For 30 days I followed the Whole 30 diet as discussed in "It Starts With Food." My only cheat, towards the very end- a small piece of cake and a little scoop of ice cream for my son's birthday.
I wish I would have kept better track of the results- I didn't do measurements because I really wasn't a) convinced it would work and b) didn't want to be disappointed when it didn't.
Nice attitude, huh?
If you're a reader, you know how many times I've been down this road before!
I did sorta track my weight. I didn't jump on the scale until I had started for a few days. I lost 13 pounds.
I don't know about you, but for me 13 pounds in a month is fantastic. I'm over 40. I have the metabolism of a drunken sloth. I already ate fairly decently. There was nothing left to cut out. I already exercised fairly regularly (well, more than most Americans!).
I tracked my calories for the first 21 days- I stopped because I found out what I wanted-- I was eating more calories. I was exercising for less time. I lost the most weight I ever have in such a short period of time.
I slept better. My skin cleared up. I easily dropped a size.
So now what? Well, this past week, I tried a variety of different things, as they recommend back into my diet.
Dairy made me ill. Specifically ice cream and milk. I had a little cheese on some potatoes and that seemed fine. Yogurt also made me sick. I mean sick, too. Nauseous. A little feverish. It lasted about 2 days.
I tried pasta. I couldn't eat more than a few bites. My stomach immediately swelled up like a balloon. The next day I felt like I had been hit by a truck. Very different reaction from the dairy. I also had popcorn. I thought I was okay. I had it twice this week. My face is broken out. So maybe popcorn is okay once a month, but not 2-3 times a week (and here I always thought it as a nice "healthy" snack). I didn't even try shredded wheat or oatmeal.
I had a cupcake- oddly that seemed fine!
I had an Oreo. I can not begin to tell you how disgusting it tasted. An Oreo. It dissolved in my mouth and suddenly it tasted like I had a mouthful of oil. I thought maybe it was a "bad" cookie (work with me on this- I've eaten them my whole life). I tried to eat another- spit it out.
I think that was the most shocking to me-- my tastebuds have changed that much in just 30 days. The cupcake- which was homemade did not taste that disgusting. I think my days of processed foods are gone forever. I was never a big Twinkie fan, so I think I'm okay and will survive! And if I ever want to try again, I'm sure the thought of that nasty taste- imagine licking the recongealed fat off a roast-- will prevent me from every doing that again!
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
I've had a LOT of questions about this and many friends have started the program and had similar results (please share them below!). Here are a few of the questions:
Wasn't it hard to cut out so many things?
No. Not even a little. The first few days I felt terrible but at no point did I ever feel hungry. Never. Not once. I think because I was eating fat again, I felt full for the first time in a very long time.
How can you live without cheese?
I have been known to say that my life would have no meaning without cheese. It does. I think because of the fat, I didn't miss the cheese. I was getting most of my fat from dairy, so that's what I was afraid of missing and what I craved. Avocados, bacon, olive oil-- it all filled the void.
Since I've tried to reintroduced dairy and had such a bad, strong reaction, I'm done with it. Maybe a little feta for flavor on a salad or parmesan on something with marinara-- small amounts of big flavored cheeses for flavor- which is probably how I should have been eating them all along and not as a separate food category!
But bread... you MUST miss bread!
Okay, I have a confession. I don't like bread. Some breads, sure- usually if I can cover them in butter or olive oil, but honestly not my thing. I am not a sandwich fan. Never have been. I've always preferred soup or salad over a sandwich. It just seems heavy to me (probably because it bloated me up?). I also don't like beer. Every once in awhile I'll have a nice red wheat beer, but if I'm going to drink, I'd rather have wine or vodka. Beer makes me belch and pee-- sexy.
So alcohol- you miss that!
Yes. You caught me. This surprised me more than the Oreo tasting nasty. I am not a big drinker. I think it's because the weather is getting nicer and my husband and I like to have a glass of wine on the patio in the evenings. We had friends over about a week into it and it sucked to sit there and drink tea. One of my best friends was back from Africa this week, so we shared a little wine. About halfway through one glass, I was tanked. I guess the benefit of this-- I'm a cheap drunk now! I tried a little hard cider last night and I actually felt my heart racing from the sugar. Of course, I'd had popcorn right before- after managing my sugar for so long, my poor body was freaking out, I'm sure.
