Whole-30: Review and Impressions

Over the past month my wife and I tried the Whole 30 "program" (not diet) to see what the fuss is all about. 

As I have said previously in another post, the book, Whole 30-The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, is written by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig. There are both certified sports nutritionists, which helps me feel confident in the information they are providing.  

The goal of this "diet" or "program" is for one to break certain emotional ties one has with food. The program claims that it breaks certain habits with eating food, while at the same time providing food that helps improve sleep quality, energy, and mood just to name a few. It can also point out food sensitivities as one begins to incorporate certain foods back in their diet.

I can say we successfully completed the 30 day challenge and we are now in the process on reincorporating food into our diet. Here are a few impressions I have of the program and how we did.

1. Ease and format of the diet-The format of the diet is simple: cut out many things that contain sugar, dairy, legumes, grains, and processed/preservative filled food. That will limit you to water or carbonated water to drink (or black coffee), basic proteins, and a lot of fruits and vegetables. The only vegetable we couldn't have on Whole 30 was corn. Bummer.

One of the hardest things about the diet was the long prep times involved in your dishes. My wife did much of the prepping, but she can testify that there is a lot of chopping, slicing, pre-cooking, and mixtures that had to be done. By the time we were cleaned up for lunch, it was time to prep for dinner again. This is where it would be difficult for a person that works full time outside the home. My wife is a full-time housewife and home school teacher, and with me being a full-time pastor, we have flexibility to prepare. For someone with an 8-4 job, one would have to prep on their days off for the week or stay up really late each night prepping.  I will admit, however, that real food requires prep. Also, if we had an event or church function that requires us to get home late, we couldn't just "whip up" something fast. So a few times we ate at almost 9 pm at night.

2.  The dishes-I can say with confidence that the dishes were actually quite good. Some even delicious.  There were a few times that we ran into some monotony and it became bland, but we made it through it. Some of my favorite dishes will actually be posted in recipe form on this blog soon.

What I enjoyed about the food is that I had the pleasure of eating fruit. A lot of it. It really helped take the place of the sugary treats we had eliminated. Apples, peaches, cherries, watermelon, oranges, bananas, and pineapple were abundant in our house. I loved it.

3. The cost- Have your wallet handy. Since you are eating actually "whole" foods, the cost will be higher than if you decided to have some Ramen noodles one night. We actually had to re-adjust our budget to reflect the more money we were spending on the items. We increased it at least 40 dollars for the month. However, was it worth it?

4. The results-The results don't lie; I have lost over 16 pounds with limited exercise, and have lost a few inches as well. My wife lost almost 12 pounds as well. We do actually feel better. I have been sleeping better at night, and we seem to have more energy. I have been very pleased how this "program" has worked, and continues to help.

Do I still have some massive cravings? Yep. Do I sometimes want to stuff my face with Oreos? You know that's right.  Do I want to sometimes take a bath with homemade ice cream? You bet. But I have found on this diet that it helps you with the answer of saying "no" to those cravings.  When you have made it the 30 days and said no to those things, you realize when you are able to have them again, it is a lot easier to say no.

We are continuing to reintroduce items every few days. We will see how it goes.

So if you are looking for something to give you a jump-start and a challenge, try this. I think it will help. 

"It is not hard. Don't you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard."

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