Well guys, I have a confession: I never finished my Whole 30. In fact, I ended up “quitting” the day after I published my last post about it, the one updating you all on how it was going. Hah. I don’t want to make excuses about it: I simply decided to stop. And I stopped with a bang, by eating a cupcake at a co-worker’s birthday celebration. Here’s the thing: it wasn’t that I hated the food, it wasn’t that I was struggling with cravings or “withdrawal” symptoms. It’s just that I felt like ALL I was doing for the week I lasted was thinking about food, cooking food, and cleaning the kitchen. For real. Cooking 3 solid meals a day is HARD. (Coincidentally, I also started the project the very week I transitioned into working full time, so there was that aspect as well.) And this is coming from the girl who already meal plans, who already makes a grocery list every week and knows what’s for dinner every night. I can’t imagine trying to come to the Whole 30 without already being in the habit of doing those things. It felt like a losing battle trying to keep enough “acceptable” foods in the refrigerator and on our plates. I felt stressed and tired and worried about what I was eating. And since I wasn’t feeling any positive changes to make it seem “worth it,” I just decided it wasn’t. The end.
I still mean everything positive I said in my last post, but I think the ambivalence I expressed there just won out in the end. However, as we’ve switched back to our “normal” eating habits, I have been trying to stick with some of the principle of the Whole 30. I’ve been trying to do fewer carbs overall, and I’ve been making sure my breakfast is a little bigger and contains a little more protein. I’ve been buying the “good” version of some food products, like milk and eggs (and meat when I find a good price), and I’ve kept some of the Whole 30 recipes I discovered in the rotation.
Here are links to some of the keepers I found:
- Pan-roasted Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms
- Kale-Strawberry-Avocado Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing (The kale that comes pre-chopped and washed in a bag is actually really great for any salad!)
- Crockpot Chili
- Cilantro and Green Onion Pork Burgers
- Stir-fried Pork with Cabbage "Noodles" (I passed this along to several co-workers who admired it in my lunch, and they also gave it their stamp of approval.)
- Basic Spinach Quiche (I got to use my pretty green pie plate for this! I added some cooked, crumbled sausage. Jimmy Dean makes an "all natural" sausage that is pretty darn close to Whole 30-approved and is reasonably priced. I tried several different egg dishes for breakfasts and found that this one stuck the least to its baking vessel; the others were dishwashing nightmares.)
All of these are simple and delicious. So if you’re thinking about trying a Whole 30, I’d like to encourage you that at least the recipes themselves don’t have to be intimidating. I got to practice even more my concept of “if I’m not sure what an ingredient is or if it’s super-specific and expensive, I can skip it and the recipe probably won’t suffer that much!” Andy has also proclaimed a love of spaghetti squash, the darling of the paleo diet, and I found you can cook a sweet potato in the microwave. Easy peasy!
I’ve strayed a bit in the last few weeks, but I’m trying to do basically Whole 30 meals for dinners. I’ve also pretty much given up Diet Coke. I realized I didn’t miss it nearly as much as I thought it would. I’m down to basically just one cup of coffee a day–but boy do I sure enjoy my flavored creamer in it!!! I’m still mostly going from breakfast to lunch without a snack, but I’ve re-instituted my late afternoon snack sans guilt.
In conclusion, the Whole 30 just didn’t work out for me, and I’m okay with that. It was a worthwhile experiment and left me with only some positive outcomes.
Have you tried any diets or eating plans? What are some approaches to food that work well for you?