I am both excited and hesitant to write this post, as I’m not sure how best to put it into words. There are so many opinions and methods surrounding diet, health, and wellness, and I definitely don’t think there is any one way that works for every one. All of our bodies are different, and require different care and attention.
That being said, I want to talk to you about a specific method called Whole30. You may have heard of it recently, as it has been talked about over several regular media outlets and social media feeds. Today marks Day 29 of my own personal Whole30 journey, and I want to share my experience with you.
First off, a little background on Whole30. Whole30 was created by the same people who created Whole9, which is basically a way to live a healthy, happy, active, full life! Exactly what we had in mind when we started The Golden Natives :). To give you an idea, here’s the Whole9 manifesto:
Whole30 is a spinoff of Whole9, and it outlines a clear program for you to cut the “less healthy” food out of your diet and “hit the reset button”. Basically, you put yourself on a strict diet of lean meats, veggies, and fruits for 30 days, and then enjoy some pretty amazing and eye-opening results. I don’t want to go too much into it here, because their website explains it beautifully (way better than I ever could) so, if you’re interested please spend some time on Whole30.com. They will outline 8 very clear steps to get you started, including lists of foods you can/can’t eat, shopping lists, meal plans, and very helpful advice. One of my favorite parts is the timeline they provide to give you an idea of what to expect on each day. It’s kind of hilarious how accurate that timeline was for me! And it gave me hope to stick out the first couple weeks, knowing there were better days ahead! I also love to read the testimonials of others who have done Whole30.
You can find enough information to execute your own Whole30 for free on the website, but for added information and motivation I HIGHLY recommend reading their book,It Starts with Food.
I want to leave you with my own experience and results from my Whole30. First, let me start off by saying that I have NEVER stuck to any kind of diet in my life. I’ve always used the excuse that I just don’t have willpower like other people do (so lame, right?!). I strongly believe that the reason I was able to stick with Whole30 was because it’s SO strict and SO clear. You can’t have cheat days/meals, there is NO grey area. You can either eat it, or you can’t. For me, this was what I needed. Black and white! It’s almost like I just had to get up the courage to flip the Whole30 switch to “on”, and then once I did there was no turning back!
This is not to say that Whole30 wasn’t HARD. It was. So. Hard. Especially the first two weeks. And I was eating more than I ever have without feeling full/satisfied. There were times I felt super hungry, got sick of cooking, had cravings, and wanted to give up. I felt like I was constantly shopping, cooking, and cleaning up a messy kitchen. (Luckily, I had Blake doing it with me! He has a lot more determination than I do sometimes!) I definitely had some crutch foods that got me through it: sweet potatoes, sweet potato “sliders”, and In-N-Out (double meat, protein style, with tomato and mustard). I think just about every day I’ve considered throwing in the towel and diving in to a bowl of cookie dough. I definitely could have done better. It was hard for me to eat so many veggies (I really don’t like eating veggies), so I turned to meats and fruit a lot to fill myself up. I definitely drank juice and smoothies more than I should have, but they at least had compliant ingredients! And I indulged in a few SWYPO (read the website to find out what this is!) a few times, I’ll admit. But I stuck with it, and saw RESULTS.
I have had stomach problems for my entire life, literally. My Mom says I cried straight through my first few months of life because of my stomach, and apparently that never stopped ;). I’ve seen several doctors over the years, but nothing ever seemed to work. This is the main reason I started Whole30. I wanted to see if it helped my stomach issues. And let me tell you, it did. I feel like a whole new me! Let’s just say my past problems with cramping, bloating and stomach pains have improved exponentially.
Although my main goal was to improve my stomach, I experienced some added bonuses. These mysterious headaches I had been having disappeared. I lost six pounds, and become a lot leaner. My energy levels have improved – I no longer have that 3pm crash I had for so many years.
One of the BEST things I got out of doing Whole30 – I learned to grocery shop and cook with basic, healthy ingredients. Cooking always seemed to be a big (expensive) ordeal, which resulted in LOTS of eating out. Whole30 taught me how to grocery shop, plan meals, and cook with ingredients I now keep on-hand. It taught me to read labels, and what to look for. This is something that I think will prove invaluable for Blake and me, and I’m so glad I learned it before I had kids!
There ARE great Whole30 recipes out there! You just have to put in the time and work to plan and prep food. Another really great thing about Whole30 is that there are so many people who have done it or are currently doing it right now! They have great results, advice, and recipes to share. And it’s all over social media! Just search the hashtag #whole30 on Instagram or Pinterest and you’ll see what I mean :).
Tomorrow is day 30. I’m not sure where I will go from there, but I know Whole30 has changed my relationship with food in a really big way, and will affect they way I eat/cook for the rest of my life. For some it’s a way to lose weight, for others it’s an effort to cure a specific ailment. The results people see can vary. I can’t tell you what it will do for you specifically, but I can promise you this much – if you make it through a Whole30, you will not regret it!
In future posts, I will let you in on some of my favorite Whole30-Approved recipes. In the meantime, if you have any questions for me, please leave them in the comments below. If you’re doing or have done a Whole30, please share your results!
Stay healthy, stay happy, and of course…
PS – If you could use a little motivation to start your shopping for healthy food, treat yourself to the “Oh Kale Yeah” tote bag pictured above! I’m obsessed :). Find it here – it will make you smile every time you use it, promise!