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OperaJo's Whole30 Log


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Hello! My name is Joanna.  :) Here is my story (aka. novella), and why I've chosen to do my first Whole30 and go Paleo.


In 2011, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). I suffered severe acne, inconsistent 'womanly times', the mood swings of a banshee, severe bloating and roller-coaster weight gain/loss. After my diagnosis, I read up on all the different ways to treat PCOS and found that (besides taking birth control) the primary way to keep symptoms at bay was through clean eating (minimal sugar, etc) and exercise - two things that this operatic soprano did NOT do on a regular basis.


I quickly decided to go on a detox through Whole Living Magazine (man, I miss that magazine), which was similar to Whole30. For two weeks I cut out booze, sugar, all grains, and soy (I've actually been allergic to soy all my life, so this wasn't a huge leap). I felt lighter than EVER. The 10-ish pound bloat I always carried around was gone.


Gradually, I began to add things back into my diet and took note of any reactions. And boy did I have reactions. The biggest shocker - a HUGE reaction to gluten. Not a 'celiac-size' reaction, but a significant one. If I eat a tasty bit of sourdough now, I'm instantly stuffed up, lethargic, my asthma goes haywire (born with asthma) and the next day I'll be 3-5 lbs heavier - no joke. It is the same reaction I've had all my life to soy. I also discovered a lactose intolerance. Not as strong of an intolerance as gluten, but an intolerance none the less.


My conclusion? No more gluten and minimal dairy. I also had a severe reaction to sugar, but this wasn't a shocker since PCOS, if untreated, can lead to type 2 diabetes. At the time of my diagnosis, the doctor told me that I was on the cusp of becoming pre-diabetic.  :unsure:


For the last 3 years I've happily lived gluten-free. For the most part, my PCOS symptoms stayed under control, with only a few flare ups when I go off diet (......it's hard, I live in California, land of tasty wine & cheese!)


So, why all of the sudden Paleo and Whole30? Two things happened in the last few months that prompted this new lifestyle:


1. January 2014 marked a year of doing Weight Watchers (for the 3rd time) and unsuccessfully losing weight. Sure, I've cut out gluten - but not processed sugar and not dairy. So my 'bloat belly' comes and goes, making it impossible to steadily lose weight even if I stay within my points each week! (I would go into further detail, but this would then be a novel - not a novella)


 2. My mother was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease 2 years ago. She has been on some serious drugs with minimal effect. Finally, in November her doctor said her main choice for treatment is to commit to an anti-inflammatory diet - namely Paleo.  Her journey has provided me with a glimpse of my possible future, if I don't keep my intolerances in check - since we share many of them (namely soy & dairy). Scary.


Last month I decided to stop the B.S. and get real. I researched the Paleo diet (for mom, but also for me), and discovered that it cuts out three of the very things that I'm 'allergic' to - dairy, soy & gluten (well, all grains)....hmmmm.  Well, s*!# this seems like the way I should be eating! My mom bought me the cookbook, Against all Grains, and I decided to spend a weekend cooking from the book for the both of us and then eat Paleo the rest of the week.


I spent two weeks eating Paleo, being totally satisfied and counting my points on Weight Watchers (and btw totally going over my weekly allowance). I felt great and ......I lost 7 lbs. What...the...hell. Then stress hit in my life (work), and the sugar & dairy dragons reared their fugly heads. I fell off the Paleo wagon for the most part and the 7 lbs came back with in two weeks.  What....the....hell.


Enter Whole30. It is time to slay these dragons forever. Time to commit.  Time to understand my body, and time to take care of it.


I hope you will join me as I go through this 30 day journey and beyond. I want to hear your stories and advice too!


Thanks for reading.  :D

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A quick summary of my first 4 days (I'm currently on day 5!).  :rolleyes:


Day 1: Awesome. Minimal cravings. Withdrawal symptoms at night, after dinner.


Day 2: OK throughout the day - but kept thinking about what I was going to eat next. Then something stressful happened at work, and I had to fight the urge to pick up quinoa pasta and wine on my way home! But I fought and made it through unscathed. Went home and ate a large sweet potato with seasoned ground beef, avocado and fresh salsa. All was well with the world.


Day 3: Holy. Sugar. Detox. Batman. My daily email from Whole30 was spot on. Yes, I did feel like this in the morning and throughout the rest of the day.


Day 4: I had my first food dream. And in true Joanna fashion, it was weird. I dreamed that Spock and Captain Kirk (a young Leonard Nemoy and Bill Shatner) were visiting my mom and I at our farm house in Kansas. To celebrate their visit we ate a large pizza from Pizza Hut. I guilty enjoyed many pieces in my dream. What weirded me out most when I woke up? Not the presence of Trek legends, but Pizza Hut. I haven't had a pizza from there in YEARS.


