30 Days. 30 days of no sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, processed foods or additives.
I completed my Whole 30 just over two weeks ago now. Throughout the 30 days, I got asked a lot of questions, I think the most popular being, "What do you eat!?" which I covered in my halfway mark post. This post is going to be my wrap up- what I learned, how I felt, how I feel now that I'm done, etc and the answers to the questions that have come up over the last 30 days.
How did you feel?
Honestly, I can't say I felt a whole lot different while I was on it. The original challenge says you will likely feel pretty junky the first week or so, however, I never really experienced this. I didn't notice much of a difference when I started, but this is likely because our diet is pretty clean to begin with- we don't really consume much gluten or bread, I have very minimal amount of dairy and I avoid all processed foods for the most part.
Was it hard?
Yes and no. It was hardest starting out because there was a lot more planning that had to go into it and a lot of 'staples' needed to be figured out- like mayo, ketchup, marinades, etc. There was a lot of label reading and a lot of realization just how many products contain sugar. (The answer= A LOT). This was probably the most challenging part because we use marinades and spices for a lot of our cooking- even our favourite Jerk marinade which we have almost weekly contained sugar, so a lot of recipes/meals needed to be adjusted. However, once the ball started rolling on these it became a lot easier and a lot of the recipes we found we loved and will go into our regular rotation.
What did you miss the most?
Chocolate. Hands down, for me, chocolate. I craved it at the beginning, in the middle, at the end. I could do without the rest but the chocolate I missed. I also think this may be because I might be Magnesium deficient since I did notice more leg/calf cramping over the 30 days. I think this is probably because I am nursing and could benefit from a nutrient boost in general. Magnesium deficiency can present with chocolate cravings. However, I really love chocolate so it may just be that too...
Did you have 'tiger blood' in Week 3?
If you read the full Whole 30, they claim you will have a huge boost of energy by week 3- you will feel as though you have tiger blood. I also did not notice this just like I didn't notice the run down feeling at the beginning. I think this is again because I didn't feel badly before starting this and my energy has always been pretty good. Well it's as good as can be expected for having a 3 year old and 1 year old who still doesn't consistently sleep through the night. And my diet wasn't horrible to start with.
What I did notice
Though it was not my goal or the reason for doing this, I did lose weight and my pre-pregnancy clothes fit well again which is a great bonus. I also found that my skin was fantastic. Disclaimer: I do have pretty good skin to begin with but do tend to have the odd blemish here and there, however, while doing the Whole 30 I had no issues at all and I found my complexion improved as well. I also learned I can not tolerate a lot of eggs, at least not the amount I was eating on this diet. I ended up with a slight rash on my abdomen, I cut back on the eggs and it improved.
Now that I'm finished
Since finishing, my diet has definitely gone a bit crazy- my last day was a Wednesday (though I broke and ate chocolate after dinner on Day 30), Thursday was our anniversary and my daughter's preschool Mother's Day celebration, Friday we took the in-laws to the ROM for the day, Saturday was my son's first birthday party and Sunday finished off with Mother's day. It was a sugar/gluten/dairy filled weekend!
Thursday kicked off with a Mother's Day celebration with my daughter's preschool at Rumbletum Cafe in Conestogo. We had the most incredible Lemon Blueberry Scones. Seriously, I am still thinking about them. However, within about 20 min, I felt terrible- nauseous, fatigued, bloating- just overall not great. Totally worth the amazing scones which I will have again, but still terrible. The rest of the weekend went similarly, however, nothing shocking. This is where I noticed the difference the most, when I added things back into my diet. Because I have done gluten/dairy free and hypoallergenic diets before, I did know what to expect. For myself, I know that I can tolerate dairy quite well- it's only if I gorge on it that it really affects me. My diet is very low in diary in general so I don't worry about this too much. When it comes to gluten, I can tolerate small amounts, but the less the better. Generally, I find if I have maybe one serving of gluten in a day, I'm fine, but if I was to have it more than that in a day, not so good and likely if I was doing this daily it would be worse. I also find my gluten sensitivity is worse if it's combined with sugar- think amazing scone. I find just the shear amount of sugar/starch is too much and I feel awful. Even now, about 2 weeks after finishing, my diet isn't back to where I want it to be as we've had my husband's parents staying with us from Ireland so our routine has been a bit thrown off and I can definitely feel it. We are slowly getting back on track and I do want to adopt a majority paleo/no sugar diet for our 'normal'.
Will I do this again?
Absolutely! I think it was a great experience and really not as hard as you might think. Again, once you have a bit of a game plan and get into it, it's actually pretty easy. I found this was a good time of year to do it (Spring) since a lot of fruits/veggies are coming in to season and bbq season is kicking off as well. I could live on grilled chicken and vegetables. I think this will become my 'detox' of choice as I still find sugar (chocolate) my greatest challenge. I am already planning my next round for September (Fall). However, I don't think I will do the full 30 days again, as I found it a bit long. Because I am going to make this a routine detox, I will probably do 14-21 days (2-3 weeks) instead to make it a bit more feasible, though I would recommend doing it for the full 30 days at least once. I will also add some liver support supplements as well once I am no longer nursing to really up the benefits. Overall, it was a great experience!
Disclaimer: Naturopathic Doctors strive to provide individualized health care. The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. This information shouldn’t take the place of seeing an ND for individualized health recommendations.
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