what is Whole30?!
Whole30 is essentially it is a cleanse or “reset” where you eliminate grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, and alcohol for 30 days. If you’re familiar with Paleo, it’s a very strict Paleo plus no added sugar (ex: honey is Paleo but it’s not Whole30 compliant). This process forces you to evaluate your habits and relationship with food (you can learn more about Whole30 here).
It’s wide range of benefits include improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, asthma, allergies, infertility, migraines, depression, acid reflux, arthritis, ADD, IBS and Celiac just to name a few!
Although I’ve eaten Paleo in the past, for some reason committing to a Whole30 completely terrified me! I steered WAY off course last year and am embarrassed to admit was not eating anywhere close to healthy throughout the holidays. I finally decided to take the plunge and start fresh in the new year I’m so glad I did! Here’s my pro and cons for my first Whole30:
- Better Sleep – Trey is convinced that I’m part vampire since I’m usually exhausted all day and then WIDE. AWAKE. as soon as the sun goes down. Whenever I do finally drift off to sleep, I often wake up several times throughout the night. About 4-5 days into Whole30 I started to get sleepy around 9:30pm and managed to stay asleep a full 8 hours! (the last time I had this sleep schedule I was in the third grade, so this is a really big deal)
- More Energy – possibly related to the amount of sleep I’m getting, I feel like I have more energy than I’ve had in ages. I usually *need* a cup of coffee at 2:00pm to keep going but I haven’t had a second cup all month!
- Clear Skin – I noticed a visible difference in my skin within the first few days! No breakouts at all and I’ve had a nice dewy glow, even though it’s the middle of winter!
- Mental Sharpness – I feel so CLEAR. I don’t know how else to describe it. I feel like I’m sharper at work and more alert overall.
- Less Anxiety- I have generalized anxiety disorder and a history of panic attacks. I’ve learned from previous food experiments that my anxiety improves when I eliminate inflammatory foods like gluten, soy and alcohol, so I wasn’t surprised that I was already feeling less anxious within the first week of eliminations.
- Flatter stomach- you’re not supposed to weigh yourself on Whole30, but I’ve noticed my clothes are fitting better! My stomach is visibly flatter and I don’t feel bloated or “heavy”.
- The Hangover- For the first 3 days I felt exhausted and had a dull headache that wouldn’t go away no matter how much water I drank. Your body if angry bc it wants it’s sugar and simple carbs back (if you’ve ever done keto, they call this the “Keto flu”..same concept.)
- Time consuming- you have to be prepared for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day, 30 days in a row. If you’re SUPER organized you can probably do one big grocery run once a week. But if you’re like me you’ll be making 2-3 trips a week, ha! Lots of shopping, researching recipes, chopping, planning, prepping, repeating. It’s definitely worth it, but it is a LOT and you do have to be prepared for it.
- The explanations – From saying “no thank you” to the mimosa at a bridal shower to turning down dessert at a party, it’s no fun to miss out on the social aspect of food & drinks. I’m not sure why people always seem to have a opinion about what YOU put in YOUR own body, but a lot of times they do. I’ve started to say “I’m doing an experiment to see if this helps with my allergies” and that seems to shut people up. 🙂
Here’s a few things I’ve learned in those 30 days:
- Follow helpful accounts on social media– In addition to the Whole30 website, I follow along on @whole30 @whole30approved and the #whole30 hashtag on instagram. They post complaint recipes, brands, and much needed words of encouragement!
- Get non-compliant food out of sight- Out of sight, out of mind. Don’t torture yourself by leaving chips and sugary snacks out on the countertops! Move flour, sugar, pancake mix, peanut butter, etc. to the bottom of the panty out of eyesight. Move any non-compliant condiments to the back of the fridge and keep your Whole30 ingredients up front.
- Have the right condiments/sauces on hand- Half the battle is reading labels and determining which items are compliant. I suggest stocking up on ketchup, mayo, coffee creamer, salad dressings, etc. ahead of time so you don’t have to read labels right before dinner time (you’re more likely to fall of the wagon if you aren’t prepared!) This is the brand we use the most. I’ll link some of our favorites below!
Have you tried Whole30? What are some of your tips and tricks?! Let me know in the comments below and thanks so much for reading!