The Whole30 – My Approach!
june 30, 2018 UPDATE: Scroll down to see Updates including my thoughts on the program and my Results - Post Whole30! #tameikaGWhole30
I always say I’ll try everything at least once – So I’m putting that to test by finally giving The Whole30 a try! For those that don’t know, it’s a popular diet plan that millions have tried and continuously praise! Given I’m back in North America for the summer, I figure I’d hop on the band wagon for the month of June as it will be easier to follow!
I encourage you to join me! I’ll be posting on Instagram and Facebook regularly with my daily habits, weekly updates, and overall feelings about the plan!! Follow and post to the hashtag #TameikaGWhole30 if you'd like to join me on this journey! I'd love to see your progress! Read below to understand my high-level approach to this!
First, My Why
It’s no secret I love a good challenge. I use them primarily as a way to reset my mind. While I’m not huge on fad diets for the long term, I find them fun to follow for short periods of time (provided they don't impact me negatively).
Because of my hectic travel schedule, I often get lost in new cuisines, intense cravings, new time zones, and new experiences. So, in an effort to keep my healthy lifestyle afloat, every now and again I do something that forces me to focus and get my health back on track!
That’s my why. I’m not using this to lose weight and wouldn’t encourage you to do that either. Let’s use this as a reset - to hopefully kickstart some healthy and consistent living long term!
I will say though, the Whole30 is meant to help clear skin issues, which I’ve been struggling with lately, so Im looking forward to that!
It’s a pretty strict plan. You basically cut out dairy, sugar, alcohol, legumes, soy, processed food, and grains.
You can eat the following:
Fats (i.e. oils, avo, seeds)
Coffee (must be black)
Nuts and Seeds (no peanuts!)
And my general rule of thumb for everything I buy packaged - if I can't pronounce, I won't eat it.
Time to Get Creative
So, I’m sure some meals will be boring AF (i.e. simple protein and vegetables) - especially at the onset as I'm NOT prepared. However, as the days and weeks progress, I plan to get very creative in the kitchen. A few fun recipes I found that I intend to try include the following (links embedded)
… Just to name a few.
I'll also get really creative and make some of my own original recipes that I'll be sure to post on my social media channels! I'm already thinking of recipes for pancakes, salad dressings, shepherd's pie, curry chicken, and chilli!
I should also mention, I’ll be ignoring one rule of the Whole30 - which suggests against making fun “ingredient approved” treats in an effort to really change bad habits. I don’t fully agree with this approach, so I won’t follow it LOL. I plan to get extremely creative with the ingredients allowed so I don’t feel miserable! I'm also OBSESSED with creating new recipes in the kitchen - which is one of the elements I'm most excited about. Will I be having treats every day? No! I’ll still follow my 80/20 rule!
The best way to keep up to date with how I’m doing is to follow along on IG! And I also recommend Pinterest for fun recipe ideas!!
Beginners Grocery List
This is great beginner's list I designed as we enter this process!
Day 1 - The Photos
I have to stress that I’m not looking to use this as a way to lose weight… however, I think it’s cool to see how my body responds to certain diets/meals plans. So here’s the official “before” and I’ll share the after with you in 30 days!
*Excuse the poor quality, still adjusting to my new space and haven't unpacked anything (including my camera equipment).
I foresee a few. One specifically - The Cravings! They will come. I love me a piece of chocolate every now and then and my weekly treats. So I really do plan on getting creative so I don't feel completely deprived.
I also have a weekend getaway this month with my mom and aunt (who pulled out of joining me on the Whole30 a day before we were to begin LOL). So that should be challenging but I simply intend to pack a lot of my own food. When we go out to eat, I'll just order plain, grilled poultry/fish with veggies.
I'll be eating out a lot this month as I'm back home for the summer and plan to meet with many friends. So my overall dining out approach will be simple.
There you have it! I’m really excited to get the focus back to where it matters most – my health! For those curious, I intend to continue training 4 days per week, and getting a min of 10K steps in every day! I also plan to get in at least 3 litres of water in daily! I'm also setting intention to NOT SLIP UP.
