Picture me running up the stairs like a champion, Rocky Balboa style. That’s how amazing it feels to have completed an entire round of Whole30.
I am so thankful I challenged myself with this. Would it seem dramatic if I said this was life changing? I feel incredibly proud of my commitment to making healthy choices and meeting my goals. Since I was going to make dietary changes, I decided I might as well really go for it and prioritize myself in other ways. My first goal was to stop breastfeeding during the Whole30 which I did at day 21 and my second goal was to walk 30 miles. I crushed that number and walked 70 miles! Hey-a! I caught myself complimenting myself more in the mirror, trying on clothes I wouldn’t normally wear and seeing myself in a new light.
I tried a new exercise class called “Pound” and while the instructor wasn’t great, I could see this as a class I could really get into. Watching myself try the moves in the mirror, I thought about getting certified and teaching Pound myself. What?! That alone is a huge improvement in my mindset. Girls who teach fitness classes are in such great shape and take care of their bodies. For me to allow myself to believe that I could be someone with the confidence to lead a fitness class was empowering. These changes alone made the 30-day experiment worth it. My taste for food has 100% changed and I love how much more I appreciate fruits and vegetables. The cooking is still time-consuming but I am getting faster and grocery shopping isn’t as arduous now that I know which brands to buy. Overall, I lost 10 pounds in just 30 days and never once felt hungry. If you decide to try Whole 30, follow the book’s advice and do not weigh yourself during the 30 days. Focus on your self-image and internal thoughts, how your body is responding to food and the confidence you feel in the choices you are making.
Nates’s thoughts: “Going into it, I had just been hospitalized for four nights. For the first time in my life, I was ready to make drastic health changes. I wasn’t dragged into it like I would have any other time. The first week was terrible. I couldn’t sleep, I had body aches and headaches. I was experiencing junk food and sugar withdraw. I never thought about quitting in that week, even with all of the negative side effects. I knew I needed to be in control of my health and future. A lot of the more intense side effects went away around day 15 but I didn’t feel “good” until around day 25. Chelsea and I sat down the day before we started and wrote out all of the negative symptoms we were experiencing. On the night of day 30, we read through the list of “non-scale victories” Whole30 offered and the positive changes were obvious. Throughout the 30 days, I wondered if I was eating enough (I did lose weight which was not a goal of mine) and decided I would add in whole grains after the 30 days. On day 31, I made whole grain spaghetti and I felt horrible. Now I’m trying gluten-free products to see if the gluten was part of the problem. I’m back to following the guidelines of this program indefinitely because I’ve realized how much better I feel eating this way. My headaches and stomach aches are essentially gone, I have less indigestion, more energy and actually care about what I’m putting into my body.”
We’ve decided to continue with Whole30 and only bring compliant foods into our home. While out to eat or with friends, we’ll make choices as best as possible but know we won’t be able to follow the rules 100% of the time. During our move, we had to eat out a few times and it was crazy how gross the food was even though we tried to order as healthy as possible. Everything tasted greasy or sickly sweet. We can’t believe how accustomed our bodies were to such poor food. Even without following the rules to a T, it’s been about 15 days since the end of our first round and I’ve lost another five pounds bringing my total weight loss to 15 pounds! #happycamper
If you’re interested in trying Whole30, here’s a list of the staples we purchased and where we bought them. Make sure you check your labels! You’ll need to read up on what you can and can’t eat because it’s extensive, but generally no gluten, alcohol, dairy, msg, added sugar, soy, grains, legumes, carrageenan, nitrates or sulfite.
- Simply Nature Salsa
- Fruit Strips (not recommended by Whole30 to eat these, but they have compliant ingredients)
- Dried fruit
- Coconut oil
- Chia seeds
- Almond milk
- Fruits and veggies
- Precut zoodles
- Olive oil
- Cage-free eggs
- Simply Nature Apple cider vinegar
- Apple cider
- Simply Nature Applesauce
- Grass-fed organic beef
- Minced garlic
- Tomato paste
- Tomato sauce
- Most of our fruits and veggies
- Applegate farms sausage
- So Delicious coconut milk (organic aisle)
- Coconut flakes (organic aisle)
- Lara bars (read labels because not all flavors are compliant)
- Dijon mustard (Giant brand)
- Almond butter (organic aisle)
- Tapioca powder (organic aisle)
- Coconut aminos (organic aisle)
- Speciality meat cuts
- Frozen cauliflower rice
- Pitted Medjool dates
- Fruit Strips
- Turkey burgers
- Chomp beef jerky sticks
- Sunflower butter
- Dried fruit
Due to food allergies in our family, I can’t make chicken, turkey or shellfish for family meals so I made mostly pork and beef meals. Anything that has turkey or chicken was for my breakfast or lunch. This definitely contributes to how expensive our Whole30 experience has been, but it’s not like this is a new cooking challenge for us. All of these meals made enough for our dinner and lunch for Nate the next day and sometimes enough for me too. I did have a few misses, but what else is new when I’m in the kitchen? Here are all the recipes we’ve tried, loved and would definitely recommend.
