Last night I finished my first complete Whole30, meaning I had no dairy, soy, wheat, legumes, or sugar for 30 days. I admit I was nervous when I started because of the dairy and my love affair with cheese and butter. I could have fruit, so sugar was not a big deal. I worried because the Godfather did not do this with me, we did no cleaning of the pantry, I even baked him bread several times during the month. I thought that would be more challenging, but it wasn’t. I really enjoyed my Whole30 month. Read my story below…
Here’s what I learned the past 30 days. There’s an INCREDIBLE variety of foods one can eat aside from dairy, soy, wheat, legumes, and sugar. I read about food boredom on the Whole9 Life website and on various other blogs, but I have to say, I never felt it. Instead I felt more creative, more motivated to explore flavors and keep things varied. The Godfather helped a lot by trying new meat recipes and modifying spices to be sure I was always compliant.
I learned to eat more at meals and less/little in between, and when I thought that would result in immediate blood sugar crashes, I found I was wrong. I didn’t go looking for coffee or something sweet as an energy boost in the afternoon, which given the amount of energy required by one small human and one small dog, is pretty amazing.
I think I noticed the biggest change from “before” when I decided to track my calories one day. As I put in what I was eating, and saw how different it was from the “recently added” suggestions from the last time I used the app, I paused. I was eating much more bread, smoothies for breakfast, etc, a far cry from the high protein diet I know makes me feel my best. I have never, ever, been good at cereal for breakfast.
Starting today, I’m adding things back into my diet slowly, and in moderation. I fully believe in maintaining a balance while enjoying all food, and I have some really amazing ideas for recipe development coming your way. But I’m working now from a better place, starting with a clean slate, feeling balanced again, and so I know it will help me maintain long-term.
I had several non-scale victories I celebrated this month. The first, posted on Instagram last week, was fitting into my first flamenco costume again. It’s snug, but the dress was custom made for me when I was just about at my smallest adult weight and has zero stretch, so it’s a much better judge of changes than most things in my closet. So I am very excited about that, especially since it’s hard to be as active in the winter than in warmer months when I can go outside.
The second, is the reason for my official “after” photo outfit choice. On May 19, 2013, I found out I was expecting. I had been feeling a little bloated, but my clothes still fit so I didn’t think too much had changed. We were booked to go to Arizona for our wedding anniversary that week and I packed this little black dress to wear the evening of our anniversary dinner. When I went to put it on at the resort, it didn’t fit over my hips and I broke down in tears. Part of it was hormonal, but the other part was me feeling I was losing a battle I fight constantly. I struggle to look in the mirror and seeing what’s actually there and not just every flaw blown way out of proportion. When something that used to fit, doesn’t, I feel like I’ve failed myself and, as a dutiful first child with the personality that comes with, failure is not an option.
So I kept the dress, and every few months after the birth of our daughter, I’d check again and see if it not only fit, but didn’t leave me looking like a stuffed sausage. I tried it again yesterday, and for the first time it passed the “I can wear this in public” test. So this is my after picture, for now, and no, my hair is not done and it’s just daytime makeup. I still have lots of room for improvement, and I’ll get there, but this is a beautiful way to start 2015. If you’d prefer numbers, I lost a total of 9 pounds and a couple inches everywhere, I just didn’t bother tracking how much because the dress was my progress marker.
Thoughts About the Program
I loved it. Should I feel in the future that my food “balance” has disappeared, I’m going to do this again and I’ll probably do a week or two here or there from time to time just because. I’m not ever going Whole365, and those of you who know me know that I’m not into Pterodactyl wings and fads enough to go whole-paleo/primal/whatever, but I do firmly believe in balance and whole foods. Eat mostly unprocessed foods, in the best quality possible, prepared in a variety of styles, and then you can have treats and junk food in moderation. Because food is meant to be enjoyed and shared with those you love, not vilified.
If you’re thinking about starting a Whole30 and want someone to cheer you on, let me know. I’d love to! I’m also happy to answer any more specific questions about my experience, including a zillion different ways to enjoy scrambled eggs, or share resources I’ve found.
To help you, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite Whole30 compliant recipes on the Goodie Godmother website below and a few other resources I found useful. Enjoy!
Whole 30 Recipes on Goodie Godmother (as of Feb 6, 2015):
- Chipotle Sweet Potato Latkes
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Beef Potato Bites
- Slow Cooker Short Ribs
- Vegan Taco Bowls with Cilantro Lime Cauliflower “Rice”
- Bacon Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- Easy Cauliflower Flat Bread
- Cilantro Lime Egg Salad
- Pan Seared Lemon Brussels Sprouts
- Cilantro Lime Aioli
- Crock Pot Apple Sauce
- Rosemary Garlic Oven Roasted Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Ghee
- Winter Kale Beef Soup
- Crispy Oven Pork Belly
- Ropa Vieja – Cuban Shredded Beef
- Mashed Coconut Boniato
- Baba Ganoush
- Slow Cooker Chili
- Rosemary Garlic Oven Roasted Chicken
- Roasted Butternut Squash Pumpkin Soup
- Slow Cooker Cuban Chicken
- Garlic Zucchini Noodles with Poached Egg
- Tortilla Espanola
Other Great Resources: