So, recently Adam and I have been doing a Whole30. I’ve written a few update posts on it and also have talked in length about the challenge on my Instagram Stories (in case you missed it, here are the weekly recaps: one, two and three). To quickly summarize, week one was pretty difficult for me. I felt cranky and tired pretty much all the time. I ate a lot of snacks. Week two, those feelings subsided and I started feeling incredibly good! I slept harder, I felt more focused, my all day snack-fest calmed down quite a bit. I wasn’t very hungry in between meals anymore. Things were looking up. Week three, I felt very bored. I couldn’t even with all.the.meat anymore and don’t even talk to me about eggs. The final week, I did a lot of thinking and came to these conclusions:
Doing the Whole30 made me even more sure of my deep love for cheese, wine, bread and chocolate. Basically, all of the good things in life. These things make me complete. They cannot be ignored. I love these things like they are my children.
Doing the Whole30 made me really miss baking bread…and eating bread. Bread is more than just a carb choice for me, it’s become part of a lifestyle that I deeply love. I feel sad when I’m not baking bread. The whole ritual of it makes me incredibly happy.
Doing the Whole30 made me FOR THE MOST PART feel rather unbalanced. It’s too much meat for me. We usually eat at least one vegetarian meal a week and I missed that a lot. Yes, I felt really good the second week but then that “feeling” sort of faded and I started feeling, well, rather heavy. I got really tired of all the red meat and think we probably ate too much of it, instead focusing on seafood. Guys, I really love meat. A grilled steak sings a song to my soul and roast chicken is my love language. HOWEVER, the Whole30 made me feel like I was leaving too heavy of a footprint.
Doing the Whole30 made me realize that I don’t NEED something sweet after every.single.meal. I don’t need to sweeten my afternoon tea with a spoonful of sugar for it to taste good and I don’t need to always dig into my stash of Ikea gummies I keep in my desk. 😉
Doing the Whole30 made me really focus on filling my plate with vegetables and that was, in my opinion, the best part! We ate so many more veggies than we usually do. There were some days when I didn’t even miss the bread on my dinner plate when it was piled high with roast eggplant, sweet potatoes, carrots and garlickly kale. I need to keep that going and be more mindful in the future.
…I think that’s pretty much about it. People have asked me about weight loss and I will be honest and say I don’t know. I never actually weighed myself. Judging from how I felt, though, I think I probably lost a few pounds the first week and then got back to normal at the end of the second week. I ate a TON of almond butter and banana, guys. 😉 I wasn’t doing this to lose weight and feel totally fine where I’m at.
I never had any supply issues with breastfeeding. Again: almond butter and banana. Luke only nurses about twice a day right now so it wasn’t like I was nursing an infant around the clock. I felt fine and he seemed fine!
Would I do this again?
Probably not. I wouldn’t say it was a bad experience, but it made me realize it’s really not for me. I don’t have any issue with gluten, dairy or sugar, as long as it’s consumed in moderation. However, I will say that I am totally addicted to making homemade cashew milk now and plan to continue! It’s so yummy and I prefer it in my cappuccinos over whole milk.
Do I recommend trying a Whole30?
Maybe? Maybe not? I think it could make some people feel like these restricted foods are “bad” foods, though, which could lead to silly guilt. That’s dumb. I don’t believe in bad food and don’t think you should feel guilty having a glass of wine and some pizza if you want it. Life is too short! That being said, I think a lot of people go into the Whole30 with the intention of figuring out food sensitivities. That makes sense to me. I just would hate for someone to do this program and then get it into their mind that broccoli is “good” and homemade bread is “bad”. I mean, really. Eat a plate of pasta and get over it.
I trust you guys know that I am coming at this with my own opinion entirely and I am definitely not a medical professional. This is just my personal experience with the program. Also, I feel like it needs to be said that I DIDN’T ACTUALLY FINISH THE PROGRAM. Nope. I “quit” or whatever around Day 26. My starter just looked way too good not to bake bread with. 😉 I know the Whole30 police are going to get on me for basically everything I have just written, including the fact that I didn’t even finish the program, but what can I say? I listened to my body and in the end, bread won.
