Whole30 Survival Guide: Two Weeks Later
Woh! I’ve officially crossed the halfway threshold of this Whole30 challenge. In fact, today marks day twenty one. Twenty one days with zero added sugar, grains, legumes, corn, and soy. But let’s back up a bit.
When I first shared the first part of my Whole30 survival guide, I was only four days into this whole thing. Four days! I was about to embark on a quick weekend getaway to visit my sister and brother-in-law in New York City. As promised, I thought I would check in and let you know how it is going, how I’m feeling, and my thoughts in general.
For the first two weeks of the program, I was fairly diligent with keeping a daily journal. Over the last week or so, that sort of fell by the wayside. Oops. Here’s a quick snapshot of how I was feeling/my experiences during the first two weeks:
How I’m Feeling:
To be honest? I’m not feeling that different. I never experienced a surge of energy after the fourteen day mark, as some people experience. My energy levels do seem to be more steady throughout the day, perhaps a bit higher, and I am sleeping very well (luckily, I sleep fairly well in general). I’ve also found that I can wake up more easily. Again, nothing drastic though.
The most noticeable difference is that I feel a bit more satiated throughout the day. I’m also hungrier in the morning. I’m not a massive snacker, but I really haven’t felt the need to snack either. I think it is because I’m eating more protein and vegetables at breakfast and lunch.
Most Difficult Stage:
Week one was easy for me. I feel like it’s fairly easy to keep up any routine whenever you first start it (think honeymoon phase).
Days 10-14 were fairly brutal. I almost quit during this period. No joke. For whatever reason, I felt extremely bored and mentally (not physically) unsatisfied during this period. I was annoyed and questioned why I was doing it. Quite simply, I was over it.
I wasn’t even having any serious cravings, I just really wanted the flavor and variety of certain foods. I missed milk in my coffee. I was sick of eggs. I was cooking different things, I just didn’t feel like eating any of them. Introducing some new meals into the repertoire over the following week and realizing I was more than halfway through really helped. I haven’t felt that way since, thank god.
As I predicted, I’ve had to become more creative with my meals throughout the day. I’m incorporating more vegetables and healthy fats (lots of avocado, etc.) into my breakfasts and lunches, and generally haven’t been snacking. I’m also making an effort to have leftovers at all times. Leftovers are a lifesaver, especially when you can’t stand the idea of cooking one night!
Since it is easy to get bored, I’ve been cooking more seafood each week (these mussels are definitely going to become part of our regular routine).
For whatever reason, I didn’t make a lot of soups in the first two weeks – and these have been lifesavers for me! There are a ton of naturally compliant soups that you can make and I find them really satisfying as meals.
Favorite Non-Egg Breakfasts:
Let’s be honest. Eggs become boring really quickly when you’re doing this. I had a bit too many eggs in those first two weeks and never wanted to see another one by day ten. I have incorporated a bit more variety into my breakfasts ever since, and my egg aversion seems to have disappated as a result.
I have turned to smoothies on occasion for breakfast. I make them fairly light on fruit (using berries, maybe half a banana) and have been adding collagen protein powder, almond butter, avocado chunks, and vegetables (spinach, frozen cauliflower, etc.) to make them super satiating!
I also added chia puddings into the mix fairly recently, which has been a nice change too. On lazy occasions, I have eaten leftover soup for breakfast. It is a bit weird to eat chili for breakfast, but you don’t even care once you’re halfway through this thing.
Wild Blueberry Chia Pudding (made with coconut/almond milk); topped with banana and unsweetened coconut flakes
Easiest Thing to Give Up:
Added sugar. I think giving up added sugar (in all forms) is usually the hardest part of Whole30 for most people – and produces the most side effects in that first week – so I feel thankful that I haven’t found this part difficult. I credit this to not having eaten that many foods with added sugar before I started. I haven’t experienced any headaches or sugar withdrawal symptoms.
Would I happily eat a doughnut? Sure. But I haven’t had any crazy cravings for baked goods.
Also, alcohol! I’m not a big drinker by any means (I mostly drink wine and beer, and try to limit it on the weekdays anyway), but I’ve been missing it less than I expected. If I’m craving a beverage, I’ve been turning to La Croix waters or my favorite kombuchas.
Hardest Thing to Give Up:
For me, the hardest thing has been dairy. My morning coffees are not as satisfying. Granted, I have been spoiled with daily cappuccinos ever since we got one of these machines. Despite literally trying every alternative milk on the market, not a day has gone by where I have not missed milk in my coffee in the morning. On the other hand, I have gotten used to it.
Life without cheese is also sad. Totally doable, but sad. As an Italian and pasta lover, I can live with substituting regular pasta with zucchini noodles on occasion. Not being able to put a sprinkling of parmesan on top to make it more satisfying? Sort of depressing <— truth.
In general, I’ve found that its much harder to feel mentally satisfied when recreating certain favorite meals that can’t compare to the real thing. Especially if you’re used to the real thing. For example: I prepared cauliflower fried ‘rice’ in week one. It was good, but I honestly would have preferred to just roast the cauliflower as a side and create a meal that didn’t revolve around rice at all. Fake or real. That’s just my own experience.
