Maxwell Whole30: We Did It!!!

Whole30 Review Allison Maxwell Photography_0100

WE DID IT!!!  Jake and I have officially come to the end of our 40 days of the Whole30!!  It has been a challenge, but I am so glad we did this.  When I first shared about this endeavor, my blog post got a lot of engagement.  So many of you shared fantastic tips with me, and many others were curious about the program.  I got the impression that this conversation was of interest to a good amount of you, so I thought a follow-up post might be helpful!  Whether you are a foodie, are looking to eat healthier, find yourself interested in a challenge, or whatever the reason may be, you are here and reading about the Whole30.  So, welcome!

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Whole30 is about taking certain food groups that may be having a negative impact on your health and fitness, and eliminating them from both your diet and your mind.  If you are interested in learning more about it, swing by their site or pick up their book.  I highly recommend it, and here are a few reasons why…

  1. It makes you slow down.  My experience with the Whole30 was that it required I take more time to pay attention to EXACTLY what it is I am eating, and EXACTLY how it affects my body.  You have to read labels.  You become so aware of what you are feeding yourself, which we don’t often take time to do.
  2. You will notice a difference in your body.  The program tells you not to weigh or measure yourself throughout the duration of the 30 days, and the truth is that they don’t care if you lose weight or not.  That is not what this is about.  It’s about finding balance within your body, and getting rid of the crap we have filled it with.  After 1 week Jake and I both noticed that our bodies were tighter!  I felt like my body was more firm after just 7 DAYS of following this plan.  I also found that I was sleeping better and that my mind was clearer.  By the end of our Whole30, I was feeling SO good.
  3. You might just realize that you don’t miss certain foods!  This is one thing that has struck me: I’ve been so surprised by the things I DIDN’T crave.  So, why add them back into your diet?  I actually skipped one of the reintroduction days last week, because I realized that I simply did not want to eat any grains.  I’m sure I’ll have a craving soon, but for now I am content eating clean.

Whole30 Review Allison Maxwell Photography_0099

I’m a big believer in “to each his own,” and every dietary program is not necessarily right for everyone.  Whether you try Whole30 for yourself is 100% up to you!  If you are interested in giving it a shot, or if you are in middle of your Whole30 and are strugglinggggg (been there!) here are a few of my best tips!  Even if you’re not looking to commit to the program at this point, these are some great suggestions for healthier eating…and they are delicious!

  • Lots of salads, topped with the BEST chicken.  I made a whole chicken in the crockpot almost every week, so I would have some protein to add to my salads!  After the chicken is done cooking, throw the carcass back in the crockpot, let it cook on low overnight, and make the most delicious chicken stock!  We’ve been using these recipes to make some chicken noodle soup, which we eat for lunch throughout the week… just be sure to leave out the noodles.
  • Make your own salad dressing.  I was inspired in Italy, when restaurants simply brought you EVOO and balsamic vinegar.  So, that’s what I have done ever since!  1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, and a dash of salt!  You can also throw in a bit of oregano, garlic, or a drop of mustard to spruce it up a bit.  And speaking of “sprucing”: I found that I would NOT eat salads at home if I didn’t make sure they were delicious.  Chicken, avocado, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled eggs… add enough to your salad to make you LOVE it!
  • Forget your regular pasta and replace it with spaghetti squash!  Top it with this amazing pasta sauce (minus the sugar, obvi) for a lighter, healthier “pasta” dish!
  • At the beginning of every week we made a huge pot of soup for dinner, with enough for leftovers.  A couple of our favorites were Butternut Squash Curry Chili and the chicken soup (minus the noodles) I mentioned above.
  • We love Mexican food, and the last few weeks have been filled with a lot of it!  Tacos and fajitas, stuffed in a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla…perfect.  Just be sure to check your seasonings for sugar!
  • I’m a HUGE curry lover.  We’ve been making this red curry, and eating it over a baked sweet potato instead of rice.  SO GOOOOOD.
  • Okay, these chocolate coconut cashew bites are technically not Whole30 approved, though all the ingredients are.  It’s complicated, go read about it.  But for a delicious paleo dessert, give these a shot.  I’ll be making these on a regular basis!!
  • Breakfasts were the hardest for us, because we felt limited to eggs every morning.  We found it helpful to change up the way we cooked the eggs (hard boiled, scrambled, fried, omelets, frittatas).  Add a side of asparagus, fruit salad, breakfast potatoes, sausage or bacon (check for sugar content!) and finish it off with a green smoothie!  Technically, smoothies aren’t recommended within the Whole30, but… whatevs.

About halfway through our Whole30, Jake said to me, “I have a feeling this won’t be the only time we do this…”  And he’s right!  I don’t think we will ever look at food the same way.

A conversation like this is better when we all contribute.  What are some of your favorite healthy recipes or Whole30 tips??

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