Looking forward to having you join! Be sure to follow along and add the #TameikaGWhole30 hashtag if you’re joining me!!
Update - Post Whole30
It's been 30 days since I wrote this post and I'm DONE! What a month it was! Filled with ups and downs. One day I was feeling amazing, the next day I was miserable wanting it to end! The Whole30 is not for the weak, but if you can thug it out, it's definitely worth the try.
Let's start with:
You'll see I physically leaned out! My definition is there, and I'm definitely feeling stronger. It's important to note that I coupled the Whole30 with a very active lifestyle of the gym 5x per week, (min) 10,000 steps daily, 3L of water daily, and stretching daily. So basically, I went in. But it was necessary for me to be all in because I needed a full mindset shift after 12 months of consistent travel!
I don't measure or weigh myself (in fact I haven't in years), so I don't know the tangible results - but I can just see from the pictures that there were some awesome changes! I also feel better. My sleep is deeper, my skin is clearer, my digestion is on point, but most importantly, my mentality is stronger than ever. I feel ready to tackle the summer ahead, free from temptation and wanting to overindulge!
Now, the hard parts...
I didn't enjoy how limiting the program was. I feel there are more flexible ways to lead a healthy lifestyle. If you read above, you can see that you aren't able to eat much. So I was on a strict meat, poultry, fish, nut, veggie, fruit, and potato diet. Which doesn't leave much room for creativity. I ate way more animals than I'd like to admit as I normally try to lead a balanced lifestyle focused on vegetarian habits. But being a vegetarian on this plan is near impossible (unless you're wonder woman), so I was left with minimal choice. I struggled morally this month in that respect.
I also MISSED Wine. Like a lot. I've never been a heavy drinker, but I do fancy a glass of red every now and again with dinner. I understand the purpose of this plan was to re-shift my focus but it felt a little too extreme for me. I hate the feeling of being too restricted and that was my constant struggle with the Whole30.
I also missed grains! Cereals, breads, quinoa, and rice are all staples in my day to day. Legumes too! So removing that from my diet these last few weeks felt hard. It was a big sacrifice! I had a hard time understanding why grains were removed as I see far more benefits than not. So it was a difficult adjustment - especially when I didn't necessarily agree with it.
so, What I did Eat?
Surprisingly, a LOT of Jamaican food! I ate a 75% Jamaican diet, filled with ground provisions. Ackee and Saltfish, Green Banana, Yam, Oxtail, Curry Goat, Steamed Fish, Callaloo, Cabbage... all Whole30 Approved - So that was a positive!
Below are some of the meals I enjoyed while on the Whole 30! I plan to take a nice long break from Eggs and Potatoes Lol.
a big question from many... Would I recommend it?
I always say, it's worth trying everything once! But if you do enter it, I would suggest entering it for the right reasons. I wouldn't enter this program with a weight loss goal or mentality as it's not sustainable. I think instead, you need to enter it if you're looking for a mental reset.
I do think there are better plans out there and I'm not sure this is the way to go for someone starting their journey. I don't I fully agree with the suggested diet plan... and I hate living a life of restrictions.
I will admit, it did serve it's purpose on getting me back on track! But I'm quite confident on where I am in my journey and I'm not looking to lose weight. I worry that programs like this trick the people who view this as a weight-loss solution. This plan veers to the side of a low-carb, fad, keto-style diet and I'm fully against this way of life.
I can see this as a great tool for someone who has all of the knowledge and understanding of what a balanced lifestyle should look like, and simply looking for a kick in the rear end. Only then, would I highly suggest it for someone on their journey!
Well, I now officially go back to normalcy! For me, that means living a life of balance. A healthy lifestyle, with minimal animal-based products (limited to 1 meal per day), wine here and there, a treat every now and again, and enjoying life to the fullest! A typical day in the life for me will look like:
Breakfast: Cereal/grains with unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Lunch: Fish/chicken with sweet potato
Snack: Protein bar with fruit
Dinner: A healthy vegetarian meal (like a bean & veggie burrito bowl) with a glass of dry red wine!
Looking forward to a summer of balance! Hope my review on the Whole30 helped!!