I’ve got a Whole30 update for you! It’s been a little over a month since I “started” the detox. I put that in quotes because I kinda sorta maybe cheated for the first week straight. Oops. But after that, I dove headfirst into it. I started cooking every night, stopped having frozen margaritas every time we went out for dinner (my weakness, especially at Pepe’s and Le Deauville…), and basically followed every rule I was aware of consistently for the last month. Here are my most notable results, 3 solid weeks in:
Fatigue – I had been having regular fatigue and a really hard time getting to sleep at night prior to W30, but now I have energy all day and I’m sleeping much better. I first noticed the change when I didn’t have my usual late-morning crash — the one after the coffee and breakfast wear off and all I want to do is crawl back into bed and pass out for 3 hours. There’s also much less tossing and turning at night which makes a world of difference.
Mental Clarity & Ability to Focus – I used to define myself as someone with a really short attention span. This made it impossible for me to be truly productive unless I took breaks every half hour or physically relocated for a change of scenery every couple of hours. I had accepted it as part of my personality. After about a week of W30, I was able to sit down with no aids (such as caffeine or music playing) and hammer away at e-mails, photo editing, etc. until I was done or it was meal time. Miraculous! I also feel less overwhelmed in general, which is amazing. I find that sorting my thoughts and problem solving have become much more manageable. This has led to better moods, lower stress, and increased motivation to be active and tackle new projects.
Bloating & Weight – About 3 years ago, I drastically changed my eating habits to exclude most processed foods. When I did this, I dropped about 30 pounds over the course of 6 months. I also started running and doing yoga. As a result, I hit a plateau that seemed to be my lowest possible healthy weight. At my lightest, I was actually a little underweight, but that was because I was outrunning my calories and not eating them back (it’s very important to eat at least half of your burned calories back!). At that time, I didn’t have bloating issues because I was drinking a lot of water and sweating out toxins regularly. Over time, I ran less frequently as work got busier. As my workout intensity decreased, so did my water intake. The busier I got, the more craving-inducing foods (including processed meal bars) I added to my diet, simply because they were convenient. This led to a distaste for water because it was just too bland. All that to say, lack of activity, dehydration and higher sugar/sodium “quickie” foods introduced me to the world’s worst bloating problem. I would start out the day feeling decent, but by the afternoon I could push my stomach out so far it looked like I was pregnant. Not fun. My “weight” would fluctuate regularly because of this, and I just felt sluggish and out of shape. Basically miserable. The number one thing I was looking forward to when I took on this Whole30 challenge was conquering the bloat monster once and for all. Within a week, I noticed that I wasn’t as consistently bloated as I was before. As I entered the second half of the detox, I realized that I needed to drastically increase my water intake. Now this was much easier since my taste buds were no longer whining for junk foods. I’ve been drinking between 60 and 100 oz. of water daily for about 5 days now, and I can see that in combination with my W30 meals and easing into more regular cardio sessions, my bloating can and will be fully cured!
Cravings & Snacking – Snacking used to distract me constantly. I would get something in my head like a spoonful of peanut butter or a chocolate mug cake, and the thought wouldn’t leave me alone until I was eating. These weren’t horrible snacks either…I would go for all-natural pb or mug cakes made with coconut oil and organic chocolate. I would even weigh everything and keep it to a single serving. But the truth remained: I wasn’t hungry, and I was eating anyway. This habit was a beast because it would interrupt my work, my sleep, pretty much everything. Food had become too important. Enjoying a tasty treat had become an addiction. Two of the things you’re not allowed to do during W30 are any kind of dessert baking or regular snacking. You’re not even allowed to bake with W30-approved ingredients. This is because fixing your relationship with food is one of the key factors of this challenge. If you’re baking “healthy versions” of unhealthy sweets, your body is getting more nutrients, but your mind is still getting its dessert fix. I’m really glad they included this point in the guidelines because it’s exactly what I needed. In the beginning, it was really difficult. I was actually visited in my sleep by the brownie fairy. It was glorious. But near the end of my second week, I found myself eating only when I was hungry simply because I wasn’t constantly dwelling on food. When I did think about food at non-meal times, I could more easily determine whether I should or shouldn’t reach for a snack. When I decided to snack, my options were raw veggies, a piece of fruit or a handful of unsalted nuts. Nothing incredibly tempting there! Being rid of snack-y cravings and general food distractions has significantly improved my ability to focus in so many other areas.
So now I get to share one of my all-time favorite clean recipes. I love this one so much that I can’t even count how many times I’ve prepared it over the last 3 weeks. These Spiced Sweet Potato Oven Fries make a perfect breakfast alongside some scrambled eggs, a perfect lunch with some sliced kumato tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, or the perfect side for a dinner of turkey burgers topped with sauteed peppers and onions. There’s no oil, no frying, just sweet potato and a few delectable spices to celebrate that naturally wonderful flavor. If you’ve been following me on Instagram lately, you’ve seen multiple appearances from these bright orange beauties. They’re absolutely packed with vitamins, magnesium, potassium, beta carotene and dietary fiber which helps regulate blood sugar. To sum up, you might want to toss your supplements and take a sweet potato daily instead! [Recipe at the bottom.]
How do you feel about the Whole30 detox? Do you think you’ll try it? If you’ve completed one already, what was your experience? Let’s discuss!
Spiced Sweet Potato Oven Fries
Yields about 2 servings (1 serving is 180g, about 160 calories)
2 large sweet potatoes (or about 315-375g)
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground clove
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Scrub sweet potatoes clean under warm water and pat dry. Cut the ends off the potatoes and then cut them lengthwise into sticks, no more than 1/2 inch thick. Place them in a medium mixing bowl.
In a cup or small bowl, mix the spices together until fully combined. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the sweet potatoes and toss by hand until the sticks are coated evenly.
Spread the fries on a parchment-lined cookie sheet (parchment is optional, but saves some cleanup time) and bake for 30 minutes. You can check on them at 25 minutes and stab the thickest pieces with a fork to see if they’re done. If the fork goes through easily, remove them from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.