My conclusions and thoughts after the Whole 30 diet
First a little update as of February 2022: I no longer trust the people behind Whole30. Recently they announced that MSG is off their “do not eat” list because it's racist to the Chinese to keep it on there. What the???? Never mind the dangers, let's not offend the Chinese!!! I'm not even going to link to their article about this and give them more “Google juice”. Read more about MSG dangers here and here.
A lot of you have been asking so I'm finally getting this post up to tell you how my month on the Whole30 diet went, what I ATE, what results I saw, and my thoughts after the Whole30 diet. Click here to find out why I decided to try it in the first place, what symptoms I had going on, and learn the important (and motivating) basics about this diet.
*Important: Keep in mind that when people email me about their various health issues, I often recommend they try this diet first before looking around for other answers, because for so many this one month “reset”, which eliminates common trigger foods, is like a miracle cure! BUT be sure to see the “related info” below for very important gut healing help that you should also be doing for the best chance at feeling better.
First, this cookbook has become a favorite, even now that I'm no longer on the Whole 30 diet! I've made a lot of the recipes and they all turn out great. The main Whole30 book explains more of the basics and the “whys” of the diet, or just read my original post for a lot of that info.
I actually stuck with the diet the entire month really well, my only “cheat” was NOT staying off the scales the whole time. I was just really curious if anything was changing in that area! At these Facebook links you can see what I ate and get more details as I went along (or just skip to the scoop below):
My final conclusions were that I was disappointed in some ways, but super relieved in others! I'll explain…
I'm bolding the main points for you skimmers like me.
- I totally cut out sugar, grains, dairy and legumes, as the diet calls for, and it really wasn't very difficult. I think a big part of that was Real Plans. (If you're thinking of giving it a try yourself, since so many have had great success with this one-month “reset”, you can click here to check it out or sign up for Whole 30 and Real Plans, then just start picking which recipes you want to eat.) See a huge list below of what I ate for the month.
- Which reminds me, it's important to KEEP A LIST of what you ate, what you loved, what you hated, etc., so after a couple of weeks when you're hungry and figuring out your shopping list, you can look over your list and remember how good something was and whip that up again.
- The first week I was getting charlie horses and realized I wasn't drinking enough water. (Read more about that here: How I stopped painful leg cramps at night.) So I took a bath with epsom salts, which is one type of magnesium, and mineral flakes, which is another form of magnesium, and started taking these supplements too. I also started drinking more water and then those went away. (The kind of water makes a huge difference, here's why we ditched reverse osmosis water.)
- Also in the first week I started to feel really ornery and agitated at one point and I think that was caused by two things: The kids. Just kidding. 🙂 1. I wasn't getting enough fats, because the ghee I had didn't taste that great. So I ordered THIS KIND of ghee and was SO happy, it tasted like my beloved butter! 2. I was eating more nuts, and since they're high in omega-6 fats, I think my omega-6/omega-3 ratio was off, especially because I realized I hadn't taken my CLO in a few days. So once I took a hit of that and ate some ghee (I made this – yum!), literally within a few hours I felt great again. It's amazing how real food can balance things out. (Read my post about this: My all-natural chill pill for anxiety.)
- If I ate out, which I didn't much, I'd get a salad at Panera (no croutons, obviously, but I don't eat those anyway), or a salad bowl at Chipotle. Rice never looks so good when you can't have it!
- There were a couple gatherings that I went to and they were a little difficult at first. Like drinking only water (although I should've brought my sparkling water with lemon slices in a wine glass, sometimes that helps), and NOT indulging in a really yummy looking caramel apple bevy that my friend, Steph, made! It helped that I made sure I was full before I got there, and then I just stayed away from the snack table. My sisters and I threw a baby shower for my new great nephew due soon (so excited!), and ohhhh those cupcakes looked YUM. But I just said some extra prayers for those who have much bigger things to deal with, and went on my way. It's amazing how much it's just a MIND game. Once you KNOW you're not eating that stuff, you just… don't.
- Guess how much weight I lost? Hardly anything, darnit, and I stayed pretty consistent with my walking, too! It was maybe around 4# but that could be just normal fluctuations. My only guess is that it's probably because of those nuts I snacked on often — they had a nice crunch that I craved, and also they were filling…
- I do think my energy levels came back around, but the other problem I had (the snoring due to the congestion in the back of my throat), never changed at all. So I'm currently working on that issue in another way, which I'll update you on soon, stay tuned!
- So really, unlike most everyone else, I had almost no perceptible changes in my body while on this diet. I generally feel really good, sleep well, good digestion, etc., and besides the stuff I explained above, I felt the same throughout the month. This was frustrating in a way, because losing a little weight would've been nice especially, but it was a HUGE RELIEF otherwise, knowing my body really does do just fine with these common “trigger” foods that bother many people.
- What I missed the most: cheese, sour cream, and oatmeal! Being able to have an occasional glass of wine or sweet again has been nice, but I've really been cutting that back. (I've only had 3 glasses of wine in the month since I finished the diet.) I was telling Kent, and he agreed, that so many times when you eat a sweet it's not THAT good anyway and wasn't even worth it. So I'll try to implement a one-bite rule. If it's really good then I'll have more, but mostly I'll keep away. On Thanksgiving there were 3 desserts that looked great, so instead of loading up like I may have done in the past, I took a really small piece of each and felt totally satisfied. I also keep in mind what I learned about lowering the glycemic index of foods you love to decrease the rate that the sugar gets to our bloodstream (which causes faster weight gain!): best are foods with plenty of healthy fats, as that lowers the glycemic index, so if you're going to have a sweet, small amounts of desserts like creme brûlée, these cloud desserts, or these chocolate candies are a better choice, because they have more healthy fats. 🙂
- Here's a tip from my friend, Sonia: If you need to make a dessert for someone's birthday or to take somewhere, to keep yourself from sampling or from being tempted to sample, chew a piece of gum — it works!
- Since I felt NO different throughout the month, I didn't need to do any special “reintro” AFTER the Whole30 diet as I started eating the foods again that I had avoided, and sure enough, when I added them back, I saw no changes and again was relieved. (Click here for reintro info that Whole30 recommends or get the Whole-30 book here.)
- A couple random notes: First, I ate a lot more veggies that month, which meant the family did too, so I'm trying to keep that up — especially in the growing season because that's when I can get local produce from farmers who know how to cultivate nutrient-dense soil. (Animal foods provide such great nutrition and that's what I focus on around here, BUT there are so many good recipes with veggies that we love!) Second, did you know that it's possible to get too much protein? Listen here as Paul Jaminet explains. From my notes: Most people eat 15% protein and the brain regulates it well unless you’re forcing yourself to eat lean meat. Be sure to mix in carbs — for Whole30 that would be potatoes and starchy vegetables — and healthy fats. Most should keep meat below 1 pound/day, even a half pound would be fine. (Here's where to get healthy meat if you don't have a good local source.)
- My favorite foods on this diet! I got a lot of really good everyday meal recipes and ideas from Real Plans — that, along with some other random favorites, helped me pull together a bunch of delicious foods that I really enjoyed and thought I'd share:
- I ate a lot of this chicken salad with no bun or bread, it's so good plain! (I used balsamic vinegar in my 5-minute homemade mayo instead of palm sugar and lemon juice or ACV. I added some garlic powder for even more yummy flavor, this was SO good.)
- Also broccoli salad hit the spot. (Using mayo made the way I described above for the chicken salad.)
- I found this raw lasagna recipe & it's SO delicious! (It uses this nutritional yeast flakes which tastes like yummy cheese when it's seasoned well.)
- One night we had grass-fed steak with baked potatoes (not having sour cream was sad!) along with some broccoli tossed with ghee.
- We didn't have any leftover steak, but if we had I was going to use it the next day for a stir fry with vegetables, and serve it over rice for the family. (Using herbs, spices, and this coconut aminos for the sauce.)
- A few more important components of healing your gut are important to do along with eating better:
- I tried to drink a lot of bone broth and/or make chicken or beef soups like this one. Bone broth is very healing and soothing for your gut, so sip it throughout the day if you can! (After you season it up to taste yummy — get some here if you don't like to make homemade.)
