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whole30 blog: relearning how to eat


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When my friend first mentioned this program, I thought anyone who wanted to do it was crazy. A few weeks later, at a regular doctor's appointment, I found that my vegetarian diet had left me B-12 deficient and heavier than ever. I got frustrated with the years of difficulty I've had with eating, ever since I spent a year restricting (unhealthily). My friend brought up the Whole30 again, and now we're doing it together. So far, I'm feeling pretty good about it. Maybe it's not crazy after all.


A few goals for this month:


1. Raise my B-12 levels (between eating meat and weekly B-12 injections, this shouldn't be a problem)

2. Workout 3 times a week, at least. Begin to enjoy regular exercise.

3. While weight loss would be a nice bonus, eat according to how I feel, not how many calories are in foods. Logging will help this, I think.

4. Break my sugar addiction.

5. By the end of the month, I'd like to have a healthy relationship with sugar: to be able to have a sweet every now and then, but not every day.

6. After this month, I will return to vegetarianism. I feel very strongly that my concern for the planet's health should be reflected in my daily habits, including diet. But I want to know how to be the cleanest-, healthiest-eating veg I can.


Here goes!

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Day 1 (yesterday):

Breakfast: apple and nut mix, because I hadn't had a chance to go shopping!

Lunch: 3 hard-boiled eggs, mixed greens, and a peach

Snack: decaf coffee

Dinner: Sweetgreen salad with avocado, tomatoes, corn (oops! forgot that's not a veggie!), grilled chicken, and lime cilantro dressing

Snack: banana, later, a bit of salmon*


* I had dinner at 5:30, the banana at 8:30, and the salmon at 1 am when I got home, because I was starving!


Room for improvement:

No corn!

These were extenuating circumstances, but I will try not to eat so late going forward.

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Day 2:


Breakfast: salmon, fruit salad

Lunch: fruit with almond butter, roasted veggies

Snack: raw veggies

Dinner: chicken sautéed in rosemary apple cider vinegar, salad, balsamic vinaigrette, beet greens, roasted beets


Definitely feeling the "hangover" mentioned in the timeline. My head hurts, I'm tired and sore, I'm craving sugar. It's nice to have a space to complain about here, because none of my friends or family wants to hear it, haha.


Room for improvement: less fruit? Protein with lunch. More water.

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the "hangover" will be a lot less painful if you try and stick to the template - I noticed if I didn't have enough fat, and when I didn't add starchy carbs (vegetable ones, not fruit!) I felt more awful!! there were a couple of days I just wanted to sleep due to my head, and just general low energy as i'd not eaten enough of those things.


your day 2 breakfast needed fat and vegies (you can add fat on top of the salmon!)...protein with lunch...and maybe more fat at dinner!! if you eat loads of vegies, and include starchy ones, you'll probably notice your cravings go away along with your sore head :) fat and protein will keep you feeling satisfied for longer and probably see the snacks disappear too - if you really, really, really need a snack, aim for a mini meal over fruit/nuts/nut butter

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Thank you! That response was very helpful and very much appreciated.


I tried to make those changes you suggested, and today I felt good when I was moving around, but I got a headache if I remained inactive for a while. I wait tables, and I felt decent as I was working. When I got home, I sat on the couch for a bit to knit and watch TV, and I started feeling icky/headachy. Lying in bed to type this now, my head has started to hurt again. I hope this goes away as my body adjusts.


I added more fat and a little more starchy veggies, and I cut back on fruit. (Don't have many starchy veggies in the house, so I'll have to fix that.) I felt quite a bit better, and I was almost completely satisfied between meals. It's amazing; I can't remember the last time I wasn't hungry in between meals. I got an intense sugar craving in the afternoon and had some fruit to deal with it ... is that considered okay? Tomorrow, I'll try not to snack.


Breakfast (8:30 am): salmon, 1/2 grilled eggplant (fats and veg?), blackberries (for sweetness craving)

Lunch (3 pm): Cobb salad -- romaine, spinach, grilled chicken, avocado, cucumber, tomato, egg, red wine vinaigrette. yum!

