My Whole 30 Adventure

I’m no Spring Chicken anymore and definitely not getting any younger! When I started to have multiple stomach, gut and intestinal issues I did not want to wait around for something really bad to happen before I got a handle on it. Being in the “crunchy” world from my aromatherapy journey, I had heard of whole 30 hundreds of times but had not really checked into it.

The research began, I was out to find the perfect formula for me, my lifestyle and one that I could also try and talk my husband into (I know, L.O.L). Search after search on Facebook Groups, posts, Pinterest recipes and every Whole 30 book I could get my hands on I realized there is no magic formula. You just have to start and finish.

I do highly recommend reading through the Whole 30 book that explains in detail each step of the process. How to prepare, when to, or not to start. There are even breakdowns of the days to give you an idea of what you might feel during the process of eliminating the buildup in your body.

After reading, if you haven’t already, find a support group that you can be a part of to ask questions, share ideas and maybe find the 100th way to make eggs for dinner…yeah, it’s a thing. Most communities have a Whole 30 Facebook group, ours is My Whole 30-Defiance, OH. Jump on, check it out and ask questions…we all love to help no matter how many adventures you have been on!

PLAN. This does take some planning. I chose to start about 2 weeks out. Mind you, I keep a pretty healthy pantry and fridge. If you are a little laxed in this department, don’t fret, just give yourself a little bit more transition time.  I found it much easier to use up what I had and replace it with a Whole 30 compliant versions than to throw what I couldn’t use away. It seemed wasteful to do so, which stressed me out and the last thing I needed was to be stressed out over throwing some food out!

My biggest problem that I knew of right from the get-go was my coffee. Now I love me some creamer in my coffee and Boy oh boy was I scared for my husband to be around me “uncoffeed”. I bulletproof my coffee with a touch of Organic, all-natural creamer but that’s dairy and dairy was a NO-NO. This meant I spent most of my “pre-prep weeks” finding the right combination of something to help me break the coffee creamer addiction. Side note, it never happened. I did use NutPods Whole 30 compliant creamer. It got me through, barely.

While I was fretting over my Coffee creamer dilemma, I also took note on what I could and could not have. This may seem overwhelming, but I found that if I looked at what could replace the item with, I was content and did not feel something was being taken away. For example: I lOVE(d) peanut butter. It was one of my favorite snacks, especially with apples. So, instead of just taking it away from me, I bought some compliant nut butters to try. Justin’s Classic Almond Butter was the perfect fit.

By midweek two I had cleaned out most of the pantry and fridge. There was no longer a snack drawer and now I was ready to go shopping for a weeks’ worth of whole 30 complaint foods. AHHHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!!  Please do the work a bit ahead of time BEFORE you enter into that grocery store. Ask questions on those handy sites, blogs and forums. Look up the best brands to grab, know what label to look for OR shop at a store that is known for having the compliant foods. This will help immensely, I PROMISE YOU WILL WANT TO DO THIS!! Our shelf foods are so full of crap. Event the foods I had read labels of previously still had ingredients in them that WERE NOT COMPLIANT. I was amazed at how many items I thought were okay and ended up putting back on the shelf. Do the shopping with every intention of taking twice as long, especially the first time you go. If you normally have guest with asking to put items in the cart, find a time to go without them. Seems upsetting now but trust in me, you will thank me later!  Oh, and go at a time that the grocery IS NOT BUSY. It helps keep you calm and not feel rushed so you can take your time to read those labels. Know that you are the person that is taking your health into you own hands so let those people just keep on staring at your healthy ol’ self.

In all honesty, it’s best to stay away from the shelf when you are purchasing items for this adventure. I know it’s tough, but I have faith in you! I did not do so my first go ‘round so don’t feel that you have to. In fact, if you are on your first run with Whole 30 it may be a bit better to have those back ups just in case that “perfect mayo every time” recipe is a total failure.

My first grocery trip did take me longer. I also ventured to Fort Wayne area for a bit more variety.  I actually only found a few items that I probably could have lived without. I will add that a few of my crunchy friends really hit Costco hard. I did not do this as I was making for only one person and most of the items are bulk. Not knowing exactly what I wanted made me keep to smaller portions. Next time I may try this and utilize the bulk buying which equals less time in the grocery…YYYAAHHHH.

