Whole 30: Final Thoughts & What’s Next

Okay so after this post I promise you won’t hear the words “Whole 30” anymore. Well… let’s be real… I can’t promise that. Before I get into my final thoughts, I want to quickly recap my experience and provide the links to my weekly recaps just in case you are interested.

Week 1 Recap: Groceries, Skin & Tupperware – My grocery bill was pretty expensive; I still snacked a lot as I was figuring out how big my meal portions should be; I ate a bit too much fruit that did not agree with my body; cauliflower also did not agree with my system; my skin began to clear up almost instantly; and I needed to plan and prep a bit more than I was used to.

Week 2 Recap: Budgeting – My groceries were outrageously expensive; I learned that I needed to buy organic chicken when on sale and that fish was a treat; I almost stopped snacking.

Week 3 Recap: Confession, Grocery Success, Eating More & Paleo – I had a “slip-up” and drank alcohol, which hurt my stomach the next day and made me break-out a bit; I overall stopped snacking; I perfected my grocery shopping with my budget.

Week 4 Recap: So Much Yum – I had an evening love affair with coconut butter and shared a collection of my favorite and delicious meals from the past 30 days.


So what now?

Well, not a whooooole lot is really going to change. I thought I would be dyinggggg to dig into the peanut butter jar but I’m not. I feel great so why mess with that? My workouts have felt awesome, my digestion is (dare I say it) nearly perfect, and my clear skin is very important to me. I feel like this lifestyle is making me stronger – both mentally and physically. This is not a diet. Or a challenge. Or a fad. This was a learning experience that taught me that I feel nourished after eating meat for breakfast, love eating awesome fat like avocados and feel more satisfied with sweet potatoes than oatmeal. I think figuring out what types of protein, fat and carbs work for me was the best take-away.

My nutrition philosophy is pretty simple: eat real food that nourishes your body and makes you feel good. So with that in mind, I do plan on eating some of the food that I haven’t eaten in the past 30 days and would like to eat. I don’t have a timeline for this – when I want some peanut butter, I’ll eat it. When I want beans, I’ll eat them. I then want to assess how these foods affect me/make me feel, my body and my overall health. I make my own rules but do not see any harm in following other’s and trying things out.

Grains: I ate a few grains prior to the Whole 30 – mainly oats, quinoa and Ezekiel bread. Other than oatmeal on occasion, I really haven’t missed them at all. A piece of bread just doesn’t really do it for me anymore. A scone from Harrods is a different story. I feel much more energized with sweet potato in the morning but a bowl of oatmeal with eggs, berries, avocado and coconut butter could be a good meal so I will see how it makes me feel. I know conventional wisdom tells us how awesome “whole grains” are for us but the unfortunate reality is that they are still processed.

Oatmeal banana PB

Beans and legumes: I ate lotsssss of beans and legumes prior to the Whole 30. They were really my main source of protein. Saying this, I do not think they provided me with ample nutrition for my body and activity. Beans, lentils and legumes are an inexpensive source of (incomplete) protein – meaning they do not contain the 9 essential amino acids like animal protein does. Legumes are also high in lectins which many believe irritate the gut lining and promote inflammation in the body. For me, I think I have a good idea on how much my body can handle before… ya know…

Anyways, I do think beans, lentils and legumes are delicious. I plan on bringing them back in moderation, soaking them and eating them with another protein source in order to fully nourish my body with all the wonderful amino acids. Otherwise, I am kinda digging this meat thing. Oh! I can’t forget about my beloved peanut butter! Funny enough, I didn’t miss my peanut butter all that much. Weird. But I definitely plan on bringing peanut butter back into my life and assess how I react to it (I doubt it is a problem).

Black Bean Veggie Burgers5

Dairy: Dairy and I are not friends. As much as I love ice-cream (and eat it in the summer) it hates me. I had an obsession with Greek yogurt so I would eat that all the time. But after my food sensitivity testing in October, I cut out dairy entirely. I don’t miss it. Don’t crave it. I think it is pretty processed (stripped of nutrition) and there are plenty of dairy-free options out there. But what about calcium? Salmon, sardines, beans, kale, sesame seeds – all rich in calcium. Other than a scoop here or there this summer, I will likely keep dairy out.