Sarah KeeganAugust 30, 2017 at 2:14 pm
Bread, chocolate, wine..life is too short to live without. I am impressed you lasted 26 days!! Thnak you for the in depth updates, they have actually reaffirmed to me that I would not do well with a Whole 30 or Paleo lifestyle. Welcome back to the other side 🙂
LauraAugust 30, 2017 at 2:16 pm
Okay I agree with pretty much all this! My first whole 30 was an amazing experience. I did it when my oldest was 9 months. I was still nursing but she was also eating solids. I got back down to my pre pregnancy weight and really enjoyed the thirty days. I just finished (attempted?) round two with a five month old and hated it! I had trouble with my milk supply and basically had to eat four meals. I didn’t lose a single ounce, which sort of stinks when you wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds. Now I’m back to eating normally and I really have to stop myself from letting food have this weird power over my mood. Not healthy for me right now. I think I will do it again when my baby is older–purely for weight loss, which I’m not embarrassed to say. If you are going to be so strict with eating, I think you are allowed to hope for some pounds lost! Thanks for your honest review and I think you did great!!
Sophie PiperSeptember 2, 2017 at 11:19 am
I found it easier to loose weight doing paleo-ish and saying no to all processed foods but doing some dairy. Made my not think too much about food like whole30 can!
chandAugust 30, 2017 at 2:18 pm
haha, you are awesome.
BeccaAugust 30, 2017 at 2:37 pm
Love! We lasted 15 days because I couldn’t live without baking as well. I loved encouraging more veggies and I do now think what fresh live food am I having with each meal. But I love the freedom to make whatever I want and eat whatever I want.
SheriAugust 30, 2017 at 2:39 pm
Kudos to you for lasting 26 days on that diet! The Whole 30 diet in my opinion is too restrictive and gets people labeling foods as good or bad. I follow an IIFYM (if it fits your macros) lifestyle and eat everything and anything while still reaching my fitness and physique goals! Life is too short to cut out bread, wine and chocolate all of my favorite things too! Thanks for being so honest with your experience 🙂
KristiAugust 30, 2017 at 2:42 pm
Thank you. I started this Whole30 garbage just a little bit before you did. I have a couple days left. I feel like I have come to the exact same realizations as you. I do find joy in cooking and baking. Baking bread is a treasured ritual that I have with my kids and I MISS IT. Was I eating way too much sugar? Absolutely. But I have also decided I don’t care for this much meat in my diet. I feel like all of the meat weighs down my soul. I will see it through to the end, but it just isn’t a happy way of living for me. I do need to second your love of the cashew milk. I have made your recipe quite a bit and it will now find a permanent home in my fridge! Many thanks for your honesty!
MollySAugust 30, 2017 at 3:02 pm
Yes to all of this! Dietitian stamp of approval. ?
AnnaAugust 30, 2017 at 3:08 pm
This is awesome, Jenna! Love your honestly and that you convey the importance of listening to your body (and its cravings!) Thanks so much for the post.
MeaghanAugust 30, 2017 at 3:10 pm
A common misconception is that it’s too restrictive. ITS ONLY 30 DAYS, not your entire life! Would it be incredibly restrictive and unenjoyable to eat Whole30-strict forever? Yes, absolutely. But it’s meant to be thirty days and then you re-introduce foods back in and decide what’s worth it to keep eating and what isn’t. It’s frustrating when people evaluate the program without even finishing it or doing it correctly.
TaylorAugust 30, 2017 at 5:30 pm
She did it correctly and did 26 days…I don’t think 4 more days would make any difference.
MeaghanAugust 31, 2017 at 12:11 pm
The length of time does make a difference!
KatieSeptember 18, 2017 at 10:26 am
its her life. she can do it as she pleases. i dont think an epiphany would have hit her in the face on Day 28
CarolineAugust 31, 2017 at 4:09 am
I agree! I love the Whole30 and am on my second round. I stick to it 100% and change up what I eat enough that I have never felt bored or heavy. Yes, I am someone that loves wine, chocolate & bread, however, 30 days without it wasn’t a deal breaker for me. I guess it boils down to if you really want to try it or not. Not everyone has the discipline or drive to stick to it. Life any lifestyle choice, it’s not for everyone.
