Y’all! I did a thing! I completed Whole30 last week, which is HUGE for me! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Whole30 is a 30 day diet that emphasizes whole foods and the elimination of sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy. It’s very similar to the Paleo Diet.
I feel like you need some background to understand how significant it was for me to start and stick to Whole30. I’ve struggled with food my entire life. I never ate healthy as a kid, and in high school I counted my calories to make sure I stayed a certain size and often ate way less than I should have. In college I gained an insane amount of weight due to severe stress and depression. I’ve dieted more times than I can count in the 13 years since I gradated high school. I’ve done weight watchers and my fitness pal more times than I can count. Since Chad and I got married almost 10 years ago we have struggled together. If one of us is eating well, then the other is too. If one of us is eating terrible, then the other is too. So we decided to do this together. And he has been such an amazing support!
I believe 110% that food is medicine and that is affects us emotionally and physically. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in the 7th grade. I also have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and am struggling with infertility. I am also beyond tired ALL. THE. TIME. When I started Whole30 I weighed more than I have ever weighed in my life and felt awful inside and out. Something had to change. I couldn’t keep living on this horrible rollercoaster of yo-yo dieting.
I struggle with not eating enough fruits and veggies and living on things like cheese, sour cream, and peanut butter, which is why I thought Whole30 would be perfect because I wouldn’t be able to eat those things any longer. And for the love of cheese fries…we raise our own meat and produce!!! I have no excuse not to eat healthy most of the time!
During the 30 days I cooked a lot of new recipes. I tried things in soups I probably would not have done before, like kale. I tried cauliflower rice, arrowroot flour, coconut aminos, and ghee. And I liked it! After the first week I really started to feel better. I meal planned like crazy. I made soup on Friday night so we could take leftovers in our thermos for farmers market the next day. It’s almost impossible to eat out on Whole30.
The hardest part about Whole30 was finding food that didn’t have added sugar or other additives. Bacon, salsa, breakfast sausage, ketchup, barbecue sauce, guacamole are just some examples of foods we had to look real hard to find without sugar in them. And eating a burger without bread and cheese is hard, but I learned to use the lettuce as a bun. Instead of tacos with cheese and sour cream we made taco salads with extra greens and sugar free salsa. If you want it bad it enough it can be done. We did make a shopping trip to Sprouts every week when we went into town for deliveries. They have a lot of Whole30 options and a great produce section. We love their fruit! I also learned that I really love kombucha and sparkling waters!
During the 30 days I lost 14.6 pounds and felt so much better. After doing some research and listening to some of the “Food Freedom Forever” book by Melissa Hartwig (who created Whole30), I decided to extend it to 45 days before I gradually add food back in. I felt like I needed a little linger to truly cleanse my body.
It’s important to add food in slowly so you can see how your body reacts to that particular food. Chad decided to go ahead and add foods back in and he’s still feeling great. I will have to be more careful with my foods because of my PCOS. Before Whole30 I was jittery and/or nauseous 75% of the time. That has almost gone completely away, as well as most of my headaches. I also gave up caffeine, which was probably the hardest part because I love coffee, but I put so much sugar in it and wanted to see if cutting out the caffeine made me feel better.
My hope and desire is to continue to eat Whole30 most of the time. It’s going to be hard, but I know it will be worth it. I know how I feel after I eat a greasy hamburger or a bowl of ice cream. And I want to set an example for my daughter. She will never learn to eat healthy if we are not doing it too. But if the family goes out for pizza it’s okay to have a slice. If I’m at a birthday party with chocolate cake, it’s okay to eat a piece. I just have to ask myself if I really want it and if it’s worth it. If it is then great, no harm done and no guilt. It’s the constant junk food and lack of healthy nutrient-containing food that is harmful.
I’m excited to see where this takes Chad and I. I know we can be better people inside and out when we choose to eat the food God has given us to fuel and heal our bodies.
I have several recipes I plan to post over the next few weeks that have become some of our favorites after doing Whole30. Stay tuned for those!