Our April Whole 30 has officially started! I practiced what I preached over the last week and cleaned out our kitchen of non-compliant items & then filled our pantry and fridge with lots of delicious Whole 30 ingredients and snacks. I had planned to make A TON of food on Sunday, but to say I wasn’t feeling the greatest would be putting it lightly. BUT I still managed to make an egg bake for breakfast and we utilized leftovers (that were Whole 30) for lunch. So, here we are – DAY TWO!
Rather than give you another list of things to go out and buy (your wallet can thank me later) I wanted to share with you the Top 5 Things I Have Learned from My Whole 30 Experience.
- How to read labels – I have always considered myself a healthy eater. Basically meaning I liked vegetables and I wasn’t a picky eater. Newsflash: that does not mean you’re healthy. Whole 30 opened my eyes to the fact, albeit a sad fact, that there are so many added ingredients into products the you would have NO IDEA are there if you didn’t read the label. It may seem like common sense, but I will be the 1st to admit that I never read a label on a can of tomatoes. Why would I? It was literally A CAN OF TOMATOES what else could be in there? Little did I know many were hiding sugar and yeast inside. If you know me, I have more than likely said this to you before, but the realization that I needed to check EVERYTHING for sugar was a big change in how I decided what was “healthy” and what wasn’t. I am not saying I will never eat anything with sugar again, that would be a bold lie, but I feel secure in the fact that I can make much better choices when I am buying things off of the grocery store shelves for my family and I.
- That being prepared can save you SO MUCH sanity – It’s easier said than done, but if you can manage to even just get your ingredients ready for the week I PROMISE you (and I don’t like to make promises I can’t keep) that you will feel less stressed out and have fewer opportunities to make unhealthy eating choices. My biggest piece of advice for being prepared, especially on Whole 30, is something I have talked about already and that is clearing out non-compliant food. Even by putting it out of sight for the month, it will be MUCH easier to not be tempted to make bad choices. You can also be more prepared by getting your snacks seperated out. Here’s the scenario: you come home STARVING. You are supposed to be making dinner but you literally cannot think because you brain and stomach are screaming FEED ME. You look around the kitchen and there are no non-compliant items trying to trick you and call your name (GOOD JOB!) but you also know that if you grab that bag of almonds, it’s going to be destroyed and so will your dinner plans. Obviously this is completely hypothetical (:)) but the solution is to separate out your snack food items ahead of time. Then whether you’re going to work, running errands or just need something quick – you can grab an actual portion size and feed that hunger monster!
- The foods I am willing to splurge for – I will be the first to admit to you that even when I am knee deep in Whole 30 and am feeling SO GOOD from the effects of feeding my body real, whole, nutritious food I still know that there will be a day in the future that I want to eat chips and salsa or have a cookie. For me, Whole 30 has never been about teaching myself how to never want or crave certain foods again, but what it has taught me is that there are certain things that I really love eating and that is okay. What Whole 30 has also helped me realize is that I don’t need to make myself feel like when there are chips available to me, that I need to eat the ENTIRE BAG. I swear I used to have it in my mind that I better eat it ALL now because who knows when I will let myself eat it again. That mentality can be detrimental – you will ALWAYS have a choice. And if the choice is to eat a cookie at 1 PM, do it! And don’t feel bad. Recognize that yes, there were healthier choices you could have made – but you made the choice you WANTED and that my friends is FOOD FREEDOM. And I will forever be thankful to Whole 30 for opening my eyes to it.
- What my body SHOULD feel like – Along the same lines as #3, there are some side effects that come along with eating foods that your body just isn’t meant to be digesting on a day to day basis. When we completed our 1st Whole 30 (which we actually made into a Whole 60) I had this sad, happy, can’t believe it moment – I realized that for the majority of my college years I was ALWAYS BLOATED. I didn’t even realize it because I didn’t remember what it was like to NOT feel that way. But when I removed some very specific things from my diet (looking at you dairy & alcohol) it was like my body was singing to the heavens above. I also realized what it was like to SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT. How crazy is that? Sleeping isn’t a great phenomenon, but after continuous nights of good, hard sleep it dawned (no pun intended :P) on me that I had spent so many nights tossing and turning and barely getting enough sleep. If you didn’t know this already, your sleep habits can effect SO much of the rest of your life – so while I am thankful to Whole 30 for everything I learned about food, I will also always be thankful for the fact that I know what a good nights sleep is.
- How to still be social on Whole 30 – This is a big one for me. My whole life, as I’m sure many of you have experienced, social events (both friends and family) have revolved around eating and drinking. A common thought in my mind when I to look for a time to do my next Whole 30 is, “What do I have on my calendar?” because heaven forbid I had to go to a wedding a not drink (oh wait, I’ve done that now!) or go to happy hour with friends and drink club soda (hey, I’ve done that too!) OR go to lunch with new coworkers and pack your own salad dressing (added that one to the list yesterday!). My point is that it can be done – you CAN be social and you CAN be on Whole 30. Even if you aren’t on a Whole 30, you can still have the ability to make your own decisions for your own body on what you want to fill it with. It can seem overwhelming and sometimes even a little embarrassing to have to explain to people why your actions have changed (the amount of times I have to assure people I am not pregnant when I am on Whole 30 makes me cringe a little), but if you come prepared with your “spiel” no one is going to question you. YOU DO YOU & be proud of the fact that you are making an amazing decision for your body and future.
So, that’s that! If you are interested in knowing more about Whole 30 and how I feel it has changed my overall perspective on food and a health lifestyle – please let me know. This program is something I am so passionate about and I would love to help answer questions or point you to resources.
I’m off to go make Ross and I our morning coffee (because Grady, our lovely puppy) decided that 4:30 AM was wake up time today. If you see two zombies walking around Iowa City, that’s us.
Send Good Chives Your Way,