Snack (5 pm): 1/2 apple, a few raspberries

Dinner: (7:30 pm): 1-2 egg(s) sautéed with beets, shallot, green onions, tomatoes, Indian spices, and 1 turkey hot dog; mixed greens salad with avocado, tomato, cucumber, and balsamic vinaigrette


So many veggies! Yay!



- I'm not very hungry in the morning, especially not for fats; they seem like the least appealing thing to eat first thing. Hopefully, eating leftovers will help, because the fats are incorporated into those meals already.

- My schedule is very irregular. Right now, I'm working two part-time jobs, one of which is in a restaurant. I eat when I get up, at 8 or 9, am not hungry when I leave for work at 11, and can't eat again until I've finished the lunch shift, around 2 or 3 pm. By that time, I'm starving. Not sure if I should eat before I leave or tough it out and deal with being hungry. I used to snack on bread or soda during the shift, but I can't do that anymore, of course.

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You've mentioned eating fruit to satisfy a sugar craving - that's probably not the right way to beat the sugar craving. The whole 30 is supposed to help get over those - you're not actually saying no to the sugar craving as you're still giving it sugar. Yes it's fruit, and better than diving in to a jar of candy, but its still satisfying your want for something sweet.

It's like a little kid whining at the shops about wanting something, and instead of standing their ground, the parents end up buying it what it wants just to shut it up. Is it going to learn that it can't always have what it wants?

You need to find something else to do - don't give in and feed it! Are you actually hungry? Probably not. If you are, have a mini meal like I mentioned before - you'll be much more satisfied with a little bit of protein/fat and vegies! Personally, I'd cut fruit out for a little while so you can stop your need to satisfy that craving...

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Thanks again! Cutting out fruit sounds like it would be a good idea. I didn't do that today -- it was my last day working at the farmers' market, and the samples of fresh peaches were incredible -- but I'll do it for the next few days.


Breakfast (7 am): honestly, I don't quite remember. 7 is earlier than I usually wake up, so my mind wasn't quite functioning! I think it was leftover Cobb salad and extra veggies.

(biked 5 miles, mostly downhill, to work at 8 am)

Snack (9:30 am): 1 hard-boiled egg

Lunch (12 pm): 1 hard-boiled egg (mostly white), 1 turkey hot dog, 1 red pepper, handful of green peppers, a few pieces of peach

(biked 5 miles, mostly uphill, home at 2 pm)

Snack (3:30 pm): leftover Cobb salad

Dinner (7:30 pm): Moroccan Meatballs (probably 2 servings-worth of protein), Moroccan kale salad (minus the olives), a few carrots, a few strawberries while cooking.



- I also cooked Primal Chicken Tikka Masala and a beet salad (modified). That was a lot of bustling around a warm kitchen, phew! Hope I can eat all of that this week before my vacation next week!

- Had zero appetite for fats at lunch, which is probably why I was hungry three hours later for a snack(?). I really want to make it a point to stop snacking; I'm not happy that I had to snack twice today. At least I did a better job of making them "mini-meals."

- Low energy today. Frequent headaches, lightheadedness, fatigue. Hope this passes soon!

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I've been eating a small amount of fruit with lunch and dinner to forestall sugar cravings (not to satisfy them). I don't snack on fruit, but including it with my meal seems to send my (hypoglycemic) system the cue that really, here's the food, no reason to whinge. A sort of pre-emptive strike approach I'm putting starch (sweet potato) in my breakfast for a similar reason. Any between meal snacking I do will be fats/protein/fiber, no fruit.


I was vegetarian for years and eventually gave it up because I ate too much carbs and not enough fruits and veggies, so couldn't really justify it as healthier than being omnivorous. Not that my omnivorous diet in the months leading up to this Whole30 were much better.

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Thanks, Ravin! Fruit is harmless with a meal, right? Maybe I'll do that. The idea of giving up fruit in the summer makes me cringe. Maybe I'll eat a little fruit with a meal here and there, and if my afternoon cravings don't disappear, I'll stop for a few days. Sweet potato at breakfast sounds good. I just bought a sweet potato, so I'll cook that soon. What other starchy veggies are good for that?


I also was eating way too much carbs as a vegetarian. Also way too much sugar and definitely not enough veggies. I feel loads better already, just from eating meat. I'm concerned about what will happen when I got back to school after this month, because I'll be living in the campus vegetarian co-op. Hopefully I'll find a way to integrate Whole30 concepts (especially limiting sugar) into veg life. But I'm thinking I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, because I'm already busy enough figuring out Whole30 now!

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Thanks, Amber!


Today's eating was better. Still more fruit than I should probably have, but never to satisfy a sugar craving, so I guess that's not bad. I felt pretty good for most of the day (!) until the evening, when I got tired and headachy. But that might have been from being on my feet all day at the restaurant. I didn't snack at all (also because I was working all day), so that's good, too!


Breakfast (9 am): Moroccan kale salad, chicken tikka masala, 3 strawberries

Lunch (3 pm): mixed greens salad with grilled chicken, tomatoes, red onions, grapes, a couple walnuts, and a little oregano vinaigrette

Dinner: (8:30 pm): kale salad with extra vinaigrette, Moroccan meatballs, 3 strawberries with 1/2 serving almond butter


I'm having difficulty with the fats.

First of all, it's hard for me to gauge how much of a serving is in my salad dressing, or meat, etc. At breakfast, does the fact that my chicken was cooked in a creamy coconut milk sauce count as a serving of fat? Does my dinner have enough fat?

Secondly, I'm finding I have very little appetite for fats. The idea of added oil, avocado, coconut, or even nuts sometimes makes me feel queasy. Lunch was low on fats because I felt like I couldn't stomach more nuts or dressing. Any ideas?

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In relation to fats, the coconut milk sauce definitely counts (as long as you ate it!)

I generally make sure I cook in fat - ill put ghee or coconut oil in the pan - but because much of this is left in the pan, ill also add a bit extra. In our case that's usually in the form of mayo on stuff (roast sweet potato or even steamed vegies dipped in mayo is delish!) or coconut milk in sauces.

We rarely use nuts for fats, or avo - my husband isn't a fan so we haven't had any.

Adding oil as dressing is hard - much like the cooking oil, I think most of it ends up in the bowl not in your belly! That's why I prefer putting coconut milk in sauce or having mayo - it "sticks" better :)

You could also aim for fattier meats, or salmon in oil. Whole eggs also have decent amount of fats.

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Thanks, Amber! That was helpful. I was worried I was getting too much fat and would gain weight or too little and would be hungry too soon. I feel more chill about it now that I know it's sort of flexible!


Today was a rough eating day.  :unsure:


Pre WO: 1 hard-boiled egg white (not much, but it was a short workout and I was really really not hungry)

ran 2 miles, in about 20 minutes, with one or two minutes to stop and stretch. I was surprised by how hard it was! Yikes!

Breakfast (7:30 am): 2 eggs scrambled in coconut oil, 1/2 sweet potato (yum!), coffee

Lunch: (12 pm): Moroccan meatballs and the last of the kale salad with a little avocado. Definitely not enough, because I was hungry 3 hours later!

Snack: (3 pm): 2 small pieces of Starbucks chicken, because I was so hungry I thought I would pass out, and it was the only thing (I thought) I could have near the office. Turns out it had potato starch in it. Oops. Also decaf coffee.

Dinner (6:30 pm): large portion of chicken tikka masala (with coconut milk sauce), 2x salad with beets, tomatoes, peach, and balsamic vinaigrette. I was super hungry.

9 pm: 5 grapes and a seltzer water with fresh lime and 1 blackberry. I shouldn't have had either of those things, so that was a bit off track.  :( Tomorrow I'll do better!

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Today was a bit better, until the evening.


Pre WO (6:15 am): 1 Moroccan meatball

25-minute strength workout: modified push-ups, reverse crunches, one-leg squats, crunches on ball, dumbbell flys, "Superman"

Breakfast (7:30 am): 1 egg and 1 turkey hot dog scrambled in coconut oil, 1/3 large sweet potato

Snack (10:30 pm): small baggie of carrots. didn't want to eat these, but I was starving.

Lunch (12 pm): 3 oz roast beef, beet salad (beets, pistachios, golden raisins, red onion, homemade rosemary apple cider vinegar, olive oil), mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette

Roast beef, being the first beef I've eaten in 4 years, made me feel very ill. Drank glass of alkaseltzer and felt better.

