Whole30 Results + Review (The Good, Bad & Weird)

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i haven’t talked about the whole30 too much on the blog but i have been getting lots of questions about it so i want to share my whole30 results and a review of it!

these are my personal experiences and i am not a doctor so take what you will from this and do what’s best for you body!

i originally heard about the whole30 when my friend alison (hi alison!) did it last year just before thanksgiving. she said she felt like she had way more energy, most of her stomach and digestive issues went away and she even toned up while on this 30 day ‘cleanse.’

whole30 results good and bad

the whole30 website says to “think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”

during the whole30, you are essentially eat healthy meats, lots of veggies, some fruit, nuts and seeds. that means you’re not indulging in dairy/soy/gluten/grains/sugar/treats/alcohol/legumes (goodbye peanut butter). they have a whole timeline of what people typically experience while going through this reset for your body and it’s pretty spot on in many ways, at least for me.


here’s my experience:


  • recognition of food ingredients
    • when you do the whole30, you become obsessed with labels on food and it’s horrifying how much crap is allowed in our foods. almost everything how sugar in it in some form (sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, etc). it’s totally gross and sad. so much processing is part of our foods so it was good to become conscious of this
  • new recipes + tasty food
    • believe it or not, even the healthiest food doesn’t have to taste like cardboard. we found a ton of great recipes that were  really delicious and my husband and i have some new favorite recipes for our daily life. i also like brussels sprouts now but can only eat in small amounts.
  • better mood
    • i started noticing after i ate all of my husband’s homemade cinnamon rolls (drool), cookies, and danishes at christmas, that about 20 minutes later i would just turn bitchy. i was moody, highly irritable and felt blah. i didn’t want to admit that it was my beloved sugar causing these symptoms but after doing the whole30, i can say that my mood and irritation level is much better with processed sugars and white flour out of my diet.
    • i felt like i had slightly better mental clarity and woke up most mornings not feeling groggy so that was great
  • my abs
    • i don’t think i lost any weight because some days i ate over 700 calories of cashews (not even lying but don’t do this) but i will say that i can see about 1.5 abs happening in my core area. i worked out about 3x a week while doing the whole30 but nothing too wild. i do feel more toned in my abdominals.


  • it was expensive
    • we have spent about $175 more on groceries than we usually do for our family of two. almond butter is $7.99, compared to normal peanut butter costing like $2.00 for the same size (we went through 3 jars). filling your grocery cart with only meat, produce and nuts is pricey and made us realize how inaccessible this (and eating healthier in general) can be for people with a lower-income or experiencing poverty.
  • it took a lot of planning
    • there is no last minute “what should we have for dinner tonight?” conversations happening because that will make it too easy to cheat or slip up. we spent a lot of time finding new recipes (i’ll put together my favorites soon) and planning to have balanced meals. my go-to of “cereal and toast” or “mac-n-cheese and wine” went out the window.
  • the cravings
    • the first few days were really hard because i was heavily addicted to sugar. my cravings were out of control in the first few days and my biggest craving were PB&J toast (specifically toast). i also really missed the CRUNCH of crackers and chips. this is part of the point of whole30, to cut these habits and make new ones.
  • i sort of felt like an alcoholic
    • i reaaaally missed malbec, yes, specifically that wine. my mom had a great bottle when we were home for christmas and my husband and i have been trying new bottles before we started the whole30. we craved and missed it a lot more than we planned on.


  • the bloating
    • on about day 16 i was still feeling extremely bloated and blah. it was weird because i was getting bloated like i used to when i ate dairy (remember, i have to stop lying to myself that i’m not lactose intolerant) but i had eaten none. one night when i was feeling particularly terrible, i googled “continuous bloating on the whole30” and it lead me to the FODMAP diet.
    • FODMAP diet is mainly for people with IBS and digestive issues (not something i’d experienced except when eating dairy previously). certain and seemingly random foods have higher fermentation rate and upset your gut. once i cut out brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, dried fruit and onion/garlic i did feel a lot better physically. mentally and for my tastebuds, i felt like crap. i’d grown to consume most of these daily so it was frustrating.
  • weird menstraul cycle
    • if you’re a guy reading this, you probably just scrunched up your face but guess what…this is a normal and natural occurrence every month for us ladies who aren’t knocked up, too young or too old so suck it up!
    • my period started 5 days early which is very weird because this neeeever happens and i’m on birth control (i originally typed ‘birthday control’ and made myself laugh).
  • food dreams
    • i’m not much of a dream rememberer but i do recall thinking about ‘cheating’ in my dreams. not on my husband but rather on the whole30 with a big donut, wheat thins and my mother-in-law’s cookies.
  • liking mustard
    • i don’t think this will happen to everyone but it happened to me. i suddenly became a fan of straight up mustard. i put it on my chicken sausage, turkey burgers and even sweet potatoes fries. so weird.
  • just how much we use food/drinks to celebrate
    • there were multiple exciting contracts closed and developments for a new project my husband and i are rolling out this month. our initial reaction was “yay! let’s go get a drink and celebrate!” this of course turned into “would you like sparkling water and a banana?”
    • it was eye-opening to see how much use food to ‘reward’ ourselves and how cheated we felt in the beginning that we couldn’t indulge in the way we were used to.

