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My first Whole30

Emily T

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This is my first Whole30! I am hoping to gain the following out of this experience:


-Better digestive health

-An end to bloating, gas, and painful digestion

-More energy

-Weight loss


I used to eat pretty clean when my digestive issues surfaced, but the past six months have not been so great. So I am doing this to kickstart my system and get back into healthy and clean living. But even when I ate clean, there were two things I ate every.single.day - some sort of chocolate, and diet coke. 


Yesterday was Day 1, and I really miss Diet Coke already! 


Breakfast: 3 scrambled eggs, 1/2 avocado, salsa

Snack: Peach and some cashews

Lunch: Roasted chicken breast, salad greens, and sauteed sweet potatoes

Dinner: Meatballs in tomato sauce, carrots with cauliflower "hummus", and strawberries


One thing I noticed was that I was hungry ALL DAY - I wanted to snack all day long. But that may just be that I am thinking about food all day long.


In addition, I went to bed at 10:30PM and woke up at 9:30AM SO EXHAUSTED. I hope this passes soon. 


Well anyway - day two is starting! Here we go!

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If you we're starving, try increasing your meals - try some extra protein and a lot more vegies! You may need to add a bit more fat to the lunch and dinner you've mentioned. If you really do need a snack, try and make it a mini meal of protein, fat and vegies not fruit/nuts. Adding some carbs to your breakfast may also satisfy you longer :)

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Day two is winding down. Less hungry today but had a terrible migraine and very tired. I think this is my caffeine and diet coke addiction!


Breakfast - Started with scrambled eggs with avocado and peppers - but concluded that I really just do not like eggs - like, AT ALL. I have never really enjoyed them, but I thought maybe I could make myself like them this month. Today I decided that in order to be successful, I need to be eating things that taste good to me! So ate about half the eggs, some cantaloupe, and a Larabar cashew bar. I know - Larabars are not considered a replacement for good protein - I have replanned breakfast for the rest of the week to avoid this problem - I made a huge skillet of sweet potatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, onions, and chicken sausage for the next few days. 


Lunch - Leftover meatballs, raw veggies with some cauliflower hummus


Dinner - Salad greens with baked chicken, oranges, green onions, cashews, and tangerine-balsamic vinaigrette. 


Snack - Banana with cashew butter

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The end of day three! I feel fine today - no side effects, other than I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning. But that is normal for me. I continue to struggle with being bloating and uncomfortable for the first hour of my day. I am really hoping this goes away soon.


Breakfast - Sweet potato, onion, peppers, and chicken sausage skillet (had planned on having fruit but ended up being really satisfied from the other food)


Lunch - Leftover meatballs, carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower hummus, and a fruit salad of blueberries, strawberries, and cantaloupe 


Dinner - Chicken salad with homemade mayo, grapes, sesame seeds, wrapped in lettuce leaves - carrots, homemade guacamole 


I am super proud of myself as I have never made mayo before and it turned out okay! I am also really intrigued by the fact that I did not snack today. Typically I snack mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Today all I wanted was a diet coke and a piece of chocolate. 


Another odd thing. I quit smoking about two months ago. I no longer crave cigarettes like I used to, until today. All day I was craving a cigarette. As I understand, smoking releases insulin into your bloodstream. I assume the craving is just linked to that? (ie I'm not getting my usual sugar intake so I am craving a cigarette that will bring me the same?) 

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Day four is drawing to a close.


Breakfast: Sweet potato, onion, peppers, and chicken sausage skillet 

Lunch: Leftover chicken salad with mayo, cashews and grapes, wrapped in big lettuce leaves; carrots, cukes and homemade guacamole; a banana

Dinner: Leftover meatballs, cucumber sesame salad 


I've been noticing fatigue in the late afternoon (between 3-5PM), which is when I usually grab a snack and a diet coke. Still having stomach bloating issues, I'm not sure if its better or worse actually, so I guess its about the same. 

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End of day four. Stomach problems continue and I am getting rather discouraged. I've been eating these meatballs in tomato sauce and I think thats the culprit - I think that the bloating and gas are worse after I have eaten that.


I am going to try a little experiment over the next few days, removing tomatoes first, and then peppers and other nightshades, to see if that does the trick. If not then I'll try cutting the fruit, and then sweet potatoes. 


