Today at STYLEanthropy, I’m handing over the blog to my friend Anna, who is kind enough to share her Whole30 Experience. FYI, this is NOT a sponsored post. It’s just that I’ve been hearing a lot about the #Whole30Challenge from friends and friend bloggers back in Dallas, especially right after the Holidays, that I decided to share it on here too.
You know it – people are looking for ways to improve their eating habits and lifestyle to welcome the New Year. Seeing my friends’ posts, progress and their own Whole30 Experience got me curious. And since I know my friend Anna has done it and have shared amazing photos (drooling) of the meals she prepared, I asked for her personal experience. Luckily, she happily obliged. This is what she has to say…
Embracing a Healthier Lifestyle
I remember the days when I could eat just about anything and not gain a single pound. It was when my family and I moved to California from Dallas, Texas, that we truly and fully embraced fitness and healthy eating. A healthy lifestyle is a big thing here in California. You would see everyone walking at the park on their lunch break, or riding their bike to work, instead of driving. Everything on the menu at a restaurant is laid out for you, whether how much calories that particular meal is worth, or how much carbs it has. I made it a point that hubby and I worked out at least 4-5 times per week. It’s me hitting the plateau from my last pregnancy that pushed me to just try to burn those extra pounds off and while hubby does it to have a healthier lifestyle.
Getting Introduced to Whole30
We were then introduced to the Whole30 challenge. Whole30 is a nutritional “reset” to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, and restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive track, and balance your immune system. It reintroduces you to “real” food, and actually changes the way you look at food and your relationship with it. We had no idea what it was before, and when it was introduced to us by the coaches from our church community and Crossfit box, they quoted Jack Lalanne:
“Nutrition is king, exercise is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.”
Now that’s something to think about.
During the Whole30 challenge, we learned a number of things and realized some foods we all thought were good for us actually impact our health negatively without realizing it. Whole30 listed those as sugars, alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy, and explains why each does not help in sustaining a healthy eating lifestyle. It was designed to end unhealthy cravings and restore a healhty metabolism.
We started out by eliminating the food we aren’t allowed to eat out of our kitchen, which was a bit tough when you have kids that aren’t doing the challenge. The first few days are usually the toughest because our bodies were used to all these food and crave it, especially sugar.
We experienced headaches and other effects of “sugar withdrawal”. We Asians love rice and we eat it with almost every meal, and it made the challenge even harder. Another challenge for us was making the meals for our kids since we couldn’t have them eat the same things with us all the time. We took the challenge one day at a time, and each day we prepped our meals… we ate eggs, meat, and veggies, and a lot of sweet potatoes. We came up with different ways of making the meals great and satisfying.
Our church community played a big role during the challenge as well because each and everyone were looking out and supporting each other. We shared meal recipes and even had an exercise program.
One of the most important thing we learned in my opinion while doing the challenge was being aware, reading and understanding the back of food labels whenever we went grocery shopping, checking the ingredients, and knowing what’s in them. It was very surprising sometimes when you realize that a simple pack of sausage isn’t just made out of meat. A lot of processed food contain added sugar in one form or another.
As far as results, we felt a lot better mentally and physically as the days went. We felt more active and energetic and it was really just a completely different state from what we were before.
After the 30 days, we slowly reintroduced the food we eliminated from or diet one little thing at a time. At times after eating food that we weren’t eating for the past 30 days, our bodies felt sluggish and sometimes sick, especially with food that had added sugar. We were actually more inclined to stay eating the way we’ve been during the Whole30 challenge, because we realized we actually felt better during those times.
Nowadays we would try to stay within the Whole30 guidelines, and occasionally have our “cheat days”, which usually turns out to “I don’t wanna eat that again, because it made me feel sick”. It’s an eye opener to realize how our bodies have been used to eating a lot of food that doesn’t exactly support healthy living, yet we are so immune to them that our bodies don’t react, until we reach old age and start feeling the effects.
I encourage you to give Whole30 a try, whether you want to try to lose weight, or simply just want to try a healthier lifestyle. I promise you, it’s really not that bad.
Anna and her husband, Reggie, along with their four kids, Krysten, Yasmine, Brielle and James
Thanks to Anna for sharing her Whole30 experience and her beautiful photos with us today. Make sure to follow her at instagram.com/simply.umami to see more drool-worthy foodie pics and more. If you’ve tried the #whole30challenge recently, please share with us your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you! Happy Friday, loves!