All-in-all, I feel like my Whole30 experience was a success. I stayed on plan to the best of my ability and didn't feel too deprived or unable to find things to eat that worked with the plan. I definitely feel better physically and emotionally from taking processed foods, sugar, grains, legumes and dairy out of my diet for a month.
What I learned:
- I can do anything I put my mind to. I've known this for a while, but following the Whole30 plan was a good reminder.
- I still don't always like to cook, but I know that it helps to stay on a plan if you're in control of how your food is being prepared. And cooking is not too bad if you plan and cook things ahead to heat up later.
- I didn't miss beans/legumes that much, except maybe hummus. I made chili using ground turkey and tomatoes and tomato juice and it was still very good and filling without beans.
- I knew this, but there are a lot of hidden ingredients in most foods that we buy at the grocery store or out to eat at a restaurant. I looked up the menu and allergen information for a couple of places where I was planning to eat and had a hard time finding something to eat that didn't include something on the "to avoid" list. I don't have life-threatening allergies, but I gained a new empathy for those who do and can't just go eat wherever they want.
I am going to follow the Whole30 guidelines for reintroducing food groups. They recommend adding foods back according to what is known to cause the least amount of issues to people, but also to not feel like you have to add something back in that you haven't missed. They suggest introducing a food and then going back to following the Whole30 for a couple of days to see how your body reacted to the food. I already know that some forms of dairy (milk, yogurt, ice cream) bothers my system, so I'll probably only have those on very special occasions and use a supplement to help digest the lactose. I also need to stay off of sugar and will do my best to continue that, except for special occasions. I want to try eating some oatmeal and see how adding grains back in effects my system. I think I have missed grains the most at breakfast.
This has been a good "reset" for me to get back to a healthy eating life-style. In some areas, I hadn't strayed too far off track, but I needed the motivation to get back off of sugar and dairy. It helped to have a structured plan, cause I'm a structured gal!