The Whole30 has been called a Fad Diet. It’s been talked about as a bad diet by Time Magazine, the Independent, and Cosmopolitan. Also U.S. News and World Report released its best diets rankings and for the second year in a row The Whole30 diet ranked 38 of 38.
Here’s the kicker: The Whole30 is not meant to be a diet program. Yes, The Whole30 focuses on your diet and is primarily about your dietary choices, but it’s not a diet.
Good food should promote a healthy psychological response, promote a healthy hormonal response, support a healthy gut, and support immune function and minimize inflammation.
— The Whole30
Traditional diets focus on weight and weight loss. Diets have you counting calories, tracking your food and entering everything you eat into apps, measuring portions, squishing your food into specific-sized containers, tallying points, drinking non-natural shakes, buying special food, and weighing yourself regularly. But often you’re left hungry with no plan of how to eat healthy after you stop the diet program. No wonder they fail.
The Whole30 doesn’t focus on weight or weight loss. In fact, for the duration of the 30 days, you’re not allowed to measure yourself or weigh yourself. Instead the focus is on your relationship with food, identifying food triggers, kicking the sugar addition, discovering which foods adversely affect how you feel, and learning how to prepare, cook, and appreciate natural, healthy foods.
The Whole30 is meant to help you create healthy, sustainable, lifestyle changes.
The most basic Whole30 guidelines include:
- YES: Eat meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables,fruit, and natural fats.
- NO: Do not eat sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, or dairy. Do not eat baked goods or treats. Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or added sulfites. Do not weigh or measure yourself.
And there are some exceptions to the rules:
- Clarified butter or ghee are the only sources of dairy allowed.
- Fruit juice as a sweetener is allowed.
- Green beans, snow peas, and sugar snap peas, while they are legumes, are more pod than bean, and are allowed.
- Most vinegars are allowed, including white, balsamic, apple cider, red wine, white wine, champagne, and rice vinegar. Flavored vinegars with added sugar and malt vinegar is not allowed.
For 30 days, you follow these rules — no cheating — and then on day 31 you begin reintroducing eliminated foods, one at a time, so you can identify food sensitivities, possible food allergies, or foods that cause unwanted symptoms like inflammation, bloating, fatigue, aches, or other digestive issues.
One of the reasons we decided to try The Whole30 was that if you do Whole30 right, you shouldn’t need to do Whole30 anymore. As you change your relationship with food, create new healthy eating habits, and identify problem foods to steer clear of, you no longer need the program — and I needed to find the source of my irritating digestive issues. Again, it’s not meant to be a long-term diet plan, but a short-term reset.
The Food And The Workouts
Our focus on eating healthy and adding exercise to our daily routine is starting to pay off big time!
- Carter and I went for a bike ride with a steep hill that I used to not be able to ride up without standing up and really working the pedals. But this time it was a breeze!
- On Mother’s day we followed a trail down to the river, and while the hike back up the trail normally would have had my legs burning, this time it didn’t feel any different than walking around on flat ground.
- Every Focus T25 from Beachbody On Demand workout provides a modified version of every exercise. Until now I have done some of the exercises full out but most I had to modify partway. But this week, I was able to go 17 minutes into the workout without modifying anything.
- Choosing healthy foods is becoming second nature and healthy habits are forming. Whole30 is becoming less of a novelty and more of a permanent lifestyle change.
- My clothes are slowly starting to seem too big! I dropped 9 pounds during our first Whole30, and while I can’t weigh myself until the end of this round, I can already tell the combination of Whole30 and T25 is positive. My “tight pants” are now my loose, comfy pants.
- Our kids aren’t doing Whole30 with us, but they are benefiting from our efforts, eating less junk food and processed foods, eating out less, getting more exercise, and Natalie is trying new foods and new vegetables, and loving them!
Whole30 Round 2 Day 13
Today was Saturday and everyone slept in! I didn’t even get out of bed until almost 9:30, which for someone who wakes up at 5:30 am every day, is a big deal. I enjoyed some quiet time to catch up on some reading, made a basic breakfast scramble, then woke the kids up to go grocery shopping with me.
We first hit Denio’s Farmers Market to load up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Then I snacked on an RxBar and iced tea in the car on the way to the grocery store — it’s never a good idea to shop hungry!
When we got home, it was time for some serious meal prep. I chopped, cut, sliced, and diced peppers, onions, green onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, fruit, and Brussels sprouts.
Brian also hard boiled a bunch of eggs and barbecued a value pack of chicken while I made fresh batches of Cashew Cheese and homemade mayo.
By this time it was already mid-afternoon, and I had to strategize how to squeeze in my T25 workout, a shower, and cooking and eating dinner in time to make it to Guardians of the Galaxy — we didn’t want to be late!
I knocked out my T25 workout first. Then prepared Rosemary Garlic Baked Artichokes and got them in the oven. Next, I got the potatoes boiling and called the kids downstairs to keep an eye on things while I took a quick shower.
After about 20 minutes, I drained the water from the potatoes, smashed and seasoned them, and popped them in the oven with the Rosemary Garlic Baked Artichokes to cook and turn into the most amazingly delicious Garlic Smash Potatoes.
Brian finished barbecuing the chicken, and everything finished cooking at the same time — a miracle! Seriously, these artichokes were so awesome I may never steam them again and the Garlic Smash Potatoes are my absolute new most favorite thing! Thank goodness Natalie’s friend Maya told us about how her family makes these!
Whole30 Round 2 Day 14
Today was Mother’s Day and I came downstairs today to find a big present on the island and some heartfelt handmade card that almost made me cry! Inside that big present? An Instant Pot! Wooohoooo! I have wanted this Instant Pot Duo for a long time and am so excited to try it out and start coming up with all sorts of new recipes.
To celebrate, we met up with my in-laws and some of Brian’s extended family for a delicious Mother’s Day breakfast at Granite Rock Grill in Rocklin. I ordered a vegetarian breakfast scramble with potatoes and a side of chicken apple sausage.
We knew that we were going exploring after breakfast and would be out and about during lunch, so we all ate until we were absolutely stuffed and made sure to pack some snacks for our exploring.
We visited the Folsom Powerhouse State Park and the Historic Folsom Pioneer Village, we wandered around old Sutter Street, peeking in all the little shops, and the kids got ice cream at Snook’s. To wrap up our family outing, we stopped in Gaslight Company to see the first set of our friend Matt Rainey‘s Sunday show.
When we got home, I didn’t feel like cooking dinner. Brian didn’t want to cook either. We kicked around the idea of going out to eat, but didn’t want to deal with the crowds, or lines, or the overpriced mediocre food, or asking to modify whatever we order.
So we decided to choose easy and use up leftovers to make a fabulous Chicken Pesto Zucchini and Carrot Zoodles. OMG! It was so good — definitely better than anything we’d order if we had gone out to eat.
I didn’t get my T25 workout in today, but I did walk all over Folsom and got my 10,000 steps done, so I’m saying this workout goal is achieved!
Whole30 Round 2 Day 15
It’s Monday again and with two big client deadlines AND another free webinar for the iThemes Training Community on my plate, I banged out my T25 workout right away this morning, grabbed a quick shower, and made a Chicken, Vegetable, And Potato Breakfast Scramble to start the day off right.
After breakfast I jammed through all of the small client projects and admin tasks on my plate for the day before hosting my webinar on Selling $1M in Design (Side Services).
After the webinar, I made a quick Ingredient Lunch of a hard boiled egg, mixed nuts, baby carrots, cashew cheese, and fresh fruit and got right back to work.
This was the first day in a while that I actually worked on nothing but client work until 7:00 pm at night!
I really wanted to put my Instant Pot to use for dinner, but I just bought a bunch of groceries and meal prepped stuff for other meals and we had some fish that I had pulled out of the freezer that needed to be cooked. Bummer! I’m dying to use that thing!
For dinner I made Almond Crusted Tilapia With Lemon And Dill Sauce, Mashed Rosemary Garlic Cauliflower, and Oven-Baked Cajun Green Beans. The tilapia was breaded in almond flour and seasonings, and got this awesome crust on it, that when paired with the creamy Lemon And Dill Sauce was incredible!
Whole30 Round 2 Day 16
Crap. I stayed up way too late binge watching the last few episodes of Pretty Little Liars on Hulu and was exhausted this morning. So much so that I decided to postpone my workout to the early evening. Plus I had a bunch of client work that needed to get done before my bi-weekly Mastermind Call, so I made some tea and snacked on an RxBar while I worked.
