I completed the Whole30 program after having my second baby. I was eager to wear my pre-pregnancy clothes and feel like myself again. Whole30 sounded like the plan I needed to reset my body and mind. At the conclusion of my first round (30 days), I continued eating healthy, whole foods for several more weeks because I felt so energized.
Then the holidays arrived and a stomach bug hit our household. With Mom and both babies sick, my eating went off the rails! Cereal for dinner, anyone? Time for a reset! Now I’m a few weeks into my second Whole30, and it’s even easier than the first time! I know what to expect, have my favorite recipes lined up, and am looking forward to the end results. Here’s the 411 on Whole30.
What is Whole30?
In a nutshell, Whole30 is a 30 day challenge (not diet) focusing on eating whole foods. After 30 days, there is a reintroduction period in which you add certain foods back into your diet and see how your body responds. I was able to identify a few trigger foods during my challenge, like sugar.
The Do’s and Dont’s
Eliminate the following foods during the 30 day challenge:
- Added ingredients such as carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites
Enjoy a well rounded diet of fresh, whole foods including:
- Starches including potatoes (sweet and white)
- Fats such as avocado and almond butter
Refer to the official Whole30 guide for more details.
But First, Coffee!
For many people, the first roadblock is their morning coffee. Yes, you can have caffeine on the plan, but no dairy. I enjoy black coffee, so this wasn’t a big deal for me. But if you are like my husband and prefer a cup of cream with a splash of coffee, do not fear! There are some delicious alternatives. My favorite non-dairy coffee creamer is called Nutpods. It’s a blend of almond and coconut milk. There are flavored options as well. I like to mix the Original and French Vanilla flavors together for a perfect half ‘n half substitute. You can also blend some coconut milk into your hot coffee for a rich and creamy texture.
A Typical Day on Whole30
Here’s what an average day of eating whole foods looks like for me. I am nursing my 6-month-old and toddler, so I eat more snacks when I feel like I need more food. The Whole30 book has a great guide for pregnant and nursing mothers.
- Fried Eggs in Ghee (clarified butter), bacon or sausage, avocado, and coffee
- Fruit, nuts, or a Whole3o compliant Larabar
I normally eat leftovers from dinner the night before. When I need to make lunch, I like to keep it simple.
- Lunch meat with olives, pickles, hard boiled egg, and some avocado
- Baked potato loaded with veggies and sausage
- Roasted chicken with sweet potatoes and asparagus
- Crock pot roast, potatoes, and carrots
Most days I like to keep meals fast and easy. There are some really wonderful recipes that will help you if you’re missing out on a meal that’s not on the program. Your favorite dinners might even be Whole30 approved with a few tweaks! The goal of the program is to eat a well balanced meal of carbs, protein, and fat. You should eat your meals until you feel satisfied.
Here’s What Happened
Along with increased energy, better digestion, and weight loss, there were two major things that happened to me while on Whole30. The first major result was that I had zero migraines. If you suffer from migraines, you know how debilitating they can be. It was incredible for me to make it through a whole month without a migraine. By eliminating all forms of sugar for 30 days, I realized it was the main trigger for me.
The second major thing I noticed was a change in my mood. I wasn’t just happier, I actually felt joyful. I wasn’t depressed before by any means, but I did not feel like the best version of myself. Eating better resulted in more energy, which made me feel happier, and I really just enjoyed my life better. Now that I’m on my second round, I can say that Whole30 works for me, and I am looking forward to continuing my healthy habits once these 30 days are over.
Have you ever tried Whole30? What were your results?
Be sure to consult your doctor before starting any nutrition or exercise programs.