Dinner (5 pm): 1 serving Masala salmon from Whole Foods, 1 cup homemade gazpacho, roasted veggies, small bit of pesto*

Evening snack (8:30 pm): grilled balsamic chicken from Whole Foods, homemade mango salsa (mango, tomatoes, red onion, lime, hot pepper, carrot), grapes


*didn't realize the pesto had cheese in it!  :( Oops. I feel lousy that I didn't think to ask about that. (My friend made it.) I think I'm not going to start my 30 days over, though, because I leave for school at the end of the month and won't be able to keep eating like this at school (because there, I live in a vegetarian co-op).



- I think today was low on fats. I think that's why I was hungry throughout the day. I hope that's why, anyway!

- I did so well avoiding fruit until the evening, when the bag of grapes called my name.  :blink: We're almost out of grapes, so tomorrow, I shouldn't have much temptation. I only want to eat fruit when it is in a meal for a while (in a salad or cooked into something else).


Question (should anyone stop by who can answer): On Thursday, I might bike to an event. It's 12 miles each way and a 2-hour long event. I'll leave right after lunch, but I'm not sure if I should eat when I get there, before I leave, and/or when I get home. Each bike ride will take me at least an hour, and I'd consider that a "workout," but I don't want to have two sets of workout meals! Any thoughts?

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Nighttime snacking! The next challenge I want to overcome. I feel like I should be able to, given the strength I've proven to myself eliminating so many foods.


Breakfast (8 am): 2 eggs scrambled in coconut oil, 1 turkey hot dog, 1/3 large sweet potato

biked 6 miles to work

Snack (10:30 am): chicken tikka masala (1/2 serving?)

Lunch (12:45 pm): balsamic chicken with mango and avocado salsa, large salad with balsamic vinaigrette and avo

Dinner, part 1 (6:30 pm): 1 meatball, 1 apple, 1 serving nut butter, a few cherries

Dinner, part 2 (8:30): chicken sautéed in apple cider vinegar, roasted veggies


Dinner was in 2 parts because I was out of meat and asked my dad to get chicken on the way home from work, but I was starving two hours before he got home. Unfortunately, I snacked between the two meals, mostly on roasted veggies and some fruit, and so felt stuffed after the meal. :( I'm bummed because the rest of the day had gone so well!

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Next time crack a can of tuna or other tinned fish. I bought a bunch of it at the beginning of the month to have on hand. You also mentioned having kale salad and strawberries on the side--strawberries are great IN a green salad. So is mango, and berries, and apple...you get the idea. Don't be afraid to put things together that seem weird. I had tuna salad with celery, bell pepper, onion, and mango the other day and it was delish. I drizzled it in olive oil to give it some moisture (the mango helped with that too).

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Thanks, Ravin! Next time I go to the grocery store, I'll buy some canned fish. That's a great idea. I've always been obsessed with mango. When I get that canned fish, I think I'll do just what you did with it! And I added cherries to my salad for lunch today. Great suggestion.



Today was stressful. I lost my wallet (yikes; credit card hasn't been used, though, so I hope it's just somewhere at home), ran late for work, doused my cell phone in water when I was watering the garden (oh well, it's a "dumbphone," and it was on its way out anyway, but still). So now I'm sans license, credit card, and fully-functional cell phone. What a mess.


But through all that, I kept (mostly) calm. And amazingly, I barely thought about food! I did have some cravings for strange things (sugary iced tea, which I don't like anyway), and I think that might be because of the stress. But whereas I used to have a bowl of ice cream when I'm stressed, I seem to now barely consider eating. Huh!


Before I got stressed (before I realized I had lost my wallet, and before I ruined my cell phone), I had an hour to myself for the first time in a while. I opened a bottle of plain Perrier, poured it into a wine glass with a fresh lime slice on it, and settled down on the couch with my knitting in front of Netflix. That was one of the most peaceful, happy moments I've had in a while, and it's nice that it was (almost) completely without food.


Breakfast (8 am): 2 eggs scrambled in coconut oil (now that I'm liberal with my oil use, I can't get over how delicious this is), 1/2 sweet potato

9:30 - biked hilly 9 miles in about 1 hour ... would've liked to do more, but it was getting really hot!

