8.11.17

no-fun November (AKA Whole30-ish)

At the end of October I was gearing up for my annual No Sweets November when I got it in my head that I should push for a bit more. I'm all for challenging myself and self growth, so I figured, why not give a moderated Whole30 a try. Whole30, for those who haven't heard of it, is extremely restrictive, but so many friends have tried it and loved it, so I was curious.



Below is the basics of the 30 day Whole30 challenge:

  • Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc.
  • Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking.
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy.
  • Do not eat dairy.
  • Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients. Recreating or buying sweets, treats, and foods-with-no-brakes (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is totally missing the point of the Whole30, and will compromise your life-changing results. These are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.
I decided to do a Whole30-ish challenge, where I would omit all sugar, sweets, grains, alcohol and I added caffeine to my list of contraband too. I never banned legumes, because I found that too restrictive. Here's how it's been so far...

Overnight Oats Recipe


After 1 Week, I had to add certain types of grains because even with tons of healthy fats, protein, and heaps of veggies and fruit, I was STARVING. A typical breakfast would be 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 tablespoon of almond butter, and 3 eggs. Within 30 minutes, my stomach was growling and I was hungry!

I decided that since I was already "cheating" by having legumes, I wouldn't guilt myself over further modifications. The point was to really challenge myself to eat healthier for the month of November, not to obsess over food and be constantly hangry. I decided to also allow brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat noodles (soba), and oats. I still wasn't baking donuts or making my favourite white flour pizza dough, or noshing on homemade dutch oven bread, and that was more so the point - to wean myself off of white flour and sugar.

After a week, I have to say, I'm proud of myself for having zero caffeine, booze, sweets, and white flour. I was much happier once I introduced a few grains because otherwise I was needing to spend too much of my day preparing food and eating to feel full, it just wasn't sustainable. I miss pasta, but not like I thought I would. We usually have pasta (white, because whole wheat pasta is gross to me!), at least three dinners per week, and I'd love to get to a place where it's more of a treat and not a nightly thing. Even going down to twice a week would be helpful for me, so I'm glad for experiencing a week without to realize that it is possible.

I hardly notice the lack of caffeine or alcohol, and going without sweets has been surprisingly bearable. It's mostly the white flour I miss! I would kill for a savory scone or hot bagel, but I'm not daydreaming about cupcakes, donuts, or cocktails. Ok, maybe a cold glass of pinot grigio would be nice, but I promise, it's been fine :)

I clarified this on Instagram and wanted to mention it here too - I'm not doing this to lose weight. I don't own a scale, and this isn't a body image thing. Some people do Whole30 for that reason, and that's totally fine for them, but it's not my motivation. I've had several friends hear I'm doing Whole30 and try to talk me out of it with the reasoning that I don't need to lose any weight. While flattering, I don't think weight tells the whole story of health. I'm a raging sweet tooth and I eat more white flour than I know I should. I'd love to curb my sugar cravings and reestablish healthy eating habits. I want to reach for an apple when I'm hungry instead of a cookie. I want to experiment with bulgar and barley and brown rice instead of always using my go to white pasta as the base of a meal. What I love about Whole30 is that it's forced me towards those habits. of course, I'll go back to occasional sweets and alcohol and white flour when this is all done (YOLO! ha!), but my hope is that I'll be more balanced.

This weekend I have two events that I plan to suspend my Whole30-ish challenge for - drinks and a movie with some girlfriends, and hosting a dinner party for some friends from church. This isn't a contract and this past week's efforts aren't wasted because I'll have a glass of wine with the girls, and white bread at the dinner party. In fact, that's how I'd love to end up long after this is over - enjoying these delicious treats occasionally, guilt-free, instead of daily, knowing I'm not making the best choices.

Have you ever tried Whole30? Or a version of it (Whole30-ish)? I'd love to hear how you found things! And if you're joining me this month, how's it going? Please share!

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