As a whole foods fanatic and a true lover of fruits and vegetables with a mostly 90/10 diet, I thought the Whole30 Challenge would be a total breeze! So far, it’s been amazing overall, but it’s also been challenging in ways that I didn’t expect. Wanting that one beer while watching the National Championship Game, or wanting that one little piece of dark chocolate after dinner. And no HUMMUS!? My beloved.
What is it? For 30 Days, No Dairy, No Grains, No Added Sugar, No Alcohol, No Legumes.
Why? Whole30 cuts out sugar (except for natural sugar from fruits and veggies), which is the main offender in most of our diets. Cutting out dairy, grains, and legumes gives your digestive system a rest, and gives you a break from some of the most common food sensitivities. Although I am not an advocate of deprivation…I am definitely an advocate of challenging yourself and giving your body a reboot. This isn’t wheatgrass and lemon water for 30 days – It’s real, plentiful, whole foods.
All of the fruit.
I’m not a big sugar-eater. I don’t eat processed junk, and I don’t eat desserts. (I’d rather eat a taco). But I do love my grains, so my body is missing those easy-access carbohydrates. Which is why it’s telling me to eat all of the fruit. Although it’s natural, fruit is high in sugar, so I try to balance it with eating just as many vegetables. Throwing extra fruit in my salads has been a great way to cut the carb-cravings, and also lessen the need for dressing! Just a splash of balsamic vinegar is really all these salads needed.
Is it naptime?
Day 6 and 7, I was so sleepy. Partially my hyperactive cat’s fault…but also because my body is adjusting to finding new sources of energy, like fat. The Whole30 Timeline confirmed that on days 6-7 you’d feel the most groggy. It was frustrating at first, because I was eating heaps of spinach, sweet potatoes, (local) eggs, and fruit – all of the things that are supposed to boost energy – yet I needed to take it easy all weekend.
Listening to your body is a learning experience. Going through this has already given me a deeper respect for how amazing and complicated the systems in our body are – and it’s a great reminder not to be so hard on it.
I missed my Avocado Toast, so I came up with a delightful alternative that I’ll definitely be making again – even when I’m done with Whole30! (Below) Roasted sweet potato with avocado, chili oil, chili flakes, pumpkin seeds, and orange zest. So good. Seriously, so good. There are plenty of Whole30-friendly alternatives that you can make for whatever your craving is! This weekend I plan to make a cauliflower-crust cashew-cheese pizza.
I generally have a lot of oats, so I missed that nutty, sweet flavor and warmth. Thus was born this masterpiece (below). Bananas with cinnamon and heated up almond butter… Honestly it tasted so decadent, I almost felt like I was eating dessert for breakfast. I’ll definitely make it again after Whole30 with some cacao nibs.
As for other cravings – nothing too serious, but I am very aware of the restaurants that I would love to visit. And I miss my hummus.
This is tough for a lot of people. I’m not a huge drinker – but I do drink. I have a few drinks a week, whether it’s a glass of wine at home, or a few Tito’s and club sodas at the bar with my friends. I’ve learned to avoid binge drinking, except for the occasional few times a year that I just need to let loose. Hey, I’m 25 😉
But the no-drinking hasn’t been hard thus far! I made a vow when I began the challenge that I wouldn’t exclude myself from fun events or social interactions just because of drinking… So I sucked it up and poured myself a sparkling water with lime. Really and truly, the Whole30 website says it best, “It’s not that hard.”
Thoughts moving forward….
- PREPARE. This is the #1 most important key to success with Whole30. You have to think about what you’re going to bring for lunch, when you need to grocery shop, what snacks you’ll want throughout the day. Or else you’ll find yourself rushed and starving with no good options. My savior has been clementines, almonds, and raisins. (Also Larabars are W30 friendly!)
- Don’t get bored! It’s important to keep getting creative and add a lot of variety so you don’t feel restricted.
- Hydrate. Hydrating is important always, but it also helps you feel full throughout the day.