The Whole 30 reset program, what it is and why is isn’t for me.. Right now.

Well, I made the big announcement on social media that I would be doing the Whole 30, and planned to share my experience throughout the 30 days. But, not even a week into it and I quit, for now. Though I have my reasons! First, I will say that although I am no longer following the Whole 30 program, I do think it is an amazing set of guidelines for those looking to truly restore their health and mental balance with food, and I plan to fully commit to doing it in the future. Even while writing this blog post I had new inspiration to just start it again now, but I know that at the moment I do not have the right mentality. So, I will wait to try it again until I’m feeling more balanced in that way. My partner, Tim, is still primarily following the guidelines, with just a couple minor tweaks to better fit our lifestyle. (his review is below)image

Why we decided to give it a go..

A few weeks ago my partner Tim came home from a ‘Mans Trip’, basically a fun weekend away, just guys, hanging out and drinking on the island of Mallorca (also known as the 17th German state, as it’s pretty much been taken over by German party goers ūüėČ and out of the blue suggested we try the Whole 30 reset program. Granted he had already been thinking it was time to make some dietary changes, more along the lines of my eating, and cut back on treats that we both love (our weakness is chocolate), but it wasn’t until after this trip that he was really ready to commit to making a change.

I had been previously trying to do a type of body reset through eating on my own, to hopefully help discover some food allergies and intolerances but was having a hard time keeping up with it. I thought this could be a great way to try and solve some health issues, and we would be supporting each other through it all and keep any tempting food items away. So, we went on a massive grocery shopping trip and stocked up with the goods, to start the new week strong.

What it is..

The Whole 30 is an eating program was created by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, with the information and guidelines freely shared on their website. The book, which goes more in depth is titled “The Whole 30. The 30 day guide to TOTAL HEALTH and FOOD FREEDOM”.¬†The primary things that you can eat are: vegetables, fruit, health fats, and protein coming from meat and egg sources. You can have no sugar, no alcohol, no grains, no legumes (beans), no soy, no additives (such as MSG), and no healthy treat recreations (such as banana pancakes). They share a variety of free PDFs on the website, including the¬†Whole 30 Shopping List.

There are many reasons why they suggest people give it a go (you can read more on their website here), but two of the mains reasons are:

  1. To help “reset” your body, clear it from toxins, and replenish it with whole foods. It helps to restore your metabolism, balance the immune system and heal the gut. According to Whole 30 testimonials, it has helped many people find relief from a variety of bad health issues, such as skin conditions, chronic fatigue, arthritis, diabetes and so many more. It has also helped many lose weight and/or change their body composition.
  2. To move past and cut the emotional ties with food, and the unhealthy habits and cravings. To readjust the body and mind to see food for what it is, fuel. To learn and gain a new self awareness of what your body truly needs, not just wants and craves.

My reasoning for wanting to try it out stemmed from both of these, wanting to try and solve some health issues that I believed were food related and gain better control of my emotional ties with food and even my body image. Tim’s primary reason was more so the 1st, to reset the body, and potentially change his body composition and give him a fresh start towards healthier eating.

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Salad with cucumber, carrots, cherry tomatoes, olives, celery, hard boiled egg & Avocado balsamic

We started the 1st week strong and made a variety of healthy and delicious meals, using only Whole30 approved ingredients. We made things such as Cauliflower “Rice”, Stirfry, Baked Eggs, salads and tons of fresh fruit, We followed strictly for about 4 days, and during those days we both were a bit more sensitive and emotional than usual (I was at least), and I realised that at least for me, it was too much. It has been a very emotional and difficult past month, for a variety of reasons, and even after just a few days it was putting an even bigger strain on me. Also, as I am allergic to a variety of meats (beef, pork, salmon, tuna) and vegetables (peas, corn and sweet potatoes), this li tied my options and meant my primary protein sources were only chicken and eggs, and let me tell you, there is only so much you can eat. And without the more starchy sweet potato, it was hard to feel satisfied after some of my meals.

So, we decided to set our own new personalized guidelines, that would work for each of us differently, while still adapting many of the Whole 30 guidelines. Tim choose to primarily still follow it as a whole, as he felt it was working great for him and he has plenty to choose from and make (he loves his meat). And I decided to add back in Oatmeal and Quinoa, and at least one serving of dairy a day for a different type of protein and calcium source (from either curd or cottage cheese). We also decide to add in one “treat” meal a week, that may or may not include things on the ‘no’ list, and really do our best to stick¬†to that.

