So in all honesty I didn’t make it to 30 days. I could have, but I chose to eat off plan the very last night, a little bit. What can I say? Chips and salsa are my kryptonite! I would go back and do it again, though – no regrets.
So what did I learn from doing a Whole30 challenge? A lot of things. I like to think of myself as a pretty disciplined person, but this challenged me more so, and stretched my creativity as well. Throwing a pat of butter in the pan for whatever I was cooking was second nature to me (as was throwing a pat into my mouth!). I was able to break that habit, and cooked with either coconut oil or ghee. On a side note, it is a lot less expensive to make your own ghee than to buy it at the health food store – like $5 cheaper. I was using about 2 jars a week (I’m feeding 5 people here!) so that adds up. It’s just that I would run out at the most inopportune moment. Now the kids have accidentally recycled the jars I was using to store it, so I will have to find another way. I really like cooking with ghee and I think I will continue to do so in the future.
I also broke the coffee cream habit (though I did use some this morning, and am paying a price. A sneezy, runny nose price. Yuck!) and now use some coconut oil and coconut milk in my coffee. It’s not much different, just no nasal allergies when my cup is done. I don’t think I will go back to using heavy cream in my coffee. Like the way I feel after drinking alcohol, it’s just not worth it.
I am learning to like leftovers. At least, I like not having to put together a 3- or 4-course meal every single night. I have taken some lessons from Melissa Joulwan’s book Well Fed, and NomNom Paleo’s website for cooking up a lot of protein. The sides are usually a quick and easy item – a salad, some sautéed greens, etc. We are heading into an especially busy season with kid activities and copious amounts of cooking and cleaning daily will make me crabby! For a family of 5 (yes, one of them is a baby but he eats mostly the same food that we do) I have to cook 3-4 lbs of meat in order to have some for dinner that night and leftovers later in the week.
Results. You want results? I’ve got results. I probably lost about 5 lbs. I can now comfortably wear my smallest nursing bra, on the smallest hooks; I can’t wear the ones I used a year ago at all they are so huge (since having the baby I have probably lost a total of 60 lbs). In fact, I fit all of my pre-pregnancy clothes very comfortably; in another 5 lbs or so it will be time to go down to a smaller size. That feels good, especially since I will have one of those big-decade birthdays in about a month. I have always wanted to enter those birthdays feeling great – and this is the year it is going to happen, thanks to living a clean paleo lifestyle.
Energy. I have it. In abundance! My eyes snap open at 6 am every morning. I am mentally alert and ready to take on the day! My fuzzy, foggy need for 2 large mugs of splenda-cream coffee and 2 hours of reading on the internet until I feel human is gone. I can wake up and cook first thing (before, I didn’t trust myself until I hit that 2 hour timeframe – too foggy!) if I want to. It leaves me with more time in my day to be active, proactive, and that is a great feeling. No longer am I just a consumer of internet junk, television junk, whatever junk; I try to be a generator of something positive either for my family or for this blog. Am I making any sense?
This week I will play around with what works and what doesn’t. Obviously cream in my coffee doesn’t. But I will use that cream to make some homemade ice cream for our little Cavebaby’s 1st birthday! I will also use the beautiful chocolate I bought to make a flourless cake as well. And plan an awesome little feast in his honor! Then, perhaps, I will return to another Whole30 challenge, or just maintain a slightly stricter paleo practice, knowing that it makes me feel great.
If you are interested in trying a Whole30 challenge, check out this website. There is a lot of information for free, but also a guide for purchase I think. I didn’t buy the guide, but a lot of people have commented on how helpful it is. I really enjoyed their post yesterday about completing your Whole30 experience: now what?