Somehow I talked my husband into starting that Whole30 thing really fit people always talk about. You know that month long cleanse where you “can’t eat or drink anything”. The one I swore I would never do… Yeah, that one.
For those who aren’t familiar … Here you go: For what ever reason Whole30 has always been secretly intriguing to me. Probably because it’s pretty far from what I normally eat (insert pasta and bread here) and although, I’m the least competitive person I know, I am all about a “self challenge”.
So on May 31st we geared up. We stocked our fridge with all the colors of the rainbow, threw out (delicious) temptations, and spent a good chunk of time “meal prepping” for our first week of eating like rabbits. Honestly, we were really excited. Like jumping up and down in the kitchen excited. (Ok so maybe that was just me… But I think it helped my better half get more on board). It was the first thing we were going to do together as married couple that would really require accountability and encouragement. Plus, when you’re only 2 months married, anything seems fun if you’re doing it together 🙂
Day 1 was horrible. I had prepared an egg, spinach, and sausage casserole for us the eat in the morning which was very different than my normal organic yogurt, granola, and fruit. Then the girls I nanny chose Panera for lunch… Is this a joke? I sat and watched them devour fresh bread AND a cookie as I bitterly chomped on my carrot and celery sticks. After lunch, I felt like I was going to vomit at just the thought of that stupid breakfast casserole. (I’m clearly a sweet breakfast kind of girl). It had me nauseous the majority of the day. Not to mention, we both had horrible headaches (come back to me, sugarrrrr!) and by the time I got home from work I had to go straight to the couch to lay down as I told my husband, “Im giving up.. On Whole 1”. It was straight up pathetic.
Thanks to his encouragement and the discovery of strawberry, banana, spinach, unsweetened almond milk and almond butter smoothies for breakfast, Day 2 was bearable. Yes, I still felt a bit weak (and hungry) but also “good” at the same time. A strange combination.
As the week went on we enjoyed making new recipes (like this and this and this) and it was actually kind of fun to tweak current favorite recipes to make the Whole30 cut (insert taking cheese and sugar out of everything). We were constantly checking in on each other to see how we felt or if anything was different and I was starting to believe we could actually do this and it might just change the way we eat forever.
By Day 4, it didn’t feel very hard anymore and the best part was that we started to feel really great — lots of energy, sleeping well, no stomach aches. We also started to think that strawberries were the sweetest thing we had ever eaten! It was as if natural flavors were coming to life.
But then the weekend came. Dun dun dunnnn. And my pathetic side came out again. It started Friday night when we decided to go on a date night. I had done some research to find out what restaurants in St. Louis might be Whole30 approved and we ended up going to Bristol Seafood Grill because it was “nice” and they would be “more willing to work with special orders” said the blog review. Hmm, ok. We were seated and quickly presented with beautiful hand made rolls, a plate of slightly melted butter, and a wine list. AWESOME. (Insert me saying: Remind me why are we doing this again???) Then our waiter came with their mouth watering menu packed with delicious entrees that all had atleast one or two ingredients we “couldn’t” eat. Ugh. We explained to him our deal and asked if he had any suggestions (you could totally sense major judgment behind his smiling, “Of course! No problem, this will be easy!”) Glad it’s easy for somebody. Sigh. After a few questions to the chef we ended up with meals that looked like this…
Blackened fish, grilled asparagus, plain potatoes (usually my worst nightmare) and water.
…but honestly, it was really, really yummy. And if we hadn’t seen what we coulddd have ordered (looking at you, crab cakes and shrimp scampi), I think it would have been even better 🙂 We scarfed it down just in time for our waiter to mention that first time guests get a complimentary homemade cookie box to take home. Like does he want to be punched by a girl tonight? It’s hard to tell. We laughed as we got into the car, smelling the beautiful cookies. Yes, just smelling. It was so, so wrong. But we were proud because we had survived our first meal out on Whole30 and we went to bed feeling like the bravest people in the world.
Then Saturday came and we had plans to go to a Housewarming BBQ with friends. If we survived last night, we can do this too. Right?
We were immediately greeted with a lovely table of amazingness. Burgers, brats, hotdogs, pasta salads, homemade mac and cheese, cheesy potatoes, broccoli salad, cheese dip, bread, fruit dip, chips, cookies, cupcakes. The list goes on. We prepare our measly plates with a plain burger and some fruit. Oh and don’t forget a LaCroix, our beer replacement. I’ve never been so depressed. It was as if everyone else’s plate was staring at mine laughing. And I didn’t blame them. My plate was that skinny nerdy kid that is always being picked on. The sad part is that we actually cheated with condiments (hello, delicious sweet ketchup). Because this moment felt like a new low but eating a absolutely plain hamburger would have been rock bottom.
Oddly enough, we survived again (besides the small ketchup scandal- shh) and at the end of the day we went home feeling great. Opposed to the stuffed, stomach hurting, need a nap, we’re pregnant with a food baby feeling we most likely would have had.
So now we’re back into the work week and it’s easy again. Our fridge is so pretty. Full of fresh fruits and veggies. And the whole point of this Whole30 thing is starting to sink in… To simply be more aware of what you’re eating and how it’s effecting you. After just 10 days, we are so much more aware of what we’re putting in our bodies on a daily basis.
(Especially when we hear that dang ice cream truck music driving by in the early evening and I cry a little.)
Although I didn’t think we were eating necessarily “unhealthy” before… It’s made me realize that eating even more healthy/whole is doable, important, and surprisingly, affordable. It’s also made me realize that eating/drinking is often social and that there’s nothing wrong with going to a summer BBQ with friends or grabbing ice cream with your husband. These things are fun parts of life and (for us) it would be impossible to avoid food toxins altogether and still be happy. But we will definitely be more thoughtful about our meals at home and use more self control when out to eat. Remembering that we don’t haveee to add cheese to our burrito bowl at chipotle, that cooking spaghetti squash can fill that never ending pasta craving, and that fresh fruit can be a dessert option too. Well, sometimes 😉
Confession time… We have already decided that we are going to be leaving the party a little early (Whole20) mainly because an out of town wedding .. engagement anniversary dinner plans .. camping (for William, if case you were confused) .. And just because it’s summer and frozen custard and margaritas are screaming our namesss! You can call us quitters, we can take it. I’m not ashamed because we can truthfully say we are so glad we took on the “self challenge” of Whole30… eh, 20. It will continue to shape the way we eat and what we eat from now on. Which I think is what the people behind Whole 30 hope is the ultimate take away.
During this cleanse, I can’t help but be reminded of a verse in 1 Corinthians 6 where we are told that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in which we are called to use to glorify God. This has been my motivation and now my ultimate prayer, that I would be thankful for the natural food the Lord has (by no mistake) provided, for the company He has gifted me to share that food with, and for the body that He created for me to use and work in ways that I will never comprehend. Of course, how we treat our bodies is our choice but I prayer that I would always choose to honor the Lord with mine.
Well it’s about time for me to go make my smoothie… 10 days down, 10 to go! Wish us luck! 🙂