If you’ve never heard of Whole 30 I suggest you go to the Whole 30 website to check it out.
I’m far from an expert on it, but the basic idea of Whole 30 is to cut out every bit of food from your diet that might be irritating or inflammatory, for 30 days, WITHOUT CHEATING. Eat only real, whole foods. This ‘resets’ your body.
And they are very serious about it. Spices, canned veggies, bacon….everything gets scrutinized and if there’s the slightest hint of sugar or unpronounceable additions, too bad for you. Leave it be.
Often people do Whole 30 to lose weight.
Me, I can’t really afford to. I’m one who hears: “Here take more food, you need it!” Or even, “I’d like to be thinner, though I don’t think I’d want to be quite as skinny as you.”
Now, aside from slight annoyances of being small and slight (clothing stores seem to think x-small isn’t worth stocking) I do realize I’m very fortunate to stay slim without trying. At least in our culture, which idolizes the skinny. So I’ll stop complaining already. But if I wasn’t trying to lose weight and don’t want to lose weight, why try Whole 30?
Why indeed. See, I don’t have the greatest love for cooking, and my husband is perfectly happy with cereal for supper. Healthy, decent meals were beginning to happen less and less, to my shame. When my sister-in-law asked who wanted to join their Whole 30 month I jumped onto the bandwagon, thinking if nothing else it would hold me accountable to cook and eat more healthily. And my husband was on board. So we did.
Here’s how it went:
It seemed to take much, much longer to prepare food for Whole 30. I felt like I was making food constantly. The first week I also felt as though I was craving food constantly, like I was never full. Ever. I went through my days thinking about what I had in the house that I could eat. I ate enough, but it didn’t feel like it. None of the others felt this way. I think I was used to food sitting in my stomach more heavily, and all the Whole 30 food I was putting into my mouth digested very easily. The last few weeks I still felt curiously empty but by then I didn’t mind it, the lighter feeling had become the new normal and it felt good!
On day eight I got sick. Very sick. Dizzy, feverish, and throwing up sick. The thought of any Whole 30 food made my stomach churn. All I wanted was what I couldn’t have…toast, oatmeal, breads. I craved foods that would stick in my stomach and settle it. I would’ve given up then and there if my husband hadn’t coaxed me through it. The next day I was fine. Apparently this can happen to some people as their body adjusts.
We traveled far more that month than we expected. I think we were gone every weekend. So we ate out a LOT. And I think that’s the worst part of it all. At home you can still make very tasty food, but at a restaurant? Seeing all the yummy food you aren’t allowed to have and trying to find something that’s ok is PAINFUL!
By about halfway through I was feeling really really good! Good enough that I would do it again just to feel that way. It felt as though every part of my body was working well together. My mind was clear. I didn’t have any of those minor aches and pains that you don’t really think about and just accept as normal life. No random headaches or upset stomach. I just felt great, all the time.
As for my husband, he went from taking two or three Tums most days…to needing none at all. Obviously something was wrong there. He also lost 16 pounds!
I only lost an average of one or two pounds, and have gained it back already. If you, like me, don’t have any spare fat to lose…don’t worry, Whole 30 won’t take it away from you. 🙂
Will we do Whole 30 again? More than likely.
I wouldn’t want to do it all the time, but it was a ‘good’ experience. I tried many new recipes and feel more at ease and spend more time in the kitchen, which is what I wanted to accomplish. And I felt wonderful! After the first week or two that is…
I was also surprised to discover how tasty simple, wholesome food can be. It’s been several months since our Whole 30 month but I still cook using many of the things I used during our Whole 30 month. Olive and coconut oil, fish, simple roasted veggies, lots of fresh ingredients….yum.
My favorite recipes of all:
- Sweet Potato Apple Breakfast Bake – This landed at the very top of my list. Ironic because I’d guess it’s the recipe most people will like least out of all those I’ve listed. But you see, I don’t love eggs. I like them, but they don’t always sit very well in my stomach. Sometimes they even make me feel a bit queasy. And for a Whole 30 breakfast, guess what’s your main option. Eggs, eggs, eggs. Eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs. I often just ate leftover supper for breakfast until I found this recipe, then ate practically nothing else.
If you like super sweet things, you won’t like this. I don’t love super sweet things…give me a fresh hot roll over cake or cookies any day. Maybe that’s why I like this so much. If I had to describe it I’d say it’s like a not-so-sweet sweet potato casserole with a slight oatmeal-ish texture. It’s warm comfort food that settles easily in my stomach and makes me feel contentedly full. I’ve made it countless times since then. Even now I have some sitting in my refrigerator. Mmmm.
2. Oven-Baked Blackened Tilapia – Anyone who likes fish should like this one. It’s become my go-to quick lunch. I try to always keep a bag of frozen Tilapia fillets and a little container of the seasoning on hand, though recently I’ve been using butter instead of oil. It gets high praise from my husband as well. Delicious!
3. Mustard Balsamic Pork Chops with Rosemary – This is another make-again recipe and I have made it again, several times. I’ve even put the pork chops and marinade together into a freezer bag, let it sit for a while, then frozen it for a quick future meal.
4. Lemon Garlic Herb Salmon – I made this for my husband’s birthday meal. He was impressed. 🙂
5. Whole 30 Chicken Tenders – These certainly aren’t the normal chicken tenders you’re used to, but they are surprisingly tasty. This recipe doesn’t quite reach the ‘make while not doing Whole 30′ mark, but I still made them several times, and enjoyed them too.
6. Whole 30 Ketchup – This isn’t much like Ketchup but it’s a very yummy dipping sauce! Goes perfectly with the Whole 30 chicken tenders.
One of the most difficult things for me was snacks. I like to nibble all day long. I don’t know what I would have done without nuts…nuts and raisins. Perfect combination. Frozen grapes are also an excellent snack, plus they’re fun to eat. And my sister-in-law made this beef jerky, of which I tried a piece that was very good! I tried to make some as well but it was a spectacular fail. Anyone want a charred little stick with a few faint traces of what used to be meat? No? Sigh.
And to finish things off, here are some more great recipes:
Homemade Mayo – It’s great fun to make. 🙂