I’m not going to lie guys, I’ve been sitting at my computer for the last 20 minutes trying to figure out how to start this post. I can’t believe I actually made it through 30 days of no dairy, no legumes, no grains, no alcohol (yes, no chardonnay, vodka sodas or Belgian wheat beers for this one!) or added sugars of any kind (which is was somewhat hard given I work for the company that creates Splenda, so it is EVERYWHERE).
Apparently it is really common to get anxiety around the last few days about ending the program. I’m definitely one of those people. I mean it’s kind of like “well, now what?” or like I’ve expressed in the title “OHMYOPRAHHHHH”
So off the bat, it didn’t change my life. That’s one of the tag lines on the Whole30 website. Although food is life to me and the fact that I did change my food maybe I did change my life? Logic.
Just kidding it did.
Yes, I lost weight. My clothes are loose. I didn’t even workout nearly as much as I did before Whole30. I’m not going to tell you how much weight I lost because numbers aren’t everything. Yes, I work in finance and I just said that NUMBERS AREN’T EVERYTHING. But I am happy with the results and hope to keep it up and continue to work towards a healthy, balanced approach with the scale. All in all, I feel amazing as well as feel the need to take full length selfies for the first time in my life.
My skin (kinda) cleared up, but is still managing through the day-to-day stress. Note to self: stop touching your face at work when you’re hunched over your laptop!!!!
I’ve always slept like a log. It’s my superpower. But I don’t feel like taking naps anymore!
I can go hours without eating. There was one day I went 8 hours between breakfast and lunch. And then another 7 hours between lunch and dinner. Before I was the person who would eat breakfast, then as soon as I got into work a mid-morning snack. And I was still starving for lunch. I would get hangry around 5 and eat a snack before I worked out. Then I would come home and scarf dinner and wake up starving the next day. I actually consider this a win. Some would say it’s because I’m eating more at meals and YES that is true, but I’m also eating more satiating meals with good fats, some protein and tons of vegetables. I tracked my nutrition in MyFitnessPal out of curiosity and I am eating roughly the same amount of calories I was in the pre-Whole30-I-want-to-eat-all-the-time scenario. What has changed is the % of carbohydrates have lowered and shifted over to fat.
Now is the time to start reintroducing foods back into my diet. The traditional reintroduction phase takes 10 days, 1 day introducing an off limit food and then 2 days eating back on the program. The reintroduction is broken up between dairy, non-gluten grains (corn, rice, etc), gluten grains and legumes. Here is my plan:
- Dairy – Today, I’m planning on having a non-fat greek yogurt for breakfast, some cheese on my salad and cheese with my dinner. I’ll be working late again at work and we will be ordering dinner from an Italian/Pizza place, so I’ll probably opt for a chopped salad that has some mozzarella cheese on it. I’ll have more to report on this later this week!
- Gluten Grains – Depending on how I feel on Thursday, I might test out gluten grains in the evening with a slice of bread and maybe a sip or two of a wheat beer. This was the only other food group I was curious about having a sensitivity to since my sister Amanda has a pretty bad reactions with gluten.
- Prior to Whole30, I didn’t really eat a ton of bread, but would eat cereals and oats on the regular with the occasional wheat beer. I already know for a fact that my energy levels are so much better sustained throughout the day by cutting cereals and oats out in the morning. I think part of this is because I would pair these grains with sugary yogurts and some other fruits causing my insulin go up faster than Mother Teresa to heaven.
- It’s definitely been a struggle to come to terms that me and cereals are probably not going to be friends going forward. I knew I had a “problem” with them before I even started Whole30. I would easily be able to crush handfuls upon handfuls of Special K, Puffins or Kashi if left alone. It’s a no brakes food for me. I would turn to cereal for something as innocent as quick energy before runs/workouts or whenever I needed a hug and couldn’t get one. Yeah. I’ve started to notice similar behavior with nuts (mostly cashews since they’re kind of sweet), so I’ll continue to monitor, but no obsess.
