Have you heard the craze about Whole 30? It’s kind of like a “diet” only not. Maybe more like a cleanse, more so a Food-Re-Set (read the rules here). I originally saw it on Instagram (I really LOVE all the different communities of IG!) and thought it seems super strict and scary. Then at the beginning of April I was finally so sick of feel like crap all the time. I had gained back some weight after the initial post-birth weight loss, and my stomach hurt all the time. My back hurt, my core felt week and yucky. None of clothing fit, I was super depressed. I was also going through some postpartum depression and anxiety, and was looking into medication for that. I just knew that a change was needed. So after a bit of research Mr. Gaunt and I picked a date (April 21st) and set out to do our first Whole 30!
Today we finished the Whole 30, so I thought I would answer some questions people might have:
1. Why did you decide to do a Whole 30?
I was having lots of intestinal issues. Since giving birth I felt like my organs never really settled properly and I was bloated and gassy and crampy all the time. My core felt so weak, and it was getting harder and harder to hold Vada, I felt sick and gross. My clothes were tighter and the scale was going up by the day. I was having terrible calf cramps every time I even went for a walk. I felt like I couldn’t work out because my body hurt. I was also battling depression, anxiety and major self-esteem issues. Mr Gaunt has had a lot of health issues since gaining a fair amount of weight this last year, Asthma, Sleep Apnea, skin issues, etc.
Vada also has begun eating solids, and I NEEDED us to change our food lifestyle. I need to be a good example, to eat things I would want her to eat, and to cook regularly. I needed something to force us back in the kitchen, something we had seriously lacked over the last year.
2. So did you lose weight?
This is the first thing people want to know, and the W30 people are quick to say that the point of the W30 is NOT to lose weight, but weight loss is an often positive side effect. So yes, we did. In 30 days (which you are never supposed to weigh yourself during, only at the end) I lost 18 pounds, and Mr. Gaunt lost 20 pounds (I know…men) . So yeah, that feels really good.
3. What about the other issues? Do you feel better?
-Mr. Gaunt has not used his (once daily) inhaler in 30 days.
-My calf cramps are gone.
-My postpartum depression and anxiety are 90% better with no medication and no counseling.
-My stomach bloat and intestine issues, gone.
-Heartburn (a daily issue for Mr. Gaunt, who would go through a ton of Tums daily). GONE!
3. Whole 30 claims to help all kinds of things (heres a long list) did any of these things change for you?
SLEEP: For me, maybe slightly better sleep. I think I fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. I mean we have a 6 month old so sleep is never perfect. I do feel a little less tired in the morning, but to be honest I didn’t sleep that bad before. Mr. Gaunt says his sleep is about the same, but he wakes at 4am, so his sleep is always a little short.
DAY TIME FATIGUE: I would definitely say I have energy from morning until night, which is saying a lot because my baby can be exhausting. Mr. Gaunt also says that he feels less groggy after he comes home from work, and I have noticed he seems to have way more energy for projects, and almost never wants to lay in bed all afternoon.We are go go go.
ACNE: I don’t have acne, I have perfect skin. Some people have perfect bodies, and congrats to them, I have no shame in claiming to have perfect skin. Mr. Gaunt does not, but I would say his face is way clearer. He still struggles with some body acne, that I don’t think got much better.
Allergies (food and seasonal): We really don’t have too much of an issue with either of these things. I will say though that I was able to pinpoint foods that upset my stomach way easier than before. For instance I have realized that my body does not digest Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower or Nuts well, and its best that I steer clear of large quantities of them. Who knew?
Cravings: Yup those have mostly gone out the window. As well as the need to eat between meals. We hardly snack at all now. I have kicked my sugar addiction almost completely. We are still battling our desire to be entertained by food (driving in the sunshine, get a frappacino!, Friday night Happy Hour, BBQ with cocktails…etc) but it’s getting easier.
Plantar Fasciitis: Before the W30 Mr. Gaunt was struggling bad with feet pain. He walked with a limp all the time, it had gotten really bad. Now he doesn’t limp at all, and although he would say it still hurts, before it seemed unbearable and now he never mentions it, so it must be slightly better.
