I am super late with posting this, so apologies if I kept anyone waiting! Like, over a month late. OK, fine, practically two months, seven weeks more or less. But in my defence …well I don’t have much of a defence, but I completed a strict vegan whole 30, so I figure that gives me enough awesomeness to get a pass.
Also, summer holidays, kids, migrating this website to a faster host…basically, life got in the way. So it’s life’s fault (it’s anyone’s fault as long as it’s not mine…).
If you’re interested in doing a vegan or vegetarian whole 30 and would like to read about my experience, check out the resources below. A vegan whole 30 is very similar to a vegetarian one, with the exception of no eggs or ghee, so these vegan whole 30 resources should be useful for both vegetarians and vegans alike.
However, be forewarned that it’s pretty difficult to follow the whole 30 meal template or fulfil the protein portion of your plate on a vegan Whole 30. So, while Whole 30 compliant, a vegan Whole 30 is not technically a Whole 30. What the heck, I did it anyway and I did it my way.
The first link explains why people do Whole 30s, why I did a vegan Whole 30, the difference between a regular Whole 30 and a vegan one, and all about vegan Whole 30s. Also, how many times can you say Whole 30 in one sentence?
- Thinking of doing a vegan whole 30?
- Vegan whole 30 diary: week 1
- Vegan whole 30 diary: week 2
- Vegan whole 30 diary: week 3
- Vegan whole 30 diary: week 4
The rest of the links detail my daily
rants diary entries, what I ate, the benefits I encountered and pitfalls I walked into (face-first). If you’re short on time, or would rather stick thumbtacks in your eyeballs than trawl through my weekly diaries, don’t worry, I’ve written a quick recap below, so go forth and scroll.
- A quick recap of my vegan Whole 30
- Vegan Whole 30 Weight Loss
- Did a vegan Whole 30 change my life?
- Vegan Whole 30 reintroduction: what not to do
A quick recap of my vegan Whole 30
If there was a graph showing how I felt from week to week during this vegan whole 30, I’m fairly sure it would look something like the incredibly professional and expensive graph below I had designed by Monsieur le Microsoft Paint:
The first week was rubbish, absolute unadulterated rubbish. I felt crabby and deprived and hangry while I adjusted to all the rules. I did a strict vegan whole 30 where I didn’t include any legumes or tofu or additional protein sources. I just sucked it up and went hardcore: fruits, vegetables, olive oil, coconut milk, nuts and seeds only.
So you can imagine what a
nightmare mildly unhappy person I was the first week. As it turns out, it was just as well I did a strict version, given what I learnt during reintroduction (no spoilers! Read on to find out…).
I did notice a massive improvement in my sleep quality pretty much straight away though. I had one unhappy stomach incident (I still don’t understand why) which turned me off eggplant temporarily, but otherwise, my digestive tract kept trucking along as usual.
A lot of people who do a Whole 30 complain about bloating but I didn’t have any issues with that, perhaps as I was accustomed to eating a lot of vegetables. By the end of the first week, I had noticed no weight loss but my stomach was the flattest it’s been in years.
Week 1 menu
|Monday||Not great carrot courgette seed coconut failed energy balls||Giant unpalatable leafy chopped salad with nuts and seeds||Quick fried carrots, parsnips, peppers with cashews and avocado.|
|Tuesday||Same as Monday||Giant unpalatable leafy chopped salad with nuts and seeds||Quick fried carrots, parsnips, peppers with cashews and avocado.|
|Wednesday||Same as Monday||Giant unpalatable leafy chopped salad with nuts and seeds||Eggplant-base tacos with avocado sauce, fajita vegetables and pico de gallo|
|Thursday||Same as Monday||Eggplant-base tacos with avocado sauce, fajita vegetables and pico de gallo||Sweet potato gratin, roasted broccoli and cauliflower with cheesy cashew sauce|
|Friday||Same as Monday||Sweet potato gratin, roasted broccoli and cauliflower with cheesy cashew sauce||Zoodles with fresh green sauce|
|Saturday||Cherries, raspberries, pineapple, melon chunks with tahini and desiccated coconut||Zoodles with fresh green sauce||Tweaked chickpea spinach curry with cauliflower rice|
|Sunday||Cherries, raspberries, pineapple, melon chunks with tahini and desiccated coconut||Tweaked chickpea spinach curry with cauliflower rice||Stir-fried vegetables with cauliflower rice|
The second week I started feeling better, although still with severe cravings. My skin had the odd breakout, but I started to get into the swing of things with vegan whole 30 recipes and cooking, and life didn’t suck so much. My energy levels also evened out and I no longer felt like falling asleep at midday.
