Photography by Weston Carls
GG: I’m excited about this and looking forward to getting more energy and clearing brain fog.
DB: I am nervous about this and secretly hoping Gretchen will call it quits by the end of the day. And by day I mean her second and my first… I “accidentally” started late because of a belated Valentine’s date.
GG: It doesn’t matter what anybody says, black coffee is not an acquired taste. I desperately miss the taste of creamer. The book suggests adding coconut milk, but I don’t think it makes much of a difference. I was fortunate enough to escape the “sugar hangover” that was predicted to happen on days 2-3, but I do catch myself experiencing mood swings.
DB: Day 5 already? Truly surprised at how much easier this was than I expected. In my regular day-to-day diet, I only consume water and black coffee, so that hasn’t been an issue. However, I miss a good beer after a long day’s work. I consider myself a social drinker and like to enjoy a beer or cocktail on a patio with friends. However, I avoided any pressure by slurping down water on ice with lime, and I served as designated driver for the night instead of paying for a cab. That said, I would not recommend being on Sixth Street sober. Especially when you can’t enjoy any of the late night pizza.
GG: I already feel incredible—light and energized. The downside: I am hungry all the time. Also, my body is still adjusting to life without added sugar and I’m noticing the side effects take hold in my sleep schedule. Every night, I’ll wake up once or twice (it usually happens at 1 a.m. and/or 6 a.m.) wide awake. I don’t feel tired during the day, though.
I’ve been eating quite a few salads. They’re easy, quick and I have fun making my own dressings from scratch.
I’ve tackled the coffee issue by bending the Whole30 rules. Every morning I mix cold brew in with a smoothie. It’s the best way to get my caffeine fix, but the book says they prefer you stay away from smoothies because of the effect it has on the satiety signals sent to your brain. I may be ingesting a heap of calories, but it doesn’t keep me feeling full throughout the morning. Thus, making me ravenous within an hour of consuming it.
DB: SO. HUNGRY. Seriously, it’s like everything we consume gives us a heaping load of energy, which I burn through in about an hour. People are questioning what kind of cleanse I’m on because there is always some kind of edible item in my hand. I’m thoroughly enjoying the new vegetables and cooking methods I have learned, though. My roommate is not a fan of me spending extra time reading labels at the grocery store, but it is insane how much healthier one brand could be versus another! Also, I love picking out recipes from the Whole30 cookbook and making them a success. It’s girl scout cookies season, and seeing Thin Mints hasn’t been easy, but I now know the ingredients hiding behind their name. My workouts have felt more powerful, and I’m sleeping heavily at night. I think it’s because I always keep something to eat nearby.
GG: Halfway through! Another challenge I’ve encountered is compliancy at social events. Going to restaurants with friends, wedding showers, and even recipe shoots for the magazine are riddled with temptation. But I’ve stayed strong.
Devyn and I ran our first 10K trail race on Day 13. The book says you might feel sluggish when running; either we didn’t train enough for this race or we were at the throes of Whole30 body recalibration.
I tend to be more of a homebody so not going out and drinking alcohol isn’t an issue. But, we were gifted with a couple of bottles of the new Deep Eddy peach vodka and it’s been taunting us from the freezer. I’ve been thinking about what cocktail I want to make with it. I have 15 days to think about this, so it better be something epic.
DB: We are halfway done, but I have discovered I may not have been giving 100 percent. I have started each morning with a smoothie made from Whole30 ingredients, but according to their theory, this is comparable to “having sex with your pants on.” I simply do not have time to cook a full breakfast before work each morning, because I’d rather use that time to run or sleep. I also had a massive sweet tooth on day 11, so I learned how to make my own healthy version of chocolate mousse and peanut butter balls! Again, every ingredient was within the boundaries of Whole30, but mixing them together was giving my mind what it wanted, so overall, I am a loser. Also, I cheated and had one Thirsty Goat amber over the weekend… I came clean, I was honest, and picked my failing butt right back up the next morning. It did not sit well, which made me more curious as to how I’ll feel when this is all over.
GG: I’m limited to only sharing meals with Devyn (not complaining!). We’ve made chicken nuggets, bison chili, twice-baked sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts. She pulls more entrée and side dish recipes from the book, whereas I mostly use it to learn how to make condiments and dressings.
