Where it all began and what on earth is Whole30?
It is natural to believe that everyone has heard about Whole30, but where I come from Whole30 does not say anything at all. I noticed the term “Whole30” for the first time on Instagram. I became curious what it was and ended up purchasing the book on the right:
I used some weeks to read online and to mentally prepare. For what is really the diet Whole30 and what does it mean to enter this challenge? To sum it up very fast and without saying much: Whole30 is a 30-day challenge . You have to avoid eating the following:
- Grains (also glutenfree grains)
- Artificial sweeteners
- Paleo-versions of baked goods or junk-food ( no cauliflower pizza or “healthy” desserts)
You can find the complete list here.
Whole30 simply means to avoid processed foods , avoid food as “reward” or to eat just “because I want to”. The challenge is to avoid food groups that can be problematic and that can cause disturbance and also foods that can awaken your sugar dragon. The challenge does not tell you to avoid fruits but to limit the intake as fruit sugar also can awaken your sugar dragon. If you don’t train you are supposed to eat 3 meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Since I am training 5 days a week I ate 2 snack meals too: pre-workout and post-workout. You also should always eat your meals and to not drink juice or smoothies ( here I failed a little as I sometimes like my after-gym snack to be a simple smoothie, who does not love smoothies??). I also drank fresh pressed juice a couple of times during the 30 days pre-workout.
My experience of the Whole 30
I am not going to lie and say it was easy. Only to go shopping and to find products without added sugars was almost impossible. Who knew they add sugar to vegetable mixes and bacon? Sugar is hiding under all sorts of terms: dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, invert sugar and maltose. This to just mention a few. The food industry loves to add sugar to everything, after all this is what keeps us coming back for more , right? I also can say that I indeed missed to drink one or two glass of wine to my food every Saturday. Water and sparkling water is just not the same. I also miss diet coke. The diet felt very restrictive as you could not bake anything even though it would be paleo approved ingredients or enjoy something like a dessert.
After you finish the 30 days you are supposed to reintroduce one food group at a time, but this is also the difficult part. I am afraid to proceed to fast. So far I reintroduced legumes (day 31 and 32) and dairy (33 and 34). Still want to reintroduce artificial sweeteners, gluten, glutenfree grains and sugar. So I will continue over the next week to see what might give me negative side-effects like acne, bloathing, headache or awakening the sugar dragon.
So what did I eat?
My NSV’s (non scale victories)
This part is a little difficult. I had very good results in the first week or two. My headache magically disappeared, my skin cleared and got brighter, my stomach bloating disappeared, I saw faster progress from training than ever (muscles starting to show). But then somewhere in week 3 the headache returned , the acne breakouts and I did not see any big results. I have a feeling it might have been the paleo proteinbars (made of dates and nuts). Fruit sugar might give me a reaction too in a negative way.
The road ahead
I already mentioned the reintroduction. I am only in the beginning and I feel a little lost. Obviously legumes gives me a little stomach bloating and dairy I am not quite sure about yet. I am not ready to give up dairy permanently but legumes I think I might be able to live without. As many trying out the Whole30 and succeed (meaning they manage to finish it) they continue with Whole60, Whole90, etc. I do not think I want to live in a strict diet for that long time. It definatly put a limit to your social life, and also makes it impossible to eat outside. But this diet has made me interested in the paleo diet. So after the reintroduction I hope to adapt more to a paleo/low-carb lifestyle, but more moderate with room for enjoying something non-paleo from time to time. I did lose some kilos and inches of my waist too, but I feel I gain it easily back now that I started introducing foods. So I probably should be careful in the next days.
Do I recommend the Whole30? Yes, definately. Especially if you have an addiction with sugary and processed foods. This will be a great rehab for you. And you learn alot about yourself and how food affects you mentally and physically.
Will I do another round of Whole30? Actually I will say yes! Some times a year I think the body needs a restart and a clean-up.
So are you ready to try it too? Go ahead! You wont lose anything, except some kilos maybe.
Useful sources if you are interested in the challenge: