Whole30 Reflections

It’s done, I’ve finished my first (maybe not my last) Whole30! If you aren’t familiar with the Whole30, it is a program designed to reset your nutrition, stop unhealthy cravings, restore a healthy metabolism, promote healing of your digestive tract, and a slew of other things – in short, it’s designed to change your life. The program works by eliminating certain foods and food groups for 30 days. After this time you can then begin adding foods back into you diet slowly to learn how certain foods may have been affecting you.

I had heard about Whole30 a little over a year ago from my aunt and thought “no grains for a month, with the running I do…no way!” I continued to hear about the program from my clients, friends, or on social media and became more and more curious. As a registered dietitian, I find it helpful to try certain diets so that I am better able to speak to their benefits/drawbacks with my clients – and also share some personal tips that worked for me! So now that my 30 days is said and done (Day 30 was 2/1) here are a few things that worked for me:

  • Prepare meals ahead of time: It definitely pays to be prepared. My go-to breakfast were mini egg quiches prepared in muffin tins. I often made a dozen of these on Sunday or Monday and had them throughout the week. My typical breakfast was 2 of the egg quiches with an apple and almond butter. I had fun experimenting with different mix-ins and my favorite combination was peppers, onions, and bacon. I also made a few crock pot meals in advance so I was sure to have compliant foods for lunch and dinner during the week. It is easy to stay on the program when you have meals/snacks prepared.
  • Sparkling water: One of the hardest parts of this program was remaining compliant in social settings. Social gatherings are almost always centered around eating or drinking, and it can be tough to resist joining the group. I stuck to fun-flavored LaCroix and Sprindrift sparkling waters (and willpower) when there was alcohol around. It helps when you’re friends are supportive too!
  • Have a buddy: With that being said, it is very helpful if you can recruit a friend or family member to join you on this 30 day journey. A couple of friends did the program at the same time as me and it was helpful to be able to text them and share experiences, temptations, or successes. There were some times I was really tempted to cheat, but a quick text to Holly (my no. 1) kept me on track! Thanks girl.
  • Larabars and RXBARs: These bars came in handy when I was in a bind! I often kept a stash in my office, car, or gym bag in case of an “emergency”. There are few bars on the market that comply with the program, and these were my favorite. I typically had them before or after a workout, or sometimes for breakfast on the go.

Whole30: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! Even though it was challenging, I am really happy  that I decided to do the Whole30 and proud that I completed it successfully. Over the past 30 days I felt like I had more energy, definitely slept better (so many dreams!), and although it’s not the point of the program, lost a few pounds! My intention for doing the Whole30 was to clean up my eating/drinking habits and start the year off fresh – I can confidently say that this program helped me do that. I am motivated to continue eating this way, but now that I’m a few days out from day 30, I’ve started to add some things back into my diet and am really paying attention to how they make me feel. More on that later…along with a recipe for gluten-free chex mix. Have you tried Whole30? What was your experience like?

Five on Friday: Ways to Stay Hydrated

Water makes up more than 50% of our bodies and is crucial to our health. The benefits of drinking water are extraordinary, yet many people struggle to drink enough each day. Water aids in digestion, physical performance, energy levels, keeps our skin looking beautiful, and can also aid in weight loss. It is especially important to stay hydrated during the summer when we are more active in the heat!

Here are FIVE ways to stay hydrated during these hot summer months:

  1. Set a goal – set a goal for how much water you should drink each day and reach it! Shoot for 1/2 of your body weight in ounces and use a reusable bottle to keep track of how many times you fill it up. I track my water intake on my FitBit app which helps me stay motivated to reach my goal.
  2. Have fun with flavors – literally spice up the flavor of your water with herbs, sliced fruit, or vegetables. Some of my favorite things to add to water are lemons, limes, strawberries, and cucumber with mint. Get creative and experiment!
  3. Bring out the bubbles – this summer I am all about LaCroix sparkling water. Some times I need something a little different and sparkling water does the trick without any added calories, sugar, or artificial flavors. Grapefruit is my favorite LaCroix flavor!
  4. Sip before you snack – start the habit of having a glass of water before meals or snacks. We often mistake thirst for hunger and head right to the snack cabinet instead of the faucet. Try having a glass of water first to help you determine if you are genuinely hungry or just in need of some H2O!
  5. Eat your water – there is no substitute for drinking water, but there are plenty of tasty foods that are an excellent source of hydration!  Watermelon, cucumber, lettuce, cabbage, strawberries, celery, grapes, pineapple, and spinach are just a few foods that are very high in water content.
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Hydrate with pineapple? Count me in!