The End of the Whole 30: What Happens Now
We did it! We made it a full 30 days of whole foods with no cheating. I’m really glad I stuck it through to the end so I could share some genuine results.
My last whole30 update included a lot of whining and bitching. I was NOT feeling this program toward the end of it, and was having a really hard time seeing the point in doing it.
I have no idea what changed. Oh wait– yes I do. Vinny came home.
Here comes some Valentine’s week sap for you, but a big source of my moodiness that third week of the Whole 30 was not so much about what I was or wasn’t eating, but the fact that my husband was out of town and I missed him terribly. He came back from his trip, and suddenly my mood wasn’t so edgy anymore. Funny how that works.
Anyway, last Tuesday wrapped up the Whole 30 for us, and we were both hesitant about what came on Day 31. Well, not me. I knew exactly what came on Day 31. COFFFFFFEEEEEEEEEE. Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la YAY!!!!
The next morning I was so excited I woke up early, before my alarm. I whirred up some beans in the grinder– good stuff from Dean & Deluca Vin had put in my Christmas stocking– and mentally prepared myself for one of the greatest mornings of my life. I added the flourishes that had been banned during the Whole30– half & half and some turbinado sugar– consciously using less than I usually do.
And then I sat down, turned on the Today Show, and started drinking.
And I felt NUTS.
Not good nuts. Bad nuts- like those weird Brazil nuts everyone purposely leaves in the bottom of the can after all the cashews and almonds have been picked out. The caffeine and the sugar rushed through me and I felt an intense, almost immediate high. It was 6:30 in the morning and I was bouncing off the walls. I was singing in the shower like Mariah Carey. My hands were shaking and my heart was racing. I’d had plenty of caffeine in the form of black tea throughout the Whole30, but I’d had no sugar in 30 days, so the minute it hit my blood stream it felt like my circulatory system was hosting a rave. I’d eaten a protein-rich breakfast in hopes of preventing a feeling like this, but to no avail.
Predictably, hours later at work, I crashed. Really, really hard. Around 11 am I felt absolutely starved, and the first thing that hit my brain was that I really wanted carbs. I hadn’t felt that way in a month, and it felt awful. Later into the work day, I was more sluggish and fatigued than I remember ever feeling before. My eyes were so heavy I could barely keep them open. I had a mild headache too. Coffee with light sugar and milk was the only non-compliant thing I’d had all day, and the result was terrible. I have to say, this was the most eye-opening experience of the whole thing. Now I understood why I was doing it in the first place.
For the record, this is totally not how you’re supposed to reintroduce foods following a whole 30. You’re supposed to do it very slowly, and very methodically, adding different foods one at a time so that you can see which of them you’re sensitive to. Clearly, like everyone else, I have a strong reaction to sugar. And that’s what will change the most in our diets following this experience. The way we incorporate sweets into our lives.
First of all–and we’ll see how long this actually lasts– but we’re going to start treating desserts like real treats as opposed to nightly habits. I’m knocking out white sugar, and replacing it with unrefined sweeteners like coconut sugar, maple syrup and sucanat. Same goes with flour. Out goes the white stuff, and in its place will be ground oats and nuts. I baked something this weekend from the Oh She Glows cookbook, replacing all refined stuff with healthier alternatives, and they were terrific, so this isn’t something I see being difficult.
I will also make a real conscious effort to make all lunches an equal balance of carbs, fat and protein. The lunches I made throughout the whole 30 (usually a combination of baked, boiled or grilled chicken with roasted sweet potatoes, kale or avocado) kept us satisfied and full until dinner, without bloating or fatigue in the afternoon. Lunches will be pretty plain, but they’ll do their job and get us through without crashing in the afternoons.
At the end of the day, this will probably be my last Whole30 experience. I think I’ve learned enough from it that I don’t need to do it again. In fact, we had our first meal out after Whole 30 on Saturday night, and we both ordered meals that were totally compliant, so something must have stuck. Vin would probably eat this way for the rest of his life if I kept up with the cooking (PS: not happening). He really loves it, and notes feeling physically awesome. Aside from the coffee with milk and sugar (which I now drink decaf, with coconut sugar and soy milk), I can see a lot of our meals still being clean. At the same time, life is short and doughnuts are spectacular.
Let’s not get crazy– I still love to cook and eat, and I have no plans to eliminate any food permanently from my diet. Except for capers and olives, but trust me…that’s no sacrifice.