4. Were you perfect on the plan?
Yes and no. The point of W30 is to follow the plain and NEVER EVER cheat. If you cheat you have to start back at day 1. The W30 plan gets some negative press about this strict rule, that it is unattainable and people would just binge before starting over. Here’s the deal, we as people all have free will, and we all know ourselves and our bodies, and we can do whatever we want with them. Do I think it’s important to follow the plan perfectly? Yes I do. If you go into the W30 planning to sneak little bits of cream in your coffee, or taking a day off for a celebration, then don’t bother, it won’t work. Mr. Gaunt and I went into the W30 planning to be perfect, and I think we did really well, but we made a few slip ups. Once at the beginning I licked a tiny amount of guacamole (that had some sour cream in it) off the tip of my finger after feeding it to Vada. A similar thing happened to Mr. Gaunt in the first week, he was setting up a donut tray for his coworkers, and got a smudge of frosting on his finger that he licked off without thinking. We both came home and told each other what happened, but NO we didn’t start over. We knew what we did, it was an accident, it didn’t throw us of course, so we just moved forward. Technically this is wrong and we both should have started over. We also ate out at breakfast twice, and had bacon and sausage and did not ask them if there was possibly any sugar in the meat (which is HIGHLY likely). Since we only ate out twice, I decided to just not make a big deal out of it. We did the best we could in the situation, and we chose not to stress about whether there was small traces of sugar in our bacon (at home we bought sugar-free bacon, which is hard to find). I also kind of ignored some of the oils in packaged foods. We probably consumed some oils that were not coconut, olive or Avocado oil, and possibly some sulfites. I tried really hard and picked the most natural items I could, but I would be lying if I said I thought I did 100% perfect.
5. Was it hard?
Like the W30 says, childbirth is hard, eating real foods for 30 days is not hard. I agree…kind of. It’s not HARD, but it’s not easy either. Kiss your social life goodbye for 30 days, because there’s really no point. If a holiday comes up in your 30, or for some reason you have to go out to eat, you can make do, but it won’t be that fun. I mostly missed alcohol, even though I don’t drink much. I also turned down all playdates and things where I thought I might not have control of a situation. We had Mothers Day during our W30, but it was fine.
W30 does take a LOT of time. I cooked more in the last 30 days than I have in the last year, seriously. I also spent a lot of time grocery shopping, meal planning, and making food for the week. This was a lot of dedication and time in the kitchen, but it was so worth it. We have such a great cooking/food routine, and I LOVE that Vada is watching us buy and make healthy food! It’s what I really wanted out of this whole thing.
Detoxing is another kind of crappy side effect. I had a headache all day on days 2 and 3. I also had diarrhea for about a week too. Once I realized that I was eating too many nuts, my digestive system got so much better. Mr. Gaunt strangely had no detox issues, lucky him. I also had a few days at the beginning where I just wanted to sleep, and a few days of appetite loss do to boredom. This is super common and listed in the Whole 30 Timeline (which was freaky accurate).
6. Was it more expensive?
Yeah, I probably spent $200 a week on groceries. Fresh produce and organic/grass fed meats can be pricey, but we also only ate out twice in the whole month, and consumed no alcohol or coffee, so that saved us a lot. We also hardly threw away anything we bought, which we have had issues with in the past. So I think its kind of a wash. If you are on a tight budget and buy mostly dry goods, then yes, this is way more expensive. If you eat out regularly and have trouble not letting stuff go bad in your fridge, then it won’t seem that bad.
I went grocery shopping probably twice a week. A big trip on Sunday, and then maybe a mini trip mid-week. We also get an every other week Organic produce delivery box, and a once a week produce basket. So LOTS of produce. I started buying Organic meats in smaller quantities so I don’t have to freeze it (If I freeze meat I am 10x less likely to use it) and once a week we go and buy a mix of fresh meats from our local butcher CARNE, which has been really fun and really delicious!
7. What about the good stuff? Snacks, Coffee, Drinks, Desserts, Condiments?
Welp yeah, that stuff isn’t as easy on Whole 30, but not impossible! Like I said above, the need to snack between meals really went down as the weeks went by, but we did on occasion do some snacking.
Snacks (for some people all of these can be a trigger food, and lead to over eating, so be cautious): Dried Fruit, nuts, fruit, Veggie Chips (like Terra brand), Lara Bars.
Dessert: We ate a lot of Monkey Salad (Almond butter, bananas, unsweetened coconut)
Drinks: Sparkling water (add a tiny splash of 100% juice and lime to make a “mocktail”. Small amounts of 100% juice. Unsweetened Iced Tea with lime/lemon. Pina Colada Smoothie. I gave up coffee because I like Vanilla Lattes, and Id rather drink unsweetened tea than unsweetened coffee. I did try a little coconut milk in my coffee, but I still wasn’t a big fan. This ALSO saved me $$$.
Condiments: We hit up our Organic store and bought unsweetened Ketchup. I thought about making W30 Mayo or BBQ but just never did, and it was fine. I did buy Coconut Aminos, and we started using Ghee (clarified butter). For salads it was olive oil and vinegar and salt and pepper.
8. So What did you cook?
A million new things! I really suggest looking at Pinterest, or better yet the #whole30 on Instagram for inspiration!
9. Will you continue to eat this way or do another Whole 30?
I would love to do a Whole 30 twice a year, I don’t think its long-term sustainable and I don’t want us to have to forgo many social experiences because of food. That being said I think we plan to stay…gulp…paleo. I cringe when I hear that word because it’s so FAD-ey, but alas, my body has never felt this good. We are still in talks about how we want to deal with alcohol and sugar, and just day-to-day life. At this point I plan to continue to make the same foods we have been eating, and maybe just have a splurge day here and there. Tough to say. We have some big health goals by the fall.