A few months ago I purchased The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. I was inspired by a few friends who had just completed the Whole30 program. The book arrived from Amazon and I promptly tucked it away in my kitchen cabinet. And there it sat for a good 6 months.
Once October rolled around I decided I was ready to give it a try. After a summer filled with ice cream and chocolate, it was time to give my body a break. I’ve been on the Whole30 plan for 19 days, just a little over half way there.
What is the Whole30?
Before diving in, I read through the Whole30 book. I needed to know exactly what I was signing up for. I’ve participated in several different types of cleanses in the past, and this one looked great.
Whole30 is a short-term nutritional reset. You can do anything for 30 days, right?
Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Whole30 asks you to “strip them from your diet completely”. Sounds scary to go cold turkey, but it’s actually very doable.
What you can do: Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. Yes, you can drink coffee. No sugar.
What you can’t do: Drink alcohol, eat legumes, eat any form added sugar of any kind, real or artificial, no grains, no dairy.
Tips for Whole30
The first few days are rough
I missed sugar. I craved sugar. But I got through it. It wasn’t easy. My challenging time is after dinner. That’s when the sugar craving kicks in. I found substitutes, but they took a few days to really work. 15 days into Whole30 and I’m still craving sugar, but getting through the urge is much easier.
Reading labels is a must on the Whole30 plan. I’m still constantly amazed at the places sugar shows up. For example, Malodextrin showed up in the taco seasoning pack that I’ve been using for years.
I’m still working on this one. Water is so important to help with any detox. Many times when I’m feeling hungry a glass of water or a cup of tea is all that’s needed.
Work hard to get a good night’s sleep. I’m sleeping like a champ. I’ve always been a relatively good sleeper. A few years back I had a short bout of insomnia, but since starting the Whole30 I’m sleeping through the night and have little to no trouble falling asleep.
Find a Buddy
It’s always good to jump into a cleanse with a support system in place. I have a few friends who are doing the Whole30 right now. It’s interesting to hear how everyone is impacted so differently during a cleanse.
Shop for food ahead of time.
Plan out meals in advance. This can be challenging.
Cook in bulk.
This was a lifesaver. I’m trying to make pots of vegetable soup that last for the week.
Don’t Do It For Weight Loss
I have to admit that weight loss is an added bonus, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about giving your system a chance to reset.
Overall I’m feeling great. I’m less irritable, less bloated and my jeans fit fabulously. I’m only 15 days in so hopefully the last two weeks will be more of the same. I’m really missing grains and legumes and of course ice cream.
I would love to hear about your Whole30 experience or if you intend to give it a try.
If you’re being treated for a medical condition, or on prescribed medication please make sure to talk with your doctor before doing the Whole30.
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photo credit: Green Smootie via photopin (license)