That graphic above sure caught my attention. Did it catch yours? So, let’s talk about it.
Last week my husband and I decided to try the Whole30 Challenge, pretty much on a whim.
That’s the best way to start a challenge like this one, because if you let yourself think about it too much beforehand you could totally psych yourself out of doing it. If you’re not familiar with the Whole30 challenge, here is the gist of “the rules”: No sugar or sweeteners, no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no soy, no white potatoes, no weird additives like MSG or carrageenan, no fruit juice and no alcohol.
For 30 days.
Then at the end of 30 days you begin to add those things slowly back into your diet to see what your “triggers” or food sensitivities might be. Here is what you CAN eat: meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts. Drinks are essentially just water, coffee, or tea. So, pretty much water and tea since I don’t drink coffee. It’s basically a Paleo diet with a few extra rules thrown in (no honey, for example). This whole thing comes from the book “It Starts With Food”, which outlines everything you need to know (if you’re interested). Aside from the food rules you can only eat 3 meals a day, no snacking, and you have to remain undistracted while you eat so you can listen to your bodies signals.
Honestly so far the hardest part has been the grocery bill (Whole paycheck Foods, anyone?). Another really hard habit for me to break is to sit down and eat a meal without distractions. Turns out I am ALWAYS distracted while I’m eating. I am constantly wanting to do something else, like read a book, read a blog, watch tv or scroll through my instagram feed while I’m chewing. It’s been a surprisingly hard habit for me to break, especially during lunch. But I’m working on it. I’m also spending a whole lotta time in the kitchen cooking, prepping, chopping and preparing some really great meals for us so that we don’t get burned out eating the same things over and over. I want it to be a fun challenge, and since I really love to cook I try to give us plenty of variety so we don’t go crazy. Also, the DISHES to be washed. Overwhelming amounts of dishwashing.
But the good (no, GREAT) news is that we have made it a week so far without any headaches, stomachaches, lethargy or murderous rages, which were all things we were warned about by others who have done the Whole30 in the past. Thankfully we have each other to rely on, so that really helps us stay motivated and on track. If I was doing this challenge alone and looked across the dinner table to see my husband and son gorging on pizza and pasta and other carbs I cannot eat then I might have some murderous rage, but since we are doing it as a team we have done really well! Another key is to always be prepared. You have to think ahead, plan accordingly, and be ready to eat as soon as you get hungry. If we let ourselves get into the red alert level of hunger then things can get kinda Hangry, if you know what I mean. So yeah, we have to avoid the hangry and always plan ahead with exhaustive meal prep. For 30 days.
There is also some major motivation to find the underlying cause of some medical issues we’ve been dealing with (here comes the talking about it part), and not to mention lose weight and get healthy for all of our sakes. But more than that, I want my husband back. Migraines have consumed my husband’s life for more years than we care to count, and for a few month he got some major migraine relief from Young Living essential oils. But after that few months of relief, he had some changes in his stress levels and his migraines came back full force, and they were so bad that no prescriptions or essential oils would touch them. Last Monday we sat in the ER for hours while his unbearable migraine pain elevated his blood pressure up to scary levels. And that was a breaking point for us. We knew it was time to get to the root of his migraines and try to cut them off before they even begin. We were tired of treating the symptoms and wanted to get to the cause of the issue. Eliminate the cause, and you eliminate the migraines. That’s where the Whole30 came in. My friend Dusty at All Things G&D first introduced me to the plan a few years back. She’s done several Whole30 challenges and had really good success with them. I had read so many great things about it from other folks on the internet (seriously life changing kind of testimonials) so I decided that it definitely could not hurt to try it, so here we are today. One week in, and feeling better by the minute. On Day three my right hand ring was so loose on my finger I could almost shake it off without touching it. So… yeah… something must be going right.
I have been using my essential oils for energy (more info on that later), and I’ve also combined this challenge with the Young Living Digest+Cleanse for 30 days to detox my liver. I mean, let’s face it—after several recent girl’s trips that included too many bottles of wine my liver could use the extra help. I’m also taking the Young Living Life 5 probiotics to try to give my gut some backup defenders to march all the toxins and crap out of my body and restore peace and tranquility down below. So far, so great.
Here are the highlights of some of the meals that we have eaten on Days One through Seven, to give you an example of how great we are eating on this plan:
2-3 scrambled eggs, side of veggies, some kind of nuts
Roasted chicken, apples, squash and grapes mixed into a chicken salad with an avocado instead of mayonnaise, side of fruit or veggies.
Salads are easy, but too many of them gets really boring, so I’m keeping it interesting by topping mine with cashews, blueberries and a sprinkle of coconut. Add a side of sugar-free lunchmeat (which is crazy hard to find) and some strawberries and I’m good to go. Thankfully I found the Wellshire Farms roast beef without sugar at Whole Foods.
Protein, lots of veggies, with a side of fruit/vegetables and more fruit. This was the Grilled Swordfish with Peach Avocado Salsa and a whole bunch of sauteed spinach, kale and brussel sprouts.
On Father’s Day we grilled out on the Big Green Egg all day long to prepare meat for the week ahead. We also had some really great bunless burgers with homemade mayo and tomatoes that satisfied the backyard barbecue taste buds. You can find the homemade mayo recipe here. It is kinda “meh”, in my opinion, but it’s better than nothing. I think I need to get a fresher bottle of olive oil since mine tastes kinda old and probably is what making it “meh” for me.