Tim’s thoughts on the Whole 30

“I’ve really been liking it because I still feel I can eat so many delicious things. The main thing I miss is cheese! My main meals are eggs with mushrooms and some type of meat in the morning. I prepare apple slices and hard boiled eggs for snacks, and another veggie and meat dish for lunch, which usually include sweet potatoes to help me stay full longer. Dinner is a variety of yummy meals we make together, such as cauliflower rice and veggies, turkey and veggie chilli (minus the beans), veggie and egg bake, so many options. At first my sleep was a bit disrupted and I was having some mood swings, but after a few days, my body adjusted and I began to have more energy after work and avoided the post work slump. And even though I’m not 100% strict on every single rule 24/7, I can see and feel my body composition changing, and my cravings are not as intense.’

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Lettuce wraps with cauliflower rice, veggies & mustard avocado balsamic sauce

Alena’s Whole 30 meal ideas:

As Tim and I eat dinner together every night, I have also been eating Whole 30 meals with him, such as listed above. In general I’ve been making an effort to eat more whole, fresh foods and here are just a few of my current favorite meal and snack ideas which follow the Whole 30 guidelines: large salad topped with sliced carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, hard boiled eggs and a homemade avocado balsamic dressing. Lettuce wraps with cauliflower “rice” and veggies, topped with a homemade avocado mayonnaise. Egg scramble with spinach, avocado, tomato. Sliced banana and apple with almond butter.

As I mentioned above, while rereading the guidelines and the reasons why people do this Whole 30 “reset”, it got me thinking again about the reasons I think it could really help people solve some health issues and restore a balance and healthy relationship with food. And so I do plan to try it again someday, and will share that experience when the time comes.

If you have any questions the Whole 30 website is full of free information. I was also very pleased to see that there is an active and vibrant online community, sharing their love of the #whole30 ,supporting each other and sharing meal ideas, so one would never truly be alone in this journey.

Much love, Alena

Becoming a Personal Trainer, New Routine, New Life.

I’m back!image

¬† ¬†I have been on the move, Literally. Temporarily moving back to the U.S. from Germany for a few months, then back to Germany once again. Needless to say, it has been a busy and transitional period in my life. I’ve had many amazing experiences in the past few months and learned a lot about myself as an ever evolving person. It has been full of many ups and downs, times of both uncertainty and the sureness of my path.¬†But I’ve kept going, kept pushing and believing in myself enough to accomplish some amazing goals and dreams of mine.

image   While in the USA I finished up my ACE Personal Trainer course, and am proud to say I am now a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise. Over the past 2.5 years I have learned so much through my own personal experiences, extensive research and Personal Trainer Studies. Fitness and Nutrition has become a huge passion of mine, and a major aspect of my life. I absolutely LOVE helping others, through sharing my story and experiences, and offering support and advice whenever I can.  I want to help people realize their true potential to make a change in their own lives for the better, that it is possible.

¬† ¬†While in the U.S. I was also working on a Fitness project, a Women’s Lifting Guide “Ready To Lift: Leg & Booty Guide“, ¬†which launched successfully¬†early April 2016. Timagehis was truly a passion project, as both Brittany and I¬†want to help encourage women to get into the weight room and pick up those weights. We have both had a very positive experience in our transition to more weightlifting (which I will share more about in another post). ¬†We want to help women find confidence in the gym, in their lives and in themselves. ¬†The making of this Guide involved extensive research, testing of the program and flying across the USA to meet my dear friend and business partner in crime, Brittany. I am very blessed to have connected with her through Instagram and our passion of fitness and health living. We had a nearly a week together, filming and shooting photos for our guide, editing, eating and having great conversations.

image¬† ¬†I am still in a bit of a transitional period while I continue to get everything organized over here in Germany, but thanks to our Ready To Lift Guide and the amazing community that is growing behind it, I have been keeping up with a fairly normal routine. I think it’s so important to keep pushing yourself in new ways, be it with new exercises, heavier weights, adding int a new challenge, it all leads to growth. I am currently mixing up my routine with the Ready To Lift: Leg & Booty Guide as my base (3 lower body sessions), and adding in roughly 2 Upper body workouts and a small HIIT that include a mixture of body weight exercises, many more Weights -both free weights and some machines. I am loving the challenge of scheduling and creating my own personalized workouts, and I plan to soon have Personalized Training Programs available. I will share more on that topic soon as well.

   I want this space to be one that is helpful, inspiring and educational. So, from this point on, I plan to consistently share a variety of helpful Information, new Recipes, Fitness Challenges, and Fitness and Nutritional tips to help you on your own healthy journey. My domain name may have changed Рso that it reflects who I actually am Рbut it is still dedicated to sharing my Healthy Living Dreams. Excited to be back, and moving forward with you all.

  Much love, Alena Elizabeth