One week of Whole30 done and it somehow feels like it’s flying by. Maybe it’s because I’ve been extremely busy the last two weeks. It could be that meal planning and focusing on making meals rather than eating out/going to coffee shops has been the one thing putting me at ease right now. Maybe it’s all of these things and just the fact that I’ve felt better mentally and physically in this Whole30 than the last two I’ve done.
For those who are wondering, “What is Whole30 and why are you doing it?” here’s the why. First of all, Whole30 is an elimination diet of sorts. A reset. A clean slate. A way to get stronger mentally, physically, digestively… truly all around as a whole (no pun intended). I learned about Whole30 back in 2016 and did my first one January 2017. On a Whole30, for 30 days you eat fresh vegetables, fats, meats, fish, nuts, seeds and fruits and go without dairy, gluten, grains, soy and most importantly — sugar.
Different people do Whole30 for all different sorts of reasons but when I did it the first time, it was to get my binge eating and sugar-addiction in control. I was waking up in the middle of the night most nights wanting something sweet. Even if it was considered “healthy” food (i.e. nut butter, bananas and granola), I was constantly snacking and really not listening to my hunger cues. I did it to watch what I was consuming and how I was thinking about food. I wanted to get back to mindful eating.
I actually wrote this post “When The Chickpea Stops Eating Hummus” that month when I took on my first ever Whole30. It also was posted 2 weeks after my mom died and somehow, I still had the willpower to do a Whole30. That’s when I always tell people – trust me, there are harder things to do than a Whole30 and it’s really all about your mindset in the given moment you start one. As one would imagine, that month was pretty rough (I was extremely sick the weekend following my mom’s passing and ate nothing but bread which is clearly 100% not Whole30 approved). At that time, I listened to my body and what it needed and then the following Monday I ate Whole30 the rest of the month and I felt amazing.
I think it’s important to note that many people do Whole30 for the mental strength and it’s true, you DO need mental strength to get through it – but it’s possible and so, so doable. I never thought I could go without gluten, dairy, grains, legumes (bye chickpeas) or sugar for a month but then I realized – it’s just 30 days. It’s not the rest of your life. It also helps when you’re not traveling as I think that’s the biggest road blocker but if you’re going to family events/parties, just bring your own food!
For the first few months after my first Whole30, I ate pretty paleo for about 5-7 months. Of course I’d eat bread and dairy here and there but I really loved the way my body felt on a paleo, plant-based lifestyle. I say plant-based because in my opinion, eating paleo is just that. Of course you’re eating meat, fish and eggs but your plate is filled with 75% vegetables usually at every meal. Also, protein, fats, carbs… everything is still included in a Whole30. I want to clarify that just because I think some people always think you really can’t eat anything when you say you’re not eating dairy, sugar, grains or gluten. But really I feel like I’m eating quite a lot, ha! I’m constantly satisfied and have yet to be “super hungry”.
That same year, I did a Whole30 in September with my roommate and despite feeling like complete shit (for lack of a better phrase and being 100% transparent) through most of it, I did it the entire way through.
I think the prime reason I didn’t feel good during my second Whole30 was a combination of high anxiety, doing excessive amounts of cardio and my mindset wasn’t in the right place but I’m still proud of myself for finishing the entire thing. I remember getting to a point on day 27 or 28 where I just wanted to give up but remembering how far you’ve come on it and how your body is truly thanking you from the inside out is such a reminder to keep it going until the end.
I really had never thought of doing another Whole30 anytime soon after my second until about 6 weeks ago. My friend Alexis and I had been talking about how our digestion, gut and skin were just out of control and since she had done one just this past November, we figured why not, let’s do it together!
Since I left my job in January I’ve felt like my life is significantly MORE stressful in ways and also significantly LESS stressful in others. It’s funny working for yourself, setting your own schedule and truly being your own boss but at the same time, constantly worrying about if you can do this, if you’re good enough, etc. Insert: high stress levels, gut thrown off and hormonal acne on fleek.
I felt as though within the last three months, my skin had gotten significantly worse with hormonal acne (the worst it’s been in my life – maybe even worse than when I was 15), my gut has been going nuts with bloat, cramping, and all of the digestive issues. While I am a firm believer that stress has to do a lot with most of these things, I knew that food is medicine and if I can control one thing right now in this busy time of life, I want it to be food and how it’s making me feel.
Without getting too into it, I think one common misconception of Whole30 is that it’s extremely restrictive, people do it to lose weight and it’s a diet. All of these things I think are completely untrue and it honestly makes me sort of sad when people view it like that OR when someone wants to do it for those reasons. Rather than thinking, “oh my god you can’t eating anything!” I think of it like, what foods can fuel me that are whole, unprocessed and filled with nutrients that will fuel me/won’t make me feel like complete crap?!
When I did my first one I knew the thoughts people would have towards me doing it as I had struggled with an eating disorder the majority of high school and first half of college. But to me, it didn’t put me in a restrictive mindset at all but rather helped me be more mindful, eat my food slower and enjoy it more while being aware of how it energizes me/what foods I ate made me sick/what didn’t.
Besides doing this Whole30 this time around just for how I feel physically, I wanted to do something for myself mentally. I wanted to become more creative in the kitchen and become inspired in some way other than my blog and also have something to keep me accountable and organized. I started it the Monday after my first week of yoga teacher training, too so I felt like the combination of constantly going to yoga teacher training for hours and having to pack my meals is making me feel on top of the world.
