It’s now day 31 of my first Whole30. Which means I did it! I survived for 30 whole days eating nothing but real food – just meat, fish, fruit, vegs, nuts and natural oils. I survived for 30 whole days without bread, cheese, chocolate, cake, biscuits and pasta. I survived for 30 whole days not drinking juice, squash, wine, beer or gin.
How do I feel?
To be honest, right now I feel AWESOME.
I haven’t once felt hungry. I haven’t once eaten something I didn’t want to. I haven’t once eaten something I thought was horrible – the closest I came was two mouthfuls of a Chia Pod for breakfast on an early train to Cardiff last week. That quickly went in the bin and I ate my delicious lunch of chicken, roast veg and avocado instead.
I feel awake, lean and full of energy. Admittedly, it took a long time to happen – it probably wasn’t until my final week. But after feeling (genuinely) the tiredest I have ever, ever felt during week one especially and even into week two, I finally feel really good, just in general. Running feels good, cycling feels good, eating feels good.
Several awesome things have come out of this experience…
I have fallen in love with cooking (again)
I’ve always liked being in the kitchen, but only when I’ve been ‘in the right mood’. But for the last month I have cooked (almost) every single breakfast, lunch and dinner from scratch and honestly I have loved it. I’ve enjoyed thinking of meal combinations, trying new things and the thorough meal planning for each week. It really has played to my super organised side. I’ve really enjoyed Sunday evening cook ups, spending several hours in the kitchen prepping and planning for the week ahead.
I have eaten new things
At least 95% of the meals I have cooked have been something that I would not have cooked before. I’ve discovered new foods, new ways of cooking things and new flavour combinations. I’ve used coconut oil to cook with and a julienne peeler to make courgetthi for the first time. I’ve discovered almond butter, cooking chorizo, raisins, kiwifruit and turkey. I thought nuts were a boring snack before, and now I love them. I was adamant I didn’t like beef, but in thirty days I’ve had more mince, burgers and steak than I had in the last five years. STEAK IS AMAZING!
I have eaten more healthily
I will admit that (especially towards the end) I didn’t stick completely to the ‘spirit’ of Whole30 in that I snacked quite a lot and had a very high fruit intake. HOWEVER, I didn’t eat a single non-compliant food (apart from an accidental bite of corn on the cob on holiday… it’s easy to forget sweetcorn is off limits!) the whole way through. So, you know what, if I’ve snacked in between meals and it’s been on cashew nut and raisins, or apple and almond butter, or strawberries and grapes, instead of half a packet of Maryland cookies, then that is a massive win. I ate virtually no protein before, now I’m getting a good sized portion with every meal. I struggled to hit five a day before, now I’m easily doubling it. Every single day.
What have I learnt?
One of the main things I wanted to get out of this was to stop snacking so much, especially at work.
That hasn’t happened.
I have come to the conclusion that I am just not a only three meals a day kind of person. It’s not that I’m not eating enough for my meals – I have followed the meal planning guide throughout and I never felt hungry. I would say that three eggs, a whole avocado, some salmon or chorizo plus tomatoes and/or cucumber and/or mushrooms is a pretty hefty breakfast, but I still liked eating fruit and nuts throughout the day. But as I said, if it’s fruit and nuts, it’s not exactly the end of the world by any means.
But I also haven’t missed a lot of things I thought I would. The drinks part is easy. I didn’t miss alcohol at all, in fact I feel great for not having drunk for a few weeks. It’s made me realise most social situations do not require alcohol in the slightest – it’s just the norm to drink at every flipping opportunity in this country. I haven’t missed cheese (really surprising) or pasta that much (I ate it a lot!) either.
What will I do now?
Firstly, I will probably drink a glass of Prosecco and have a slice of cake. Cake (specifically sponge cake) has been my biggest craving throughout.
But then, I’ll probably carry on.
For the most part anyway. I’m looking forward to eating out and not feeling like the biggest pain in the ass for all involved, but I’m going to keep my house as Whole30 compliant as possible. I’ll keep making lunches the same way I have been because they’re awesome. Dinners have been my absolute favourite – it’s been a bit of a revelation that with a bit of prep and by having some basics always ‘in stock’, I can have a meal that’s not pasta and sauce, that’s well rounded and delicious in less than 15 minutes. Breakfast I’m undecided on – getting up to make eggs every morning was the biggest shift required in my overall routine, so I think time will tell.
Overall, I’m glad I did it. I’m in a much happier place with the way I am eating now than I was thirty days ago, and that was the aim. I’m in control again, I’ve picking up some new tools, I’m eating some great foods. Definite success in my book.
The photosets of everything I ate during my Whole30 are over on my Tumblr:
I’ve also developed quite a penchant for posting photos of food over on my Instagram.
Look out for some more Whole30 inspired posts coming soon!