Sarah in an orange winter jacket with black pants holding up an ice axe.

Sarah M.

New York , New York City

I’m a different person, a better person. Whole30 made me advocate for myself and listen to my body.

In 2013, I got serious about fitness. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused a lot of damage to my apartment, and I had been struggling with stress. At the time I was working for a music agency with a roster full of Grammy Award winning arena artists, mostly in the hip hop space. I was going to parties and dinners six nights a week and logging very late nights in recording studios. I flew a lot and was always eating out of vending machines or bad room service. I felt so tired and overwhelmed.

I joined a CrossFit gym which changed my life. Working out for strength and mental health instead of aesthetics felt so refreshing and inspiring. I knew I needed to eat to power my workouts and aid in muscle recovery but I didn’t know how to cook or exactly what to eat. One day the facilities manager told us that a woman named Melissa Urban who had a very powerful life story and had developed a nutritional program was going to come teach us about Whole30, and that anyone who was interested could sign up for a gym-wide Whole30 challenge. I loved the idea of cooking for ourselves, fighting inflammation and finding out what foods didn’t work with us together so I went to my favorite bookstore and bought a copy of the book.

Melissa was funny yet frank and gave us a wonderful presentation. It was simple – eat whole foods for 30 days and then do the re-introduction. I decided it was only 30 days and that I would try it and if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t do it again.

But the thing is, I loved Whole30! I had the timeline so I knew what to expect each day. I watched YouTube videos, googled recipes, and kept plenty of proteins, veggies and fresh fruit on hand. I made some mistakes – I lit one of my pans on fire and once or twice I overroasted my veggies or underpoached my salmon but I got the hang of it and felt more and more confident. I felt great and I realized cooking didn’t have to be gourmet meals and that my grocery bill wasn’t higher – in fact, it was cheaper because I wasn’t buying wine or as much takeout.

These days Whole30 has sort of became a routine. I still cook a lot of Whole30 recipes and it made me realize my stomaches and breakouts were coming from whey. I used to drink whey protein drinks every day and they were making me sick.

Almost nine years later I am a VP at Sony music, I cook all the time (I learned how to cook during my first Whole30!), I’ve climbed mountains all over the world. I’m a different person, a better person. Whole30 was part of that because it made me advocate for myself and listen to my body. In 2020 I did the Grammys on Whole30.

Honestly I just feel so energetic on Whole30 and it’s mindset to me. I tell myself, I GET to do this and CHOSE to do this, not that I have to do it. I think of it as ME TIME for my life. So many people go without food, water, refrigeration. I feel so lucky to get to eat nourishing, whole foods. I always say, “I’m so happy that I chose to do this for myself and my fitness and I’m excited to get to do this.” And 30 days later I feel great and it looks like I reversed aged and got Botox.

Published by Lindsay Rhodes

Lindsay Rhodes currently lives in Chicago. She attended Butler University where she received her B.S. in Marketing and a minor in Strategic Communication. Previously, Lindsay has worked for management consulting firms as a marketing consultant and as a campus recruiter.