Post-WO (11 am): 1 serving leftover chicken, grilled asparagus

Lunch (12:45): mixed greens salad with cherries, strawberries, avocado, and balsamic vinaigrette; 1 serving leftover chicken + 1 turkey hot dog; grilled veggies (eggplant, asparagus, zucchini, acorn squash). So many veggies! Yum!

Snack (5:45 pm): 1/2 Larabar, a few cherries, 1/2 serving of leftover chicken, a few carrots

Dinner (8 pm): Moroccan meatballs (wasn't feeling very inspired), mixed greens salad with avocado and balsamic vinaigrette, Whole Foods gazpacho

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Also, starting Saturday, my family is staying with my grandparents for 10 days. I'm nervous about keeping up with w30 during this time. My grandma knows about my diet, and I plan to help her cook throughout our time there. And I expect to hear a lot of flak from my grandfather about eliminating food groups. Any suggestions to make those 10 days easier?

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Tell your grandad you're still getting plenty of protein/fats/carbs (that's what I think of as food groups), just eating better sources. Or say nothing at all!

If you help out with the cooking, you can make sure there's compliant food - just eat that! If you don't say much, maybe people won't notice as you're not serving yourself different food. You'll still be eating - if someone asks, tell them :)

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Hi Dani, if you were vegetarian for a long time and had B12 malabsorption issues, you likely don't have enough stomach acid and enzymes to digest meat and fat. Have you thought about adding some digestive enzymes?


I was also B12 deficient even with eating meat and taking a supplement. But I had many gut issues. I now take a tablet under the tongue for B12 and I also take HCL (stomach acid supplement) and digestive enzymes.


Also, I hear what you are saying about the environment, but have you looked into sustainable farming? Grass fed beef and other pasture raised animals? There is a lot of evidence that farming this way is much more beneficial to the environment than factory farming, and the meat products are also much healthier. I would worry that returning to a vegetarian diet after W30 would eventually lead you back to the same place. I also share a concern about the environment, that is why I 'vote' with my pocketbook by buying sustainable farming meat products. Here are some links that may interest you.



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Thanks, Amber.


Bet -- Thanks for that article! It's very interesting; he addresses nearly all of my concerns about meat-eating, some with more convincing arguments than others. I'm still pretty torn, because I have seen many, may more articles/videos/lectures about the negative environmental effects of livestock, and yet, I feel so good eating meat. (Un)fortunately, this actually won't be much of a decision to make. At the end of last semester, I signed up to live in an environmental co-op on campus; they only eat vegetarian there. I'll still be able to eat meat other places, but I don't know if I'll want to, considering I have no idea where the meat in restaurants comes from.


If I were buying and making my own meals (i.e. not living in a co-op) after this, I probably would continue eating meat. But that doesn't really seem to be an option for me, right now.


Here's my plan, as of now. I'll go back to mostly-vegetarianism. I'll continue to cut out sugars and most grains (I'll probably eat quinoa and some whole grains), and I'll reintroduce dairy and legumes (including soy, like tofu). If I feel noticeably worse, I won't force myself to stick with it. I'll figure something out. The nice thing about this is that now that I'm more in tune with my body, I think it'll be easier to figure out the optimal diet for me, and to know what works and what doesn't. Fingers crossed, though, that mostly-vegetarian "works" for me.

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Maybe this is ridiculous, but I'm getting nervous about my w30 results. I am sleeping better (10-7 these last few nights!), and I have more energy (though how much of that's from the B-12 injections vs w30, who knows), but I don't feel any slimmer, and my stomach still seems bloated. This is day 10 for me. Most people seem to feel like their stomaches flatten by this point, and their pants fit better. I don't wear pants often (definitely a skirts girl, here), but I'm a little discouraged by the lack of results for my body so far. Of course, I won't stop, and I know it's still early. I'm trying not to get my hopes up. But I can't shake the feeling that I'll be one of those people who gets to the end and says, "that's it? but where's my transformation?"


I guess this is pretty textbook Day 10 blues, eh? (I think part of my blues are from stress, too. I had to wait 3 hours at the DMV today to get a new license, and though I was hoping it'd recover, my cell phone is truly nonfunctional today.)


