I eat relatively clean 85% of the time. Or at least, I try to. My kryptonite is cookies. I’m not sure there is a person out there who loves cookies more than me. Whether I bake them or buy from Blue Ridge Country Store or Paradox Pastry, I love a good cookie.
Like many of you, Thanksgiving through the New Year is a whirlwind of celebratory gatherings, baked goods in the office, and more seasonal treats (Chestnut Praline Latte anyone?) than you can shake a stick at. During that five or six week stretch, I have to be a little more mindful of just how often I practice the “treat yourself” mantra.
This year, there was also a December trip to Italy. I spent eight days eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Most days, I ate TWO cones of gelato – usually with more than one scoop – because that’s what you do when you’re in Italy. I also ate tons of pasta and pizza, two foods I rarely eat on a regular basis. I can promise that after eating the best pizza of my life in Rome, the two slices of pizza I had from a local favorite pizzeria the Friday before New Year’s Eve didn’t stack up.
I believe food directly affects how you feel. As December wrapped, I was feeling sluggish, bloated, and all over icky (my bout with the flu notwithstanding). I have several friends who have successfully completed Whole30 and after asking a couple of them about their experiences, decided to be “that person” and give it a go after the New Year. I need a reset. I need to get back on the healthy eating train. I especially need to figure out which goods (guessing gluten…) gets my all bloat-y and icky feeling in the first place.
For those of you unfamiliar with Whole30:
Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system. – Whole30 Website
On Whole30, you completely cut out dairy, grains, legumes, alcohol, soy, added sugar, and probably something I’m forgetting. Meals consists of protein, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats. You’re also encouraged to eat three BIG meals to help avoid snacking. If you do snack, you’re encouraged to eat “mini meals” instead of, say, a Whole30 compliant snack bar. If you workout, you should have a pre-workout mini snack and a post-workout meal. Of course, Whole30 also says “eat when you’re hungry.” So if you’re actually hungry at 3pm, go ahead and have that Larabar, if it’s the only thing on hand.
If you are at all interested in Whole30, I encourage you to read It Starts With Food first. My friend recommended the book and it really breaks down the science of food, how it affects your body, and what you will experience throughout your Whole30. It’s important to remember this isn’t a “diet.” It’s more of a 30 day nutritional detox. Having read the book, I’ve been able to identify what’s happening to my body and why it’s reacting that way as it happens.
I’m on Day 5 of my Whole30 and so far, I’ve only experienced mild detox symptoms, mainly headaches and today, a not entirely happy stomach. I’ve already seen improvements in my sleep habits – in bed by 10 and out of bed around 5am for my 6am training sessions Wednesday and Friday! – and while I don’t have the photos to compare, I’m pretty sure my eyes are clearer. I’m definitely infinitely less bloated than I was Monday morning.
So far, the “thing” I miss most is sugar in my coffee. I either use Stevia or brown sugar (a habit I picked up on my European adventures) along with my beloved Coffee-Mate Hazelnut creamer in my multiple cups per day, but as neither of those are within the Whole30 “rules,” I’m learning to drink my coffee without it.
Can I get an amen that caffeine is allowed on Whole30?
I did find a pretty good compliant creamer from Nutpods. It’s not blowing my mind, exactly, but it does cut through the bitterness, and I’ve even managed to drink a few cups completely black. I nearly cheated on day 3 by adding a packet of Stevia to my coffee at work, but I thought about it: was it really worth cheating on Whole30 for a single packet of fake sweetener? No. Not it wasn’t.
I’ve been posting my meals on Instagram and following the hashtag #JanuaryWhole30. It’s been helpful to have a community of people on the same journey, experiencing the same headaches and cravings and sharing their recipes. I’m also really looking forward to seeing how my performance in the gym
I plan to post updates throughout my 30 days, as well as recipes and a recap/results post when I’m through the re-introduction phase.
Have any of you done a Whole30? Tips? Favorite recipes? I’m all ears!