By: Michael Hymen
Michael Hymen is a member of the Customer Advocate and Sales team. Here, he writes about his first week doing Whole30®.
At this very moment, I am eight days into this 30-day challenge best known to the wellness community as Whole30®. I have had my ups and downs through it all. But before we get into the highs and the lows of my experience so far, let’s go back to where it all began.
A few weeks ago, I started thinking about the way I was eating and all the changes I knew I needed to make. These lifestyle tweaks included everything from how often I was eating to the type of food I was putting into my body. Following a program like Whole30® isn’t something I would normally consider doing, but when Grace, Lively’s editor, reached out to the Vital Proteins staff to see if anyone would be interested in blogging about their first-time Whole30® experience, I began to seriously think about trying it out.
Of course, I had my qualms – mostly because September was going to be a very busy month for me. I’ll be in Baltimore for a week, New York for a couple days and will then attend a wedding for two of my closest friends. All signs were pointing to just delaying the start of the program by a month. But then I had an a-ha moment one morning: Telling myself, “This isn’t the right time to do it” would always be an excuse I could use. Contrary to what I once thought, starting Whole30® during one of my busiest months of the year was perfect timing. So, there we had it. The answer was clear. I was going to start my first-ever Whole30®!
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I’ll be honest: The first day on Whole30® was pretty tough for me. Quitting my favorite foods, like cookies and PB&Js, cold turkey was quite tough to do. Especially when you are spending time with your friends to take your mind off things and they decide it would be hilarious to order five pizzas in front of you. After suffering through the first day of temptation, I knew I had it in the bag.
My roommate had decided that he was going to join me on this new adventure, so we stocked up on all the food we’d need for the month! After spending way too much money and buying way too many things, we were ready to meal prep. The first night was the hardest because, as much as I enjoy cooking, I have always been so careless about the ingredients I use. I now had to double-check everything, aside from the obvious foods, to make sure it was Whole30® compliant. That night, I whipped up my new favorite, Melissa Hartwig-approved meal, which consisted of chicken, tomatoes and potatoes. It was so simple but tasted so good.
What I have found to be the hardest part of this journey is knowing exactly what I can and can’t eat. This became apparent around Day 5 when I cooked what I thought was going to be a fantastic meal! The recipe called for steak and broccoli that I seasoned with black pepper and cayenne pepper, potatoes with fresh thyme and basil and corn on the cob, which I had assumed was compliant. To give you an idea of where my head was at, I have had corn so many times before, and it has always felt like a vegetable to me – because it is one. But what had not crossed my mind in that moment was that corn is also a grain.
So, there you have it. Five days in and it’s over before it ever really started. Those five days were a wild ride and I made some really good food that will carry over into the rest of my non-Whole30® life.
KIDDING! I’m not going to let one slip up mess with me – especially a slip up like that. I didn’t fall for a craving, nor did I eat something because I missed it. It was just a misunderstanding and now I know what to look for. I have also decided to extend my Whole30® journey just to make sure that I actually complete it correctly.
Next week, I will begin the biggest challenge of all as I’ll be traveling for six days without a kitchen to cook in. I will be in Baltimore and ready to take on “eating outside the home.” I will rely heavily on asking the right questions and making sure that what I am eating is compliant. I look forward to sharing that experience with you then.
Photos: Courtesy of Michael Hymen