As described by their website, a round of Whole30 is “a short-term reset, created to help you curb your cravings and bad habits, boost your metabolism, heal your digestive track, and calm your immune system.” The idea is to eliminate the commonly problematic trigger foods while monitoring your “improvement in energy, sleep, digestion, mood, cravings, focus, anxiety, self-confidence, chronic pain or fatigue, athletic performance and recovery, and any number of other symptoms or medical conditions.” At the end of 30 days, you systematically reintroduce the eliminated foods, paying attention to any changes in your health, habits, and mindset.
I completed my first Whole30 in January of 2015. I was a senior in college starting my last semester of undergrad and was a member of the University of Toledo CHAARG chapter. I was living in an apartment off campus with 3 roommates in a 2-bedroom apartment [shout out to Travis and his v instagramable black and white plates seen below]. At the start of 2015, CHAARG had announced they would be hosting a virtual Whole30 round, #CHAARGwhole30, inviting members to join. At the time I’m not sure why I was drawn to participate. Looking back, I think I was motivated by the challenge, and plus, I wanted the bragging rights because let’s face it, giving up added sugar, dairy, grains, and alcohol for 30 days IS NOT EASY, also pretty sure my roommates didn’t think I could do it, which motivated me more.
Up until that point, I wasn’t much interested in cooking or meal planning. If my memory serves me, I ate a lot of pasta, frozen meals, sandwiches, pizza, ya know, typical college kid foods. I can confidently say Whole30 taught me to cook. For the first time in my life I was not only following recipes, but then learning to toss them aside and throw shit together in a skillet that didn’t always look good but always tasted good. I bought new, trendy kitchen tools and gadgets, like a spiralizer and mandoline slicer. I experimented with spices beyond salt and pepper, like the Private Selection Pizza Seasoning Grinder (still bomb). I ate a lot of scrambled eggs, sweet potatoes, spinach, turkey burgers, and almond butters, as evidenced by the Instagram photos I was sharing at the time (then my handle was @meryn_inchaarg, since changed to @merynfoodie). I don’t remember being in it for the weight loss, though that did come. I lost a total of 16.2 pounds and 5 inches which catapulted me to my best shape and lowest weight which would have been around 153 (with my heaviest being 193 the summer of 2012).
Since my first Whole30 in January of 2015, I have completed 5 additional rounds with the last being in January of 2018. There have been other attempts since then but each time I’ve quit for one reason or another, most likely temptation from a snazzy looking donut, a refreshing beer, or a free sweet treat at work. But when Melissa Urban announced they were launching a worldwide group Whole30 – #Whole30AtHome starting Monday, April 13 (read more here), I knew it was time. Things are slow at work – I’m only working 10-15 hours a week, 20 hours in a really good week, so I definitely have the time to commit to a Whole30 and the planning and preparation that goes into a successful round. Plus, I have hundreds of pins on Pinterest and a stack of recipe and cookbooks (Whole30 brand and otherwise, listed below) to dive into further.
The Whole Smiths: Good Food Cookbook by Michelle Smith
Better Homes and Gardens Fresh: Recipes for Enjoying Ingredients at Their Peak (not Whole30 specific but modifiable)
The Whole 30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig
The Whole30 Fast & Easy by Melissa Hartwig
The Whole30 Slow Cooker by Melissa Hartwig
I plan to be sharing photos on my @merynfoodie Instagram and a weekly reflection/round up at the end of each week, wish me luck!
Until tomorrow, Meryn