LiaAugust 30, 2017 at 3:12 pm
This made me laugh. Definitely how I would feel if I ever actually did a whole 30. I love good beer, a little wine and oats – a lot! I get trying it for health reasons like you said – but I don’t think I have issues with any of those foods. Maybe I’d do some kind of sugar cleanse to lose allll of this baby weight?? Last time it was on its way out by now.
IdaAugust 30, 2017 at 3:32 pm
I feel like the 30 days is kind of arbitrary anyway. It sounds like you got what you wanted/needed out of the program after 26 days and it was time to move on! I like that whole 30 forces you to eat more veggies, and agree that it’s more meat and fat heavy that i prefer to eat. I do think it’s good to evaluate eating habits and make sure that food choices are intentional for the body and soul- Whole 30 (or however many days needed) can be helpful in doing that.
Anna PAugust 30, 2017 at 4:06 pm
This is awesome. I am a medical professional and I think restrictive diets are garbage. Thank you for such an honest post.
MaeveAugust 30, 2017 at 4:22 pm
Making it that far is an accomplishment in itself! I have done several whole 30s, and while they work for ME, i dont think it works for everyone. I tend to do one when I am going too far down the sugar-as-fuel path, or finding reasons for “treat” meals everyday. It helps me take the emotion out of food (which is my struggle, loving bread is different!) and view it as a tool again. That said, i just cant live most of my life without the option of rice and lentils, so whole 30 is a reset for me not an everyday tool.
Rachel JAugust 30, 2017 at 4:24 pm
Yes yes yes! Boo to life without bread chocolate and wine! Impressive you did 26 days!
GreyfavoriteAugust 30, 2017 at 4:27 pm
This post makes me happy.
Way to be true to you.
JackieAugust 30, 2017 at 4:37 pm
Love this! ??
JillianAugust 30, 2017 at 4:40 pm
I appreciate your honesty! The whole 30 police may jump down your throat, but to each their own! 😉 My husband and I did a whole 30 last year. We completed it but it was far too restrictive. I do have to admit it definitely helped to tame my sugar addiction, read labels more carefully, and forced us to eat more veggies with each meal. But I totally agree with your comments about increasing your meat intake. I felt like we tripled our meat/egg intake! I probably wouldn’t do it again, but I took away some good things from it.
Kelli HAugust 30, 2017 at 4:47 pm
I’ve done two Whole30’s. The first go around I loved it. The 2nd go around I still enjoyed it and found it easier but I won’t do another one. Though I would recommend it to anyone that asked me about it. If I’m going to do a 30 day challenge in the future my challange will be no added sugar. I really liked that about Whole30. So, if something had added sugar (even maple syrup or honey) I would avoid it. Doing Whole30 changed my whole eating habits. I eat SO much less processed foods and dairy these days and really look at canned tomatoes, etc to see if sugar is added. It’s always hiding in places!
I don’t think there is anything wrong with you eating your homemade bread as long as you know that you don’t have a sensitivity to it (which obviously you don’t! ). Good job at giving it your best shot.
Even though you didn’t complete the Whole30 I enjoyed reading your posts.
KimberlyAugust 30, 2017 at 4:48 pm
I’m really happy to read this. I honestly felt really sad when you wrote that you were going to do a Whole 30 in the first place, because I felt like you were one of the few foodies out there that eats, well, food! I’m so tired of reading about how you can’t eat this or that if you want to be healthy, you always look vibrantly healthy and I love that you eat bread and chocolate! Your posts inspired me to give bread baking another try and I’m so happy I did, I’ve been making about 6 sourdough loaves a week now and my family loves it and I would say may even be healthier for it. I would never give it up! I was so scared you were going to write that you loved Whole 30 and were going to eat like that forever…said no one ever probably.
KellyAugust 30, 2017 at 5:18 pm
Girl, I love this honest review. I’ve done 2 rounds of Whole 30 and while I have felt better- my love for pizza and chocolate never left me. Maybe I felt like it should have from reading other people’s reviews. I would later go back to eating Whole 30ish – then binge. It turned into this vicious cycle. So how about this? Let’s just eat real food. That includes homemade bread, pizza, and chocolate. Maybe being so restricted isn’t good for me.
Laura S.September 16, 2017 at 4:30 am
Thank you for posting this. I got in the same cycle after a few W30 rounds!
