I apologize for the delay in posting. My computer is in the shop and taking three times as long as predicted, so I'm coming to you from Raj's old laptop.
Internet, we finished the Whole30! Without cheating!
Now we're in the reintroduction phase, so it's still not anything goes around here for another week, but I think I can safely give you our impressions of the first 30 days at least.
We both lost about eight pounds. And that's even though we ate probably a lot more bacon and white potatoes than the program creators likely intended. Raj has clearly lost more than eight pounds of fat while at the same time putting on muscle.
I am wearing my skinny jeans! Ok, they're not actual skinny jeans, just the jeans that used to be my everyday jeans until maybe a year ago or so when what had been my fat jeans became my everyday jeans. Which is a long way of saying that I'm down a pants size and suddenly have new clothes available to me that I don't have to pay for because I already bought them. Yes, this is entirely related to the above Pro of the Whole30, but it felt like it deserved its own paragraph.
We were never hungry. I mean yes, we got appropriately hungry at meal times, but we were getting plenty to eat all month and not feeling deprived of food, while still losing weight.
I really didn't miss some of the foods we cut out, which will make it easy to just continue not cooking them. In particular, while we don't intend to adopt a grain-free lifestyle, I think we'll have a lot more grain-free dinners than we used to. Not everything needs a side of rice, apparently.
Our cravings for sweets are dramatically reduced. Not that I'd turn down a bite of chocolate. I just don't NEED it.
It gave us the push we needed to get started shopping at the farmers markets here, something we'd been really meaning to do regularly, but just hadn't done.
I think Raj would say that the different kind of breakfast we've been having is a Pro. Before, we mostly had either overnight oats, baked oats, or Kashi cereal. He's really liked having either sausage or fish and vegetables for breakfast. I'm less sold, mostly because having to also cook something for breakfast doubles the cooking load, but can admit that I haven't been hungry mid-morning like I typically was before.
This has been sort of a project for the two of us to take on together, which is fun. We're a good team.
While it may seem sort of crazy and extreme, it's the strictness that makes it work. Vague ideas like trying to eat more vegetables or cut back on sugar are a lot more challenging than a strict set of guidelines, the same way my intention to run more ends in a lot less running than I do when I have a set training plan.
It really does take a lot of planning and a lot of cooking. If we both had demanding jobs, I'm not sure we would have succeeded.
It's expensive. We're eating a lot more meat than usual and of course fresh produce isn't cheap. This is somewhat balanced though by saving money on eating out.
Eating out is not easy and not really that fun. We normally go out to eat about once a week, but ended up mostly avoiding it for the past month because we couldn't order anything we'd actually want and even what we didn't really want was probably cooked in butter anyway.
It's hard to say:
A lot of people report having tons and tons of energy starting around the middle to last third of the Whole30. Raj did feel like he had more energy, but can't say for sure what the cause was since around the time we started, he also got back to being really good about going to Crossfit five days a week. So it could have been the food or the exercise or a combination. I pretty much spent the entire last week either napping or daydreaming about taking a nap, but I can say for sure that the blame for my lethargy lies with my old nemesis, premenstrual syndrome. So the experiment was compromised. Too many variables.
Other people report that their skin clears up. And I can tell you that my skin did seem clearer. But I can't tell you whether that's due to the Whole30 or the new skin regimen I started a couple of weeks before it, wherein I just use toner in the morning instead of washing my face. A lady on San Antonio local TV told me that washing my face twice a day was promoting oil production so I should do toner in the morning and wash at night. I'm giving it a whirl.
Whole30 did not cure my migraines, but I didn't really expect it to since they, like the teenagers I spend my days with, are primarily driven by hormones.
The idea is to introduce each group back in by itself to see how it affects you. You do one day of that food group followed by two days back on Whole30 guidelines to see if you notice any slightly longer-term effects. Some people get digestive issues, joint pain, sinus congestion, headaches, or skin breakouts from reintroducing foods they had a sensitivity to.
We decided to start with dairy. We already know Raj is lactose intolerant, so we went with low-lactose dairy items, Greek yogurt for breakfast, frozen yogurt at lunch, and some aged cheddar grated on our dinner. We felt fine, except Raj noticed a pronounced sugar crash in the afternoon after the frozen yogurt, which is unsurprising since we hadn't had any sugar outside of fruit in a month.
Ok, to be fair, it wasn't entirely the fault of the frozen yogurt...
We may have referred to Day 31 as Chocolate Bunny Day. It was eagerly anticipated. Here's the truly crazy part: the lemon Greek yogurt I had for breakfast tasted like absolutely the best thing I'd ever eaten. I couldn't get over how amazing it was. Then I peeled my bunny and enjoyed its head with my coffee. And it was...good. A lot more anticlimactic than anticipated. Not like I didn't eat the rest of my bunny after dinner or anything. Just, I would have expected the yogurt and chocolate experiences to be reversed.
After two days back on Whole30, we reintroduced legumes with peanut butter on apples at breakfast, hummus on carrots and celery for lunch, and soy sauce on our sashimi for dinner. (Turns out soy sauce also has gluten. Whoops.) We felt fine. Yesterday was non-gluten grain day. I made some breakfast quinoa that was kind of awful (coconut milk + banana = WAY too sweet), we had corn with lunch, and basmati rice with our curry for dinner. So far, so good.
All that's left is gluten grains (I'm pretty sure we'll be having banh mi on gluten day) and alcohol. Since the next reintro day is Friday, we're going with booze first. Not for breakfast or lunch this time (sadly) but we did plan our dinner around our wine.
I think we'll stick with eating like this for the most part. I'm sure some cheese will sneak back in and there will be a couple of glasses of wine per week. We will also likely resume eating out about once a week and won't be taking extraordinary measures to make those meals compliant. I'm not sure where we'll end up on breakfast food. It might be that knowing that if we do run out, we can have oatmeal for a day or two until I can get to the store and cook more breakfast food will be enough to keep me at least attempting to make most of our breakfasts. It's been the last minute "There's nothing for breakfast tomorrow!" panic that's been the most annoying part.
All in all, I think it was well worth it. I'll be back with second half recipes once I get my computer back. After that, maybe I'll even talk about something aside from Whole30. Who knows?