Confession time. As 50 years is brutally creeping up on me and pre-menopausal symptoms have reared their ugly heads, I've had a very difficult time keeping extra weight off. For nearly 3 years I've toyed with the idea of trying the Whole30 diet, but my love of a creamy, sweet, morning latte prevented any serious attempt. After an indulgent trip to my home town for my dad's 70th birthday, I came home heavier than I'd been since giving birth to Leo 5 1/2 years ago. I knew I needed to do something more than just behave moderately.
Thankfully, I'd already eliminated sugar in my coffee during this past lent. I even began enjoying my creamy latte without any sweetener. To make my morning coffee Whole30 compliant, I just needed to give up the dairy. 10 pounds of vacation weight gave me the motivation and I convinced Chris to join me.
If you are unfamiliar with Whole30 here is a link to the website: Whole30.com In a nutshell, the philosophy behind Whole30 is to eat only foods which actually nourish your body. This means eliminating foods which are considered filler foods, foods which might trigger autoimmune responses, and foods which are not naturally part of the historic human diet. No sugar of any kind (no honey or agave and no sugar substitutes, including stevia). This helps break any habitual cravings for sweets. No dairy (no cheese, milk, etc. from animals and no dairy substitutes, like almond milk, unless you make it from scratch canned coconut milk is ok). No grains (wheat, corn, oats, etc.) No recreating baked goods using flour substitutes such as almond flour. No legumes (no peanuts, or beans but green beans and peas are ok because of all the green matter they contain). No alcohol. Fruit is ok, but limited to a certain extent, you don't really want to start your day with fruit and if you are craving sweets or a snack, fruit is not the best choice as you are perpetuating habitual craving for sugar. Lots of meat, eggs, and veggies with every meal and this is not limited.
We've already completed 30 days and are currently in the middle of a second round. Chris lost 10 pounds and looks absolutely great, but he really misses his sugar. I've lost the 10 I gained on vacation plus 5 more and I feel awesome. My skin and hair look awesome. The food really is really good and I haven't felt deprived in the least. I'm hooked. The biggest difficulty has been finding all the ingredients I'd like to have without any added sugar. Bacon, and other cured meats are the biggest culprits and the most difficult to find sugarless varieties.
We have had a couple "cheat" days, and I'll tell ya, I felt absolutely miserable afterward. Even just one slice of Sinclair Oil 100th birthday cake made my stomach churn. I'm not sure what I will do, once this cycle is over. I might stick with it completely, or phase just a few foods back in. I would really like to lose just 7 or 8 more pounds. I'm just not sure Chris is on board for the near permanent long haul.
Here are links to a few of my absolute favorite Whole30 compliant meals. These were all huge hits with the entire family.
Dinners: (With Dinners I serve either a huge salad, sautéed or roasted veggies, and fruit or fruit salad to round it out)
Chicken in Coconut Mango Verde Sauce
Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Loin
Italian Sausage and Potato Quick Skillet
Stove-top Pulled Tandoori Chicken
Lemon Harissa Chicken (I made my own harissa paste using this recipe)
Five Spice Beef and Broccoli
Green Curry Scallops
Slow Cooked Jerk Pork with Caribbean Salsa
Indian Coconut Korma
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken
Greek Meatballs with Avocado Tzatziki Sauce
Creamy and Smoky Chipotle Pork Chops
Cranberry Tuna Salad on Apple Slices (be sure to get fruit juice sweetened cranberries)
Turkey BLT Salad
Burrito Bowl (I like this dish much better over raw broccoli slaw)
Curried Chicken Salad
Nectarine Ginger Sesame Chicken Salad
Buffalo Chicken Soup
Zesty Lime Shrimp Avocado Salad
Avocado Baked Egg
Sweet Potato Hash browns topped with Lox and a poached egg (this recipe cheats a tad as it calls for almond flour, but in reality it is fairly compliant as you're not recreating a baked good recipe using a flour substitute)
Berries Nuts and Coconut Shreds (We only have this once a week as it is more of a fruit laden meal, but it is soooooo good)
2 Ingredient Banana Pancakes (I know, another fruit breakfast, but these are sooooo yummy. We top with softened almond butter and diced apples with a little cinnamon or with berries, toasted nuts and coconut shreds)
Easy Paleo Chorizo and Tomato Frittata
Often I'll throw together a quick breakfast skillet by sautéing some veggies, adding some cooked bacon or prosciutto, and then tossing with some scrambled eggs.
Snacks: (While snacking is discouraged, it sometimes can not be helped be sure to reach for something loaded with protein which will be much more satisfying than a handful of veggies or a fruit)
We love the Whole30 compliant Larabars for a quick, convenient snack
Rosemary Mixed Nuts