After what felt like months of stress eating consuming fried foods, candy (which I rarely eat besides chocolate), and sugary drinks I decided to try “eating clean” by trying the Whole 30 cleanse with a few of my coworkers. I am not a freelancer and like many millennials I work a 9 to 5 with a demanding workload as a fundraiser for an institution and our busy season is primarily in the Spring which lead me to consume fast food and sugary options while working long hours. Over time I began to feel bloated and heavy for weeks on end which made me feel as though I needed to change my eating habits to adopt a more clean eating lifestyle.
My coworkers decided to “up the ante” during our 30 days of clean eating by proposing that we send each other photos of our cooked dishes which in turn would motivate us to keep going and swap recipes. If you know me then you know I’m competitive and was absolutely up to sharing LOL. We began the cleanse after our celebratory team lunch for our Annual Dinner at Boulud Sud where I indulged in their lamb burger on brioche bread and polenta fries. After this day, I could no longer consume sugar, starch (all potatoes were the only exception), legumes, dairy, nor baked goods with all natural additives (think almond/coconut flour/dates – bleh, etc.) I figured if I was going to begin a restricting diet I was going to make my last cheat meal good! I was apprehensive to restrict my diet knowing how much I love carbs, yet I knew that internally my body needed a cleanse and I wanted to feel lighter, retain length in my hair, and overall find healthier food options that I enjoyed cooking and eating. My fellow ‘naturalistas’ can attest to length retention of natural hair is largely attributed to a healthy diet, vitamin supplements (optional), and consuming lots of water which I know the Whole 30 challenge would help me get a jump start on building better eating habits .
To simplify what we could eat during the 30 days, the Whole 30 shopping list consisted of the following:
Initially I consumed a lot of sweet plantains, plantain chips and guac as a snack, veggies, salmon, chicken and lots of fruits. I started to get excited with experimenting baking Whole 30 banana nut bread and baking kale chips seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder which is a staple healthy snack I’ve seen Myliek of CurlBox prepare numerous times via her Snap Chat. I then tried to make Caramelized Banana Ice Cream when I had sugar cravings within the first two weeks of clean eating and it was a healthy soft serve but wasn’t Häagen-Dazs! I consumed a lot of water and coming into the last two weeks i’m beginning to add a cup of hot green tea daily to flush my system as well.
Experimenting with seasoning and eating mainly veggies, meat, and fruit has changed the way I look at meals and made me realize how much starchy foods weighed me down. Vegetables such as cauliflower can serve as a substitute for fried rice, hamburger buns, and even roasted florets which really opened my eyes to how fun it can be to eat clean.
I’ve noticed my clothes fit looser, meal prepping has helped tremendously with staying motivated to eat healthier options, and after two weeks I had more restraint with not gravitating toward fatty unhealthy food options…even though I was tempted by the smell of bread at times haha!
To sum up my experience here’s what I’ve learned thus far doing Whole 30:
Increased energy – particularly in the morning which I am NOT a morning person so that means a lot!
My skin is CLEAR and GLOWING! I’d love to say that’s Black Girl Magic 🙂 but in reality what we feed our bodies through diet radiates through our skin and I am loving it thus far!
Decrease mood swings – You don’t realize how much sugar affects your mood until you eliminate it from your diet!
Minimal stress and bloating – When consuming fried foods and candy my clothing felt tight and that didn’t make me feel good.
Loss in body fat – Going back to loosing inches and feeling my clothes feeling looser on my body. I’m ready to be SNATCHED for summer okay!
Mind shift – I think of meals and eating differently with regard to how many carbs I’d like to consume when I reintroduce it to my eating regimen once I complete Whole30.
Shopping for groceries to meal prep is expensive! For me the cooking oils, seasonings, and natural ingredients to prepare Whole 30 meals added up. It’s ridiculous that eating healthy is so expensive.
Frequent grocery shopping and meal prep. I found myself in the grocery on a weekly basis, researching recipes to prepare breakfast and lunch weekly that I knew I’d look forward to eating during the week. Trader Joes and Whole Foods kept snatching my money but I budgeted myself as best I could and luckily I already had many seasonings for my meals and I bought snacks to satisfy any sweet or savory food cravings in between meals which is key to staying focused!
Food temptation! This was pretty hard within the first few weeks but I kept discipline in knowing that I wanted to feel lighter, see results not on a scale but in the fit of my clothing, and overall wanted to adopt better eating habits. Buying healthy snacks and carrying them around is essential so that you don’t derail from eating clean.
Overall all I plan to eat more plant based foods and enjoy meals but not to overindulge in fatty or starches as they can weigh you down. Was the cleanse worth it? I definitely think it was and with just a little over a week left I plan to slow incorporate things I love such as dairy, legumes, and sugar back into my diet.
Any one else interested in trying the Whole 30 cleanse or restrict their eating habits in order to practice healthier eating habits? Let me know!