Can you hear me celebrating?? Cuz Whole30 is DONE… and we did it!!! Before you read any further, if you haven’t already check out Part 1 of our Whole30 experience. Cuz otherwise this post might not make any sense. Today is literally the first day I’ve had cream in my coffee in 30 days and it is heavenly. There are some things I’ve missed a ton on Whole30 and some that I feel like I can confidently walk away from. So let’s breakdown part 2 of our experience!
p.s. Most of these images aren’t styled or curated… which means they aren’t up to par with the quality of imagery you usually see here on the blog. I’ve been documenting the process with my iPhone, so apologies for the on-the-fly aesthetic!
Part 2 of Our Whole30 Experience
Why We Chose to Do Whole30
After being super-honest about how much I struggled with Whole30 on Instagram, so many people asked me WHY we chose to do it. Typically, I am not one to do cleanses, diets, or anything like that, but we felt the need to hit the reset button BIG time. After the stress of the wedding, my hospitalization, and the excess of the holidays, both of our bodies were reeling. I’ll be the first to admit that when I’m stressed, I turn to my BFF, a glass of wine.
So Sean and I decided it was time to get back to basics and cut out the sugar and booze. While chatting with my real best friend about it, she mentioned that she was doing Whole30. After looking into it more, we decided that’s what we would do, too. Food is something that is very important to me. Cooking for people is my love language and entertaining is when I’m happiest at home. I absolutely love preparing meals for people I love, but at the same time I have a weird relationship with food.
I am definitely what would be labeled an ’emotional eater,’ especially anything salty and savory. Usually our meals are healthy for the most part — for example, we always have salad with dinner and I pack in tons of veggies + make my own dressing. But when I am stressed or tired… all bets are off and that’s when I reach for the giant bag of popcorn or delivery. I also have a really bad habit of going without breakfast (I just really don’t enjoy eating right away in the morning), then skipping lunch. By the time 2 or 3 pm rolls around, I am starving and will eat anything in sight… and a lot of it.
The Whole30 Recipes We Loved the Most
Truth be told, I was really excited to have the opportunity to try new recipes and experiment more in the kitchen. While planning and prepping for Whole30 is a LOT of work, I found it to be really gratifying and I learned SO MUCH. Here are some recipes that made our Whole30 experience awesome:
- My Greek Chicken and Potatoes — just omit the feta
- Steak Bites with Sweet Potatoes
- Epic Whole30 Baked Meatballs
- Avocado Tuna Salad
- Kale Caesar Salad
- Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders — we ended preferring to dip them into the curry aioli from the steak bites
- Spicy Cilantro-Lime Baked Chicken Wings
- Green Curry Salmon
- Chimichurri Steak
I also just adapted a lot of the ingredients in our usual go-to meals. For example, instead of rice for taco bowls, I just used riced cauliflower. Typically, our lunches consisted of HUGE salads with whatever protein and veggies were leftover from dinner the night before.
Would we do Whole30 again?
Hmm… I really do not know the answer to this question. Right now, the answer feels like a NO because we’ve learned so much and have our own plans on how we want to move forward. That being said, if we ever get off track again (especially with sugar consumption), I think doing it a second time is a viable option.
This next part is going to be TMI… so if you don’t wanna know, click here to jump to the next section of the post.
To be totally honest, the way my body felt during Whole30 was not enough for me to want to do it again… and probably would give me second thoughts about doing it again. I had maaaajor intestinal discomfort for basically the entire time. Bloating, intense cramps, gas, and horrible poos that happened multiple times per day every day. It was BAD. At first I chalked it up to my body detoxing, but now that it’s been 30 days, I suspect it’s something else. Our diet prior to Whole30 was very fiber-heavy, but over the past month, we have eaten sooo much more meat than we normally do. And meat has basically zero fiber, sooooo. After realizing that, I made sure to amp up our salad intake to help things.
It never fully resolved during the Whole30, but as of about 5 days ago, I had my first real, solid poo… in 25 days. UGH. We actually joked that I had dysentery, like from the Oregon Trail game. As someone who’s always had consistent bowel movements, this change in my body has been majorly unexpected and not my favorite repercussion. I’m sure transitioning out of Whole30 will come with it’s own set of tummy issues, so we’ll see how that goes!
I cannot stress to you enough how much we learned from our Whole30 experience. I feel like this is a good list… but also one that is incomplete. There’s just so much more, but here’s a start:
Now that I’ve eaten lunch around 12 every day for 30 days, I don’t think I can go back to my old ways. My energy levels in the afternoons are SO MUCH BETTER. I don’t feel like I’m going to crash at 7 pm every night. Even Sean has noticed that I don’t say, “I’m so tired” as often anymore.
Checking food labels
I did this before, but mostly because I am allergic to pineapple and it can be used as a sweetener. But now, we have such an awareness of how much sugar is in EVERYTHING. Also, I learned that most butter has ‘natural flavor’ in it… why???? Totally unnecessary.
Reduce sugar consumption
This is a realllllly big one. Sean and I have agreed that gone are the days of randomly buying gummy bears. Instead, they are for special occasions, like if we’re going backpacking. Related to this is not buying foods that contain so much sugar.
Put nuts and seeds on everything
This was a HUGE takeaway for me… you can literally top anything with a sprinkling of nuts or seeds for extra protein. When I made curries, I toasted cashews and used those. For taco bowls or any type of salad, it was slivers of almond or sunflower seeds. Going forward, I am really excited to try different flavor combinations with my favorite recipes.
I’m sure I’m missing something in this post… if I think of it, I’ll definitely update it.
Did you do Whole30 this winter?? What did you think of my recaps? I’d love to know more about your Whole30 experience, recipes you loved, etc!