The End of the 30 Whole Days Challenge

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Today is the final day of the 30 Whole Days Challenge. While I was not perfect and did not eat whole foods 100% of the time (there were two instances with french fries and a couple of whole wheat bagels), I am more than proud of myself for my ability to stick to the plan. In the summary below you will see some similar themes to my thoughts after one week.

The Good:
Smoothies for breakfast are the best!!! This is a really great thing to have in the morning and really keeps me from being hungry until lunchtime. I managed to even make the time between breakfast and lunch a bit longer without losing my mind. The best thing about smoothies is that you can really just throw a bunch of things together, taste it, and adjust accordingly. I like not having to exactly follow a recipe. My most frequent combination was frozen bananas, rice milk, ground flaxseed, and peanut butter. The only downside to the smoothies is the clean-up.

Not having cheese was not as hard as I thought it would be. I never really craved cheese throughout the 30 days, which surprised me because I have often craved it in the past. I think it is one of those foods, though, that the more you have it, the more you want it, so I guess by cutting it out completely I didn’t want it anymore.

Salads are better if you don’t call them salads. I discovered that I love taking baby spinach and mixing it with salsa. I also like taking a mixture of brown rice and black beans and mixing it with baby spinach. I am just not a fan of the word salad because it makes me think of bland lettuce with a tomato or two. Not so fun.

Cooking can be fun if you take the pressure of yourself to make it perfect. It also helped that I was only making things for me, so if I messed them up, the husband would not starve.

Bananas are awesome. (although I already knew that)

Eating Out. I finally went to eat at Sweet Tomatoes, which was quite good, although a bit pricey for a salad (there’s that word again!) bar. The photo above is the salad that I ate there. I also managed to stay mostly on plan at stir-fry restaurant (the oil was the only thing item not on the approved list).

My husband was quite supportive during the whole thing and although he did get a lot of fast food during the last month, he didn’t try to get me to join in. My two french fry lapses were (1) because I was craving fried food for three days and finally succumbed, and (2) we had to hurry from work to see Glee Live and I made the conscious decision to just grab some french fries.

The Bad:

Cravings. I really craved bread a few times. One time I made a small brown rice flat bread and a couple of times I had a whole wheat bagel. Certainly not unhealthy in either case. There was also the fried food craving I discussed above. I know there are healthy options if you are craving chocolate or bread, but what can you do to stem a fried food craving other than have fried food?

Cooking is exhausting. I already went to the store to buy food for this week and I went back to some old prepared standbys because I am just tired of cooking. For that same reason, I had the same lunch several days in a row. While it is good to use up leftovers, it can also make for boring food.

This challenge made me obsess over food. I don’t like thinking about food all day long, but I really had to with this eating plan, especially early on. I had to make sure I had all the meals and snacks planned out, I had to obsessively check the contents of anything that I bought to make sure there was not added oil, salt, or sweetener. I have been doing a daily photo of myself and nearly all of them from this month were of me holding or eating some kind of food. (see below)

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Overall I am glad that I did the challenge, but I do not think that it is something that I care to keep up all the time. Certainly I will be limiting my processed food from now on, but I will be having some. My goal is to find a good balance between the two. Before the challenge I was nearly all processed and during the challenge I was eating nearly no processed. I think that a diet of mostly whole foods with some processed foods is probably a more realistic long term goal for me.