Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Our Whole30 Experience

Well, it has been a month since we have been off the Whole30 diet. I intended to write this post as soon as we got off the diet, but May is always one of the busiest months of the year for us as we juggle the end of our homeschool year, soccer season, music recitals, birthdays, our anniversary and other parts of life.

What is Whole30? A quick summary…

The basic gist for the Whole 30 is this.
No dairy.
No sugar.
No grains.
No legumes.
For 30 days.
For more specific details, check out the Whole30 web site.

Overall Feelings

Overall, I will say that our Whole30 experience was positive. It was very difficult at times, even though I did get used to it after the first several days. It still was hard to get over the feeling of deprivation and not look forward to some of the things I enjoyed eating.
However, because of the benefits we received, I would say the Whole30 program is a good option for people.

How the Journey Went

Week One was a difficult week, especially the first handful of days as we adjusted to our new way of eating. The difficulty of Week One led my husband to decide he would add his Dunkin’ Donuts coffee back in after the first week, and that is how he continued his journey.

Week Two was definitely the best week. We were getting used to the foods we could eat and had a lot more energy. We felt better, in general, and life felt easier.

Week Three. Hmmm… I thought this week would be fairly easy, but I was wrong. I didn’t feel great. I actually felt quite fatigued and around Day 20 my stomach hurt an entire evening and followed into the next morning. I thought my body was missing something and decided to have a piece of toast. I had one piece of toast and that seemed to do the trick. I know…. I know… According to Whole30 rules, I blew it… and so did my husband after the first week… and that means you START ALL OVER. However, I told myself that I would stick to it as best as I could, and I didn’t start over. I just kept going.
HOWEVER, I will say that even though this week proved harder than I thought, I also saw a good amount of victory. I hosted a tea party at the end of the week, and it didn’t even phase me to stick to my Whole30 eating.

Week Four. The last week was hard because we knew we were so close to the end, and we just wanted it to be done. We weren’t very patient, and the days seemed LONG. We looked forward to eating tacos and pizza and chocolate goodies.

Pros and Cons

Even though the journey was not a piece of cake (no pun intended), there were definitely many Pros of being on the diet.

Weight Loss – My husband lost 15 pounds, and I lost 10 pounds.
Renewed Energy and Stability – Overall I had more energy. I woke up feeling refreshed and felt less anxious and more stable throughout the day.
A Desire to Eat Healthier – Even now, after the diet, I have a desire to eat healthier. I have seen and felt how eating healthy makes me a better person, and I want to promote that!
”Glowing” Skin – I received remarks from people that my skin was “glowing”, and I could definitely tell a difference in the way my skin looked and felt.
Better Health – Most mornings when I wake up I have a lot of sinus congestion. I had much less of this during the Whole30. My body felt stronger and experienced less symptoms as a whole.

Some of the cons were:

Feeling Deprived – Truth be told it is just hard not to think about the foods you COULD be eating, especially when you are having a bad day.
Expense – Maybe I would get better at spending less money on groceries if I ate this way all of the time, but I was at the grocery store multiple times a week, partly because I wasn’t fully used to how we were eating to be able to plan well enough and partly because I needed to stock up on fresh ingredients again. Also, some of the ingredients we used: almond milk, almond butter, etc… are more expensive than their counterparts.
Time – Not only did I spent a good amount of time planning our meals for the week and shopping at the grocery store, I also spent a large amount of time in the kitchen. Fresh, homemade food comes with a price. Making salads and their dressings, having boiled eggs and cut veggies for snacks…. Basically cooking every meal from scratch and not being able to grab a bowl of cereal or eat out when life is crazy. It definitely takes time!
Very Extreme – The diet is very extreme, and to be truthful, we didn’t follow it as strictly as taught. For instance, the bacon I used was nitrate/nitrate free, and pretty good turkey bacon in my mind. It is what I always buy for my family. However, Whole30 says no to it because Sugar is listed on the label. It is very hard to find bacon without added sugar, and this is one of the things I chose not to make a big deal about. Also, the diet doesn’t want you to make smoothies or eat Larabars in general, but these are options we decided to keep for ourselves lest we became crazy at times.

What We Ate and Enjoyed

When we were on the Whole30, I did some posts about my meal planning. You can see some of what we ate there:
Day 3 and a Meal Plan
This Week’s Whole30 Meal Plan
Our Final Week

Some of our favorites:
  • Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes
  • Sweet Potato/Potato and Bacon Hash
  • Lettuce Wrap Tacos
  • Asian Lettuce Wraps
  • Burrito Bowls
  • Beef Stew
  • Roast

How the Diet Affects Us Now

The Whole30 reminded me of the great value of eating healthy foods to promote a better life. We have always tried to eat fairly healthfully, choosing whole grains, fresh foods, quality meats, etc., but the Whole30 made me realize I have only scratched the surface.

The foods and recipes I have come across have broadened my horizon and stretched me. I continue to glean and grow and seek to make healthy, fresh foods for my family.

Now I am, all the more, trying to incorporate more veggies, protein, and better sweet substitutes into our weekly food choices. I am still trying to figure out exactly what works for us. It is a journey.


  1. It sounds like it was an adventure. I don't see the limiting of coffee in the rules. Was it the milk/cream required that was a problem? In general, when I have had difficulty with eating rules such as these (other than the initial getting use to the non-sweetness), it has been from not increasing fats (healthy of course) enough. Do you think that might have been some of your difficulty?

    1. You can have coffee, but Brian didn't feel he could have it without the cream and sugar. I got used to drinking it black, even though it wasn't my favorite. I do think that's true, Paul... I don't think we were eating enough fats to keep us as satiated. We delved into the diet pretty quickly, and I probably could have been better prepared.