“Is this Whole30 Approved?” And other Thoughts on Day 10 of the Whole30

I’m officially 10 days into the January Whole30 and have to admit that my thoughts have ranged from “This is so easy,” to “Why am I doing this again?” --sometimes in the same day. I’m entering what the program founders label, “the hardest days” for many people who commit to doing the 30-day elimination program.

The Whole30 even made a timeline that shows how people commonly react during the program. It is a more tongue-in-cheek timeline (but weirdly accurate).

For the past 10 days my mom, sister and I have closely followed the program guidelines, which cuts out all food linked to inflammation or other health issues, including sugar, dairy, alcohol, gluten, grains, legumes, and anything artificial or processed.

Even though we all began the Whole30 with different goals and objectives in mind, we all feel great so far and have found the program to be surprisingly easy to follow. My mom even said she felt like “a fog has been lifted,” and that she is going to extend the program beyond 30 days. My mom is battling an autoimmune disorder, which many people say they find relief from after doing the Whole30.

My sister, who has been studying nearly 10 hours a day for her nursing board exam, said that she is feeling more focused and productive than ever. This is actually my sister’s second Whole30. She experienced great results with the first and decided to do it again as a post-holiday reset.

I’ve personally learned quite a few lessons so far, and here a just a few.

Lesson #1: The Whole30 is Not for Everyone

If there is one thing that I’ve learned from the Whole30, it is that the key to success is definitely giving yourself enough time to plan and prepare your meals. Which is why  I can honestly say that the Whole30 is not for everyone. I decided to do the program during a time in my life where I knew I would not be travelling much and working from home more. I would recommend being really strategic about the timing of doing the Whole30 if you are thinking about doing it. So if you travel a lot or hate the thought of cooking, this program may not be for you.

Choosing to do the Whole30 right now has been a huge part of reducing stress and overwhelm around the guidelines, since they are pretty restrictive. Next week could bring its own set of challenges though when I begin classes for graduate school. With nearly two weeks in, I do feel prepared and like I’ve kind of established a routine, which I think will be a huge help.

Overall I have noticed my energy is more consistent and that I just feel better in general throughout the day. For the first few days of the program my energy levels almost immediately improved, but then started to be less predictable a few days into the program. It’s really interesting the “symptoms” you can experience day-to-day on the Whole30. Since your hormones, digestion, and a host of other factors change, it’s almost like putting your body through a roller coaster ride.

Lesson #2: Whole30 + Exercise

My last two spin classes at Cyclebar were great (both early on in the program). I felt amazing and my stats were better than normal for both days. I remember thinking that I couldn't believe the almost immediate change I felt. Then everything changed when I took another spin class on Day 9.

And let’s just say struggle was an understatement. I’m sure that my experience at the class was a combination of factors, but this was one of THOSE classes where 5 minutes into the warm-up I was already wondering how I was going to make it through. The Whole30 guidelines do say that you can actually feel worse during the first 2 weeks than you did before, but energy levels usually improve after the 2 week mark (see: ‘Tiger Blood’ phase in the Whole30 Timeline). After that class I decided to ride out this weird week and hope for the best next week.

Lesson #3: What about coffee?

In my first blog post, I mentioned that one of the main reasons I decided to do the Whole30 was to focus on learning how what I eat/drink affects my energy levels and focus throughout the day. Specifically, I wanted to try to cut back on the amount of coffee I had been drinking (sometimes 3 cups a day). I definitely craved that second or third cup of coffee in the past week, but have had great results with switching to tea or decaf instead. One of the biggest changes for me in this program is cutting out soy milk, which I love in coffee (I was obsessed with Silk Vanilla Soy coffee creamer + soy lattes were my fav).

Lesson #3.5: Bulletproof Coffee is Acceptable!

So I decided to try Bulletproof Coffee (http://www.bulletproof.com/ ) and despite the several step process and initial weirdness, (I mean, who puts hot coffee in a blender?) I found it to be surprisingly good. Like so good I (almost) forgot about my Silk Vanilla soy creamer.

Yes, I know what you are thinking. “Isn't bulletproof coffee that weird coffee with butter?.”

Yes, it is. Except I’ve been drinking the Whole30 approved version which subs grass-fed butter for ghee. When I first made the coffee, I added the recommended serving size of ghee (1 tablespoon) and 1 teaspoon of the Brain Octane oil to the 8oz coffee ratio and found it to be WAY too intense. I thought that the amount of fat recommended was well over what I wanted to consume at breakfast (I used this calculator for recommended total fat intake http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/fats_calculator.htm ) so I reduced the ghee to 1-2 teaspoons with 1 tsp of Brain Octane Oil, and blended that with 10oz of coffee.

Brain Octane Oil is a type of fat that Bulletproof claims is the “shortest of the MCT’s, converts into ketone energy, which can be used by the brain, faster than other fats or oils.” (http://www.bulletproof.com/brain-octane-oil-16-oz ) It’s similar to coconut oil, and has zero taste.

I would definitely recommend Bulletproof Coffee as an option for anyone who is hooked on using cream/dairy in their coffee, or on lattes, and is looking for an alternative. Once I got the ratios right, I found the coffee to be surprisingly good and I actually look forward to making it now. I’m drinking it occasionally, and on the days that I do it’s the only coffee that I have. I do think the Brain Octane oil combined with the high quality coffee beans make a difference in my mental clarity and focus.

Next week I’ll share some of my favorite recipes from the Whole30 along with more updates. Are you doing the January Whole30? Have any tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments!


FoodMercey Livingston