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For starters, I never ever, ever thought I’d do a nutritional program like the Whole30. Ever.

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I LOVE bread. I always thought giving up milk for Lent would be too challenging. And I am an almost daily consumer of chocolate, so a short-term nutritional reset that eliminates all dairy, grains, and sweets was pretty much unthinkable to me…until I started to think that maybe I could and should try it out.

I gained a little courage from reading blog posts from others who had completed it (here, here, and here to name a few), and while Whole30 is adamant that it is not a weight loss program, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that was the primary reason I wanted to do it (with health benefits at a close second). At the risk of sounding like a whiny broken record, I stopped losing baby weight around pp week 3, I was constantly feeling sluggish and utterly out of shape and knew my eating habits were in need of a serious overhaul. I’m all about baby steps and “every little bit counts” but in this case it was so good for me to do something on the “extreme” side.

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Superbowl snacks (although the fries, while compliant ingredients, are *gasp* not allowed!)

In case you’re interested here are a few things that really helped me:

Accountability– Tim did the program too (I don’t think I could have done it alone!).

Meal planning(ish)– mostly I kept a running list of meal ideas and made sure to have ingredients on hand for several at a time.

Tweaking meals I was used to making pre-Whole30. This one and this one are pretty much compliant.

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Balsamic marinated chicken with slow-roasted tomatoes

Lifesavers:

-Aidell’s chicken apple sausage (8-10 min. in the oven and done!)- We’d been eating these for a couple of years, so I was so happy to find they’re compliant!

-Prosciutto- I felt everyone and their mom mentions eating bacon during Whole30 but I could NOT for the life of me find compliant bacon except what US Wellness sells for an arm and a leg. Sure it’s not exactly the same, but it was tasty when crisped in the oven!

-Coconut milk- My coffee’s lifeblood.

-Wholly Guacamole- I’d say don’t do Whole30 without it!

-Freezer section Chicken Lime Burgers from Trader Joe’s (I think that’s what they’re called).

-Tropical Fusion dried fruit mix from Costco- my guilty pleasure, although I’m sure guilty food pleasures are “frowned upon” during Whole30. Whatevs.

Tessemae’s condiments

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Random thoughts:

– I definitely look at food labels a lot more; I had no idea added sugar was in so many things!

– The first week+ I often felt light-headed within a hour or two after eating meals. It was surprising to see how my body responded to the change in eating habits. I also felt sapped of energy- not lethargic but just on empty.

– Since Heidi is still breastfeeding I worried about my milk supply at times- it felt low a few days here and there even though I was chugging water and snacking, but it seems to be fine now.

– Finding compliant ingredients was at times challenging. I’ll be glad to incorporate Dijon mustard back into my diet and I know Tim’s missing his mayo!

– I so very much miss ALL THE THINGS CHOCOLATE.

– I’d say that I do feel better- not achy, no sore feet, no mid-afternoon lethargy, and no sinus headaches, but since the changes were gradual it is hard to remember exactly how I felt before starting Whole30.

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Grilled chicken with mango salsa- a favorite!!

What’s next:

I’m still of the mindset “everything in moderation”. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely needed a food-intervention and am glad to see I can say no to sweets, pizza, etc. but I’m not ready to swear off everything except organic, free-range, hand-fed-grass meats and raw farmer’s market produce (okay, so hand-fed cows probably aren’t a thing) until the end of my days…I like to bake, I enjoy good food, and all the times we gathered with family and friends while we were doing Whole30 I realized how much I like to share meals with people and it was especially during those times that I didn’t appreciate our restrictive diet.

Bread and I need to see less of each other, that’s for certain, and veggies need to make more of an appearance in my diet. I guess my goal is to put together more wholesome meals and say NO to my weaknesses more often…I’m planning to incorporate one “splurge day” a week, otherwise every day will probably find me splurging on sweets. :)

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