Whole 30 Recap & Meal Suggestions
It's been one whole year since I did Whole 30 and I've realized that a blog post about it makes a ton of sense since I've basically already written one in e-mail form that I've shared with everyone in my life who has done Whole 30 in the past year. If you want to go strait to the meal ideas & tips, scroll down now.
Background/About my Whole 30 Experience:
Let me just say that I did Whole 30 during a busy but perfect time to do it. I was home for the entire month, no travels and was in Yoga Teacher Training which ate up all of my free time outside of my full-time job so I didn't have any temptation to go out with friends for dinner or drinks.
Being a year out now I can say that overall it was a good thing to do. There were certainly days and moments when I didn't feel stellar and it's still hard to say whether that was Whole 30 or any of the other million elements of craziness in life at the time (renovating a condo, moving, planning my wedding!) but all in all I think it's a good program. This is a great diet to try if you know that there are foods that make you feel crumby but you're not exactly sure which ones they are, and it's a great diet to try if you just can't seem to figure out which things to cut and which to keep. This is very black and white, and although it's pretty extreme, it covers all the basis. For me I approached this from the perspective of "I am deathly allergic to all of the food items that are not Whole 30 compliant so they are literally not even options". And that pretty much nipped the temptations and cravings in the bud, well that and staying full. The number one trick is to fill up at meals because when you start to get hungry that's where cravings kick in. And I will say that it is hard to find good filling snacks on Whole 30 so be prepared to prep your heart out, making TONS of mini meals.
I found that the first few days were fine but heading into week 2 I did not like the way I felt. Granted, there were a few other factors so I can't say for certain that Whole 30 is what made me feel meh for a week or so there but at that point I wasn't sold on it. It really wasn't until the final 10 days that I saw and felt the difference. In the last 5-7 days I started becoming acutely aware of the end coming into sight and my thoughts were just about the exact opposite of what I would have predicted. Instead of fixating on what I would indulge in first, I started feeling as if I was about to leave my safe little cocoon of healthful eating and was going to be suddenly thrust into a big scary world of crazy food options. I felt overwhelmed. And then I realized, hey I don't have to stop this Whole 30 thing just because I hit 30 days. And so, although I have come off of it, now 2 weeks out I would say that only about 20-30 percent of what I have eaten in July has been non Whole 30.
I have always considered myself a pretty healthful eater but this has taken it to a whole new level! I try to eat mostly Whole 30 during the week because 1) I like the way I feel & 2) knowing that my diet is limited truthfully makes it easier to shop and create simple meals.
At the beginning of the program and the end you weigh yourself and while I definitely think I was coming in heavier than usual right before and lighter than usual right after the scale said I lost 8lbs! I think it was more likely around 4lbs but I did feel really good.
What to eat during Whole 30:
- Eggs & Fruit. I discovered that my favorite combo (also easy for taking on the go) was hardboiled eggs & blueberries.
- Sometimes I added Applegate Chicken & Apple Sausage or Wellshire Farms Paleo Bacon from Whole Foods. Spice it up on the weekends and make a veggie scramble and of course top with avocado.
- Overnight chia seed pudding with chia seeds, homemade almond milk, and some nuts & berries
- Espresso with homemade almond milk
- Leftovers!!! Make lots of everything because you are going to eat multiple "lunches" anyways.
- Roasted chicken, a sweet potato and some veggies (raw bell peppers, or leftover grilled veggies) was a go to for me.
- Tuna, Egg, or Chicken Salad made with Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil based Mayo (see this post on 3 ways to eat tuna salad for lunch!)
- Chopped salad with any veggies and protein (chicken, proscuitto, egg, etc)
- For salad dressing do olive oil/lemon/herbs/salt & pepper
- Avocado & nuts/seeds for a snack (I ate a lot of slivered almonds and pumpkin seeds)
- Olives are also a good snack just check labels.
- As far as condiments go, you can have mustard and pickles as long as they are compliant so you just have to read the labels. Or make your own like this yummy pesto.
- Lots of grilled meat, veggies and potatoes (I did it in the summer so grilling was a big part of my experience)
- Steak, fish, chicken, turkey - any protein you want although now I don't eat as much red meat so that would be different. I did a lot of citrus marinates, lemon/lime/lots of herbs and garlic.
- Little roasted potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, or sweet potatoe fries. Potatoes are your new best friend.
- Turkey or beef homemade bolognese (just dont add sugar!) over spaghetti squash or spiraled zucchini.
- Shredded chicken in Trader Joe's salsa verde used in a taco salad with pico and avocado.
- Homemade chili - just omit the beans and season on your own without a seasoning packet (same goes if you did taco meat for lettuce wrapped tacos). I did chili over a baked potato a couple of times and it was delish.
- Bunless cheeseless burgers & compliant hot dogs, which I thought would have been awful but it wasn't, as long as the burger was juicy it wasn't bad at all with mustard, pickles, tomato and avocado
Here are a few of my favorite learnings/ things I've kept up since last June:
- I still make my weekly almond milk, except when I'm traveling of course and then I am flexible. I used to be addicted to Splenda & half/half but not anymore!
- I eat two hardboiled eggs and a handful of blueberries for breakfast now instead of my pre Whole 30 breakfast of Greek Yogurt, homemade granola and berries
- I love potatoes and eat them as my main carb during the week - I used to think they were a waste of a starch but now I adore them.
Have you done Whole 30? Are you thinking about doing it? Would love to hear about your experience below in the comments!