Happy Tuesday guys! So many of you were interested in seeing/hearing more about this health challenge I’ve taken on, so here we are! This was actually super fun to write, as I’m enjoying giving this a try and seeing the changes/reults. While I usually try to eat healthy (aka rarely ever ate ‘junk food’/fast food/super processed stuff) and workout, I’m realizing I didn’t really know what clean, healthy eating looked and tasted like and quite a few things/ways I was eating weren’t healthy at all. This has been pretty next-level and eye-opening, even for a mostly ‘healthy eater’, but I’m so glad I’m doing it!
First of, what exactly I’m doing and why… One of my dear friends invited Ross and I on a trip to the Caribbean in February, and after consuming way too many cheese boards, cookies, and glasses of wine the last few months of 2018, we decided to be accountability buddies for eating healthy and working out! Partly to get in shape for the trip, but also just to reset our cravings and eating/drinking habits after the holidays. Some of these changes are ones I want to keep throughout the year, while some are just to reset and jumpstart the year, which is why while we’re going pretty strict, we’re not quite going Whole30 strict. We also want to have balance and maintain this longterm, and we use didn’t feel we’d get that with Whole30!
So on to what we’re doing: basically it’s clean eating…
We’re not eating any grains, dairy, added sugars (this includes honey and maple syrup, but we are allowing stevia and truvia), soy, msg, or carangeenan for 30 days. We’re also not having any alcohol for the first week, and then allowing for a few glasses of wine a week after that.
After 30 days, were hoping to stick to the for the most part, save living a bit here and there and probably allowing for some healthy grains like quinoa etc. I’ll also probably have things I love, like cheese boards and Lindt truffles 1-2 times a month, but hope to keep it to that, versus having cheese and/or chocolate every day. And of course the occasional #yolos, becuase life is short and I’d definitely regret if I didn’t have a full-on ice cream sundae here or there 😉 But usually resets like this make moderation so much easier, because you’ve trained yourself go without for a while! At least that’s the hope 🙂
So thoughts on week one…
-I feel SO good! I have so much for energy and am loving how it’s making me enjoy really going hard and strong during my workouts/runs. It feels so great to feel like you smashed a workout and did your best, and I was having trouble doing that the last few months because I felt tired and sluggish all the time. The first few days were not smooth sailing in this regard, I was really tired. But I think it was my body adjusting to the huge changes, as a week out and I’m feeling awesome and like it was #soworthit.
-I’m focusing better when I work. It’s really nice to not feel foggy or sugar-buzzed after eating, and I love how much more productive I am because I have a clear mind and feel good.
-I was really shocked at first how much less bloated I am! Even in my face and boobs (so weird, haha!), but especially my stomach area. I guess it was water-weight or inflammation?
-I feel proud about what I’m putting in my body, and I love it! It feels so good to have no guilt/regrets about what I’m eating, and is really rewarding to know everything is nourishing me and improving my health and life!
-I love that I now have a really clear picture of what healthy, clean eating looks like and that I’m paying much more attention to ingredient lists on foods. I’m realizing that there were quite a few foods that I thought of as healthy, but actually aren’t because #addedsugar. You’d be surprised at how many foods have weird chemicals or lots of sugar added (or even corn syrup! yuck!) that somehow sneakily get by as being called ‘healthy’.
-A calorie is a calorie? Not really… I love that this is not a ‘diet’ but a lifestyle change and not at all focused on calories or weight. While we’re trying to slim down and tone up, the focus is eating foods that are great for you, not eating ones that aren’t, and moving every day. I used to do diets that were calorie focused and I would feel like crap and staving all the time because I would end up having chocolate and it’d be 1/3 of my calories for the day, which is so bad! I eat plenty, feel satisfied, and more importantly feel so good!
-It does seem like my cravings are somewhat limited to the times that I have certain things out of routine/habit, like hazelnut creamer laden coffee, wine, chocolate/candy… if I can distract myself during those times it’s much easier!
