Guys. I finished Whole30!!!! For those of you who haven’t heard me talk (aka complain about not being able to eat something) about Whole30, it is a jumpstart into paleo eating. For 30 days: no grains, no dairy, no processed foods, no added sugars. Also, no booze. And another kicker, no paleo-versions of your favorite treats. That means if you’re craving pancakes, you can’t make a gluten-free, paleo-ized version of them. There’s also a bunch of other little rules and some minute exceptions – you can read all of them here.
During my 30 days, I was asked a ton of questions–and don’t get me wrong–I love the questions!! But, I followed my answers up with a “I’m going to blog on tubbytuesday about this!” so… here I am!
WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?! I thought you were super tubby and loved food. I am super tubby and I do love eating food! Whole30 is all about knowing where your food comes from–no processed foods. Almost everything you eat, you make yourself. You’re held accountable for what you’re consuming, and that was something that definitely appealed to me. I obviously love cooking and my busy schedule this past year “prevented” me from spending time in the kitchen. Aka, I was making excuses and eating out a lot. I think Whole30 could be a little more difficult–but not impossible–for people who don’t enjoy cooking… but alternatively, it could really teach you how to cook. Maybe you’ll even learn to love it! I also started Whole30 because despite loving food, I was loving food a little too much. I had the worst eating habits. AKA I would stress eat all day and then come home from school at 11pm and RAID my kitchen and then promptly fall asleep. And then wake up and do it again the next day. It was out of control and I was gaining a lot of weight which I was completely unhappy with. Whole30 is about changing those habits and trying to prevent food from “controlling” you.
Why can’t you eat that? Before I decided to do this, I read “It Starts with Food” which is a book I would highly recommend to anyone considering paleo/Whole30. It talks about the biological effects of what you consume and it made sense. For me, Whole30 really came down to one thing: eating nutrient-dense foods. Carbs are great, but they’re just meaningless carbs. GASP. I know. This is coming from the girl who used to eat an everything bagel everyday in college. I seriously recommend reading the book but if you have quick “why not?” questions, then scope out this manifesto series.
Sooooo… how about them cheat days? No! No cheat days. You can do anything for 30 days, I promise. If I can do it, you can totally do it too. Now, is that to say my Whole30 was the most perfect Whole30 to have ever happened? Hell no. But I tried to stick to it as best as humanly possible. When I cooked, I stayed 100% compliant. However, I went out a total of 7 times during my Whole30 and tried each time to keep it as perfect as possible (except for one time… see below!). I chose foods and restaurants that were the most compliant. You can also make your favorite restaurants compliant. For example, at Chipotle, carnitas are the compliant protein. Get extra guac and cut the beans and rice and you’re all set. You can ask for burgers wrapped in “lettuce-buns” and ask for your sushi to get rolled in cucumber instead of rice.
I bet I slipped here and there (it’s tricky when you’re dealing with compliant oils!), but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Also, I confess: I ate fried bananas at a Brazilian steakhouse. They were definitely covered with some type of batter or grain… but they are my favorite non-meat item there though, and I couldn’t say no. It was my one cognizant cheat. I know. I’m sorry, Whole30. I regret nothing. I love those fried bananas.
What are you eating? Omg. A lot of delicious food. I discovered my new favorite way to make chicken (Cracklin’ Chicken) and learned that turkey burgers (from Trader Joe’s) sans bread are actually pretty delicious. I ate A LOT of guacamole (again, thanks TJ’s!) and went through over a dozen avocados (not including the ones in the guac–I went through two and a half packages of Avocado’s Number Guacamole) during my 30 days. Sweet potatoes + my microwave became my new best friend and figured out a way to make easy roasted garlic mashed potatoes (I’ll post these recipes one day, I promise!). But mostly, I ate a lot of fresh or sautéed produce. I grilled a lot of my proteins–steaks, pork chops, sausage, and burgers. It was great. There are also a lot of packaged (but not exceedingly processed) foods out there! Applegate has compliant deli meat. Their roasted turkey breast is my favorite. There’s also a ton of sausages–I found them at TJ’s, Whole Foods, and BJ’s. I also discovered Larabars. Try the Apple Pie and the Cashew Cookie. You’re welcome.
Also, I discovered bulletproof coffee. That in itself deserves a post.
Okay, but how do you feeeeeel? Does it “work”? I felt great, honestly! I thought everyone was out of their minds when they were saying that Whole30 did such magical things to you. I shouldn’t be, but I am genuinely surprised by how great I feel when I’m eating better. Tiger blood is real, y’all. No seriously. I am sleeping WAY better. Meaning I don’t wake up during the night and I feel way more refreshed in the morning. I have a Jawbone Up that tracks my sleep–and the difference is actually noticeable when I go back and compare to pre-Whole30. As a result of my improved sleep, I have way more energy and feel better as a whole. And my skin has cleared up–which is aweeeesome. And, I can actually manage my cravings now. I’m far from perfect, but I’m definitely better about eating when I’m actually hungry. I’m more cognizant of the difference between satiety and satiation.
As for the whole losing weight thing, I’m honestly not sure how to answer this. I started going to the gym (a place I affectionally call the “James” because I used to be so unfamiliar with it) part of the way through Whole30… so, yes, I lost some weight, but I don’t think 100% of my weight loss can be attributed to eating alone. I lost 8 pounds (although most of that is probably water weight), but what’s most exciting is I’ve lost a total of 8 inches from my hip, waist, and thighs combined! My clothes fit better and any excuse to go shopping is great in my book!
Are you going to continue? I would like to. I’m still deciding. I know I said carbs are meaningless but I love bougie pizza and I KNOW I couldn’t go without Vietnamese food for forever. HOWEVER, I’ve also figured out that carbs (??) make me feel sluggish and bloated. I’m trying to figure out how to continue paleo because I think it’s fantastic, but I also don’t think it’s sustainable for me at this point in my life. And I’m really not ready to part with donuts, despite the after-effects. I’m going to continue with the “reintroduction” phase to try to figure out what effects various foods have on me. We’ll see! Suggestions are always welcome if you’ve done this before/are doing it now!
I don’t know if I’ve covered every question I’ve been asked but I’m always happy to answer more. I’m far from a paleo expert, but I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned. Quick cheesy shout out to my really awesome friends who were supportive about my cavegirl eating habits and were especially wonderful about telling me that I didn’t aaaaaaactually want to eat that carb-y, (not) delicious-smelling pizza.