Week 2 menu
|Monday||Chopped pineapple, melon, 12 almonds.||Vegetable stir fry with Cauliflower rice||Raw rainbow pad thai (adapted)|
|Tuesday||Chopped pineapple, melon, 12 almonds, a handful of green olives.||Vegetable stir fry with Cauliflower rice||Peri-peri courgette peppers and onions, potato wedges and pineapple slices|
|Wednesday||Spinach coconut banana smoothie, some pineapple and almonds.||Leftover vegetables with peri peri sauce.||Cream of mushroom soup, with spinach and strawberry salad|
|Thursday||Pineapple and melon with chia seeds, chopped nuts and coconut milk||Leftover soup and salad||Lazy meal (some nuts, asparagus and brussels sprouts with cashew cheese sauce)|
|Friday||Banana strawberry smoothie||Leftover veg with cheesy cashew sauce||Morrocan style cauliflower couscous|
|Sunday||Banana coconut chia pudding||Leftover Morrocan couscous, potato salad, melon||Meatless beanless chilli and cauliflower mash|
During the third week, I felt pretty good. Still amazing sleep quality – even if I hadn’t slept enough because of staying up late or whatever, I wasn’t sleepy the next day. No “tiger blood”, but my body was an awesomely clean temple.
Except I think the temple janitor was chucking the rubbish out the window onto the front lawn because wow my acne was worse than when I was a teenager.
I researched my skin problems on whole 30 forums and saw a lot of people saying that reducing their nut intake had resolved their skin issues. However as I wasn’t actually eating a whole load of nuts, and my diet was so restricted anyway, I decided to just soldier on without trying to fix my skin.
Week 3 menu
|Monday||Pineapple and mango with banana coconut chia pudding and mixed seeds||Leftover meatless beanless chilli and cauliflower mash||Gazpacho olives, grapes and peri peri vegetables|
|Tuesday||jalapeño stuffed olives, pineapple and blueberries with banana chia almond milk pudding and mixed seeds||Leftover meatless beanless chilli and cauliflower mash||Potato salad, coleslaw, leftover peri peri veg|
|Wednesday||Banana chia seed pudding with strawberries and mixed seeds||Leftover potato salad, peri peri vegetables and coleslaw||Baked potato wedges, Whole30 sugar-free ketchup, cauliflower steaks.|
|Thursday||Banana chia seed pudding||Leftover wedges & cauliflower||Cauliflower tabbouleh|
|Friday||Chopped melon, coconut milk and seeds, a small avocado, fresh pineapple.||Cauliflower tabbouleh||Broccoli with cashew cheese sauce|
|Saturday||Melon, blueberries, coconut milk, mixed seeds||Tabbouleh with cashew sauce||Whole 30 coleslaw, vegetable burgers|
|Sunday||Whole 30 coleslaw, vegetable burgers||Whole30 coleslaw, vegetable burgers||Cauliflower sushi|
During the fourth week my skin calmed down a bit – not much, but a bit – and it felt pretty much like rinse and repeat. I got quite bored waiting for the whole 30 to end but didn’t feel like going crazy and having a pizza and nacho-eating marathon. The tough part was getting to the end of the week and remembering I still had days 29 and 30 to get through!
I started to get quite anxious about life without Whole 30 rules and restrictions, worried about reintroduction and how would I eat properly without Whole 30 to guide me…But I was also dying to find out how much weight I had lost.