Breakfast - Sweet potato, onion, peppers, and chicken sausage skillet 

Lunch - Leftover meatballs, carrots and homemade guacamole, and a fruit salad (cantaloupe, blueberries, strawberries)

Dinner - NY strip steak, steamed zucchini tossed in a vinaigrette, and a cashew cookie larabar


I've noticed my cravings for cigarettes increasing! I am still tired in the afternoons as well. Finally, I've been a bit cranky - probably due to the fact that I miss diet coke so much.


Lastly - had a dream I ate chipotle - the rice, sour cream, corn salsa, black beans - I was so mad at myself. Woke up glad it was a dream!

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Day 6: I am still feeling full and bloated all the time, and I am going to start taking digestive enzymes in the hope that might help. After reading the article on the Whole9 website about these, I do think I need them. I'm also going back onto my probiotics. 


Breakfast - Sweet potato, onion, peppers, and chicken sausage skillet 

Lunch - Leftover strip steak, carrots, gauc, and a banana

Dinner - Tuna salad on a bed of lettuce with a larabar


I'm starting to think I'm not getting enough vegetables. I have made a meal plan for week two with a more veggies and a little less fat.

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Day 7! I've made it a week! Woohoo!


Breakfast - Sweet potato, onion, peppers, and chicken sausage skillet 

Lunch - I meant to bring pork and green beans but I just didn't get it together to cook the pork last night. I went to Chipotle and had Carnitas salad with all three salsas (YUM) and guacamole. It was delicious! I am really grateful I have this option on days when I just don't have the time or energy to cook. 

Dinner - Filet mignon on top of mixed greens, shredded cucumber, and shredded carrots, with balsamic and olive oil. I also had a Larabar. Now reading Physibeth's comment, I wish I hadn't. I've only got one more in the cupboard and so will save it for an emergency in the future.


Week 1 impressions:


-Digestion - Not seeing a significant change until today, when I started taking digestive enzymes. This is really all I want - to be able to eat without getting bloated and gassy. So overall, I'm excited to keep going!

-Energy - Was lower in the earlier part of the week, but I BOUNDED out of bed this morning! I feel rested and refreshed. I've completely been free of caffeine for seven days now, and all I got was a headache on day 2!

-Weight - When you feel bloated, you don't feel like you're losing ANY weight. So maybe I have but I don't feel it. 

-Etc - My hair and skin looks great. I felt super confident walking into work today! I had a glow about me :) 



  • I wish I had not been so scared to do this. I was so worried - "Giving up CHICKPEAS?" "Going without alcohol?" "How can I possibly stop drinking diet coke?" "What will I do without yogurt?" - but really, it hasn't been that difficult. It has certainly not been any test of willpower. I wish I had known this earlier and I would have done it a long time ago. 
  • I need to learn to like more vegetables. I got kind of bored with so many carrots and cucumbers this week. I'm looking forward to a more diversified week next week.
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I am adding some photos today to make this a bit more interesting. I also want to note that I am shocked and pleasantly surprised at my lack of hunger. I used to be such a snacker. I do not crave snacks at all. I am eating far less at meals and filling up quicker. Its wonderful. 


Breakfast - Chicken artichoke and garlic sausage, baby carrots, and a banana


Lunch - Tuna salad wrap with onions and carrots wrapped in lettuce, grapes, baby carrots. I made two, but couldn't finish them. The second is in the fridge for tomorrow. 



Dinner - chicken tikka masala over cauliflower "rice", fattoush salad (cucumber, tomato, onion with a lemon-oil-mint-parsley dressing). Don't worry, thats whole30 approved Tazo passion tea (iced, its insanely hot here today!)





For those of you interested in getting your Indian food fix, use this recipe with the following modifications: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-tikka-masala/


-Omit all the salt. Or if you like salt, salt to taste. DO NOT follow the guidelines for salt, it is insane and would taste like a salt lick. 

-I usually double all the spices.

-Replace yogurt in the marinade with coconut milk (see my note below)

-Replace heavy cream with coconut milk

-You can use whatever fat you like in place of the small bit of butter, I used coconut oil but I think they use a lot of ghee in Indian cooking as well. 


I have long replaced the cream with coconut milk to reduce dairy as well as give it a little more complex flavor. But I this time I replaced the yogurt with coconut milk as well, and I am very happy to say there was no discernible difference in taste. 

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So yesterday was pretty discouraging. I woke up not feel great, just tired and sluggish. I also had very little appetite. I became gassy in the afternoon which was frustrated.


I think the other part that is getting me down is my belly. I guess I just expected too much to expect to see it change in a week. But I've seen so many photos of people one week in and their bellies have noticeably shrunk. Mine is just as big. Its not about weight loss - the rest of me is pretty healthy and normal-sized. Its just my big, bloated pregnant-looking belly. :(


Anyway, onto the log:


Breakfast: Leftover chicken tikka with cauliflower

Lunch: Like I said I had no appetite. Over the afternoon I had some leftover fattoush salad, about 10 cashews, and two slices of an Aidells chicken apple sausage. 

Dinner: Carnitas wrapped in lettuce, topped with fresh tomatoes and avocado. 


Here's hoping to start feeling better soon. 

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Day 10. No change in how I'm feeling. I'm trying to do a better job of portioning my meals the way the guides demonstrate. I think I have not been eating enough vegetables. 


Breakfast: Sweet potato, onion, peppers, and chicken sausage skillet 

Lunch: This delicious chipotle soup (made it with carnitas in the crock pot instead of chicken), topped with avocado and cilantro, cucumber-tomato salad, a couple pieces of cantaloupe

Dinner: Steamed broccoli with coconut oil and garlic salt, baby carrots, chicken salad with homemade mayo, cashews, and sesame seeds


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Day 11. CAFFEINE. Just drank the first caffeine I've had in 10 days. I had an iced tea. 


BOUNCING. OFF. THE. WALLS. Wow. So much so that I felt the need to come here and share my food log today before I even ate all of my food. 


Breakfast: Sweet potato, onion, peppers, and chicken sausage skillet. I'm getting kind of tired of this. I am going to try something new next week.

Lunch: Leftover carnitas soup, steamed broccoli, carrots.

Dinner: Chicken salad with homemade mayo, cashews, and sesame seeds; mesclun greens with balsamic vinaigrette; a banana.


Edited to add, very discouraged this evening. I'm experiencing continued digestive issues, which enzymes and probiotics have helped, but I am just so sick of this! Does this mean my issues are not with food? What else could cause this? ARGH!

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Day 12.


Breakfast: Sweet potato, onion, peppers, and chicken sausage skillet. 

Lunch: Sweetgreen salad with chicken, avocado, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and a banana

Snack: Handful of cashews

Dinner: Zucchini "noodles" with spinach-artichoke pesto (see below for recipe), chicken-artichoke sausage, mixed greens with black cherry vinaigrette, handful of grapes 


So a colleague of mine is a member of the Vegan Lunch Club at work (basically - each person brings 100% vegan lunch for the whole group on one day - there are seven or eight members, they usually skip Fridays and rotate around so that you only have to cook for the crowd once every 2 weeks). On a side note, I am very interested in starting up a paleo lunch club at work! Anyway she made a big pile of this dairy free spinach and artichoke pesto and saved me a couple of tablespoons to try. I tossed it with zucchini noodles and it was delicious! Recipe is here: http://sundaymorningbananapancakes.blogspot.com/2012/03/artichoke-spinach-pesto.html

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Day 13


Breakfast: Sweet potato, onion, peppers, and chicken sausage skillet ; some cantaloupe

Lunch: Zucchini "noodles" with spinach-artichoke pesto, chicken-artichoke sausage, cumin-chipotle roasted carrots, handful of grapes 

Dinner: Mexican chorizo sausage, lots of salsa, guacamole, on a bed of crisp shredded lettuce with cilantro 

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Day 14


Breakfast: Sweet potato, onion, peppers, and chicken sausage skillet ; some cantaloupe (REALLY tired of this now, but trying to finish it up so its not wasted)

Lunch: Carnitas soup, topped with fresh avocado, side salad with balsamic and oil

Dinner: Mexican chorizo sausage, lots of salsa, guacamole, on a bed of crisp shredded lettuce with cilantro, handful grapes


So its been two weeks. My impressions so far...


This week has had its ups and downs. I can definitely feel that there are positive changes, but the negative problems that are related to my digestive system have continued and in some ways worsened. It had me feeling so bummed and discouraged - like am I going to be the only person in the world that doesn't feel better from this? I think there were some feminine issues at play here, because things took a positive turn in the past two days with my digestion. Ultimately I think I need to just be more patient. And if it doesn't get better, then at least I know that food isn't my problem.