TaylorAugust 30, 2017 at 5:24 pm
Totally agree with you. I just feel that whole30 is really unbalanced. I think it’s good for people who eat too much processed food but if you eat a balanced, vegetable-heavy diet to begin with there is no need. I’m a vegetarian so I haven’t tried it before–pretty hard when you can’t eat legumes, soy, or grains. I think something along the lines of just cutting out sugar, processed food, and dairy would be a great alternative to whole30 if you are looking to “cleanse” or get back on track. I enjoyed following your instagram throughout the process though! Enjoy your bread 😉
What I Really Think About the Whole30 – Gym BuddiesAugust 30, 2017 at 5:39 pm
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JenniferAugust 30, 2017 at 6:16 pm
I did a whole 30 a couple years ago and didn’t care for it much either. I stopped right around 26 days too because I didn’t get my cycle that month. That was enough for me to think this really isn’t for me. I didn’t like all the meat either. Thanks for being honest!!!
Lena NgAugust 30, 2017 at 7:01 pm
Thank you for an honest post. I really enjoyed finding out more about it through you (:
GraceAugust 30, 2017 at 7:20 pm
Love, love this post & your honesty! I whole heartedly believe that life is too short & that if you can eat the bread, cookies, chocolate & drink the wine – then you should! Everything in moderation & there really aren’t any “bad” foods.
LisaAugust 30, 2017 at 7:25 pm
This was wonderful! I did a Whole 20ish earlier this year when I felt like I neede some strict rules to guide me back to being more mindful about food. That said, one of my dearest guides in life said once that she believes delicious, good food is one of God’s greatest gifts to us and I agree! The Whole 30 helped he return to more conscious food choices, but I still choose to include all foods in my life — in our family, we talk about all the time foods and sometimes foods. I’d like to check out Melissa Hartwig’s latest book, Food Freedom Forever, that focuses more on these ideas.
IndiaAugust 30, 2017 at 7:34 pm
I saw another reader comment that she was a bit bummed you were doing Whole 30 and to be honest, I was too. BUT I respect that it was your decision and fitted you. I love that you’re aware of the things you enjoy. LOVE it!I also LOVE that you make bread. My dad baked bread a lot, but then my mom got leukemia a year ago and he stopped. So, seeing you make it feels healing to me and I’m so glad it’s back. You make a difference and an impact – even if no one tells you directly. I just wanted you to know that. 🙂
To more baking, wine drinking, and living a healthy and balanced life…cheers!
MorganAugust 30, 2017 at 9:09 pm
Thank you for speaking your mind and being honest! You rock! I always love reading your posts.
KatieAugust 30, 2017 at 9:13 pm
Thank you for being so honest. I tried Whole30 a while ago, I gained almost 10 pounds, all the meat just tore my stomach up and I felt pretty crappy the entire time. Once going back to a vegetarian (borderline vegan diet) I feel great and all the weight came right off. I really. Relieve in eating what your body tells you. More power to the people that enjoy this but i find incredibly damaging to our health and environment.
Ashley LAugust 31, 2017 at 8:48 am
Thanks for sharing that really interesting. I went paleo for a few months after my doctor advised that I try it for stomach issues. It destroyed my hormones. I got the worst PMS of my life the whole time and I was so tired all the time.
Kristi PAugust 30, 2017 at 9:18 pm
Awesome! I love your honesty! I myself, have not tried it, but I have not because of my love for baking too and just feel moderation is key.
TeriAugust 30, 2017 at 9:21 pm
Thanks for your honesty. I did a whole30 and made it about 25 days. I found it to be too much meat and eggs. I did find some good things and left the things that didn’t work. It made me very aware of how much sugar I consumed. My diet revolves around farmers market produce, bread included ?
KellyAugust 30, 2017 at 10:01 pm
I really loved the whole30. It was very strict, but that’s the point of it. It’s only 30 days, designed to make you really really examine what you are consuming, and to read your labels. I liked the challenge of how strict it was, because your choices are slim it helped me learn how to incorporate veggies through out the day. It especially makes you aware of sugar consumption and how little veggies we eat on daily basis. Im not a heavy meat eater, I just ate an amount that worked for me. And I did eat more fruit than suggested but I lost 18 lbs and have kept it off even though I very slowly added my “bad” loves such as wine and the occasional bread and sugar.
BrittanyAugust 31, 2017 at 12:42 am
Yes, yes, and yes!!!!!!!!!!!!
