I’m sure you’ve heard of Whole 30. You probably have a friend or several friends who have done a Whole 30. Well add me to that list. This is actually my 2nd time. I didn’t document the first round. But that’s my goal this time.
So what exactly is Whole 30? Well it’s pretty simple actually. For 30 days you follow a strict real-food-only type diet. The type of foods the cave men ate. That’s it.
The Whole 30 Rules:
No added sugar.
These categories of foods are the most common inflammation-causing foods. Phase 2 of Whole 30 involves reintroducing these foods one at a time to see how each affects (or doesn’t affect) you. I thought dairy would be my main issue. But I learned that my issue is mostly grains. I can’t eat grains during the day or I crash in the afternoon. Dairy for the most part does not affect me. In fact after this Whole 30 I intend to stick with a paleo plus dairy diet.
So what do you eat on Whole 30? Meat, veggies, eggs, a little fruit. It’s paleo but way more intense. Whole 30 requires a lot of planning. For me I MUST plan lunches. Week 1 I made butternut squash soup for lunch and I added leftovers from my dinners.
I use the app Mealime for my dinner recipes. The first week here’s what I ate for dinner:
- Chicken Teriyaki Drumsticks with Broccoli
- Ribeye Steak with Sauteed Carrots and Onions
- Pan-Seared Cod with Asparagus and Carrot Puree
- Sweet Potato and Chicken Curry with Spinach
All of these are from Mealime. Check it out. It’s my favorite. You can set whatever diet you want, exclude things you don’t like (like olives), and then you pick how many meals you want for the week. It also gives you a grocery list and substitutions in case you can’t find something. I basically try whatever recipes it gives me. I’ve discovered a lot of things I didn’t know I liked. Like curry. And cabbage stir fry.
Week 1 Recap:
Day 1 (Wed.): I felt AMAZING. Not hungry at all. I ate a hardboiled egg and a banana for breakfast, butternut squash soup for lunch, and then I made teriyaki chicken drumsticks with broccoli for dinner.
Day 2 (Thurs.): I was hungry. But not cranky (ok maybe a little cranky but I’m pretty that’s just who I am at this point). I actually ate more than Day 1, but I needed more calories. But dinner was steak with sauteed veggies. Yum. And my favorite way to cook steak: in the skillet with coconut oil, seasoned generously with salt and pepper. AMAZING.
Some people experience a crash around day 2 or 3 but I never really had the crash. I think it’s because I don’t consume much sugar and I don’t have a carb-heavy diet. Whatever it is I’m grateful. Brian tried to do Whole 30 with my over the summer and he was pretty convinced he was DYING. (He totally wasn’t. I think it was a side effect of being a man).
Day 3 (Fri.): I had a super busy day at work with back to back clients. I thought I had 30 minutes between clients so I tried to eat during that window. But then the guy was early. Luckily I had finished my chicken legs by that point. Yikes. Need to plan non-bone food for client meeting days I guess.
Friday night we went out for dinner. Japanese. Brian picked it. His favorite restaurant. I did some research (totally required when eating out on Whole 30) and figured out what to order. Turns out it’s really hard to eat at a Japanese restaurant because SOY. It’s in everything. The online forums all suggested that I bring my own coconut aminos but I didn’t because Brian would have left me there if I had pulled a bottle of coconut aminos out of my purse.
I asked our waiter if the soup had soy in it and explained that I couldn’t have soy or dairy. I’m pretty sure he didn’t speak English. His response to my question about soy: “we have a gluten free menu.” So . . . not helpful. I went with hibachi steak and sauteed veggies. And tuna sashimi. Mason loved it. But he called it “tunuts.”
Mason even posed for a sushi picture for me. Ha! (Then he didn’t actually eat that piece).
James made this non-Whole 30-compliant creation:
He also didn’t eat that. But in case you don’t feel like zooming (Ali I know you will), that’s a combination of edamame, sushi, carrots, rice, teriyaki chicken, steak hibachi, and hibachi veggies.
Day 4 (Sat.): This is the day I didn’t eat enough. I didn’t plan weekend lunches so I just had a single serving bowl of butternut squash soup. And I ran 7 miles that day. Oops.
Saturday night Brian and I had a date night. Yay! At first Brian didn’t want to go out to dinner. Apparently I embarrassed him on Friday night with the whole “no soy in the Japanese restaurant” episode. I wasn’t embarrassed. And the waiter had no idea what I was saying so it’s all good I’m sure. We ended up getting Mexican on Saturday. Because fajitas without tortillas or condiments are totally Whole 30 approved. My fav Mexican place (Local Lime. Try it if you’re in Little Rock. You can thank me later), but they had a super long wait. So we went with a more traditional Mexican place. I asked for raw veggies to dip. This is what I got:
Raw onions. That’s exactly what I wanted. (insert eye-roll). So I couldn’t really eat that. Ha! It was a good try I guess?
Day 5 (Sun.): Again I didn’t plan lunch. And I work on Sundays so this was not good. I actually ran by Whole Foods and grabbed some chicken and veggies from their hot meal bar (that’s what it’s called right?).
That night I meal prepped for this week. Here’s what I made this week:
- Whole 30 fiesta chicken salad
- Vegan creamy cauliflower soup
- Breakfast sausage and egg bake
I know cauliflower soup sounds weird. But it’s AMAZING. The onion flavor really comes out. And the cauliflower makes it creamy and delicious. Just try it. Oh and it’s super easy.
And I MADE MY OWN SAUSAGE (not in the casing because that’s weird). Sausage at the grocery store is almost always non-compliant. The 2nd or 3rd ingredient in every single type of sausage is sugar. So that’s a no go. But I bought the pork and made my own and it’s perfect.
Recipes with links (and some pictures because I get to be annoying and post food pictures):
Immune-Boosting Detox Soup (leave out the chickpeas for Whole 30). No picture because I haven’t actually made this yet. But I’ve made it before and it’s one of my favorite soups.
Week 1 I learned that I really need to plan for more calories. A few days last week I didn’t eat enough. Turns out calories come from grains and dairy. Who knew? Me now. And you if you’re still reading. So where do I get calories? Healthy fats. Avocados, nuts, oils (coconut oil is AMAZING for cooking).
Oh and I’m the only one in my house doing Whole 30. So my kids still eat (or don’t eat depending on the day) things like mac and cheese, chips, candy (for pooping in the potty of course), sandwiches, cereal. Basically nothing I can eat. And it’s totally fine. I don’t crave those things this time. Last time I did somewhat. But not this time.
And you’re probably wondering WHY I would put myself through this. Why did I choose to do Whole 30? Well not to lose weight. I did it the first time because I was crashing in the afternoons. Hard. Like could hardly keep my eyes open at 3:00 each afternoon. Which makes it pretty hard to get work done. And this time I decided to do it because my healthy eating habits just went out the window over Christmas and I need a reset.