whole30 // final thoughts

Today is day 29 in my Whole30 journey, and I’m posting my final thoughts a day early because I have some other stuff planned for this week. I have to admit, it’s been a much easier road to travel than I thought, and I’m happy about that. After seeing such great results and feeling so much better about my body, I’m going to try my hardest to continue this way of life. At least parts of it. Here are some of my final thoughts:
I’m down 11 pounds and my body just feels good. My clothes fit better, I can suck in easier and I’m just in general not uncomfortable. I have always struggled with water retention and problems in my gut, and after a couple weeks of clean eating, I felt like those problems were gone. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was that I eliminated that helped, if it was no soy, no dairy, no sugar or no alcohol, but we will see how my body feels when I am in the reintroduction phase. 
On that note, I really feel like cutting dairy is what helped the most, so I will continue to eliminate most dairy from my diet. My husband said, “so after this we can have cheat days, right?” I’m going to say, YES. I miss pizza, and I think if I’m not eating it as often as I want, I’ll be okay. But again, we will see! I might take a bite and decide pizza is just not for me anymore! (HA! YEAH RIGHT.)
I used to use fat-free half and half and honey in my coffee, but since I’ve been introduced to canned coconut milk I’ve been in love. I use the Thai Kitchen Lite Coconut Milk and it reminds me of mornings in Hawaii. I’m a fan!
I have to admit something. The hubs and I went on a date last night and we went to a busy restaurant and decided to wait at the bar, and I had a beer. ONE beer. And I felt so guilty afterwards. But we were sitting at the bar and I felt pressured in this busy restaurant… And enough with the excuses, I did it, I can’t take it back, GUILTY. I didn’t cheat on the eating portion though, so that cancels it out, right…?
One thing I noticed about 3/4 of the way through was that I was feeling really fatigued and lightheaded. I also noticed a bunch of bruises on my legs and arms. I didn’t even think about the fact that I’m probably not getting enough nutrients. I didn’t read the book, so I’m not sure if vitamins are mentioned in there. I’m terrible about taking a multivitamin, but with everything that I’ve been eliminating I thought it’d be a good idea to start taking one. This is my own experience – I’m not a doctor – so please don’t just take my advice. If you want to start Whole30 and you’re concerned about a lack of nutrients, talk to your doctor. 
I have only been out to a restaurant twice since starting, and the first time was just me and the hubs, so there wasn’t a lot of pressure. The second time we were with other people, and I felt a little more anxious because I just kind of felt stupid having all of these restrictions. It ended up working out, but a little bit of my food anxiety came back. We also had my husband’s work party where they ordered pizza and that was probably my hardest night yet. I even tried eating ahead of time so I wouldn’t be hungry when the pizza came, but it didn’t help. But I stayed strong and avoided the pizza line and guess what – I survived! I was so proud of myself and my willpower.
Since starting Whole30, I’ve been shopping at Trader Joe’s and I really love it there. They have so many easy, yummy, clean snacks. I feel terrible though – my husband runs a Hy-Vee grocery store in our small town and I feel like I’m cheating. I try my best to balance the two out – I get what I can at Hy-Vee, like produce, meat and other basics, and the rest at Trader Joe’s. A lot of the new Hy-Vees have amazing Health Markets that carry similar items to what Trader Joe’s has, but unfortunately that kind of stuff is not in high demand in our small town. Some of my favorite snacks from TJ’s are their crispy, crunchy broccoli florets and their plantain chips. From Hy-Vee, almonds, bananas and almond butter and sliced radishes dipped in guacamole. 
Here’s another Whole30 recipe that I found on the @whole30recipes Instagram page. This recipe was submitted by @meljoulwan, and it is so good! My husband and I love snacks, so it was perfect for us!
Serves 2-4 | Prep 20 minutes | Cook 30 minutes

2 green plantains (they MUST be GREEN)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons coconut oil
1/2 medium onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup Whole30 compliant chicken broth (or water)
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

minced scallions, jalapeño slices, diced avocado, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 350F. Cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Peel the plantains and use a mandoline slicer on its thinnest setting to make plantain coins. Toss the slices and the coconut oil in a large bowl.

Use four coins to make each “tortilla:” Lay them flat on baking sheet with edges slightly overlapping; sprinkle with salt. Bake 25-30 minutes until crisp & starting to brown. Meanwhile…

Heat coconut oil in a non-stick skillet over medium, 2 minutes. Add onion and cook until soft, 7-10 minutes. Mix the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, cayenne, and salt, then add to onions.

Crumble the ground beef into pan and cook, breaking up clumps, about 5 minutes. Push meat to the side & drop in tomato paste; fry 3 minutes. Add broth and vinegar; stir. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook, uncovered, 10 minutes. Pile meat on top of plantain chips & top with garnishes.

Overall the Whole30 experience was a positive one, and a great start to a new year. I feel like I’ve learned so much, not only about food, but about my body as well. After I get back from Miami, I have exactly 30 days until we leave for Hawaii – perhaps there will be a Whole30 round 2! Thanks for reading!

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