Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Whole30 Experience

It's been pretty quiet around here for the past month, and of course there's a reason for that. I've just finished the last day of my first ever Whole30. I'll let you read as much as you want about it here, and if you're interested in learning even more, I highly recommend this book. The basic philosophy is a 30 day challenge or reset to change your approach to eating. The following sums up what my last 30 days have looked like:
It's definitely been a challenge, but it's also been one of the smartest things I've ever done. I first heard about the Whole30 from reading Carrie and Danielle's blogs, and decided to give it a try. I won't wax on about how much it changed my outlook, but I do think it really highlighted certain aspects of food and eating for me. First of all, do you know how many products contain sugar?! It's staggering and shows up in some unexpected places. By far, the hardest thing for me to adjust to was drinking my morning cup of coffee without the addition of raw sugar. After about a week, though, it was fine and I didn't even think about sugar or grains. I've come to enjoy a splash of canned coconut milk and appreciate coffee for its own flavors. Here is my little bulleted breakdown:

  • The key theme for me during my Whole30: preparation. I planned out meals for the week every Saturday and then went shopping for the entire week. It pays off in the long run. This isn't a plan where you can just grab something on the go when you're in a jam. It takes some thought.
  • Shop local and seasonal. I tried all sorts of new vegetables and recipes using foods from my farmers' market. I cooked a lot and used up leftovers.
  • Find a couple of staple snacks that you can rely on in a pinch. I'm on the road for most of the day for my job, so I don't always get to sit down and enjoy my lunch. I did my best, but it just isn't feasible for me every day. I packed lunches and would snack on some cashews or almonds, or if I was really in a bind, a Larabar (a flavor without added sugar).
  • Eat breakfast daily. Do not skip this step.
  • Don't be afraid to try new things. Cook from scratch so you can control the ingredients. I made roasted tomato soup from whole tomatoes several times. I tried roasted brussel sprouts (!!!) and liked them. I was really creative and even though my boyfriend didn't do the Whole30 with me, he was happy with all of the new menu items!
  • Enjoy the money you'll save by not eating/drinking out for a month! Seriously, though, there are tons of physical benefits (better sleep, clearer skin, more energy), but it was nice to lay low for the month and not worry about going out.
  • Don't worry about what every one else thinks. I gave up on trying to explain what I was doing to people because they looked at me like I had seven heads. Do it for you and your own well being.

I'm not going to lie, I'm really looking forward to going out for a sushi dinner and glass of wine on Thursday night (something I used to enjoy weekly), but this 30 day challenge was eye-opening. I don't think I'll ever go back to unnecessarily adding sugar to coffee or other foods and I really don't need cow's milk. I'm perfectly happy with the almond or coconut varieties. I plan on continuing to shop local and buy the highest quality poultry, meat, and seafood that my budget will allow. I'm enjoying the benefits of the challenge, such as the sound sleep, slimmer silhouette, and lack of intestinal turmoil (the past 30 days dairy-free confirmed the fact that I most likely have a dairy allergy). I really encourage everyone to try this, even if it's just for a few weeks. I promise that you will feel better and see results. In the mean time, I'm definitely looking forward to indulging in a couple pieces of Halloween candy tomorrow!

And now back to my regular blogging!
What's new with you?