I’m still ravenous all the time. Is this what pregnancy is like? My sleep schedule has returned to normal and I still pop out of bed with abounding energy.
DB: I’ve experienced my ups and downs with this diet; nobody (aside from Gretchen) is perfect. Some days, I’m moody, grumpy, I just want a bag of Lays potato chips or Thin Mints, and I miss my relationship with pizza. Whoever said a handful of almonds is a snack is lying. But most days, I feel pretty good! I really do have more energy, my mother and sister pointed out how much leaner I look, and although my face has broken out a little bit, the book swears it’s my body ridding itself of all the bad toxins. We can see the finish line in sight. I’m grateful to have a buddy in this, or else I probably would’ve given up by myself a long time ago. If anything, I’ll take away all the recipes and cooking skills Gretchen has taught me.
GG: All this time has passed and I just realized I haven’t thought about pizza once. What a victory! This program really is resetting the way my brain thinks about food. SXSW is about to start, which adds an extra level of temptation for us. Luckily, we strategically planned this in a way that would allow us to enjoy ourselves on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s interesting to notice that I’ve had this body for almost 26 years and I’m still connecting with it. For example, there are some Whole30 compliant snacks and drinks that actually hurt my stomach, like kombucha and blackberries.
DB: We’re so close to the end, I can taste the donuts already. I am questioning what it’s going to feel like when we re-introduce certain ingredients back into our diet. I’ve felt pretty light and energized ever since we stopped consuming gluten, so as much as I’ve missed bread, I will be wary on how many bagels I stuff into my mouth. I’ve already made plans post-Whole30 and caught myself trying to figure out what I’ll be able to eat, so I think Whole30 truly had an effect on my overall lifestyle.
GG: Many marathoners always say they hit “the wall” when they have 6.2 miles left, when they’re so close to finishing the race. That rang true for this diet. The end was near and that felt like time slowed down. I was doing really well, and then on day 29, I ate rice and had a cocktail (yes, it was Deep Eddy peach). My body didn’t revolt against me, so I’m thankful for that. Although I didn’t get horribly ill, I have become so in tune with how my body feels and reacts to certain foods, I was able to notice I didn’t feel as lean afterwards. So many people who do this diet end up taking a break for a couple of days and then starting the cycle all over again. I thought they were insane, but now I get it. I’d do it all over again; at the very least, I’d do it 80 percent of the time. It’s truly incredible—I’ve never looked or felt better. Time to treat myself to a donut!
DB: It’s finished! I truly didn’t think I could go 30 days with no gluten, dairy, sugar, legumes, or alcohol, but lo and behold, we did it! I will admit, I hit a few obstacles and tripped a time or three, but I continued to try and stick to the Whole30 ingredient list. I’m grateful for all the amazing recipes we tried and that I can make again in the future, and I’ll still be the girl in the grocery store aisle reading every label. I feel cleaner, I sleep better, I look leaner, and I hope to make this refreshing “cleanse” something I attempt at least twice a year. It’s a great restart button!
GG: Sweet potatoes, Pederson’s Farm bacon, eggs in all forms (poached, scrambled, soft-boiled, fried), Epic Pork Lard for my cooking fats, and thank God for clarified butter.
DB: Bananas, oranges, spinach, eggs (mostly scrambled or hard-boiled), “meat” bars (although I hate calling it that), and coconut oil for cooking and my semi-illegal smoothies.
What did you miss the most?
GG: Like I mentioned, coffee creamer. I also missed honey and maple syrup in small doses. Honey in my tea, a drizzle of maple syrup to caramelize sweet potato skins—that sort of thing. I missed Epic bison bars too. It’s my favorite bar, but happens to be the only one from their line I couldn’t eat. Of course, I miss one of Austin’s most glorious staples: breakfast tacos.
DB: Honey adds sunshine to everything, so I definitely miss a drop of that every now and then. Aside from the usual suspects like pizza and cookies, I miss a bowl of bran and almond milk in the morning. I miss wheat bread with my zoodles, soup and sandwiches. And above all else, I miss the freedom to enjoy a drink when I please.