The best part of this whole diet is that I am waking up feeling refreshed and energized, and I can get through the day without any caffeine. I recently quit smoking and it feels good to be able to be get through my morning without my two crutches - cigs and diet coke. 


When I think of how far I have come from where I was two years ago (when I left grad school and starting working - the beginning of my adult life), I am really proud of myself. At that point I was eating a lot of grains, plenty of pizza and pasta, very little vegetables, a lot of artificial sweeteners, drinking heavily, and smoking heavily. While I made some dietary changes about a year ago, I continued heavy drinking and smoking until very recently. I am thrilled that I was able to stop these bad habits before they ruined my health forever. I am so excited to be doing the Whole30. Its the missing piece of the puzzle. The last piece is that I need to get moving. Exercise has never been something I enjoy, but neither has eating healthy and I enjoy that now, so maybe there is some hope.

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Day 15


Breakfast: Sweet potato, onion, peppers, and chicken sausage skillet; grapes; handful of cashews 

Lunch: Egg casserole (made with spinach, peppers, onions, zucchini, sweet potato, and hot Italian sausage), an apple pie Larabar, carrots and cauliflower hummus

Dinner: Thai red curry with chicken, broccoli, peppers, water chesnuts and onions. It was delicious! Easily the best curry I ever had.


I didn't have a plan for lunch yesterday and ended up snacking on a Larabar and carrots until I got it together to make my casserole. It was a reminder of how important it is to plan! I wasn't satisfied after the Larabar and then regretted eating it. If I had just had a good balance of protein, veggies and fat I would have been more satisfied! 

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Day 16


Breakfast: Egg casserole (made with spinach, peppers, caramelized onions, zucchini, sweet potato, and hot Italian sausage), cantaloupe

Lunch: Leftover red curry

Dinner: Eggplant "parmesan" (made with eggplants and beautiful heirloom tomatoes) topped with hot Italian sausage, side salad with black cherry vinaigrette


I am definitely a fan of my new egg casserole. Its delicious and all the veggies make it super filling. I sliced it into 10 squares and froze some, so I can easily pop one in my bag for rushed mornings! 


The eggplant parm was made with eggs in the sauce, per this recipe: http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2010/07/27/baked-eggplant-farmesan/


I was going to add the sausage to the sauce but forgot, so I just threw it on top of the dish when it was halfway done baking. It was pretty good! I've never been a fan of eggplant but gave it a try anyway. I was pleasantly surprised. It made a LOT and I think it would freeze well. I plan on eating more tonight with sauteed cabbage. 


I can't believe I'm more than halfway through this journey. It feels like its been forever and no time at all. I think I've been letting myself get discouraged that my digestive problems are not solved and that I am not losing a ton of weight. I have to remember that I am not coming from the same place as a lot of people. If I really do have leaky gut syndrome, its going to take more than 16 days to heal. I just need to keep at it. As far as weight loss, that also takes time. I need to step up and start being more physically active, too. 


I've been thinking a lot about the end of my whole30 and what I'll do on day 31. I see a lot of people complain (not here, but elsewhere online) that the whole30 is stupid or frustrating because you are so paranoid all of the time. That its not a good way to enjoy life or food. I get that and its true - but thats only if you decide whole30 is going to be wholeFOREVER. Its not supposed to be like that. Its just 30 days, and its to force you to think about whats going on in your food. I look forward to day 31 because I won't have to be so demanding about what I can/cannot eat - if the bacon is cured with sugar, its okay. If the chicken is cooked in canola, so be it. If my very Swiss family makes fondue once a year, you bet your ass I am going to enjoy it, without guilt (though probably with a stomach ache). 


And once the 30 days is over, its not all or nothing. There is a gray area between Whole30 and my old way of eating (which wasn't terribly unhealthy to begin with - I was already bread free, with very little grain - though a bit heavy on the legumes). My only fear is going a little bit too into the gray area. I think my biggest concern is going to be consuming alcohol. That is probably my biggest "food without breaks", and its the one thing I have "missed" (in quotes because I miss the social aspect, not the act of drinking). I've never been able to go to happy hours, weddings, or social events and be content drinking seltzer. I NEED to learn how to consume it in moderation, or else I need to give it up entirely. 

