I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July Holiday weekend! I know we did. I wanted to take a moment to share my Whole30 experience with y’all this morning. Mondays are great days to get motivated, am I right? (Such a shift in my ‘tude these days!)
Whole30 is over, y’all! And I’m so glad… that I did it. I’ve learned SO much about how food affects my body, my mood, and my mind. And I’m sad to say I’m shocked at just how much it affects every little aspect of my life. And how much better I feel without gluten and dairy!
As a refresher, or for anyone just tuning in, here’s the Whole30 program in a nutshell:
Yes: Eat real food.
Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. Don’t worry… these guidelines are outlined in extensive detail in our free shopping list.
No: Avoid for 30 days.
More importantly, here’s what NOT to eat during the duration of your Whole30 program. Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.
- Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
- Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
- Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
- Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
- Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
- Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
- Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients. Continuing to eat your old, unhealthy foods made with Whole30 ingredients is totally missing the point, and will tank your results faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” Remember, these are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, regardless of the ingredients.
I’m not going to share my before and after pictures with you, but I will share some results. As readers know, since January I’ve been working hard to lose weight and generally increase my overall health. However, I had hit a bit of a plateau with weight loss, although I am less worried about the number on the scale these days than I am with my strength and cardio health, which is constantly improving! Anyway, over the course of the month of June/Whole30, I lost 5 pounds. 5 very stubborn pounds.
In addition to losing 5 pounds, which probably doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, I gained a LOT otherwise. It is insanely eye opening to see how sugar, gluten, and soy are added to the the most random and seemingly unnecessary foods. Fruit is already sweet – why do we add sugar to it? It’s really surprising and sad. It’s really no wonder we, as a society, are obese.
On top of being more aware of the is put on and in food, I’m much more aware and careful about what food I put in me. I wrote down everything I ate this month, and also tracked any symptoms or positives (as Whole30 calls them: Non-Scale Victories). The few times I cheated, I could directly track a consequence to the action. Upset stomach? Yup, cheated. Skin breakout? Yup, cheated. If you’re thinking about doing Whole30 yourself, I highly recommend keeping a food journal.
Other Non-Scale Victories? My under eye circles are nearly gone. I’m not even wearing under eye concealer anymore – for the first time maybe ever! My skin is clearer and more even-toned than it’s maybe ever been. My digestion is much, much improved. (I’ll leave that one at that!) I’m in a better mood and more even tempered. I have more energy. Like, lots more! I’m sleeping like a champ and I wake up refreshed and clear-headed instead of groggy and hitting snooze 10 times then rushing to work late. And I’m going to bed at the same time as I was before! My rings are all too big and I’m going to have to get them re-sized. Almost all my clothes are too big now. I’m almost down two pants sizes!
All these Non-Scale Victories are far more important to me than the number on the scale, and I’m well aware that muscle weighs more than fat (and looks better, too). I’ve seriously never felt more proud of physical accomplishments.
I will say that toward the end of my Whole30 month, I did a nutritional consult with my yoga instructor, Lindsey, who is also certified in holistic nutrition. She is a big proponent of eating for your blood type. I’m B+ (also my life motto), and she made some recommendations based on my blood type, such as not eating chicken, shrimp, oysters, and most especially gluten. I KNOW. OYSTERS. She said I can have them as a treat every now and then. :) Funnily enough, when I looked back at my food journal, many of the digestive issues I documented occurred right after I ate chicken… so I definitely think there’s something to it. So going forward, I’m going to reintroduce some dairy products (but not a ton, mostly just some cheeses in moderation), and skip out on so much chicken and shrimp (I eat both fairly regularly). I don’t get oysters as often as I’d like anyway, so shrimp and oysters will continue to be treats for this seafood lover. I’m interested to see if I continue to lose weight on this regimen. I’ve already eliminated most of the items I was supposed to for my blood type, so I plan to mostly keep on truckin like I have been. Except the wine and the dark chocolate and gluten-free rolled oats can make their way back into my life, ASAP. I’ll be sharing a couple of recipes I’ve discovered this week that I just cannot get enough of that are super healthy for post-whole30.
Speaking of grains… I also just read Grain Brain by neurologist Dr. Perlmutter. It’s very eye-opening as well as to the science behind gluten-intolerance and the history of celiac disease, so I’ll be incorporating some of those points (and supplements) into my new permanent diet, as well. I may post on Grain Brain specifically in the near future.
When it’s all said and done, I couldn’t have done it without Wheat (mostly) and secondarily, my lady friends at work. Anne wrote about it on her blog, Georgianne – she had a great experience, too! I can’t recommend this program enough. It’s a great way to reset, detox, and re-evaluate what you’re putting in your mouth and how that affects your body, mind and mood. It’s also spurred me to be more conscious of what I’m putting on my body, as well. But that’s another post for another day! Overall, this is a great way to connect with your body, and you end up looking and feeling better for it. Feel free to shoot me any questions you have about Whole30 or otherwise via commenting below or shooing me an email at oystersandpearlsblog at gmail.com.
It’s Monday – a chance at a new day and a fresh week, full of possibilities! So get out there and carpe the hell outta this diem.