I did it! I completed a Whole 30 two days before jumping into Lent! And wow. It was a pretty incredible experience.
I loved Whole 30. I loved it so much, I’m already planning a May or June repeat…and possibly September. It was a great experience!
So what exactly did I love about it?
- I loved the food! We eat pretty well most of the time, but I learned how to work with veggies to build a base for my meals in a whole new way! All the supportive functions I used to assign to grains translated so well to sweet potatoes and greens, and I loved how the over-abundance of veggies made my meals look – as well as how good they tasted!
- My asthma – yep! My primary reason for doing Whole 30 – it actually worked to help improve my lung health in a huge way! I could feel a difference within the first two days. By day 8, I was seeing an 80% improvement in my breathing. I hardly needed any of my extra lung supports and I had so much energy. By day 15, I could carelessly forget my mullein tea in the evening. I am not saying Whole 30 cured my asthma, it just made dealing with it easier for me and helped my lungs recuperate after a brutal month of winter-cold.
- The structure. I loved knowing what was and wasn’t compliant and being able to just say ‘no.’ It’s kind of thrilling to explore food within a system of rules for a while and see what you come up with! Without access to sugar, grains, legumes, and dairy, I found myself playing with spices more often and piling caramelized onions on everything!
And the challenges, well…
- No alcohol also means no vanilla; no sugar also means no elderberry oxymel (honey); and I could not find Whole 30 compliant bacon anywhere. It was so sad! But I got over it, and now I’m in Lent and Lent has no compliant bacon at all – except maybe this one – which, by the way, I’m probably going to make soon!
- Jumping into Whole 30 and then not being able to make it to the store for 3 days…planning ahead is a good thing! I pretty much lived on eggs, goat, and lettuce for my first weekend. Luckily I was all gung-ho about it and so I pushed through..but make sure you have all the sweet potatoes and onions handy when you dive it! That said, you don’t need all the crazy lists of expensive ingredients either! You can do a happy Whole 30 without almond or coconut flour, sparkling water, and compliant jerky! Just eat what’s pretty and easy to work with!
- Fellow women, fair warning..Whole 30 might mess with your cycle. Maybe a lot, maybe a little, maybe not at all. When your body is adjusting to a super-clean diet and missing out on all the sugars it used to turn into hormone-storing fat..those hormones have to go somewhere! Just be prepared, and if Whole 30 is giving you the longest period ever or month without a cycle, soak in a nice, hot epsom & baking soda bath as often as possible – every day is ideal! If you have burdock root, throw it in the bath too, and drink some burdock in tea with milk thistle and red raspberry leaf while you’re soaking. Lavender, Clary Sage, and Yarrow essential oils can help in the bath as well. If you’re pregnant, talk to your midwife before starting Whole 30.
I. Loved. Whole 30. I lost about 10 lbs of unwanted weight, cleared up some of my respiratory struggles, and ate great food! It was a pretty awesome month.
Have you done a Whole 30? I’d love to read about your experience in the comments!