We finished! We considered the Super Bowl party at our friend’s place an appropriate meal to break away. I had some chili with a few beans, some corn bread with honey butter, a small bite of pie and ice cream, and an alcohol free beer. So not much of a break, but I could barely eat the pie and ice cream—way too sweet. Now to food freedom, the ability to actually choose what I want instead of craving it. Here are six reflections on our month of Whole 30:
1. Whole 30 is way more fun doing it along with someone.
“No thank you, I can’t have that” was not spoken at home because we ate the same thing. I truly enjoyed doing something with my wife that had us moving in the same direction for an entire month. We rejoiced together as we saw the results.
2. Even when doing Whole 30 together, one spouse is not responsible for the other.
Each of us had to stay accountable for our own adherence. Looking over the shoulder or making comments on the other person’s choices are a recipe for conflict. I learned that the first week and then the rest went just fine.
3. Using a meal template is fine for a start, but gets old very quickly.
For Lynn and me, flavor, texture, and variety rule our normal cooking. After a week or so of following a template, we were simply bored with our evening meals, and since Lynn also uses the left-overs for lunch at work, this wasn’t working. Because I was doing most of the cooking, I had to break off and find meals with complexity of flavors and textures that squared with the Whole 30 guidelines. It was not actually that difficult with the subtraction of pasta and rice, and the use of alternatives to wheat flour. By the end we were enjoying every meal (the Moo-su Pork in the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook was over the top!). Of course, the simple steak, baked potato (with ghee), and a salad are always good.
4. Find your go-to breakfast.
The first week, I made a sausage casserole, then tried some other template ideas. A week and a half in, breakfast became streamlined: eggs, potatoes, avocado, bacon, an orange, and orange juice. Vary the eggs (fried, poached, scrambled, boiled soft and hard) and potatoes, and breakfast is easy, tasty, and filling. Of course, the addition of the air fryer made the potatoes vastly easier and efficient, so I will continue to use it.
5. Home-made bacon can’t be beat.
I thought about doing this the last time, but didn’t have the time. Now, I am not sure I can go back to store-bought bacon. Curing with beet powder, salt, some apple cider vinegar, and maybe a few other spices for five days, then smoking to 150°F makes a truly delectable bacon. I am going to keep trying variations, but no curing salts with nitrites for me.
6. There is no perfect Whole 30, but the results always shine through anyway.
Over thirty days of life, some detail will get missed. For me it was automatically putting ketchup on some potatoes when we were out with some friends. Everything else I ordered was ok, but as I left the restaurant, I remembered the sugar in the ketchup. Any biggie? No, just laugh and go on. I am sure there were other mistakes. Yet, an honest attempt to stay faithful always shows results, at least in my three iterations, and Lynn certainly can say the same. The scale may not be there, but the belt loops and the mirror do not lie, and neither does the sleep quality and the energy improvement. Even with the insertion of COVID into the month, the sleep and the energy improved, and I lost eight pounds with nary a peek at the scale.
Will we do this again? Maybe, or maybe modified for our particular needs (I would not call it Whole 30, then). In any case, I am glad to have done this, and to have done it with Lynn. Completing it together is the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.