Editor’s Note: We’re taking you inside Natalie’s experience consuming nothing but whole, healthy, natural, and lean foods for 30 days – The Whole 30 Challenge! ###
By week 3, I was sleeping better, waking up WAY before my alarm feeling refreshed, AND the terrible bad breath I didn’t mention in my first two articles went away! I could hardly stand to breathe out of my own mouth for a few days. Anyways, eating within the confines of Whole 30 became easy. It felt nice after MANY days of craving comfort foods and being cranky. I definitely still want that ice cream as big as my face, but I no longer feel like I NEED it for emotional survival.
Great Meals I’ve Had This Week
One of my FAVORITE dinners! Mexican seasoned ground beef and guacamole over mixed greens. Simple, easy, YUM. I added almond butter with raspberries and cantaloupe as a sweet treat. Sparkling water has been my beer replacement. Not ideal, but it is a nice alternative to good ‘ole fashioned (boring) water.
Unwrapped breakfast burrito with Mexican seasoned ground beef (leftover from the night before), guacamole, and scrambled eggs with green peppers.
I stuffed a bunch of salad mix into a jar with cucumbers, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, red peppers, and green peppers. It may look cool, but the logistics of getting salad mix into and out of a jar are not ideal. I spilled a lot. I added avocado, lime, and chicken breast when I was at work. I used a little lime and a lot of salt and pepper for dressing, which mixed with the raspberry made the salad a sweet and tangy treat!
Here is a treat that is Whole 30 friendly: Prosciutto and melon. We added it to our egg, red pepper, green pepper, tomato, and avocado scramble. This was SUCH a good brunch!
Hipsters: A Breath of Fresh Air in the Morning (another tip for eating out)
A friend of mine and I often meet for breakfast at our local hipster coffee shop before work to start the day off right with a nice balanced meal. It is easy to create a Whole 30 friendly breakfast at your classic sit-down restaurant (as long as they cook with oil and not butter), but your local hipster coffee shop can be a challenge.
Your choices are generally: baked good, vegan baked good resembling hockey puck, bagel with cream cheese, or yogurt with granola. Luckily, this particular hipster coffee shop also serves up a breakfast burrito that I ordered sans tortilla, black beans, and cheese. The hipster behind the counter barely flinched at my request. He didn’t even confirm each omission just TO BE SURE I was clear on the definition of a burrito.
The moral of this story: If you are tired of getting dumbfounded looks when you order, find the most hipster spot and go eat there. Hipsters don’t give a shit what you eat.
Summer BBQs and Saying ‘No’ to the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie on the Planet
Saying no to booze when everyone else is drinking was NOTHING compared to saying no to the best chocolate chip cookie on the planet. Our crew of friends waits for Valentine’s Day and Christmas to arrive so we can devour our friend Jackie’s cookies. They are THE BEST I have ever tasted. The chocolate chip cookies (not-so-secret ingredient: sea salt) are irresistible. BUT, I prevailed through the BBQ AND I came prepared with a ziplock bag. I took two cookies home to freeze. I plan on eating them immediately after this Whole 30 thing is over. Possibly for breakfast on day 31. Thank you Jackie!!
Survival tools for a friend’s summer BBQ:
Homemade fruity soda water
Wild-caught salmon for the grill (Can you tell which one is wild-caught and which is farm-raised?)
Training for a Half Marathon: DO OVER!
I have been feeling great in general, so I thought my running would improve as well. Unfortunately, it has taken a serious dive. I am having a MUCH harder time getting through my training runs. For example: The first week of Whole 30, my running buddy and I started doing track workouts. The first workout was fine. It was hard, but I finished it. Week 3 was a different story...I got through two thirds of the same workout and had no energy to finish. I sent my running buddy ahead (keep in mind-she is doing Whole 30 as well) to sail around the track at top speed.
It is important to remember that every body is different. Your body may react to this process differently than mine or my running buddy’s. Be patient. I am training for a half marathon that is in October and I have decided to start my training over because my fitness is not improving. Especially with running, it is very important to increase your training slowly so you don’t get injured. My “General” Tiger Blood has definitely arrived, but I am holding out for “Running” Tiger Blood. SHOOT! I should have asked for cheetah blood!
Finishing: WTF Happens Now?!
I am just a week and a couple days away from finishing and people are already asking what I am planning for my first non-Whole 30 meal. After splurging on sugary cocktails last week, I am keenly aware of what a binge will feel like, so I am going to continue eating on the Whole 30 plan and slowly add ‘treats’ like those two chocolate chip cookies I froze from the BBQ, beer, bread, and CHEESE. Oh how I miss cheese...
If I have learned anything in the last 22 days, it is that I consumed WAY MORE carbohydrates than my body could burn before Whole 30. There is no doubt that I will be enjoying ice cream, booze, and the occasional grilled blueberry muffin (try it, it is delicious), AND I am now keenly aware that the proportion of those items compared to real, whole foods needs to be a VERY small percentage. In the future, not every meal I make will have rice or pasta of some kind. I will also treat beer as a ‘treat’ rather than an essential part of dinner......most of the time.
8 days left!
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Natalie Canfield is a California born and Arizona bred lover of sunshine, the outdoors, international adventures, and delicious beer. Challenging humans to dream big is her life’s work and currently it manifests itself through working in study abroad. She lives with her fiancé and his five bicycles in Somerville, MA and they dream about the day when they will move back west. Follow her adventures on Twitter @Life_of_Noods.