We’ve decided to take the Whole30 Challenge to reset our physical health and test our discipline this month, with surprising results. If you’re not familiar, the Whole30 Challenge is 30 days of eating only vegetables, fruit, and clean protein. That means eating grass-fed or pastured meats, free range eggs, and wild-caught seafood, along with plenty of vegetables, fruit, and nuts.
Because it seemed to make good, healthy sense, we had considered it for a while, and decided to just dive right in, after returning from our lovely vacation on the East Coast (another post on that later!).
We had a close look at the suggestions made by veteran Whole30 pal Metamorphocity, made a list of all the foods we love that are compliant with the plan, and headed into Kensington Market to stock up the day before starting. We treated ourselves to a nice meal out at one of our favourite local restaurants, had a glass of wine, and went to bed excited about our new challenge.
It was a great idea to start on a Sunday, just to take our time with some food prep, and have the printouts of compliant and non-compliant foods/additives posted right on the fridge for easy reference. Day 1 was predictably easy, Day 2 predictably hard: we giggled through the Whole30 Timeline article, recognizing ourselves in the typical reactions already!
I made a personal commitment to try to take photos of each meal this week, to compile a visual montage of what we’re eating–both for accountability and the urge to share pics with folks who might benefit from meal suggestions. I know fatigue can set it, so I’ve been perusing a lot of meal photos myself for future inspiration. Thirty days seems like a long time, but after one week, we’re feeling amazing.
If you’re not following along already, please tag along on our Whole30 odyssey on Instagram, @bigcitybucolic, or Twitter @bigcitybucolic, but in case you’re not the social media type, here’s a roundup of our Whole30 Week One experience:
Whole30 Week One
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with broccoli and chives, mesclun and cuke salad with lemon & olive oil, black coffee, and some lemon water.
Lunch: All-beef burgers (PEI grass-fed) with Dijon and chopped olives on iceburg lettuce, with sliced watermelon.
Dinner: Pan-fried chicken breast with green beans and scallions, some almonds, and cucumber mint water. Snack of salted sunflower seeds in the shell.
Breakfast: Banana with rainforest nutbutter, cinnamon, and sliced almonds. Black coffee and apple cinnamon water.
Lunch: Mesclun with julienned carrots, hard boiled eggs, compliant ham, tomatoes, mini cucumber, larabar, an apple, and soda water.
Dinner: Garlic shrimp and green onions on zucchini and carrot noodles with red pepper, cucumber mint water.
Breakfast: Prosciutto-wrapped peach slices, blueberries, and an egg; coffee and a banana at break.
Lunch: Greek chopped salad with romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, olive bruschetta mix, and fresh lemon; kippers on the side. Snack of roasted diced sweet potatoes.
Dinner: Spaghetti squash with Bolognese Sauce.
Breakfast: Monkey Salad–bananas, cashews, coconut, and raisins with cinnamon, with black coffee.
Lunch: Julienned carrots, avocado, and cherry tomatoes. Cucumber spears for snack.
Dinner: Mixed veggies, pan fried, with grilled Nova Scotia grass-fed prime rib steak, and fresh guacamole. Pistachios and pineapple Snapz for snacks.
Breakfast: Banana, hard boiled egg, clementine, cashews and a larabar (which I didn’t end up eating) along with espresso.
Lunch: Gorgeous green curry with chicken and vegetables.
Dinner: Sesame crusted salmon with green beans, sprouts, broccoli, and tomatoes. Spitz sunflower seeds for a salty snack.
Breakfast: Peach, Egg, Almonds, and Berries; Espresso and Larabar for a snack.
Lunch: Salmon, roasted sweet potatoes, sprouts, and cucumber, with sparkling water.
Dinner: Caribbean Stew with beef, carrots, pumpkin, christophine and scotch bonnet.
Breakfast: Omelette with sauteed mushrooms and thyme, field greens and french press coffee, and a pear.
Lunch: Spicy Italian Sausage with stewed tomatoes and saffron, sweet potatoes, and crisp apple and pumpkin seed salad.
Dinner: Zucchini Noodles with Bolognese sauce, and a Larabar.
The verdict? It has been much easier and more rewarding than anticipated. To be honest, I was expecting to crash and wallow in deep yearning hunger all day–look, I am a great lover of all things dairy, a good baguette and two or three glasses of wine. Food is a romance in our home. This was going to be hard. But our meals have been delicious and satisfying. And with the stringent Whole30 guidelines, which have us reading every label and making inquiries with suppliers, butchers, and grocers, we are shocked to discover how much non-food is in our food.
The beauty of the Whole30 is that it demands you inspect your food, to be sure you’re getting the real thing, no funny business. Let me tell you, there is a lot of funny business in our food supply, friends–filler, preservatives, and additives at best; allergens, hormones, and toxic chemicals at worst. So instead of feeling deprived, we’re feeling pampered and privileged to eat beautifully raised food–and taking the time to prepare it lovingly (mostly done by my creative and talented partner) and eat it thoughtfully, and in fact we’re treating ourselves to the very best food available to us. It has been a pleasure. Stay tuned for more Whole30 details as we progress through our month of clean eating!
Have any of you tried a Whole30 before? What was your experience?