The Post-Holiday Detox: How I’m Getting Through a Whole 30(ish)


hile my diet generally consists of what I like to call “real food,” the holidays were a magical revelry in sweets and white flour.

Magical, yet ambivalent: I would daily swing between two extremes–one minute purging everything but a single candy cane from my daughter’s bag of treats from church and the next eating handfuls of the best ginger cookies on the planet.

In the end, though, my body was crying out for a detox.

Enter: A Whole 30 (ish).


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Why a Whole 30?

The Hubs was ready to try to kick his sugar habit for good. And we both were curious if modifying our diets for a season would improve some of the annoying (though not serious) health issues we’d been dealing with.

Based on the experience of friends and my own research, I’m pretty convinced that sugar, pasteurized dairy, soy, and grains (or at least gluten?) are the culprits of many health issues.

So a Whole 30–which is pretty much just one month of eating only veggies, fruit, meat/fish, nuts, and quality oils–seemed to fit our goals best.

How It’s Going So Far

We’re about two weeks in and I feel amazing. In some ways, a Whole 30 wasn’t super radical for us–we already don’t eat refined sugar, a lot of grains, or much dairy.

But there must be something about abstaining completely because my mind feels so much clearer.  I’m still waiting to see if it helps Hubs and I in other areas, but we’ve still got a couple weeks.

I do feel hungrier more often, so I have to be intentional to have easy snacks on hand.  I don’t weigh myself much, but I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a few pounds.  That wasn’t a goal (and since I tend toward the thin side, I’d rather keep the weight I have), just an FYI.

What’s Helped

Ok, let’s be real: making meals with only meat and produce is hard.  At least at first.  Here’s what’s made it a bit easier:

  • Good recipes. I bought Well-Fed on sale and it’s been worth it for the fruit crisp recipe alone.  I also find myself using Simple Food {for spring} quite a bit, as well as good old Elana’s Pantry.
  •  The Roast.  Oh, The Pot Roast.  Where have you been all of my life?? We bought a quarter of a cow last year and I’m slowing learning to cook things besides ground beef.  Chuck (or whatever kind) roast + sweet potato fries and roasted broccoli or asparagus = amazing.  Plus, you get leftovers for beef stew, salads, or, when I can find an approved tortilla, tacos.
  • Meal Planning.  Pretty sure I couldn’t do without meal planning this month, both for my sanity and the sake of the budget. I’m trying to be strategic and do things like roast a chicken on Monday, then use it for 2-3 other meals that week.
  • Not including the kids.  I’m just not going to stress over finding replacements for staples like oatmeal and sandwiches right now.
  • Not reading the Whole 30 website any more.  Woah.  Intense.
  • Adding the “ish” when necessary.  Ex: the only reasonably priced almond butter I can find has 3 grams of sugar per serving.  Oh well.  Maybe our results won’t be as dramatic as purists’, but I’m ok with that.

I’ll be back to share favorite recipes and let you know how the month finishes out…until then,  Are you eating differently after the holidays? How’s it going?

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About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • I went back to Paleo after the holidays. Congrats on the Whole30. I did a Whole30-ish in September. It really helped a lot and I did feel very clear. Well-Fed is such an awesome book. I use a lot of the recipes from Practical Paleo.

  • alexsudan

    Question for ya, so it Whole 30 any different than a Paleo diet?

    • I’m no Paleo expert, but my understanding is that it’s just a stricter version. For example, while sweeteners like honey may be ok for Paleo, there’s a no sweeteners rule in a Whole 30.
      This might help:

  • Brenda Venable

    So, that means no See’s for 2/14????? Let me know.

    • Oh no, the fabulous thing about a Whole 30 is it’s only for 30 days ;). And there’s always room for See’s anyway.

  • I did a Whole 30 just before Thanksgiving and felt amazing. Although I did indulge over the holidays, I found it easier to be picky about which treats I chose to enjoy. (Ruling over my sugar habit rather than having it rule over me, basically.) It also helped me discover which foods really did have a negative impact- milk and sugar, for sure. Other unapproved Whole 30 foods seem fine- like lentils and oatmeal. Way to go, Jenn! One more thing for us to talk about on our next Skype chat 🙂