Prailines and cream

Alcohol: In moderation. I like to have a little liquid fun but I balance my vodka with my veggies – and I know it doesn’t make me feel great (namely my skin).

Vodka and veggies

Treats: I do like sweet things (although fruit seems very sweet to me now), I will definitely be baking some treats, eating dark chocolate and using honey. And making pancakes!

Paleo Chocolate Chunk Cookies1

Snacking: The Whole 30 encourages three meals (plus pre/post workout snacks). I had varying levels of success with this. I don’t snack throughout the day but I like having “dessert” after dinner. I try to base this on my hunger but sometimes I just want a spoonful of coconut butter – jeez that stuff is like crack.

Coconut butter

Social life: I didn’t go out to eat once during the Whole 30 – not so much because it would be difficult but I have just been busy. I don’t eat out often (so expensive!) and prefer to cook for my friends (I think they prefer it too), but I do think it is totally do-able. You just need to be a little picky (okay annoying), ask a lot of questions and make smart decisions. So of course I plan on going out to eat!


Overall, I had an amazing experience doing the Whole 30. I loved learning more about food, nutrition, my body and what it needs. I think learning what, and how much, to eat throughout the day in order to nourish my body was a huge learning experience – one that I will continue. I haven’t counted a calorie since 2013. And that feels awesome.

The Whole 30 teaches important and realistic principles that are components of a healthy life. It’s not a diet. I even feel badly calling it a challenge – you don’t need to do this “challenge” to practice better habits. I highly recommend reading the book, learning what it has to offer and then trying a few things out. I neverrrrr would have thought I could go 30 days without peanut butter or start eating red meat again. But I did and I have. Change freaks us out – it freaks me out. But sometimes we need to challenge conventional wisdom and step outside of our comfort zone in order to do what is best for us, our bodies and our health.

My intent is to eat real food that nourishes my body. For me, this means eating food without nutrition labels (or nutrition labels with ingredients I have in my pantry). I want to focus on getting all of the macronutrients, vitamins and minerals that my body needs. I don’t think I am all that crazy and believe in finding your own balance. If I want something Franken, I’ll eat it. But a homemade, paleo (jaw drops!) chocolate chip cookie sounds a lot better than a Twinkie. Haters gonna hate. Let them. Do you.

And that’s a wrap.



Questions of the day…

Are you so happy that these Whole 30 posts are done?

Did you find them helpful? Are the grocery shopping posts helpful? Weekly plans?



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49 thoughts on “Whole 30: Final Thoughts & What’s Next

  1. Love this! Looks like you had a mostly very positive experience with trying out the Whole 30. I am interested to read the book but I don’t know that I’d ever commit to a challenge but never say never :)

    P.S. yay to getting my home computer back up and running and to actually be able to read your blog.

  2. Interesting summarize, Amy
    But i have another question.
    Here in Europe its very common going out for dinner or lunch twice or third times a week. Here in Europe, there is not available a nutritional label or nutritional information about the menu . You are not able to know what ingredients your ordered has.

    Is it similar over there in Canada? And in that case, whats your choice? because 24×7 “home made” food is really difficult.

    1. I try to go to restaurants that are as close to home cooking as possible – ones that use fresh ingredients. There is nutrition information available here for chain restaurants and fast food but I more concerned with the ingredients. Obviously it is impossible to be “perfect” 24/7 but I do my best and ask the waiter what is in each dish when I order. I usually go with a piece of baked meat, or ask them to cook the meat in olive oil, and vegetables.

  3. So glad you had such a positive experience! (as you already know) I think the underlying principles of Whole 30 and “clean eating” and paleo are really the same as the old tried and true advice for healthy eating – eat real, whole foods, and that is something I have been trying to do for a long time. :) Sadly for us veggies, Whole 30/paleo is really not an option. They say that it is and you can make it work, but it really isn’t realistic at all. That said, reading about your experience has still been helpful! It has definitely inspired me to push myself even farther. For example, I’m working on a homemade replacement for my beloved Zbars since they are obviously processed. It’s a work in progress but a huge step for me since you know completely making things up in the kitchen is NOT my forte!

  4. I love that you had such a good experience! I have a really hard time controlling my peanut butter intake. I actually just finished another Costco size jar this morning and am debating trying to keep from buying another jar for a little while. I’m pretty sure I could never go 30 days without it! After reading your skin care post I have changed some face habits. Hopefully I have success like you have!

  5. I am three weeks into the whole 30 and loving it. I feel awesome. If it isn’t too personal, what kind of digestive issues did you have that you feel it helped with? I have some pretty bad issues of my own and just wondering

    1. I’m so glad you are already having such a positive experience! My issues were minor but still frustrating. I’d often get veryyyy bloated and lots of cramping in my stomach after I ate. I also had a lot of gas (awkward haha) and without giving you too much detail, most of what I ate went right through me… if you catch my drift :) I hope you have continued success and continue to feel awesome!

  6. Glad this was such a good and positive experience for you! I can tell it has encouraged a really healthy relationship with you and food! I’m interested to see how your body reacts to bringing back oats, PB and legumes be sure to update us (I’m sure you will) :)

  7. You didn’t miss pb because it’s horrible!! Haha. At least that is what I am trying to convince the world so that I never have to smell my coworkers eating a banana dipped in pb ever again (my two least favorite foods). You make me want to try coconut butter, though! I am glad that Whole30 has been such a positive experience for you! It’s so interesting to see your experience next to Arman’s! I guess no one thing fits all!

  8. Good job Amy for making it through! I’ve liked reading your recap – because I’ve read some others which are just… SO Whole 30 lingo? If that makes sense! I felt like you really offered a honest account of what it was like to do it!

  9. LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! I am so happy that the whole 30 taught you so much! The only food that I miss is greek yogurt, and I noticed that only the flavored ones upset my stomach. I’m the same way though.. I don’t crave pb or nut butter that often.. but if I do, it’s for like a week straight haha. Excited to see how your body handles foods that you try to add in!

  10. It’s so great to read about someone else experiencing the same positivity as me from a paleo-esqe lifestyle!

    I don’t miss peanut butter as I find almond butter so much tastier! And dates are now sooo sweet for me! I don’t know what I would think about a Franken food now! Would never deny myself anything but I just don’t crave it! :-)

  11. I loved your Whole 30 posts, only because they had so much experimentation, honestly, and learning in them! It’s so awesome that this style of eating worked so well for you that you want to continue it, with a few modifications. And I’m very encouraged to hear that you don’t crave dairy anymore. I just recently cut it out and I definitely DO crave it … the cheese isn’t bad because I have nutritional yeast sometimes, but the yogurt, ice cream, and milk (for cereal) are brutal! Plus so many packaged foods (which I don’t eat a ton of anyway) do contain dairy! I think it will help when I can consume almonds, coconut, and rice again so I can have some substitutes. Thanks for the encouragement!

  12. OMG I recently reintroduced coconut butter back into my life (haven’t had it since I did the Whole30 last year) and BOY, why did it ever leave??? If you haven’t put it on eggs, sweet potatoes, or my favorite, japanese yams, you’ve gotta try it! One of my go-to’s now again.

  13. I made coconut butter for the first time this weekend – it’s soooooo good!
    I’m not sure if I’d ever try Whole 30, mainly because when I made “rules” for myself as they relate to food, things just go downhill and I start craving things, so it’s before for me to have guidelines, like you have for yourself now.
    And giving up PB? THAT would be hard!

  14. Random, but how long did it take you of cutting out dairy until you didn’t crave it? I am fairly positive I am sensitive to dairy, but I LOVE it too much to force myself to cut it out. Was it hard for you??

    1. Hm I don’t have an exact answer but I’ve never been a huge cheese or milk person so I started cutting it out about 2 years ago. It was gradual. I loved yogurt so always are it but ended up starting to eliminate yogurt in October. By December, I didn’t crave it at all. Now I don’t even give it a second thought

  15. I’m new to your blog and I haven’t read it completely so I hope I’m not asking what you’ve already discussed.
    I’m curious if you lost weight or gained weight during the Whole30?
    I’m on a low carb diet now and have lost 70 pounds. As I reach my goal weight, I’m afraid to eat anything differently since its been so successful. It seems that every time I add grain back into my diet.. even whole grain, I start to gain again. Anyway, I’m interested in trying Paleo and curious about attempting Whole30 myself to adjust my eating habits. Thanks!

