Matt and I have been talking about doing the Whole30 challenge for a few months. Now that the holidays and a few weddings have come and gone, we decided it’s now or never. My friend Kate and her husband have done the Whole30 twice now, and I remember thinking they were crazy the first time they did this.
What? No wine? No sugar of any kind? #cray
Since then, I’ve been making an effort to incorporate more unprocessed and whole foods into our diet and making paleo meals at times, so the thought of cutting back just a little more didn’t seem so daunting. We don’t even realize the negative effects that certain foods have on our bodies, sometimes because we are just used to it, so I am interested to see how I feel after 100% cutting out these foods and pressing that “reset” button. Like they say on their website, it’s only 30 days. Yes, it might feel like torture at times, but it will be over in 4 weeks and your body will thank you for it!
So what is the Whole30?
The Basics: It’s kind of like Paleo on crack. Paleo is the “hunter-gatherer” diet…although I don’t like to call it a diet, more like a lifestyle. Meat/Seafood/Poultry (natural/grass fed is preferable), vegetables, healthy fats (EVOO, avocado, coconut oil, etc.), fruit, and nuts in moderation are all a-ok. No grains, no legumes (aka beans, peanuts), no dairy, no processed foods, no refined vegetable oils, etc. And for the Whole30, also NO SUGAR. This is essentially a sugar detox. That means no honey, no maple syrup, no Stevia, nothing, nada, zip. I didn’t think it would be all that hard but seriously, you would be surprised how many things contain sugar, and food that you would even expect (bacon?). Luckily, they provide you with a shopping list that outlines Best/Better/Good options to help you make your way through the grocery store.
I spent most of the day last Sunday stocking up on Whole30 “approved” food and prepped most of our sides and snacks for the week.
Snack Meal Prep: Hard-boiled eggs, apples, almond butter (no other ingredients except almonds and maybe sea salt), raw/dry roasted nuts, dried fruit (unsweetened/unsulfured – Trader Joe’s has a few good options and Costco had dried bananas only sweetened with fruit juice, which is ok by Whole30 standards), LaraBars in moderation
Breakfast Meal Prep: Roasted sweet potatoes/turnips/rudabega/butternut squash
Sides Meal Prep: Cauliflower rice, roasted veggies, veggies for salads, fruit
I found this timeline on the Whole30 website and I have to say, it’s pretty spot on so far! It actually made me feel better about the way we were reacting to this challenge.
Day 1: Piece of cake. We’ve got this. Eat our normal meals and cut back on the snacking, or only snack on “approved” food.
Day 2: Panic. Well, almost. When I realized that we were going to run out of the food that I had spent alll that time prepping in t-minus 1 day, the thought of having to prep even more meals in the middle of the work week was certainly not ideal, and not to mention exhausting. Matt and I both felt pretty tired, but it wasn’t from lack of sleep. It all made sense after reading the timeline. Maybe our Sunday all-day bender was the culprit.
I also found this waiting for me when I got to work….
Day 4: Near breakdown. I was doing ok except for the lack of my usual snack options at night, which was making me very cranky. Matt on the other hand, not so much. Unlike me, he can’t eat the same meals on repeat day after day. After day 2 of eggs for dinner, he looked at me and said “why don’t we just order something?”. You have no idea how tempting that was. But we resisted and powered through.
One idea I was borderline terrified of was drinking coffee without Stevia. I have to say, it really isn’t bad! I’ve been using my usual coffee but with canned coconut milk instead of almond milk and Stevia, and I think I’ll keep doing that even after the 30 days are up.
Now it’s Day 10 and I think we are finally getting into our groove. I did a better job of meal planning and prepping this weekend so I think we are pretty set for the week with Whole30 approved (and delicious!) meals. I’m excited to share some of them with you!
Overall, I think we are going to really see the benefits of completing this challenge. I think the hardest part for me is all of the things that I “can’t” eat. I’ve always been a big proponent of everything in moderation and I’m not usually one to deprive myself of anything. So avoiding the yummy snacks and treats like the plague has been hard for me. Having said that, I think this challenge will show me how much willpower I really have! Once we got through the first week and over that initial hurdle of the “detox phase”, both Matt and I feel pretty good and have seen a change in our bodies for the better.
Today, I thought I would share the recipe for Plantain Chips, one of my new favorite (and simple!) snacks.
- 2 plantains *
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
* If your grocery store has them, they will be next to the bananas. They look like bananas but are larger and more green.
Cut off the ends of the plantains and slice it longways 3 times, then carefully peel off the skin. The skin is pretty tough, so you might have to use a knife to help get it started. Unlike bananas, the less ripe the better. The more ripe they get, the sweeter they get.
Toss in the olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out the chips evenly on a baking sheet that is sprayed with olive oil. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until they start to brown. Be careful because they will go from almost done to over done quickly!
These are good plain and I really like them dipped in Wholly Guacamole. Post Whole30, these will be great with hummus. A great substitute for store bought chips!
More Whole30 recipes coming soon!
As always, checkout Peas and Crayons for more WIAW goodness!