My Whole 30 journey began back in October of last year. It was actually something I learned about via Instagram as some of my favorite bloggers began posting photos with captions donning the hashtag. I decided to give it a go because it was only a month. Little did I know that month would be a game changer.
Besides visiting the Whole 30 website and sifting through a few terrible recipes on Pinterest, I did very little research. Pinterest really was no help, and I believe I complained about the lack of appealing food grams in this post. The program is pretty straightforward as to what you can and cannot eat, so I really just took that and ran with it. In the kitchen, I do very well by instinct and intrigue, so having a recipe spelling out every step on how to make sweet potato fries is not necessary. If I buy a vegetable that I am not all too familiar with, say kohlrabi or fennel, then I will consult the great internet about pairings and cooking methods, etc.
Here we are now in February, probably the coldest month of the year. I have since completed two Whole 30s and have kept up with a paleo diet 80% of the time. I am not going to lie and say chinese takeout and pizza have not been godsends during the icy, subzero, and all around miserable weeks starting off 2015. But that little splurge will only happen once a week. Luckily, some of my favorite neighborhood restaurants have dishes that are indeed paleo & even Whole 30 apropros. I was planning on starting #3 a few days ago on Ash Wednesday, but lo and behold a ridiculous virus or maybe even the flu (?) has taken over my immune system. So I have been living off gross canned chicken noodle soup and green goddess smoothies. I really just can’t wait to be feeling like a normal human again. That new gym membership isn’t going to work itself out. Anyway, I have had a few friends reach out to me recently, so I thought I would put together a quick Whole 30 Q&A.
Is the Whole 30 hard? What can you even eat?
Honestly, in my opinion it is only as hard as you make it. The program lists in bold black and white the things you must abstain from: all grains, legumes, sugar, alcohol, and dairy. I’ve never been one for soda and oreos so the sugar part was not that difficult. I’m much more of a carb combo kind of girl. Like give me a bowl of rice and beans or polenta or steel cut oats and I am in hog heaven. If this is also you, might I just suggest a pantry purge before starting. That way you won’t be tempted. My dog was very happy about this.
There are SO MANY things you can eat! The next time you go to the grocery store, try out perimeter shopping. Almost everything in produce is part of your Whole 30 oyster, and if you step on over to seafood you can get the real deal, too! I’m talking about oysters. My grocery list’s go-to products are: eggs eggs eggs, sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, Brussels sprouts, ground turkey and beef, coconut and almond milk, avocados, apples, almond butter, dried mango, and coconut flakes. Just be sure to read your labels and make sure you’re going with the uncured, no sugar added varieties, because FOR REAL sugar is in everything.
I’m going to do a Whole 30 but I’m still going to drink beer/wine/liquor…
Just don’t then. Seriously, it’s 30 fucking days. I assure you that bars do serve water. If you want to reap the full benefits of this program then you have to be 100%. That means no beer!
This part was pretty damn easy for me because all of my drinking friends (really almost all of my friends in general) live far far away in the land of Texas where the Lonestar flows freely and Tuesday nights are just another excuse to get wasted. Had I still been living in Denton, I may have had a more difficult time with this. But then again, you have to look at the big picture. What do you even want to achieve? Is that beer really worth messing up your 15 day good streak? It’s 30 days, it’s more than doable.
What can achieve in 30 days? Will I lose a lot of weight?
To start this answer off, every body is different. Some of you were blessed with a high ass metabolism while others not so much. The things you will achieve are better skin, higher energy, better sleeping patterns, and yes you will probably shed a few pounds. Just go look at Whole 30 success stories on the internet. People have changed their lives for the better. Like, this isn’t a fad/quick results diet. It’s more of a marathon. A life marathon if you really embrace the program.
But you’re a size 4 now? How much weight did you lose?
I posted a photo on Instagram of me at the laundromat in size 4 jeans eating a donut. Yeah, those jeans were really worn in by my sister and barely buttoned on my body. I had to wash my size 6 jeans, which I suppose is my current size in jeans I like to spend money on, see- J Crew and Madewell.
It’s one of those Whole 30 rules that you don’t weigh yourself before and after. I don’t have a scale so this rule was pretty easy to not break. I really just let my body/clothing do all the talking. “These jeans are falling off.” “Can we go swimming today in this sweater?” “Good thing you like oversized tees because that is what we all are now!” I remember when I was out shopping for something to wear on NYE the lady at BCBG put me in this weirdly flattering maxi dress romper thing in a size 6. It wasn’t a struggle to get on and I almost cried. I so would have bought it as a small victory dress had it not affected my ability to pay rent. I went on later that night to wear a dress of my sister’s in the same size. I still felt like a million fucking dollars.
I finally hopped on a scale a few weeks ago out of shear curiosity. 60 SIXTY 60 pounds down. What the? This didn’t even feel like a chore! How much time had gone by? About 4 months had flown. But it only took 30 days to solidify those changes.
Did you work out a lot? If so, don’t you have to eat more? Do you have to count calories?
Autumn in Pennsylvania is absolutely beautiful. If you’re not spending any free moment outside then you are just an idiot. I started the couch 2 5k running program in September as part of my birthday goal plan. Running every day before or after work was completely doable when working part time. Then I started my first Whole 30 and shortly after that was offered full time. My running schedule changed with that and as the weather evolved. I had it all planned out to continue running outside even as the bleakest weather approached…yeah right. During the months of December and January, any type of exercise that was not walking to work and lifting boxes came to a complete standstill. I joined a gym a week ago, though. Worked out every single day. And then got the flu. Go me!
As for eating more when working out/counting calories…no and no. I continued on with my normal breakfast lunch and dinner and the occasional snack. Why count calories when you’re eating only real food? Shit, I don’t even measure things out. Why yes, I will eat that entire head of cabbage or broccoli.
How do you have so much self control? How do you deal with cravings? What about pie? Isn’t baking your thing?
Once again, you have to look at the big picture. What do you want to achieve and are you going to let that ice cream cone of cupcake bring you down? I only really get cravings for sugar goodness one week out of each month. I’ve learned that frozen bananas blended with coconut milk and topped with chia seeds and toasted coconut comes pretty damn close to ice cream with sprinkles. Dates off some pretty natural sweetness, too. Self control is definitely a learned art form. After a lot of time without sugar goes by you really learn not to miss it.
I work in a bakery, so temptation is all around. I think what really helps is seeing other people buy and buy and consume and consume and they don’t even blink twice about the 700 calorie brownie they are having for dessert. I’ll also have dreams about pizza, but I never take a bite! Go me!
Yeah, pie and baking are “my things”. Now that I am working full time again, I don’t spend my off hours slaving away over some cookies or scones. I’ve started to delve into the wonderful world of paleo baking, though. Some things however, cannot be recreated to their full taste potential without butter. Yeah, I celebrated National Pie Day with ALL OF THE DAIRY and had no regrets.
SO, once I am feeling better, it’s on to #3. I’ve got a little ways to go before reaching my end goals. This time around, I plan to momentarily post the occasional favorite recipe, etc. I have so many favorites to choose from! Please follow along on the journey if you’d like OR begin your own! Down below are some of my favorite dishes to date. All photos were taken from my Instagram, let’s be friends!
Stay well, y’all!