Sometimes you need to do something drastic to jumpstart a healthier way of life and give your diet a kick in the butt. Rob and I started a tradition a few years ago of abstaining from alcohol for the month of January to restart our healthy-ish lifestyle at the beginning of the year after the destruction of the holidays. This year, though, we found that the holidays didn’t come with as much drinking as previous years. So our regular tradition wasn’t going to be the kick in the butt it usually was.
Enter my slightly crazy idea to try Whole30. The gist is that for 30 days you cut out anything that isn’t a whole food (processed foods like cereal, energy bars, lunch meats etc) + dairy, legumes, grains, added sugar, soy products, and alcohol. What are you left with? Meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits and nuts (not peanuts though, they’re legumes!). The purpose of Whole30 has very little to do with your scale and everything to do with revamping your relationship with food in a way that will change how you think about food and how you eat for the rest of your life. This is what intrigued me the most.
Because we are only in LA for a limited amount of time, we decided to modify the Whole30 so that we wouldn’t miss out on all the great restaurants and bars that LA has to offer. Instead of 30 days, we did 8.5. It was long enough to feel a difference in our bodies, kickstart some new healthier habits, and decide if, in the future, we wanted to try it for the full 30 days.
Changes: This is probably too much information, but the biggest change I noticed was that I was much more regular than I have ever been in my life. Going hand in hand with that, I never felt nauseous after a meal (which was a common thing for me) and I never felt bloated or heavy. I also noticed a slight change in the shape of my stomach.
New Habits: Not buying processed foods or foods with added sugar. I still want to enjoy things like cereal, energy bars, bread and crackers/chips (which often are processed, have added sugar and more than four ingredients), so I am going to start making those things myself so that I can control what ingredients they are made with.
Pros: Each meal left me full, but never bloated or over full.
Cons: I never felt satiated. I also wasn’t a fan of black coffee.
What we ate: Most breakfasts were eggs with avocados and fruit. Lunches ranged from salads to leftovers. And dinner was a new recipe or made up meal. Some of our fave meals were: salmon from Green Chef (a meal delivery service), lettuce-wrapped shrimp spring rolls with almond-butter sauce, breakfast sandwich, mashed sweet potatoes and shredded chicken in a tomato sauce (we made this meal up ourselves), fruit parfait (mashed bananas and blueberries with almond butter and strawberries).
In the end, I don’t think I will be trying this diet again. It brought to light some negative feelings (like guilt) I have surrounding food which was an unexpected result. But instead of ignoring these feelings, I took time to address them. I came up with a new approach to how I think about my diet that I think will lead to a healthier lifestyle and a healthier relationship with food. Because of that I am glad that I gave Whole30 a shot!
Have you tried Whole30? What are your thoughts?