Ok, let's do this.
I am starting my Whole30 in April. I got Jesse to join me and want as many people who are interested to join us, and to do this together--for support, accountability, encouragement, and general funtimes dreaming of frosting and bread....until we are free from their carby chains (that's a pun because carbohydrates are just long chains of the molecules strung together...SCIENCE!).
The Official Whole30 graphic they suggest for publicizing your participation...a little tame for my taste.
There now. That's more my speed.
Y'alls feedback on my post asking for opinions of experienced Whole30-ers was ever so helpful! I was already leaning towards doing the program, but your firsthand stories tipped the scales into the territory of "HELLS YEAH." And April seemed perfect because it's already 30 days and it gives me (and you!) enough time to research, prepare, shop, purge the naughty things from your house, psych yourself up before 4/1 hits.
I did go ahead and order the book. Like most of the commenters said, it's definitely not necessary, and is more useful for understanding the nitty-gritty sciencey whys behind a lot of the plan--which I am enjoying already--but is certainly not essential because the Whole30 website is packed with everything you need for free (start here).
Here's what we have done so far to prepare (and we still have 2 weeks before starting, so there is plenty of time for you still, obviously):
1. Fact-finding missions to our local grocery store to find out if they carry certain items that we will want or if we will need to plan substitutes or find them at a more specialized store or online. Example: my Publix doesn't carry any bacon that doesn't have sugar in the ingredients. So we are deciding to substitute prosciutto instead.
2. Warming up: rather than just doing our normal (re: wretched) eating routine right up through 3/31 and going cold turkey on 4/1, we are heeding the advice we've been given and sort of building up it so that (hopefully) the shock/withdrawls won't be as intense. Example: I'm already drinking nothing but water, and avoiding grains/legumes/dairy/obvious sugar about 75-90% of the time. Not strict at all like it will be, but just like DEFCON 3 awareness and effort into compliance.
3. Bookmarking and screen shotting the helpful info from the Whole 30 site for easy access on my phone when I am shopping or meal planning or think of a new question. Example: their list of Sneaky Sugars to look for (and avoid!) on labels and their handy Shopping List. (Googling "whole30 _____" for any ingredient or product I am wondering about is happening often too).
4. Curating a Pinterest board for Whole30 approved recipes, products, tips and strategies. I also borrowed a Paleo cookbook from a friend and am enjoying going through that (though we will probably keep things very simple most of the time with just grilling a meat and not messing with elaborate recipes). Example: How to make my own Ghee (whole30 approved butter)
What we need to get done in the next week or so:
1. Stock the house with items that we will need/use and will last the entire challenge (as opposed to things we'll need to replenish) and may have to make a special trip to locate. I only want to have to specialty shop once for this endeavor. Example: Coconut Aminos (Soy sauce substitute), Sugar free broth (amazingly difficult to find).
2. Find inspiring Whole30 folks on Instagram who post their meals. Many of you said this was a great resource! I am following litte Hip Squeak's special Whoe30 account @WholeAmy already but need more!
3. Start a hashtag for our own Whole30 group (assuming any of you want to join me!) so that we can easily find each other. Everything I have thought of so far combining "Putapure" and "Whole" end up sounding like a porno, so I am still brainstorming. Example #PutapureWhole. Um no.
Ideas please! Okay the hashtag is officially #April15Whole30 I like neat numbers. It's April15 as in 2015, btw...the start date is April 1st. *If your instagram/FB/twitter is private, you will have to @mention me and anyone else in the posts for us to be able to see/search it.
4. Make ahead some whole30 freezer meals for when we get in a time crunch or haven't gotten to the store.Example: things we can just pull out of the freezer, thaw and dump into a pot/pan and have no more to think about. We already have a few boxes of Trader Joe's Chili Lime Chicken Burgers in the freezer to be a parachute option (and we know they are VERY yummy) when we can't even get it together enough to thaw something.
5. Learn to drink black coffee. UGH. not looking forward to this. We can add unsweetened coconut milk, but something tells me it's not the same as my typical milked-and-sugared-beyond-recognition cup of coffee. I actually wondered about breast milk in coffee (I hear it's naturally sweet!) but so far that is the ONLY thing I cant find a Whole30 answer about on Google. Better learn to love plain old beanwater!
6. Take before pics/info. One of the things I love about the program is that you are required to hide your scale during the 30 days. You should weigh yourself before the start of it, but not again until after. So I will need to weigh myself , and additionally I will take some pics of how I look and record how I typically feel as well.
I know this doesn't sound like a trip to the carnival. It doesn't to me either. It's not supposed to be. It's supposed to crazy restrictive and as far to one side of the food spectrum as you will ever get in your life--for only 30 days--so you will hopefully realize how crappy the other side of the spectrum was making you feel and then decide where you want to fall in between the two for the rest of your life.
It's not supposed to be a weight loss endeavor--but I'm hoping for me it will wake me up and help inspire me to break habits I've formed that will in turn change my lifestyle permanently, and THEN get me to a healthier weight. All while still allowing me to eat pizza and cupcakes every blue moon (rather than every blue Tuesday). I need to recalibrate my brain as to what food is and how I use it.