ErinAugust 31, 2017 at 6:24 am
LOVE LOVE LOVE your honesty in your posts as well as your humour! I so appreciate your blog posts!
Joyce @ The Hungry CaterpillarAugust 31, 2017 at 7:25 am
I’m with Kimberley. I was a little let down when you said you were doing Whole 30 because I so appreciate that your blog doesn’t promote food guilt. Sounds like you went into it with an open mind and learned from it, though, and I really appreciate your being honest about what you found helpful and what you found unhelpful. I wouldn’t enjoy living on that much meet and so few carbs, either. I’d be a hangry mess. Enjoy baking and eating bread again!
MaryAugust 31, 2017 at 8:08 am
I agree with you Jen, I could not live without cheese, wine or bread either! This is why I never even thought about doing Whole 30 but admire people who do!
Rachel @ My Urban OvenAugust 31, 2017 at 8:22 am
Love your honesty. I have considered doing the Whole30 at times, but never could really get myself to do it. A balanced diet will beat any diet any day 🙂
Kelly J. R.August 31, 2017 at 8:32 am
My problem with Whole30 is that some people clean up their eating for 30 days and then go right back to their old habits so, long-term, it’s not a solution to anything. I believe in eating real food (not processed food) including whole grains, cheese, dairy and the like which is exactly why I like your blog. I think that’s what you believe in as well. Life’s too short to not enjoy little indulgences every now and then. But everything in moderation, right? I eat well MOST of the time so I can eat junk SOME of the time and not feel guilty about it.
Ashley LAugust 31, 2017 at 8:45 am
Love this. You have such a balanced approach to food and I love it. I think paleo has way too much meat for me too. I read the blue zones of the world and it makes so much more sense. ?? Enjoy your bread!
TanyaAugust 31, 2017 at 10:12 am
Thank you! The whole “good” food “bad” food mentality drives me crazy. Just eat a damn plate of pasta indeed!
RachelAugust 31, 2017 at 10:52 am
Great perspective! My husband and I do it just about twice a year to reset – both have unhealthy emotional connections to food, wonderful but very unhealthy parents who are struggling at a young age bc of bad eating habits, and a job that requires a TON of social eating. Whole30 is a way to take back control, get some more veggies back on our plates, and remind ourselves that a day doesn’t have to end with bread, wine, dessert, or cheese (though many do – we are American expats in Paris. The struggle is REAL.)
Sometimes, depending on where I’m at food wise, I’ll still eat rice and oats during a Whole30. The no dairy, sugar, and wine – foods I do struggle with overconsuming- are great to let go of for 30 days. 😉 I find I come back and enjoy them for what they are, not as coping mechanisms for stress and emotions I actually need to deal with.
BekahAugust 31, 2017 at 11:25 am
I love this post, Jenna. You have always been SO refreshing to me as a food blogger. You have such a healthy and balanced relationship with food and I love how you talked about not labeling foods as bad or good. That just tends to lead to bad habits and guilt and all things negative. I believe ALL food is good and that our bodies are supposed to have everything in balance. Thank you for speaking out about this and just being so real! Blessings on you and your lovely little family! Keep being you!!
Rebekah // @pdxfoodloveAugust 31, 2017 at 12:42 pm
Jenna, I have been reading your blog for YEARS and this might be my favorite post of yours ever. Food should not equal guilt. Full stop. Thanks for a great post.
Anna MAugust 31, 2017 at 2:09 pm
I didn’t read through all of the comments, so I apologize if this was addressed, but I was just curious–was the 30 days meat heavy based on the recipes you chose? Or did you follow like a strict plan/regimen that was provided by Whole30? I’m just curious because my boyfriend and I are considering doing this.