-The cravings were roughhhh. Day 4 was the worst, and I’m so glad I had a friend to chat with, who also happened to have been struggling; we were able to make each other laugh and push through! It’s not easy to cut out so many things at once! It is scary though… I was shocked how addicted my body and palette was to sugar; definitely felt like I was going through a bit of withdrawl! But, silver lining is that I’m now super aware of that and am going to be very cautious and selective moving forward after the 30 days on having things with sugar. Birthdays and special occasion with definitely have to have cake and sundaes, because #yolo, but I think I want to otherwise keep it out of my diet for the most part. I honestly don’t miss it much anymore 9 days in!
-My morning coffee is not satisfying like it used to be 🙁 My morning mug of hazelnut coffee used to be something that helped me drag myself out of bed because I was so looking forward to it. While I found a vegan creamer (linked here) with no added sugar that is really good; it’s no Coffeemate. I do need to try buying actually coffee that’s hazelnut flavored as well as making my on creamer, so keep you posted on if that helps.
-I do get kind of bored with my options. That said, I haven’t cooked/experimented much, so a lot of what I’ve been eating has been very plain and simple.
-I haven’t always felt satisfied after meals solely because I’m craving something, Even if I ate a full mean, if I was craving cheese and it didn’t have cheese, it just wasn’t satisfying and I was left craving. It was annoying, but I do have to say it’s happened a lot less as the week has gone on and as I’ve gotten more adventurous with combos.
-Also highlyyyy annoyed that I broke out badly Thursday after I made it 4 days clean… I feel like my skin should be getting better and not worse! But trying to remember that that’s actually how it does work sometimes and that four days isn’t actually a lot. It does seem to be improving quickly though, and it looks glow and healthy, so keep you posted!
This Black Bean Burger recipe is AMAZING! Just don’t puree the onions and peppers like we did, haha! Ours were mush, but the taste was great! And next time we will be chopping them and not putting them in a blender, so the consistency was what it should have been. They were very satisfying, especially with guacamole or homemade ketchup on top!
Dates and dried mangos are life. So sweet and delicious! Trader Joe’s Apple Sauce crushers are as well! They were such a good find as I was starting to get a tad bored of dates and mangoes. Plus they’re portable!
Riced Cauliflower is a great substitute for actual rice if you’re craving stir fry. A lot of places sell it frozen or in the vegetable section.
If you’re craving cookies or bars, Bulletproof’s Vanilla Shortbread Collagen Protein Bars taste like shortbread! Not quite Whole30 as the protein is derived from cow, but we’re not doing Whole30 and they’re healthy and amazing, so I decided I was fine with keeping them! Also Rx makes great bars with dates, but they’re very sweet, so I tend to eat them only when I’m really craving sugar. Their nut butters are THE most delicious clean nut butters I’ve found with no added sugar (they use dates to sweeten). If you like plain raw not butters, kudos to you, but I love me some Skippy, but I think I’m actually loving Rx more now!?
If you love wine, Kombucha is super helpful for when you’re craving a glass! It’s fermented, which I love because it’s not really sweet, more tangy/tarte (just make sure you buy a brand like GTS that doesn’t add sugar). I’m not a sweet wine girl, so grape juice or sweet ‘clean’ drinks like that aren’t of interest to me.
Keep in mind that it’s WAY easier to choose something over something else, versus just taking the something else away. That’s why I’ve been so bent on finding ‘replacements
‘. I know this disagrees a bit with Whole30’s philosophy, but as I mentioned, we’re more doing clean eating and working on longterm balance. I felt like I did great this week because I was prepared with something healthy and clean for when I was craving something unhealthy!! And it worked as well as I could have hoped!
Hope you guys found this helpful or enjoyable to read! I’d love to hear if you’re doing any health challenges to kick off the year, any suggestions/recs you might have for recipes or hacks, or any questions you have, so head to the comments if you do!