So what is whole30? That’s the most frequent question I have had since starting this journey and sharing it on social media. Whole30 is a nutritional program, it’s designed to change the way you eat and think about food in 30 days. You cut out all inflammatory foods and drinks from your diet. Such as; sugar, sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, wheat, dairy, processed food, junk food, baked goods and beans. You also can’t have soy of any kind. What you can eat is; meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit, nuts, eggs and potatoes.
I was extremely skeptical, when my friend Supal mentioned she was doing it, I looked it up online. I was instantly put off by the language used on the official website. Might sound strange, but it came across quite patronising. After reading more in depth and really looking if I could achieve it, I decided to give it a go. I have been suffering from depression for a while, my diet was so poor. I had gone Pescatarian four months prior and I really wasn’t putting effort into trying to eat correctly. I was living off fast carbs and being lazy. So I used the focus of whole30 to try and re-train my brain to have a healthier relationship of food.
Now I don’t want to be one of those people, but it genuinely has changed my life. My entire relationship with food has done a whole 180. I always knew food was medicine, but I never truly understood how it could change so much. Below I have broken down my journey into weeks. So you can see exactly how I got on and all of the changes that happened.
I’m a little apprehensive at starting something so dedicated when I’m not in a great place. But I’m willing to give it a go, at the moment I’ll take anything to make myself feel better. To break down my body before I start, I’m extremely bloated, keep getting headaches, my digestion isn’t at its best and my skin is pretty awful. I’ve done a bit of research into alternatives such as coconut amino to replace soy sauce. I’ve also pinned a whole heap of recipe inspiration, turns out there are a lot of whole30 recipes.
The first day is here, I’ve done a huge shop. Even just popping all of the fresh vegetables and fruit onto my counter and fridge has made me feel more positive. The abundance of bright colours is really satisfying and I am excited to get started. I really struggled to find an alternative to milk, it’s fine to just pick up a nut milk. But when you read into the ingredients, it really narrows down the choices. In the end there was only one I could buy and that was Blue Diamond unsweetened.
A few bumps in the road continue as I can no longer taste my daughter’s food to see if it’s hot. That is something I am going to have to get used to, as it’s like muscle memory. I nearly ate a whole spoonful of porridge and some pasta on day one.
Breakfast is what I feel I will struggle most with, as I adore porridge and eggs on toast. I’m actually quite surprised by how quickly I get used to the change. On day one I made myself shakshuka with avocado, which filled me up amazingly. Then the days after I would either have a breakfast salad (scrambled eggs, salad, avocado and fruit). An omelette, scrambled eggs with salmon & pan fried potatoes or my chocolate milkshake.
Lunch has been a mixture of stir fry, which I have loved as they are quick and simple. Salads or baked sweet potatoes with toppings, such as tuna or prawns. Dinner has been a little difficult as my husband isn’t doing this along with me and he likes the same dinners on rotation. All which include either rice, wraps or sauces that I can’t eat. So my dinners have either been steamed salmon and vegetables, chicken and vegetables or homemade curries with cauliflower rice.
So how am I feeling? I’ve had a headache for three days, it feels like someone is hitting a hammer against the back left side of my head every few minutes. I have a feeling this is sugar withdrawal and I try and make it pass with heaps of water and some paracetamol. By day 4 it is gone and I am starting to feel a little less tired throughout the day, I think my body is finally getting used to the lack of sugar. Day five is a huge test of will power as it’s Mother’s day and I am off to see my mother and her abundance of food I can’t eat. I get through it.
By day six I am amazed at how full I feel from simply eating vegetables.
By day six I am amazed at how full I feel from simply eating vegetables. I’m also shocked at the things I actually miss, compared to what I thought I would miss. I thought I’d be desperate for dairy and carbs, but it’s actually sauces, dips and beans I miss most. I am becoming more inventive with cooking and finding everything that is natural, sweeter, buttery and tasteful. I never thought I’d be able to eat potatoes without butter. It’s also amazing how creamy avocado becomes when you haven’t had dairy for a while. I can see why people make ice cream out of it now. I have noticed that my skin has got worse, I feel this is my body purging all of the badness.
It’s now day 7 and I am starting to feel like a different person. I eat breakfast as soon as I wake up and am full until at least 2 pm. I never feel the need to snack and a piece of fruit satisfies any sugar craving I might have. There is no mid-afternoon slump, I haven’t had a single headache and my bloating has halved. I also feel like my cellulite is starting to see an improvement, which is a little crazy. My energy levels are sensationally on the rise and I can go to bed much later without feeling tired.
Things I’ve learnt from Whole30 week 1
- I would benefit greatly from meal planning
- Meal prep is my friend
- Leftovers seem to go much further
- Using the freezer will highly benefit my bank balance
- First week shopping can be expensive, as you buy certain things to last you the month; i.e Coconut Amino