Whole30: A Do-Over

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Likelihood is that you’ve heard of the Whole30 by now. It is very similar to a paleo diet, but has a few more restrictions for a 30 day period. Apparently, it’s a millennial “cultish” fad diet. I think that article is a bit off with their facts but oh well. If you don’t know much about the Whole30, here’s a quick “elevator pitch” straight from their website:

Established by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig (of Whole9) in April 2009, the Whole30® is our original nutritional program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff.

So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you? Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.

Last Time: A while back (like over 2 years ago!), we jumped on the bandwagon and gave it a shot. Well, long story short, we failed…big time. We got to like day 15, got bored, and threw in the towel. So lame, right?! I think there were many different factors to why we didn’t finish the whole 30 days, but a few that stick out to me now are these three:

  1. We had a very limited knowledge of why we should be doing it. I did some internet searching, but I didn’t take the time to get the book(s) and really dig into the purpose of the challenge. I figured that I knew enough about the purpose from 30 minutes of searching online. Wrong!
  2. My main purpose last time was purely weight loss. Although that’s a pretty great perk of the plan, it is not and should not be the main goal. Resetting your “relationship” with food is the main goal and I think I totally missed that.
  3. We had very limited range of what we were eating. We mostly ate the same. thing. everyday. It got old, really fast.

This Time: This time, I’m approaching it with a totally different attitude, purpose, and appreciation for the program. I’ve dealt with hormonal and autoimmune issues for a good majority of my life and am tired of medicating to mask the real issue. I’d wake up with unexplained migraines multiple times a week, was relentlessly out of energy, and just overall bummed about the way I felt in my skin. Not to mention a good amount of weight that just kept hanging out no matter how much or how little I ate. I craved sugar like no body’s business and had an unhealthy relationship with butter and cheese. I needed to reset my system, badly! I’m 98% sure some or all of my issues stem from diet, so duh Terra! Make some changes!

A few months back, Josh and I were talking (probably more like, I was complaining to him) about my health and how utterly crappy I felt. He suggested that we try the Whole30 again. I said, “Uh huh, sure. I’ll get right on it” and then promptly did nothing about it. I just wasn’t mentally prepped to start a challenge where I’d eat the same thing all day erryday.  Fast forward a month or so and I stumbled across an amazing gal on Instagram who was in the middle of a Whole30 (you can find her at @mollyrunsforlife). She posted photos of her meals and I kept seeing these plates filled with delicious looking food that looked nothing like the boring stuff we ate over and over in our previous attempt at the challenge. Seeing her encouraging posts and tasty meals really kicked me in the butt to actually try again. So, thanks Molly! :)  I picked up the new Whole30 book and read it cover to cover, a couple of times. I made notes, flagged pages, and let the info sink in for about a week before we jumped in. Thankfully, my great hubby is doing the challenge with me – which makes it so much easier! He’s great encouragement and cooking for 2 is much easier than for 1.

I’m so proud to say that we’re almost at the end of our first week. Surprisingly, it’s been relatively easy (for me at least, I can’t really speak for Josh although I think he’s doing okay). Knowing that removing a few things from my diet could help me figure out what’s been causing me issues for so many years is a great motivation. And seriously, there is so.much.food that you CAN eat! Holy moly! I think one of the hardest things for me has been figuring out WHAT I want to eat out of the ton of fresh food we have in our house. I fully know that this entire challenge isn’t going to be rainbows and butterflies, BUT I do know that it is worth it. My health is worth it! One Whole30 motto that I’m really taking to heart this time is this: Be kind to yourself, be patient with yourself, and remember that it’s not 30 days – it’s just one day. One meal. One bite. Do this one bite at a time, if you have to, because it’s for the most important and worthwhile cause on earth –  you.

I’ll be posting some easy recipes that we’ve been making and a few recaps throughout the rest of the 30 days. I’ve found a TON of inspiration on Pinterest and have saved some of my favorite recipes to my Whole30 board if you’d like to check that out. I’ve also started a new Instagram account so that I’m not flooding my friends with photos of my food (because apparently everyone does not love that).  You can follow along at @edwards_eat for some fun and easy recipes :)

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Grain, Diary, & Sugar Free Banana Muffins

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UPDATE 6/26/15: Okay, so before you read this recipe, please note that in the past 2 years my understanding of Whole30 has DRASTICALLY improved. I know that the following recipe is not a Whole30 approved option as it is what some people call SWYPO (sex with your pants on). Please proceed forward with the understanding that this recipe is a great one – but not necessarily during a Whole30 challenge. One very important aspect of Whole30 is to get away from paleo-fied foods, such as baked goods, desserts, etc. This recipe is great breakfast option for after your Whole30 if you find that baked goods are not a stumbling block for you. Now, proceed with fair warning :)


We are not dieters. We don’t jump on the bandwagon of fad diets simply because they. don’t. work. Josh and I have however, realized how awful we’ve been at eating well rounded meals and that food may actually have a pretty big impact on our bodies and well being. Duh.

This past week we started the Whole30 Program, which is basically Paleo but with a few more restrictions for 30 days. The key things they tell you to avoid are added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, white potatoes, and preservatives of any kind. The idea of the whole thing is to focus on eating real food – meat, veggies, fruits, eggs, nuts, etc. – and reset your “relationship”  with food. I don’t see either Whole30 or Paleo as diets, but rather a lifestyle change. Because I have some auto immune deficiencies, I figured that it could do no harm at all to cut out things that could potentially be causing me more problems (inflammation of my joints, lack of energy, unexplained weight gain, etc.). Although we don’t think we’ll stick with it forever, I doubt that I’ll stray too far from the basics. In the past week, I’ve felt awesome (other than sugar withdrawal headaches). If you’ve never heard of Whole30 or Paleo, I really encourage you to check them out! It is so worth giving it a try, because the worst thing that could happen is that you find you enjoy eating more fruits and veggies!

I’ll do a full recap of what I’ve been eating and will be posting more recipes over the coming weeks, but right now I want to tell you about the banana muffins pictured above. Although some may argue that a few of the ingredients aren’t 100% Whole30 compliant (baking soda & baking powder), I say…pick your battles. I’ve been having a hard time getting a decent breakfast in me before work, so if a wholesome muffin can do the trick I think that’s worth it!

My recipe is inspired by this one. Because I didn’t have cashews or walnut oil, I figured I’d fudge the recipe a little and create my own. (BTW- this gal’s blog has been such a great encouragement to me and has supplied some pretty awesome recipe references! PLUS she’s a young Christian woman who met her husband while working at Camp. Bonus points!)

Grain, Diary, & Sugar Free Banana Muffins

Yield: 1 dozen muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • ~1/3 cup almond butter (approximate - I used 2 big spoonfuls)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour/meal (if you've made almond milk you can use the meal from that!)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. shredded coconut (optional, but delicious!)

Instructions

  1. Coconut oil to grease your muffin tin
  2. Begin by mixing your bananas, almond butter, and eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and shredded coconut.
  4. Add dry ingredients into your banana mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Grease your muffin tins and fill with 2/3 full with batter.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let cool completely before storing.
  8. ENJOY!
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Grain, Dairy, & Sugar Free Banana Muffins | Simply Mrs. Edwards

These muffins don’t stand much of a chance of making it through the week. They are seriously delicious! I hope that you enjoy them just as much as we have been :)

Getting healthy,
Mrs. Edwards