Let me start by saying that I am certainly not a doctor, nutritionist or medical expert of any kind. I do, however, have a hard time reading about the latest and greatest wellness trends without giving them a try myself. Whole 30 was no exception.
If you aren’t familiar with the program, it basically cuts out all foods that could potentially be having a negative impact on your health and encourages you to consume only whole foods in an effort to let your body reset. You can read more about the program here.
I started my first Whole 30 after the holiday season (a.k.a. after too much pecan pie) and dove right in 100%. I completed the entire 30 days without one slip (not to say it was easy – far from it) and learned quite a few things along the way.
- I don’t really like coffee
On the first day of Whole 30, I sat down for breakfast with a big cup of black coffee. I’m a coffee person (or so I thought), and I really didn’t think that removing my almond milk creamer and packet of stevia would be that big of a deal. I was wrong. Turns out, I’m more of a cream and sugar person than a coffee person. Oolong tea became my best friend for the next 30 days.
- I can survive without chocolate
I’ve always had a sweet tooth (I would never say no to cookie dough ice cream for dinner ). My daily dose of dark chocolate had become a habit that to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t image going a single day without. But I did and I survived.
- Some foods don’t agree with me
The program suggests a reintroduction phase so that you can tell how each food group you have eliminated affects your body – or doesn’t. I personally learned that dairy negatively affects my skin, but everyone is different in this regard.
- I can say no to food
This sounds silly, but the program taught me that saying no to a donut at an office meeting, swapping a cocktail for green tea at dinner or not indulging in the fried appetizer on date night doesn’t actually take away from the experience. Social situations don’t have to be all about the food to be fully enjoyed and no one can pressure you to eat something that you don’t want.
- I found new ways to unwind
I’ll be the first to admit that I often turn to a good piece of chocolate, dinner at one of my favorite restaurants or a glass of wine to unwind after a long day. The Whole 30 program forced me to find alternative ways to relax. I started taking (longer) bubble baths, sipping a cup of tea on my rooftop deck or lighting a yummy candle instead of reaching for a treat.
Overall, it was an eye opening experience in many ways. Will I give up chocolate forever? No (I’m actually nibbling on a piece of Bissinger’s as I write this post ). However, there are certainly some aspects of the program that I have integrated into my everyday life and some lessons, like my body’s reaction to dairy, that have dramatically improved how I feel on a day-to -day basis.