The Whole 30 can be fairly intense for some people. Actually, probably most people. No dairy, grains, soy, legumes, sugar, or alcohol for 3o whole days? Yup. Focusing on 3 meals a day that incorporate lots of protein, fat, and veggies? Sounds fairly rational. Pre-whole 30, I followed a fairly ‘Paleo’ style way of eating. I wasn’t on a diet, I don’t restrict myself from non-Paleo foods, but bread and cheese have never really been my thing. Meat, anything coconut, and a plate full of veggies are more my style of eating! I originally hopped on the Whole 30 band wagon due to my lovely Mama. I decided I would do it to support her and as a challenge (because I can’t say no!). Beginning the Whole 30, I was mostly worried about ‘accidently’ eating something that I wasn’t supposed to have. And my social life-eating out with friends would be very difficult. I struggled with how much I should share with others. Most people feel that the Paleo way of eating is fairly extreme, so Whole 30 would be a whole different dilemma! I don’t like being the exception or the person that everyone needs to accommodate.
I prepared for the Whole 30 by trying out new recipes each week. Sunday was a day of meal prep for the week: I would bake my eggs that I had every morning, and would make a big dish of Jambalaya, Pumpkin Cream Chicken Casserole, or Chicken and Vegetable/Crice Soup. Paleomgwas my savior. And trying new recipes every week meant that my meals were never boring!
I gradually cut out my morning snack of almonds or a Larabar by incorporating lots of avocado and coconut oil into my morning meal. This usually consisted of 2 eggs with veggies, topped with 1/4 of an avocado and homemade salsa, plus a cup of squash topped with cinnamon and coconut oil. Lunch was some type of meat/veggie mixture topped with more avocado. I also had an apple for some extra carbs. I had a third meal later in the afternoon, usually a hard boiled egg, carrots, and sunflower seeds. Then dinner a few hours later. This varied, but again consisted of a protein (beef, chicken, pork etc.) and lots of veggies (brussel sprouts, spaghetti squash, broccoli, spinach..etc.). In the past I have struggled with low blood sugar crashing feelings between meals, and this style of eating really eliminated a lot of that feeling. I worried less about having something to eat between meals because I was eating larger, more satiating meals!
The biggest ‘obstacle’ was replacing my store bought salsa, salad dressing, and other condiments. This actually became an adventure for me-I really enjoyed making my own salsa and ketchup, and got to experiment with some yummy extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar! A few weeks into my Whole 30, I also rediscovered mustard. I now can’t get enough of it on my salads and as a dip for my carrots!
Cravings? What Cravings? I had very little cravings for non Whole 30 compliant food. I think that this is mostly due to my love of the food that I was eating, therefore I wasn’t as focused on what I couldn’t have. I did crave popcorn throughout the 3o days, but this is a normal craving for me. I even survived Halloween with no candy or sweets! Instead it was Well Fed‘s meatza and an apple with cinnamon and coconut flakes for our ‘dessert.’ Early on in our adventure, I bought the Well Fed cookbook for my Mom and it was definitely I good move! Tons of awesome recipes!
Now that we are on Day 30, I would totally recommend doing the Whole 30. It is possible, especially if you are prepared. Take the time to read It Starts With Food, find recipes to keep you satisfied, and stock your pantry with Whole 30 approved food! Having a Whole 30 buddy is also especially helpful! More on my Whole 30 goals and reflection soon…
P.S. I realized I wrote this post in the past tense, as if all of my Whole 30 habits are no longer. However, this is still the way I am ‘living’ and ‘eating’ currently…
Are you up to the Whole 30 Challenge?