For the last month, as you’ve probably seen via my social handles, I’ve been following the Whole30 program & am happy to report that I made it through! If you’re wondering why that’s worth noting, it’s because Whole30 is a strict 30 day detox of a bunch of things regularly found in our diets. If you’re not familiar, it requires that you completely eliminate added/refined sugars, all grains, alcohol, dairy and legumes. Besides the obvious (delicious) junk, this also means no seemingly healthy staples like quinoa, beans, corn, tofu, any soy-based products, etc.
So was it worth it?! Read on to learn what I liked, disliked, struggled with, ate and of course, the results xx
SHOP MY WHOLE30 ESSENTIALS:
To start, WHY DID I WANT TO DO WHOLE30. Simple. I have several friends who had done the program with great success and I was looking for a reset. I work out regularly and felt that I had plateaued and knew that diet was the answer and that I haven’t ever placed any restrictions on myself in that area. Beyond that, it’s a great way to pinpoint specific food sensitivities as you reintroduce things AND if all went well, afforded me something I could repeat to feel really great before the wedding.
The obvious next questions are did you have any SLIPS and WAS IT EASY? I can honestly say that we didn’t have any slips but no it’s not easy. Doable, though? Absolutely. But it is shocking how many of those above mentioned taboo ingredients sneak into everything we consume. I also will note that the program advises against weighing yourself at all as that’s not supposed to be the motivation BUT I’d be lieing if I said this isn’t also partially about vanity so I did weigh myself before I started (and on Day 11 when I was feeling a bit demotivated, and a few other times in the last two weeks, and it helped me keep pushing through!).
THE HARDEST PARTS for me personally were eliminating the soy and sugar. I already drink my coffee black for the most part (thank baby Jesus), but I do like a soy latte as a treat! I also am THE sauce boss so no marinades or dressing took some getting used to (they all contain a ton of added sugar). Mainly though, it was hard to be out at events and not be able to have anything that others were enjoying around you. There’s never really a full month where I have no events, but the time I did Whole30 seemed extra busy. It’s also hard to feel like you can’t have a lazy night and just order uber eats, ya know? Everyone told me that day 7-11 are typically the hardest and I felt that to be true, but I also don’t feel I had as bad withdrawals as some of my friends (I think depends on your diet to begin with as well). I did have a couple headaches throughout the first two weeks & broke out a bit, but I’m prone to those things anyway so hard to attribute it to just Whole30.
HERE ARE SOME OF MY TIPS FOR HOW WE GOT THROUGH IT:
- Do it with someone. I had Ryan and a few friends doing the Whole30 program at the same time and it was a HUGE help. For one, it would be so tempting to have non-compliant foods in the house while you were trying to stick to it, and two, having other people in the same boat makes you feel much less annoying at outtings (or lack thereof) throughout the month.
- Plan, plan and then plan some more. This is the only way to make sure you don’t quit when hunger or temptation strikes! For the whole time we were doing this, we were going grocery shopping weekly for fresh produce and protein and prepping at least 2 meal options on Sunday for lunches and dinners. Then, we would pick a night mid-week where we wouldn’t make other plans to prep some more. With that routine in place we always had easily accessible options.
- Try new things (& appliances). Our spiralizer and slow cooker became my best friends… and before this they were collecting dust lemme tell ya. They are such easy options to have ready-to-go and tasty meals. We also relied on Whole30 recipe books for inspiration, and that helped us get creative with veggies in ways we hadn’t before (spaghetti squash instead of pasta, cauliflower rice instead of quinoa and zucchini noodles, to name a few).
- Really read your labels, people. Not only is this a necessary thing to do to properly get through Whole30, but it is SO eye opening. I was legitimately shocked at how not-clean some of the items were that we regularly buy are. For example, marinades that were just chalk-full of sugar, juices or ‘organic’ broth with tons of preservatives in them. This is something I will definitely take away well beyond the program and I love how much more mindful I’ve become as a result.
- Carry snacks with you. This will help when hunger strikes and you don’t have anything viable around to eat. I strongly relied on a piece of fruit or Lara Bar in emergency situations lol (note, not all Lara Bars are approved, but of those that are I love the apple pie and coconut cream flavours 🙂 ). I also got very comfortable bringing my own salad dressing out with me — this was an easy save to any situations that had salad options to eat, because I could add a plain protein and use my dressing for a very satisfying meal. On that note, don’t go to vegan/veg restaurants as a solution to eating out — I found those much harder to make modifications at because there are a lot of soy-based, peanut, or breaded ingredients, all of which are not Whole30 compliant.
So what exactly DID WE EAT on Whole30? My favourite meals for each time of day were as follows:
- Breakfast – egg whites with a compliant tobasco & homemade breakfast potatoes + a whole avocado and black coffee was my go-to! On weekends we sometimes added bacon.
- Lunch – always leftovers from one of the dinner meals below, OR a modified salad at a restaurant (think greens, non-glazed chicken, shrimp or seared tuna and my own dressing).
- Dinner – our go-to’s were my own coconut chile shrimp zoodles or cauliflower chicken fried rice (lmk if you want the recipes!), or spaghetti squash and meatballs, beef and root veggie stew (both from the Whole30 cookbook I’ve linked) OR our regular baked salmon or chicken breasts with sides of veggies (roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, or brussel sprouts with bacon, usually).
- Snacks – cut up fruit with almond butter (also a great dessert option!), Lara Bars, or plain pistachios, cashews or almonds.
THE BEST RESULTS of Whole30 for me were, as mentioned, the more mindful purchasing and consumption. Something that I hope to continue as roughly an 80/20 rule moving forward. I also did find that after the first couple weeks I was less fatigued (huge plus for me because I also have a b12 deficiency) and that my skin looked good and I had no bloating which I definitely experience after an indulgent meal or few days. And the money question lol, DID I LOSE WEIGHT. Yes. At around the mid-way point when I weighed myself as I mentioned (I’m only human lol), I had already dropped 6lbs and by the end I had lost 10lbs!! For someone who doesn’t fluctuate AT ALL guys, that’s pretty insane considering I was as active as I normally am.
So there you have it! Please comment below with any tips that you’ve found helpful that may help others thinking to give it a try, or just any general questions you have about Whole30. I will do my best to answer! xx
I couldn’t agree more! I don’t think I would have survived without Lara bars 😜 understanding all the added, non-needed, ingredients we consume regularly was really eye opening for me as well. I’ll definitely be keeping many of those things out of my regular diet going forward. I think it’s a great way to reset and your food choices look (and were!) delicious.