Last post, I promise. Well, last post until I decide I’m way to sugar-ed and carb-ed up and need another go at Whole 30. But I did it! I’m done! Here are some final thoughts.
(OMG this recipe book from Kate Spade. I haven’t brought it home….yet.)
Was I successful?
According to me? Yes. According to other Whole 30-ers? I did not follow the rules. I ate beans and chickpeas a bunch of times, and I had smoothies with breakfast almost every day. And my coffee had sugar in it. The thing is, I stayed completely off milk and cheese and BUTTER, and pasta, and bread, and a whole bunch of other stuff you’re supposed to. So for me, who is always thoughtful about what she eats, but who doesn’t always show the most restraint, I was hugely successful. I didn’t eat Nutella for a month. That alone is a giant victory. Now excuse me, I’m off to the grocery store.
What were the best recipes?
Without a doubt, I much preferred taking regular recipes that happened to be Whole 30-compliant, or were almost Whole 30-compliant, and adapting them to suit the plan, over recipes designed for Whole 30. Do not come at me with your zoodles. That said, I did check out some cookbooks I thought would help me add variety when it came to dinner, and Against All Grain was the clear winner.
After your 30 days are up, you’re supposed to reintroduce the foods that you miss slowly, and forget the ones you didn’t. So what didn’t I miss?
Pasta! I don’t even know how that’s possible, because pasta has always been my very most favorite food. I know I’ll eat it again soon, but it’s not going to be the first food I bring back. That surprises me immensely. Pasta is also my go-to easy dinner, and its serious carbiness is making me think I need another go-to easy dinner up my sleeve. I will plan pasta nights, but they don’t need to happen every time I can’t (or don’t have the time to) think oF something else to eat.
Cheese! This one surprised me almost as much as not missing pasta. I always add cheese when I make frittatas, so I’d find myself planning flavor combinations and thinking how good they’d be with cheddar, or mozzarella, or, best of all, Parmesan. But the truth is, they were fine and tasty as I made them. Certainly cutting out all noodles reduced my cheese intake by a lot.
Rice – Which is much less of a surprise. Rice is my husband’s grain of choice, but we eat it a lot. Almost any time we’re eating chicken, pork, or beef. If we’ve got enough variety when it comes to veggies, I’ll double those, and I’m happy without it.
Ice cream – I don’t even know how to explain it except to say when you can’t have any dessert at all, your true favorite will emerge, and it might surprise you. (I did miss milkshakes though, which is totally different.) I decided that I won’t keep ice cream in the freezer this summer, but that whenever the mood strikes, I will absolutely get up and walk to one of the multiple local ice cream shops nearby.
Wine in cooking – There were some sunny spring days where a cocktail would have been a nice addition to the 5:00 hour, but it was never that hard to resist. What was much more challenging was finding recipes for entrees that didn’t have wine in them, and that I was excited about. (If the recipes called for 1/4-1/2 cup red or white wine, I’d still make them, but just swap the wine for chicken or beef stock.)
What was I longing for?
Milk – Duh. Specifically, an ice-cold, tall glass. The highlight of this whole experience was probably that I noticed no difference either giving up or adding back dairy. I’ve had doctors tell me for years that it may help my horrendously terrible skin, and I should give it up for 3 weeks to see what happens. Nothing happened! While this may seem bad on the skin front, it’s an overall win. I am not interested in a life without dairy.
Chocolate – There was not a single day that passed that I didn’t want to sneak away for a 5-minute Mommy break, complete with a handful of M&Ms or a York Peppermint Patty. Is it a food trap? Maybe. Do I care? Nope.
Baking – More than I wanted to eat dessert, I missed baking. I got together with friends, and had a couple events where I’m usually the baked-good bringer, and I missed being that person. When I bake, I’m usually content to eat a piece or two of whatever is in question and give the rest away. So this is habit that I know will come back, and I think that’s okay.
Good bread – I didn’t miss sandwich bread, but I was longing for a nice crusty slice of something upon which to make a sandwich or tartine. Which is funny because I’m not a huge fancy bread eater. Perhaps indulging in the good stuff will make bread worth it.
Easy meals – Save for chocolate, what I missed the most was being able to walk in the door from an incredibly busy or stressful day, and pour a bowl of cereal with milk and call it dinner. Though an apple with peanut butter (peanut butter!) would undoubtedly be healthier, cereal for dinner is exactly the right choice sometimes.
How was reentry?
It was lovely. I am trying hard to keep up my fruit and veggie consumption, and to go much, much easier in the carb and sugar department. This means at least one, if not two meals without grains, and one sweet treat a day. And no Nutella in the house.
What’s the bottom line?
I feel good. I don’t need coffee to wake up in the morning, but I still happily sip at my iced (almond milk!) latte because I love the ritual of it. My stomach is so much less flabby than usual, so I’m going to assume there’s some carb-weight that’s gone from the area. I don’t know whether I’ve lost any weight because I don’t own a scale. I am curious though, and I’ve got an annual check up in my future that may be telling. And most importantly, I’m happier with the food choices I’m making. Whole 30 proved that I have a lot more self control than I realized.