Today is Day 15 of my September Whole30 – halfway there! It was this day on my last go-around that I decided Whole30 was not for me (tip: do not go from a plant-based diet to Whole30 in 24 hours. Your body will NOT thank you. In fact, it will hate you and show you its disdain in every way possible). I spent the next 4 months changing my diet to incorporate more Whole30-esque foods: organic meats, eggs, limited soy intake but definitely kept the carbs and sugar in full-effect.
For those who don’t know, Whole30 is, essentially, 30 days of whole foods – no sugar, no carbs, no gluten, no dairy, no legumes, no soy, no additives and a few other things, but lots of veggies, fruit, nuts, and organic and sustainably raised meats (think: wild caught salmon, grass-fed beef, eggs from pasture-raised chickens, etc.). The idea is to rid your system of common foods that you may not digest well in order to reset your digestive system and overall health, boost your immune system, as well as raise awareness and, hopefully, get rid of bad habits (think: eating the entire bag of potato chips in one sitting, rewarding yourself with ice cream, etc.).
I’ve realized a thing or two along this journey that
Get over zealous at the grocery store.
At the start of week two I was pumped. I had spent the entire week scavenging through Instagram saving every Whole30 recipe I could find and adding them all to my meal plan for the next week. So many recipes, so little time, but I was determined to fit them all into one week. Red flag #1 – don’t do that. As exciting as new recipes that are a) compliant and b) actually look delicious are, spread them out throughout the 30 days. This will give you something to look forward to in the weeks to come when the novelty and excitement of the program are likely to wear off and you’re wondering why you ever succumbed yourself to 30 days of this…bliss.
On Sunday of week
Be realistic in your meal planning. That chicken you had scheduled for Wednesday may not sound good anymore or you may want to eat out Thursday instead of having leftovers again. Be flexible and freeze whatever you can so that your groceries don’t go to waste!
Try to eat regular meals at regular times.
Something that almost never, ever happens to me has started to happen during my Whole30 adventure…my appetite has almost completely vanished in the mornings. Most days I jump out of bed, starving, and eat breakfast, sometimes even two breakfasts- one while getting ready and one a few hours later at work. Granted, they’re small and probably equate to one normal breakfast, but still.
In the last 15 days, the average time range of my first meal has been 11 am – 1 pm. I get up at 5:30 – how is this even possible? Yes, I have my coffee in the morning and maybe it’s the occasional added ghee for a homemade bulletproof coffee that’s keeping me full for half the day- or maybe it’s the lack of sugar/carbs that, for me, makes breakfast food less “interesting” to me. This accidental intermittent fasting isn’t necessarily a good thing, thus I’ve been making a conscious effort to slow down in the morning, make time for breakfast, and not eat so late the night before. Keeping yourself on your normal eating schedule will help you throughout your Whole30 experience and avoid eating too much later on in the day. The normality will also help you focus more on how you’re feeling from food and less on what foods you’re “missing out” on.
Think your social life has to suffer.
It’s no secret that ordering out at restaurants while doing Whole30 becomes increasingly difficult, but it is doable. And let’s just be honest, as a 20-something, not drinking for a month sounds like throwing your social life out the window. The no alcohol part of Whole30 seemed almost as impossible as no sugar for a month. What about wine nights? And date nights? And it’s the start of football season! Ugh, the horror!
I’ve had more on my social calendar this month than all summer. From birthday dinners to happy hours, it seems like it’s been nonstop all September. At first, I looked at the calendar in agony, thinking I would have to cancel all of these plans. But then I thought there is no way that some rules are going to make me stay at home alone on a Saturday night while all of my friends are out having fun – I do that often enough without rules. So, from the start, I kept my social commitments and my commitment to the Whole30. Newsflash, they’re not mutually exclusive, you just have to find the right way to allow them to co-exist. A word to the wise: if you’re going out to dinner, check the menu ahead of time. This helps you be prepared that you are going to order the veggie tray, despite everyone else around you ordering pizza that smells like heaven on earth and sampling wines like there’s no tomorrow… it’s great, I promise.
Surround yourself with support.
There’s no sugar during Whole30, so I’m not going to sugar-coat it: this is hard! Don’t go at it alone. Tell your friends and family what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. They’ll be more conscious of temptations around you
If you can coax a friend into doing it with you that’s even better! My own husband couldn’t even fully stand by me (he eats Whole30 meals when I make them, but doesn’t comply when he eats out) and frankly, I don’t blame him. But, he fully supports me. Normally, he would be the first to grab the keys when I mention an ice cream or fast food craving. But despite my sad, puppy-dog eyes as I stare at the pasta on my Instagram feed, he reminds me to stay strong, it’s only a few more days…
Focus on what you CAN eat.
Instead of constantly focusing on what you can’t eat, think about what you can enjoy and how it relates to what you usually eat. Do you normally go out for a burger once a week? A Whole30 version is easier than you think. Plus, making it at home will probably save you money. Plus, plus, Tessemates now has Whole30-approved ketchup and it is so good. Once you realize you can make your favorite dishes Whole30-compliant you’ll be excited to enjoy your favorites and feel good knowing they’re a
Some of my favorite food bloggers that have great Whole30 recipes:
Whether you’re in the middle of your Whole30 journey or are thinking about eventually taking the plunge someday, maybe, I’m here to tell you, it’s not as bad as you think. So far, 15 days in, I feel great. My skin seems clearer, I sleep like a baby, I practically bounce out of bed with energy (okay that’s definitely a lie, but I truly feel more energized throughout the day), I feel so focused at work, and I think even my husband would agree, the food is good.
Tune back in for more Whole30 Recipes!