1. Beef and Broccoli– I’ve already made this three times. It’s quick and easy!
2. Cauliflower Fried Rice– I served this with the Mongolian beef and it was a perfect compliment.
3. Sloppy Joe– I don’t even like sloppy joe and this was amazing. Like seriously, so good that I made it two weeks in a row. Do yourself a favor and try this one.
4. Marinated Flank Steak– I used this recipe to make fajitas. I served it with sautéed peppers and salsa in a lettuce wrap with a side of riced cauliflower (1 bag frozen cauliflower sautéed in ghee for 8-10 minutes, seasoned with vegetable stock, garlic and s & p).
5. Apple Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Carrots and Mashed Potatoes- I used apple cider instead of apple juice in the recipe and it was a hit! This is another recipe I made two weeks in a row and doubled the glaze the second time because it was that AMAZING. The recipe feels a little complicated but it wasn’t too bad the second time around. I skipped roasting the garlic because it was just one too many steps. This is a meal I’d make for a dinner party when I want to look like I know my way around the kitchen.
6. Tacos- I used this spice recipe to make the seasoning and served it with salsa, avocado and sautéed peppers in lettuce.
7. Garlic Sauce Basil Rub Pork Chops– I skipped the garlic leaves because I’ve never heard of them. I served this with caramelized onions (3T ghee over medium heat for 15 minutes) and it was seriously delicious. Plus we had diced Roasted Sweet Potatoes and roasted asparagus. This recipe was pretty complicated though and honestly, we haven’t made it again. We’ve just been sauteeing pork chops in oil with salt, pepper, and garlic.
8. From the book “The Whole 30” we tried and loved the shepherd’s pie, pot roast, banger sausage patties with caramelized onions, pork carnitas (seriously delicious), pork shoulder roast w/butternut squash and kale, chili, Italian vinaigrette, and ketchup.
9. For breakfast, I usually made this Turkey and Egg Casserole and Nate had chia seed pudding (refrigerate overnight 1 cup So Delicious coconut milk, a pinch of cinnamon and 1/8c + 1T chia seeds).
10. This Apple and Sweet Potato Hash is our go-to weekend breakfast. We serve it with Aldis sausage.
11. For quick and easy meals, we’ve done burgers, salads, and sautéed chicken/pork with roasted veggies.
12. Sausage and veggie soup- Nate whips up this soup using beef broth, Aldi’s sausage and tons of veggies. I don’t know his exact recipe, but you really can’t go wrong just throwing some ingredients into the pot.
13. Zuppa Tuscana– this soup was simple to whip up and got Nate to eat and enjoy kale. A winner in my book.
14. Potato Galette– I don’t have a mandolin so I used a spiralizer on the ribbon cut setting and just laid them in my pan as evenly as possible. Nate LOVED this because it was really crispy.
15. Sweet Potato Shoestring Fries– keep an eye on these as they burn easily. Make sure you have them spread thinly on your pan or they’ll be mushy.
16. Paleo Orange Chicken– I found this recipe hard to follow and was frustrated while cooking, BUT I quickly stopped complaining once I took a bite because it was delicious!
17. Sausage Sweet Potato and Veggie Skillet– This recipe was easy to throw together and the brussel sprouts were perfect. The blogger who created this recipe, Paleo Running Mama, has become my go-to for non-fussy recipes.
18. Paleo Swedish Meatballs– This meal has become our all-time favorite recipe. The gravy is delish.
We seriously cannot emphasize enough how impactful this experiment has been in our lives. We have learned so much about our bodies and have already experienced health benefits. We wholeheartedly recommend Whole30 to anyone and everyone!