Today’s post is something a little different. For those of you that read my garlic sesame zoodles post, you will know that the majority of that post was made up of me talking about beginning another round of Whole30.
Before we continue, let’s catch up on what exactly the Whole30 is. This diet is an extreme version of the more known Paleo diet and asks you to commit to 30 days to change your relationship with food. You are asked to eliminate dairy, grains & legumes, alcohol, gluten, and sugar from your diet. Basically anything that is known for causing inflammation in the body.
I wrote a whole post about the first time I completed it but this time, I am taking a new approach as I look to incorporate some of the Whole30 principles into my everyday life. Now this is a diet designed strictly for the 30 days – it understands that it is not easy and it is going to be hard to stick to, so for me, my second round has been more about how I get myself back on track and move forward with some healthy eating habits.
It is always fun to learn about other people’s stories, especially when it comes to health, so I reached out to Cassie to have a chat about her experience. Cassie is a blogger at Be Forever Healthier and we got to know each other through some Facebook groups we both frequent. I haven’t known many people who know what the Whole30 is, let alone tried it, so I wanted to share Cassie’s story to help share some insight.
I hope you find this interesting, and I hope it shows you that healthy eating is a lifestyle and it requires a huge change in mindset. The Whole30 challenges you, but it is one of the healthiest ‘diets’ that I have seen as it promotes real food and it promotes listening to your body and making sure it is getting the food it needs.
So let’s get started, here is Cassie’s experience on the Whole30!
Sally: What made you want try the Whole30?
Cassie: I had heard about the Whole30 through a few celebrities and food bloggers I follow, and it had really piqued my interest. The more I researched, the more I wanted to give it a go. I resonated with Melissa Hartwig’s (founder of Whole30) no nonsense attitude and philosophy behind the program.
I really don’t like “diets”, especially fad ones, and I advocate for healthy balanced eating at all times. But the Whole30 wasn’t about losing 10kgs in 10 days or building unhealthy relationships with food. It’s all about eating real food and seeing how our body functions and reacts when exposed to certain foods. And that really fascinated me.
What did you hope to achieve from the Whole30?
First things first – I wanted to know that I could do it. I love to set myself goals and I felt doing the Whole30 would really test me and my relationship to food. I also just needed to shake things up. I did my first round in March 2018, and had just come off the back of an overly indulgent and extended Christmas and New Years period. I was falling into unhealthy habits again and again, and wanted to break out of that cycle.
What did you average day of food look like?
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with onion and capsicum, with a side of green beans, mushrooms and a Carrot and Zucchini Fritter.
Lunch: Stir frys, Sweet Potato Chilli or Shepherd’s Pie.
Dinner: Soup or a Bunless Chicken Burger.
Snacks: Fruit, Almonds and Cashews (You are ideally supposed to avoid snacking throughout your Whole30 but I found I just couldn’t make it through without a little something between main meals).
What was your favourite recipe you tried?
I have not one but three recipes that got me through my Whole30 – immersion blender mayo, carrot and zucchini fritters, and my bunless mexican chicken burger. Being a food blogger myself I really tried to challenge myself to come up with different variations of the meals we all know and love so that I didn’t necessarily feel deprived. And cooking really is a fun part of the Whole30 if you let it be.
What was the biggest change to your diet/habits?
Trying to have a more rounded plate at all meals. I never used to eat vegetables for breakfast, but since the Whole30 I do try and challenge myself to consistently have protein / vegetables / healthy fats for every meal.
What were the biggest challenges?
Those nights where you just don’t feel like cooking and could easily grab takeaway or just mindlessly snack. You can’t have those nights on the Whole30 and you need to be prepared at all times.
What were you results?
The one thing most people ask me is if I lost weight, and the answer is yes. I lost 2.5kgs in the month. This wasn’t my goal or the point of my Whole30 though. I wanted to know how good my body would feel if I cut out all the rubbish and just focused on eating clean for a month.
It gave me a great reset, and at the end of my round the last thing I wanted to do was go out and binge on junk. My skin was the clearest it’s ever been. My clothes fit a lot better, and some were even a lot looser. I didn’t achieve “tigerblood” as some people call it where you are supposed to get boundless energy. But I did feel less moody and got through my day better than ever before.
During reintroduction I found that I didn’t have any adverse reactions to the foods I reintroduced, which was great because I’m not prepared to give up cheese forever! But it was still great to be able to experiment and see.
What do you think was the biggest takeaway from this experience for you?
It’s not “hard” to eat well. I think most of us are guilty of being stuck in the “I’ll start Monday” loop when promising ourselves to eat well, where Monday never comes and there’s always excuses why. And we tend to think it’s all too hard. But after eating clean for 30 days, and sticking to it 100% no matter what came up, I realised that these excuses don’t hold water. I don’t need to eat an indulgent meal at someone’s birthday dinner. I don’t need chocolate when I’m having a sad day. Eating well isn’t hard. It just takes a bit of planning and a mindset shift.
I hope you found this interview insightful and maybe inspiring enough for you to consider trying a Whole30 yourself whether to commit to the full 30 days, or just to take a look at your own relationship with food.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the other interview in this series with Bryanna!
Interested? Here are a few Whole30 Recipes to get you started!
Have you tried the Whole30 Diet? If so, please leave a comment as I would love to hear your experiences!