Earlier this fall, my husband brought up the idea of doing the Whole30 together. Having been interested in trying it to see if food affects my eczema I jumped right on board. So his one offhand comment essentially became a commitment to go for it together.
We wanted to have a Labor Day Weekend party complete with tasty food so we decided to start our thirty days on September 10th. I asked a friend about her experience with it and she loaned me her books and a fine strainer (for making clarified butter) for our experience, including a spreadsheet of recipes she used and a live demonstration of how to make clarified butter.
I was nervous about staying away from sugar, dairy, grains, gluten, and legumes for a whole month but visited several grocery stores and scoured ingredient labels a week or so ahead of our start date in search of compliant food. We were used to cooking most of our dinners at home so that part would not be new for us. Not having oatmeal for breakfast or sandwiches at lunch were going to change my routine some.
My husband, however, had more hurdles to tackle such as making time for breakfast each day and either carrying in lunch to the office or finding restaurants with compliant foods each weekday. He had many more challenges due to his work and having to travel out of town several times during our Whole30. I’m very proud of him for staying compliant under such circumstances.
We made it through but definitely had struggles. We dealt with headaches and hunger while our bodies adjusted (apparently the hunger never went away for Adam). We had days we wanted to quit. Once we made it through day 15 (halfway!), it seemed a lot more manageable (until the dreaded day 21). Being part of the Whole30 Facebook group was very helpful for encouragement, advice, and recipe inspiration.
We survived and both lost some weight (not the main point of Whole30 but a pleasant side effect). I noticed a flatter stomach. I had a small pooch under my belly button that I just assumed would always be there but it disappeared at the end of our thirty days (possibly even reducing further during the 10-day reintroduction period I completed afterward).
I ate fairly healthy before our experiment, but I learned a lot more about food, what I really craved, and what I could live without. For instance, I have significantly decreased my dairy intake because I think it affects my eczema and I do just fine without it. I have also reduced my consumption of bread and packaged products because I don’t crave them.
I learned that I like eating chicken salad on a bed of arugula or other greens in place of bread. I crave more vegetables now. I enjoyed the homemade tomato sauce and turkey meatball recipes I made. I gained more kitchen skills (mayonnaise and clarified butter) and confidence.
After my initial few days of sugar withdrawal, I didn’t have too many sugar cravings. The more helpful thing Whole30 did was cut out my near-daily evening treat habit I used to have.
I do feel like my thoughts about food and eating have changed some. Having experienced some appealing results I have been reluctant to completely jump ship, though not quite hard-core enough to stay 100% Whole30. I think it was a worthwhile experiment.
Have you ever done Whole30 or something similar? What was your experience like? If you haven’t done it, have you considered it? What would keep you from attempting it?