Monday, April 30, 2012

My Whole 30 Experience

Here is my “Whole 30” review. I have probably started this post over 3 times.. one of them being a vlog in which I rambled on and on for 30 minutes about my experience and figured nobody would sit and listen for that long. So your going to get a shortened condensed version of it.
First- Please know that my intention for this diet was not to lose weight. It was simply to experience the “paleo lifestyle” with some friends to experiment and see how and if we could tell a difference in our everyday life. Through our performance, strength, endurance etc.
This was my second time following a paleo health style. However, whole 30 is a tad more restricting then other paleo diets by eliminating honey, agave nectar and maple syrup.
It sticks to similar guidelines of the paleo lifestyle. Which are..
Here is what I like about it.
The idea of paleo is to eat natural, whole, fresh, real food. This is actually what I LOVE about this diet. It provides knowledge for people to discover actual real food, it makes you learn more about what is inside all the processed, “go-to” foods that line our grocery stores. I truly believe that this diet is good to teach you how to eat. But I think that is how every diet is. There is not a diet in the thousands that recommends high sugar, processed food. There is no measuring, or calorie counting on this diet so I didn’t have to worry about keeping track of each portion size etc. Although, I did keep them in check, but did not measure or weigh anything.
It removes all the processed junk from your diet. Which can be difficult at first if you are new to this whole “eating clean” thing.
Eating paleo forces you to be a bit more creative in the kitchen with spices and herbs. I now love, using basil and chives when I cook.  I actually chilly kept it pretty simple due to my busy lifestyle and had most food prepared ahead of time, which was actually convenient and easy to grab a meal from the fridge and go. I had grilled chicken/fish, boiled eggs, steamed veggies, baked sweet potatoes, and fresh fruit in the fridge at all times. I knew if I was going to be successful with whole 30 I had to be prepared.
As a group we decided a protein shake post workout would be accepted. I used a egg white protein and drank it once a day.
My typical day went as follows:
Breakfast: 4 egg whites with veggies. Typically, red pepper, onion, and spinach.
Mid-morning: protein shake w/half banana and almond butter
Lunch: Chicken, Sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts/green beans
Mid-Afternoon: Apple with Almond Butter or a muffin (omit protein powder)
Dinner: Fish/Chicken, spinach salad, green beans and  a few strawberries for dessert.
I also continued to take a multi-vitamin everyday, 3 fish oil capsules, a calcium supplement, glucosamine, and glutamine every day.
I found myself checking every single label on everything! Come to discover that my almond milk I was using (Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla) contained carrageen! Which is a “What to avoid” list of Whole 30. Dang. I went back to the grocery store and discovered another Almond milk that didn’t- Silk unsweetened original Almond milk.  Processed yes, did I deem it whole 30 worthy. Yes.
What I don’t like about it:
I don’t think there is a diet out there that is for everyone. I don’t believe that following paleo compared to other diets will in turn make you a faster, stronger healthier human being. I believe that we has humans have adapted to our modern day diet that includes grains, dairy and legumes. I think that there is something to say for them and their importance in our diet.
When I did paleo for the first time about a year ago. The first few weeks were a rough go. It was hard to let go of my GF oats every morning and my love for Greek yogurt. After awhile, it just became my lifestyle. I looked great and I was getting faster and felt strong. When I decided that overall this diet just wasn’t meant to be long-term, I went back to grains, and dairy. I was SICK. I was constantly bloated, had major digestive issues and sometimes all I could do was lay in the fetal position until I fell asleep. I knew it was probably because I had added all of it back to quickly, and my stomach wasn’t quite ready for that brownie and ice cream…
Throughout the past year I have gone back to the paleo lifestyle and following it probably 95% of the time. I do think the probiotic found in yogurt is good for the digestive system. I do think grains such as GF oats and Brown rice are good carbohydrates to help get me through a long training day. I also believe desserts are important and are meant to be enjoyed.
Paleo is not ideal in everyday life. You are not going to prepare every. single. meal. yourself. We are in a world in which almost every celebration (pretty sure every celebration) revolves around food. Back in the Paleolithic times they celebrated by singing and dancing around fires, did they even have holidays? I’m guessing not. There will be those times in which you may not have many options to go along with the diet.
People think its kind of crazy…

