Clean Eating, or Eating Clean, is the new buzzword when it comes to healthy diets nowadays. This is my take on it and what I mean when I say that’s how I eat *most of the time*. I’ll also give you my thoughts on the Whole 30 program, where I first heard and learned about whole foods and clean eating.
You can learn about Whole30 from their website, where they conveniently break down the program into 8 steps. But in my own words, Whole30 is a 30 day digestive reset for your system. You remove all the processed foods and potentially inflammatory foods from your diet and only eat real, unprocessed foods from the approved food list. Yes, there are some real foods on the list of do not eat items. You can scour the site and find out why you shouldn’t eat them on whole30 but from all the researching I have done, the items are potentially inflammatory or harsh on your system. So for the 30 days you’re on whole30, you don’t eat them and see how your body responds.
I first heard about Whole30 from an old coworkers Instagram post. Just want to take a moment and acknowledge how influential Instagram has been on my journey to health! Instagram brought me Whole30 and Kayla Itsines! She and her boyfriend were doing ‘Whole30′ and I was looking to lose weight. Her pictures of super healthy food were intriguing. So I googled it and read up on program and decided to give this thing a try. Yes, the no alcohol and sugar were going to be tough but I can do anything for 30 days!
My first round of Whole30 I started in the middle of May and I knew there were going to be two tough times during it, a work beach trip outing filled with fried foods and alcohol, and Memorial Day Weekend. But as the site says, you can say no to things and make the program work, it’s only 30 days.
It. Was. Hard. Sitting in the bar while all my colleagues ate fried everything and drank beer on a hot summer day was tough, but I drank my water and explained to anyone who asked why. I know, that fun person…. But I did it, I made it through, and I was BEYOND thrilled with the results.
Then a strange thing happened, and I am happy it happened, but it was nonetheless strange. When I was allowed to eat anything I wanted again, I couldn’t think of a dang thing I wanted to eat! Seriously, the whole time I was on the program I was dreaming of a glass of wine and ice cream and pizza but once I could have it, I didn’t know if I even wanted it. That first round of Whole30 was way back in 2014 and I still never really know what I want to eat. It can totally be frustrating to friends, hehe, but at the same time I am so happy my appetite and mindset has changed. I came out of it with a whole new outlook on food and I still try and eat Paleo (a less strict way of eating that is similar to Whole30) most of the time.
I didn’t do another round of Whole30 until 2016. By this point I was already working out and getting into shape and I wanted to see just how great it would be to do the Bikini Body Guide (#BBG) as well as Whole30. Mid January I set out on round 2. It was far easier than I remembered the first round being and at the end of it, I had lost 6 pounds.
For round 3 which I did mid April (I have no idea why I always start in the middle of the month) I thought ahead and took my measurements before as well as my weight. Still doing BBG workouts and Whole30, this round I lost 10.5 inches overall and 8.4 pounds! Round 3 was way more difficult though and after I completed it I said I was done with Whole30 for the rest of the year. Come January I will most likely do another round of Whole30 but until then, it has taught me how to eat clean and what foods are better for my body.
One of the best things to happen from eating clean is my acne and skin have all improved dramatically. Dare I say my face was glowing after the first round. Whole30 has many amazing testimonials like mine, curing things far more serious than acne, but for me, clearing up my skin was amazing.
When I am not doing the Whole30 program I am still eating clean, which for me means keeping with the real foods, meats, fruits, vegetables. I don’t buy pre-made salad dressings anymore, rather I make vinaigrette myself. It is amazing how many pre-made and processed foods contain soy, wheat, and sugar. I really try and limit the wheat and grains I eat because those, for me, create bad skin and stomach bloating.
I LOVE ICE CREAM! Ice cream and cheese are really the only dairy I consume, and I try my best to limit that. I stopped buying cows milk back in 2014 for my first whole30 and ever since I choose coconut milk or almond milk. I do still have an occasional alcoholic drink and I love pizza and pasta, but those are rare and I would say maybe once a month or less. Which is far fewer than my previous weekly consumption.
Every week I meal prep my lunches on Sunday, and they are always Whole30, without me even trying, because that is just what I prefer now. Breakfast is usually also always whole30. Dinners are where I veer off a little more. My vises are cheese and these kettle cooked chips from Trader Joe’s. I love them, I can make a whole meal out of just those two things. They technically are just potatoes, olive oil and salt, but they’re cooked in a non compliant way, which is fine when not doing Whole30, because BALANCE.
Other go to’s are grilled steak and baked sweet potato chips, or on a lazy day, something from the Trader Joe’s freezer aisle. Also, ice cream. It’s an obsession. I try and only eat it 3-4 times a week (I know, that’s a lot), and keep my scoops small. My new goal is to just stop having it in the house, but that needs some more discipline as well.
What I typically eat in a week:
Breakfast up until a month ago was two fried eggs with half an avocado. Now I am doing Naked Protein shakes or eggs, depending on my morning workout and what I have time for. Breakfast always involves coffee with coconut milk!
Weekday lunches are baked chicken breast or pan roasted pork chops with roasted vegetables. My favorite veggies to roast are bell peppers, asparagus, potatoes (sweet or regular) broccoli or brussel sprouts. I usually mix 2-3 a week.
Morning snacks are some kind of fruit. My favorites are apples, bananas, strawberries, or peaches. Afternoons I will usually do cottage cheese or a protein bar. Wilde Snacks meat bars are also really good 🙂
Keeping my breakfasts, lunches, and snacks paleo are how I am able to maintain a healthy balance for the rest of my meals. They all involve real, whole, good for you foods with very little, if any, artificial or processed ingredients. This balance has been key to me finding and keeping a clean eating lifestyle and it all started way back with my first Whole30.
Have you done a Whole30? How did you like it and how did your eating change afterwards? Comment below!