So, while I had every intention of writing weekly posts, this month is already running away with me and to my great surprise, I’ve realised I’m already past halfway through the month of November – meaning halfway through Whole30!
It’s already been an interesting exercise, not only on myself (and testing my ever-so-fickle willpower!), but also in observing others’ reactions when I’ve talked to them about what I’m doing. For the most part, I’m actually not talking about it much at all, but a recent family catch up this past weekend revealed that the moment some kind of eating “program/ diet/ protocol” (pick your poison) is mentioned that everyone (EVERYONE!) wants to know all about it, why you’re on it, what are the exceptions, how you’re finding it, and very importantly, how my partner is dealing with it.
Given that these are completely valid questions and coming from a place of curiosity rather than judgement, I figured here would be the easiest places to answer these from my experience of being two weeks in.
Why am I doing the Whole30?
For the most part, I addressed this in my post a couple of weeks ago – but essentially I wanted to test myself out on a strict program during a time where I knew I’d have the time, resources and the “why” to really commit. Whole30 does not include “treat days’, exceptions and I’m sure isn’t for everyone, but it was something that appealed to me currently to help “kick start” my health where other approaches hadn’t been as effective.
What’s in and what’s out?
Again, I’ve addressed most of this in my first post, but the main point I wanted to mention on this is that just because I’m not eating something because of Whole30, doesn’t mean it’s not healthy, or that others should also eliminate said food/ drink.
I’ve had a few big (interesting!) conversations with a few people about the ideas around natural sugars (honey, maple syrup, dates) in opposed to refined sugar. For me normally, I would try as much as possible to be refined sugar free, however while I’m doing Whole30, the only sweetener I’ve included is dates, which I’m having in moderation, not every day and in combination with other foods. It’s tricky at times, but knowing that this is a short experiment helps rather than thinking that this is for the rest of my life! Alcohol is similar for me… I generally only drink a couple of times a week, mostly red wine and rarely more than two glasses at a time. However, for the month of November I’m not having any alcohol at all. I don’t think drinking (especially at the levels and ratios that I drink) is necessarily bad or unhealthy, I’m just giving my system a break for a while.
How has it been so far?
The big question! Honestly, for the first week or so I really didn’t have too many issues with it. While I was home, I was making sure I had a great big breakfast which meant that I didn’t want for lunch; I might have a snack at some point, then have a regular dinner, then maybe a herbal tea and small snack again in the evening.
It’s been trickier when I’ve been eating out with limited options or temptation is staring me in the face (hello, cheese!) but on the whole it’s been relatively straightforward to stay on track. In fact, I’d go as so far as to say it’s much easier to adopt a whole or nothing approach to my food rather than think I can just have some foods “occasionally”. Let’s face it, it’s so easy to reward or console yourself with a treat at any given occasion, that occasionally for me can easily turn into everyday if I’m not careful! The biggest test for me so far was the family catch up on the weekend where everything (bar the Whole30 approved sweet treat I’d brought along) was out of bounds for me. I was able to scrounge up some carrot sticks and hummus (not quite Whole30, but I was getting desperate!) and satisfy myself with them, some pickled onions and a few pieces of salami for the afternoon (again, not quite Whole30 approved, but I needed some protein, and it was salami or the cheese!). There have been a couple of exceptions overall, but in these cases, each time I feel I’ve compromised with the best option available to me at the time. So I don’t feel too bad!
How’s your partner “dealing with it”?
Another doozy I’ve been asked about several times. I have a wonderful partner, who loves his meat, carbs, ice cream and food in general. I was clear from the beginning that I didn’t expect him to follow what I was doing, however given that I am responsible for our groceries and most cooking at home, then he would obviously be exposed to some of the program. During the week, we don’t eat breakfast together (we’ve currently got quite different schedules Monday to Friday), he buys his lunch every day at work, so it was really only the main meals that would be affected. With Whole30, I’m focusing on lots of veggies, great quality meats and healthy fats which all fit really easily into the evening meal regime. Most of our dinners are quick, unfussy and suited to both our tastes. There’s always a protein (I am being quite conscious of mixing up different types of meat throughout the week), with greens and generally some roasted vegetables or a salad. On the whole, I don’t think it’s affected him at all, except for when we eat out together (generally on weekends) where I try to find places where I know I can find something easy to eat for both of us.
So far, so good! It does require preparation, time and occasionally being “that person” in a restaurant asking for meals to be adapted, but generally easier than I expected! I don’t feel hungry or deprived because of what I’m eating and I’m paying far more attention to my emotional responses, energy levels and overall mood.
I’m especially grateful I chose this time to start as I’m putting extra time into food preparation, menu planning for the week and picking a variety of foods to incorporate each week!
Again, I’ve written way more than I intended to, so I’ll add in a recipe for my current favourite Whole30 adapted dish to share later this week!