I feel that this diet is boring.
There is nothing exciting about it. I probably could of made it more exciting by creating other paleo recipes that I have found, but like most moms, or students, or full-time workers.. I just didn’t have the time to make them and actually preferred it to be pre-cooked and ready in my fridge. (Which I still do.) But its about always going back to the basics. Seasoned grill chicken with veggies and a sweet potato.
Any diet, is similar, in the fact they are boring. You eat the same thing day out and day in. You know what.. that is what works though. Unlike paleo, most diets are short term and can lead to yo-yo dieting where as paleo is meant to be a lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with it but overall it can be hard to stick to for. ev. er.
My husband and kids didn’t follow paleo. I would make the same dinner but add a tortilla so they could have chicken wraps/fish taco or a bun for a turkey burger. T & B love chobani yogurts and probably eat one every day.
This diet may work for some people, however I do not believe there is a diet for everyone. You need to try different things in order to discover what is effective, efficient and manageable towards your needs.
Did I feel a difference in my performance and energy levels?
Not really, I have always been a healthy eater and there really was no difference.
Do I recommend this diet to everyone?
Probably not.
I know that if you do this diet, if you cut out ALL grains, ALL dairy, ALL legumes for a long, extended period of time. There is no going back. I also think it can lead to some nutrient deficiencies as well.
That sounds a bit scary, but its true. I have a sensitivity to grains, and dairy but, does that mean I have completely taken them out of my diet.
I love my chobani, my oats and my dessert! I have found a happy balance between it all by allowing it all in moderation. I still am fighting a constant bloat some days since I just got off the paleo train and expect it to hang around until it adjusts again. I keep a healthy, clean eating lifestyle which is not 100% paleo and that’s what works best for me.
If you eat healthy and feel great and are happy with you. Don’t change it.
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
If you are wanting to change your eating patterns/diets, or shape. Try it.
If you are obese and uncomfortable and don’t’ know where to start. I would start somewhere else. This diet is tough at first and I think going from a poor diet of high fat, salt and processed foods. This will rock your stomach. I’m a huge advocate of eating whole natural foods. Start by removing white breads, processed junk and sugar from your diet and find a good exercise program and stick to it.
I could probably ramble about it for awhile, so I'm going to leave it at this.
Good for some. Not for everyone.
I’m happy to answer any questions, although I want to remind you that this was just my experience with it and my opinion only. Please do not take it as medical advice. I’m no M.D.
Q. Have you tried eating Paleo? What was your experience?


  1. My paleo experience was very similar. My body rejected it at first. bloating and gas were unbearable. I was also very hungry. then I got sick, then injured. it lasted about 3 weeks and i went back. had another adjustment period, but not as bad.
    performance gains? nope.
    weight loss? nope.
    sustainable lifestyle? nope.

    I have no doubt it works for many. Just didn't work for me. plus, i have philosophic differences about it. Look, if paleo man really ate so much better than us, why did we change? I've seen modern studies where students volunteered to move to the wilderness and live the true paleo lifestyle for several months. It was a disaster. All ended up sick, and emaciated. They had little energy and shorter tempers. When they weren't fighting they were sleeping.

    Great review Cand. Thank you.

  2. i tried paleo this summer which was a terrible idea since i worked at a bakery haha...anyway...i didnt last long. i do like the idea of it and think i could do something in between but definitely agree that everyones different. some people might like doing all or not one of those. i think ill try a variation of it again after our baby is born in september...we'll see!

  3. Your goal was not weight loss but they do advise you to weigh before and after the challenge. Did you have weight gain or weight loss? Did you feel you had any changes in your body? Less bloat? More muscle? I started yesterday and am really curious.


  4. I just finished my first Whole 30 last week but because of gluten intolerance, my diet is already 90% paleo. I honestly felt great doing it and I found some really great food. For me, it wasn't boring at all in fact it was kind of fun. But, everyone's experience is different and I think for me it just wasn't that different from what I was used to. It's probably a massive change for a lot of people, probably too big of a change.

  5. I just finished my Whole 30 on Friday and had some great results. I wanted to lose weight and improve my workouts. At the beginning of I had been Paleo nearly a year, so it wasn't that big of a change for me. Grains make me feel bad, so it's not a treat to include them. I don't have dairy issues, so I never completely cut it out. I think Paleo is sustainable if you like to eat clean about most of the time, and then include some sensible indulgences like wine, dark chocolate, and good-quality cheese. I'm working on my PhD right now, so I don't have a lot of time to cook---making big batches of food helps a lot. I usually roast two trays of different veggies a couple times a week along with cooking big batches of chicken and mini burgers.

  6. I am in the middle of my whole30, and honestly I feel fantastic! I have very little bloating and really feel good and full most the time. I'm noticing my body is getting leaner and more muscular as well. I have really followed the plan and increased exercise with it. So I guess it worked for me. I would like to add dairy back as I do miss my feta cheese and I need a good protein shake. My plan is to introduce it slowly and not just jump into a plate of sushi and italian bread, followed by an icecream sunday. I'm sure I'll be crying! But I do love wine and dark chocolate so those will be added back in first. I think the key is to eat as clean as possible and get regular exercise. My kids get carbs through grains, I just try to keep them organic.

  7. I am halfway through my Whole30 and like you, I ate pretty darn well going in. I didn't have the carb flu, headaches, etc that others get in their first weeks of Whole30. My digestive system feels great - which was most of the point of my trying Whole30 - but I don't feel like superwoman or anything.

    And I've been thinking a lot on this recently. I enjoy eating. In fact, I adore eating. It's time I enjoy with my husband, with my friends, when I'm traveling. The fact that I can't possibly eat meals outside my house on Whole30 (because, really, where can you find compliant food outside the house?) is a major sticking point for me. Eating is social. If something isn't enjoyable, I can't stick to it forever.

    That being said, I'm not going to go hog wild when I'm off Whole30. I'll keep the core while not feeling monumentally guilty for "cheating" with some simple grains or a dash or non-fat milk in my tea.

    Thanks for an honest review of Whole30! :)

  8. I read your review with interest but observed that the diet you describe does not appear to adhere to the principles of the whole 30 program, specifically with regard to eating 3 meals a day, forgoing snacks, eating whole eggs rather than just the whites, and including appropriate amounts of fats with every meal.

  9. ^^Exactly. You combined a typical "healthy" eating plan (which isn't actually all that healthy) with Paleo and came up with a very bland diet indeed. You can't really judge the eating plan unless you follow it yourself.

    Eat the yolk, please. It has all of the nutrients in the egg.

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