today is our official 30th day-hip hip hoooray! my husband plans to eat a breakfast burrito tomorrow because he misses tortillas a lot. my plan is to slowly reintroduce the things that were cut out and see how they effect me.

i will be adding gluten back in first with TOAST tomorrow morning! i am incredibly excited and thought i would miss chocolate more but it turns out i really miss my PB&J toast. i’m easing back in with just adding the gluten in the bread and putting almond butter on it. i’m salivating.

overall, i am very glad we did this because it did help to reset my habits, made me more aware of the food i put in my body and introduced me to new recipes. i will say the sensitivity to the FODMAP thing was frustrating and my stomach didn’t feel all that great most of the 30 days. i also have to give a shout out to my husband for cooking 87% of our meals!

healthy marriage blog chelsea and ryan avery

this was also a bit of a family affair because my mom, stepdad, sister, brother-in-law and sister-in-law all did this too so high fives to you marvelous people!

1) have you done the whole30 or know others that have?
2) are you interesting in hearing more about this or not so much? (not offended either way or you can email me!)
3) what food do you think would be the toughest to not eat for 30 days?


  1. Emma Lincoln

    March 2, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Food dreams! Last night I had the most intense dream about mole flavored ice cream (not the skin bump, the mexican sauce)…it tasted like spicy chocolate ganache.

    GAH, now I’m hungry.
    Emma Lincoln recently posted…4 Things I Learned about Travel Hacking

    • chelsea

      March 2, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      haha thank you for the clarification of ‘mole flavored ice cream’ because i was going to be slightly traumatized if it was the skin bumps. that’s so crazy!!! our minds (and stomachs) are powerful things, emma!

  2. Audrey

    March 2, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Kudos to you for not cheating or giving up. I gave up fast food for Lent and all I do is crave french fries and nuggets. It sounds like you guys got a lot out of the cleanse! I don’t know that I could give up ice cream… 🙂
    Audrey recently posted…Recap: Downton Abbey (Christmas Special)

    • chelsea

      March 2, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      thanks, audrey! i’m usually pretty solid on not cheating (the guilt would be too much to bear) but i am feeling quite proud! good for you for giving up fast food for lent-that’s great! mmm french fries though…

  3. Vivien

    March 2, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Grats to you and Ryan for going through this!
    I do agree it can get quite expensive to eat healthy these days! I fully agree with what you said, often times nowadays we are being told we must eat healthier. I totally agree…but unfortunately it can come down to whether or not we can afford it.
    Vivien recently posted…Speaker’s Showcase: The Morning After

    • chelsea

      March 2, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      thanks vivien! we are feeling pretty proud 🙂 yup it’s very true that it’s expensive to eat healthier and it requires a lot more planning and prep than just going to get fast food or even to a restaurant!

  4. Heather Hawkins

    March 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    I think the only way we got through it, moneywise, was to use a service like: http://organicstoyou.org/ It meant we got a lot of weird stuff that was in season and we had never had before. But it was a lot cheaper than trying to buy all that in the store.

    • chelsea

      March 2, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      whoa that’s a great idea-that never even occurred to me (don’t tell portland). i bet that meant you also got to try new recipes with all the new weird stuff that came to you so hopefully it expanded your taste too!

  5. Jessie @ Just Jessie

    March 2, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    I’ve honestly thought about trying the Whole30, but I just don’t think I have the motivation and, well, let’s just say I fall off the wagon quickly on a lot of things. I’ve heard a lot of people doing it, though! And I don’t mind hearing about it … maybe I’ll actually end up doing it 😉

    • chelsea

      March 2, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      i can definitely say that it was SO much easier since my husband was doing it too and to have my family (as well as a close friend) that was going through the same process, jessie! it helps to keep each other motivated and you would feel way more guilty (at least i would) if i slipped up 🙂

  6. Jess May

    March 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    I’m really glad you wrote this. I’ve been thinking about giving it a try for a while but honestly – I’ve been a sook! I’ve been too scared to cut out the sugar because I like it… or so I think!
    Jess May recently posted…Free Relationship Coaching – Bookings Are Open (and limited!)

    • chelsea

      March 2, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      ohhh i feel you on that note, jess! i didn’t just like sugar but LOVED it. i’m going to try hard to stay away from it for the most (the processed kind) after this because it just makes me feel like crap. after going through this, it’s amazing how your tastebuds readjust and you find pineapples and pears and strawberries like candy! you can dooo it!

