At the beginning of this year, I embarked on my second Whole30 journey. While my first attempt only lasted 22 days, this time I did the whole damn thing (*pats self on back*). If you don’t know what Whole30 is, you can read about it here. In short, it’s 30 days with no grains, sugar, dairy, alcohol, soy, or legumes. That cuts a lot out of most people’s diets, including my own.
In addition to giving up all of the above, I also gave up coffee for the month. I felt that it’s just not worth it to drink my coffee black, and wanted to give my body a break from the constant caffeine intake anyways.
People ask about my experience a lot, so I wanted to share some tips and insight for those wanting to try a Whole30 challenge! If you have any questions on things I haven’t covered, please comment below and I’ll do my best to answer!
How Whole30 Made Me Feel
Whole30 made me feel lighter and healthier, and I had a few people tell me that my face looked a little skinnier. Other than that, it didn’t make a huge difference except in my head. I felt a huge sense of power over my self-control; something I hope will last me for a while.
What Was Hard About Whole30
— The First Week: Week one was when my body was being detoxed of sugar. I felt light headed, extremely tired, and shaky. This went away after the first week, though!
— Weekends: When my friends were going out to bars, it was hard to be the only person not drinking. I should note, though, that my friends are not huge drinkers, and I ordered seltzer with lemon and was just fine. I just expired a little earlier in the night than everyone else!
— Dining Out: The only meals I went out for were breakfast and lunch; reason being that I knew I could order an omelette with veggies pretty much anywhere. This was hard for me, as I’m a huge fan of getting something sweet for brunch (i.e. pancakes or monkey bread). I also annoyed every server so much with all of my questions!
— Weekday Mornings: I had to set my alarm 30 minutes earlier every morning just so I could make a nice breakfast and not starve until lunchtime. One morning I accidentally slept in, and had I not had some hard boiled eggs in the fridge, my morning would have been a disaster!
— The Money Spent: This was the absolute worst part of the whole program; I spent over $800 on food during the 30 days. I’m pretty embarrassed to admit that, but I think it’s something you need to know if you’re thinking about doing it! You might not spend $800 (my eyes are bigger than my stomach), but you will likely spend upwards of $600 on food for the month. The reason being is that you need to buy a lot more vegetables to fill yourself up, and any kind of meat product that doesn’t have sugar in it is is going to be very pricey. You’d be surprised how much sugar and gluten is in your deli meat, and to buy it without is going to cost you. Since I needed some convenience meat items, this rang up my total quite a bit. Also, you’ll find yourself wanting to try new recipes so the 30 days aren’t boring, and if you cook a lot you know that buying brand new spices and ingredients all the time adds up.
What I Ate:
Check the bottom of this post for all of the recipes I tried during the 30 days! Some good things to have on hand: a powerful chopper or food processor (I have this one and love it), and a spiralizer (I have this one and it’s so great).
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (I put that sh*t on everything!)
Tips and Tricks:
— Meal Prep: I prepped for every single meal of the week. I measured out my kale and tomatoes for my morning egg scrambles. I made a huge batch of turkey + veggie soup for the week, and split it into large mason jars; 1 for each night.
— Grocery Shop Like A Pro: I wrote a list of every recipe I was making for the week, and then compiled all the ingredients into one list, making sure to eliminate duplicate items. I also checked my spice cabinet for spices because I’m know to forgot what I have in inventory and buy triple of everything.
— Go It With A Friend: I did this program with a friend from work, and it made everything soooooo much easier. We even took turn making lunches every other day; this was awesome and I highly recommend doing it!
— Learn About Eggs: Scrambled eggs get boring after a week. Before starting, watch a few YouTube videos and figure out how to make eggs as many ways as you can. I finally learned how to perfectly poach an egg, and this became a staple!
Would I Do It Again?
Mehhh, maybe. I said that last time, too, though, and here we are. I learned how to cook a wide variety of foods, and learned how to make vegetables taste better, so I’m sure I’ll be taking that knowledge to the kitchen for years and years to come. From here on out, I’m going to give it my best effort to eat a clean, Whole30-inspired diet during the week, and then give myself a break on the weekends. I truly believe that nutrition is about balance, and I don’t think eating purely meat and veggies is realistic for my lifestyle. So, I guess the answer is maybe!
You can follow my Whole30 Pinterest board here! I pinned quite a few recipes, and always am on the hunt for more, even though I’m done with the program. Also, here are a few blogs to follow; they post a few Whole30 recipes, and if they’re not compliant, they’re easily adjustable to fit your diet.
Blogs to follow for Whole30 recipes (some need to be adapted):