As many of you know, I spent the majority of 2014 uncovering food/chemical sensitivities and dealing with them (more on that here).
In February 2015 I successfully finished my LEAP protocol. LEAP is an immunocalm diet/plan that systematically builds a healthy diet of foods that can be tolerated by your body. Thanks to MRT testing and the LEAP diet, I now know how to deal with my food/chemical sensitivity issues and haven’t suffered from any awful symptoms in ages.
However, as my menu of food options grew, so did the number on the scale. I began to overindulge in my favorites (bread, chocolate, pasta, cheese) and slack off in the exercise department.
I needed something to get me on track, motivated to cook, and back into the good head-space I was in while doing LEAP.
Enter the Whole30.
It’s a month-long, clean-eating program that emphasizes eating real, whole, minimally processed foods. The Whole30 is based on the popular Paleo diet/lifestyle. For those who don’t know, Paleo is a long-term nutrition and lifestyle strategy where nutrient-dense foods are encouraged, but inflammatory, nutrient-poor foods are avoided. The Whole30 is more strict and short-term version of that. The focus is to eat mindfully and consume things that are more healthful than harmful. It is also designed to help you observe which foods may be problematic for you. During the 30-day dietary reset, you eliminate added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy.
After reading about the Whole30, I thought it would be a good challenge to get out of my rut, back in the kitchen, on the path to making better health choices. Ryan decided to join me and I’m so glad he did!
We began on August 3. The first week was a little rough since you’re detoxing in a way and may feel tired, moody, hungry, or have headaches. Days 3 & 4 were the hardest for us, Ryan said he felt very foggy and I was irritable and had a pounding headache. But once we were over the hump it was smooth sailing! Well… except for remaining conscious of our grocery budget and staying culinarily creative.
But we both survived and are feeling great!
During the Whole30 you aren’t suppose to focus on weight-loss but is instead look at it as a jump-start for your optimal health journey. However we did a weigh-in before we started out of curiosity. Happy to say I’m down 7 lbs and Ryan is down 13.5 lbs. Besides weight loss, I bid bloated and sluggish feelings farewell, learned that broccoli and I are not friends, and noticed that the skin on my upper arms are much smoother (I have mild keratosis pilaris).
The Whole30 isn’t something that is meant to be maintained longer than a month so we plan to take what we’ve learned and continue to fuel our bodies with nutritious food while also enjoying treats from time to time. Our goal is to eat in more relaxed manner than the Whole30 but still maintain a healthier lifestyle.
To do this we’ll use the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time we’ll follow the guidelines we decide on (that might end up being Paleo or simply upping our vegetable, fruit, and protein intake, while still allowing a little room for nutrient-rich legumes, whole grains, and dairy — moderation is key). Then for 20% of the time we’ll loosen it up and eat what we’d like. Striking a balance between eating for energy and eating for joy is what we’re aiming for!
I did a lot of research before we started and while the Whole30 might not be for everyone (you can read some pro/con articles here, here, here, here, and here) we found it to beneficial since it got us back on track. Only you can decide what’s best for you! Nothing is one size fits all.
Below are a few recipes we enjoyed this month as well as some helpful resources.
For a detailed account of what I ate every day, check out my Whole30 posts on Instagram.
Homemade Ghee (in the crockpot!)
“Baked” Cinnamon Apples
Sweet Potato, Apple, Pancetta Hash (we modified this over time and ended up with our own version: sweet potatoes and pork sausage with an over-easy egg on top – yum)
Crockpot Turkey Chili (swap out the vegetable oil for olive oil, the tomato soup for pureed tomatoes – add water if not “soupy” enough, and the beans for root vegetables like carrots, turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes, etc)
Paleo or Whole30: Which is better? – Stupid Easy Paleo
The 12 Major Things I Learned on Whole30 – Sisterhood of the shrinking jeans
Read Your Labels Carefully with These 6 Whole30 Ingredients – Whole30.com
9 Tips for Surviving Your First Whole30 – Chaarg
What to Expect When You’re Whole30-ing! – Lovely At Your Side
Whole30 Shopping List (for omnivores) – Whole30.com
Whole30 Seasonal Guide (fresh produce on a budget) – Whole30.com
The Round-Up: 30+ Days of Whole30 Recipes! – NomNomPaleo
A great Whole30 Pinterest Board
We didn’t about before the Whole30 but now love…
Trader Joe’s Salted Almond Butter
Applegate Farms Uncured Hot Dogs (100% organic grass-fed beef)
Applegate Farms Chicken Apple Sausages
Wellshire Sugar-Free Dry-Rubbed Uncured All Natural Bacon (found at Whole Foods)
Have you ever done a Whole30? Thinking about trying it? Would love to hear from you!
Wishing you all good health and happiness!