The Whole30 rocked my world.
Last fall, I felt like crap. Pretty much all the time. Yet I had no real identifiable health issues. Sure, I had just come off of two unsuccessful fertility procedures and my hormones were all over the place, but we were doing all the right things. Eating “healthily”. Being active (i.e. chasing a 2 year old). Sleeping enough (kinda… I did say we have a 2 year old). But I didn’t feel right, and that started to tick me off. So I decided that my husband and I would try the Whole30.
Don’t know what the Whole30 is? You aren’t the only one. People look at you like you are crazy when you explain that you have voluntarily embarked upon this particular journey. It is basically an elimination diet… You cut out all grains, dairy, legumes (including soy, which is hella-hard cause it’s everywhere), alcohol, and added sugar for 30 days. Then you add stuff back one group at a time to find out what foods make you feel crappy. Except sugar. Just avoid it, people. It makes everyone feel crappy. (That is my uber-abbreviated explanation… for more info, go here. There are books and chat groups and more. It’s a thing.)
I am not here to tell you the Whole30 is easy. It is SO not easy. It takes a good kitchen clean-out, a lot of meal planning and 30 days of non-stop cooking. At least, that is what it felt like. There were days that I felt like the Julia Child of paleo-type cooking. Other days, I’d mess up three batches of mayo in a row and want to chuck my blender through the kitchen window. However, Whole30 rocked my world and was worth every headache and overcooked hard boiled egg. We learned some valuable lessons during those 30 days (which were really 45 days… My husband was a little ticked on day 31 to find out we weren’t done… hehehe). Here they are, in case anyone else out there is crazy enough to try this.
Lessons Learned from the Whole30 Experience… An Overview
- The nutrition education I got from my 10th grade health class was WRONG. So is the food pyramid, and almost everything I thought I knew about healthy eating. I’ve been on the “eat real food” bandwagon for a while now. (That just makes sense.) But I just ate a lot of meat (bacon, steaks, chicken, fish) and way more butter than ever before for 30 days* and lost more than 10 pounds. What?
- Karma will get you for bragging about how easy it is to make mayonnaise. On a related note, mayonnaise soup is not good.
- Grains make me tired. I mean REALLY tired. If I eat pizza, then I might as well have a pillow right there on the table.
- Non-gluten grains (mostly rice) make my husband’s restless leg syndrome flare up. He’s had this issue for all of his adult life and we finally figured it out! Game changer!
- Karma will get you if you cheat on the Whole30, too. I had one beer. And had an allergic reaction to it. That has not happened before or since. Thus… Karma.
- I don’t miss bread. Or cheese. And I truly love those things. Before this experience, I couldn’t imagine giving them up! But when you know how good you feel without them, you just don’t miss them. Or at least I don’t. And I do not have that strong a constitution.
- I could still have bread. And cheese. And grains. Because now I know what they do. I can accept these consequences in certain situations and enjoy these foods. However, they are not a part of my everyday diet. And I feel pretty darn fantastic most days.
*There were LOTS of veggies, fruits and other healthy fats in there too. And the meat was good quality and the butter was actually grassfed ghee. Oh, just read the book: The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom.
We stay pretty close to the Whole30 way of eating most days now, because it agrees with us. I am such a fan that I am going to be putting my mother through the Whole30 this spring, and she and I will both be blogging about that experience. So stay tuned and think about giving it a try!
Disclaimer – I got nothing from the Whole30 people to write this. I bought their book (2 copies, actually) and put my family through this all on my own accord and budget. My opinions are my own and not biased by free stuff. However, the above link for the Whole30 book is an affiliate link, and I will benefit a little if you choose order it that way. But either way, I am eternally grateful to Melissa and Dallas Hartwig for writing their books, as they have truly made our lives better for it.