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)
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 😉 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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.’
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