Tuesday marked the end of a thirty day experiment where my wife and I ate only natural foods. Yes, we “did a Whole 30.” We’re not normally the dieting types. In fact, we’ve never done a fad diet before. (Not that I’d call this a fad diet.) But we did this for a few reasons:
- We both wanted to start eating healthier as a matter of habit. But to start a habit, you need to start small.
- We wanted to try and identify foods that may be causing issues for us.
- Both sides of our family have a tendency toward diabetes, and we wanted to take steps to hopefully avoid that in our own future.
- We wanted to lose weight.
That was the order of priority for why we did it, at least in my mind.
And so, for thirty days we ate mostly just meat, vegetables, and fruits with a few spices and other add-ons to augment them. 90% of our grocery shopping took place in the meat and produce area, and we rigorously checked ingredients on the few packaged foods we got.
What worked great:
- We prepared a lot of meals ahead of time and used leftovers to make other meals. For example, I made different frittatas each week that lasted most of the week for breakfasts. We made a delicious pot roast that we then used for a shepherd’s pie the next few nights. Roasted chicken became part of salads and fajitas (sans tortilla).
- We found a few Whole 30 approved sauces and dressings that made salads and raw veggies easier to enjoy.
- For me, my existing cold brew coffee and almond milk in the morning was already a part of the program.
- I have never eaten such a wide variety of eggs, and there are still more methods to explore.
- The 30-day limit is long enough to start setting up good long-term habits, but not so imposing that it seems impossible.
- We checked out a bunch of Paleo and Whole 30 cookbooks from the library for recipe inspiration (including that frittata one above). These gave us fun things to try.
What was hard:
- As working parents, we didn’t always have time to plan for and prepare meals. This usually ended with us either getting from a very small variety of acceptable takeout, making scrambled eggs, or just eating a few safe snacks as a meal.
- Eating out for dates required a LOT more planning and research. Instead of picking between our usual favorites or exploring something new, we had to also consider what options any potential restaurant would have that complied. And a lot of restaurant menus were pretty awful about actually saying what ingredients were in a specific meal.
- We had to postpone or turn down a couple opportunities to eat out with friends because of the above. With a little more planning, we were able to make a couple times work out.
- A couple of meals that were new were complete duds. Either the recipe was bland or awful tasting or we made a mistake in preparation, but that resulted in a scramble (pun intended, because we often ended up making scrambled eggs) to satisfy our hunger.
After our thirty days were up, we finally got to weigh ourselves. We both lost 20 pounds over the 30 days. (I like to joke that between us, we essentially lost the weight of our son right now.) Like I said, losing weight was our lowest priority, but it was a nice surprise. We also feel like we’re eating healthier and making better choices. We plan to mostly continue with a similar diet to what we are eating now, with the exception of occasionally splurging on something decadent.