I think a drink a week is more than enough. But it definitely impacts me and I'm aware of it.
What on earth are you eating?
My typical breakfast isn't typical any more. I usually have eggs- an omelet, fried, scrambled, poached, boiled- you name it. I like eggs. I have lox quite a bit, too. The kids love it. They kids are also liking having eggs from time to time, although I have not converted them (and I am debating this.... ). Potatoes are okay- this isn't Atkins. I am trying to lose weight so I don't eat them often. Today, I went to breakfast with my daughter. I had 2 poached eggs, ham and hash browns. I used the hash browns like I would toast. When I want something carby, I eat potatoes. They have a lot of recipes for "skillet meals"- healthy hamburger helper stuff. I will throw an egg on top of it. Sounds gross, but fills me up easily to lunch.
And speaking of lunch... for lunch, I have salads or leftovers from dinner. I use balsamic vinegar for my dressing, but I've made homemade mayo (takes 5 minutes) and I can make a nice ranch dip if I want. I usually put a protein (leftover from the night before, boiled eggs or a nitrate free deli turkey), mixed greens or ice berg lettuce (love it), for a crunch peppers or carrots or celery or cabbage, and I like to add nuts and for sweet I toss on some fruit- apples or pears or dried fruit- even oranges- and then I top it was a few chopped nuts. Because I'm eating a larger breakfast, I don't need too much at lunch
For dinner, very little has changed. We have chicken, fish, steak, shrimp- pretty much anything. I like to cook so this is not a big deal. We have a side of a veggie and I make homemade applesauce (I'll put my secret recipe below). Or two veggies. Or cauliflower rice (I'll put that below as well). Or a potato if we have some. Pizzas and pastas are for when babysitters come over or my hubby has to throw together something when I'm working late.
For dessert, we have a Zoku popmaker (very fun and useful) and I made up my own "drumstick"- coconut milk frozen, topped with chocolate coating (made with coconut oil) and rolled in chopped macadamia nuts. Yum.
But what do you eat when you go out?
It hasn't been too hard. The oddest places have the best options. It's easy to get a meat or fish entree with veggies for a side. Red Robin, which I love, was nearly impossible to find something that didn't have chips or cheese or something on it. Same with Tropical Smoothie Cafe.
I still think it's weird. Don't you think it's weird?
I feel fantastic. I think continuing to eat food that makes me feel ill is weird.
I really hope my friends who are doing this also comment on how they feel. It's like someone flipped a switch on. Trust me, once you get through the first week YOU WILL NOT GO BACK. I cannot emphasize this enough. I do not miss feeling bloated and ill.
A few tips that I have:
- Keep a bowl of boiled eggs (if you like them). They are an easy to grab food for when you are hungry and they fill you up.
- Kale chips are great for when you want something crunchy and salty.
- You're going to have to cook. Plan it. Make extra for leftovers.
- Nuts are delicious. Buy them in bulk.
And the recipes (no specifics):
Crockpot Applesauce (for advanced cooks only--kidding)
Cut up apples (I use one of those divider things). Leave on the skins.
Throw them in the crockpot. If you have some fruit that has seen better days (shriveled peaches or strawberries... blueberries that are starting to look like raisins...), throw that in, too to mix it up. We use pears as well.
Top with cinnamon- about 2 T (I like cinnamon). For fun, throw in some cardamon.
Depending on the apples, add a little water. If they are soft apples, add about 2 T, if they are crisp apples, add about 1/4 cup.
Put the crockpot on low and come back in a few hours. Mash down the apples or leave them in slices.
Serve them either hot or cold.
Grate a head cauliflower into rice size pieces.
Saute half a diced onion in olive oil.
Once the onions are soft, add 2 T or 2 cloves of minced garlic.
Saute until the garlic is soft.
Add the cauliflower pieces. Saute until the cauliflower is slightly browned.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Wash and dry a head of kale (either curly or flat leaf will work).
Cut into chip size pieces- smaller is a little better.
Toss with sea salt and about 1/4 cup olive oil (it will seem like a lot).
Bake on foil lined baking sheets at 400 for 20 minutes. Halfway through, toss/turn the chips.
Store in an airtight container.
(I know you think this is gross, but my kids can't get enough of these. Oh- and unlike the applesauce which will make your house smell delicious, this will make your house smell like farts).
Have fun. Give it a try. It might work for you. It might not. It is working for me.