Whole30: Why we did it. How we felt about it. Would we do it again.
As I sit down to write this, we are currently on day 7 of Whole30 (Thomas and I). It is our first time committing to it and I wanted to reflect on the process, how it made us feel, why we chose to do it and share any advice to those looking to tackle it!
What it is:
Whole30 is 30 days of whole foods. Simply put, replace grains, alcohol, dairy, sugars or legumes with REAL FOOD. Protein, (we are pescatarians so more on this later), vegetables, fruits, eggs and plenty of herbs and spices! “By omitting all of these foods and beverages 100% for 30 days you will eliminate cravings, restore a healthy metabolism, heal the digestive tract, reduce systemic inflammation, and discover how these foods are truly impacting how you look, how you feel, and your quality of life.” (whole30)
Why we did it:
Due to the nature of my disordered past, I typically stay away from anything restrictive or that falls under the “diet” category. However, Whole30 never once felt like a “diet” as much as it did a lifestyle change, to which I can get down with! For me, it was not about weight loss. Sure, we chose to do it leading up to our vacation but no measurement of weight was taken beforehand on my part. I did however choose to take pictures to show any visible changes that my body made over the 30 day course. Pictures posted below.
As I write this, it is day 18/30 and I have to say, I am feeling the best I have in a long time. My skin is clearer and my energy levels are higher, with LESS coffee I might add! Disclaimer: Not because coffee isn’t allowed, it totally is! But the absurd amount of creamer I typically put in it… not so much. I think it’s important to add that although I didn’t initially suffer from flu-like symptoms or skin breakouts, I have heard of this happening. Know that it is natural for your body to have a reaction if you are drastically changing what you are fueling it with. It will go through a detoxification phase, but to my knowledge, this will subside after the first week once your body has better adapted!
Thus far, I have really enjoyed the Whole30. It’s been challenging, that I will say for certain! Two things that I have found to be the toughest is the time commitment and the lack of options (due to my existing lifestyle). When making the commitment to Whole30, know that you are devoting a lot of time to your already busy schedule. Meal prepping for the week is a non-negotiable. Every Sunday we put in at least 4 hours between shopping, cooking and preparing meals for the upcoming week. Although time-consuming, it was nice to know that lunches and snacks were ready when we were. My advice? Plan ahead because that last minute decision to order pizza for dinner is out of the question. Ha! Ha!
As previously mentioned, neither Thomas or I eat meat. Our typical diet beforehand relied heavily on soy-based products and beans which were both excluded during the 30 days. This made our protein source options minimal, to say the least. Lots of fish and eggs! If meat is in your diet, I can imagine that 30 days wouldn’t be nearly as limiting as it felt for us. If you live a vegan lifestyle, I would advise to stay away from Whole30 all-together.
Post 30 Days Recap:
Although there were some challenging aspects over the past 30 days, I would highly recommend giving Whole30 a go! Whether you’re looking for a reset, seeking more energy or potentially losing weight (to which I can’t necessarily speak to), I am confident in encouraging others to do it. Side note: I don’t encourage you to do it right before you go on vacation- quickly reintroducing a number of items your body had gotten used to not having left us feeling pretty ill.
As I wrap this up, we have both decided to stay on track with Whole30 for the most part. By re-introducing soy and having grace with ourselves over the occasional treats, we are absolutely sold on it. Although I didn’t see any major physical changes, the internal ones made an even greater impact on each of us. I will note that I think it is important that if you are living with someone, that they too are on board. Holding each other accountable and avoiding the temptations of someone so close, proved to be extremely helpful!
In short, here is a list of reasons I would recommend Whole30:
- More energy
- Clearer skin (even through my menstrual cycle)
- Less bloat
- Better sleep
- No drinking = no hangovers!
- Less overeating
- Better awareness of the foods we are eating
Below are some of the items that we heavily relied on to help us conquer Whole30:
- Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil
- Primal Kitchen Unsweetened Ketchup
- Coconut Aminos
- The Whole30 Guide
- French Vanilla Dairy-Free Creamer
- Cashew Cookies LARABARS
Photo Cred: Tylee Shay Photography