What I Learned From Whole 30

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I love the Whole 30 challenge. I am a huge believer. Within 2 days I already felt lighter, more energetic, and clear-headed. I could seriously eat an egg, avocado and sweet potato for every meal. It’s my go-to breakfast. Occasionally my husband would also make bacon to go with it…YUM. It seriously felt like I was cheating. But it was all Whole 30-approved!

Before I started the challenge, I was worried about my milk supply and how the  diet challenge would affect it. Well I’m here to tell you it increased! It makes sense. More nutritious food led to more milk. I will say that as a nursing momma, I did have to eat more like 3.5 meals a day. Hunger is real when you’re breastfeeding. I would usually eat a mid-afternoon snack of almonds and a piece of fruit and that would last me until dinner. But there were days where I ate 4 full meals!

Full disclosure here: I did not make it the whole 30 days (I know, I know). Even though I didn’t make it the whole 30 days, I’m still a huge fan of the Whole 30 challenge! I made it 12 full days without cheating, and then the other 18 days I completed a “modified” whole 30.

Here’s why I didn’t make it:

  1. Nursing: Breastfeeding makes you hungry ALL the time! I constantly found myself rummaging through the fridge or pantry looking for something whole 30 approved. It was discouraging and made me want to give up.
  2. Cost: Whole 30 means eating whole foods, and organic when possible. That’s rough on a wallet! I spent approximately 25-30% more on groceries, and since I’m on unpaid leave from work right now, it felt pretty discouraging and stressful to overstretch the grocery budget.
  3. Time: Whole 30 also means tons of meal-prep and cooking. I have a newborn, so my hands are full already. Finding time to get in the kitchen and make batches of veggies and cooking meats was SO hard. There were several times that I had to stop cooking half way through a meal and then come back to it an hour later…they don’t teach that cooking technique in culinary school!

Here’s how I modified it to make it work:

  1. No stress: if I was having a hard time getting a meal together, I would put Whole 30 on the back burner. But I did promise myself I would still aim to eat clean meals. Even with this modification, I still ate at least 2 whole 30 meals per day!
  2. Whole-grain bread/pasta: I would let myself have one slice or one serving per day. Never both. This just made life easier for me, and made at least one meal of the day easier!
  3. Salad dressing: I let myself have unapproved salad dressing if it meant I could easily eat a salad. That was my lunch most days and let’s be honest…I’m eating a salad! That’s good enough.
  4. Glass of wine: I let myself have one glass every other day if I really needed it!

Other than that, I stuck to the challenge rules. I was much more successful this way. I lost 10 pounds and learned to eat vegetables again! I eat sweet potatoes or butternut squash almost every day. I eat avocados at every meal. I crave salad now. I’m always looking for new veggies to add to a meal I make all the time. I am so encouraged by these new additions to my diet. I remember to read labels and avoid sugar. I try to avoid gluten. Doing this challenge reminded me how to eat healthy and make it taste good!

I plan to keep eating this way. And now that the challenge is officially over, I can have occasional cheat meals 🙂

 

 

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