Whole 30 can be really difficult. The most difficult thing I found at times was the amount of time I spent cooking in the kitchen. Creating a breakfast bake each week was the true life saver to me making it through whole 30. They lasted perfect as left overs for 3 days and even better, it was one less meal I had to make every few days! I hope you love it just as much as I do!
I am blown away first off that I was even able to stick to something for 2 weeks let alone 30 days! This month has not been easy by any means and I am super proud of myself.
Why: Doing a whole 30 seems crazy. And it is. Seems restrictive…and it is. Ive told myself since competing several years ago that I would not go back to anything restrictive. But this was a little bit different…hear me out. Here’s a short background….I decided to stop my birth control a few years ago and after that is when i started to notice my PCOS symptoms. After being throughly checked by my physician with lab draws and an ultrasound, it was confirmed that that was the problem. I was prescribed multiple medications and they just made me feel like crap. So I needed to take it a step further. I had started doing extensive research and saw things like keto and paleo diets helping to lessen and even resolve PCOS. I had done whole 30 a couple of times in the past and loved the results and how I felt but this time, round 3, my life depended on it. Whole 30 is extremely similar to paleo except its more strict. Now only strict for 30 days as you start to reintroduce foods after and find your food freedom after the 30 days is complete. So being strict for 30 days, I could mentally get past that. My main motivation was my health and wellness. At the age of 30, not having a regular period, having acne on my face (embarrassing), having eczema on my body, gaining weight and unable to lose weight despite how much i worked out and how much i tried to change my eating habits…..all this was nearly depressing. So knowing what i knew about whole 30 and its benefits, I had to dive in and try it again.
What whole 30 was like: Uh well. It was hard. Every day was tough. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t think about the desert I was missing. Or for goodness sake, the ease of eating out. Like wow you literally have to cook every day. Each day was a challenge, but that is what makes finishing that much sweeter. Again, my motivation being that I could solve my PCOS symptoms and more, I knew I just had to push through and there was no way around it. And Also, I had started building a following on my instagram which forced me to stay consistent with my meals each day. I found a way to make it fun though. On previous rounds of whole 30, I thought my meals had to be boring with just meat and veggies and a fat, but this time I got creative and made something new each week which kept the interest and fun going.
The benefits: SO MANY!!! By no means is everything just perfect with me and my body yet because in the grand scheme of things, 30 days isn’t really that long when we talk about the issues that I do have. The acne on my face has cleared up! The eczema on my skin is almost gone! I have FINALLY lost weight! Losing weight with PCOS seems nearly impossible until you actually figure out what you are supposed to do. I can sleep longer than four hours at a time! And I work night shift and so this is usually a huge problem! My season allergies have been extremely minimal. Practically absent. And they are usually TERRIBLE!!!! I wake up for 5am workouts! Uh what. Yea. I have done a 5am work out quite a few times in this past month. Im crazy I know. Lastly, I saved a ton of money NOT eating out! I didnt even realize but I have significantly more money with just grocery shopping and eating what I made from home. Its quite amazing actually.
The downfalls: Because its not all good and I definitely like to keep it real! You have to meal prep every day. Although I enjoy cooking and making new recipes, seriously cooking every day can be a drag especially when your tired, in between shifts, or just busy. Its hard! You have cravings and you fight the cravings every single day and nothing really helps except just getting over it. The first week I got sugar withdrawal headaches but that soon resolved. I felt nauseous toward the end and I concluded that I believe it was my hormones trying to regulate themselves just like when you become pregnant and you have a fluctuation of hormones in your body and in turn causes morning sickness, it was the same feeling. So much that I even took a pregnancy test knowing I wasn’t pregnant. Hahaaa but it was bad!
Ultimately, I am super excited with my progress. It makes me want to continue this lifestyle. Life after whole 30 encourages a reintroduction of all food groups and finding food freedom. I do not plan to do a reintroduction as i know how most foods make me feel, but I will be on the quest for food freedom because I know it will be much more possible to stick to this lifestyle if I am kind with myself and allow myself some choices in moderation.
Here is a photo of my progress
Let’s be real with ourselves here. Most of us are busy and being too busy is one of the top reasons for not sticking with your healthy eating right? I am here to tell you, health eating doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. I made this lunch in about 7 minutes. You know the saying “keep it simple stupid”. Or did i just make that up? Oh well. Here ya go
- Unthawed frozen or fresh shrimp.
- A head of cabbage
- Marinated onions
- Honey garlic seasoning
- Pink himilayan sea salt
- Olive oil
- Warm two small skillets with olive oil
- Prepare the shrimp to your liking. Cleaning, removing tails, seasoning etc
- Shread about 1/4 of the cabbage (if you’re making for your family chop the whole head up)
- You may season your shrimp either before or during cooking. I don’t have one specific way of doing this. This particular day i added my seasoning before cooking. Also feel free to add what flavoring you think will be tasty. My seasoning of choice was honey garlic rub I bought from fresh thyme (loveeee that store) and pink Himalayan sea salt. Super simple. Don’t complicate it
- 5. In one skillet add the chopped cabbage and in the other skillet add the shrimp.
- Cook cabbage until soft and cook shrimp until they are pink and lightly browned through out
- Add shrimp on top of cooked cabbage
- For added flavor and don’t you dare skip this step because they are amazing, i topped with marinated onions.
I broke the steps down to be as detailed as possible but seriously this meal is so quick, easy and tasty!
When we talk about eating for healing, the main thing we must begin to focus on is gut health. This form of living can be applied to anyone but i am specifically focusing on my PCOS-ers because it is SO SO important to have a healthy gut in order to have healthy and balanced hormones.
Gut health research, in relation to hormonal balance, is still on the rise. But it makes sense that let’s say you eat dairy and it causes bloating and discomfort. That in turn is causing a negative and inflammatory response in the body which in turn causes the imbalance in the body’s hormones. Gut health is one of the most overlooked elements of hormonal imbalance.
For me and my experience, gut health can be determined by feel. How do I feel when i eat certain food items? Do I feel sluggish, energized, bloated, normal, gassy, skin full of acne or eczema?…This is where the term “listen to your body” comes in. It sounds silly but it is very true! No one knows you like you. No diet can tell you how you feel. This is why I am not going to claim being on a specific named diet because I can pull foods from each food group and feel fine but there are certain foods that i just know will trigger sluggish feelings, cause me to be bloated and leave me with a face full of acne.
Heres some questions to ask yourself to determine the health of your gut:
- After you eat, are you feeling bloated, crampy and/or gassy
- Is your energy constantly low despite the amount of sleep you may get
- Do you have acne or dry skin (i.e. eczema)
Consider looking into your diet if you have answered yes to any of these questions.
There are certain foods that make these symptoms worse and it is not the same for everyone. A few common ones are (not an inclusive list)
If you are wanting to make changes but find it difficult, the most important thing to remember, if you don’t like it then don’t do it and if it doesn’t make you feel good then don’t do it! Let’s say you love ice cream but it makes you feel horrible. Instead of saying i can’t have ice cream, switch your wording to saying, ice cream does not make me feel good! Switching your mindset will make a huge difference in the end, especially for your mental health! If you want to try this but have no idea where to start, consider trying Whole 30 with (the most important part) the reintroduction phase. I do not have plans for a whole 30 soon but I have done it before which is why I am an advocate for this. The reintroduction phase allows you to slowly add food back in and you can tell if your body reacts poorly or if your body does fine, and from there you will know what food your body responds to best and which is best for you and your long term healing.
Healing with food begins with being in tuned to our bodies. After all, this is about holistic living.
Stay happy and healthy 🙂