Hellooooooo everyone! New year new me amiright?? Anyways, I started this New Year with the goal of trying the Whole30 lifestyle. I hate calling things diets because to me anything that is too structured just leads to stress and anxiety. So we have a LIFESTYLE. This means I am trying to stick with it, but the great thing about this way of eating is it is much more lenient than other methods. I try my best to live a healthy lifestyle. I love going to the gym daily and try to eat as best as I can (when I’m not splurging on some good dessert). So I figured why not structure it a little bit more and attempt the Whole30 trend.
So what is Whole30? For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Whole30, according to it’s official website, is when you “Eat meat, seafood, and eggs; vegetables and fruit; natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings. Eat foods with a simple or recognizable list of ingredients, or no ingredients at all because they’re whole and unprocessed“. What does this mean exactly? Well for one, for the full official list of items you ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ eat on Whole30 feel free to click on the quote to go straight to their website for the rules. But to narrow it down slightly it basically means sticking to the basic. You can eat foods that come from the ground or have eyes, aka veggies, fruits, and meat. The main focus of Whole30 is to stay away and eliminate all dairy, gluten (and other grains), and sugar/ artificial sugar or alcohol of any kind from your palate. It also excludes other items such as peanuts (but other nuts and tree nuts are allowed) and legumes, but like I said check of the website for the full list.
The goal is to stick to this lifestyle for 30 days. Then after that period, they suggest to slowly start incorporating other items back into your palate in a healthy manner. That way you can see how your body reacts and maybe find a certain food that you realize your body doesn’t handle well at all. At first your body will feel weak from the withdrawals of no sugar and trust me you WILL bloat, but over time you will suddenly be overcome with a surge of energy. This way of living is supposedly an energizing factor that will leave you feeling much better than before.
I say supposedly because I am only on day 10 and honestly haven’t reached any crazy results just yet. I wanted to write this article to kind of share my experience because I feel like most of the stuff online is mainly exaggerating the fact that this new trend is ‘life changing.’ And for many it may be, some people really change their way of eating by following Whole30, but for me it was really only tweaking what I already consume. I had to stop using artificial sugar flavoring in my morning coffee (although I do cheat and still use Stevia to sweeten just a little), I stopped eating dairy-free Halo Top for dessert, and I stopped snacking on marshmallows (it was a big issue) throughout the day when I had a hankering.
But many of you who have followed along with my blog for a while now know that I am already mainly dairy-free and completely gluten-free due to my intolerances. So how has this lifestyle change affected me so far? Well for one I wanted a little more structure to make myself feel like I was actually living a full healthy lifestyle. I knew I had unhealthy habits (aka all my Dunkin Donuts trips), but I also knew for the most part I ate healthier than most. But overall, I know my body has a lot of dietary restrictions in terms of foods that don’t work well with my stomach and I decided this would be a great way of fully determining any others that I may not have realized before. So on January 1st my journey began.
So far I have noticed the severe fatigue that hits you in the first few days. I found myself being extremely sluggish at the gym and my legs become sore much quicker than usual. I already don’t consume a lot of sugar so I wouldn’t say I had the crazy sugar withdrawals that many others have had, but I definitely felt tired. Then there was the bloating. I had a few severe panic attacks when I realized I felt so bloated all the time and my clothes felt a little tighter. I thought I was doing something wrong. But after doing so research, I found out this is completely normal when starting Whole30. I had a feeling it was because I was suddenly consuming more fruit than usual due to my cutting out of other sugary products and I was right. But it doesn’t mean everything about this diet is straight forward, there is definitely a lot of personal tweaking that must be done in order to have it align to your needs.
For example, my usual before bed snacks consisted of either dairy-free Halo Top or some popcorn (I usually alternate on whether I want sweet or salty). Now with Whole30 I had already planned on cutting the Halo Tops with no issues, but I knew cutting out popcorn was going to be difficult. I love having a solid munchie food to watch a movie with or read with before bed. So as an alternative, I started having smoothies with protein powder in them to try and combat any late night cravings that might occur. These smoothies either consisted on chocolate protein powder (with no sugar or wheat) with a banana and almond nut butter or vanilla protein powder with a banana. Both were amazing, but I found myself extra bloated the next morning. I didn’t understand how I could be following the rules, yet still feel so puffy. Then I realized I was having a little too much protein right before bed (even though I always stop eating at least 3 hours prior to actually sleeping because this is known to help your body digest better).
So once again I was in this trial and error phase I keep referring to. I’m just trying to prove and explain that this lifestyle is different for everyone who tries it. It’s going to be hard to file through the obstacles until you find the way that works best for you. That is also why I say it is lenient as well. For example, I know corn is a naturally inflammatory food, but it is something that has never fully caused my stomach to be upset. So after a few days of trying to figure out a proper before bed snack, I decided to allow myself to incorporate small amounts of popcorn back into my routine. I already knew the affects it had on my body so it was something I decided didn’t need eliminating. With that I found myself to actually be less bloated in the morning rather than having my protein smoothies. So this really does just showcase that Whole30 is really about finding the right way of doing it that’ll work best for your body.
Now this doesn’t mean eating unhealthy items because you know what affect they have on your body and that doesn’t mean allowing yourself bread or dairy during the process until the 30 days are up, but smaller veggies or items that may be ‘banned’ may be okay in moderation from my point of view. I also learned that as much as I LOVE sweet potato and they are allowed on Whole30, my body tends to feel bloated and too full when I consume too much of it multiple days in a row. Just once again shows that even if it’s healthy and on the ‘ok’ list, it may still cause stomach issues.
Overall, I wanted to write this article to explain how I appreciate Whole30 and how the creators made a way for people to feel healthy and get better results without feeling guilty if you stray away from the guidelines a little. I have had to come to the realization that it is more about a healthy lifestyle rather than a weight-loss type structure, but weight-loss can certainly come from this depending on how you ate prior to the start. My end goal for all of this is to stick to the Whole30 way of life as much as possible even beyond the 30 day mark. I will admit that there will certainly be days where I eat sushi or splurge and have dessert (because I’m HUMAN), but that’s what is so great about Whole30. Just because you might mess up one day or have a cheat day doesn’t mean it was all for nothing, it doesn’t mean you have to start all over again or ruined your progress, it just means be mindful the next day.
So for anyone looking to either take those first steps towards a healthy lifestyle, or maybe to those just looking to be healthier, I recommend taking a look at the Whole30 Guidelines and trying it for yourself. I will also be writing some articles that will be compiling great Whole30 recipes that I have found online to showcase to everyone that Whole30 is delicious! I really just wanted to take the time and write out my experience to help those who may be dealing with the same setbacks or confusion about the lifestyle change rather than the articles that only shed light on the positive side. If anyone has ANY questions regarding my experience or may need advice about theirs, I would be more than willing to assist to the best of my capabilities or redirect you to websites that can better help. Please also comment down below if you found this type of personal article interesting or helpful so I can better my content in the future!