Oh my God oh my God! Today is the last day of my Whole30 journey!! And I just ate my last meal of the day, so basically I am done. So to ‘celebrate’ that, I popped my cherry, aka I took my kale virginity. That’s right, I’ve never eaten kale, because just the smell of it used to make me gag. Not that I like it very much now either, but salad, the healthy kind like spinach, beet greens etc are pretty pricey in Finland, at least the amount I am committed to eat from now on, it’s going to be too expensive for me to maintain. Unless I bring the cheap kale into the picture. Replacing half of my weekly salad intake with kale, I save about 40%. So kale it is. And I found out that anything can be made edible with enough garlic and with a side of bacon slices. 😛 And kale is super filling. I fried up 100 grams of kale, and I haven’t felt this full ever after eating what’s basically just a salad. 😀 Oh and a tip for those wanting to try sauteed kale too, it is very very salt friendly. Meaning it sucked up all of the salt I put in, which surprised me. So just add a little bit of salt, or a splash of broth and skip the salt.
Back to the Whole30 experience itself, it’s over! What a month it had been… what a ride! I learned a lot, I surprised myself a lot. I was surprised how accurately the Whole30 book predicted my ‘symptoms’. Like the first week, super-tired, second week, bloated af, third week, Tiger Blood aka super energetic version of myself made an experience, and the last week, the super energy mellowed out a little bit but I still feel very good, just less hyper and for sure less annoying. 😀 I have good energy throughout the day, I would not get food coma after eating and I’m generally in a very good mood most of the days. The mood thing is what surprised me the most. I’ve been low in energy for ages now, and I would really need a good reason to be in a good mood but I don’t need any reason to get depressed. All of that got way more prominent in the year 2016, especially after summer. I was always tired, no matter how much coffee I drink or how long I sleep. I fell asleep on the bus during work commute constantly. I would get into a bad mood or get really depressed for no reason or some really stupid reason. I had a short fuse and would lash out especially to my parents. Then I would feel very bad for lashing out, cos come on, they are my parents. And not seeing any progress even though I worked out all year was endlessly frustrating too. Those were the reasons I got into Whole30. I kinda got the exercise part covered, it had become a habit for me to work out in the morning, so I figured it was time to focus on my eating habits.
I could hardly believe how could one month change so much. And all of the Whole30 rules makes sense now. Cos the thing that happened once I cut off carbs and sugar, I automatically brought in more vegetables and fat into my diet. And I couldn’t believe how a little more fat made me feel. That is what made me actually ask for the first time in my life, just what happens to carbs, fat and protein inside our body. I’ve written a little bit about it in my short post ‘What I’ve Learned‘. That is how I found out about the ketogenic diet. It does sound intriguing and I watched a looooot of videos and read tons of articles about different perspectives and takes about the keto diet. And just like any other diets, it has its militant extremists and then some really lay-back people. The problem is, I couldn’t find any answers to right amounts, or the ‘right’ fat-protein-carbs ratio. But it does make a lot more sense than any other diets I’ve heard and tried myself. So I already proved myself that cutting off sugar and carbs (except the ones coming from vegetables and fruit) and increasing my fat intake (which basically means I get to use real butter, cheese and proper cream to cook) makes me feel very very good. That’s why I decided to give the higher fat, low carb diet a spin, as it also seems to be the most sustainable for a foodie like me. I wouldn’t go as far as call a keto, maybe keto-ish, because I just refuse to let go of my beloved veggies. But I am doing some adjustments as to what veggies to eat. I would talk more about the new food habits I’m adapting to next week.
Back to the effects of Whole30. It’s so much easier for me to wake up in the mornings. I am not a morning person, I usually work out in a haze and with no brain function. But it gradually got more and more easy for me to get up, even if I hadn’t got enough sleep, I would still be energetic. The can-barely-keep-my-eyes-open thing is gone, and I find myself way more alert right in the morning. It increased my productivity at work, which is a life saver that it happened to be in the month that was unprecedentedly busy at work. I was way less stressed although I did get pissed a couple of times about the shitty situation at work, but it was justified and it went away quickly. It didn’t bother me as much as it probably should, or as long as it should. I sleep better than before, I fall asleep way faster and I wouldn’t wake in the middle of the night. I also noticed that I don’t need to sleep as much, many times I woke up right before my alarm rang which never used to happen. 😛 And the only time I was feeling depressed was the result of getting a massive headache that I strongly suspected to actually be a migraine. I am prone to migraines so I know how much they hurt. The thing that’s throwing me off was that this ‘migraine’ didn’t hurt that much, it was actually manageable throughout the day with just a few pain killers (that never even put a dent on the pain before). Of course, migraine is a migraine with its side-effects and one of them being making me sad for no reason. But that was literally the only day of the month that I’m not in a good mood. And I say that it was also justified. 😛 And I strongly suspected that I got that migraine because I skipped a meal the previous day. So trust me, on a diet like Whole30, skipping a meal and starving yourself is not a good idea.
So in result of that headache, the last week of the Whole30 I spent eating indulgent but still Whole30 approved food. Like sweet and sour pork and spicy chicken wings (above). Then I brought out the ultimate comfort food (well one of them, and for me): the beef soup Asian style. It’s basically what I would make before but instead of eating it with noodles, I get to eat more of the good stuff aka the meat. I got a really nice piece of steak from my mom, and many would yell at me about wasting just a well-proportioned fatty steak in a soup but it was freaking delicious. I just add a lot of mushrooms and king oyster mushrooms, romaine salad, spinach, onion, ginger, coriander and chive with some eggs too. And using my favorite brand of beef broth that is made with only vegetables and meat and nothing but herbs and salt as seasoning, the soup turned out so delicious.
My mom has perhaps noticed the biggest change in me is that I am way more patient with them now that I’ve been for a long time. For me, it was like a little switch. Things that used to annoy me or make me lash out, it was easy to just choose not to and even laugh about it. It’s actually so easy, that it didn’t even feel like a conscious decision to be nice. In short, Whole30 made me into a much nicer person. 😀 And you know what? It felt so good to laugh a lot to stupid things that might make you angry if you would have been in a bad mood instead of a good one. And the best thing was that I made my folks laugh too. It feels good to be the one who infects others with good humor. I used to think that sweet stuff like chocolate would make you happy, that when depressed eating some carb-tastic food would help, or that a granola bar would be a nice pick-me-up when tired. The most ironic thing is, those turned out to be the food that created the unjustified depression, the moodiness and the fatigue.
All in all, I would warmly recommend everyone who is looking to change their bad eating habits to give Whole30 a go. It may sound very restrictive and it is, and it’s not going to be easy, but it’s well designed for you to learn new, maybe even surprising things about your own body. It’s not meant to be long-term, it’s a reboot button, a resetting diet. My initial goal was removing fatigue and weight loss, but I got so much more than that. I actually still don’t know whether I even lost any weight as I’m writing this cos I’m going to weigh in tomorrow morning, but I literally don’t care what the number on the scale is. I wouldn’t change my easy good mood for anything, not even pasta. Again, I am not sponsored by Whole30, it doesn’t cost anything because you can basically find all the information you need free online. It’s just 30 days, what would it hurt? And if you are fortunate, you just might find the perfect direction to your eating habit that is easily sustainable, delicious and healthy at the same time. I for one cannot be more glad that I decided to try this. More about ‘what’s now’ next Monday! Have a nice week!