Since starting my paleo journey about a year ago, I have heard about this “Whole30″ program but have never really looked into it much further. The basic concept is similar to that of the paleo lifestyle; no grains, legumes, sugar, dairy… but it doesn’t just stop there. You are not to have any sugar other than fruit, and you should limit your intake of that. Yup, that means no natural sugars like maple syrup, honey or stevia leaf. No processed meat (deli meats, BACON! :( ), no alcohol of any sort, no sulfites and nitrates (most bacon) and no white potatoes, for 30 days.
Not only does the program want to change the kind of food you are putting in your body, but also the way you consume the food. It’s trying to change your habits, so no paleo versions of pancakes, brownies, even if they have Whole30 approved ingredients. I read an article that equated this to “sex with your pants on”, it really made me laugh.
I had a hard time understanding this part of the Whole30 program when I first started looking into it… but the more I researched and read the more I understood.
For more information visit their website for the full program, it’s all free!
I really like when I saw them refer to the program as sort of pressing a “reset” button on your body, metabolism, health and quality of life. Ever since I started the paleo lifestyle, I have had many people ask “why?”. Why are you so strict about your diet? Why aren’t you eating any sugar for 21 days? You’re not fat, you don’t have acne, you don’t have any health issues.
What I’m going to start saying is that, plain and simple, I just want to be the best I can be. I want to see how far changing my diet and lifestyle can take me. I want to see my greatest potential. I want to see how much energy I can have, how well I can sleep, how fit can I be, how happy can I be.
Simply put, I want to be the healthiest and happiest version of me I can be.
That being said, this program requires an incredible amount of preparation, both physically and mentally. A good friend of mine approached me about doing this with her, and I figured this would be a great opportunity for both of us. I started reading books, online articles, recipes, making grocery lists and menus for the weeks to come. At first, it was a little overwhelming and stressful to think about. But at the same time, it’s very exciting. That’s one of the main reasons I like doing these different things, to challenge myself to make new and different foods and experiment with my cooking and food.
My plan is to go grocery shopping the day before the week starts, and basically buy whatever meat, fruits and veggies are on sale, then make my menu for the week based on those items. My first week I spent a lot of money because there happened to be a lot of meat on sale, so I stocked up for the month. Hopefully this will save me money in the long run!
I decided to cut down on my coffee intake during the Whole30. Initially, I had thought that coffee was not allowed on the program, and was mentally preparing myself for that. But then, the same night I found out I couldn’t eat my bacon, I found out I could drink my coffee black. Despite learning this, I decided to try to continue the program without drinking coffee. Coffee can make you crave sugar because of the caffeine, and every year I seem to be drinking more and more coffee. So I’m hoping to be able to stay awake without it.
I started off the Whole30 on a 4 night shift stretch (12 hour shifts) so I made sure to make a few large items like a pot roast and quiche that would last me a few leftovers.
Beef tip sirloin pot roast with carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnips
Zucchini Quiche (crustless)
Greek Souvlaki Chicken Skewers
What have I learned this week? Meat tastes so much better when it’s marinated.
The withdrawals weren’t too bad. I got over the coffee and bacon thing after day 3, and the sugar cravings went away after day 4. I never really got the headaches, just a little bit when I first woke up.
On to week 2!