#iamwhole30

I did Whole30 and it was amazing. Even now, a few weeks after completing my first challenge, I’m feeling the effects and reaping the benefits.

Whole30–What is it? Here are the basics:

Over 30 day period, you eat real foods. Fresh is always better. No taking measurements of your body during your Whole30 (W30) journey. You should always shoot for the organic, cage-free, grass fed option. With those as the basics, here is a list of things you cannot have.

Avoid for 30 days
Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.

  • Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.

  • Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)

  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.

  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).

  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)

  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.

  • Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients. Continuing to eat your old, unhealthy foods made with Whole30 ingredients is totally missing the point, and will tank your results faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” Remember, these are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, regardless of the ingredients.

There are always exceptions to rules. W30 has some, too.

The Fine Print

  • Clarified Butter or Ghee. Clarified butter or ghee is the only source of dairy allowed during your W30. Plain old butter is NOT allowed, as the milk proteins found in non-clarified butter could impact the results of your program. Refer to our Butter Manifesto for more details on the milk proteins found in butter, purchasing high quality butter, and how to clarify it yourself.

  • Fruit juice as a sweetener. Some products or recipes will include fruit as a sweetener, which is fine for the purposes of the W30.

  • Certain legumes. We’re fine with green beans, sugar snap peas and snow peas. While they’re technically a legume, these are far more “pod” than “bean,” and green plant matter is generally good for you.

  • Vinegar. Most forms of vinegar, including white, balsamic, apple cider, red wine, and rice, are allowed during your W30 program. The only exceptions are vinegars with added sugar, or malt vinegar, which generally contains gluten.

Let me explain the two big reasons I wanted to give this a go: I wanted to tackle the W30 plan for quite sometime, but I knew I needed to set myself up for success. The first part, was to con someone into doing this rigorous plan with me and that very lucky person was David.  Let me explain the two big reasons I wanted to give this a go:

  1. After several appointments to the dermatologist, I never got a real answer even after a biopsy. Long story short, I have these red dots all over the back of my hand. Now, when I say all over it’s like five bumps that are in a circle and one or two next to the circle. A lot of people said it would be ringworm, some people said it could be due to diet, etc. Everyone just kept giving me suggestions of what it could be. After my biopsy, I found out that sometimes these just appear and form on the backs of people’s hands or the tops of their feet. This happens for no reason at all. I asked the Dr. if it had anything to do with my diet, i.e., gluten and he said it could but there’s not a true link making that case.  my options were to keep the ugly dots, get shots, or use a steroid cream and even after all that “treatment” the specks would just lessen and would never fully go away.
  2. I felt like I was starting to develop a sensitivity/allergy to dairy after I consumed it.

So, why not give W30 a try?

We finished our first round of W30 April 21st and, boy, was it amazing! There were a lot of days that were insanely hard, but other days were so amazing. I could feel my skin feeling better, the specks on my hand went away (not completely, because they never will disappear, but they weren’t red and I couldn’t really notice them). I felt my workouts more. I was getting stronger and leaner by the day! I had mass amounts of energy and sleeping was uninterrupted most nights, too!

A few thoughts, tips, tricks & takeaways

  • Planning and prepping is key

    • Always know where your next meal is coming from

    • Make a list of meals and snacks

  • Once you have it down, there is so much you can actually eat

  • Always ask questions if you are going out to a restaurant

  • Making homemade mayo is time consuming and really hard the first time, but once you figure it out it’s cake!

  • You will eat eggs ALL THE TIME

  • Larabars are life savers

  • Trader Joe’s has really good Ghee, plantain chips, pre made guac and coconut milk

  • Palm oil- it never says you can’t have it. We probably could have had the chips, but we saved them

    • ALWAYS look at labels. I bought plantain chips at Whole Foods, and checked out without thinking/reading the label and they were compliant.

  • Here’s a list of approved things, but just because it’s on this list doesn’t mean it’s not compliant.

  • It’d hard!

  • You WILL have intense cravings. Get up, walk around, do something.

  • I read an article about hunger v. boredom eating that Melissa (founder) said about this. Bottom line, you need to ask yourself, could I get a salad with chicken, tomatoes and sweet potatoes right now. If the answer is no, then you’re bored. If it’s yes, obvs you are hungry.

    • You aren’t supposed to snack, but if you can’t make it then do it. Just make good choices

  • Due to the sugars, limit fruits especially bananas, apples and pineapple

  • Some meals you try will be weird. The worst one we had was avocado eggs. Basically you heat the oven, half the avo, remove the pit and crack and egg into each of the pit holes…warm avocados with eggs the worst.

  • Your meals will be bigger and you will be fuller longer

    • My plate was ALWAYS full. I didn’t really go off the portion guide, because I knew everything I was eating was good fresh food. Plus I was hungry

  • Cauliflower rice was the only thing we made that was on the “naughty” list. You aren’t supposed to make things that emulate “bad” foods. In this case rice

  • You’re not supposed to have smoothies because different neurons act when drinking something v. when you eat something. Also, I think it’s because you are drinking a lot of fruit and no veggies

    • David and I had smoothies. It might be illegal W30, but we ALWAYS packed them with kale/arugula/spinach and never had them with just berries. I always feel full after having a smoothie so I wasn’t too worried about this from the gecko. Also, we didn’t have these more than 2/week.

  • Ghee- butter substitute, we used once. We made a roast chicken for Easter. We never came across another opportunity/recipe to use it.

  • Sweet potatoes were our saving grace. We ate them ALL the time. The last 10 days we cut ourselves off from potatoes because we thought we had them too much

Day by Day break down

The beginning is hard. Days 1-3 I wanted to gnaw my arm off. I was so hungry all the time. I feel that I was a relatively healthier eater to beginning with and didn’t think I’d have any of these issues or symptoms, but they are pretty spot on. Days 9-12, I was so bloated because everything was finally working out of my system, but by Day 13, I could slap on the same jeans (not washed) from Day 9/10 and they fit even better than before! Day 27-32 (we added on 2 extra days, so it was really W32 for us) was tiring. I was so ready to be done. All I wanted was to have some bbq and it was all I could think about. When you know the end is in sight it’s easy to snap. We stuck with it, but I couldn’t wait for that first meal.

Post W30

  • I felt the best I had ever felt. I always struggled with being really bloated after meals, so far it’s not there
  • I lost weight (16 pounds!), but that was just a perk not the main objective or incentive. They also tell you that you might not lose much weight. It just depends on your body. *Side note, I am sure this has to do with the amount I workout too. It wasn’t all attributed to my W30 expereince, but I won’t discount that it’s not due to it!*

  • I have endless amounts of energy

  • The dots are gone for the most part

  • Sleep—I can sleep a full night without tossing and turning (per my Fitbit)

  • My workouts are awesome and last longer

  • I don’t crave sweet anymore (not yet)

  • I’ve been pinning things like crazy. You’ll see some things that have butter, dairy, etc in it but I know enough to switch those out or omit them.

Overall, I loved it and so did David! It was an awesome experience and for the most part we are going to stick with it. David and I have now transitioned into the Paleo lifestyle, and W30 has only helped us to maintain this new change. I absolutely foresee us doing several rounds of W30 each year.

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