I finished Whole 30 the early part of August and I wanted to share a recap, and some pros and cons as I worked through the 30 days.
I stayed the course and didn't cheat (that I know of). I was most careful with removing sugar from my diet as it was the hardest to remove because it is often hidden in foods. Although I love cheese, the no dairy and no grain of any kind was easier than I imagined. But, surprisingly, I craved things like milk on a bowl of cereal or a dessert, more than cheese. Well, except for pizza. I craved pizza.
Date nights with Jeff were challenging as we were severely limited in our restaurant choices. But, here is what I did when we went out on our dates, or other times we ate out as a family.
1. Five Guys. Yes, Five Guys. Their burgers are Whole 30 compliant. I ate 2 burgers with pickles, raw onions, tomatoes and mustard all wrapped in lettuce. It was messy but it was really good! They will put it in a bowl for you, too. I did not miss the bun at all. But, I did miss the bacon as that is not Whole 30 compliant.
2. Steakhouses (like TBonz, Longhorns, and Texas Roadhouse) are your friend. Definitely, I ate the steak and most often had grilled vegetables or a baked potato (if I brought my jar of Ghee with me). If I brought my Whole 30 compliant salad dressing I could have a side salad minus cheese and croutons. Do not hesitate bringing along that Ghee (clarified butter; no dairy) or a container of Whole30 compliant dressing. I put them in a plastic bag in my purse (I carry a large purse so this was not a problem). When we went to the movies I brought bottled water in my purse as well.
3. Ruby Tuesday's for their salad bar - and for the win. You have to be careful not to put any of their diced cold cuts, like the ham, because of the sugar content. But I piled on the greens, tomatoes, green peppers, beets, onions, broccoli, hardboiled egg, and finished it off with vinegar and olive oil. I ordered a side of grilled chicken for the protein. I always walked away full.
The key to completing a Whole30 is preparation. I researched what I could eat and what I couldn't. I read the book It Starts With Food, which was the best preparation, as the author gives the reminder that it is only 30 days so we shouldn't have to cheat; because we're adults, right? I couldn't shake that comment - so I didn't cheat. I also prepared food ahead of time.
On Sunday afternoons I prepared Salads in a Jar for my lunches which I alternated with Lettuce Wraps made of sugar free bacon, sliced hard boiled egg, tomato slices, and Whole 30 compliant Chipotle mayonnaise. I could just grab a jar of salad from the refrigerator in the morning, tuck it into my cooler, with a bowl, grab the Whole 30 compliant Tessamae's dressing (Greek was my go-to), and I was set for lunch at work.
Breakfasts were almost exclusively eggs and sugar free bacon. But, hey, I was eating breakfast, it was filling and would hold me over until lunch time. Except for a piece of fruit mid-morning I never felt hungry. Sometimes I would include tomatoes to my breakfast, or sausage patties, or a hash but my favorite breakfast was plain 'ole eggs and bacon.
I learned hash browns in olive oil taste just as good, if not better, than hash browns in canola oil.
I learned how to spiralize zucchini which I made with a yummy roasted red pepper and garlic sauce.
I learned I don't need a Sprite. Water is just fine, and which I continue to drink exclusively (except for an occasional cup of coffee). Although, I missed coffee with French Vanilla Creamer and have returned to a regular cup of coffee with French Vanilla Creamer, now, I don't add sugar, nor do I drink 30+ ounces of coffee like I used to.
I learned I could do it. It may seem, 'Well, it is only 30 days. Anyone can do that!' I disagree. After reading the struggles everyone has I think it takes preparation and mindset and commitment and discipline. Life interrupts and one has to be disciplined and committed to not cheating. If you modify a Whole30 you're not doing Whole30. If you cheat, you have to start over.
I found having a cheerleading team helps. I found a local Facebook group with people I knew already. I am sure this accountability was essential to my success. While Jeff appropriately cheered my successes he definitely wasn't that accountability - except that last week when I was so ready to quit and he talked me through why I shouldn't.
As I said I struggled most the last week and was so ready for it to be over with. But, every day I got on the scale, the scale told me it was all worth it because in 30 days I lost 23 pounds.
Now, weeks after finishing Whole30 I am realizing my body does not like sugar and grains. I think dairy is okay but, definitely, sugar, in larger quantities, as I've returned to eating non-compliant I have noticed a return of inflammation in my knees and hips and back which in turn causes pain into my lower extremities.
While I don't expect to return anytime soon to a strict Whole30 compliant, although I will complete a 30 day regimen again at some point, I am, however, returning to about a 80/20 compliant. For my body's sake.