MY EXPERIENCE WITH WHOLE 30

Let’s talk about Whole 30. Have you heard of it? I’m sure you probably have.

But, if you’ve been hiding under a rock and haven’t, you’re probably sitting there going “um, what the heck is Whole 30? I’m totally not going to understand anything she’s talking about.” Well, have no fear! I’ll catch you up – Cliff’s notes style. šŸ™‚ Oh, and if you want to really dig deep, you should go to their website and click around and check it out. Anywho, let me sum it up. Whole 30 is a diet. Except they don’t call it a diet – they refer to it as a “nutritional program.” Which is also is. Sort of. Clear as mud, right? Okay, nuts and bolts time: basically, for 30 days, you only eat meat, veggies, fruits, fats (from avocados, nuts (no peanuts, though), oils (think coconut and olive, not vegetable or canola), clarified butter (but not regular because dairy is a no-no) and/or ghee (I think they’re kinda the same thing), plenty of herbs and spices, and drink water, tea, kombocha (WTH? I don’t even know.), and 100% fruit or vegetable juice.

garden fresh cucumbers - check!
garden fresh cucumbers – check!

Sounds easy enough, right? You probably eat all those foods right now anyway.

loaded salad!
loaded salad!

Okay, the hard part – no sugar, no dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese), no grains, no legumes (that’s where peanuts fall), and no alcohol. Not even a sip. And personally, I think wine should be included. It’s just fermented fruit juice, after all!!!

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I like to cook with wine. Sometimes, I actually put it in the food! šŸ˜‰

So, think about it. No sugar – not even in your coffee. No chocolate. No cookies. No pre-packaged foods because it probably has sugar in it. SUGAR IS IN EVERYTHING. Except for those okay foods listed above. Even dairy has sugar in it. Seriously. No grains – oatmeal, toast, bagels, quinoa, rice, barley, corn, etc. No beans – buh-bye hummus. No soy either – see ya later Chinese take-out!

All for 30 days. Or, more appropriately – NONE OF IT for 30 days.

The thing is, it’s totally doable. Except I only made it a week. But, we’ll talk about THATĀ in a minute.

WHY I THINK WHOLE 30 IS GOOD

  1. Well, for one thing, it’s only for 30 days. That’s it. You can do 30 days.
  2. You’re eating real food.
  3. You’re eating when you’re hungry. No limiting to 3 meals or 5/6 small meals or whatever you might be doing now.
  4. It’s not a diet where you’re limiting and/or counting calories. You’re not doing any of that stuff. Throw the log book away. Delete the MyFitnessPal app. Just eat real (allowed) food.
  5. You’re not stepping on the scale every week. It’s not about that. It’s about feeding your body real food and cutting out the crap and teaching your body that it can survive without soda or sugar or potato chips (or whatever your vice – the thing you just absolutely CANNOT give up – may be.

WHY I THINK WHOLE 30 IS BAD … FOR SOME PEOPLE, ME INCLUDED

Okay, this part needs more than just a list. I can’t explain why I only made it a week in a list.

I was doing really well! Even without oatmeal. And wine. <– that was the hardest part for me. and even THAT wasn’t that hard. but, I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. not that week, I didn’t!

I pretty much eat Whole 30/Paleo style to begin with. Before I started, breakfast was usually an omelet with spinach and cheese, some sausage, and avocado. All I needed to do was find Whole 30 approved sausages and cut out the cheese. Easy day.

yep, bad lighting but you get the drift.
yep, bad lighting but you get the drift.

I also managed to find Whole 30 approved bacon!!!! Because lifeĀ without bacon isĀ just not even worth it.

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But, think about it. Did you even realize your bacon had sugar it? I mean, brown sugar bacon – duh, but regular bacon? Who knew?!

I developed an affinity for coconut milk in my coffee (previously, I had been using heavy cream or butter) topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Mmmmm…..

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And I even managed to figure out a way to “satisfy” my sweet tooth that inevitably reared its ugly head after dinner thatĀ I was unable to satisfy with a square of dark chocolate.

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trust me

OMG. SOOOOO GOOD!!!!!

So, life for me wasn’t that much different. I just didn’t eat rice, oats, or tortilla chips with my guacamole, or use any dairy. I was moving along just fine! And I didn’t really experience some of the feelings that were expected around certain days like super fatigue or “kill ALL the things!!” Which I’m sure my family, and coworkers, really appreciated. Which was even more amazing because right around this time, I hurt my knee and COULDN’T WORK OUT!!! And I still didn’t want to punch people in their noses. I attribute that to the fact that my diet was already pretty decent so I wasn’t going through “withdrawals,” per se.

