were being created and I didn’t miss dairy or added sugar.
- I’m going to stick with it. I’ll add back beer and not be super strict with myself when eating out, but generally speaking I’m going to continue to drink my coffee black and stay away from unnecessary grains, dairy, soy and sugar.
I am officially in the “reintegration” phase of the Whole30 but I’m not planning on reintegrating very quickly (with the obvious exception of beer). Now I just have to find a good gluten free beer to try… any recommendations?
If you’re thinking about giving Whole30 a shot you should definitely go for it! I’d love to share more about my experience with you too so shoot me an email!