I mentioned briefly last week that Evan and I are doing the Whole30 program for the month of January. I’m sure many of you have heard of it and already know what it is, but my mom didn’t and people’s mom’s somehow seem to be my blog’s target audience, so a brief explanation just in case.
Basically, the Whole30 is a strict version of the Paleo diet. For 30 days you can have meat, seafood, eggs, (lots of) vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats like oils, nuts and seeds. Nothing processed. Whole foods, and foods with minimal ingredients that you are able to pronounce. Which all sounds great, but just let me get to the bad news… You cannot have:
- Sugar (of any kind, artificial or real, and that includes honey)
- MSG, carrageenan or sulphites
For 30 days. It is a nutritional reset designed to make you aware of how certain foods affect your body and make you feel. It will undoubtedly change the way you think about food, and maybe even change your life. I’m leaving out some rules, but you can find them all here.
Of course when I first heard about the Whole30 my immediate thought was fad diet, no thanks. You may be thinking that right now. So before you hear my thoughts on it so far, please know that I am not a dieter. I don’t think I have technically ever gone on a diet. There are so many ways to eat these days and I have turned up my nose at all of them: low carb, no carb, vegetarian, vegan, high-protein, keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, breakfast shakes, only shakes, juice cleansing, food delivery service, the same thing for breakfast and lunch but then you switch it up for dinner… Seriously, everyone will recommend something different, so how in the name of pizza are you supposed to know what and how to eat?!
My method of eating has always been…
(Inspiration obviously from Allie Hyperbole and a Half for her original Clean All The Things)
But in moderation.
But here comes the problem with moderation. Who is the moderator? It’s me, and I am doing a crap job of it. If I’m at home and have healthy groceries, great, I’m a healthy eater. High fives all around, self-congratulatory pat on the back to me. Otherwise, if there is food in front of me I will eat it. I used to be 80/20 healthy/non-healthy ratio (ish), but that is dangerously slipping. I don’t know where I’m at anymore. Around the holidays? 100% gluttony. If I’m at a party, I’m stalking the food table and I’m eating all the cheese and all the dips.
So I am doing the Whole30 for several reasons:
1. I feel gross and b-word (rhymes with floated) after eating about 90% of the time. It is so often now that it has become normal.
2. I have never done any sort of experiment to see how certain foods are affecting me. I think that it is very good to be able to know how the food you are putting into your body is affecting your body, so that you can make informed decisions about what you are eating. Maybe cake is making me feel bad. Will I still eat the cake? Probably. But maybe I won’t. Maybe I will only choose to suffer from the cake if it is homemade vanilla cake with buttercream icing. At least I will know what it’s going to do to me and I can make that decision, rather than continue to EAT ALL THE THINGS and feel gross, but who knows why! It could have been any number of these delicious things!!!
3. I should probably simmer down on the wine drinking. I doubt anyone would call me an alcoholic (to my face…) but it would not be a bad idea to cut it out on the weeknights.
4. My go-to snack is some sort of cheese in or on some sort of bread-y carb. This needs to change.
5. It’s the best time to do it. Something like this is absolutely not sustainable for me (they don’t even recommend doing a Whole365 because it is too difficult to make it work), and I just don’t think I could pull it off in the summer. Or any other time when a lot of social things are going on. It is VERY hard to eat out and it requires a LOT of food planning and preparation (which, I am actually really enjoying). But after the holidays is the perfect time. I feel fully gross after stuffing my face for weeks that I don’t want to look at chocolate right now anyway. And also I was off last week so I had several days to get into it.
6. Lose some weight. Of course. It’s not a priority, honestly, but I am not skipping out on cheese and wine for 30 days and not losing some weight. It better happen.
Evan and I are now on day 6, and it’s going really well. I am so glad he’s doing it with me, it makes it so much easier! My holiday bloat (ughhh that word is so awful) was completely gone in three days, and I am already feeling more svelte. Our dinners are very similar to what they usually are (minus when the kitchen reno was going down, that was some dark eating times right there). But I felt better after eating almost immediately. There was no gross feeling. Though Evan and I are both pretty on par with the timeline of how most people feel while doing the Whole30.
Kill all the things was Day 3 for me though, and feeling like I needed to nap all day was on Sunday (which worked out well). And I TOTALLY felt like I had a hangover on Day 2. I think from all the sugar detox, because we went nuts eating all our chocolate from Christmas until New Year’s Eve. The last two days though, I have felt amazing.
I will just go ahead and answer the obvious…I miss cheese and homemade chocolate chip cookies. But not as much as I thought I would, surprisingly, and I do feel very satisfied. Here are the kinds of things we’ve been eating so far:
1. Steamed salmon with lemon slices, sweet potato with coconut manna (or coconut butter, and OMG SO GOOD!!!!), and Evan’s green bean salad (whole green beans cooked, tossed in garlic, oil + vinegar and salt and pepper and then cooled).
2. Lots of giant salads with protein like hard boiled eggs, walnuts, avocado. This one tossed in a lemon garlic dressing I made.
3. Stuffed peppers with ground beef, cauliflower rice (grated cauliflower), compliant marinara sauce (just no additives, no Prego, it has sugar!)
4. Eggs, leftover half stuffed pepper, homemade guacamole.
5. Big salad topped with compliant tuna salad (I made my own mayo using this recipe – it’s delicious and it took literally five minutes), and also sunflower seeds.
6. Grilled pineapple with coconut oil, cinnamon and walnuts. At the time I thought it was one of the best things I have ever eaten, but it’s possible that’s because I hadn’t had sugar for three days.
7. Egg frittata with seasoned ground beef and vegetables, guacamole on the side.
8. Eggs, potatoes, veggies in olive oil, avocado on the side.
9. Spaghetti squash with Evan’s grandma’s meat sauce (made by Evan and so good). The spaghetti squash was really, really good. I was so full but actually felt good after eating this, where normally with spaghetti I’d have to take a nap or something.
And not pictured, but coffee with coconut milk (I would usually use almond milk but it has carrageenan in it) and a bit of cinnamon.
Evan also received The Veggetti for Christmas from my brother Eric and his girlfriend Kenya (THANK YOU GUYS AGAIN!!!) and it works WAY better than both of us expected, so we have been cranking out the zoodles.
ie: the zucchini noodles. They are not too bad at all.
So we have been eating very well, as you can see. But we’re still in the new and exciting phase. I’m sure I’ll be back in a week to tell you about how I hate everything and I just want to eat an entire block of cheese like a banana. And I just need to complain that I cannot find bacon without sugar ANYWHERE! Why does all bacon need to have sugar?!
The biggest struggle I think for me for me is that I have always been the girl who eats everything. My friends used to (lovingly) refer to me as the garbage disposal because of this. Like if you don’t want your food toss ‘er over here ’cause I’ll take it for ya. So to go from someone who leaves no food uneaten to being that girl who makes all the special dietary requests, no dairy, no grains, no beans, no sugar, oh, are there sulphites in this? THEN NO. … That’s tough on my food ego. We’ll see how that goes. But I’m doing it. I’m in it now. Only 24 more days until this happens:
And God help me if I feel anything but amazing after I introduce cheese back into my life in 24 days. I am not sure a life without cheese is a life I want to be a part of.
Have you done a Whole30? Considered doing a Whole30? Think the Whole30 is a cult? TELL ME!