I first was introduced to Whole30as I was lying on the beach with my friend Jordan. She told me she was going to start this challenge in a few days and I should do it with her. “What is it?” I asked. “It’s a diet where for 30 days you don’t eat dairy, alcohol, sugar, grains or legumes.” My immediate reaction was “Hard pass.” “But wait, you have to see these photos!” She whipped out the highly effective photos from the Whole30 Instagram account. Several folks posted their before and after photos and I couldn’t stop looking at the improvements they all showed. I looked at my own stomach, protruding from my too-tiny bikini and then of course, some 6-foot tall, gorgeous blonde pranced by, because let’s face it, you can’t not see that when you’re on the beach in LA. I’m someone who exercises almost daily and yet those abs I work so hard for are invisible to the naked eye. They are buried deep below gallons of margaritas, late night pizzas and handfuls of if-it’s-food-we’ll-cover-it-with-chocolate from Trader Joes. Maybe, I should give this diet a whirl. I looked at my calendar and realized that until Labor Day, I had no monumental events (weddings, brunches, parties, wine festivals, food festivals, birthdays…wow lame month) that would impede my partaking. Also, I like challenges. Sometimes when other areas in your life…my job…cough, cough… aren’t super challenging, it feels good to devote yourself elsewhere. Challenge accepted. 

My few days leading up to the start of Whole30, I became obsessive with my research. Whole30 is pretty much an extreme version of the more familiar, Paleo diet. The main difference is, when on Whole30, you are prohibited from foods that are supposed to be substitutes for the more fattening, worse for you versions. That means no Paleo brownies, cupcakes and pizzas. The creators of Whole30 refer to eating these types of food as “Sex With Your Pants On,” or SWYPO as it is commonly referred to. Think on that one for a second; it’s pretty clever. Once I saw all the foods I could have however, I got really excited. I already have a weird habit of reading recipes yet hardly ever cooking. I actually was somewhat embarrassed when a co-worker called me out on it. Well, no more. I now read these recipes with a purpose. I also started an Instagram account (theundirty30) so that I could interact with other people on the plan, keep a photo journal of my meals, and not become one of those people who post food all the time, which would result in my real friends unfollowing me. I even took before photos, which I’m praying no one happens upon my iPhone and sees.
I am now on Day 15 of my Whole30 and I have to say, I’m loving it. I feel like I have a whole new crop of Whole30 friends who comment on my Instagram posts with words of encouragement, share with my great recipes and food finds, and answer my random questions usually starting with “Can I eat…” I’ve had the best time in the kitchen, experimenting, making a mess and trying foods that I wouldn’t normally eat. I have never been a red meat eater, but on this diet, they promote grass-fed, organic, pasteurized (I think I got them all) meat. I was just browsing in a butcher shop (people do that, right?) that I had never been into before, and they offered me some free sausage to try. When I googled “how to cook a sausage” and everything I read said it took at least 45 minutes, I instead, attempted to just pan-fry it myself in 5. What resulted tasted good, but one would never know it was previously a sausage. 
 I usually am an egg whites only kind of girl, but now, yolks are fair game. My attempt at peppers with baked eggs was another failure, but what I managed to scrape up from the bottom of the pan I enjoyed! 

I now go to the farmers market (there’s a great one on Melrose Place in West Hollywood on Sundays) not just to score free samples, but rather to actually buy the freshest produce, fish and meat. I made a calamari steak for crying out loud. It was delicious and super easy.

I’m also finding the program to be a bit scary as I am becoming aware of how our food system works. Once you start to read food labels, you realize all the unnecessary crap that is added to our food. I’ve started emailing restaurants before they cater our office lunch, asking them about the ingredients they use in their food. Who would think that a popular salad place promoting “fresh, organic food” would add sugar to their turkey?!
As for my social life, to be honest, I’ve somewhat put it on hold. Going to “drinks” is a pretty awkward first date if one of you is not having the aforementioned “drinks.” I’m a little less motivated to go out on the weekends to a bar, since I find them boring to begin with. Although, when I did go to one the other weekend I found I had more energy sober than I normally do after downing 2-3 glasses of wine before leaving my apartment. Avoiding restaurants as much as I can during my Whole30 has allowed me to save money and I’ve even cooked dinner for friends and family, which is just as good as going to a restaurant to see them.
You are advised not to step on the scale for the entirety of the program, which is an added challenge as I am used to weighing myself once a week. However, this is really becoming a lifestyle change, and I’m finding I like the way I feel and the food I’m eating. I’m eager to see if I’ve lost weight (and I’ll honestly be pretty pissed if with my luck, I’m the only person ever to gain 5 lbs) and to take my measurements again. I do look forward to the end being here, because really, mama misses her wine (and mama is me)! However, I think this Whole30 is really going to be a step in the right direction for my health and the way I continue to look at food.
Stay tuned and in 15 days maybe, just maybe, I’ll share with you my before and after photo! Or at the very least, I’ll tell ya about it!

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