If you read Friday’s 2018 Goals Post, you know that I’ve dubbed 2018 a year of personal growth beginning with my overall health. When I started Style Souffle, I never imagined that I would use this platform to share my health journey, but after years of feeling par at best, and thinking there is a small chance that someone reading this also faces similar issues, I felt compelled to journal my story! While I have all the admiration in the world for women who fight their battles quietly, I’m opening up about mine in today’s post.
Over the years I began to accept the above symptoms as a way of life. Terrible, right? Yes, and what’s worse is that almost 10 years passed before I learned that food may be a contributing factor to feeling so crummy – even the “healthy” stuff!
When prescription medication, that had a list of its own dietary restrictions, stabilized my blood levels but failed to make me feel better, my Endocrinologist suggested I see a nutritionist to try a process called an ‘elimination diet’, to figure out if the kind of foods I was consuming had any impact on my mental and physical health. After doing quite a bit of research, I learned that there was a community of people out there who had changed their lives by changing their diet in completing a challenge called, The Whole30. When I learned more about the benefits of the program I decided I too was up for the challenge. NO longer would I be a prisoner to my bodies dysfunction.
Based on positive feedback from all of you (pat on the back for making it this far in today’s post, haha), I’ve decided to document this journey. Below I explain everything you need to know about The Whole30 challenge. I’ve even included a downloadable PDF to help you tackle grocery shopping. 🙂
Whole30 is said to change your life! Change the way you think about food. Change your tastes, your habits and cravings. Change the way you eat for the rest of your life!
In a nutshell, over the course of 30 days you avoid eating: sugar, legumes, dairy, gluten, MSG, grains and alcohol.
You’re probably asking yourself, “What can I eat?” and the answer is this: REAL FOOD! If this scares you, then maybe you should consider the challenge. Real food by Whole30 standards includes: moderate portions of meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, natural fats, herbs, and spices, and a handful of all-natural, Whole30 approved snacks. Among my favorite snacks include: dried plantains, dried mangos, nut butter, LARABAR’s, raw almonds, coconut flakes, and pistachios. Refer to this link for exceptions to the rule.
Weight loss is not the main goal of this program, although it’s inevitable that you will. In fact, it’s actually recommended that you toss the scale altogether and focus entirely on “non-scale victories” or NSV’s (the phrase even has its own hashtag). NSV’s are things like stress, happiness, self-confidence, energy, patience, mindful eating, less join pain, etc. Over the course of 30 days you eat three meals a day, starting with a good breakfast. Base each meal around 1-2 palm-sized protein sources. Fill the rest of your plate with vegetables. Occasionally adding a serving of fruit (this one is hard for me; I think I’m eating too much fruit). You can snack when needed, but to receive the full benefit of the program it’s encouraged you eat balanced meals (eating enough to satisfy hunger) during the three meal times.
THE KEY TO SUCCESS
House Prep – Clean all the junk out of your pantry and fridge. Yes, you really need to do this! Whole30 is hard enough, so doing this will eliminate any added temptation to quit.
Team Work – There is NO WAY I would’ve made it past the first few days if I were doing this alone! So before you even consider trying this program, my number one piece of advice is to do it with someone else. Thankfully, my husband is also doing the Whole30 program and helping hold me accountable and balance the responsibility of cooking. Plus, we can complain together! 🙂
Meal Planning – Preparation is the key to successfully completing this program! One thing I underestimated was the amount of time and preparation that goes into eating all “real” food. Since you’re eating-in almost exclusively, it’s important to plan meals each week, just-in-case snacks, and emergency food. Finally, go grocery shopping and stock up on essentials (like ghee and coconut milk) and what you’ll need for your first few meals.
The Whole30 Day-By-Day Guide – This daily handbook keeps you motivated, inspired, accountable, and engaged during your Whole30 journey. It forecasts what you will likely experience mentally and physically each day providing a piece of mind that your experience is normal.
THE GROCERY LIST + RECIPES
Below are a handful of recipes we have made and highly recommend…
(Illustration by: Simply Jessica Marie)
*Note: All things should be “unsweetened” and “unsulfured”.
– Click Image for Recommended Pantry/ Fridge Staples –
In using the Day-to-Day Guide, I’ve been recording my feelings, struggles and meals, and am happy to circle back and share that with anyone who is interested. My goal is to carry these new healthier habits with me beyond this 30 day period, especially if means changing my life. Please, please, pleassssee – if you are reading this, I would love any feedback you have in the comments section below. This is not easy! So if you have completed the challenge, it let me know. If you’re interested in taking up the challenge, let me know. If you have similar healthcare issues, let me know! I would love to hear from you and connect!