All in all? We are doing WAAAAYYYYYY better with this than I could have ever dreamed at this point. I thought for sure that I’d be curled up in a big headachey, whiney, drooling ball by Day 4, but we have sailed right on through without any issues. We even survived a date night last night at The Comedy Club AND a movie without letting anything pass our lips except water. That is a damn miracle, y’all. Eating out is a touchy subject, since you cannot be sure how they cook the food. I’m also not one to harrass the wait staff over how my food is cooked EXACTLY to my specs, so for now it’s easier to just avoid. I know that isn’t possible in real life, but for 30 days I can handle it.
I’ll keep y’all updated on my progress, along with some recipes, tips and tricks I’ve learned about how to stay strong and have a successful Whole30 Challenge! Stay tuned!
Way to go! The food all looks delicious which should really help. We are doing Weight Watchers right now just trying to lose a few pounds. It’s easier when you do it together, right?
I feel your pain about the movies. Popcorn screams at me when I walk in the door…and what’s popcorn without Milk Duds? We can do it!!
Leslie Anne @ Fairhope Supply Co. says
This is sort- of-kind -of the way we normally eat. Lots of vegetables, very little bread and starches. But you are right, the dishes pile up because you end up making a lot of things from scratch instead of pre-packaged. I was shocked a few years ago to realize how much added sugar there is in many of the regular things I bought. (yogurt, salad dressing).
I think I would have cracked at the movies and shoved my face in a box of popcorn – but salty things call to me more than sweets!
Good luck with the plan. It sounds like you are off to a great start.
I am so proud of you and your husband, good for you!!!
Have you two lost any lbs. yet??? That’s what is so hard
for me, is those darn weekends 🙁 Always places to go
and all I think about is where were going to stop and eat at….UGH!!
[email protected] says
Great job! First “diet” of my life and it was the first time I experienced so many positive effects. Aside from weight loss (which happened at the end, mind you. I was uncomfortably bloated for two weeks while my body went into shock without sugar and carbs. My husband, on the other hand, dropped like 15 pounds right out of the gate. I lost five pounds in the third week. That’s never happened to me before. N.E.V.E.R. I know it is not about weight, but seriously, at the end of the day, don’t tell an overweight girl it’s not about weight. Being able to see those results had me over the moon) Aside from that, I had energy for days. I also was amazed that I did not need snacks to get through. I noticed the better food I ate at mealtime, there was not hunger in between. The biggest thing my husband noticed was mental clarity. We woke up “awake” instead of in comas. Alert, refreshed, ready to go instantly. This is such a huge elimination diet, it’s tough to know what specifically was bringing us down; I think we decided that aside from the no sugar/gluten/carbs, since we were making our own food, we also weren’t eating all the weird unfood chemicals that are super processed. Life-changing. But then I got knocked up and wanted brownies again. Don’t tell a pregnant girl she can’t eat what she wants. I’ve noticed however, that I live in a state of puffiness- if I am eating whatever, my skin is puffy, my face looks like morning face all day long, but that went away when I was on the whole 30. I miss that. Wondering if it is inflammation from gluten? I can’t wait to hear how the next month goes for you, Beth. You are so right about psyching yourself out, I need to hop back on again. Currently, we are trying to eat cleaner, no eating out, that is the thorn in our paw.
keri @ shaken together says
Loved this post, Beth. A few friends and I have started a similar eating plan – no processed foods, no sugar, very little carbs (and those come from veggies and 1/2 cup of grains/legumes) – and all in all, I feel really good! Hoping for relief for your hubby!
Sarah Hauser says
Thanks for sharing this! I’m starting the Whole30 on Thursday! Spent some time today learning and researching, and then I’m planning to clean out my fridge and pantry tomorrow. Can’t wait to hear more from you and keep the recipe ideas coming! 🙂
[email protected] says
Good for you Beth! I’ve been so inspired by the Whole 30 testimonies around the blogosphere! Maybe I can talk my hubs into trying it with me!
I have no clue how a human could give up cheese and bread, but four thumbs up. That’s really awesome. I have a girlfriend who had migraines her whole life. She went gluten free and hasn’t had one in years. Hope your hubby can have the same luck.
Nancy Sharp says
Congratulations on finding something that works for you. As a migraine sufferer, I pray this will help your husband too. Last year I found what works for me. I met a lady at my church who wrote a book called the Liberated Eater. The best part of my journey was bringing my cholesterol levels down naturally. Keep up the good work!
This is really awesome, Beth! I can’t imagine suffering from migraines like that or having a husband who did, I think what you are doing to get to a place of better health is spot-on. The foods that God made/provided are always the best for our health, it isn’t until we get into the man-made stuff that we start to get into potentially scary territory. Summer is the best time to eat clean too, so many fresh fruits and veggies to keep up the variety. And things like pineapple and fresh peaches or nectarines are amazing on the grill as a dessert!
Pas facile de tomber sur de bonnes infos sur ce sujet, voilà c’est chose faites grâce à ce blog, merci et encore bravo.
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Thanks for another helpful life tip!!! I’m going to try it, no big stretch here as I cook, cook, cook, yup lot’s of dishes! Afterschools, usually fix quick pasta, heat up lasagna, something easier. We have got to cut down our pasta, pizza carbs here! Thanks for this, never to late to get in on yr 30 day challenge, love the meal ideas too!!! Thanks Beth
ps: not sure if the kid would like those squash/eggplant lasagnas..hey worth a try, I stuck brocolli in the cheese mixture in the last one.
Beth at Unskinny Boppy says
Awesome!! Best of luck with it! Let me know how it goes!