Week 4 menu
|Monday||Melon, berries, mango, with coconut milk, chia seeds and mixed seeds.||Cauliflower sushi||Arrabiata zoodles with nutritional yeast|
|Tuesday||Melon, coconut milk, nuts and seeds||Arrabiata zoodles with nutritional yeast||Baked potato slices, guacamole, pico de gallo, jalapeños, cashew red pepper chili blender sauce.|
|Wednesday||Same as Tuesday||Leftover cauli rice, a handful of olives, almonds, and fresh pineapple.||Roasted broccoli and potatoes with cauliflower mash and raw romesco sauce|
|Thursday||Melon, blueberries, coconut milk, nuts and seeds||Leftover Roasted broccoli and potatoes with cauliflower mash and raw romesco sauce||Modified chickpea spinach curry with cauli rice|
|Friday||Plum, almond, banana coconut milk chia seed smoothie||Modified chickpea spinach curry with cauli rice||Modified chickpea spinach curry with cauli rice|
|Saturday||Completely disorganized – handful of almonds||Potatoes with quick curry sauce||Modified bolognese and zoodles|
|Sunday||Banana coconut milk chia seed smoothie||Tweaked chickpea spinach curry with cauliflower rice||Kale chips|
|Monday||Melon with coconut milk and chia seeds||Frozen Carrot, broccoli cauliflower mix microwaved with tahini lemon sauce||Green salad, baba ganoush, quick stir-fried cauliflower, basque chili peppers (guindillas) and sundried tomatoes. |
|Tuesday||Banana melon chia seed mix||Leftover salad, cauliflower and baba ganoush||Baked potato slices with fresh salsa, avocado and flash-fried veggies.|
Vegan Whole 30 Weight Loss
The whole 30 is not supposed to be about weight loss. It’s an elimination diet to help you find out which foods could be causing your body issues. That being said, the Whole 30 founders Melissa and Dallas Hartwig do acknowledge in their books that a lot of people do the Whole 30 to lose weight.
However, they insist that participants don’t weigh themselves during a Whole 30, only at the beginning and the end. This way, people can be more focused on how they feel and other bodily changes.
I have to admit, it’s a pretty genius approach. I was super sceptical about the Whole 30 prior to doing a vegan one, and weight loss was definitely my main motivation for doing it. The ban on weighing yourself for 30 days helped me realise that the scales had derailed my previous efforts to lose weight.
I would embark on some hardcore diet regime, lose lots of weight the first week, and be super pumped. The second week I would just lose a little, and by the end of the 2nd week or the start of the third, my weight loss would have stalled or I would have gained back a pound.
All of which would have led to me declaring that the diet was not working, and helping myself to a bottle of vino and some chocolates next time I got stressed out. So not being able to weigh myself removed this behavioural issue (I want weight loss and I want it NOW!) from the equation.
With no scales to measure my progress, I also truly did focus much more on how I felt, and other non-scale victories. I didn’t feel any smaller until the end of the third week, around days 20-21, but I felt so good and rested that I convinced myself I would be happy if I just lost one pound.
So, did I lose weight? You betcha. Was it an impressive amount? For me, a resounding yes. I’m not going to lie, I had a super unrealistic wish that I would be one of those insane success stories and drop 25 pounds in a month, which obviously didn’t happen.
I lost 11.5 pounds (5.2 kilos). To me, that is a LOT. I also lost it:
- Without calorie counting
- While eating as much as I wanted
- While noshing down on potato wedges and avocados and coconut milk
The first week I was feeling pretty deprived, but that changed during the second week and I never felt deprived afterwards. So that is an absolute win for me.
Did a vegan Whole 30 change my life?
Yes and no. I didn’t even realise how subpar I had been feeling until I did it, and that among a serious coke zero habit, and two many G&Ts at the weekend, there was another culprit behind me being slightly unwell that I had never suspected: legumes.
During the reintroduction period, I was sure I would find myself with gluten issues, or that it had been dairy causing my problems.
I am not vegan, but a Lacto-vegetarian who eats a mainly vegan diet. I’m also allergic to eggs. I was very taken aback to realise that the source of my malaise was actually beans, which I would never in a million years have guessed.
Life after a vegan Whole 30
I now eat mainly Whole 30 during the week in a bid to keep feeling as well and well-rested as I did on the Whole 30. I have kicked my 2-3 cans of coke zero a day habit, and now just have one a week. I definitely eat fewer beans.
But …I don’t feel anywhere near as well as I did on the Whole 30. The reason? I’m guessing it’s because even though I’m pretty controlled during the week, I still eat and drink too much at the weekend.
So I haven’t lost any more weight either and I definitely gained back some bad habits. I also really miss feeling how I did and having a constant energy supply.
Lately, I’ve found myself barely able to keep my eyes open at midday, and with some returning sleep issues.
I blame this on the fact that I kind of messed up my reintroduction. I had already convinced handsome husband to do a Whole 30 with me in January to see if it could clear up some of his gut issues, but I’ve decided to do another one right now (I started on the 8th of September). I’m thinking of extending it to a 45 or 60 day Whole 30, but I’ll see how it goes.
I’m also developing new vegan Whole 30 recipes and menus which I’ll be publishing, so watch this space. If you don’t want to miss out on any updates or new recipes you can sign up to my mailing list, follow me on Pinterest, or check out my Facebook page where I always post my new recipes and articles.
Vegan Whole 30 reintroduction: what not to do
I had a plan for my reintroduction. I was not going to be one of those fools who bungled it, I laughed condescendingly, basically just begging to be given my comeuppance. So of course, everything went a bit pear-shaped.
I started with legumes, and a had a little at lunch and dinner, some hummus and my favourite white bean salad. Everything went well and I congratulated myself with a hearty pat on the back and went to bed. The following day when I woke up I noticed the skin under my eyes was much darker.
It was only then that I realised my permanent dark circles had cleared up during the Whole 30, but I dismissed it, thinking that even though I couldn’t remember it, maybe I just slept badly. The next two days after reintroducing one of the prohibited food groups, you’re supposed to return to eating Whole 30 style again.
This is In case you have a delayed reaction, and to fully judge the effect of the food you’re reintroducing. I thought this a bit excessive but stuck with the program as it hadn’t failed me so far.
Lo and behold, at midday the day after reintroducing legumes, my stomach twisted uneasily. Over the following 30 minutes, my stomach became more and more painful and I broke out in a cold sweat.
I felt so unwell I wanted to go home or to the doctor but was in too much pain to move. I ran to the bathroom and birthed – TMI warning here – what felt like molten lava mixed with acid mixed with turds from hell. Copiously. On and off again for several hours.
I felt absolutely awful afterwards and like the inside of my stomach had been grated with a cheese grater.
I was also – literally and figuratively – gutted. I’m a vegetarian! I love beans! Beans are life! I even railed inwardly against the Whole 30, blaming it for my new bean problems. However, a day later, I came to realise that I actually normally felt this way.
(Apart from the demon hell poo. I really don’t normally feel that way.)
I just hadn’t noticed I was feeling ill until I felt well. If you do experience a bad reaction while on the Whole 30, it’s recommended that you go back to a Whole 30 diet until you feel better, and then proceed with reintroduction. That did not happen for me.
Mainly because, after five additional days of Whole 30 while waiting to feel better, I had visions of this turning into a neverending Whole 30 where I was never going to be able to eat anything I wanted to again.
So I rushed through the rest of reintroduction, confident I had found the culprit, but as I was still not feeling great, there was no real way to tell the effect other foods were having on my body.
That’s why this time around, I’m leaving legume reintroduction until the end, as legumes are obviously problematic for me. I’m going to then only reintroduce one bean at a time, as I’m desperately hoping that not all beans are the enemies of my body. I have particular hope for lentils…fingers crossed!
So there you have it, my first vegan Whole 30 – but definitely not my last. Have you done a whole 30 or are you thinking of doing one? Let me know in the comments below, I love hearing from you guys!