- Legumes – I know legumes make me feel horrible and cause me to breakout. I never felt like putting on a Herve Leger dress (let’s be honest, not my style) after eating a lentil soup or a black bean burger. I mean, no one really wants to eat before they put any form fitting dress on, but you get my point, right?
- I used to use a very popular skincare brand that uses soy extract promote brightening/hydration and it caused tiny rash-like bumps to form on my face, so I know soy is a no-go. Nick will be happy with that one since I will no longer try to make him eat tofu. Oh how things have changed. Peanut butter might make an appearance back into my life, but probably only if I make it myself. I’ve never been a huge peanut butter person to begin with. I would rather get good fats and some protein from the other nuts “available” to a Paleo diet.
- Non-gluten grains – While corn, corn chips and rice used to be considered the entire food pyramid to 5 year old Jillie (I used to tell people at school my favorite food was corn – you know, like the any typical American child! oh and I looked like a child of the corn too…go figure), I know that these don’t impact me like an allergy kind of like I am anticipating for dairy or gluten. Quinoa always made me run to the bathroom. I thought that was normal. That apparently shouldn’t happen. I might have some basmati rice here and there since it’s considered “safer” than brown or short grain rice varieties and does not re-invite itself back into my life like quinoa does the next day. Qunioa, you’re kind of a real bummer. But I’m not going to lie, I love cauliflower rice. It’s more labor intensive than just boiling water, but it is so much more flavorful and feels so much more worth it! My next venture is to try and recreate the Chipotle cilantro rice with cauliflower.
- I think the key around non-gluten grains is to approach them like any other treat. Corn is definitely tricky. Most of what we’ll find in processed food is going to be genetically modified (GMO) and very rarely the real deal. However, I’m not going to pass the opportunity to eat an ear of corn on the 4th of July or the handmade/home fried corn chips served with delicious pico at the local Mexican joint. Chances are those are special occasions to begin with and if Drake has taught me anything, YOLO
- Processed foods – not formally part of the introduction plan, but I think I’ve decided I want to avoid these as much as I can. I’ll Elizabeth Benton from Primal Potential has this brilliant phrase, “if it has a long shelf life, it’s probably borrowing from yours”. There is also the idea “processed foods were scientifically created for us to crave them” from the Paleo for Woman Podcast run by Noelle from Coconut and Kettlebells and Stefani Ruper from Paleo for Women. I can’t remember who said this one (I think it was Noelle), but it really made it ALL click for me. The shoveling of cereal by the handful I was talking about before probably wasn’t because I was hungry. It’s because my mind wanted company from all of the addictive crap found in Special K.
- I kind of touched on this in an earlier post, but to me, processed food is anything that comes packaged and not directly from the ground. That makes salt technically processed, thus are some paleo or Whole30 “approved” foods that fit in this category. Am I giving it all up? No. I need salt. And like every modern human, I crave convenience from time to time. Blame that POS Veruca Salt, but I sometimes don’t care how, but want it now. I think there are some companies that are genuinely putting out product with as little machines in the process. They’re putting ingredients in that only nourish our bodies. But do I need to rely solely on paleo-fied packaged goods? Nope.
All in all, I’m not following a traditional reintroduction plan. I know that a lot of the food I eliminated made me not look my best, made me feel not just bad but also sad. I don’t need to reintroduce everything. I think they’re perfectly fine staying out of my diet.
I feel like I’m finally at a point in my life where food doesn’t control me – even when I am feeling stressed or depressed.
However, I do feel like I did put a lot of pressure on myself (lol not the first time) to do a perfect Whole30. I would completely forget that there is no such thing. I let my curiosity on paleo and primal and keto and weight loss start churning in my head which made me over analyze having a banana in the morning. Like seriously, STFU brain! If I am eating a banana instead of frosted cereal crap, I’m winning.
If you’re thinking about doing a Whole30, just do it. Stop thinking and just do it. There is nothing to lose. 30 days isn’t that long. I learned so much about myself and what I actually want for and from my body.