This August I decided to try Whole 30 . The first half of the Summer I indulged, like, way too much. I needed to change things up, so I decided to do Whole 30 for the remaining weeks of the summer. Whole 30 has you eat only whole foods: meat, veggies, fruits, and nuts for 30 days. I couldn't eat dairy, legumes, grains, or sugar. TOUGH STUFF right there. Doing Whole 30 in the summer was a really good idea for me because fresh foods were abundant in the city. If you aren't familiar with New York City, you would probably think the opposite. Fresh food in the city? What? I thought NYC was full of $1 pizza slices and bagels. That's still true, but there are green carts on pretty much every block and produce is CHEAP. During the summer I nannied 40 hours a week and then the rest of the week was my time to enjoy (Ahhh. I loved that schedule.) Anyways, I had extra time on my hands so I could eat healthy. I was also making a little extra dough with the nannying, so I could spend money on healthier foods. This eating plans seemed like a good route for me.
For this post, I'm going to break my experience down in three categories: 1) The structure, 2) The hard parts 3) The good parts.
The structure and key facts
I found out about Whole 30 through Instagram (no surprise there). I used Instagram for inspiration and accountability. I took pictures of the foods I was eating and I saw pictures of foods other Whole30ers were eating. My Whole 30 experience lasted 28 days. It would have been cool to make it through the whole thing, but I didn't. I shopped at Whole Foods and NYC green carts. Occasionally there was Whole30 approved meals I could eat where I nannied, so I was able to shop the nanny fridge. I took daily field notes to record this experience on my iPhone. I don't think I'll share these notes, mainly because it's TMI all the way when it comes to my digestive track. I probably cheated between 5-10% of the time. I never ate grains, but sugar, dairy, and legumes were harder to avoid.
The hard parts.
1) Eating at a social table. Weekends were killer for me because of social outings. I would go to China Town with some friends and we would order a delicious spread, but I found myself only able to eat the beef and broccoli picked out of a rice bowl. I could never order desserts. I was just so limited when it came to eating out with friends. That wasn't fun. I didn't appreciate the attention either. You're gluten free? Are you on a diet? Do you feel sick?
2) Meat and veggies - all the time. I probably could have done better research on dinners recipe to eat, because it felt like my only options were some form of meat and veggies. It got boring. Breakfast was exciting for me, and I usually ate a tasty salad for lunch, but dinner was typically anti-climatic.
3) Saying goodbye to New York. I mentioned that my Whole 30 was really just a Whole 28. That's because my LAST few days in New York were celebration days, and I wasn't able to resist those final ice cream and bakery dates with dear friends I made. I was okay with ending this early. I know it doesn't make me qualified to honestly review the Whole 30 experience, but I got a pretty good taste of it.
The good parts.
1) My blender and I were BFFs, so that was fun. I was able to make lots of uber healthy smoothies and puddings with that thing.
2) People around me started making healthier choices. I wasn't going for this at all, but it was fun to see the ripple effect. The girls I nannied (especially the 11 year old girl) started asking for vegetable omelettes for breakfast instead of coco puffs. She started to think eating healthy was cool. When I had friends over to my place they were excited to eat zoodles or other healthy snacks.
3) My workouts were better! This was fun! I never felt bloated or sick when I worked out. I was able to run my fastest mile ever and I managed to run a 10k with a friend (something I haven't been able to do since high school).
Would you do a Whole 30? Are you gluten free? Have you tried eating paleo? Let me know about your experience.
The pictures throughout this post were all taken by me from Instagram feed.
I'm going to share another post on Whole 30 that talks about what I learned about my eating "style" and habits. Stay tuned...