One friend of mine who didnt comment here on the blog but emailed me instead had a lot of excellent points and gave me permission to share her experience AND her photos of her journey. She also played Volleyball for Georgia Tech (though not overlapping with me...she's a youngin'). Here's the lovely Allie.
1. Have you done a Whole30? How did it go? If not, have you done a dairy/sugar fast? How was that?
I have done the whole 30 twice and i've also attempted the 21 day sugar detox (a stricter version than whole 30 which i did not successfully complete).
After graduating from Tech it took me a few years to realize I couldn't continue to eat like I did in college when I was practicing for 3 or 4 hours everyday. I gradually put on 20 - 30lb.
So the past few years i've been slowly adjusting my diet to resemble the paleo diet. I had already somewhat adjusted to having limited amounts of bread, dairy, unnatural sugar and processed food when I did the whole 30 for the first time last Aug. But I did and still do allow myself to have junk food from time to time. Even eating somewhat clean leading up to the whole 30 it was HARD. It will be hard regardless but the best way is just to fully commit and jump in. Thankfully my boyfriend and I did it together so there was no non-compliant food in the house. If you do the whole 30 you can't have junk around. You will literally steal food out of your kids mouths, your cravings will be so strong.
After doing the whole 30 i realized what I eat impacts me in a million ways I never would have imagined. Obviously weight but emotions, sleep, acne, headaches, allergies, inflammation... the list goes on. I think doing an elimination diet like whole 30 and identifying foods that impact you by gradually reintroducing them after a month is really impactful. Most people find that there are benefits to continuing to follow most of the principles of whole 30 after they finish it.
2. Would you say that reading the book beforehand is crucial? Cheepo McBeepo here is wondering if I can [vegan coconut] fudge it.
Yes! I have actually read the book a few times. For me understanding why i'm doing something helps me stay committed. It starts with food takes some really complicated information and puts it into a context that is easy to understand and I thought it was a quick read. You obviously don't have to read it to complete the whole 30 but I got a lot out of it.
3. Specific followups to #1: Did you see noticeable changes in your energy level/mood/skin/weight?
If you can make it through the first 7-10 days you will really start to see and feel the benefits of the changes. Your taste buds start to change and fruits and vegetables actually start to taste way better than they ever did. I couldn't believe how good a honey crisp apple tasted. And it was almost too sweet for my stomach to handle. You will be much more in tune with your body and what its telling you it needs. Sleep generally improves and you have more energy. You may not know just how might lighter you feel until you try to each something off the diet again and your body doesn't like it.
I lost weight and gained muscle (I had more energy in my workouts). The picture I attached is from a few years ago and I didn't see all those results from 1 month but it does show where I started and what changing my eating habits has been able to help me get back to. I loved like it isn't about restricting calories. I've always had a big appetite and I can eat a ton... its just a ton of the right food that is nutrient dense. One of my friends did whole 30 with me in Jan about 5 months after she had a baby and she lost 15 lbs.
4. Was it hard as mess to stick to? Was it worth it? Did you go back to your same habits or did it change anything permanently for you?
It is hard to stick to. You will be very tempted to go crazy on day 31 and once you break the seal its easy to revert back. But its also an emotional process and when you go off sugar you realize that most of the time you are eating its not actually because you are hungry. Gaining that awareness has helped me continue to limit foods that I don't want in my diet regularly. And only splurging if its something I love and tastes amazing. For me meal prep and cooking are critical. I have to have food prepared so I dont have a reason to get fast food or stop at the vending machine and that takes time and effort. I generally make a fritta on Sunday with a bunch of veggies and then i can heat it up in the mornings. And on Sundays we cook a few big meals so we have food to eat for lunch during the week and freeze anything we don't want that week. Most people are good about doing meal prep the first week but then don't spend that same time in later weeks and that's where most people fall off the wagon. There is nothing worse then being really hungry and there being NOTHING around you can eat.
5. What was harder: giving up the foods you had to or planning ahead to not get caught in a bind?
I've started to really enjoy cooking so the meal prep isn't terrible its just time consuming. I buy veggies, eggs and meat in bulk from Costco and whenever I do cook I make a lot so I don't have to cook everyday. Some days you just don't have time. I think its definitely harder giving up the foods. I'm an emotional eater and not going to comfort food when I was stressed and upset was a challenge and still is.
1. Do it with other people
2. Follow whole 30 and whole30 food bloggers on instagram
3. Drink lots of water
4. Breakfast will be your favorite meal of the day
5. Dont be afraid of fats and protein. Feeling full is critical to avoiding temptation
6. Let me know if you need recipes!
Keight here again.
Okay so, there's my deal. It has a hashtag and will involve hash (sweet potato, specifically). Won't you join us Dukes? I'm so nervous and excited and wiggly (that might be all the water though). I know how helpful group accountability is to succeeding at new hard thing so PLEASE think it over! For me, my initial panicked thoughts of "Oh I could never do that!" were the first red flags that told me I probably have some unhealthy bonds with food and need a change. The parts of my brain that are addicted to Cap'n Crunch and 5 squares of dark chocolate at bedtime (for dental health!) are still putting up a fight for survival and are not going quietly. I shall smother them with kale (that's a plant, right?).
Let's do this.