Thursday, June 26, 2014

things i learnt from the whole 30 . . .

for the month of may sam and i committed to following the whole 30 program.

no grains. no dairy. no sugar. no alcohol. no legumes. for 30 days.

what we did eat, was a lot of meat and veggies. pleanty of eggs. some fruit. some nuts. healthy fats. good quality whole foods.

it's a fairly rigid way of eating, but for 30 days it's pretty achievable. the benefits were well worth it.

when you remove the bread, pasta and rice from your plate, there's a lot more room for veggies. i felt like i was really feeding my body. i felt good.

i ate a lot of food on the whole 30. three cooked meals a day. big huge servings. filling up at meal times put a stop to my all day grazing. (but because i'm still breastfeeding i needed a substantial snack in between meals too)

i spent a lot of time in the kitchen. making everything from scratch. mayo. sauces. bone broth. nut milk. i found a lot of great new recipes and realised there is so much you can still eat within those strict guidelines.

for the most part, i didn't really miss alcohol. a sparkling water with a wedge of lime and a few ice blocks was my substitute. enough to trick my mind that i was having a special drink. most days at least.

i now realise that when i drink wine it's the sulfites in it that make me feel like death the next day, more than the actual wine. i'll steer towards organic wine from now on, when i can.

i thought i loved dairy but it turns out i can live without it. it's like i've lost the taste for it. i'm making my own almond milk now. i'll eat a little cheese and butter here and there, but too much dairy makes my stomach feel sick.

i realised that gluten makes me feel pretty yuck. reading wheat belly a while back had already convinced me i was better off without it. cutting it out for 30 days sealed the deal.

when i eat well, i sleep well. i seemed to have more bounce and less drag. even with all the usual baby related night wakings, i woke up feeling fresh and ready to start the day.

eggs for breakfast is where it's at for me. a cook up in the morning rush is a bit of extra work, but well worth the effort. it keeps me full and fuelled like nothing else can.

i didn't weigh myself for the 30 days. instead i tuned into the other changes going on in my body. i noticed how my foggy head cleared. how my clothes fit better. how my energy levels were steady and carried me through the day.

i'm not sure if it was the absence of sugar or grains or dairy (or maybe all three), but i lost the sticky out belly bloat that usually haunts me. i felt lighter too. even with all the meat i was eating.

i discovered that i love licorice tea. all of my life i've only mildly tolerated herbal teas. this is one i truly enjoy.

i bought a couple of new cookbooks (this one and this one) and found a lot of new recipes to try.

the amount of meat i was eating on the whole 30 felt like too much for me. i think i function best with a few meat free days in my week. i was happy to go back to simple soups and salads for lunch.

since we finished the whole 30 i've been baking a lot of healthy treats from wholefood simply. easy recipes which are generally grain, sugar and dairy free. i can recommend this banana bread recipe. (i make it up as muffins and keep them in the freezer for lunch boxes)

at the end of the month i'd lost 3kgs. that wasn't my main motivation for doing the whole 30, but definitely a bonus!

possibly the biggest thing for me was breaking my deeply ingrained food habits. the sweet something at the end of a meal. the all day grazing. the way i would unconsciously finish off what the kids had left behind. the tired and emotional eating. i feel like i've rebooted that part of my brain.

: :

when i first heard about the whole 30 i thought it sounded ridiculous and extreme. then after a while i got curious about people's claims that it had changed their life. i'm glad we did it. it has definitely shifted the way we eat and the way we feel. 


  1. Very interesting Rachel...I love bread, pasta, yoghurt, the odd sweet treat and a little alcohol...great effort to give up all of those things! It sounds like it had really worthwhile benefits x

  2. When I think about it rice and pasta or bread type products do feature a bit in my meals so cutting them out and having more vegetables would be so much more beneficial but I do love them. Good on you for doing so well and for the noticeable differences you felt too. I really like Wholefood Simply and have tried a couple of her recipes I especially like her nutella recipe. x

  3. Hello friend - I was meaning to comment on this particular blog weeks ago (then somehow the tap got closed and life get's in the way). Thank you for sharing your healthful journey. Good on you for sticking with it! I am interested in paleo-style eating and have had bouts of whole7s and whole14s - but admittedly found they exacerbated the fatigue/stress/gut troubles! In the end I found the most helpful re-set-the-happy-gut-and-overall-health is not quite paleo but rather focuses on the most digestible and thyroid-stablising foods which include regular amounts of sugars in honey and ripe fruit (but yes even cane sugar too), root vegetables, cooked veg, potatoes, broth, meat, eggs, ferments, unprocessed dairy and steamed rice. I was inspired By Emma Souvlakis (aka the Nutriotion Coach) and the American biologist and researcher Ray Peat. His papers are worth reading though very dense - they made a lot of sense to me about my on-going gut issues (I'm also a recent coeliac and was born with a liver syndrome) and how to listen to my body's needs. Since I sort of gave myself permission to eat for my digestion (and ignore fads like reducing carbs, giving up sugar or nut milk etc etc) things like fatigue, weight, indigestion, skin, menstrual cycle have all improved. Amazing what good food can do really!


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