GUYS! Today is the last day of my boyfriend's and my Whole30! Finally. I can't wait to finally be eating more balanced meals. It's probably because I wasn't as strict about it as I should have been, but I don't think it really helped me at all. If anything, I enjoy eating whole foods more and have found some great new recipes to keep in the rotation, but that's about it. I don't think eating cheese, bread, and wine in moderation is necessarily bad so I will happily add those back in my diet with no second thoughts.
We are supposed to start our reintroduction tomorrow, but we have upcoming events that kind of screwed up the ideal reintroduction plan. The idea is to add back in one food group at a time so you know which group your body reacts to (if any). So, tomorrow we are supposed to add in one group, and then the following two days, we're supposed to go back to eating entirely Whole30 to monitor how our bodies feel. The problem is that we are going out on Thursday and Friday. We've decided to start with gluten tomorrow (I'm FINALLY getting some donuts); the plan is to have donuts around breakfast, a bagel for lunch, and then homemade pasta for dinner. We plan to eat Whole30 until dinner on Thursday, where we are likely having burgers with buns (and cheese). Friday, we will be eating both cheese and chocolate in the evening (fondue for the win!), so we are going to try doing Whole30 for the rest of the day to minimize the impact. We'll see how it goes. I'm actually surprisingly nervous about eating those foods again; I'm worried that I'm going to feel really sick for not having had them for so long. (I don't think sugar will be so bad though since our vitamins have glucose in them. I didn't take them regularly, but I took them enough that I'm hoping the sugar reintroduction won't be so bad!)
Feelings after second half: It got easier, for sure, but I never felt the "tiger's blood" that most people report feeling during the last half of Whole30. I probably wasn't eating enough filling foods (though I am not snacking as much as I used to--win). I also haven't been good about drinking water (already failing at the New Year's resolution); I felt really light-headed this past weekend when we went to a museum, and it was probably because I hadn't had any water. I'm really trying to get better about it, but I hate going to the restroom. It feels like such a waste of time (weird, I know), but I really need to rethink that in order to get better about drinking water (perhaps consider it as a mini-break from work instead? haha...). Also, my gut in general doesn't feel amazing, either.
Accidental and purposeful cheats: We use almond meal to make the "breading" for the chicken fingers (shown above), but the almond meal we just purchased this past weekend looks quite different from the normal almond meal. We may have inadvertently eaten some unapproved meal of some sort. Other than that, we've been doing well as far as accidents go. On the other hand, we have purposefully cheated (call the Whole30 police). While everything we ate was compliant ingredient-wise, it was not compliant in spirit. We bought and ate sweet potato chips dipped in guacamole on Super Bowl Sunday. We discovered the deliciousness that is a blended frozen banana (plus coconut milk to actually get it to blend) mixed with fresh strawberries. It resembles ice cream, so that's a no-no. But, to be completely honest, I'm planning on eating it in addition to ice cream once we are done. It's that good. We also had banana pancakes. It's not the two-ingredient banana-and-egg combination--it's probably better, honestly. I didn't count that one as a cheat because I don't like regular pancakes. I can only eat them with a million chocolate chips (or if it's the only option and I'm ravenous). I actually craved these pancakes last week, which is a first for me regarding pancakes. A total win! They are also the perfect fresh strawberry delivery system. ;)
New favorites: Besides all of the meals I've shown you in my posts, new favorites that I'll definitely be keeping in the rotation include scrambled eggs with avocado, green apples dipped in almond butter, mixed nuts roasted with cinnamon (and freeze-dried strawberry "dust"--not sure if the dust will be staying around but roasted nuts is still much better than any other snack I liked before), and fresh fruit (sliced strawberries, peaches, grapefruit etc.). I liked fresh fruit before, but it's going to become more of a snack food now and less of a I'll-buy-this-only-because-I-crave-it type of food. We've been splitting a grapefruit every day for breakfast and it's now become something I look forward to every morning. Coconut chips also proved to be quite a good snack, but I'm not sure if they'll hang around. They're not exactly filling or even that satisfying, haha.
Final thoughts: As I mentioned before, I'm nervous about the reintroduction phase, but at the same time, I'm SO excited to finally not have restrictions! A lot of people who do Whole30 end up not even missing the foods they aren't eating, but I do. I don't know if it's because it's what I've been eating my whole life and I'm used to it, or if it's because my body feels weaker now than before I started Whole30. Chris and I both ended up losing weight, which was not part of the plan, but I guess it happens. (You're supposed to not weigh yourself during the 30 days, but we had packages to send and needed to figure out how much they weighed.) If you're considering doing the Whole30 and want to reap all of the possible benefits, make sure you follow their rules exactly or else you'll probably end up like me: really indifferent and rather annoyed with the whole experience. I think the key to making this work (besides NO cheats whatsoever) is making sure your meals are super filling and satisfying. Nothing is worse than getting those hunger growls only a couple of hours after finishing a meal! I hope these posts were at least somewhat informative; I plan to post again in about a month just to give a quick update on how the reintroductions went. :)