Brian and I missed our Breakfast Scramble, so we made one for lunch! Then I made use of my mad x-acto knife skills from design school to cut out all of Carter’s state report drawings out of foam core.
When we were done assembling the diorama, I made a spicy dinner. We had Spicy Turkey And Vegetable Meatballs, Spicy Ginger Garlic Brussels Sprouts, and Garlic Smash Potatoes again.
I still hadn’t worked out yet today — BIG mistake not getting it done in the morning — so I ended up doing my T25 workout at 7:00 pm at night!
Whole30 Round 2 Day 17
After walking Carter to school, I made sure to get my workout in right away, and for the first time, I was able to do it full out for 17 minutes of the 25 minutes workout and modified the remainder of the time. Big Win!
I ate an RxBar while I took a shower then went to Costco to pick up eggs, Wholly Guacamole single serving packs, coffee, olive oil, and peanut butter stuffed pretzels for the kids.
Lunch was another ingredient meal: we ate leftover Spicy Turkey And Vegetable Meatballs with a hard boiled egg, baby carrots, cashew cheese, and fresh fruit.
It’s Wednesday again, our busiest day of the week, and we were all on our own for dinner, so I just had a roasted sweet potato and a small spinach salad.
Whole30 Round 2 Day 18
We kicked off today with a delicious Chicken Mushroom Breakfast Scramble and were so full from breakfast, that we just had a light snack lunch of mixed nuts, baby carrots, cashew cheese, and fresh fruit.
This afternoon was our monthly WordPress Third Thursday. In addition to my normal mastermind group, on the third Thursday of every month, we get together with other local successful agency owners and product company owners who operate in the WordPress space to talk shop, share ideas, and support each other. We used to meet at a coffee shop, but switched to a brewery this month, so Brian and I grabbed a coffee and an iced tea on the way.
Tonight was Carter’s open house, and it was really hot. We didn’t feel like cooking and weren’t all that hungry, so we chose easy and simply had ice-cold apple slices and Almond Butter for dinner.
And because I didn’t workout in the morning, I had to workout at night. I hate working out at night, but I got T25 done and I feel really good about that! Daily exercise is slowly becoming part of my everyday routine… and I actually miss it when I skip a day.
The Whole Experience And Results
We’re half way through out second round of The Whole30 and Brian and I are both blown away by how much better we feel in basically every aspect of our lives. We’re enjoying better sleep, more energy, no 3:00 pm slump, no cravings, clearer skin, stronger nails, and faster growing hair. We’ve lost weight and inches, we never feel deprived, and we’re never hungry. In fact, we’re eating better than we did before The Whole30 — and not just better foods, but better recipes and better meals with tons more flavor.
We have already decided that come May 30 and the end of our second Whole30, we’re going to continue eating mostly Whole30 at home and still make healthy choices away from home, but be a little more lax on the rules. I’m pretty sure however, we’ll add back in black beans and healthy natural grains like quinoa and millet — and of course a beer or cider every once in a while on date nights and when we’re out with friends.
If you want to follow along with my Whole30 + Exercise Journey, check out the other posts documenting my whole30 experience and results below:
- Adding Exercise To Whole30 Round 2 With Focus T25: Day 1-6
- Permanent Lifestyle Changes In Whole30 Round 2: Day 7-12
- Whole30 Is Not A Diet, Results During Round 2: Day 13-18
- The Good And Bad Of The Whole30 Program, Round 2: Day 19-24
Also, if you’re starting your first Whole30, check out the Whole30 review posts from my first Whole30 for a bunch of easy, delicious Whole30 recipes, as well as what to expect and how we navigated a road trip, birthday parties, date nights, being sick, and a holiday:
- Getting Started With Whole30 In The Real World: Day 1
- Getting Used To The Whole30 Rules: Day 2-5
- Whole30 (Spring Break) Road Trip Food: Day 6-10
- Staying On Track With Whole30 On A Holiday: Day 11-16
- Whole30 While You’re Sick, Parties, And Date Night at A Brewery: Day 17-22
- Date Nights And Eating Out During Whole30: Day 23-28
- We Did It! We Completed Our First Whole30: Day 29-30