Whole30-ish Wrap-up: a Successful Failure

Well, it is August, so it is obvious our July Whole30 is over by now. But I have to be honest and tell you that we did not end up completing a full 30 days on the program after all. It was a decision I hated making, but it had to be done. So technically, we failed at doing the Whole30 plan, but I still feel it was a success in many ways because of the things we learned and accomplished during the time we were on it! Let me explain why we had to quit ahead of schedule, and then talk about our successes!

Our Failure

First off, I knew at the beginning of the month that eating this way might not work out on our grocery budget. We have been trying to pay down our debts a la Dave Ramsey’s methods, so we have cut back our spending across the board over the last several months. Trying to feed three hungry people healthy, whole foods while excluding less expensive options like grains and legumes is very tricky on a shoestring budget. So, when we still had a whole week left, and I had only $4 left for food, I knew something would have to give. We decided the most cost-effective, sensible thing to do was add gluten-free grains back into our diet so that we could stretch our meals more with baked goods, rice, gluten-free pasta and the like.

Second, we all felt like we were starving! As I mentioned before, we did not start the Whole30 with the intention to lose weight. But we all did anyway, including our 4 year old (as I explained in my last post)! I really did not have enough food in the house for us to do as many full template meals as we all needed, so we were all feeling hungry all the time. It was draining me and my husband. We both started feeling really weak and tired and run down by the end of the third week, when we knew we should be feeling great! So, after discussing it, we decided that at this time, we needed to add in more foods so that we could regain our strength. That first bowl of peanut butter oatmeal I had tasted anazing and instantly helped me feel so much better.

Our Success

Even though we didn’t finish a full 30 days, we did notice differences from eating a healthier diet, and we do plan to keep some of these new habits going. First, we did lose weight, as I said before. I lost 5 lbs. in 22 days, which is pretty quick for me. Of course, since I am breastfeeding, I was burning lots of extra calories, which is a big part of why I was hungry all the time. Second, I was able to beat back my sugar dragon significantly. I no longer feel strong cravings for sweet snacks all the time, and when I do want something a bit sweet, fruit usually satisfies me quite well! My son has also stopped asking for sweet treats after dinner and will happily down an extra helping of vegetables instead–WIN! Third, my husband’s skin is clearing up at last! Yay! After doing some added research, we think that sugar and dairy may both be triggers for him, so he plans to continue avoiding both. He has a new skin care routine that seems to be working well in addition to the dietary changes, so we hope to see even more improvement as he sticks with it.

Since we did already try adding grains back into our diet, I should add our experience with that. Yes, we were able to feel more satisfied after meals that included some grains. We did, however, also notice some negative side effects, both in slowed digestion and bowel movements and in looking bloated (even though we did not feel it.) My belly had really gotten fairly flat for having not been faithfully working on restoring my post-baby tummy muscles like I should be, but after just a few servings of grains, my stomach started pooching out again. Soooooo, we have decided to cut the grains out again for as long as we can and are adding legumes back into our diet instead. We will see if those have the same effect or if we tolerate them better. I hope so! I have tried really hard to make an affordable menu for the month in which we will repeat each meal once, so I was able to calculate approximately how much we would spend on groceries ahead of time. It might work, if we are very careful! Wish us luck!

How about you? I know some new folks have started following my blog since I posted about our Whole30 journey, so if you have just completed your as well, or if you are just getting started, I would love to hear from you in the comments! 

Whole30-ish: Week 4

No, you didn’t miss a post. Yes, I failed to post anything about our Whole30 journey last week. My husband was out of town, and I had my hands pretty full with the two kids all on my own. Plus, since he was on his own for food, and it was just Little J and me eating here at home, our menu was on the small side. So, here we are on Day 21, and I finally have a new update for you!

So, how is it going now that we are in the home stretch? Well, I guess it is going pretty well. We are getting to that point of food boredom, which is not helped by the fact that my grocery budget for the month is just about spent. No going out and buying new and exciting ingredients that cost a bunch extra now. We have to stick to basics if we are going to stay in budget. I will also say that we have not had any of those big heavens opening, angels singing, amazing changes that many people talk about when doing the Whole20. Maybe it is because we have not been super doper strict, or maybe it is because we were already eating ok to begin with, or maybe we just have more healing to do. I don’t know. I do know that I generally am feeling good, and I do think I have lost a bit of weight and maybe some inches, too. Hubby is feeling ok, although he has seemed to have a rougher time of it than I have. He does have a pretty high stress job and probably needs more time to heal. His acne seems like it might finally be improving just a tad, after a horrible breakout over the last couple of week, presumably from detoxing. He has also been feeling the weight loss, though, which counts for something. I think if I weren’t breastfeeding and up frequently at night, perhaps I would be feeling even better. But I am happy to say that most days my cravings are at a minimum (as long as I don’t see lots of pizza and ice cream posts on Facebook!) and I am loving my veggies more than I ever have in my entire life!

We have also noticed that J seems to be eating better and being a little less picky, not that he is a very picky eater anyway. But he has been commenting on how good things are that I am making, which is always nice, coming from a 4 year old! He did happen to step on the scale in our bathroom yesterday, though, and I noticed that he has lost some weight since last month. So I decided right away that he is going off the Whole30. He is not chubby in the least and should not be losing weight at his age, so I am going to let him go back to eating more normally, which for him means bringing back dairy, gluten-free grains and some legumes. I am looking forward to bringing back these things, too, in the near future! Just no sugar for this mama, ok? 🙂

I would honestly be interested in doing a Whole45 if we could, but we just can’t afford to do it any longer than we have. I am already trying to decide what food group to bring back first. I am thinking of doing gluten-free grains first simply because that frees us up to have rice, GF pasta, and oatmeal again. But I have also thought maybe bringing back legumes first would be good because then we can stretch our proteins a little more with beans and also see if peanuts and/or soy may be a problem for hubby’s skin as we suspect it may be. Oh well, I still have 9 days to decide!

Anyway, in case anyone is interested, here are some of our meals for the week!

Breakfasts:
Sauteed Kale and Scrambled Eggs, Sweet Potato Hash, Fruit Smoothie
Turkey Sausage and Kale, Fried Eggs, Fresh Fruit
Baked Sweet Potato and Turkey Sausage, Fresh Fruit
Veggie Frittata, Green Smoothie
Breakfast Skillet (Potatoes, onions, green peppers, assorted veggies, sausage, eggs)

Dinners:
Roast Chicken Thighs, Sauteed Zucchini, Cooked Carrots, Salad
Slow Cooker Chili Verde (via A Girl Worth Saving), Cauli-rice, Salad
Broiled Chicken Quarters, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans
Grilled Pork Chops, Baked Winter Squash, Salad,
Turkey Sausage with Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, Salad
Slow Cooker Chicken Breasts with tomatoes and mushrooms, Roasted Red Potatoes, Sauteed Zucchini
Grilled Chicken Thighs, Paleo Coleslaw, Roasted Zucchini Spears

My next post will probably be on our final day of the Whole30, discussing what changes we have seen and what our next step will be going forward. See you then!