Our Whole30 Experience

Friday, April 27, 2018

Our Whole30 Experience

It's been a few weeks since Steven and I completed our first Whole30. It feels so good checking that off of my goals list! When we first started it felt like 30 days would be a long time, but looking back at it, time went by quickly.

What is Whole30?

I'd first heard about Whole30 from a few ladies at my gym about two years ago. I heard them say that they felt more energized and overall healthier during and after doing a Whole30. I decided to do some research and learn about Whole30. I bought the books on Amazon, read them, and decided I liked what Whole30 aimed to do. 

The Whole30 program eliminates gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups from our diet for a full 30 days. Unlike other programs there are no cheat days during Whole30. For 30 days you completely cut out added sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy, legumes, carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites. The goal with cutting out these foods is to let your body heal and recover from the effects those foods my be causing. It is meant to help reset your health, habits, and relationship with food. After 30 days you follow a reintroduction schedule to help determine if any of the foods that were cut out have a negative effect on your body. 

Why did we do Whole30? 

After reading about Whole30 and talking to Steven about it, we decided to test out a few recipes before committing to it. We were pleasantly surprised that most Whole30 recipes were simple and delicious! We liked that Whole30 claimed to help pinpoint if any foods were affecting us in a negative way and liked the recipes we tried, so we decided to give it a try to see if we would have any improvement in some pesky health issues.

Did you see any results?

Yes! During Whole30 we both saw results in the forms of more energy, less bloating, less stomach pains, and clearer skin. 

The first few days were rough but ten days in I noticed that I had a lot more energy, my stomach was completely flat after months of being bloated, and I didn't have any stomach pains. I've suffered from stomach pains most of my life and never knew what caused them. It was nice to eat and not feel sick after.

Steven has delt with seborrheic dermatitis on his face for a couple of years now and about a week into Whole30 his skin cleared up! He has been to the dermatologist countless times and uses prescription creams for his face and nothing had worked until Whole30. It was a freeing moment for Steven to see that his diet could help control his skin problems. 

Did you lose weight? 

While Whole30 is not a weight loss diet, we did lose weight. We didn't count calories and ate until we were full. We never felt deprived or like we were left hungry. We both lost about 10 pounds during the 30 days. Before and during Whole30 I was doing strength training using the Sweat App and was also training for long runs so I can't attribute my weight loss fully to Whole30. I will say that I did see the most significant changes in my body during the month I was doing Whole30. 

What were your reintroduction results? 

Reintroduction was scary. We both felt so good during Whole30 and were scared that we were going to negate all the results we were seeing, but Whole30 isn't meant to be a lifetime diet so we moved on and did our reintroductions.

We started with a glass of red wine on day 31. We enjoyed our glass that day, but boy did we not enjoy the effect it had on us the next day. We both woke up feeling like we'd been hit by a truck. I was so thirsty and had a pounding headache upon waking up. All from a single glass of red wine! Thankfully when we introduced other gluten free alcohol we didn't have the same reaction.

Dairy was something I was scared to reintroduce because I thought it was responsible for my stomach pains. What I found was that while dairy made me a little bloated it didn't cause the severe stomach pains I'd suffered from previously.

Gluten free grains didn't effect Steven and I was mostly fine except for feeling a little bloated after eating them.

Legumes didn't seem to effect either of us. Thank goodness! We love spicy peanuts! 

Now gluten, oh gluten! Gluten is not our friend. When we reintroduced gluten we both felt sick after. Stomach pains were back with a vengence. What I was attributing to dairy was actually being caused by gluten. 

Was it worth it? 

Absolutely! While it was difficult at times (traveling, holiday, not being able to go out with friends), it was worth it to find out how certain foods affect us. Without doing Whole30 we wouldn't have found out that we both have a gluten sensitivity and that it was the cause of Steven's seborrheic dermatitis and my stomach pains. 

Was it hard? 

Yes. It was. While majority of the time we were happy to be doing it and enjoying the process we did encounter a few times where it was difficult. It was mostly difficult because of the social limitations. We were invited to go to a margarita pour off (one of our favorite events of the year) and we had to decline. We couldn't meet up with friends at bars because all we could drink was water and we didn't want to be tempted. When family invited us out to eat or over to eat we felt like we were being difficult because of our dietary restrictions. 

Would we do it again? 

Yes. Not in the near future but if we got to the point where we felt that other foods may be affecting us or if we let ourselves stray too far from the good food habits we have developed we would do it again to help us reset. We have also chosen to implement some Whole30 restrictions into our home diet such as buying food that has no sugar added and avoiding gluten. 

Tips if you want to do a Whole30

Meal Plan & Meal Prep: I can't stress enough how important it was to have a plan in place. With so many rules and restrictions you can't just wing it and not be stressed out. Before we started Whole30 we spent two months testing out different recipes and putting together the bare bones of what would become our meal plan. The week before we started I finalized our Week 1 meal plan which included what we would be eating for every single meal, when each meal had to be prepared, links to recipes, and a grocery list.

Scheduling: Try to schedule Whole30 for a time you will not be traveling. While it is possible to travel and stay Whole30 compliant - I did - it isn't fun. It was stressful trying to figure out what food I could make and take with me or trying to find restaurants that would have options for me to eat while still allowing my dinning companions to eat something they enjoyed. 

If you must travel while doing Whole30, plan ahead. Fix meals that you can travel with, bring snacks, find grocery stores near you hotel, and do some research to find restaurants that could accommodate Whole30.

Don't schedule Whole30 around the holidays. We scheduled Whole30 during March/April because it was the month where we knew we would be doing little to no travel and because Easter isn't a 'food' holiday for us. We knew we could still have a great time with our family on Easter and not feel left out. This would not have been the case if we'd done Whole30 during Thanksgiving or Christmas. I don't know about you but I would not miss out on those meals! 

Post a Comment

Lately on the 'gram

© Jessica Marie Kelley . Design by FCD.