- Take cod liver oil for your omega-3's (anti-inflammatory) — read here for which one to get and don't forget the 10% discount with the code KOP.
- Take a good probiotic too for gut health, which you can also use the code KOP for 10% off. (Read more here about why this one is the best probiotic.)
- When the family had burgers, I had this “Bunless burger bonanza” which is so tasty and satisfying!
- I loved squash with plenty of ghee, sea salt, & freshly cracked pepper.
- A good snack (to get more healthy fats in) was apples fried in ghee w/ cinnamon or sometimes I just ate an apple with sea salt.
- Need to get more fats in? Try this recipe — it's so good and you could mash it up with even more ghee, or this recipe is great too!
- Another good snack and way to get more healthy fats in: take a handful of crushed nuts and fry them in ghee. I also sometimes just fried a whole chopped onion in ghee or a few cloves of garlic. Kent loooooved how I smelled after that, lol. The onion or garlic caramelizes a bit though and YUM.
- One night we had brats from my favorite butcher (he only stocks pastured meats from good farms), the family had buns, but I had it with caramelized onions and peppers, all fried in ghee — so good — with some spicy mustard.
- We had some shrimp one night with herbs and fresh squeezed lemon juice. The family had it over rice, but I had it with zucchini zoodles tossed in ghee with sea salt – delicious! Also I did the same another time with wild-caught cod.
- Our butcher makes some bologna that is to-die-for, I'd often fry that up in ghee 'til almost crispy and dip it in spicy mustard with a side of my favorite sauerkraut!
- For breakfast I'd make this skillet recipe for the kids, only no cheese on mine and no toast on the side, of course. Some days I'd just have scrambled eggs with caramelized onions. (I missed oatmeal!)
- This beef roast dinner was good and a chicken dinner too.
- I made these lettuce wraps for lunch one day. (Instead of balsamic glaze I just used balsamic vinegar, and instead of soy sauce I used coconut aminos.)
- I made these meatballs only with almond flour instead of regular flour or breadcrumbs and bone broth instead of the milk it calls for. Still really good!
- The day after we had a pork loin (cooked in the pressure cooker) for dinner I used leftovers and made a delicious Mexican salad: shredded pork over greens with guacamole and salsa on top. The family had the same on tortillas with cheese, and the next day on organic corn chips for nachos. (Again, here's where to get healthy meat if you don't have a good local source.)
- When I wanted something sweet I made a cabbage and apple slaw made with green onions and lemon juice. Real Plans has a great recipe for a Brussels sprouts slaw.
- My favorite kale chips hit the spot a couple of times.
- This Napa salad was tasty too, I just used balsamic instead of ACV & vinegar.
- I made the family chicken sandwiches, but for myself I just fried a chicken breast in ghee and ate it with some tasty spicy mayo. (Or try one of these homemade mayo variations: Homemade Mayo 3 Ways.) Just be sure to not overcook your chicken, that's the key to keeping it moist and tasty. Of course I use my favorite big pan for this. 🙂
- A nice side dish we loved were some oven roasted sweet potatoes, or this sweet potato salad.
- I made a mixed fruit salad a couple times with this dressing: pineapple juice + fresh squeezed lemon juice.
- I loved having a mixed green salad with various veggies and a mustard dressing: mustard mixed with balsamic, yum!
- I think this was a Whole30 recipe: tuna and avocado in a lettuce wrap.
- Any more tasty foods/recipes to share that you liked?!
See why the month wasn't difficult for me? I ate very well! That's probably why I also didn't lose much weight and hence my frustration after the Whole30 diet, but everything tasted so good, I think I ate too much of it, duh.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, or if YOU also did it, what are your thoughts after the Whole30 diet, or some other reset diet, let us know how it went!
Important related info:
- Again, remember these important components for gut healing:
- Drink a lot of bone broth and/or make chicken or beef soups like this one. Bone broth is very healing and soothing for your gut, so sip it throughout the day if you can! (After you season it up to taste yummy — get some here if you don't like to make homemade.)
- If this one month reset doesn't help you, you may need “the bigger guns” — read here for more.
- Have you heard about Keto wine (& our keto wine tasting party)?! It's a low-sugar wine that still tastes so good!