Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Running Whole 30 - Guest Post

Hi everyone!  As I mentioned yesterday, I have a really exciting post for today.  One of my favorite bloggers out there, Margaret from Young and Rungry, and I are teaming up in January for a Whole 30 challenge!

Whole 30 challenge and running


Don't know what Whole 30 is?  The official website describes it best :

Whole30 is more than a diet. It is a lifestyle change. In the course of 30 days, you will experience many changes and benefits. It will change the way you think about food. It will change the way food tastes to you. You will have more energy. And, most likely, you will lose some unwanted weight.
Sounds pretty great, right?  This is going to be really interesting because Margaret and I are both long distance runners (she recently ran the St. Jude's Marathon!), so we're going to be putting an endurance athlete twist on the challenge - hence the name "Running Whole 30" - but everyone is welcome to join!

In the next few weeks, Margaret and I will be sharing more information about the program, some meal plans, recipes, and more fun.  Today, I just want to introduce you to my partner in crime!  Without any further ado, here's Margaret!



Hey everyone, my name is Margaret and I blog at YoungandRungry. I’m so excited to be here with Gretchen today to announce our Whole30 accountability group called RunningWhole30! Gretchruns is one of my favorites and of the first blogs I’ve read since starting out and I’m thrilled to team up with her on such a fun and encouraging endeavor. (AWW!! #squadgoals - G)


I did my first Whole30 this time last year, which completely changed my relationship with food for the better. I found “It All Starts with Food” by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig in a time where I needed an answer to the bad decisions I was making when it came to fueling my body for running. I didn’t know much about it, but I did know that I desperately needed boundaries seeing as though I was eating cinnamon rolls before some races (oops) and consuming far too many empty calories instead of nutrient dense foods.


This diet has the reputation of being “low carb” so my initial reaction was that it wasn’t for me because I’m a runner and us runners must live on bread and pasta. The more I researched, however, the more I realized that Whole30 is only as low carb as you make it and in some cases, runners tend to eat more carbs than they actually need. So I gave it a try and since then, I’ve PR’ed in every distance from the mile to the marathon so I’m hooked.


The 30 day challenge was a lot easier than I was expecting. There was a certain thrill of cooking each meal and being creative in the kitchen by incorporating healthy foods rather than settling for what was normal or convenient. I was all about a “diet” that let me eat however much I wanted and it was the first time that I ever felt guilt free for feeding myself until I was stuffed to the brim.


The best part was that I was loosing a little bit of weight and feeling deprived of nothing. I also had a lot of “off-scale” victories such as my face clearing up, being more focused at work, and learning how to turn down food that I didn’t want or need (something that isn’t always easy for a southerner).


I fell in love with veggies and plant-based food even though many people see Whole30 and paleo as all about animal protein and to this day most of my meals are compliant to the guidelines without me even thinking about it. Yes, I’ve been drinking red wine and fueling some runs with oatmeal, but for the most part I haven’t missed those cinnamon rolls at all.


This time around my reasons for doing it are a little different, but the benefits I’m going for will hopefully be the same. I’ve gotten a little off track especially in this holiday season, but the main reason is so help and inspire others to eat well and feel good about themselves. It’ll be fun for us to share recipes, grocery lists, tips, wins, and frustrations.

I hear that the second time around is the harder than the first so I’m going to need help too!




To get to know Margaret a little better, I asked her some questions:

What is your proudest moment of 2015?

We have this race in Memphis called the Cooper Young 4-miler in a really trendy part of mid town that doubles as the biggest race and wildest party of the year. The year before, I ran it right when I first moved to Memphis and got smoked, but this year I pulled first female and won a pair of shoes, which was really exciting!


What did you want to be when you were a kid?

I always wanted to be a day care director, but my mom explained the word “liability” to me one day and I immediately changed my mind! At one point, I also thought I’d be a pro basketball player, but I’m highly uncoordinated so that didn’t quite work out.


What is your favorite food and drink?

Favorite drink (besides wine) is coconut or raspberry La Croix and my favorite food is probably sweet potatoes or Brussels sprouts.


What is your favorite emoji?

That girl who’s like shrugging with one hand. That’s my constant expression and can be interpreted as “I don’t know, but sure” or “ammmiright?”



Tell us a fun fact that has nothing to do with running or food

I am the youngest of two in my immediate family, but am also the youngest of 15 cousins so I’m definitely your quintessential “baby of the family.”


I hope that all of you are just as excited as Margaret and I are to do this challenge.  If you're interested in joining us, we have lots of ways to get involved.  Our 30 days are going to start on January 4th, but before then you can join our Facebook group (where we'll be sharing lots of recipes and support before, during and after the challenge) and use the hashtag #RunningWhole30 on Instagram and Twitter!

I would also recommend that anyone who is interested in the program or just learning more about it to check out the book that Margaret mentioned- It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways. (affiliate link FYI).  I'm still working on finishing it and will have a book review coming up, but it's a great resource to learn more about food and its connection to everything in our body- from our skin to autoimmune disease and our moods.  It's really fascinating!

