We made it through the Whole 30! And since I know you’re all wondering…
Overall, I felt great! I had good energy, no slumps, and no symptoms of anything that could have been a food sensitivity (such as headaches, breakouts, or brain fog). Prior to starting, I had gotten into the habit of enjoying a treat (NadaMoo, I’m looking at you!) a few times per week. While I did miss things like having a small piece of dark chocolate after lunch and enjoying something like Pressed Freeze while out on a drive, it feels really good to not have the cravings for sweets on a regular basis. In the past I have gone months on end without any added sugar at all, and while I’m sure I could do that again, I’m looking forward to bringing some of my favorite top quality treats back into the picture as part of my Food Freedom! (If you're unfamiliar with the phrase, you can see the official Whole 30 explanation here.) I also LOVED how many veggies and fruits I ate. I normally eat a lot, but I probably increased that amount by 30% on the Whole 30. I was also concurrently working on a physical goal of getting strong enough to do a handstand, and I definitely saw strength and skill gains in this area! I don’t know that I would directly attribute that to W30, as I have been diligently training as well, but the W30 gave me the freedom to eat intuitively and fuel my body as I felt that I needed to.
It wasn’t all sunshine and roses though. There were a few things that I really missed, like my Rootz pre-workout powder ("wholedailylife" for 10% off), a daily piece of Eating Evolved dark chocolate ("traceygmt" for a free gift with your order), fun products like Mikey’s pizza crusts, and Equip protein powder ("wholedailylife" for 10% off). The powders are convenient, the dark chocolate is a little daily #treatyoself, and the pizza crusts represent creativity in the kitchen and my love of experimenting with the endless number of interesting products that have made their way to the market in recent years! I also found it a little challenging to get in as much carbohydrate as I felt that I needed, particularly around my hardest workout day each week. My digestion has come a long way, but is still a little sensitive to some starches and higher FODMAP foods, meaning that I relied mostly on fruit and sweet potatoes for carbs. This worked, but by the end of the W30 I was ready to have other options. In the past I would incorporate white rice on occasion, especially in a PWO refuel, so I look forward to trying that out again. Lastly, as anyone who has done a W30 (or seen my meal prep) knows, it does take some effort! Fortunately you can make a Whole 30 as simple or complex as you want, but it was still a step up in terms of weekly prep and cooking.
Things I didn’t miss at all: alcohol, snacks, added sugar. I know that last one seems contradictory to what I just said above, but really, I think what I was feeling when I was “missing” my daily chocolate or a trip to Pressed Freeze was really just the act of self-care. I’m a foodie, and having something special like that is FUN for me, whether savory or sweet!
Both my husband and I plan to continue eating this way the majority of the time. I’ll probably add back in protein shakes, though I liked the challenge of having a real food breakfast and would like to continue to do that and save the protein shakes for when I’m extra busy and could use the added convenience (like this week). I’m going to test out the effects of dairy, as I had previously suspected that it might be giving me some skin trouble, which did clear up on the W30. I also have some other potential causes pinpointed though, so we’ll see what happens this week!
Speaking of which, how about this week’s meal plan! We were out of town this past weekend so I was out of my normal routine. I used a few shortcuts this week, but as you can see, kept things about the same for the most part!
Breakfast for me: Chicken Apple Sausage + Chard + Sweet Potato // These chicken apple sausages are from US Wellness Meats, and this is my first time trying them! They do contain a little bit of sugar, which is why I didn't use them during the Whole 30. I'll be having roasted sweet potato and sautéed swiss chard with them.
Breakfast for him: Frittata + Banana // Prior to the W30 he was having a smoothie or an oat based breakfast bread in the mornings, but the frittata has been a winner ever since. You can see how I make it here.
Lunch for me: Lamb Meatballs with Tahini Sauce + Spinach Cauli Rice + Zucchini + Apple // I was feeling creative in my meal planning this week, which is how this spread came about! For the meatballs, I started with a pound of lamb (again from US Wellness Meats) and seasoned it with about 1 tsp each of garlic powder, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, salt, and a handful of fresh parsley. After mixing everything together I portioned them out into meatballs using a 1 oz scoop and baked at 425 for about 15 minutes. The tahini sauce is simply tahini mixed with some garlic powder, lemon, and water to thin it out. To make the Spinach Cauli Rice I cooked up a bag of pre-riced cauliflower from Trader Joes in a large skillet with some ghee until soft and starting to brown, then added in a bag of frozen chopped baby spinach. I seasoned it with lots of lemon/lemon zest to brighten up the flavor, and added in some chopped parsley, chopped green onions, and Sari Foods Nutritional Yeast. To bulk up the meal a bit I also added some roasted zucchini, and brought an apple to have on the side for carbohydrate.
Lunch for him: Raw Veggies, Fruit, Deli Turkey, Nuts // I try to incorporate a "no cook" meal for each of us each week to help cut down on cooking over the weekend. This week he'll be having raw veggies (carrot, radish, snap peas) with grapes, deli turkey (we like Applegate and True Story brands the most, but this week I went with the Sprouts brand because it was on sale) and nuts. The only change here is that instead of cooking chicken we're using the deli meat for convenience this week.
Dinner for me: Ample Shake // Ample is a meal replacement shake that I discovered a few months ago. It is designed as an all in one "just add water" kind of product, and after looking at the ingredient list, I was impressed! They have a whey and collagen based formula, which is the one I'll be having this week, as well as a vegetarian pea and rice protein based one. We'll see how I do with the dairy after having kept it out for the W30! While I do prefer whole food based meals, having something like Ample is an incredibly convenient backup for busy weeks. If you'd like to try it out for yourself, you can use the code "wholedailylife" for 10% off of your first order!
Dinner for him: Taco Salad // This is another of our go-to meals that requires very little prep. I use the taco seasoning from Trader Joe's on the meat, which is the only part of the meal that I make in advance. In addition to the lettuce, bell peppers, and salsa, he'll also be adding some black beans as a reintroduction.
Last but not least, I'll be reintroducing my favorite Eating Evolved chocolate with lunch :)
This meal prep took me about 4.5 hours, not including about 75 minutes of shopping time at two different stores (or the dishes!).
Have a great week!