    1. Welcome :) totally fair question but I didn’t weigh myself at all so don’t know. I think paleo and the whole 30 achieves health so if you have weight to lose, you’ll lose it. If you have weight to gain, you’ll gain it. I have read plenty of stories evident of both sides. If I had to guess, I’ve gained a few pounds but that’s right for me and my body. I hope this helps!

  16. I thought I’d maybe try the Whole30, but I am not sure yet. It seems like you had a good experience with it. You learn so much about your body, but I find it healing for the soul if I have my peanut butter and treats. Don’t get me wrong, I love eating nutritious foods, I just find that is what works best for me.

  17. I loved your Whole30 posts! I didn’t comment on all of them but I loved them. It was great seeing the process you went through and the experimentation. I loved the grocery shopping list. It gives ideas on what foods to buy and how much it would cost.

  18. I love that – “haters gonna hate”, so true! Just do what YOU want to do… you can never please everyone. Personally, I LOVE hearing about Whole 30 because it literally changed my life & relationship with food. I can never recommend it to people enough. I felt like you did with the PB… I at one time had 20 jars of the stuff & was addicted to it, but now I don’t even really want it. The ones I liked best were sugary & sweet anyway – I much prefer some raw crunchy almond butter or cashew butter now. So flavorful!! Oh, & coconut (crack) butter too! :)

  19. After taking a break from pb for a while (I overdid it and got totally sick of it) I found I just never really wanted it anymore. I secretly had a feeling the same might happen to you. ;-) I am all about the sunbutter right now though, and almond, cashew, and coconut butters are faves too. I love the last line of this, keep on doing you and fueling your body with what it needs.

  20. I loved following your journey, Amy!! I particularly enjoyed this recap! I remember your post a while ago when you confronted the possibility of ever eating meat and how nervous you were! You have certainly come a long way. I feel like your view on natural and unprocessed nutrition is so inspirational, especially your instagram pics!! Congrats on finishing your experience with the Whole 30, and making a diet that works best for your life. Awesome!

    PS- you were my “March Favourites” blogger of the month…just thought you should know! :)

    1. Thank you so much for the super sweet comment Kelly :) I totally missed your March Favorites post. I checked the date and it was April 2 – the day I started my new job so I know I “marked all as read” on Bloglovin that day. So sorry but I just caught up and I cannot thank you enough for the kind words! Thank you for your support! Next time can I come on your family trip?! Seriously looks amazing! And congrats on passing! Your will be an awesome instructor.

  21. I LOVED the whole30 posts because it is inspiring me to reassess my eating lifestyle and could eventually help me down the road if I plan to do a whole30 (which might happen soon – this skin business needs to be figured out ASAP!)

  22. That’s great you had such success on the Whole 30! I think our diets are one enormous experiment with ourselves. What felt good at one point won’t necessarily work for us in another. We need to constantly check-in with ourselves and make adjustments. I’m so glad you found a new eating style that works for where you’re at right now :)

  23. Great recap! I wish I could handle legumes as I really do enjoy beans (mainly hummus) but that’s one thing I avoid lke the plague! I’m so glad you had such great success and am sticking with the lifestyle. While I feel like I eat close to how I did when I finished my Whole30 I’m realizing I’m not. Too much alcohol and too many snacks. I hope to get back on track when we get back into our house. It’s so hard in the hotel!

  24. I really enjoyed reading your experience with the Whole 30. Last summer I experimented with paleo or I guess more “primal” as I included cheese and whole milk yogurt on occasion. Since then, I have remained mostly gluten free but added back in foods I didn’t think bothered me, corn, oats, beans, dairy. I am having some digestive issues again that I’d really like to get to the root of so I have decided to do a whole 30. Thank you for documenting yours. I definitely want to keep track of how my budget changes and how much time I’m prepping for the week. Thanks again! I :)

  25. I would love to have a conversation with you about all of your points! Beans, seeds, grains, etc. It’s interesting what I have learned being paleo for 18-20 months now!

  26. I’m loving all these posts, just read through you’re whole experience with the whole thirty and I have to sayI’m inspired I love love love it. I’m starting next Monday June 6th!

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