Can’t Wait to Make:
This hasn’t been a massive craving (and I haven’t had any wild food dreams, as some people experience in the first few weeks), but I can’t wait to bake homemade bread. ?
Or homemade pizza!
I’ll be sharing it later this week! I actually made it multiple times last week, because I’m that obsessed with it right now. Compliant or not, I would happily eat this any day. Look out for it soon!
15 Comments on “Whole30 Survival Guide: Two Weeks Later”
Woohoo, almost done! I’ve been eating Paleo for over a year but haven’t done a Whole 30 yet, I’m sure I will at some point though! I have some recipes on my blog you might enjoy for Whole 30 friendly breakfasts that aren’t eggs. Here’s a chia parfait recipe that’s Whole 30 friendly, if you’d like to check it out! Keep it up!
Oh! I think you’d find Whole30 pretty easy if you are already eating paleo. For me, its a pretty drastic change, because I’m a huge grain and dairy lover. Thanks so much for sharing – I’m totally gonna check out your recipes (I’m in desperate need of breakfast ideas!). Thanks Odessa!
Love your truths here! It’s such a hard challenge. Having done it in the past and having been put on a very similar diet recently by my doctor, it gets easier to navigate. The sugar part is so hard, though, mainly because it’s in everything. Yes, this is meant to make us eat more whole foods, but sometimes, you have to eat out or buy processed foods and it’s so hard to find any without sugar in them. Good for you for taking this on, though. For me, it felt so important to reset the hormone system. Can’t wait to check out the recipes that have come out of this.
Yes! I don’t find the sugar part that hard, but there just happens to be a lot of products that have a bit of sugar in them, which makes label reading even more important. I’ve always been an ingredient reader, but definitely am even more educated as to things that have hidden sugar. I do think eating out is IMPOSSIBLE with Whole30 – it just sort of forces you to be a recluse and stay in, which gets old after a while!! I didn’t know you had tried Whole30 before!! So fascinating to hear your experience Cassidy! 🙂
This is a great post! My sister has had a ton of success on Whole30 and has done it multiple times, incorporating lots of it into her regular life when she’s not on it (which is obviously the whole point!). Excited to see more of your favorite dishes!
Very fascinating! I can definitely see taking a lot of the habits from Whole30 and incorporating them into my daily life. I have been more mindful of super balanced breakfasts and lunches (which I tended to skimp on before, which lead to me eating too much at dinner!) – and I’m going to try to stick with that as much as possible. It’s definitely keeping my energy up throughout the day!
I’ve been following on insta stories. I would love to try this….but not sure I could. Sugar and I have a long intense relationship 🙂
Thanks for sharing.
I think you can do it! You just have to be committed – otherwise its easy to want to quit. I recommend reading the book It Starts with Food (I would have a hard time being interested enough in doing the challenge without having read that). I actually think you might not notice the lack of sugar as much as you expect, because there are other restrictions that might distract you? Not sure! I think its probably one of the most well-researched/valid arguments for doing Whole30.
So i’ve been researching the Whole 30 and plan on starting mine sometime next month. I am dreading trying to figure out a compliant alternative for my morning coffee. I’m already dairy-free, but I use coffee creamer or drink soy milk lattes…I’m trying to slowly train myself to like black coffee now so that i’m not thrown for a total loop when I go full Whole 30.
Exciting! Ok – so I have good news. I think you can totally use some creamers, so your morning coffee won’t taste that drastic (it’s a bigger switch for me because I don’t use creamers and was definitely not dairy-free). Check out Califia brand’s unsweetened coconut/almond creamer – it is compliant. It’s relatively thick and doesn’t taste bad! They also sell one called ‘betterhalf’ and I think the unsweetened one is compliant too! Hope this helps!
Omg thank you! I’m going to look for some of these at the grocery store tonight!
I recently finished my first Whole30 so it’s interesting to read how yours is going. Even though I had terrible eating habits before, I was very strict about sticking to the plan and had a surprisingly easy time of it. Unfortunately, even though I had no difficulties and never experienced any of the negatives like sugar cravings and mood swings, I didn’t see any benefits either. Absolutely nothing changed for me. I’m definitely the oddball. I don’t regret doing it but it was disappointing that I never experienced the “magic” that everyone talks about, although I am more aware of things like hidden sugar. Hope you have better results!
Extremely interesting article, Laura! I too admire your dedication to the Whole 30 program even when traveling and when tempted by all sorts of yummy items that are not on the diet. In sympathy, i have tried to do this just for a day, but find that life is “too sad” without diary! On the other hand, I do realize that I often go for a yoghurt or fruit rather than eating the amount of protein and veg I should eat. leftovers and prep work are the key! Glad you haven’t had too many sugar cravings!
Hi Laura, I have been thinking about the whole30 challenge but have conflicted feelings, sugar will be the hardest, I enjoy something sweet like a mocha or breakfast treat everyday. Sounds like you are doing well. I admire your tenacity.
I think you can do it, if you are committed! I find that fruit definitely satisfies the need for sweets (even more so after you get through the first hump of the challenge). Thanks so much Cheri! It hasn’t been all fun and games – but I’m glad I’ve stuck with it – just for the sake of teaching myself that I CAN live without certain foods for at least a good chunk of time.