This past summer, I made the crazy decision to complete the Whole30. One of my friends at work had started it and convinced me to join her, and little did I know it would be so difficult yet life-changing all at the same time. Although I am a relatively healthy eater, doing the Whole30 gave me a whole new perspective on food, serving sizes, and wellness.

What is the Whole30?

"What exactly is Whole30?" you may ask? This special 30-day diet reset consists of not eating dairy, gluten/grains, processed foods, sugar, legumes, or alcohol for 30 days. The purpose of this is to rule out any possible food allergies, and also serves as an anti-inflammatory diet. I wanted to use this past summer as a cleanse to my system, and it worked.

Starting the Process

Yep, that’s right. Do not ask me how, but I literally went an entire month without consuming any of these food groups. It sounds easier than it is. However, eating healthy is one thing, but this was to taking healthy eating to an extreme level, so much so that I had to be checking ingredients labels constantly to make sure there were no “forbidden ingredients” in what I was eating. (I hate myself for even having to say the words “forbidden ingredients.”)  

I prepped for this adventure by taking several trips to Target after researching sample grocery lists and recipe blogs online. I pretty much just bought many simple staple items, like meats and veggies, and worked around them as part of my diet. This is where I realized I needed to use some creativity to switch up my meals so they weren't too repetitive, and to make them just right.

The Struggles Were Real

I was craving vanilla iced coffee for about the first eight days and sadly knew that I could not have it. Day one I thought I was going to fail because I almost went to Dunkin' Donuts to get myself a medium iced coffee during happy hour. After talking myself out of it, I went through a few trials to make my own black Keurig coffee at home bearable. (I am now proud to say I will have just some unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk in my coffee.)   

I quickly realized that I could, in fact, push myself to do this for 30 days, and became determined. Of course, I would become absolutely HANGRY at some points if I was not home for a while because there was not something “compliant” (in agreement with the Whole30 rules) in reach to eat. I was shopping with my cousins at the mall and literally had a breakdown and probably looked like a 20-year-old toddler in the middle of the Apple Store because I didn't have any healthy snacks on hand and was starving. Ordering at a restaurant was always an issue. We went out to dinner for my mom’s birthday at a Mexican Restaurant and I had to order fajitas with just straight up meat, no tortillas and no sour cream or cheese (you bet I ate the entire platter of probably five pounds of meat all by myself).

30 Days Down

Ultimately, Whole30 is the Whole30 for a reason. I realized that it's not a sustainable diet for me all-year round because it takes a lot of time and planning, and it cuts out a lot of healthful food groups that people need for energy. I learned that I need a lot of carbs to fill me up or I'll get hungry much faster. I'm so glad I did it because now I've taken some measures to help me in my daily diet choices.  

Although this was a struggle, there were some good things to come out of the experience. My skin actually cleared up a lot, I had more energy, and it was the beginning of my pride and joy- my foodstagram, @what_tret_ate. Having my foodstagram allowed me to keep track of what I ate along the way while also sharing recipes. All in all, I concluded that the Whole30 is a great reset and cleanse for people wanting to limit the amount of sugar or preservatives they consume. It is an anti-inflammatory diet, which tries to limit bloating as much as possible, and can also be a good way for people to figure out if they have any allergies.