Whole30: Week 1
After completing Week 1 of the Whole30, I'm feeling a lot of things. Mostly: grateful for my support system and the access I have to healthy, nutritious, Whole30-approved food. Secondly, tired. Wiped out. In need of constant comfort (and sleep). Thirdly, emotional. I'm moody, lonely, and easily irritable (I'm talking REALLY EASILY IRRITABLE).
But, overall, the positives outweigh the negatives. I'm less bloated; I'm happy (most the time); I have a newfound love for cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. I'm more productive than ever before, and I can feel the changes in my body. All this in just one week? I can't wait to see what the next three and a half bring.
For an in-depth look at Days 1-3, go here.
MY ADVICE (SO FAR)
If you're thinking of attempting the Whole30, I have three pieces of advice.
Get the book.
I can't imagine taking on this challenge without the book. Seriously. From timelines, tips, lists of what I can and cannot eat, and recipes, this book is my go-to resource when I have questions or curiosities about the food I'm eating and the Whole30 program itself. I open it every day.
Follow Whole30 social media accounts.
Search #whole30 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to find others who are in the midst of the Whole30 (or who have already completed it). It's so important to have a community of support behind you when you take on something like this.
Even if you have a handful of close friends you can talk to in person, you'll likely find inspiration and even new friendships through social media (plus, you'll see Whole30-approved foods every time you scroll through your feeds, which will help keep you in the right mindset as time goes on).
Stop drinking soda... right now.
Days 3 and 4 will be significantly easier if you stop sucking down the sugar in carbonated form today.
I'm still trying to figure out exactly what portion sizes I need to eat to keep me full and focused between meals. As a general rule, the Whole30 recommends that each meal be made up of: 1 fist-sized animal protein, a little healthy fat, and a plateful of veggies.
On Day 4, I cut back my portions a little, but that left me pretty hungry in between meals. I'm proud of myself for grabbing healthy, compliant snacks to fill in the gaps. I figured if I don't want to cheat the program (or myself), I better keep my stomach full so I don't dive into the giant bowl of Jolly Ranchers we keep at work.
BREAKFAST: Roasted potatoes, tomatoes, arugula, ground beef, & avocado.
MID-MORNING SNACK: Green bell pepper and an Epic bar.
LUNCH: Beef brisket & homemade tomato sauce w/ a side of strawberries.
AFTERNOON SNACK: Apple & prosciutto.
DINNER: 1/2 Salmon fillet with roasted veggies on the side.
I made it through the work week!
No sugar cravings, no cheating, no giving up. I am a little more tired in the mornings than usual, but overall, I still feel great.
BREAKFAST: Salmon topped with a fried egg; cherry tomatoes on the side.
I finally made it from breakfast to lunch without a mid-morning snack. I think that's a sign my body is getting used to this lifestyle! Hooray!
LUNCH: Spinach and arugula salad with chicken, tomatoes, and cashews, topped with homemade sunflower sauce (see below), with an apple and star fruit on the side. (Have you tried star fruit? It's delicious.)
Pre-Whole30, one my favorite condiments was a homemade peanut sauce: equal parts peanut butter, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. From that list, only rice vinegar is Whole30-approved, so I had to get creative. My friend Nora introduced me to coconut aminos, which is a slightly sweeter alternative to soy sauce. I used that, rice vinegar, and sunflower butter to make a comparable sauce. Dare I say... I might like this version better.
AFTERNOON SNACK: Homemade dried strawberries & Nick's Sticks.
DINNER: Brisket, roasted mixed vegetables, & an avocado.
I was a little worried about heading into the weekend because I have a tendency to mindlessly snack—especially when I don't have anything going on. I was worried I'd find myself in the midst of old habits: sitting on my couch, watching Netflix, munching on something I wasn't hungry for (even if it's Whole30-approved).
I was still feeling a little under the weather on Day Six. My throat was slightly sore and I was incredibly tired as early as 7:30PM (of course, I've cut back to just one cup of coffee a day, which might be to blame). I warmed myself a mug of water and added half a fresh lemon to it, and it seemed to do the trick healing my throat.
BREAKFAST: 2 scrambled eggs, chicken sausage, sliced red pepper.
LUNCH: Salmon, cucumbers, and cabbage slaw.
DINNER: Brisket, an open-faced baked sweet potato, and a whole bunch of sautéed spinach and mushrooms. I totally inhaled this dinner.
I woke up ready for the day and excited to prep for Week 2. Mentally, Day 7 was the most difficult for me so far. For no apparent reason, anything and everything set me off. I was crabby, lonely, and desperate for comfort. But, surprisingly, I didn't seek that comfort in food (win!).
Sticking to Whole30-approved foods really hasn't been difficult for me... yet. Rather, what's difficult is trying to maintain a feeling of normalcy when my hormones, immune system, and digestive system are all over the place. I feel healthy, but tapped.
In an attempt to clear my head, I went for a run (which is something I've never said or done before). Exercise isn't usually my stress relief, but I wanted to start moving more in order to truly get the most out of these 30 days. I put on some workout gear, ramped up my workout playlist, and went for a quick run across the Stone Arch Bridge.
Check out that view!
BREAKFAST: Spinach/mushroom/tomato frittata, 1/2 an avocado, and star fruit (this might be my new favorite fruit...but yikes, it's expensive).
LUNCH: Spinach and arugula salad topped with chicken, carrots, cashews, and sunflower sauce, with an apple on the side.
DINNER: Chicken sausage, 2 hardboiled eggs, and sautéed green beans.
HOW I'M FEELING
1 = Worst I've ever felt. 10 = Best I've ever felt.
My energy levels are not quite consistent yet. Somedays, I feel on top of the world. Others, I need three naps. I'm allowing myself the rest I need when I need it.
Finally, I am sleeping more soundly. I'm waking up before my alarm goes off more often than not, but I'll take it.
Digestion is probably the number one thing that has improved for me so far. I feel more regular, and I am far less bloated than I have been all year.
Days 6, 7, & 8 have left me cranky, moody, and all over the place.
Sadly, I have yet to see any significant changes in my skin. If anything, I have more blackheads on my nose than I did before, which bothers me. But, I'm hopeful things will get better (and if they don't, I guess that means it's time for a facial!)
These haven't much improved, either. I have had a sore throat the past couple of days, and my ears are exceptionally itchy. It begs the question, "Is this normal?"
Cover Photo Courtesy of Two Raspberries