Why did we do the Whole 30?
I am not going to explain the "official" benefits, but you can read about it if you want. I did not read the book (I should have) but I read A LOT on the website. Eric and have always eaten generally healthy (we actually like healthy food as crazy as that sounds) but we had never done anything restrictive. Additionally, 2015 was a really transitional year for us (two new jobs, moving, new baby) so we had gotten into a bad habit of eating out a lot. We both just wanted a fresh start to eating clean this year.
Tips for Success
Meal plan. I'm this is kind of obvious, but it was really hard for me at first. You literally have to plan every meal (including breakfast - which I never used to do) because if you don't know what you're going to eat, you will either starve or eat something
|because this is the only picture I could find of me holding black coffee :)|
Coffee talk. To truly do the Whole 30, you are supposed to drink black coffee only (a lot of people choose to cut it out completely). We are coffee
Make breakfast ahead. My husband has to be at work at 7:45am and on the days that I work (two days a week) I have to be there at 7am (ugh). Anyway, in the past we would do some form of to-go oatmeal/granola bar but that obviously wouldn't work. I started making a quiche (love this recipe!) on Monday nights and then we would each take a slice with us to work in the morning and heat it up there.
Have a partner. I could not have done this if Eric wasn't on board. The idea of us eating separate food is so stressful to me - we were "in it together" and helped motivate each other to be consistent. We also told all of our co-workers that we were doing it so they could ask us about it and choose healthy options for lunches together.
Find a "treat." I know in the "official" Whole 30 you are really supposed to not get creative about treats and substitutions, but we had a few "vices" that kept us going. First, La Croix. We kept our house stocked. I actually used to think they were gross, but I started loving them over the course of completing the Whole 30. We don't really drink soda, but they were kind of an alcohol substitution for us. Second, Lara Bars. Oh, Lara Bars. How I love thee. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but these kept me from eating my fingernails out of starvation. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but I was so thankful for them on evenings that I just wanted a snack or was craving something sweet (oh and not all Larabars are compliant, so be careful).
Things I Learned
Sugar is in everything. This was perhaps the most eye-opening thing for me. Most nut milks have sugar in them, as do packaged broths (whyyyyy???), granola bars that I always assumed were healthy, pre-packaged oatmeal, mayonnaise, the list goes on and on. I don't know why I never paid attention before, but my eyes have been opened. Since going back to "normal" eating, Eric and I are still trying to avoid sugar and it definitely takes strategy.
The energy increase is real. During the second week of the Whole 30, Eric looked at me and said "let's paint our bedroom tonight." We had been talking about painting it for months but we just couldn't get motivated to do it. But we both definitely had more energy during the month, and now I get to look at beautifully painted walls as a result :)
The cravings stop. During the first week, Eric and I were having crazy cravings. One night we were just desperate for a piece of chocolate cake. We don't even necessarily love chocolate cake, but the craving was legit. We resisted, but I was really worried we would spend the entire month fighting ourselves. Fortunately, the cravings pretty much went away. The Whole 30 was hard, but mostly because of inconvenience, not because we craved other food.
Your skin reflects what you eat. I have always struggled with acne and a few years ago I experimented with food and learned a lot. However, I had never been this restrictive with my food before so I was curious to see what would happen. My skin was perfect. No pimples at all. And now that I'm eating "normally" again yep, the acne is back. Which is annoying. But at least I know that I do have some control over how my skin looks.
We made these a couple of times - so easy and delicious! Sweet potato fries are a staple even if we are not doing the Whole 30!
chicken and veggie stir fry with cauliflower rice
Not really a recipe for this... I made up a sauce with garlic and coconut aminos since soy sauce is a no go. So good. I don't love rice anyway, so I think we'll probably incorporate cauli rice into our routine more.
I made a quiche every Monday night for us to eat for breakfast for the rest of the week. I mixed up the ingredients each week to keep it interesting.
Other yummy things we made:
I am sooooooo glad we decided to do this. We had talked about it forever, and I am so glad we made ourselves do it. Eric lost about 12 pounds, which was awesome, but it's definitely about so much more than losing weight. It's so important to know what you are putting into your body and even though we eat "healthy" it was still so eye-opening for us. I am reading labels A LOT closer these days.