However, my stomach was a little nauseous most of the time. Sometimes I was okay but other times, I felt like I’d been on a roller coaster. The Whole 30 program and no gall bladder (that bad boy came out in 2010. Now THERE’S a story to tell one day.) to process all those extra fats don’t exactly go together. So, I still had to watch my fat intake. Only one avocado for me a day and only so much nut butter and/or raw nuts. Ugh.

Then, 5 days in, I got up, made myself my normal breakfast, drank my normal coffee, and set out for the farmer’s market. Drove half a mile up the road and everything just started to feel very strange. I was not right. I turned right back around and came home and practically inhaled a Larabar. I can’t tell you what flavor because I barely tasted it, all I can promise is that it didn’t have peanuts or chocolate in it. I washed it down with a ton of water, felt a little better, and went to the market. But, I never really got right that whole day. I started talking about it with my sailor and, against the “rules,” I went upstairs and got on the scale. I was down 6 pounds.Ā 6!!Ā In a span of 5 days.

I wasn’t trying, nor did I need, to lose weight.

I weighed myself the next day and was down another pound. Decision made – Whole 30 is done. Over. Finito. My sailor put his foot down.

But then, I ran into another problem. I may or may not have a slight tendency to disordered eating. I’ll let you guess which one it is. It took me nearly 3 days before I would eat more than a handful of tortilla chips (plain old tortilla chips – you know, corn and oil) a day. I was still focused on the “rules” and had a hard time breaking them. I felt SO GUILTY – like I had failed. Even though I didn’t. But I felt like it and I don’t like failing. That was a difficult struggle.

I still have not really had dairy – had ice cream once but haven’t had my beloved Siggi’s yogurt since July 1st. I finally, over this past weekend, ate some cheese. On a sandwich. Grilled. With some tomato. It was amazing. But still, pretty much no dairy. Once I got over the first few days, carbs were a little easier – they came in the form of rice and oatmeal. But, I was still looking at everything to see how much sugar things had. I spent 20 minutes in the cereal aisle trying to find the oneĀ with the lowest amount of sugar. Did you know sugar is the third ingredient listed in Ā Cheerios – you know, the boring ones in the yellow box? That’s crazy!! And, besides, no one should spend that much time in the cereal aisle.

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But, I do have some positive takeaways. Prior to starting Whole 30, I was very regimented in my eating. I ate smaller meals a little more often until dinner. I’d eat breakfast, then a snack around 9-9:30 (usually a banana & almond butter), lunch, and then a snack around 3-3:30pm (usually Siggi’s yogurt plus granola). Then, I’d have dinner when I got home. Once I started Whole 30, I became less regimented. I’d eat breakfast and, admittedly I ate a little more, but I wouldn’t really get hungry again until around 10-10:30 and then I’d just eat a piece of fruit. If I got hungry in the afternoon, I’d eat some carrots and maybe a handful of nuts. Ā It was actually kind of nice. I mean, I’m all about schedules but for a week, I just let my stomach (and my not brain) dictate when I ate. And, that’s actually carried over and I feel a lot better – a lot less “weighed down,” if you will.

I’m also now hyper-aware of added sugars. And I don’t miss them. Not at all. I haven’t had a piece of candy since I started. And, I bought a bar of dark chocolate when I last went to the grocery store and I haven’t been tempted by it at all. Which is different. Because they usually call my name. Shout it even. Please tell me I’m not the only one that happens to.

My experience with Whole 30. Click To Tweet

MY CONCLUSIONS

Okay, so, all-in-all, I think Whole 30 is a great way to reset your diet, break some bad habits, teach yourself how to eat healthy, and maybe lose some weight, IF YOU NEED TO. I mean, you certainly can’t go wrong eating real food! BUT (and there’s always a but), I don’t think it’s right for everyone.

