A month ago, we started Whole30. This means, we have officially completed 30 days of eating no added sugar or processed foods, and only foods with ingredients we could recognize. Although weight loss is a nice side effect, I’m amazed at the lifestyle change that took place in the last month and the mindfulness of food that comes with such an experience.
The question that keeps coming to my mind is “Why didn’t I eat this way before this experiment?” How did I eat without reading the ingredient list- didn’t I care for my body enough to know what was going to nurish it? Why is it so acceptable to put toxins into our body because “it tastes good”? I realize it is all because we are just little kids at heart who want what satisfies our sweet tooth or our “cravings” and usually in a lack of moderation. Yet we don’t want to take the responsibility when we get the diseases that come from our childish eating habits. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Time to wake up!
A major result from Whole30 is that I no longer am battling with my stomach pain. My doctor had prescribed me IBS medication before going on Whole30 and I’m very happy to say I will not be going to fill the prescription. What an amazing feeling to no longer have stabbing pains after every meal! And to think I thought it was normal….
This month has taught me so many things. Like, I ate trash before. I’m embarrased to admit this, but I would seriously eat multiple packs of fruit snacks a day! How old am I- five?! But they had fruit and vegetable juices in them… This month without sugar made me mature my palette, so to speak. I feel I can wave goodbye to my beloved gummies and move on to far better and nutritiously dense foods. My ever so active sweet tooth did strike throughout the month, so you know what I did? I would have some dried blueberries. Or dried mango. And I kid you not, those items tasted just as good as candy to me.
The main 5 lessons I learned during Whole30 are as follows:
1. Eat bigger meals! But in order to eat more, the substance has to be balanced and wholesome- enough vegetables, “clean” protiens (as organic as possible), and fats. I never left a meal feeling hungry (which was happily realized). I ate avacados like they were going out of style- a half an avacado (which is the appropriate fat amount per meal) paired with an egg for breakfast tastes delish!
2. Drink tons of water. I didn’t drink enough water, so this is a continued goal for me as we continue to adopt the Whole30 eating habits after the initial 30 days. As we all know, water rids the body of toxins. Since Whole30 is a cleanse to the body, there are plenty of toxins that need to be flushed!
3. Sugar is everywhere- beware! That sneaky ingredient is in things like ketchup, pickled asparagus, chicken broth (serious?!) and even Lawry’s seasoning salt (this was a huge dissapointment for me as I am such a fan). Sugar does make everything taste quite good, so why wouldn’t it be snuck into processed goods? I learned I had to read the ingredients on everything!
4. Meal planning is essential. I knew I couldn’t just run to the deli down from work for a quick bite at lunch, so planning for three whole meals each day is imparitive for success. It seems like alot but after the first few weeks, we got into a groove of what recipes we liked to repeat- and we just knew eggs were going to be for breakfast. (We went through 7 dozen eggs the first week. It was insanity.)
5. Try new foods and new ways to cook! It’s amazing how good wholesome foods really are. I never, ever, ever thought I would like riced cauliflower. But you know what? I loved it. I learned you can’t think of it as a “replacement” for rice, but eat it with an open mind, realizing what food it actually is. When things are seasoned well, they can be so, so yummy!
Some of our favorite recipes included sheet pan chili lime shrimp fajitas, moroccan spiced shredded beef with moroccan cauliflower rice, and salmon patties with mango salsa. (The later two are found in The Whole30 Cookbook.) Don’t those all sound great?
I will get off my soapbox now but I do think everyone should give Whole30 a try. Even if the experiment ends after the allotted time frame, it creates a heightened awareness to consumed ingredients!