Breakfast (8 am): 2 eggs scrambled in coconut oil, 1/2 sweet potato (still not over this breakfast!)

biked 5 miles, mostly downhill, to DMV

Snack (11-12): Lemon Larabar, because the DMV took longer than I thought it would, and that was all I had with me. The high sugar content made me feel lousy later, though.

biked 6 miles, mostly uphill, home. Biking on an empty stomach felt really terrible. I guess I'm not fat-adapted, then?

Lunch (2:30 pm): salad with avocado, mango, oil and vinegar; leftover chicken; gazpacho, extra fruit. Too much fruit. With the Larabar, it was way too much sugar/carbs today. Not enough fats, either.

Dinner (6 pm): 2x Moroccan meatballs; salad with vinegar, avocado, + apple; some coconut flakes, even though all in the pantry I have is reduced fat; 1/3 large roasted acorn squash

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Tonight was a snack-a-palooza. I had a mango, a meatball, and some broccoli. I wasn't even that hungry. I'm upset because this stinks of my unhealthy relationship with food. I wonder if I'm not getting enough through the day and end up feeling deprived in the evening? I can't imagine I'm not getting enough through the day, because I'm full at the end of every meal, but somehow I still end up feeling deprived?  :(


I think I'll add a rule for myself this next week: no snacking after dinner. period. Let's see how that goes.

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I think trying to have a bigger breakfast may help - 2 eggs isn't many, I'd go for at least 3-4! That'll up your protein and fats. Possibly try some different vegies?

Can you take a mini meal with you that isn't fruit, nuts or Lara bars? If all you have is protein/fat/vegies, you can't eat anything else!

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Definitely going to up breakfast soon. 3 or 4 eggs sounds good. Thanks for that suggestion, Amber.


Yesterday, I spent 10 hours in the car on the way to my relatives' home. I was pleased that my hunger levels were low for most of the afternoon, given that I barely moved. To me, that says that my body was responsive to my activity level, instead of always being hungry. Also, I didn't have that much food. My relatives keep kosher, so I couldn't bring anything I cooked at home into their house, so I had to have only what I would eat in the car, no more, no less. What a struggle!


Yesterday (day 11):

Breakfast (7:30 am): 1.5 eggs, 1 turkey dog, 1/3 squash, unsweetened iced black tea. would've eaten more, but my dad came in while I was cooking and asked for some of the eggs. I wanted to save some to HB for the car ride, so I gave him some of my scrambled eggs.

Snack (10:30 am): 1/4 Larabar, 1 small spoonful almond butter. This was less than ideal, but our car ride was delayed because of an issue with the car, and I was starving, and there wasn't anything else w30 compliant in the house. Extenuating circumstances.

Lunch (12:40 pm): 2x Moroccan meatballs, 1 red pepper

Dinner, part one (7 pm): 1 HB egg, 1 turkey dog, small bite of leftover chicken

Dinner, part two (9:30 pm): 1 HB egg, 1 small sweet potato, 1/8 avocado, eggplant dip, celery, V8 juice. Serious veggies, not much else. This is what my grandmother had for me to eat, so I ate it.


This week is going to be a struggle. As I mentioned earlier, my grandparents keep kosher. This means:

- It will be very hard to cook for myself. Dishes and utensils and washing supplies are separated by meat and dairy, and I'm unfamiliar in the kitchen and struggle with which is which. It would be a huge faux pas to mess that up, so I have to constantly ask my grandma what's okay to use.

- In addition, meat and dairy can't be served together, which means that if the family is having a dairy meal, I have to eat my meat somewhere else at another time. I see lots of eggs in my future. (eggs are parve, meaning they can be eaten with either dairy or meat.)

- My meat will be limited. Kosher meat isn't available where my grandparents live, so my grandma makes a several-hours-long trip twice a year to stock up on kosher meat. I definitely don't want to eat more than she anticipated, because I don't want to make them run out of meat, but I'm not able to buy my own meat.



So here's to a hungry, stressful, egg-tastic week.  :(  I'll try to stay positive, cook as much as I can, and be strong. But I think my week 2 will be much harder than week 1, and I'm feeling a bit down about it. Any suggestions re: keeping kosher or staying positive would be much appreciated.

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