As you all may know, I’m a big proponent of eating healthy, real food. When I heard about the Whole 30, I was initially intrigued. I wanted to know what this “new diet” was that everyone seemed to be talking about. I had seen a little bit about it on social media but wasn’t sure exactly what it entailed. So I decided to read the book It Starts with Food by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig (because reading more is also one of my New Years Resolutions 🙂 ).
After reading the book and all of the successes (both on the scale and off the scale), I decided I wanted to do a little experiment and try it out for myself. Let me preface this with: I already ate somewhat Paleo/Whole 30 a majority of the time, but there were still areas of my diet that could be cleaned up a bit. No one’s perfect, not even dietitian/nutritionists 😉 . I also convinced Kyle, my mom, brother, and brother’s girlfriend to go on this Whole 30 journey with me!
A little background: For 30 days, this diet excludes sugar of any kind (real or artificial), alcohol, grains (yes, this includes corn and gluten-free products), legumes, and dairy. You can and should eat meat, seafood, eggs, a lot of vegetables, fruit, healthy fats from avocados, nuts/seeds (no peanuts because those are a legume), and good quality oils (such as olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil). It’s basically an elimination-style “diet” that cuts out just about all of the most common foods that lead to inflammation in the body. After 30 days, you’ll slowly reintroduce these foods to determine which ones you do or do not tolerate. If you want to read a little more about it, check out whole30.com or better yet, read the book because it will give you WAY more information about WHY they have you avoid certain foods for at least 30 days.
So I’m a week into my Whole 30 and I have to say, I FEEL GREAT. I am sleeping like a baby, I have no digestive complaints, and I have plenty of energy! I think I can say that, without a doubt, artificial sweeteners were probably causing a majority of my complaints. I used Stevia in my coffee every morning, would drink about a cup or so of another artificially sweetened drink during the day, and would have it in things like yogurt or other foods to sweeten. We will see how I tolerate the other foods as I reintroduce them into my diet, but at this point, I think my goal is to continue to avoid artificial sweeteners as much as possible. I have learned to drink my coffee without them and now I actually use Nut Pods in my morning coffee – although it’s not my favorite way to drink my coffee, I certainly don’t mind it.
The other aspect of the Whole 30 that initially took some getting used to was eating only 3 meals/day. I did not realize how much I had come to rely on that afternoon snack until I had to eliminate it. The first few days were a little rough getting used to that – I was pretty hungry, and went to bed hungry for the first 2 days, but I learned to eat enough protein and satiating foods at every meal and now I feel that I could go even longer in between meals or even skip meals altogether (not that I would). I think what has happened to my body is that it got used to tapping into my fat and glycogen stores for energy, as opposed to relying on a new form of energy (food) every few hours to maintain my blood sugar levels – keep in mind, different eating styles/plans work differently for everyone, this is just my personal experience!
I also mentioned that I have no digestive complaints – no bloating/cramping, constipation/diarrhea, etc. – since beginning this program. Again, I believe a majority of these complaints probably stemmed from the artificial sweeteners and sugars I was consuming. Digestive health is something that more and more people are becoming familiar with because it really is where our health BEGINS. Our ability to digest, break down, and assimilate nutrients from the food we eat has a direct effect on how we feel. We could take all the probiotics, digestive enzymes, collagen, glutamine, fermented foods, etc. that we want, but if we’re still putting crappy inflammatory foods in our body, it still isn’t going to function optimally.
Now to the good part, what have I actually been eating?? If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen this, but here’s a recap:
Chicken salad with peppers, onion, and cherry tomatoes on a bed of lettuce. I used Primal Kitchen Mayo – SO GOOD. I could eat this for every meal!
Salads are such an easy go-to option and I used a variety of veggies, hard boiled eggs, and organic, grass-fed roast beef. I topped it off with Primal Kitchen Honey Mustard dressing.
I made Dill Salmon Burgers (can’t remember where I found the recipe 🙁 ) and sugar snap peas. I also had a serving of plain almonds with it too. Keepin’ it simple!
This was a more keto-style meal: grass fed ground beef with onion, on lettuce drizzled with olive oil, cherry tomatoes, and 1/2 avocado.
Are you noticing a theme yet? Picking a lean protein and adding a variety of vegetables and healthy fats is SO easy. Chicken with roasted carrots and Brussels sprouts. Roasting has become one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables!
I didn’t use a recipe for this one either: Scrambled up about 3 eggs mixed with a few tablespoons of spinach artichoke dip mix we had in the fridge (Whole 30-friendly), sauteed peppers, onion, and spinach, baked it at 350F for about 15-20 minutes, and then topped with 1/2 avocado and salt and pepper.
This recipe I found in the “Whole 30-friendly” recipe section on The Real Food RD’s website – Slow Cooker Peach BBQ Chicken with Coleslaw and it was SO GOOD. I added some pumpkin seeds on top for a little extra crunch and to help balance out the acidity of the meal.
And last but not least, this little serving of meatballs with homemade marinara sauce over mashed garlic cauliflower. Probably my most favorite meal so far 🙂
In a ‘nutchelle’, the Whole 30 is going great for me so far, and would 10/10 recommend it to anyone!