I chose Aldi for most of my groceries. I’m an Aldi shopper through and through. I love the selection, I found many items with NO SUGAR in them. I was able to get the organic free range eggs fairly inexpensive when the local free range down the street from me was out. My favorite item I found…NO SUGAR minimal ingredient ground sausage, GAME CHANGER. Fried potatoes and eggs (in coconut or avocado oil) and sausage where my go to meal all month!

After the first week, everything really calms down. I had to retrain myself to leave out dairy, mostly cheese. I only use almond milk but wow, how often I sprinkled cheese on everything. Outside of my coffee creamer, that was the hardest habit to break! I think this is why the “stages of whole 30” really are typical to go through. Again, I highly recommend reading one of the in-depth books so you have an understanding of what to expect. I went through most of the stages within the time frame expected but I did not linger on any of them. I had a day or two of the “kill all things” and I did dream of cupcakes with two inch frosting but none of it lasted.

Nearing the end of the Whole30 adventure, I was so in the groove of eating properly that the original fear of difficulty had diminished. This was especially helpful knowing I had another three weeks planned for reintroduction of foods. Look, if you go through all the channels to get here you best reintroduce the foods slowly and properly so you reap the full benefits of this meal plan. I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT MY FOOD ISSUES IN THESE THREE WEEKS!!!

Day one reintro was legumes. I chose peanut butter and black beans.

What I found: No stomach issues with these foods but I did realize I’m not that in to peanut butter anymore.

Day four reintro was gluten free oatmeal and corn chips:

                What I found: Yeahhh chips and salsa are still my friend and oatmeal is on the table

Day seven was GRASS FED cheese, creamer and butter. I had my dear friend Rose of DEEP ROOTS WELLNESS and TT419 tell me to split my dairy: grass fed vs regular. I felt it was going to be an issue and she made the suggestion wishing she would have done the same.

What I found: Minimal, if any stomach bloating. No cramping at all. I still felt amazing. It may have been the high from using coffee creamer again but I can’t be certain. OH, I did use less creamer in my coffee than before W30. That’s great because it means less sugar too!

Day ten was regular dairy items, I chose cheese:

                What I found: I did not miss cheese at all. I realized it really wasn’t something I “needed” to make my food taste good. To this day, three months later, I don’t reach for cheese. It isn’t something I feel I am missing and that’s a bonus because, it causes me some major issues. Stomach bloating, excessive gas and I really started to feel tired! I also had more anxiety and some stress flags along. (side note: the following month off of Whole30 I noticed a major increase in menstrual cycle symptoms that I DID NOT HAVE while on the Whole30 meal plan)

Day Thirteen was adding gluten. No, please don’t make me…

                What I found: gluten rips my insides up and tries to spit it all out. It’s awful and I cannot believe I lived that way before. Since the initial introduction I have played with gluten intake…I mean, who can say no to doughnuts forever? If I am not consuming large amounts at a time, my body will not react negatively. So, one doughnut every once in awhile is a special treat that I enjoy and I’m okay with that. Two or three and other gluten items days in a row and I’ll be paying for that tenfold.

The rest of the three weeks, days fourteen through twentyone-ish were spent evaluating each step through this journey. I took in a ton of information and really was happy with my accomplishment, with what I found out about myself and my ability to stick with the diet without anyone else around me being along for the ride. You do not have to do this. It’s my personality that makes me research and analyze.

I can’t say I’m surprised by the outcomes, I pretty much knew where my issues were. I did not know however how much these ingredients affected my health. I’m very happy to have followed through with this adventure. It opened my eyes to a whole knew outlook on my food intake. I now have a crunchy version of me on my shoulder letting me know that I’ll regret buying that dozen of doughnuts so why don’t I just get the bag of two.

If you have ever thought of trying the Whole 30 program, I highly recommend it. First do the research…just check out the book from the library to get started. It has all the pointers you need to have a successful run with this new meal plan. Talk to like minded people about your desire to try this. I say like minded because people will think you are crazy. LET THEM! Then plan it out. Come up with meal ideas that you know you will love, and snacks to have readily available.

Pinterest is a fantastic place to start. Click HERE to check out my board of recipes that I thought looked amazing.

As always, if you have questions, need some advice or just want to speak to someone that has gone through it you can reach out to me, I’ll be happy to help.

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash