(Check out part one of my Whole30 review HERE)
So as I mentioned before, eating Whole30 was a pretty big shift for me. I’ve always been big into health and fitness, but I hadn’t really realized how unhealthy my diet had become. My daughter had picked up one of my indulgences: vanilla Greek yogurt with dark chocolate M&Ms. As I watched her add more and more M&Ms and eat this snack 2-3 times a day, I cringed. I started to pay more attention to how I was eating, and I realized that the habits my kids were learning came directly from me. And to be honest, it wasn’t great.
Just because I can eat those foods and not gain weight doesn’t mean that I should. It is so important to me that I set a realistic and healthy example for my kids when it comes to food. I’ve done the overly strict dieting thing before, and that was not something I wanted to model to the kids. But I also don’t want to model a diet consisting of too much sugar and very little unprocessed food. The truth was clear: I needed to find a happy medium.
The first week on Whole30 was really not too bad, but the second week was rough. I felt sluggish at the gym, and a little down. Life was throwing me curveballs, so it’s hard to know if it was more my circumstances or the diet that was throwing me off. By week three my energy was back, and I was feeling a lot better. When I came to the last week, I was pretty certain these new eating habits would stick. I’m all about eating in a way that feels great and tastes good – and surprisingly I found that in the Whole30!
Here is a sample of what the Whole30 diet looked like at my house. These are certainly not the only options, but they represent the foods we ate and enjoyed the most!
- Pedersons Whole30 Bacon, Grapefruit, and Cold Brew Coffee
- Roasted Potatoes, Peppers, and Onions with Sausage, Diced apples, and Avocado, and a Glass of Iced Tazo Zen Green Tea
- Banana with Cashew Butter
- Apple with Almond Butter
- Epic Hunt & Harvest Mix
- Baby Carrots and Sliced Peppers with Guacamole
- Sparkling Water, or Ice Water with a drop of a fun Essential Oil
- Taco Salad made with seasoned Ground Beef on a bed of Lettuce, Tomato, and Onion, topped with Salsa and Guacamole
- Bacon Burgers made with a Seasoned Burger Patty cooked in Avocado Oil on the skillet, topped with Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, Onions, Bacon, and Guacamole
- Whole30 Chili made in the crock pot with browned Ground Beef, Beef Broth, Diced Tomatoes, Seasoning, Peppers, and Onions
- Baked Chicken Marinated in Olive oil, Mustard, Balsalmic Vinegar, and Seasonings, served with Roasted and Seasoned Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, and Brussel Sprouts in Olive Oil
Since completing the Whole30 diet, I’ve enjoyed eating my taco salad in an actual taco shell, adding chocolate chips on my bananas with peanut butter, eating my Whole30 chili on crumbled corn chips, and indulging in a glass of wine or bourbon a couple of nights per week. I also am back to eating my beloved Ezekiel English muffins with white chocolate peanut butter here and there, and also having a whole milk cappuccino most days. I’m back to eating cheese now and then, and tasting whatever I want at social gatherings or parties. And the other night I made my favorite fair trade brownies and I ate three of them…and they were awesome.
What I love though is that I’m still eating a ton more plants and a lot less processed, prepackaged foods. I’m enjoying meat more, I’m motivated to cook more, and I’m setting a better example to my kids. I’m feeling great all day long, and I feel just as strong if not stronger at the gym. I’m glad I tried the Whole30, and if you are thinking about trying it – I say go for it! What do you have to lose…but more importantly, what do you have to gain?
Sara Pascale is an owner and coach at The Den in Allen. She homeschools her three children, and runs the StrongMom’s Bootcamp here at The Den. Sara has an Exercise Science degree from Wheaton College and 14 years of experience in the fitness industry. She played collegiate level basketball and has competed in several NPC Figure Competitions. Sara loves The Den because she loves to train like an athlete. She regularly attends The Den’s CrossFit and Boxing Classes, and she loves to train alongside her StrongMoms!