So- who's in!?
Have you ever done a food challenge?
Do you have any questions about Whole 30?  I would love to do a Q&A post- so please leave any questions or send them to me in an email!

linking up with Tuesdays on the Run  
and Jill
linking up with Amanda

34 comments:

  1. Such a great post! I am just now "meeting" Margaret--so much fun to get to know her better!

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    1. Susie, you're so sweet I'm loving getting to know you too! You are so fun and vibrant!

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  2. Margaret- your favorite food is sweet potatoes. I just decided for you because I don't like Brussels Sprouts :P So excited! Love you both!

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    1. hahaha thanks for letting me know, Emily no more Brussels, got it!

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    2. <333
      But I love Brussels Sprouts...

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  3. I'm really excited to read this journey of yours! I won't be able to join, but I do need a kickstart after the holidays eating wise. Hoping to gather some inspiration from you both!

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    1. Thanks for the support! Hopefully we can give you some good ideas if you want to do this in the future :)

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  4. How fun to get to know Margaret and fun that you have a partner in this journey! It's always nice to have a little extra motivation and support in a new endeavor!

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    1. I'm so happy and lucky to be working with her!

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  5. I could definitely use a push to get back on track, but with a week vacation in January I won't be able to join your challenge. But I did add you as a friend on facebook, I hope that's okay :)

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    1. That's fine Heather! I'm sure if this goes well Ill be doing another one :) You can always join later! And of course you can be my friend :)

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  6. I've been toying around with the idea of another Whole30. I had one that was derailed a bit more than halfway through a while back. But I definitely felt it impacted my running & strength. Perhaps I wasn't eating right for my goals within Whole30. Not certain I'll hop on board yet, but I'll definitely give it some more thought.

    Having support & help when the office is full of cookies or everyone is having wine is oh so helpful.

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    1. Thanks for the input Jessie! Margaret and I will definitely be focusing on doing the Whole30 from a runner's point of view, so maybe that'll help! You can always join our FB group and decide if you want to join in later :)

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  7. Two awesome bloggers collaborating. I love it!

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  8. Gretchennnnnn!!!! You're doing this, hey? This isn't the Paleo thing, is it? I definitely need to revamp my nutritional habits. Am I allowed to drink coffee and wine? Maybe I can do it and just have special rules for Suzy. HA HA HA! Actually, I think we get to break one rule per each child we have. :) I'll have one cup of coffee and 5 glasses of wine per day, please! Sign me up!

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    1. The Whole30 challenge is similar to the Paleo diet..but it's only 30 days long and slightly modified. You are allowed to drink coffee, but you can't add any milk or sugar to it. All alcohol and wine is out, which will sadly be the hardest part for me! Got to make up for it now ;)

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  9. I love this and I'm so looking forward to reading about this more! You and Margaret are some of my faves:) Okay and Margaret I lol'ed when you said anted to be a day care director.. That was one of my many dreams too haha. I would love to read a Q&A post just to learn more about this challenge!

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    1. Thank you so much for the sweet comment! That really means a lot :) I'll definitely work on a Q&A!

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  10. Gah this is so fun and we haven't even started yet!! Your post is so informative you did such a great job! I'm so excited to be working with you :)

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  11. I'd definitely be interested in learning more about the research that supports Whole30! I know that Matt Fitzgerald, who's one of the leading sports nutrition experts for runners, argues that most runners, especially half and full marathoners, actually don't eat enough of the right carbs.
    I know so many people who've enjoyed this, and best of luck to both of you on it!

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    1. Thanks Laura! I can definitely post more information about that. I also thought I wouldn't get enough carbs, but they suggest eating more "healthy carbs" from different vegetables. I guess I won't know how well it works for runners until I try it, but I'll be talking a lot about what foods runners can eat to make up for not eating pasta and oats :) Thanks for bringing that up!

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  12. I'm so tempted to do it, but I'm not sure if I could make the timing work (I'll be traveling right when it starts). I'm going to join the Facebook group just in case! I recently did an 8 week challenge that was very close to Paleo and I loved how eating clean made me feel - but I also struggled as a runner to find new ways to fuel. I think this is such a good idea doing it for runners because we do have to eat a bit differently than others!

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    1. I'm glad you're joining the group! Hopefully we can give you lots of resources and recipes if you decide to do it later. I'm so curious to see how this will work since we're runners!

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  13. Good luck, you guys! Wishing you so much success with this!

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  14. Interesting! Is this diet possible with a vegetarian (no meat or seafood, but will have eggs and dairy)?

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    1. It definitely is possible! There are a few modifications that the Whole30 creators suggest, so I'll discuss those in an upcoming post!

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  15. I have heard others doing the whole30 challenge last January. I don't know if I could commit that long. I like my wine. I don't mind Brussel sprouts but I surely wouldn't say they are my favorite.

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    1. It will be a struggle for me to not drink wine as well! But, alcohol in PA is expensive so my wallet (and stomach) will be happy :)

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  16. Great idea to do a collaboration on the whole 30. I tried to do it,but it is hard as a vegetarian. I would love to do if I could collaborate with other veterinarians.

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    1. I bet that would be hard! I'll be sharing some tricks for vegans/vegetarians that are interested. There are a few vegetarians in our Facebook group if you're interested in learning more from them or hearing about their experiences!

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