Ate well during the day. Fought MAJAH sugar cravings while at work. The easter candy is already out.  :wacko:  :blink: 

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Hello Operajo!


It sounds like you've definitely made the right decision to do the W30.  Bravo! I wish

you the best during your journey, over these next 25 days (and the rest of today)

and afterward.  


Your taking cues now from your mom's journey is very smart and proactive.  Well done!


Best wishes to you both!   :D

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Day 5 went well! Minimal cravings, but I was also chill-axing at home and away from the office stress and 'food altar' (junk food mania!).  I was tired most of the day, so I made sure rest.


  • Breakfast: Eggs w/ ground turkey, salsa, 1 avocado and black olives
  • Lunch: Leftover zucchini noodles with 'spring time pesto sauce'. 
  • Snack: raisins with shredded coconut (all unsweetened, but need to stop it! Had to calm the sugar dragon somehow)
  • Dinner: Sweet potato with ground beef, homemade marina, and black olives. (my portion was too big on this, so I need to keep that in check!)

Sleep: Went to bed at 8:30pm to get away from the TV and read. Didn't fall asleep until 11ish. (I need to just stick to my Kindle in bed). Had more food dreams during the night, and night sweats (common in PCOS when hormones are out of whack, but also seems common when going through sugar withdrawal on Whole30?) Made myself sleep in until 9am to catch up since I was tossing and turning. Woke up wanting to "Kill all things" but now am better.

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Day 6


Did well today, and cooked...A LOT! I'm all set for the week. :) 


Breakfast: 1/2 Simple frittata

Lunch: 1/2 Simple frittata

Snack: Kale chips (yummmmmm)

Dinner: Mexican Braised Beef with Cauli Rice

Snack: 1 spoonful of organic almond butter, some raisins & unsweetened coconut flakes (It's Sunday. You gotta "Treat yo self"

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Day 7


Super busy day at work, which left little time to think of food...which is good! It's all I've been able to think about lately and it was getting on my nerves. I'm starting to feel a real shift in how I process and think about food.


Breakfast: 2 eggs with ground beef, sweet potatoes (1/2 cup cubed) and sun dried tomatoes

Lunch: leftover Mexican Braised Beef with cauli rice

Snack: raw cashews and a large apple

Late dinner: sweet potato, ground beef, avocado & homemade salsa


I am soooooo over beef and sweet potatoes. Mamma needs a break from cow. :blink: My stomach is growling after eating dinner at 9pm, and I know it's because it was late and I've had too much meat today. I also need to rein in my portions. They are getting too big. I'm aiming for lots of veggies and making chicken salad tomorrow (made my own mayo!).

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Day 8


Woke up feeling MUCH more energized today, clear headed, and a bit more focused. People are starting to notice a difference already in my skin tone. However, right after work I learned that I didn't get a role that I've been auditioning for the last 4 months. It's not a total shocker, but still disappointing......and I'm not gonna lie.....a relief. I wasn't into it anymore, and was begging and praying for the agony of the wait to be over soon. 


So....this evening, I'm dealing with MAJOR cravings. I've handled it though. When I learned the news I had an instant craving to buy wine and ice cream, and I had offers from friends to take me out for a giant margarita. But, all I had to tell them and myself was no - I'm in the midst of a 30 day plan (and an epic battle to break emotional eating!). Did I indulge a little - yes, but all Whole30 compliant. I believe.


Here is to another day tomorrow - day 9.


Breakfast: Banana, egg whites with leeks & carrots.

Lunch: Madras Chicken Salad w/ homemade mayo & butter lettuce leaves (wraps)

Dinner: leftover mexican braised beef with cauli rice

Snack: (to curb wine & cheat cravings): tablespoon of almond butter, raisins, unsweetened coconut & a banana. Also, hot herbal tea to calm down and refocus.

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Way to go!  I love my herbal tea at night now - (I was a wine de-stresser at night before whole30.)  What kind of coconut do you use?  I am getting a little burned out on almonds as my fat source but can't find coconut that isn't sweetened! 

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I use unsweetened dried coconut flakes from Whole Foods. They are awesome. As for herbal tea, at night I like peppermint tea - I love the one from Peets. And I also love sparkling water with lime. Makes me feel like I'm drinking a cocktail. Ha!

