With Thanksgiving just a few days away, food is at the tippy top of mind. As you may have seen on Instagram, I’ve just recently completed the Whole30! I did it for the entire month of October, ending 10/30 – just in time for Halloween candy, our 9-year anniversary dinner, and all of the delicious holiday food coming up. This is actually my third time around completing the Whole30 (or other type of elimination diet) and I’d classify it as a success.
So, a little backstory on me. My digestive system has been touchy for as long as I can remember (my mom says that when I was a baby, I used to throw up every time I cried. Lovely.). A few years ago, I went on a very stringent elimination diet to determine if I had a food allergy or sensitivity, only to come up with non-conclusive results. This time around, I decided to go on Whole30 to just generally clean up my eating habits, which forced me to get real honest with myself.
So… what is Whole30?
Whole30 is a 30-day elimination diet where you eliminate potentially inflammatory or allergy-causing foods from your diet for 30 days. It allows your body and digestive system to do a hard reset and helps heal your gut. The foods groups you must eliminate include: added sugar, alcohol, grains (including quinoa, although technically a seed), legumes (no peanut butter!), dairy, and soy. This means you absolutely cannot touch any of the off-limits food groups for 30 days, but can eat as much of the others as you’d like.
I had an amazing Whole30 experience. But, to be completely honest, the first two weeks were tough. I had intense sugar cravings and was mitigating them by eating the sweetest fruits I could find (bananas and grapes). As time went on, the sugar cravings subsided and I no longer felt myself reaching for a piece of fruit after dinner to feed the sugar monster. In the first two weeks I also dealt with general bloating and gut discomfort – most likely a reaction to the massive amounts of fibrous veggies I was consuming.
The biggest change I noticed during Whole30 was in my skin. For the past year or two, I’ve been dealing with a lot of acne and breakouts on my jawline and underneath my chin. This past summer, I went to an esthetician for a facial, and she said that dairy was the most likely culprit for my breakouts. After eliminating dairy on Whole30 for a couple of weeks, I noticed that I wasn’t breaking out anymore, and my old breakouts were healing and not coming back. By the time I finished the full 30 days, there wasn’t a single breakout in sight.
Overall, following Whole30 gave me a ton more energy, cleared up my skin, made my hunger more manageable, eliminated my digestive issues, and made my jeans loose, ha! There’s absolutely nothing negative I can say about it and I intend to get back into eating that way once the holidaze have come to a close. Keep on reading for my tips + tricks on how to start and stay on Whole30!
Buy the Whole30 cookbook. Besides being a great cookbook with a ton of recipes, there’s also an entire section in the front dedicated as a comprehensive guide to the Whole30 lifestyle. If you’re brand new to Whole30, it contains a ton of useful info on how to get started, common questions, and more! I haven’t made all the recipes in the book yet, but my favorite so far is the Grilled Coconut Curry Chicken. Make it with a side of cauliflower rice for the most delicious meal!Have containers on hand. Glass or plastic, it doesn’t matter! On Whole30, you’ll be cooking all your meals yourself and will most certainly have extra left over. Have a bunch of different sized containers on hand to store leftovers, extra vegetables, or the unused coconut milk from a recipe. My favorite thing to do during the 30 days was to always make enough the night before to bring for lunch the next day. Might not sound revolutionary, but it’s a true time-saver in the mornings!
S H O P T H E P O S T
Always keep an extra can of coconut milk in the fridge. I didn’t know this until starting Whole30, but coconut cream is made from refrigerating canned coconut milk. The cold causes the cream to rise to the top of the can and is used in place of dairy in all recipes. Never find yourself without and always keep an extra can of coconut milk in the fridge!Larabars are your friend. Once you’ve gone without sugar for a few weeks, anything sweet will taste like pure, decadent heaven. My go-to snack throughout Whole30 was a Larabar (Coconut Cream Pie and Lemon are my faves!). Here’s a list of the Whole30 compliant Larabars. Most are only made with dates and almonds!Staying hydrated is key. One of the best ways I found to stay hydrated was to keep a large jug of cucumber water in my fridge at all times. It encouraged me to drink more fluids and wasn’t completely boring. Plus, it made me feel like I was at the spa! ;)
Have you completed Whole30? Share your best tips in the comments below!