About a year ago I decided to check into what the Whole30 was. I had seen a lot of chatter online talking about starting the Whole30 challenge from The Abbi Agency taking on the challenge as a team in January 2016. It left me curious what it was and why would you do it.
Reading The Book
I ordered the Whole30 book off Amazon last February and I was inspired to see if I could cut out foods I had eaten for years and just eat “Real Food”.
Here’s what the program guidelines look like:
- No added sugar of any kind (real or artificial)
- No Alcohol (not even for cooking)
- No Grains (no pasta, quinoa, rice, breads)
- No Legumes (no peanuts, hummus, beans, soy, or tofu)
- No Dairy (no milk, cheese, yogurt)
- No Carrageenan, MSG or sulfites (basically processed added ingredients)
- Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients.
This list may look like a whole lot of no but really there is a whole lot of yes!
The “Yes List” looks like this:
- Proteins (beef, chicken, seafood, turkey, bison)
- Vegetables (carrots, kale, squash, mushrooms, sweet potatoes; the list goes on and on)
- Healthy Fats (avocado, nuts, olive oil, olives; to name a few)
- Fruits (oranges, watermelon, strawberries, cherries, blueberries; just to name a few of my favorites)
Basically the concept is to reset with healthy whole foods that have not been processed and will satisfy you. I have to admit I was skeptical. I love my chocolate and didn’t think I could live without it or without pasta, but I did.
My First Whole30 Challenge
I decided to take the challenge last March. I thought what a great month. It was before my birthday and I didn’t have any other special occasions that might trip me up. I practiced some of the recipes a week before hand to see if I was even going to like anything that I would be eating for 30 days.
I cleaned out a cupboard just for me and put everything else in the non-compliant cupboard for my husband. I went grocery shopping filled the cupboards and fridge with compliant ingredients to make sure I was ready.
March first came along and I started the challenge. I discovered through the 30 day challenge that I really didn’t miss anything I wasn’t eating because I was eating foods that satisfied me. This was VERY surprising. You can check out my first challenge journey through these posts:
I finished the challenge and felt proud and nervous. Now that it was over would I just go back to my old habits. That didn’t happen. I actually went through the reintroduction phase VERY slowly. I would try something for a couple of days in a certain category and assess how it effected me. I discovered that I didn’t really have the cravings I had had before the challenge any longer.
You can see my selfie documentation in the photo above this section documenting January 2016 and the end of March 2016.
I live Whole30 compliant for about 95% of the time since the challenge. I cook and eat foods that are generally what I did during the challenge. If I want something that is not Whole30 compliant I have it but I make sure that I REALLY want it.
I discovered that my brain would try to convince me of things that I really didn’t want by reminding me of the memories of tastes and emotions. Your brain can be very convincing but if you really take the time to evaluate the situation, your emotions, and your desire you will figure out what is best for you.
Coming To A Decision
For Christmas my husband gave me the “Whole30 Food Freedom Forever” book by Melissa Hartwig and the new “Whole30 Cookbook.” This was very timely for me because I had been thinking about taking on a second Whole30 Challenge.
Even though I have been 95% Whole30 since after my first challenge I decided that it would be good to do a reset every six months. This way I could make sure I am really staying on track to healthier habits. I decided January was a good way to kick off the year.
My Second Whole30 Challenge
I kicked off my challenge on the official January Whole30 start date on January 2nd. It was awesome to have so many others taking the challenge along with me! I really felt like part of the Whole30 community. During this challenge I really took advantage of the online resources that were available to me.
There are so many resources for you from the Whole30 community. Here are my favorite resources:
- Whole30 book
- Whole30 Food Freedom book
- Whole30 website
- Whole30 Instagram Account
- Whole30 Recipe’s Instagram Account
- Melissa Hartwig’s Instagram Account
I really don’t find the challenge all that difficult. However, I find that it is helpful that I work from home mostly and I keep the house stocked with food that I can eat.
What I find most challenging is when I go out to eat or when I am traveling. I do my very best when I am in these situations but it is challenging.
When I traveled to Dallas, Texas last month it was during my second week of the challenge. I ate a lot of:
- Lettuce Wrapped Burgers
My dining choices were not exactly plentiful because of where my hotel was located. I’ve decided to make sure to plan better for my next trip which will include bringing:
I did make it through the challenge and have taken note of the following accomplishments:
- Tried some new recipes from the Instagram account and the new “Whole30 Cookbook”.
- Traveled during the challenge and learned how to become resourceful in finding food I could eat.
- Tried out Larabars and RX Bars which will definitely be a part of travels next time.
- Discovered I am pretty good at making up my own recipes.
- Encouraged others online to keep them motivated.
- Documented with selfies to compare my progress through out each week.
- Feel healthier
- Feel happy
- Feel accomplished
- Cook like a boss in the kitchen
My Whole30 Lifestyle
Along my journey I have been documenting my progress with selfies. Above you will see on the left me in January 2016 and on the right is January 2017.
The Whole30 has changed me. I embrace the changes and have found that I am happier and healthier because of the lifestyle I lead. I have found food freedom and I am happier for it! Thank you Whole30 and Melissa Hartwig for sharing your knowledge and support for others to find their food freedom!
I am Whole30! Here’s to food freedom forever!