  7. Rachel G

    March 2, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Once we cut out all refined or added sugar for a month–I felt exhausted, like I literally couldn’t eat enough calories. Every thing in the world has sugar in it (seemingly)…and, admittedly, I’m a picky eater, so I think I discovered that no sugar at all is probably not a good idea for someone who’s supposed to gain weight, not lose it.
    “Whole foods” are definitely expensive. We take a pretty middle of the road approach, cooking from scratch, homemade popcorn instead of microwave, few sweets–but especially here, rice is a huge part of our diet. It’s cheap and filling and can be eaten with everything. I can’t imagine life without rice. So I’m just gonna go reheat the fried rice leftovers from last night’s dinner for lunch. 🙂
    Rachel G recently posted…Chinese New Year 2015

    • chelsea

      March 2, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      it is totally crazy that almost everything has sugar in it! it was definitely tough to find packaged things without sugar (even pasta sauce) so we ended up making most everything. trader joe’s has some good options too but those aren’t everywhere (or in china 🙂 )

      mmm fried rice sounds delicious! i have totally missed my carbs and can’t wait for toast again! i think we’ll be pretty middle of the road of what you described too rachel!

  8. Cathy Gidley

    March 2, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    I have been eating high protein, low carb/gluten for a couple years now and have kept off 25 lbs. I occasionally have a treat (bread with dinner, small piece of fruit or a French fry or two) but, for the most part, eat a lot if salads and lean meat. I feel great as long as I drink lots of water otherwise I feel bloated. To maintain the weight loss, I know this is a lifestyle that I have to continue indefinitely.

    • chelsea

      March 2, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      it’s totally true that it has to become a lifestyle, cathy! i’ve noticed i really need to up the water while i’m eating like this too but i’ve been super overindulging in fruits and need to chill out.

      i also believe that when we fuel our bodies with healthy foods it needs and exercise, our bodies are able to maintain our metabolism and we stay at the weight we should be at (says the 28 year old) 🙂 hope this stays true!

  9. Paula Howley

    March 2, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    1. yes. You.
    2. yes and my husband would NEVER go for this. I would have to hold a gun to his head and I might have to hold a gun to MY head too. I already spend WAY too much time on food. Maybe when Meaghan moves out.
    3. Also toast. I don’t know what I would eat in its place.
    Paula Howley recently posted…Head Start Public Speaking For Kids Week 16- Public Presentations For Kids!

    • chelsea

      March 3, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      haha okay well no gun holding, paula jeeeeez! it was really an interesting process to go through and how annoyed i was in the beginning to need to prep/cook everything from scratch. now we sort of like being in the kitchen together (me doing far less work and rarely touching meat) but it’s been good for us.

      i had my toast this morning and it. was. glorious. i ate A LOT of potatoes in place of toast!

  10. Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties

    March 3, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Interesting recap! It makes me sad to hear how much this added to your weekly grocery bill. I really do think that it’s insane how much more expensive healthy food is!! I think doing a challenge like this would be great to get out of a cooking rut– like you said, now you have a bunch of new recipes that you love!! You should keep posting about this for sure, I would love to hear the recipes that you guys liked the best!
    Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties recently posted…Gettin Nosy! An Interview with Cheri from Overactive Blogger

    • chelsea

      March 5, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      yeah, me too. i’m sure there were ways we could have saved a little here and there (like not shopping at our downtown grocery store or doing a co-op grocery thing). okay glad to hear that you’d be interested in recipes, ashley because i’ve got some new favs!

  11. Amanda Wood

    March 3, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    I would totally try this if it wasn’t so expensive. Hubs already complains about how much we spend at the grocery store.
    Amanda Wood recently posted…Everything is Awesome!

    • chelsea

      March 5, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      yeah it was kind of shocking at first, amanda! what we just talked about last night though was that if people were used to eating out often or buy junk at the grocery store, it may even out because you can’t really eat out much!

  12. The Southern Thing

    March 5, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Good for you for sticking with it! I’ve been wanting to try Whole 30. I’m almost there, just need a bit more motivation!
    The Southern Thing recently posted…Getting Started With Essential Oils: How To Use + Save Money Buying Them

    • chelsea

      March 5, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      thank you! you should totally try it if you’re interested. poke around on their website and read about other people’s experiences. while it’s not going to be perfectly the same for you, i felt very motivated reading about how others benefited from it. plus-we can totally do anything for 30 days 🙂

      also glad you posted your last article because i’ve been curious about essential oils-yay!

  13. Melissa C

    March 6, 2015 at 7:09 am

    The price is seriously what scares me about trying this. Last week I made an effort to get more fruits and veggies since they’re seriously lacking in our diet and WHOA was the price tag on that grocery trip painful. Ugh. Maybe just in small steps. Like you said, peanut butter is cheaper but sweet potatoes are better than Idaho lol.
    Melissa C recently posted…Faves for Friday

    • chelsea

      March 6, 2015 at 11:39 am

      i know what you mean, melissa! i finally came around to the fact that health is one thing that is required to live the rest of your life so that it made it easier to realize that i should be spending more money on good foods that are good for me! glad you are incorporating more fruits and veggies! even those small changes of sweet potatoes vs. white potato are totally better! 🙂

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