  • If you have disordered eating tendencies – i.e., if you use MyFitnessPal and methodically track your every calorie and decide to skip a meal because you’re getting close to your daily allowance (you know who you are) – then, this probably isn’t a good thing for you to try.
  • If you eat well already and don’t need to lose weight, then this probably isn’t a good thing for you to try. Maybe just work on eliminating sugar? Can’t go wrong with that one.
  • If you feel like you must – because there are some of us out there that do thingsĀ like that *points finger at self* – then try it for a week, two tops. Just make sure that you aren’t depriving your body of the nutrients it needs. Ā And, honestly, it probably wouldn’t hurt if you spoke to your doctor and/or a nutritionist before you jumped in head first.

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Questions:

  • Have you tried Whole 30?Ā 
  • What’s your favorite cereal?

Thanks, Amanda, for letting me Think Out Loud! <3

 

12 COMMENTS

  1. Mandie | 1st Aug 16

    I have considered trying the whole 30, but like you, I mostly eat paleo/primal anyway! Also, I don’t know if I can give up cheese and wine for 30 days!

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 2nd Aug 16

      I know, right! Wine and cheese are major food groups! I think paleo-ish is definitely the way to go. You’re eating real food but not denying yourself other delicious foods and still managing to stay away from all that sugar and processed junk.

  2. Ruth | 31st Jul 16

    I don’t think there is a person out there who wouldn’t support your decision to one, try out The Whole30 and two, stop. Unfortunately, I totally understand why you feel guilty about breaking a schedule of eating, “rules” you set up for yourself, and ending a challenge. I’ve been looking into trying out The Whole30 or the 21SD so this was a great look into the pros and cons. Thank you for giving your honest thoughts, especially with the downside for those struggling with eating “rules”. This definitely gives me food for thought before trying out a food challenge. I’m stuck into a mindset of needing to eat at certain hours so this may be a good challenge to help combat that?

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 31st Jul 16

      I was very regimented with my eating schedule before and Whole 30 definitely helped with that. I think I was eating at specific times before because I had been doing so for so long. That week really helped me understand my body’s cues a lot more. I also think it’s also good to go into a food “challenge” with as much knowledge as possible. šŸ™‚

  3. Amanda @ .running with spoons. | 28th Jul 16

    I’ve never tried Whole30 strictly, but from past experience, my body doesn’t do well on a high protein/fat diet, so I’m going to assume it wouldn’t be too fond of this one. I just try to stick to whole foods most of the time and don’t sweat the rest. Thanks for haring your experience!

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 28th Jul 16

      I think your plan is spot on. You definitely can’t go wrong with whole foods making up a majority of your diet. šŸ™‚

  4. Leslie McFadden | 28th Jul 16

    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who finds it all toout restrictive. I’m intrigued by some of the recipes in the Whole 30 book, though. I’m trying to incorporate different vegetable recipes into life. The kids eat well, but variety would be good.

  5. Bri | 28th Jul 16

    I couldn’t do Whole 30 – grains and nuts are my staples! And a glass of wine now and again! I think parts of it are good but it’s far too restrictive.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 28th Jul 16

      I completely agree about the restrictive part. Some people definitely need that to get them back on the right track but for some, those restrictions can be pretty disastrous. I’m glad I tried it but I won’t do it again. šŸ™‚

  6. Leslie McFadden | 28th Jul 16

    What do you think triggered the roller coaster feeling?

    I’ve looked at the whole 30 a lot this summer, but I’m not willing to make the leap. I’ve become much more aware of sugar, but my morning old fashioned oatmeal with walnuts and apples would be tough to give up. I don’t even put brown sugar on it.

    I’ve found Greek yogurt with no added sugar to make fruit parfaits, with homemade (or low sugar) granola on top – so dairy products would be hard, too. Where would I get calcium? I love broccoli (kale is tolerable in a salad), but I can’t justify a diet that ends up requiring me to take supplements. I’m having a hard enough time with the idea that I may need to take an iron supplement.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 28th Jul 16

      I think the roller coaster feeling came from the increase in fats and my body can’t handle too much of it without the gall bladder. I don’t know. It was definitely weird. And oatmeal with walnuts and apples sounds fabulous for breakfast! I don’t put any form of sweetener in my oatmeal – not even honey – the fruit does it for me. I do load it with nut butter and nuts, too. YUM! As for calcium, you’ll find it in white beans, salmon, dried figs, black-eyed peas, almonds and almond milk (almond milk purportedly has more calcium than cow’s milk). Lots more options that kale and broccoli. And, calcium supplements aren’t bad. Just make sure you buy one that doesn’t have food colorings – a calcium pill does NOT need to be pink to work better. Haha

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