Fast food taste tests, waitresses getting massive tips, the best restaurants across America — these are just a few of the topics Yahoo Food readers loved the most. In a tribute to you, our reader, we are revisiting some of our most popular stories of 2015.
The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. (Photo: Amazon)
Let’s get one thing straight: I hate dieting. I hate it so, so much. But I’ve been on one, in some form or another, since my mid-teens — a self-applied form of torture to counteract my deep, sensual love affair with carbohydrates.
Some diets were more successful than others. Weight Watchers was O.K. — it’s a generally well thought out and helpful program — but for the record, its 90-calorie “Carrot Crème Cake” snacks are an insult to desserts everywhere. Every time I ate one, I thought, “Somewhere, Dominique Ansel is crying.”
I tried the anti-carb Atkins Diet, too. I hate Atkins. Almost as much as I hate dieting. At first the unlimited bacon was great. Bacon on everything! But you know how when you buy an awesome new party dress, and it’s great and everyone loves it, but then you wear it a million times and it becomes a sad whisper of its former self? Yeah. That. Also eating that much bacon made me feel sick.
I’ve also done super-restrictive diets like the 17 Day Diet, which bans all grains, high-fat meats, legumes, seeds and nuts, high-calorie fruits and vegetables like avocado and banana, and starchy vegetables like potatoes. Every time I saw a bagel in the break room at work, I wanted to cry.
So, all this to say I wasn’t jumping up and down when my editor suggested I give the Whole30 diet a whirl. But I accepted, because of the following: A) The diet’s official cookbook was the best-selling food title on Amazon last month. Not an easy feat. B) The diet bans grain, soy, legumes, and sugar, but it’s all about avocados, sweet potatoes, and almonds. I can jibe with that. C) I’m getting married in three months. It’s go-time on the diet front.
So how’d my first week go? Not so bad. Sort of.
The first day, I was pretty pumped. SO PUMPED TO NOT EAT ANY OF THE GRAINS. Who needs grains? I don’t need grains. And then, spotted these bagels…
I am proud to report that I did not cave to temptation. At the time, I was about six hours into the diet and was maybe a little too proud of it. The true tests were still to come.
But c’mon, look at this mint and arugula salad with cold rotisserie chicken that I packed for myself. It’s not pretty, per se, but the pickled radishes (sans sugar) made all the difference.
On my second day, my parents came into town for a visit. My mother insisted on going to Red Rose, a popular Italian restaurant that makes one the raddest marinara sauces in Brooklyn. I actually felt physical pain watching them eat angel hair pasta doused in red sauce.
But I persevered. I persevered. I made a lot of salads. I ate a lot of fresh produce. I said no to bagels and pasta. And by the end of the week, I was feeling pretty O.K. Even mildly superior.
I also managed to make my salads look prettier. Note pickled radishes.
The diet isn’t nearly as restrictive as other diets I’ve tried, and while I still crave bread and pasta, it’s treating me relatively well. I feel like I have more energy, but I can’t tell if it’s real or a placebo effect. Either way, though, I’ll take it.
By the way, did I mention that I ate a lot of eggs? I ate a lot of eggs. I also invented dishes, like eggs cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with rotisserie chicken and avocado. It’s a little bit like shakshuka and a little like eggs in purgatory.
Not like there weren’t challenges. The Yahoo Food team ordered cupcakes and ate them right in front of me. There was once slice of ice cream cake left in the break room and I had to walk right by it. There was cheese nearby and I didn’t immediately stuff my face with it. We’re talking extreme willpower.
But by the end of the week, I wasn’t grimacing every time a coworker housed a burrito. Look how pleasantly surprised I am that my lunch didn’t suck:
In Week 2, I plan to cook a lot more — and not just roast chicken. I’m thinking Nom Nom Paleo’s cauliflower fried rice. Some kick-ass ceviches. I’ll probably go crazy and make a giant batch of banana “ice cream.”
Wish me luck! On Friday, I’ll fill you in on how it went.
Recipes I’m excited about:
Would you ever try the Whole30? Tell us about it below!