Sunday, July 26, 2015

Life Post-Whole30

Life Post-Whole30
So I've been getting a lot of questions lately. How was everything been going since your Whole30? What are you eating now? Did you notice a difference? Has anything changed?
In a sense, yes. Everything about food has changed. Everything from making a meal, to looking at a menu to deciding what to eat. 

I really thought about nourishing and savoring during my Whole30. There were several times when I was ready to quit and no longer wanted to do it and part of that was how it keeps you from joining in on situations like going out to eat or taking communion. I hated that I wasn't able to "enjoy" food with other people like I was used to.

I recently saw an art print with a piece of cake that said "Count the memories, not the calories." While I wasn't counting calories on Whole30, it really struck a chord. It shouldn't always be centered around what you're eating because thats not what life is about. I'm rereading Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist and she writes, "I know there are people who see food primarily as calories, nutrients, complex bundles of energy for the whirring machines of our bodies. I know them, but they're not my people." I really feel like I'm stuck in the middle of those two groups. I'm sure I'll figure it out with time, but I'm caught between wanting to fuel my body and to truly fuel my soul. I know that theres a way to do both and I'm slowly trying to figure out what that means for me. 

The Reintroduction Process

I stayed fairly true to the fast track reintroduction process outlined in the Whole30 cookbook. I started by reintroducing non-gluten grains like almond flour and corn. I also had sugar. What I noticed was that while those grains filled me up, they didn't fuel me. I wasn't feeling as energized and sugar just made me crave more sugar. By the end of that day, I noticed that I felt a little dizzy and almost jumpy. The next day I went back to Whole30 and the biggest thing I noticed was that I felt down. I also had an upset stomach, but I think that was due to overindulgence rather than the food. It was a big shock to my system to eat anything other than vegetables and protein so I was told that I may have some issues the first few days. 

I was really nervous to try dairy because I thought it would cause problems. So far, it hasn't caused many. I didn't drink any straight milk since I was doing almond milk anyways pre-Whole30, but a little bit of cheese and yogurt didn't bother me. I do still want to eat it in moderation because in the past I've had issues when I eat something super cheesy. 

Later I tried grains with gluten. The biggest thing I noticed from that was that while it filled me up (and made me fill slightly bloated), it also made me incredibly tired. In the last year, I've cut a lot of gluten grains out of my diet just because I've noticed that. I don't think I'm going to cut it out completely, but I'm definitely going to save it for later in the day like with dinner.

I didn't introduce legumes on its own day because I really don't eat that many to begin with. I ended up trying black beans last week and felt fine. Similar to the other foods, it made me feel full but wasn't incredible energizing. 

The Problem With Sugar

So I've been pretty lenient with sugar since I finished my Whole30 ten days ago and I'm finding that it's really a problem. A little makes me want a lot and if I start eating it earlier in the day, I find that I won't stop craving it the rest of the day. I've eaten some sort of sugar whether that be coconut milk ice cream, fruit snacks, gluten free cookies, ect everyday and I'm not loving the side effects. Like I said earlier, it seems to give me some anxiety and then I get anxiety over having anxiety and then I get anxiety over the fact that I want more sugar. It's vicious. My plan is to try and avoid sugar during the week (except for special occasions like someones birthday) and then only indulge on the weekends if its something thats really worth it like a nice piece of chocolate. I already feel like this plan is going to fail miserably so I'll let you know how it goes. 

My Whole30 Results

The Positive:

  • Within the last 5 days of Whole30 I had this super-yoga calmness. I think its what a lot of people mean when they say that it "clears your mind." I've literally never felt that calm and clear headed in my life.
  • As I mentioned, I lost 5lbs and a bit around my waist. Overall a flatter stomach because I wasn't bloated and many people mentioned that I looked leaner
  • More consistent energy throughout the day
  • Didn't feel hunger pangs every 2 hours
  • Improved regularity 
  • Happier and less stressed and anxious
  • Didn't get hangry even when it was awhile between meals
  • I found a healthier relationship with food
  • Learned how to listen to my body while eating
  • Didn't use food as a reward or when I was stressed
  • More knowledgeable about nutrition

The Negative:

  • I was so so tired of meal planning and cooking. It is funny since I've still been excessively meal planning since ending Whole30, but I've been more lenient when things are busy.
  • Many people talk about how they slept so much better, but I didn't find that. I felt like I was wide awake and had issues falling asleep. This may be due to other factors like hormones, but since introducing other foods again, I've been fine.
  • Eating healthy, fresh foods is expensive. My grocery bill DOUBLED. I'm living in Northern California early in my career and my budget is not equipped to double in any category. 

Where I'm At

I was so happy to be done when I finished, but if you asked me "Would you do it again?" I would probably say yes now. I'm not planning on it for awhile, but I think its a great way to get back into good habits. I know a lot of people do it in January after all the holidays and indulgences.

So I didn't have any allergies or major issues with any foods, but none of the foods made me feel as good as eating vegetables and protein. Like I said, my grocery bill doubled, which is not something I'm equipped for, but I want to keep eating with an emphasis on protein, vegetables and adding grains and dairy to assist in keeping me full so I'm not eating as many vegetables as I was during Whole30. Overall, I want these foods to act as a supplement to the protein and veggies on my plate. 

I am happy to have yogurt back because it's not easy finding fermented foods that I like. The supplement company I work for, PurePharma, recently introduced a probiotic supplement and I'm excited to start taking that once we have it in stock. It tastes really good too. 

I think I'm going to try to eat as Whole30 as I can during the week. When I eat with that plan, meal planning is super easy (since I'm used to it now) and I can have good energy and feel good during my workouts throughout the week. I'm going to be more lenient about going off the schedule on the weekends, but I want to make sure that I have enough energy during the week. 

What I must say about Whole30 is that its a big change, but its something that you can do. But don't try Whole30 if you're looking for a quick fix. It takes you on a roller coaster and when you get off, you don't want to go straight back to where you came from. It really does change your perspective on food and its not something that you'll get over very soon. 

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