I’ve recently been having a lot of stomach issues. After visiting a slew of doctors, being tested for every allergy under the sun, and still having no answers.. I decided to take matters into my own hands and try to figure out what was bothering me on my own. I’ve done my research on the paleo diet, and while I tried it once (for a week) I gave up pretty quickly because I missed my oats and yogurt. You can read all about that here. Even though I was tested for celiac disease and lactose intolerance (both of which were negative) I figured it was worth another try to nix grains and dairy from my diet and see what happens. So I decided to do my own hybrid version of Whole30.
I’d been hearing and seeing people talk about Whole30 all over Instagram, preaching about the wonders of the program and all that it has done for them. For those of you who don’t know what Whole30 is, it is a 30 day program founded on the idea that we should be eating real food.
There are a few ‘rules’ to Whole30:
- No sugar of any kind
- No alcohol
- No grains
- No legumes (Which means peanuts.. beans.. soy…etc)
- No dairy
- No carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites
- No ‘recreating’ baked goods/treats with Whole30 approved ingredients
These rules aren’t too far from the ‘rules’ of clean eating or the paleo diet… If you follow either of these approaches you’ll see some clear overlap. I think that the philosophy behind Whole30 is great, and totally agree with everything that it stands for. The book It Starts With Food is fantastic, and I highly recommend the program to anyone looking to learn about their dietary sensitivities, or dive head first into healthy eating. During my one month experiment 90% of my meals/food choices were completely Whole30 compliant.
Over the past month, my only exceptions to Whole30 were the following: I still occasionally ate Stuffum Naturals Protein Cookie Dough Spread and About Time Whey Protein. These are technically not ‘dairy free’ as whey is considered dairy, and the About Time protein is sweetened with stevia (not Whole30 approved). However, I limited myself to only eating 1 tablespoon of Stuffum Naturals Protein Cookie Dough Spread per week (a special treat) and 2 About Time Protein shakes per week (on the days that I was training hard and needed extra protein). Both of these products are made with Grass-Fed Premium Whey Protein, or Vegan Pea Protein but as mentioned before.. they are not Whole30 compliant. (But I highly recommend them cause they’re both delicious. ‘cleaneating15’ gets you 15% off Stuffum Naturals and ‘cleaneating’ gets you 25% off AboutTime if you’re interested in trying them)
So now that we’re clear on that let me tell you how my overall experience went.
How did I manage to cut out dairy and grains? I didn’t eat a ton of dairy to begin with. I drink a protein shake everyday, eat a non-fat Greek yogurt 3-4 times a week for a snack, and occasionally I’ll eat a small amount of cheese. So it was fairly easy to say good-bye to that. Grains on the other hand.. I love. I typically start my day with sprouted grain toast, overnight oats, or whole grain pancakes. Snacks are usually popcorn or a protein baked good. Lunch and dinner usually have quinoa or brown rice as a side. Giving up the grains was definitely a challenge, but doable.
What did I eat? Breakfast consisted of a lot of eggs, chicken, turkey and veggies. I really don’t like eggs so after a week or so of eating them every morning I decided to just start eating animal proteins. Occasionally I made ‘pancakes’ with coconut flour and egg whites. (Definitely not the best version of pancakes, but also not the worst!). For lunch and dinner I stuck to animal protein, and veggies. If I was hungry and felt like a needed a little extra boost of carbs, I would have sweet potatoes. Snacks were fruits, veggies, raw nuts, and Yawp Eats Bars (I’ll talk about them later).
How did I feel? I didn’t lose any weight.. but I felt lighter (if that makes sense?). I’m not sure if it was in my head, or if my body was actually reacting to my food intake completely differently. I also felt satisfied. Before doing this, I was constantly hungry. I’d eat and then an hour later I’d want a snack. I know for sure I was eating way too much..I just looked back and at one point I was averaging around 175g carbs, 150g protein and 70g of fat…Yes, I train 5 days out of the week.. but I’m not a very big person. This was A LOT of food to be eating!
Overall Thoughts: Many people see drastic results or changes when they do a program like this… Prior to doing this I was already eating very healthy. Even though I was probably eating too much, it was all ‘healthy’ foods. The carbs were coming from a TON of fruit, popcorn and oats. The protein came from animal protein, or protein powder. The fats came from the animal proteins, olive/ coconut oils, avocado, and raw nuts. If you are eating a bunch of junk and processed foods and you cut it completely from your diet.. you are likely going to have more drastic results than I did. As I mentioned before I definitely recommend this to anyone who is questioning their sensitivity to food groups, or wants to change their eating habits. This was a good start to helping understand my dietary sensitivities, but ultimately it didn’t cure them. I’m currently doing nutrition counseling, eating/counting macros tailored to me, and following a low FODMAP diet to help me reach my health and fitness goals. So far it has been working out great.. but this is what works for ME and not necessarily what will work for you – we’re all different 🙂
If you are doing Whole30, or are just looking for products that are grain, dairy and sugar-free, here are some of my staples.. in addition to a TON of chicken, pork, turkey, fruits, vegetables and raw nuts.. I ate these 4 things pretty much every single day.
Yawp Eats– We all love having pre-packaged snacks to take on the go. Unfortunately most snack/protein bars have tons of added sugars. These bars come in a few different flavors, but all of them are paleo and Whole30 approved. They are grain free, vegan, and low in carbs. The bars are crunchy and totally delicious. My favorite flavor is the Coconut Chai… it tastes like dessert when dipped in coffee!
Kasandrino’s Olive Oil is another great product to have around the house. The olive oil 100% Extra Virgin and is made fresh. I seriously could just drink this because it tastes so good.. but usually just chose to cook with it. 😉 You can save 10% off your order when you use coupon code ‘cleaneating’ at the checkout.
Safe Catch Tuna is also great for when you need something quick on the go. All of their tuna has no additives or fillers, and every single fish is checked for mercury. It tastes super fresh and delicious.
Tessemae’s Dressing & Sauces honestly saved me during this month. They have a Whole30 Pack that is filled with dressings and sauces all Whole30 approved. Their dressings are seriously out of this world. They have such simple ingredients but they are jam-packed with flavor. Eating salads with chicken can often get boring, but these dressings and sauces helped keep my meals fun and tasty.
Trader Joe’s Roasted Plantain Chips are another one of my favorite Whole30 approved snacks. I enjoyed them with guacamole.
So there you have it! I’m glad I did my hybrid version of Whole30. Even though I didn’t have a drastic change to my body/life, this opened my eyes to how foods can affect your body in a completely new way.
*Just an FYI.. if you follow us on Instagram and are confused as to why we were posting about non-Whole30 compliant foods… I’m not living a lie ( I swear!). Remember that there are two of us… Tyler is blessed with the ability to eat whatever he wants and still maintain a six pack. Me… not so much!
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