A Simplicity Challenge: Our Whole30 Experience

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Have you ever heard of the Whole30?

It's a pretty amazing program, actually. Since I am no expert on the program, I want you to just take a few minutes to swing by Whole30.com to learn about it! 

I actually first learned about it over a year ago. Since it's such a huge diet change, I was terrified to try it myself.

But, things have really gotten out of control with my food choices. So, my husband and I agreed that the new year would be the perfect time to make this happen for both of us.

Here's a little bit about what our experience was like, the recipes we loved, and whether we're going to do it again or not.

My Personal Experience on the Whole30 - Cultivate Grace

Why I'm writing about this

This topic may seem to be slightly out of my usual vein at first glance...

But, actually, it really isn't. Learning to simplify our lives is a huge goal of mine, and simplifying our meals sounds pretty amazing to me.

Think about it... Eating foods that God created, rather than man-made, man-enhanced, man-treated "food" that can actually make you sick.

I would much rather choose the fresh, God-given ingredients... Which is a big part of why we started our own vegetable garden!

Our journey to healthier living actually began 2 years ago when we started growing tomatoes, green beans, carrots, peppers, and more!

But, making good food choices isn't always easy...

There's always something going on, and a fast food restaurant or pizza shop is so much quicker than a home-cooked meal. Especially when I haven't made a meal plan. Who has time to wait on meat to thaw when you're starving??

Why we committed to the Whole30

Truthfully, I have a laundry list of reasons we decided to dive into the Whole30.

Most of them are health-related:  wanting to lose weight, resolve digestive issues, and feel better overall.

But more than that, we wanted to break the cycle of eating poorly. We wanted to start making food choices that would ultimately give us more full, joyful lives together.

So, even though I was still terrified I would fail and miss my favorite foods, we committed to 30 days of clean eating.

And with a few hiccups along the way, I'm proud to say WE DID IT!

Failures & Successes

We didn't do everything perfectly on the Whole30...

Even though we stuck to most of the major rules, there were a few that we broke (not recommended for the best results!).

My husband had a business trip, and even though we really tried, he just couldn't eat on plan. We also discovered our homemade apple cider had no additives, and even though juice isn't technically allowed on Whole30, we drank that. Potato chips aren't allowed either, but we found a brand with compliant ingredients and ate those a lot toward the end.

We definitely weren't perfect participants in the Whole30, but we did find some really great (and EASY!) recipes that we're adding to our meal rotation going forward. 

I should also note that I am a ridiculously picky eater, so these recipes are perfect for someone who doesn't love to venture out of her comfort zone with food or spend a ton of time in the kitchen :)

Here's a list of our 10 favorite Whole30 recipes (not all have links, because they're pretty basic meals):

  1. Rosemary Lemon Chicken & Potatoes
  2. Balsamic Chicken
  3. Chili Soup (omit beans & noodles)
  4. Steak w/Garlic Butter Compound
  5. Cauliflower Soup
  6. Burgers w/Fried Eggs
  7. Chicken, Broccoli & Sweet Potato Bake
  8. Beef Stew
  9. Lettuce Wrap Tacos
  10. Sheet Pan Fajitas

Let me know if you have questions on any of these, because we love them and have made most of them multiple times!

Recommended Whole30 Tools

If you're thinking about taking on the Whole30, I highly recommend the Whole30 guide. Many people also suggest starting with the book that explains the science behind the Whole30. We did it without that book though.

The Whole30 guide was exactly what I needed to explain the 30 days step-by-step. It has recipes, shopping lists, and helpful tips. It even has a chapter that explains what to expect at each stage of the program! I loved that!

To me, this book would be worth every penny (even though ours was a Christmas gift!). You can also find a lot of resources on their website: Whole30.com.

Our Results

For those of you who are wondering, we did see really great results.

Pretty early on, we were feeling our clothes fitting more loosely and feeling less bloated after meals, which was huge.

Eating this way was a little expensive, and I definitely got tired of grocery shopping. Not sure how to overcome that, except with better meal planning!

We each lost about 10 pounds, with my husband losing a couple more than me.

Most of all, I'm so proud of us for beginning this journey to a healthier lifestyle! Because, even though Whole30 is over, we are going to keep making changes that will help us live longer and happier.

And yes, we will probably do another Whole30 - maybe even this year!

So, tell me - are you interested in the Whole30? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!

In His Grace,