We did it! We completed the Whole30!
The past 30 days, I have become so much more aware of what I have been putting into my body. The way I look at food has changed and I’ve developed some wonderful habits that I will carry with me into the future. I feel like my body is running the way it’s supposed to and no longer experience any bloating or cramping that I would experience periodically in the past.
If you are thinking about taking on the Whole30, here are a few tips and take aways I got from the experience.
1. Preparation is key. Our success would not have happened if we did not prepare. Having items ready to go in the pantry or refrigerator was essential. If you have healthy choices available, you will make the right food choices. Every Sunday was my day to create a menu for the week, get my grocery shopping done, and meal prep. I will definitely continue to meal prep on Sundays going forward. It has made breakfast, lunch, and snacking a breeze throughout our busy work weeks. If you are needing ideas on what to prepare for the week, check out my post Taking on the Whole30 Challenge.
2. Read your labels. Having Celiac Disease has forced me to carefully read labels for almost 6 years. I thought I was very aware of what I was putting into my body. Boy was I wrong! Doing the Whole30 took it to another level. Sugar is in everything! It’s very tricky and goes by several different names. I found it in spice rubs, salsas, and even cans of tomato sauce. Same goes for preservatives and food coloring. I was very disappointed to see that even my beloved banana peppers had food coloring added. Make sure you are reading the ingredient lists carefully. If you can’t pronounce it, chances are you can’t have it. Google was very helpful when I wasn’t sure.
3. Make it yourself! Most store bought dressings and condiments are made with canola oil, a big no-no on the Whole30, and that’s before all the other unnecessary junk that they add! The few out there that are Whole30 compliant are expensive. Save a few bucks and make it yourself. I made this delicious Sunshine Vinaigrette for our salads. So tasty! I also made this mayo recipe with an immersion blender in minutes and it tasted so much better than the store bought stuff! I will never buy salad dressing or mayo again!
4. Bulletproof coffee is the best way to start your day. I was introduced to bulletproof coffee about a week into the Whole30 and my life is forever changed. One cup keeps me satisfied until lunch time. Traditionally with bulletproof coffee you add a tablespoon of organic, unsalted, grass-fed butter (yes butter), and a tablespoon of coconut oil. Since I was avoiding dairy on the Whole30, I just added 1 – 1 ½ tablespoons of coconut oil with my cup of coffee and blended it for about 20 seconds. The result is a delicious, frothy cup of heaven! The coconut oil is filled with medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) and they provide an instant source of energy. Diets that are high in MCT’s have been shown to increase metabolic rates. I am looking forward to giving it a try with the grass-fed butter which will boost my drink with Omega 3’s.
5. Drink water and eat enough food. During that first week I was definitely experiencing the sugar detox. I had a dull headache, was tired, and had total brain fog! I definitely had a few embarrassing moments at work. Make sure you are drinking lots of water to make the detox process a little easier. Also, make sure you are eating enough food. The Whole30 is not about not eating or restricting the amount that you are eating. No counting calories! It’s about eating the right foods. There were a few times I did not bring enough food with me to work or while I was running errands. It took everything in me to not breakdown and hit up a vending machine. So always over prepare and bring something extra to snack on just in case!
6. Know the rules. Make sure you completely understand what you can eat and what to avoid. Here are a few links that were very helpful during the Whole30.
7. Believe that you can. The Whole30 is much more of a challenge mentally than it is physically. Don’t tell yourself you aren’t going to be able to live without X, Y, or Z foods. You will never succeed with that mentality. You can do this. Treat your food like what it is – fuel. This is only 30 days. Give it your all and don’t cheat on yourself. Not only are you going to feel amazing physically when you are done, but mentally as well. The sense of accomplishment you experience when you are finished will boost your confidence to take any challenges that may come your way in the future.
All in all, my husband and I definitely plan to do the Whole 30 again. We are both so happy that we took this challenge and completed it. Not only do we feel better physically but mentally. I think we will try to complete this twice a year (as long as its not Bears season he says).
Are you doing the Whole 30 or have completed it?
What have been some of your greatest challenges or celebrations? Any tips you can offer for others? Let us know if the comments below!