A handful of us at Yellow Kite are going to be taking on the challenge of a WHOLE 30 ourselves! What is a whole 30? Well, it’s a 30-day nutritional challenge designed to reset your health and help break unhealthy patterns of behaviour, stop stress-related comfort eating and reduce cravings. The programme was developed by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, and a huge number of people have found it invaluable.
The basics: during your whole 30 you can eat real (unprocessed) food, and you must avoid a short list of not-so-healthy things. A list of the simple rules can be found here.
Melissa and Dallas advise preparing for a Whole 30: before we get going we are clearing out fridges and cupboards, making a trip to Whole Foods for some good healthy ingredients (like coconut oil and ghee for cooking with instead of vegetable oil and butter), establishing our support network (each other!) and making a list of some goals. We mainly want to survive a month without chocolate! A little weight loss before the wouldn’t hurt, but it’s not a weight loss programme so much as a way to reclaim health and transform your relationship with food.
This is the week we begin our WHOLE 30. We will be updating at least once a week with news of how it’s going. Now we’ve stocked up, we have decided what we’ll be cooking at least for the first couple of days. It’s good to have a plan! Although Whole 30 veterans wisely advise against planning the whole month’s eating in advance. Some flexibility is key.
Obviously our copy of The Whole 30 has every recipe you could need to complete a Whole 30. There are some other amazing resources out there while you wait for the book to publish on April 23! On Tuesday night we’ll be making some of Nom Nom Paleo’s delicious Prosciutto-Wrapped Mini Frittata Muffins to take to work with use for breakfast on Whole 30: day 1. Have a look at the recipe here.
Time to recap on our first few days doing the WHOLE 30 challenge! Well, we won’t lie, days 1-5 were up and down. We felt GREAT on the first day, empowered by our healthy choices, and pretty good on the second day, too. Then towards the end of the week- a couple of parties- and it was hard munching on nuts and seeds while we watched everyone else eat themselves into a stupor!
We were able to partake in a delicious Whole 30 compliant lamb roast dinner on Sunday, and – to be honest – now Monday has rolled around we are feeling a little smug about how healthy we’ve been over the long weekend. So how are we now, apart from a little bit sad about the uneaten chocolate? Tired! Apparently this is our bodies adapting to using something other than sugary processed foods for energy, and it will pass once the Whole 30 challenge is more solidly underway. We think we deserve a little nap…
We’re almost two weeks in – a few of us felt the urge to quit mid-week. Apparently you are most likely to quit your Whole 30 on day 10, which was definitely the day things started to wear a bit thin for some of us. Eating salad in a pizza restaurant felt hard, as did skipping the alcohol of an evening. But, fortunately, rewards for our efforts were just around the corner.
This weekend we started to feel some of the Whole 30 magic – we were definitely a little more energetic than usual! The cravings for off-plan foods haven’t disappeared, but there’s a ray of hope. We used our extra energy to research and cook some seasonal vegetables.
We’re having strange dreams this week – memorably, one was about being chased by a gigantic tub of yoghurt – but the cravings for off-plan foods are largely under control, and we’re happy to say we genuinely feel MUCH more energy than usual. Is it just the weather? Or could it be all this marvellous high-energy un-processed food? We just want it to continue! We hardly even want chocolate any more. Doing without it feels so good… What are five foods you would like to break free from during your whole 30?
We’re nearly there…just another couple of days to go. Who has bought the book and started their Whole 30 challenge? Let us know your hopes, dreams and goals…
This is our final Whole 30 blog post – we did it! 30 full days (well, providing we make it through to the end of today but we think that’s a safe bet!).
How do we feel? Honestly, we didn’t image quite the sense of accomplishment and the energy that would come from giving up some of our favourite foods. But are we looking forward to eating some of those favourite foods again? Of course!
Some of us have decided to go straight back to eating whatever we want, while others are going to follow the recommended reintroduction programme – allowing food types slowly back in to our diet so we can assess how different off-plan foods make us feel. The funny thing is, we’re not bursting to eat chocolate again. Going without sugar in particular has made such a big difference to our energy levels!
So will we eat Whole 30 long term? The lessons of this challenge have been so valuable. While we won’t be skipping dairy, wheat and sugar every day, we’ll be using what we now know about how our bodies react to these foods to choose more wisely, and avoid getting into unhealthy eating patterns again.
Good luck to all you new Whole 30-ers – don’t forget to let the Yellow Kite team know how your challenge is going!