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My First Whole 30


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Public accountability and community! I just found the forums after ordering my e-book two weeks ago. I'm now on Day 13 of my first Whole 30.

I've been eating a mostly Primal (a la Mark's Daily Apple) diet for a little over a year, but I could never commit to giving up some significant dietary crutches--namely sugar, alcohol, and the occasional serving of rice or corn-based grain product. Is it any wonder I wasn't seeing any changes in my health, body, or energy level?

I have been following the Whole 30 plan and it hasn't been difficult after I got used to not doing things on autopilot--automatically putting sugar and cream in my tea or having a piece of dark chocolate after a meal.

I pretty much eat three meals a day. On some rare occasions I'll have an afternoon snack, but it's usually part of my lunch I didn't have time to eat before I had to get back to work. Twice it's been 10 or 12 macadamia nuts when I have been starving; both times I realized I hadn't had enough fat with my meal.

Sticking to this way of eating isn't hard, though when I get lazy it *can* get boring. I have to remember to switch things up, try new recipes, and, now that the seasons are changing, try out new vegetables.

I've been on some other forums, a lot of paleo/primal sites, and I've looked at a lot of information on the web. As a woman who will be 50 next month, I feel there is a lot more going on in/with my body than most of the men in the paleo community really want to address. Maybe in another 10 years, once this movement is well established, they'll have time to look into those concerns. For now, I feel it's up to me. Whole 30 doesn't make outrageous promises, but it does give me a foundation from which I can re-build my health and well-being.

Long first post, but I want to mention one significant result of being on this Whole 30. I've been in physical therapy working to repair a rotator cuff injury that I've been dealing with for more that six months. While I had increased my range of motion, I still had a lot of pain and I was icing my shoulder a couple times a day. About a week into the Whole 30 I realized the pain was pretty much gone. A bit of a twinge compared to a breath-taking gasp every time I moved my arm. And each day it improves a bit more. I am thinking it is the reduction in inflammation--i.e., I stopped eating sugar and rice.

Thanks for the forums. I'll be back to post as I move forward with my first (but not last) Whole 30.

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Today I tried shaking things up a bit for breakfast and I'm glad I did. I made Chicken and Sweet Potato Hash, basing it on a recipe that used white potoatoes. It turned out great! I had never even *had* hash before, but this was so good, I was glad when my husband said he didn't want any--now I have extra for breakfast tomorrow. Excellent! I paired it up with a couple of eggs scambled in coconut oil (that's what I usually have, with some kind of meat). It was a great start to the day.

Lunch was leftover soup from last night's dinner. I often make a big pot of soup on the weekend and then freeze it in one-cup containers for lunch to take to work. This is one of my standard meat-plus-whatever-vegetables-we-have soups. Always different, always good. Last night it was pastured ground beef with lots of mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes. Oh, and I had some celery sticks with a tiny bit of almond butter.

Dinner is coming up. Chicken breasts on the grill, grilled asparagus, salad with avocado and balsamic/olive oil/mustard dressing. It's the only dressing we have nowadays. Hilarious if you knew us when we went through a bottle of ranch dressing a week!

I might add some strawberries (local, from the farmers' market!) and blueberries (not as local, but just one state away) to the menu.

I love to eat, but anymore I just enjoy what I'm eating and don't constantly think about what I'm NOT eating or what I'm going to eat next or what I could have eaten or....You get the picture. I'm a lot more mindful of the eating I'm doing and then I just sort of...let it go.

On Day 14 I am starting to see that this Whole 30 actually *is* resetting the way I interact with food. It is making me rethink my relationship with food. And it is preparing me for what comes after this 30 days, too, because then I have some choices to make--and I better be ready to make good ones, or I'll be right back where I was before. And who wants that?

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Here's something I haven't seen anyone posting about. I am having the most active dreamlife. Seriously, each night is like a crazy, channel-switching festival in my brain. I keep reading about all these people on a Whole 30 getting this sound sleep, and here I am, having the most bizarre dreams. I still wake up feeling pretty rested, but the dreams are really wild!

I've started reading some of the Whole 9 posts on life after your Whole 30 and it's amazing how much some of it resonates with me and my situation. It really is a lot easier to say "Can't eat that, it's not on my plan," rather than have to make a decision on my own. It's tough to ride your own bike. But I'm feeling (and looking--already!) so much better that I think I'm going to be okay, no matter now much of a sugar addict I will always be. (I'm looking at it as being "in recovery"--much like an alcoholic. I'll never NOT be addicted to sugar, only be able to control my addiction.)

It seems kind of dull to write out what I eat because it is pretty much the same thing every day--variations on a theme. Good food, cooked differently. I don't cheat. I'm a boring Girl Scout when it comes to this Whole 30.

Today I had:

  • Breakfast: leftover chicken and sweet potato hash + 2 scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil
  • Lunch: leftover chicken breast from dinner + celery sticks with a little almond butter, a cucumber, and a few baby carrots
  • Snack: a small apple (boy was it tart!) and 9 macademia nuts
  • Dinner: pastured, grass-fed/grass-finished beef roast from our meat CSA (yummy) + roasted broccoli + 1/2 an avocado + a big salad with cherry tomatoes and vinegar and oil dressing

Relaxing for the rest of the evening, then off to bed and, hopefully, to sleep without the dreaming!

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Carmen - Perhaps there are some fun messages in your dreams! or the next great novel! Who knows? :)

I've been eating this way for a couple of years now and I still enjoy reading other people's stories and logs. I find I get stuck in my own rut and it helps to get new ideas from others.

Thanks for sharing!

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I've had crazy dreams lately, too! My dreams are typically pretty vivid but the other night I had 6 indpendent dreams in one night! They were nuts, too... (Benjamin Bratt was my boyfriend! Pretty sweet :)). And I second the hash recipe request! My weekday breakfasts are typically the same and kind of boring but my weekends allow for more time to cook, which makes me want to be a tad more creative. I'd love to give your recipe a try!


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I posted the Chicken-Sweet Potato Hash recipe over on the Recipe forum. Now I think I will have to try out Pot Roast-Sweet Potato Hash tomorrow morning as we have leftover pot roast from last night's (and tonight's) dinner.

The dreams keep coming! And as Megan says, they are all "independent dreams"--like flipping channels. How I explained it to my husband was that in one I was in a Sci Fi film (starring as the leader of a "clan" of some sort) and in the next I was the "wacky single mom struggling to raise a couple of foster kids" and on and on. I mean, it makes no sense at all.

Okay, no log today. Today was like yesterday, was like the day before, which was like the day before. Seriously. I don't eat any junk, I don't binge on nuts. I don't eat Larabars (I had never even thought to eat one until I read about them on here!). I just eat the foods you are allowed to eat on a Whole 30 in the quantities you are supposed to eat them. I like rules.

Now what I *do* worry about is what happens when this ends. Can I ride my own bike? I am already planning for this to end because that will be the test. And I *know* it will because I've taken off the training wheels before--it was just a different bike. The Weight Watchers bike, the South Beach bike, the Zone bike. I've been on a lot of bikes. :-)

I hope you all enjoy the hash. I am going to go and enjoy spending some time with my husband!

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I've a Weightwatchers bike too, if only I had found Whole9 back then.....the plan was that I'd become a WW leader (I've had my gold lifetime card since Oct '09) but now I have all these totally contrary beliefs on how to eat, so I guess that's the end of that career idea!

I wonder what's with the dreams? a change in brain chemistry because of the removal of bad stuff?

Continued success to you.

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Sweet potato hash with pot roast sounds delicious. Great news about your shoulder. My father has recently started following a primal diet and has mostly enjoyed the benefit of weight loss, but I'm going to pass your story on to him. I hope he will see some improvements with chronic shoulder and knee pain too. Your perspective on sugar is very helpful...I think I may be the same way.

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Day 17 of my Whole 30. Now I'm more than half-way through it and the changes just keep happening. I see why you do this for 30 days.

Today I felt a change in energy. All along I have felt better physically (see "my rotator cuff injury"), but in the past couple of days I have slowly started to notice an energy difference, and today I woke up with my husband's alarm. He gets up at some ridiculous time for a boot camp class at the Y three days a week. I usually sleep an hour longer. Today I could hardly stay in bed for that extra hour! And once I was up, I was ready to get to it.

I have had great energy all day--and I've been busy. So I continue to appreciate this journey through the Whole 30, and I'm trying to take time to step back and be aware of what is going on with my mind, body, appetite, etc.

Food is pretty much the same as usual.

  • Breakfast: Roast beef and sweet potato hash, 2 eggs scrambled in coconut oil, green tea
  • Lunch: soup (ground beef and lots of vegetables), handful of carrots, 12 almonds, couple ounces turkey
  • Dinner: big salad with roasted chicken (I made roasted chicken in my slow cooker for the first time--it was so easy and so good!), 1/2 an avocado, cherry tomatoes, oil/vinegar dressing, about 1/2 cup cantaloupe

I'll keep logging in and posting here. I love to read other people's stories, too. It's good to have other people to learn from and share with. I don't know anyone in real life who is doing this. My husband is sort of tagging along, but he eats his own way unless he's eating what I've cooked.

Thanks to everyone who has commented. It's nice to see the replies!

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Went to dinner at a friend's tonight. I explained what I could/couldn't eat, offered to bring a salad, and told her to feel free to have things I wouldn't be able to have along with everyone else. She made baked chicken and sweet potatoes. I brought a big spinach and spring greens salad with strawberries and blueberries and a balsamic vinegrette dressing. There was beer and dessert, which others enjoyed and I didn't even consider (or want, for that matter).

It was a fun evening. I had a good time and I'm glad I told her about being on the Whole 30 instead of turning down the invitation or having to puck around the food--or, worse yet, break my W30!

This is Day 19 and I continue to see benefits. Today I explained to my daughter that no, I don't feel deprived, I am really starting to feel differently about food. While I still enjoy a good meal, I don't see food as "entertainment" so much as "nourishment"--and that's a huge paradigm shift for me. I want to stay in this place, and for me that will mean staying away from sugar, which sets me up for mindless eating.

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Today I explained to my daughter that no, I don't feel deprived, I am really starting to feel differently about food. While I still enjoy a good meal, I don't see food as "entertainment" so much as "nourishment"--and that's a huge paradigm shift for me. I want to stay in this place, and for me that will mean staying away from sugar, which sets me up for mindless eating.

My son asked my the other day had I given up sugar for good or "is it just a diet?". He's 9...I wish he wasn't aware of diets at all.

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Wow, Day 22 already. The days are just flying by now. I'm not feeling like this is such a weird way to eat anymore--it's just HOW I eat now.

Was talking to a friend yesterday. She's training to run the big marathon next weekend in Louisville that is held in conjunction with the Kentucky Derby. I totally admire her dedication. I've watched her go from a total couch potato to a marathoner over the past couple of years and it's been an amazing transformation. She shocked me to death when she said she admired ME!

Come to find out she has no idea how to eat right. And she was really curious about the way I eat. She asked me to describe a typical day of eating--so I did. And she was just fascinated. She ended up saying something along the lines of, "Oh, you eat a lot of really good food! I didn't think you could have anything good!" I told her I couldn't have anything BUT good food!

When she got home, she texted me and said that instead of eating the Oreo Pop Tarts that were in the cabinet, she was so inspired by our conversation was going to grill a steak and make a salad for dinner. Yea! Without preaching or even really bringing it up myself, I made a difference in one person's diet, even if it was only for one meal.

Other things:

  • I am really listening to my hunger lately. I don't mean appetite, I mean hunger. For example, Friday night I ate too much at my friend's house (really big chicken breasts and I shouldn't have eaten the whole thing). On Saturday, I had my regular breakfast and then felt over full. So I skipped lunch. By dinner I felt a bit hungry and ate a smallish supper. Sunday, I still felt I wasn't up to eating full-on as usual, so I put breakfast off until a bit later than usual and then only had a couple of eggs. Lunch was just a bowl of soup. By dinner, I was feeling a bit hungry, so I had maybe 3 oz. of meat and a nice salad. But here comes today--worked out this morning and have been back to my regular hunger-level. I think I am getting better at listening to what my body is telling me. And I'm trying to do what I need to do to feed it.
  • I have decided to wait to try a Larabar until after my 30 days are over. I looked at the ingredients while I was shopping, and while they are all within the guidelines of a Whole 30, I think with my sugar addiction, eating that much concentrated dried fruit in a tiny little package wouldn't be a good idea at the moment. Anything like that will have to be a "sometimes treat" for someone like me.
  • It appears my 25-year-old daughter and her boyfriend are interested in doing a Whole 30 in May. Wow. I have steered them to this website and am offering as much support and advice as I can. I don't know what inspired them to try it, but needless to say I'm all for it. They don't live nearby, so I can't invite them over for dinner or share anything with them physically, but I am totally behind the effort.

As I close in on the last week or so of my Whole 30, I am going to read the posts about ending your Whole 30 and life beyond it. I looked at them before I started, but I think I need a refresher. I can't decide if I'm really as confident as I think I am or if I am deluding myself. I just feel really good about the whole thing, so for the moment I'm not worried.

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Quick post. I just read the "Sex with Your Pants On" Whole 9 blog post. Totally resonated with me. I'm glad I followed Melissa and Dallas's suggestions ("rules"?) to not try and paleofy a bunch of foods--pizza, cookies, brownies, etc. I think it would make the Whole 30 one big lie.

In fact, that's kind of why I *did* a Whole 30--to get away from the lie I was telling myself. If you read enough other "paleo" and "primal" sites, forums, and blogs, you start to see this whole culture of "you can eat anything you want--just make it with natural ingredients that are paleo/primal approved." And people do just that. Hell, *I* was doing that! And eating them Every. Single. Day. That totally defeats the purpose of living the Paleo Lifestyle. You may be following the letter of the law, but you are totally violating its spirit and intent.

Anyway, I *know* I don't want to have sex with my pants on (literally or figuratively), therefore I am going to continue to eat only good, wholesome foods for the duration of my Whole 30 and for the majority of days after. Anything less than that is going to be a "sometimes treat" for me. This isn't a "diet"--it's a way of life, for crying in the bucket!

That's me--Day 24.

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Day 26. Time to start thinking about the beginning of the end.

I want to start writing down the things I've learned, old habits I've broken, new habits I've aquired, and general observations I've made during my Whole 30. That way, if I happen to forget what it was really like after these 30 days are over, I can come back here and remind myself of just what it was I did and how much I accomplished over the course of these 30 days.

Today I'm going to write about what I've learned about me and sugar.

  • I am addicted to sugar. I will always be addicted to sugar. Therefore, I will always need to be vigilant when it comes to sugar intake. For me, that means not adding sugar to my tea in the morning (which sets me up to crave sugar all day long), only eating sweet treats very occasionally (no matter how "paleo compliant" the ingredients may be), and being hyper-aware of the added sugar in sauces, dressings, etc.
  • Related to my sugar addiction, I have broken my habit of ending meals with "a little something," i.e., a piece of dark chocolate or some other "treat." I will not get in the habit of doing that again.
  • And related to all of that, I know that fruit is a wonderful thing, but it is better if I eat it as part of a meal rather than having it as a snack by itself. If I do have it as a snack, I need to team it up with some protein and fat (turning it into a mini-meal) rather than just have it as a sweet snack. Somehow, that doesn't work for me. It only sets me up to crave more sweets.
  • A rather obvious thing, but one that is important for me to write down, is that I cannot drink sugary drinks, whether those are sodas, sweet iced tea, or sugary cocktails. Too much concentrated sugar and I crave sugar for hours, if not days. Why set myself up for that? As we approach summer and all those wonderful iced drinks make their appearance, I am going to come up with alternatives that don't have sugar as an ingredient.

I haven't added sugar back into my diet yet, so I haven't actually done a controlled experiment to see what will happen. I don't really think I need to. It became pretty obvious after just a day or two that of all things I wasn't eating on the Whole 30, it was sugar that I missed. Keep your grains, your beans, your salty snack foods. I was missing sugar in all its forms. And that was the beginning of enlightenment.

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Day 29.

Wow. Day Twenty-Freakin'-Nine.

I hate to be *that* person, the one who can't complain about a situation with which other people are struggling. But I honestly can't say that my Whole 30 has been a tremendous struggle. It has been a challenge, but it hasn't been something so hard that it has taken superhuman effort to complete. I don't think I am that special for having started and (nearly) finished it.

Maybe it's because I have been "playing with Paleo" for well over a year. Or because I was so disgusted with my sugar addiction. Or because I had been thinking about going Whole 30 for a long, long time. But for whatever reason, once I set my mind to it, I didn't find it to be as hard as, say, quitting smoking. Which I did more than 12 years ago. That was hard. That was something I had to attempt about half a dozen times before I got it right. That was a mind-bending, gut-wrenching, coming-apart-at-the-seams kind of struggle. A Whole 30? A walk in the park in comparison.

Sorry to be *that* person. But for me, that's how it has been. I wanted to do something good for myself and with the guidance I got here and from the e-book, I was well-prepared to do this thing.

I'll admit that the first few days I was rather disappointed in my morning tea. I switched from Celestial Seasonings Morning Thunder with a rather heaping 2 teaspoons (can you say probably a full TABLESPOON!) of sugar and organic half-and-half to a cup of what seemed (at the time) to hot water. It was actually lemon-ginger green tea, but still, after that carbo-and-cream fest I had been drinking every morning since I was 17 years old (seriously, for far more than half my life!), it was a HUGE change.

I also had to give up my dark-chocolate-after-dinner habit. And my husband wasn't on board with the Whole 30. Hell, he's not even on board with Paleo (or the even easier Primal). So I had to watch him eat the chocolate. At the dinner table.

But other than that, it wasn't bad. I didn't care if he slathered butter on his vegetables or had a glass of wine with dinner. After a few days I even started noticing that the green tea had an actual FLAVOR. And I was starting not to miss the chocolate. Quit laughing. I seriously didn't miss the chocolate.

So, yeah, I guess I am *that* person.

Never would have guessed it in a million years before I took on a Whole 30. It's a good thing to learn about yourself.

I think tomorrow I might post the things I gained and lost over the course of the past 30 days. Because tomorrow is Day 30.

Day Twenty-Freakin'-Nine. Wow.

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Day 30.

Today is supposed to be "the end" of my Whole 30. Only I don't really have big plans to stop eating any differently. I suppose there is that vegan strawberry ice cream (made with coconut milk) I have been thinking about. It's made by a local shop and it is really, really good. So there's that. And my birthday is coming up, so I am sure there will be some flourless chocolate cake to celebrate. But as for the day-to-day stuff? No plans to change a thing.

I've come to learn I actually like eating this way. I don't find it weird at all. I feel better. My food tastes better. My breath is better. My teeth feel cleaner after meals (anybody else notice that?). I mean, there is just so much going for eating like this that I don't really feel a need to change it.

I had completely eliminated beans/legumes from my diet before this. But some "innocent" grains had slowly been working their way in, to the point that if it said "gluten-free" I was feeling pretty safe eating it. I'm not going down that road again. Same with dairy. While I do like me some Greek yogurt, I see that as a maybe-sometime-in-the-future-as-a-treat thing. And I just don't even see cheese making it to the starting line.

There have been a couple of things I have wanted to try while on the Whole 30 that are actually Whole 30 "approved" that I have not had because I was trying to retrain my brain and my tastebuds. One of them is Larabars, which lots of folks here seem to eat every day. So I will allow myself to try one sometime soon. And I will also probably eat a bit more fruit unless I see that it is setting me up to crave more sugary stuff.

So what will change from how I have eaten the past 30 days? After all this, I don't plan to sabotage myself by having a "treat" or a "cheat" every day. But I think I will allow myself a glass of wine on the weekends if I want one. I might indulge in some dark chocolate sometime in the future (not every single night). And for a special occasion, there is that strawberry vegan ice cream.

I think tomorrow will be a "what I lost/what I found" post. Because tomorrow will be my Whole 30 + 1. Cool.

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