Do you think you could go 30 days without grains, dairy, legumes, soy, sugar, and alcohol? I certainly thought I couldn’t. But I did.
I have just completed my first round of Whole 30. What is Whole 30? Kinda… what it sounds like: 30 days of eating nothing but whole foods. Whole foods… 30 days… Whole 30! No grains, dairy, legumes, soy, sugar, and alcohol for an entire month. First things first, this is not a diet. This is a program, a science experiment, with your body. It is about nutrition, changing your relationship with food, and learning what food groups may be triggering negative reactions in your body. These food groups are picked for good reason. These are the groups that are known to be triggers for certain sensitivities and allergic reactions.
MY Decision to Try Whole 30
A person who decides to try Whole 30 may try the program for a variety of reasons. One of the most popular reasons is to lose weight… but what intrigued me most about Whole 30 was the extensive list of non-scale victories. Often times, people focus on victories based on what the scale says. You know what I say? F^@& the scale. The scale is just a number. It cannot tell you how good you feel, how much better you’re sleeping, how your pants are fitting better. The scale is a little bitch. Anyway, I was not doing Whole 30 to lose weight.
I’m 25 and I have been dealing with on and off acne since I was 19. I’m finding the older I get, the worse my skin gets. I started noticing when I ate more dairy in a weekly period, such as cheese, ice cream, or Greek yogurt, I had far more breakouts than I normally do. I suspected dairy is a trigger for my acne, and rather than taking pills or medications from a dermatologist, I’d much rather treat my skin with a holistic approach. My skin is the first reason I decided to go Whole 30. It was Definitely worth it.
The second reason is my love of ice cream. Oh… ice cream. My father once said the Mister Softee Ice Cream truck song should be my wedding song. He was serious and not joking. I crave ice cream at least 5 days a week. Some days it’s so hard to fight the urge, and even a paleo-style banana “nice cream” won’t satisfy the craving. I believed Whole 30 could break us up. After all, ice cream is dairy, and this craving could be contributing to my skin issues!
If trying Whole 30 is something that interests you, I recommend checking out Whole30.com and reading the literature behind the program. The book you absolutely need is Whole 30 by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, and their other book It Starts With Food is incredibly helpful as well. By doing the research, you will learn all the rules in full detail as well as learn amazing, compliant recipes.
So now you know why I started and how you can start. Here are the things I learned during my Whole 30 experience.
WHOLE 30 TAKEWAWAYS
My sugar addiction is real. Like, really real. I wanted to eat all the dried fruit IN DA WORLD the first few days. Every time I went towards a bag of dried mangoes I had to say to myself, “am I eating this because I am hungry? Or because I’m having a sugar craving?” Hungry and nothing else is available? Eat the mango. Bored? Don’t even think about touching it. This was hard for me because I work in a nut-free school, so I couldn’t keep cashews or almonds in my desk. I had to really moderate how I was feeling: hunger or having a craving.
SWYPO. Or as I read it in my head “swipe-o,” which sounds like an online dating app term for a swipe accident. For example, “Oh my gosh, I had a total swipe-o last night. I swiped left for a hot, blue-eyed plastic surgeon when I meant to swipe right!” Ok, but that’s not what SWYPO means even though I like my new terminology. SWYPO is an acronym for Sex With Your Pants On. No… there is no dry humping involved in Whole 30. The Whole 30 program cautions against using paleo-fied versions of “junk foods” and noncompliant foods. So don’t you dare think about making a gluten-free bread out of coconut flour and almond meal. Replica junk food is still junk food and you are just trying to trick your brain. If you keep trying to trick your brain, you may eventually give into the real deal. Like… sex with your pants on. Sex with your pants on is gonna feel good for a while, until eventually, you’re gonna want to take your pants off. And then you’re screwed. Maybe literally or figuratively.
Your brain and the notion of “breakfast food.” We are trained to think that things like eggs, pancakes, waffles, and oatmeal serve the purpose of being breakfast food. Of all these things, eggs are the only Whole 30 compliant food, and you’ll get sick of those real fast (the sight of them made me nauseous on Day 3). You will quickly learn food is food. This may mean eating leftover dinner for breakfast. There is no such thing as breakfast food. Fuel your body.
Just friggin’ Google it. Don’t know something? Google is your best friend. 90% of the time, someone already asked the same thing you’re wondering on a Whole 30 forum, so, no, your question is not stupid and you are not alone. Your body may react in ways it never has before to sugar detox, and you’ll need Google! Example (stop reading if you don’t want a TMI moment); I have never had a yeast infection in my entire life, but in my first week of Whole 30, I got one… which then proceeded to becoming an ongoing joke with Lauren about the “Yeaster Bunny.” THIS JOKE WILL NEVER DIE. I was also on an antibiotic, so that definitely played a role, but I had never had one before! With the help of my good friend Google, I learned some people do indeed get yeast infections as their bodies’ pH levels are adjusting and changing due to the lack of sugar. Also… Google recipes!!! Guys, the Internet is a beautiful place. I cannot tell you how many times I got asked, “Where do you get your Whole 30 recipes?” Um, I Googled “Whole 30 meatloaf” and clicked the first link? BOOM. Rocket science.
Forget #WineNotWednesday. I work in special education and my days can be pretty stressful. Needless to say, I often turn to a glass of wine for a little therapy. Or ice cream. GOD, I LOVE ICE CREAM. Well guess what? On Whole 30, comforting yourself with food is nonexistent. You now have to get creative! Take a bubble bath, read a good book… try something from my post about how to treat yo self! However, by your second or third Friday night out, you will really miss chilling out with a cocktail. I missed tequila so much, that I asked my friend if I could smell her margarita. Oh, what a whiff it was <3
Speaking of drinking, social situations will be hard. I did Whole 30 with two birthday parties to attend to and Easter. You may feel a little out of place, but most likely, your friends and family will be super understanding. And if you’re doing Whole 30 for all the good reasons there are to do it, they’re going to respect you for it and support you.
Your cooking is going to get a lot more creative. I stuck guacamole in a baked sweet potato, and cooked okra for the first in my life. Loved. It. All.
#MealPrep. I cannot stress the importance of meal prepping during this experience. We are so used to grabbing whatever food we keep on hand. Stock up on Whole 30 approved snacks for emergencies, prepare most of your breakfasts and lunches for the week, and rely on leftovers. This will make your Whole 30 SO MUCH less stressful.
Triple read your labels. Seriously, sugar is the devil and these food companies sneak it into EVERYTHING. You may think something is safe, but you’re wrong. I can’t tell you how many times I read a label, thought, “Oh, this is safe.” Read it again to double check, “Yep. Still safe.”
*Takes a sip while reading label for a third time and sees honey is the third to last ingredient*
*Spits out kombucha everywhere*
*Cries and has a brief panic attack*
“No, that was definitely not safe.”
Technically if you cheat you’re supposed to start over your ENTIRE WHOLE 30. But in these one or two small accidents I had, I said, “ah let’s move on.” A small sip did not bring back my cravings, nor was I purposely giving into temptation. Your Whole 30, you decide if you want to start over or not.
It’s going to become second nature. You’re going to feel so good about 10 days in, and it will become routine. I never felt sorry for myself, I never felt miserable, I never felt deprived. The rules will stop feeling like strict rules, and you will think, “I choose this because it makes me feel good.” Every now and then you may think, “Why the heck am I doing this?” In those moments, just remember, “It’s only 30 days.”
So how am I now after 30 days? I have bounds of energy, I am sleeping better and falling asleep more easily, my skin is clearer (praise), and I haven’t craved ice cream in two weeks. No, I don’t have perfect skin now. Yes, I’ll want ice cream again soon, and when I want it, I’ll have it. But am I an improved version of the Gabby I was 30 days ago? Yes. Am I proud of myself? Sure am. Do I think you can do this? Yes, I do. If I can, so can you.
I am now entering the reintroduction phase. I will slowly reintroduce the foods I eliminated, one group at a time, to find out what foods I may have sensitivities to. I’ll now learn for sure if dairy causes my acne, or if other food groups are contributing too. I’m also going to learn what foods make me feel sluggish and bloated. I know… I gave up goodies for an entire month and I still need to wait to have them all back! But I’m really excited to learn all there is about me and how my body responds to certain foods.
Did you have questions for me? Is there anything you wanted to know that I may have missed? Remember to read the literature I suggested, but I am here for help! Comment below or find me on Instagram at @gabbygettinfit.
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