This post was inspired by my friend, Sarah over at The Zinn Life, who recently did a similar post about changes that stuck after completing her Whole30. You can check it out here: Whole 30: What Stuck and What Didn’t
Her post got me thinking about how my own diet has changed now that it’s been 3 whole months since I completed my first-ever Whole30 in January. Although you could technically eat a Whole30 diet for life, since it gives you all your necessary nutrients (as long as you get a good variety of vegetables), for the vast majority of people it’s intended to be a temporary “reset”, to help them understand their bodies and relationship to food better and jump-start lasting lifestyle changes. This is definitely what it was for me. It taught me a lot about what my body does and does not like, and what kind of foods make me feel fueled and energized versus lethargic and heavy. Here are a few lasting changes I’ve made as a result of getting to know my body better through Whole30:
I consume way less dairy. Pre-Whole30, I put half-n-half in my coffee every morning and drank multiple glasses of cow’s milk each week. After eliminating dairy during Whole30, I noticed I had way fewer nasal / allergy / congestion issues than usual, and that my skin was incredibly clear on my neck and shoulders, where I almost always stay broken out. After reintroducing dairy, both of these symptoms returned in full force. As a result, I no longer put dairy in my coffee or drink cow’s milk – I’ve replaced both with Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond milk, which I’ve grown to love. I do still eat cheese and occasionally indulge in ice cream, though I’m on the hunt for a non-dairy (and non-soy) alternative that’s just as good as the real thing. Let me know if you have any recommendations!
I almost always start the day with a healthy breakfast. The breakfasts I ate on Whole30 – either eggs with spinach or blueberry paleo pancakes with fruit and sausage/bacon – are the one staple that has remained almost totally intact since ending the challenge. I found that I felt so good and energized after eating these things for breakfast, and they’re so simple and easy to prepare, that it just makes sense to have them for breakfast most of the time. The only swap I’ve made is sometimes having Applegate Farms Chicken & Maple Breakfast Sausage (they offer coupons on their website if you want to try it!) instead of Whole30 approved bacon.
I enjoy being a sugar detective. I was already sort of conscious about checking sugar labels even before starting Whole30, but now I’m hyper-conscious. I will go out of my way and pay extra to purchase a product that has the least amount of added sugar I can find. You would be surprised at where you’ll find added sugar hiding when you really take the time to read labels on all your pre-packaged foods and sauces. Being conscious of this makes me feel more in control about the choices I’m making, even when I do choose to indulge in something with added sugars. And speaking of sugar…
I’m pickier about the treats I indulge in. Don’t get me wrong, I still love sweet treats. I don’t view my sugar cravings as a dragon to be slayed, but more like a friendly pet golden retriever that is pretty calm and well-behaved for the most part. In other words, I enjoy desserts, and I indulge in them happily in moderation, but I don’t consider myself a slave to sugar and I don’t go on erratic binges. Going without it for 30 days made me appreciate it even more. Since finishing Whole30, I try to be conscious that when I choose to indulge in a sweet treat, it’s something that’s quality instead of just okay. For example: I’ll take a Theo organic sea salt dark chocolate bar over a conventional candy bar any day.
I’ve incorporated several Whole30 recipes into the regular dinner rotation. We still have some classic comfort foods in the rotation, but it’s nice to be able to balance those with meals I know are solid healthy options. Favorites include:
- Burgers with sweet potato buns
- Spicy Sweet Potato Shrimp Boats
- Haylie Duff’s Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken
- Sophia Bush’s healthy Shepherd’s Pie
- Classic Balsamic-glazed salmon with asparagus
It’s been really cool to see how this 30-day experiment has transformed my shopping/cooking/eating habits. I’m all about incorporating small changes over time that add up to make a big difference, and Whole30 has definitely helped me make several of those thanks to what it has taught me about myself, my habits and my body.
If you’ve ever done the Whole30 (or any other eating program for a specific period of time), what did you take away from it when it was over? Did it cause any lasting changes to your diet or your relationship with food? I’d love to hear about your experience!
Note – This post is not sponsored by any of the entities mentioned above and does not contain any affiliate links. I just enjoy sharing favorite things of mine that I think others may find useful and fun! 🙂