Introducing #Whole30 Inspiration

Bellagio at Lake Como – one of my favorite places of our entire trip

Hello friends! I hope you’re having a fantastic July!

We returned from our trip to Switzerland & Italy a few weeks ago. It was everything I dreamed it would be and so much more. I fell deeply in love with both countries and have so many memories I’ll cherish forever. Even with all of our scheduled activities (four words: double-sided laminated itinerary) we still found plenty of time to wander, relax, and soak up the uniqueness of each place. I hope to post a trip update soon with photos and some of our favorite recommendations.

However, today I’m jumping on here to write about something else entirely. Since our return, I’ve become intrigued with a program called the Whole 30 and wanted to share my experience and experiments with you so far.

In recent months, I’ve felt like my meals could use some cleaning up. While I don’t believe in the idea of “good” and “bad” foods (in my book everything is okay in moderation), I can definitely tell the difference between foods that make me feel good and foods that make me feel not so good. Maybe it’s the whole turning 30 thing, but I know that what I eat directly impacts how I feel in my body and in my mind. I’ve learned I feel best when there’s protein and vegetables on my plate. When I eat too many carbs or too much sugar I tend to overeat and feel heavier, puffier, and more sluggish. And yet I still want more of them (?!?!?) This doesn’t make carbs and sweets bad. It just means I need to eat less of them.

After lots of deep thought, research, and contemplation I was drawn to the Whole 30 program. Trendy though it may be, I support the fact that it relies on whole, clean foods such as meats, seafood, eggs, lots of vegetables, some fruit, and healthy fats.

To be clear, I’m not 100 percent following the Whole 30 plan. Some may argue this approach misses the point, but I disagree. I’m using the Whole 30 as inspiration and a template for many of my meals. It helps me plan my meals around nourishing foods that make me feel my very best. While the majority of my meals have been Whole-30 approved lately, I’ve also enjoyed an occasional treat like a piece of dark chocolate or chips & guac. This blog isn’t called A Balanced Life Cooks for nothing!

While it’s only been two weeks and I’m not exclusively eating this way, I have noticed several changes. The biggest change has to do with eating significantly more protein and significantly less sugar. Before, when I was eating more sugar (such as Greek yogurt with homemade granola and berries for breakfast), I’d stay full for a while, but all of a sudden my blood sugar would drop and I’d be ravenous. Now, with eggs, chicken sausage, and avocado for breakfast most mornings I stay full for many hours and then gradually feel hunger creep in. In other words, I experience true hunger rather than a blood sugar crash. As a result, my mood and energy are more stable throughout the day and I’ve noticed fewer cravings. I thought it would be difficult to give up dessert after lunch and dinner (I had fallen into the habit of having a treat after both), but many times I’m so satisfied from my meal I don’t even want something sweet. It’s kind of miraculous!

Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Whole 30 meals, drinks, and snacks that I’ve been enjoying lately (warning: it’s a long post). I’ll continue to share Whole-30 inspired dishes as I forge ahead down this delicious, protein-packed path along with the usual fare you’re used to seeing around these parts. I hope to see you again tomorrow!

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