What I learned from Whole30

by - 8:27 AM

A few months ago I passed my 100 pound mark for weight loss. While this was a HUGE accomplishment, it also suddenly made me realize that I need to switch up my eating plan ASAP in order to keep up the momentum. (You can read about what I was doing last here.)

So a new friend who I have grown very close to (Ron from Building Brix Farm, who I will be interviewing and spotlighting later this week!) suggested that I join him on a month long plan called Whole30.

I cautiously but optimistically agreed to do this 30 day experiment to see what it could do for me at this late in the stage of my journey. The results were shocking to say the least.

The premise of Whole30 (Click here to read about the plan in detail.) is that you are eliminating any and all foods that have the tendency to disrupt your GI system and eating nothing but whole foods. So, no grain of any kind, no corn or soy, no legumes, no dairy, no sugar or sweetener (including honey and maple syrup), and avoiding processed foods.

My initial thought was that other than my coffee creamer addiction, I could totally do this. I knew that I would have to re-introduce meat into my diet because without legumes, soy, and dairy, I needed the protein source. So I marched my butt down to Ellwoods, stocked up on some quality local meat and eggs, and went into this with the idea that I would rock this whole30 with no problem at all.

(The containers pictured are mine. Please note that I have three adult roommates and so the majority of the food in there that isn't compliant is theirs.)

Here are the biggest things I learned from this month long experiment:

-The massive amount of planning that I had to do was the first thing that kicked me into gear of realizing just how much I was relying on processed or quick food. Having to actually plan, think, and prepare real food ahead of time was a big shift in the way that I was eating and the way that I thought about food. Food is so easy for us to access, but actual healthy whole food? Not so much. As a result, it put me more in tune with being involved with the entire food process from picking organic and sustainable food (and knowing where it comes from) to planning and then preparing all to be able to eat it. This was a very big change in my normal.

-My love of grain based carbs was not as recognized until I suddenly couldn't have them. While I am not writing off grains forever, I did learn just how much I need to let go of the dependency on them. As a society we have become SO dependent on these grains that our bodies were not made to consume in large quantity.

-SUGAR, CORN, and SOY ARE IN EVERYTHING. Seriously. Until you've had to make your own ketchup and mayonnaise, you just don't understand how corn, sugar/sweetener, and soy have made their way into literally EVERYTHING that we eat. Being conscious of this has shown me that I need to read the labels and really try to rid my body and life of being so saturated in these things. Go to the store and attempt to find anything outside of produce and meat that doesn't contain sugar/sweetener, corn, and/or soy. You will be SHOCKED.

Overall, this month taught me to be more in tune with my food and my body. It shifted my thinking and my way of eating and that's not changing even though I'm officially "done" with the plan. My transition will be sticking with whole foods.

Oh, and in case you're wondering about my weight loss, I lost 4 additional pounds this month. For someone this late into the weight loss game, this was a HUGE accomplishment.

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