Batshit, right? Giving up grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and alcohol (plus other additives) for a month is something only a crazy person would do. Well, like most mothers, I blame my offspring for my madness. Harry knew a few people who tried Whole30, and after looking at the book, mentioned he wanted to give it a go. Being the solidarity type, I promised I’d join in for support. Turns out, he only wanted to do the Whole5 – no judgement – but I decided to hang in there and committed myself to staying full course.
“No way could I give up <insert cheese, peanut butter, ice cream, tortilla chips, oatmeal, other yummy nouns>”, said most of my friends. Or more commonly, “Have you cheated? Come on, tell me!” Here’s the truth; I weighed myself. You are’t supposed to because this is not a weight loss diet. If that’s truly a cheat, I’m guilty. But despite a very close call with some buttercream icing and a sniffing incident, I have not knowingly dietarily cheated. With only 14 more hours to go as of this posting, I can promise you that it’s not even that hard (most of the time).
Here are my take-aways from the last 30 days:
Sugar and/or soy is in EVERYTHING!
No added sugar of any kind is allowed on Whole30. Basically, anything that ends in “ose”. Neither is any “natural sugar”, like cane sugar, syrups, honey, stevia, or soy products (made from edamame, a legume). So, foods that I’d previously considered innocent, like my favorite BoarsHead Turkey Pepperoni or Jimmy Dean pork sausage and natural bacon (nearly all is cured in sugar), were suddenly completely off limits. Read your labels and you’ll be shocked to find forms of sugar or soy in lunch meat, condiments and more. Even things like olive oil cooking spray contain soybean oil.
Preparing your own dressings, sauces and seasonings is actually swift.
Who doesn’t have a frig full of condiments? I want names! My entire refrigerator door is filled with various forms of soy and teriyaki sauce, mustards, salad dressings, hot sauces and marinades. Nearly all were off limits due to soy, sugar and sulphates, so I bought an extra whisk. I learned that making my own tomato sauce (for roasted spaghetti squash) takes 20 minutes. Making salad dressing, taco seasoning and seasoning ground pork for sausage takes less than 5 minutes. Prepping veggies and such for the week takes about on hour on Sunday. This was easy, sort of fun and much tastier in the end. The list of stuff that WAS NOT in my food was notably longer than what was in it. Good.
It’s true – for some, grains bloat and sugar wrecks your skin.
Before I get into that, let me shout from the mountain tops that I WENT TO THE MOVIES TWICE IN JANUARY WITHOUT HAVING POPCORN AND LIVED TO TELL! Oh, the glorious smell.
Adult onset acne was still haunting me, even after I turned 50. And although I never noticed feeling bloated after my morning oatmeal or occasional popcorn bowl in the past, I definitely noticed my stomach feeling “normal” and much clearer skin with the absence of those food groups this month. As I approach the “reintroduction” phase of this program over the next 10 days, I’m seriously considering remaining at minimum, gluten free. However, I’m looking forward to seeing if having popcorn again has any negative affect. I’m definitely avoiding, as I have been, the addition of that butter-like substance on movie popcorn at all costs.
The urge to snack diminished!
Despite this week’s hormonal induced ( note:rationalizing!) cashew incident, wherein I demolished 14 ounces of cashews over 5 days, including one day with a 5 ounce event, my normal need for pre or post-lunch snack or after work snack was absent. Huge! I attribute this bonus to my 8 pound weight loss in spite of devouring 2,198 calories in cashews.
It’s really hard to eat out. But then, so what?
Eating out is not recommended on Whole30 mainly because it’s often not known what soy-based oils, sulphates, or sugars are added to your food. Tuesday lunch turned into Tuesday window shopping. But, halfway through the month found myself in the awkward position of either flat out declining a social event or figuring it out. Sticking to salads was the safest bet and I only ate out three times with that as the rule. Looking back, I’m sure I saved a ton of calories and money. Win.
Wow, MORE Energy?
This is not a low carb or no carb program, but carbs are naturally lower due to the absence of sugars, grains and beans. Maybe it’s Whole30 or maybe it’s just my overall weight loss over the last year, but I have never felt more energetic. No afterwork crash or face stuffing. Weird. And wonderful.
Should you do it?
It’s not for everyone. But it’s for anyone. And I plan to do it again. Over the next 10 days I’ll be experimenting with adding the missing food groups back into my diet and figuring what to keep and what to throw away. Starting with a bloody Mary on Sunday! Cheers!