We finished our experience with the Whole30 a little over a week ago, and in the interested of full disclosure to the internet, we only go to day 26 before we started gradually lightening the rules and working our way to the new balance we wanted to find that is both sustainable and affordable for our family.
There were a few very interesting and worthwhile lessons that I learned from doing the program, the first is that healthy meals take time, planning, and dedication, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed! As much as it was taxing at times, I enjoyed knowing I had the goal of making a delicious healthy dinner each day, as well as packing the breakfast and lunches for the next day. It was a lot of work but at the end of the day I had accomplished it and felt so good, both because you just do feel better when you eat better, and also because I get a lot of satisfaction from accomplishing things like that.
I unfortunately was disappointed by the lofty “This WILL change YOUR LIFE!” promises of the program, and didn’t really notice any earth shattering changes to my energy (always have high energy levels) or my skin, or metabolism or other things. I did lose 10 pounds, but it will be all about maintaining healthier meals that will determine if those pounds stay off. I took this to mean that we had been doing a fair job of eating healthy even before we started, and none of the trigger foods (gluten, dairy, etc) are really that much of an enemy and so we can keep eating them in moderation. Yay!
I learned a lot about reading labels, shopping, planning and preparing meals which don’t rely on quick and easy processed foods, and I hope I can keep that going. We also learned that we like a lot of healthy things which I hadn’t tried before, such as substituting spaghetti squash for noodles and other ways that meals can be much more vegetable based with out always being a giant salad. I also feel very confident that if and when I have to cook allergy sensitive meals, be it dairy free, wheat free, sugar free etc. I now know lots of options that are also delicious and don’t require special ingredients that I don’t usually have.
It was a very good although quite expensive, experience. I am so happy that my husband happily came alone for the journey and was so supportive to this little experiment, but now we are on to our next challenge which I call Frugal365 which is all about finding the best ways to keep up the health levels, but also balance that out with the budget and being able to have those special treats on important feast and holidays. Something I really missed on the feast of the Assumption which fell during our Whole30.
In our quest for balance and creating our own family culture, I think this whole experience was a very good lesson and I am glad we did it, but I am much MORE glad that I am back to having cream and sugar in my coffee!