Jacob loves to remind me that when we first started dating, I really hated coffee. A few short years later, I can’t survive without my morning cup of joe. Same thing with wine. In college, I went to Italy to study abroad, having only tried wine once or twice and thought it was gross. Came back, total wine-o.
Suffice it to say I have been known to make rash judgments and then subsequently change my mind. A few months ago I was scoffing the whole Paleo ‘caveman’ diet craze. And then we went to Switzerland. And I threw my sister a bachelorette party. And it was patio season. By the time May rolled around, Jacob and I both agreed that we needed a break from all the junk food and booze. My sister’s wedding was a little over a month away and we were going on vacation to Florida shortly after that.
I first heard about Whole30 on Instagram. Someone I follow posted their dinner with the whole30 hashtag and I clicked it to find thousands of meals that looked healthy but delicious. I started reading about the program on the Whole30 website and told Jacob all about it. He was game, so we decided to do it for the month of May (technicially our Whole30 lasted from May 6 to June 4). The Whole30 plan is simple.
Eat real food – naturally sourced meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds.
- Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial.
- Do not consume alcohol.
- Do not eat grains.
- Do not eat legumes.
- Do not eat dairy.
- Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites.
- Do not eat white potatoes.
In addition, no Paleo-ifying dessert or junk food choices.
You are not allowed to step on the scale or take any body measurements for the duration of the program. *this is the only rule that we totally broke. I couldn’t help it :)
Remember the bridal shower I threw for my sister?
I ate bell peppers strips and avocado instead of petit fours and mini quiche. The warrior dash we did the week after?
I didn’t even drink my FREE finisher’s beer. The baby shower I helped host? No mimosas or cake for yours truly.
So yes, it was hard. But as Dallas and Melissa (the creators of Whole30) put it: “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles”. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.”
I also bought and read the book that the program was based on, “It Starts with Food.” Dallas and Melissa claim that once you do a Whole30, it will change your eating habits for the rest of your life.
For thirty days we bought organic ethically sourced meat and tons of produce and fruit. I drank black coffee with coconut milk. Oh, and eggs too. We cooked virtually every meal from scratch. So many eggs. We did not cheat one time. Granted we consumed ‘factory meat’ a few times when we are out to eat or at someone else’s house. And as I mentioned, we did weigh ourselves a few times even though you’re not allowed because the program is not a weight loss plan, but a ‘healthy living lifestyle.’
The verdict? By the end of the thirty days I felt amazing. I lost nine pounds and Jacob lost 13. I had so much energy and didn’t crave carbs or sugar. Yes, I was so sick of taco salads that I wanted to puke, but man I felt good.
Did we stick with it? Weeell, my sister’s wedding was three days after we completed our Whole30. While there is a reintroduction plan to isolate your food intolerances, we didn’t complete it fully because- – wedding food, duh. Also, we didn’t do Whole30 because we suspected either of us had a gluten or dairy intolerance. We just wanted a reset. I will say that for the first time in probably ten years I suffered from ZERO acid reflux for the entire 30 days. AND my chronic neck pain that was being helped by regular chiropractor visits is now completely gone.
Right now, we’re kind of straddling the Whole30 line. During the week we cook Whole30 compliant meals, but tend to let a little loose on the weekends. We both agree that we feel better when we don’t eat gluten, dairy, or sugar. If you would have told me three months ago that we would no longer keep cow’s milk in our house, I would have laughed in your face. Y’all, MY husband went from drinking a gallon of dairy milk every two days to a glass of coconut or almond milk every so often. That is major.
Long story short, I wanted to share our Whole30 experience because it was one of the hardest and most rewarding challenges that Jacob and I have taken on as a couple. I feel like I’m a more creative cook now, and we are definitely eating healthier overall because of Whole30.
Have you guys ever done a Whole30 experiment or something similar? I’d love to hear about.