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Day 17


Breakfast: Egg casserole (made with spinach, peppers, caramelized onions, zucchini, sweet potato, and hot Italian sausage), grapes

Lunch: Leftover red curry, sliced cucumber, banana

Dinner: Eggplant "parmesan" topped with hot Italian sausage, served with sauteed cabbage 

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Day 18 - trying to eliminate all sugar in the form of fruit to see if that is why I am still so bloated.


Breakfast: Egg casserole (made with spinach, peppers, caramelized onions, zucchini, sweet potato, and hot Italian sausage)

Lunch: Eggplant "parmesan" topped with hot Italian sausage, served with sauteed cabbage, salad made with spinach, romaine and cucumber with a balsamic dressing

Dinner: Skin-on chipotle roast chicken breast with pan-fried brussels sprouts

Snack: I had a spoon of cashew butter since dinner wasn't going to be ready for a while. 

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Day 19


Breakfast: Egg casserole (made with spinach, peppers, caramelized onions, zucchini, sweet potato, and hot Italian sausage)

Lunch: Leftover chipotle roast chicken breast, brussels sprouts, romaine-spinach salad

Dinner: Almond crusted chicken with a chipotle mayo dipping sauce and mustard dipping sauce, a huge pile of broccoli with coconut oil and garlic 


My butcher messed up and gave me 8 lbs of chicken breasts when I asked for 8 breasts. So I am eating a lot of chicken the past couple weeks! Getting a little sick of it. 

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Day 20


Breakfast: Egg casserole (made with spinach, peppers, caramelized onions, zucchini, sweet potato, and hot Italian sausage)

Lunch: I tried to eat leftover chicken and broccoli but was extremely ill. I literally couldn't look at it without gagging. I skipped lunch.

Dinner: My nausea continued. The only thing that sounded remotely appetizing was a Chipotle salad. I had it with Carnitas, lettuce, salsa and guacamole. 

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Day 21


Breakfast: Egg casserole


Lunch: Strip steak, purple potatoes, mixed greens, waaaay too much olive oil 


Dinner: Tuna on a big bed of lettuce 


So I misunderstood the potatoes rule, I guess, because I thought purple potatoes would be allowed. Since the guidelines say its arbitrary, I'm kind of wondering whether I should let it bother me. I have though long and hard about this. I feel like I have had small mishaps here and there, that I think were mostly beyond my control or that I just did not realize. Overall I've had the following screw-ups so far on this journey:


-Digestive enzymes may have contained traces of lactose for the first five days. (a moderator said that was ok though!)

-Ate food (while dining out) that was prepared with canola oil a few times. (allowed when dining out I guess)

-Purple potatoes today. (arbitrary? I am trying to compensate with more lettuce at dinner!)

-My probiotics apparently may contain traces of milk or soy, which I found out earlier this week. (I bought the same brand but some different formula I guess :()


So I know that technically the whole30 rules are strict and if I do not adhere 100%, then I cannot say I finished my whole30. If that is the case, then so be it. Since I have not felt like I have really benefited greatly from the whole30, then maybe it does not matter. I'm quite sure that this is not a very popular opinion here and I understand why. I'm sure readers are saying, "but surely you would be feeling fine if you had not had that bit of soy!" or whatever.


Of all of these mistakes, I think the two that could present potential problems are the trace soy and the added sugar in the pork. Yet my constant constipation and inability to reduce belly fat were ongoing before I ever ate the sausage or took those probiotics. I don't think they sabotaged me. Perhaps they did. Unfortunately I really do not have the option of continuing another 30 days to do a whole60 at this exact moment in time (I have five weddings coming up and will need to travel out of state for all of them - plus a potential overseas work trip in September - truthfully, trying to eat as clean as the whole30 demands for an additional month is just not sustainable or possible for me during this time). 


However, I am not giving up! I know that I need to continue eating this way in order to heal my body. I am planning to see a naturopath to get some specific guidance and get some tests done.Once my 30 days are up, I will continue eating "whole30" indefinitely, but not with the level of strictness for the proper 30. I am strongly committed to a 90% paleo - 10% SAD lifestyle for this period. I hope that doing this, under the care of a naturopath doctor, I can begin to heal whatever is wrong with me. So far, my biggest lesson has been FOOD ISN'T EVERYTHING. It may start with food, but it does not end there! 


Then I will do another Whole30 in January. This time I think I will be a bit more prepared with the supplements and purchasing cleaner meats. 


So thats that. I know that now I do not get to say I "did" a whole30, but such is life!

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