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The Whole 30 is thirty days of no added sugars, no dairy, no gluten, no grains, no legumes, and no alcohol. It is an elimination diet aimed at resetting your body and your eating habits while eating real food. Decreasing systemic inflammation and lowering blood sugar are two of the biggest health benefits of these 30 days. Stripping bad habits associated with snacking and poor food choices help build a healthier relationship with food. I consider myself a healthy person and was still able to learn a lot over these 30 days and here’s a quick summary:

1. There is sugar in EVERYTHING. So many things we consume that don’t seem like they are sugary products have sneaky sugars in the ingredients. I learned to quickly skim ingredients while grocery shopping and it became easier to pick out what was “compliant” and what was not. I wasn’t just looking for the word “sugar”, but any syrups, glucose, dextrose, honey, nectar… and the list goes on and on. I couldn’t even find bacon without sugar in any of the many grocery stores in which I looked.

2. No hair, skin, and nails vitamins needed! By the end of 30 days my hair was softer, my nails were stronger, and my skin was more clear than it has been in quite some time. The Whole 30 is all about NSV’s or Non-Scale Victories. This was one of the NSV’s I was most happy with over the course of the 30 days.

3. It’s not all chicken and broccoli. I became a better cook over these 30 days. I learned to get creative in making meals that were tasty while making sure to be getting proper amounts of healthy fats, greens, and protein. Yes, there was a lot of meat and veggies, but I tried to incorporate vegetables and different fish that I had never cooked before to keep it interesting.

4. I had more energy consistently through my day. I used to hit a slump just about every day around 2:00 PM. This was one of the first changes I noticed in these 30 days. I had energy all day and didn’t feel like I needed a mid-afternoon pick me up coffee.

5. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking to shed a few pounds during these 30 days. While there were many reasons I chose to complete the Whole 30, feeling a little better about myself was one of them. There was a definite difference on the scale after 30 days!

6. These 30 days did not come without temptations and challenges. One of the biggest challenges was social events. It is hard to go out with friends or to networking events and not be able to eat or drink anything there. My self-control was exercised more during these situations than it has been in a long time! Having a supportive network of family and friends was a big help as well!

7. Some kitchen “must-haves” were essential at keeping me on track. Almond butter, frozen cauliflower rice, coconut aminos, olives, and RX bars can now be found in my kitchen (or with me) at any time. Before I started the Whole 30 I read a lot of different resources knowing I would need these kinds of things handy. I was able to order many of these online ahead of time- along with compliant salad dressing and mayo!- which was very helpful on Day 1.

My main take away from my Whole 30 is that I feel good. I feel good about myself physically and mentally. I learned a lot of great things that will be my new normal. A lot of people asked if I would do this again and my answer is: absolutely! Pressing the reset button every once in a while will help keep me focused on living a happy and healthy lifestyle.