Sooo, getting into the bulk of this post — how I feel so far one week in, what some of my favorite products are and what my go-to meals have been. It’s truly been exciting this time around and far less boring than I originally thought it’d be.
I’ve gone to the store 3x in one week but maybe that’s just because I am doing hot yoga on top of strength training (aka A TON of exerted energy). I think each and every person’s intake of food differs (that’s going for just in general life as well) every time they do a Whole30 but I try to be super mindful of the energy I’m exerting and how I’ll need to refuel. I’ve been focusing a lot this Whole30 on listening to my body rather than just eating to eat and so far, it feels freaking INCREDIBLE. I wake up in the morning and I don’t want to eat right away usually which makes me more mindful of getting ready, doing a few things on my to do list, making a matcha and relaxing before rushing.
I think a lot of the reasoning behind this Whole30 being fairly simple for me is that I relatively do eat paleo 75% of the time when I cook at home, so in somewhat of a sense creating these meals and enjoying them is fairly easy to me. I love eating primarily vegetables and adding a protein in on the side. And I freaking love potatoes (what you’ll eat A LOT of on Whole30).
As for a few weekly staples in my grocery hauls:
-Wild caught salmon and cod (fresh fish section)
-Chicken sausages (I love this brand)
-Pasture-raised eggs (Vital Farms are the best in my opinion with the brightest yolk but I also like Whole Foods’ 365 pasture-raised ones for a bit cheaper)
-Canned fish (Wild caught salmon, wild caught tuna)
-Organic ground turkey
-Wild caught smoked salmon
-Wild caught shrimp (frozen)
NUT MILK/DAIRY ALTERNATIVES
-MALK Organics Almond Milk Unsweetened
-Hemp seeds (I use 1.5 tbsp in my coffee/matcha to make “hemp milk”)
-The New Barn unsweetened almond milk
Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods
-Huge bin of mixed greens
-Organic grape tomatoes
-Rao’s Marinara Sauce (look for completely compliant sauce, aka no dairy! At WF)
-Sundried tomatoes (I buy these like bulk at Trader Joe’s – I’m obsessed)
-Tri-colored baby potatoes
-Shaved brussels sprouts
-Packaged beets (I go for this brand found at WF and I avoid any ones with sugar/additives)
All of these you can find on Thrive Market for the most affordable
-Yai Thai’s Curry Sauce
-Primal Kitchen products: ketchup (I go through this like water on Whole30), spicy brown mustard, avocado oil mayo (if you’re a tuna/chicken salad person), greek dressing
-Tessemae’s sauces: avocado ranch, mild buffalo sauce, date-sweetened ketchup
-Nutiva coconut manna
-Olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil spray
-Chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds
-Fourth & Heart Ghee
–Collagen single-serve packets
–Four Sigmatic chaga coffee (only coffee I buy at home!)
-Reusable ziploc bags
-Spices in bulk!
On top of these items, I’ve been using David’s Tea Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha for my matcha and adding my Ned full spectrum hemp oil to basically everything (it’s Whole30 compliant as it doesn’t contain anything funky – just hemp oil and MCT oil) – you can use my code “CHICKPEA” on Ned for a discount on your first order, btw 🙂
As for what I’ve been making with all of the above ingredients?
For my protein, I’ve done baked wild caught salmon, wild cod, chicken sausage and scrambled eggs for a ton of meals. I’ll usually do a breakfast bowl in the morning of either chicken or eggs with potatoes, a veggie of some sort and either ketchup, avocado or avocado ranch. I always make sure I have a combination of carbs, protein and fats.
I make my paleo turkey meatballs A TON and I love having those with spaghetti squash, frozen mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, tomato sauce and nutritional yeast. I would eat this for pretty much every meal if I could.
Cauliflower rice is a huge staple of mine and I love sauteing it with olive oil, salt, black pepper, nutritional yeast, turmeric and arugula to have as a side with pretty much any meal.
For the past few months, I absolutely dread spinach/arugula/greens and usually never make salads but Whole30 has made me love and appreciate salads more now. Woo!
My favorite dish I made the last week though? Wild caught cod, sauteed red peppers, spinach, roasted jicama, green beans and Yai Thai’s Curry Sauce. Oh. my. God. I had it three nights in a row and had never looked forward to a meal so much in my life. Going to re-create this in the next 2 weeks and show you guys the recipe. Super simple and yet so flavorful!
As for how I’ve been feeling the past 7 days… I haven’t been this happy in a minute. I only feel bloated lately if I drink Spindrift/carbonated water (which I try not to do unless it’s after dinner), my face feels 100x clearer than it did a week ago (I also had a facial and have been ice rolling/jade rolling every morning/wearing less makeup) and drinking way more water when I can.
I’m honestly really happy with how things are going and am looking forward to the next 3 weeks (except I honestly really can’t wait to eat a damn taco, ha). I’m looking forward to updating you guys further!
And for any additional FAQs and questions, I definitely recommend heading to Whole30’s website and if you’re curious purchasing Food Freedom Forever. That book changed the way I view Whole30 and how it’s helped me mentally, emotionally, physically.