KarenAugust 31, 2017 at 3:56 pm
Completely agree!! We did 21 days… and I really wanted rice! God for you. Enjoyed following your journey
LisaSeptember 1, 2017 at 10:27 am
I am definitely not the Whole 30 police — I did it once and found it very useful and informative but I am not a zealot. That being said, I do wish your commenters weren’t so against it! There is a bit of preachiness in some of the comments (everything in moderation, bad food lists are bad, etc.) that overlooks a really powerful benefit of Whole 30 for some people. It is a tool to discover what does and does not work for your body during what should be considered just a 30 day try-out period (the same kind of diet a doctor might prescribe for a limited time if he/she suspected a food allergy or something); it is not meant to be a diet plan for life. Here is what I learned: I do not have a diagnosed intolerance or other official issue with breads or rice or those types of food — and I am not saying that I will will never, ever eat them again — but I definitely feel 100% better when I don’t eat them — even in small quantities they make me feel very sluggish, less mentally focused, foggy and tired, even a little depressed, etc. I realize this is not the case for everyone, which is why doing something like this for thirty days really is informative. My doctor told me some people have this reaction to those kinds of carbs and as long as I was eating plenty of other complex carbs he was ok with me limiting them in my diet going forward. Because how I feel is a huge part of how I function and those foods severely affect how I feel. As for the other stuff I gave up — sugar and dairy and wine — I am really happy to NOT introduce sugar back into my diet (I really see no need for something so nutritionally empty and it’s never been a big craving for me anyway so I do not miss it) BUT I happily reintroduced dairy (especially cheese) and wine because, hey, I do enjoy my life 🙂 It isn’t about restriction — I am not trying to lose weight — it is about recognizing that we are all different and react differently to different foods and should find what works best for us. I ate a ton of fish and fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fats on Whole 30 and felt really great after. I felt more informed and more powerful and much happier from what I learned. So I gently say — not so much to you but to some of your commenters — please allow for a difference of opinion from your own; it doesn’t devalue your opinion or experience, it just allows for others to coexist. And we all learn from each other. If this plan doesn’t work for you or wouldn’t teach you anything about yourself or your food habits, great. But maybe it could. We learn by being open to other ideas.
juliaSeptember 1, 2017 at 11:40 am
Good for you for trying it, and good for you for not feeling forced to finish the whole 30 days. I’ve never done it, mostly because I think that a diet (or whatever you want to call it) that excludes beans is kind of BS. I understand why people try it, but like you, I could not eat that much meat.
HillarySeptember 2, 2017 at 3:50 am
A few thoughts.. I’m glad that you shared your honest experience with Whole30. It’s been so trendy and I’m glad to see a real opinion about it. There is nothing wrong with a love for baking, real food, etc etc. THis is why I haven’t atttempted it.
However my issue with your post was at the end when you seem to dismiss peoples feelings on “good food bad good” I get where you’re coming from, but this is a real struggle for many of your readers. So rather than saying “I mean really. Eat a plate of pasta and get over it” could you be more positive and encouraging? I’ve been an avid reader over the years, and of course read your book, but Jenna….. this just left a terrible taste in my mouth. It just made me feel like less of a person because sometimes I DO struggle with that mentality. Maybe this blog isn’t the place for me, but I’ve been looking to you for inspiration..
KathSeptember 2, 2017 at 6:15 am
Your sentiments are exactly why I have looked at the program’s “rules” and decided it’s not for me in advance : )
Sophie PiperSeptember 2, 2017 at 11:17 am
Whew! Glad I’m not the only one ? We eat really healthy and a whole food-ish diet but I hated whole30. It was a good reset with food but it throws moderation out the window. And soooooo much meat and eggs!! I actually felt poorly when we finished. I think everyone’s bodies are different. Stay safe from those whole30 police! They are intense!
J StubbsSeptember 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm
Everyone’s body is different, and everyone needs different things. I think it’s cool that you tried it, and that you paid attention to how you felt. Life is too short to play by rules, just for the sake of rules. I love your honesty! Keep it up.
Susan McClydeSeptember 13, 2017 at 6:24 am
Thanks for this!
JackieOctober 9, 2017 at 5:36 am
Hi Jenna! I love your blog and am so glad you decided to come back to it.
I realized that you don’t have any of your bread recipes (besides sweet breads) on your recipe section (unless I’m missing them?!) Would you mind posting some of the basic bread recipes that you use for your family? I’m starting to get into it myself and would love to read about your tricks.
CalistaOctober 16, 2017 at 1:23 pm
I am headed into week 2 of my second round of Whole30. I remember my first round where I was about halfway through and just got really tired of eating meat and eggs. I’m about to hit that point now, where I really don’t want three eggs in one sitting, or a giant burger patty, thank you very much. Thanks for your honest review!