Better skin, sign me up. Weight loss, I'm in. Sleeping better, feeling better, looking better, understanding my relationship with food better, oh heck yes.
So what can't you eat? I think it is easier to list what you can eat with this program. Meat/Seafood/Eggs (protein), Vegetables, Fruit, Nuts, and all those healthy fats (like olives, avocado, coconut etc. and the oils that go with them). I love this shopping list when I have a question.
So that means no dairy, no sugar, no grains, no gluten, no soy, no alcohol, no legumes, and nothing artificial.
It doesn't sound all that exciting, but actually it is pretty cool to get control of the "sugar dragon," understand your body when it is full, realizing that snacking isn't a necessity and wake up not feeling crummy and bloated. This isn't a process for the faint of heart. It does take planning. A lot of planning. It does take some form of self-control (which I promise will get easier by the end of the 30 days!). It requires you to actually cook all of your own food and do more dishes. Upfront it seems like it might be an expensive plan, but if you choose to buy the speedy things slowly as you prepare (the weird stuff like plantain chips, ghee, and coconut aminos) then it doesn't break the bank and it is actually very comparable to what I was spending before except I stopped spending money on coffee creamer and started buying more fresh things like sweet potatoes and kale, eggs, and small splurges like macadamia nuts. But really it isn't that tough. Getting used to drinking black coffee most of the time isn't that tough. Finding new vegetables and food combinations is fun. Realizing how much you snack on, taste and lick all the unnecessary foods that my kids are eating while trying to avoid waste is eye opening!
I also have small children so I wasn't sure how much it was going to affect them and my husband. I was pretty grumpy in the beginning, but I knew I did this to myself and I stuck to it. All my boys - big and little - ate the same dinner as I did almost every single night. Sometimes I would add extra carbs or dairy for them, a sprinkle of cheese on top of taco salad, or a piece of bread with butter, but they didn't notice that their dinners were different at all. At breakfast they started asking for eggs more. We had more fresh produce for snacks, and less crackers. They still had fun things like donuts or cinnamon rolls on occasion, but I was glad to see that they are actually pretty aware what they are eating and are making smart decisions about food even from the young ages of 10, 4 and 2... ok ok my baby will be three this weekend but I can't go there right now. Don't make me!
We ate well. I struggled with not having.all.the.food. I didn't have a drop of alcohol or dairy. I only had two occasions where I think I cheated, but it wasn't really on purpose. I was trying not to be a pain while having dinner at friends' houses. In both cases it was sugar as an added ingredient in things like sausage. Now tell me why sugar needs to be in everything? It seriously is. Scary really if you read the ingredient list on foods. and milk. and soy. In the book they recommend just eating food that doesn't have an ingredient list because you know it won't have any ingredients. Fresh produce, meat from a butcher, raw nuts... you get the idea. There were only a few things I bought pre-made and I felt like it was worth it.
Lara bars are compliant! Be sure there is no sugar in the flavors you choose, but they contain things like dates, coconut, and nuts. And you have to save them for back up since they can kind of be seen as a treat (at least for people like me). Guacamole is compliant, as long as you check the labels! Kombucha is ok as long as there isn't any added sugar after the fermenting process. Tea is great. The brand of Tessemae's salad dressing and dips is compliant and I found it at my local Fred Meyer!
I spent a lot of time and energy figuring all of this out and I figured I could at least share my meal/snack food ideas and my menu plan for week 1 & 2 and weeks 3 & 4, my Pinterest board with Whole30 recipes, tips and other articles, and my actual food log with what I ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for 30 days.
I was so excited to do it with my mom, my sister and my friend Holly. It was great to have a support system when I felt like nothing was different. We would send each other questions or pictures of our meals or trips to the grocery store. We would share triumphs at not caving when at the donut shop or when we were feeling low. I definitely recommend trying to find friends or family to do the challenge with if you can. My sister is still nursing, and my mom works full time so any one can try this plan... not just a stay-a-home mom like me who is around food all the time.
So now that it is over I can say that it was a lot of work, but I did it and that is a great feeling! Now let me start out by saying it wasn't a miraculous experience. I'm not a new person nor did I have some sort of dramatic results but I ate fairly well before but there were still huge gains. I didn't lose as much weight as my mom - she lost 15 glorious pounds - but I did lose 6! I am finally below my drivers license weight. I misplaced the page I wrote my measurements on (oh those darn kids... or was it mommy brain) but I'm sure I lost inches. My capri yoga pants are saggier. My belly pooch is smaller. Where I do feel a little pudgy seems to be a little softer than before. My arms seem more lean and the slight chin sag seems to have disappeared. I wake up and don't feel sore. I have more energy and drive to get things done. My nails seem thicker. My anxiety has diminished. I still struggle with depression but I can safely say that it is completely manageable right now. I don't have the glowing skin I was hoping for, but it does seem much more even. I have a healthy relationship with food. I have an experience to share with people who might need it. Overall I would have to say it was totally worth it and now I know what to do if I ever need to reboot things again.