a guide to the whole30 and a special giveaway!
If you’ve never heard of this program, had no idea I was doing it or are curious to know more, then this post is for you! Plus, at the end, I’ll be offering a special giveaway to 2 lucky winners, so read on dear friends!
a chat about being overweight
Before I even dive into The Whole30 and what it is, I want to begin by saying that I’m not a fitness coach. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a doctor and I’m definitely not a professional athlete.
You know what I am?
I’m a real person whose weight has fluctuated quite a bit since I started my furniture painting journey back in 2013.
I was in pretty good shape back then. My husband and I actually met in a local rock climbing gym!
Marc has been playing hockey since he was a young teenager, so his nights were spent playing on multiple men’s league teams either in net as goalie or out as a forward.
Basically, we were a pretty healthy couple.
As we continued to date, I started to pick up pounds at my desk job for an online school. Going jogging after work became something I put aside to paint furniture instead. That equated to more sitting and less moving.
We didn’t eat healthy either. Whenever Marc came over for dinner, I would make pasta – his favorite! We had creamy sauces, heavy meals and very little vegetables. Plus, being a hockey couple, we loved enjoying a beer every other night.
All of that added up to me putting on a lot of weight leading up to our wedding. I almost didn’t fit in my dress!
As time went by, and we incorporated Eight Hundred Furniture into an LLC, I left my desk job and started painting furniture full-time. The all-consuming responsibility of growing a fledgling business took its toll over the years, and soon I found myself about 30 pounds overweight.
(It’s not easy putting these photos of myself on the internet for all the world to see. But I’m hoping that my vulnerability and honesty about my weight will encourage you with yours – whatever that might be.)
discovering the whole30
It was during this time of weight gain that I read a blog post Miss Mustard Seed shared about a program she was doing called The Whole30.
As I read her raw confession about her own weight struggles, I had a “me too” moment. (That’s where you’re reading someone’s post and you think to yourself, “girlfriend, me too!”)
I decided to give the program a try at her suggestion. I started by purchasing a book called “It Starts With Food”.
This book gives you the “why” behind The Whole30. It explains the science of what physically happens inside your body when you eat “off plan”. (I’ll go more into that in a bit.) For a former science teacher like me, this gave me all the reasons I needed to move forward. I learned SO much about my body! For example, did you know that the health of your gut is directly correlated to the health of your immune system? I sure didn’t!
“‘It Starts With Food’ details the theories behind the Whole30, summarizing the science in a simple, accessible manner, showing you how certain foods may be having negative effects on how you look, feel and live – in ways that you’d never associate with your diet. More importantly, it outlines a life-long strategy for Eating Good Food in a clear and detailed action plan designed to help you create a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food.”
Bottom of the barrel
At this point, Marc and I were married and he very graciously embraced my new way of eating. He tried brussel sprouts for the first time. I got him eating avocado and Indian curry. We started running together using a couch to 5k app on our phones.
Things were looking pretty good!
After a little bit of time though, I got knocked off track. The first time, it was because I got really sick. Then a few months later, I was back to eating unhealthy again. Then we moved out of our apartment into our current in-law suite with my parents. The reasons not to eat healthy kept piling up. I’d say things away like “it’s too hard to cook from scratch all the time” (which believe me, it is), or “I don’t have time to cook at night – I’m too busy painting furniture all day”.
Basically, my health wasn’t a priority in every sense of the word. I was working myself ragged, never taking a day off and making it all about the business. I had an unhealthy pattern of behavior that was spiraling out of control. I’d do a round of Whole30 and then be right back where I started a year later.
What eventually knocked me out of my tailspin was when I learned that someone young in my family was starting to show signs of early diabetes. A few members of my family had adult-onset diabetes, and I was determined not to let that happen to me. At the time, I was only 34. I was way too young to be ruining my body with food.
whole30 has come a long way!
As I familiarized myself with the world of Whole30 again, I started to realize that the company and eating plan have come a looong way since my last rounds! There were so many more eating options available. Even Chipotle had a special “Whole30 Bowl” available for those wanting to eat this way. There were new cookbooks and tons of Whole30 approved brands to shop from for sauces, mayonnaise and quality meats.
I didn’t have to be a slave in the kitchen making my own mayo from scratch anymore! It’s truly never been easier to eat Whole30.
so what is whole30 exactly?
Now for the particulars…
The Whole30 is an eating plan that you follow for an entire 30 days with no cheats or slip-ups. The basic rules are to eat good quality meats and seafood, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats (avocado oil, coconut oil, etc.).
Sounds pretty easy, right? Well, it is! Those options open up a world of delicious food to your plate.
Now comes the hard part…the NO’s. On Whole30, you cannot eat any added sugar of any kind (including honey and stevia), no alcohol, no grains (wheat, rice, quinoa), no seed oils (canola, peanut), no legumes (peanuts), no soy, carrageenan, and no dairy (yogurt, cheese, milk).
When you first start out, you quickly learn that sugar is literally in EVERYTHING! It’s tricky too because it’s often hidden in the form of monk fruit juice or organic honey. That still counts as sugar. And it’s disguised in fancy words like dextrose and sucrose. Basically, anything ending in “ose” is sugar.
The dairy and soy are the next big offenders. Cheese, milk and soy seem to be in everything under the sun. As you embark on your Whole30 journey, you’ll learn how to read food labels and will become an expert in knowing exactly what’s in the food you’re eating.
(Now if you’re wondering why you can’t eat these things, that’s what the book “It Starts With Food” explains in great depth!)
You also don’t get on the scale at all during your 30 days. (That’s probably my favorite part about the program!) Again, if you want to know the reasoning behind that, you can read more in “It Starts With Food”. Basically, it’s not about reaching a magic number. It’s about healing your body with food and feeling better. I’ve never really been much of a scale kind of girl anyway, so that was right up my alley!
a whole30 giveaway
Because I’ve physically felt so much success eating clean, I would love to extend the opportunity for you to experience Whole30 as well. Mind you, I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist. You should always consult with your doctor before embarking on a new eating plan. I’m not partnering with Whole30 in any way either. It boils down to a simple fact – eating this way works for me and fits with my life. If you want to give it a try too, I’d love to bless you with the chance!
I’m giving away 2 copies of “It Starts With Food” to 2 readers living in the United States (giveaway closed as of 11/17/19). To enter, comment below and tell me what your favorite vegetable side dish is. Are you a brussel sprout kind of person or do you prefer sweet potatoes? If you’re chosen as the winner, I’ll send you a copy of the book along with a Whole30 recipe to enjoy your favorite veggies!
Please share this blog post and giveaway with anyone you feel could be encouraged by it. Winners will be chosen on Sunday, November 17th via email. Keep an eye on your inboxes!
Here’s to honest conversations about our health and taking things one day at a time!
Giveaway closed 11/17/19