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Days 9 & 10

Yesterday, I spent the day in the ER. My mother called at 4am saying she was on her way to the hospital (her friend drove her). Very long story short - she has gallstones, and needs to get her gallbladder taken out. But because has all these issues with her immune system & Type 2 diabetes, it's making the process very complicated. I think she will be alright, but man it's been scary.

I managed to stay on course though, and ate well. I had a salad with chicken breast in the hospital cafeteria. And I was able to go to the store that night to get compliant food, after mom was discharged.

But I tell you - the last two days have been a REAL test and a big wake up call that I have a deep dependency on food and drink when the going gets rough (or even good!). And also, so does society. Man! Everyone was like "You deserve a cocktail! You want some chocolate?" Mercy. And I realized too, that while eating and drinking the wrong things is ultimately my decision - my body craves this stuff. Not so much now, because it's almost out of my system. But perhaps, these cravings are not my conscious decision. My body is literally telling me to eat the wrong things.

Perhaps I sound nutso - but I play the "I spent 12 hours in an ER yesterday" card. So there.

Day 9

Breakfast - hardboiled egg & banana

Lunch - salad with random veggies, hardboiled egg, and grilled chicken breast with EVOO

Dinner - sweet potato with ground beef and 1 avocado

Day 10

Breakfast - 2 eggs with ground beef

Lunch - butter lettuce leaves with leftover Madras Chicken Salad

Snack - handful of raw cashews

Dinner - sweet potato with leftover Mexican Braised Beef, avocado & 5 kalamata olives (Had 2 portions of meat for dinner. Stopped listening to my body which was telling me I was full. Lesson learned cuz i am fulllllllllllllll.)

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Day 11

Breakfast: 2 eggs with leeks, carrots, sundried tomatoes and asparagus

Lunch: the last of the madras chicken salad with butter lettuce leaves

Snack: raw cashews - handful

Dinner: ground beef seasoned. Sweet potato and a tablespoon of avocado

Snack: handful of kale chips (I cooked them too long and had to throw then out. :/ ) and banana with tablespoon of almond butter, raisins and unsweetened coconut flakes

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Hi there!


Your meals look good ... feel free to add some more avocado.  The minimum serving size is 1/2 an avocado.  Also, when eggs are your protein, the serving size is the number you can hold in your hand.

On the snacks: first off, the need for snacks can be an indication that your earlier meals may be too small. Play around with your portion sizes until your meals satiate you for 4-5 hours.  In the meantime, if you're genuinely hungry in between meals (hungry = you could eat steamed fish and broccoli), have a mini-meal that includes a protein and fat. Nuts are a fat source on a Whole30.  Save your 1-2 daily servings of fruit to have with or immediately after meals.  Limit dried fruit, especially if you're fighting the sugar dragon.  


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Day 12 & 13


Totally forgot to log, but I was compliant! Stayed with mom this weekend. Was a bit stressful, but stayed strong! Came home last night and had a bit too much fruit. Know it was because I was tired.


Now onwards with Day 14! Two weeks in! :D

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Day 16


Still compliant! I've had trouble sleeping lately, but I think it's due to stress at work and mom's health problem's. I did have some coconut milk the last few days with guar gum (made pad thai), and felt a little weird afterwards. But I think the weirdness is stress. I need/want to get to the gym again too. That should help my energy level.


Breakfast: 2 eggs, ground beef, leeks & carrots with 1/2 avocado and tblsp of salsa

Lunch: madras curry chicken salad, lettuce wraps, and banana

Snack: cashews

Dinner: sweet potato, ground beef, tomato sauce & olives

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Alright. In the home stretch, and I need to get back to logging my food each day. I'm still doing well but am dealing with the sugar dragon again and 'the call' of bad habits. My daily whole30 email was right on target yesterday - I'm dealing with an "extinction burst". My bad habits and cravings are on the brink of extension and with the end of my whole30 on the horizon, I can hear the little devil on my shoulder saying "8 more days until Easter candy! 8 more days until wine!" I'm not going to lie.....I'm so scared I will fall back into bad habits. The end of my Whole30 is timed with our big company Gala next Saturday. I'm afraid after two weeks of mega stress working on this event, and then a get out of jail free card with the end of my 30 days, I'm gonna go bananas. I keep having visions of me losing my mind and swimming in a sea of Cadbury eggs (which have taken over our office) and wine.

But I'm determined not too. Determined.

Day 22

Breakfast: hard boiled egg, half of an apple, lärbar

Lunch: sweet potato, ground beef, salsa, half avocado, black and green olives

Dinner: tuna salad with homemade mayo, sundried tomatoes, artichokes and black olives. lettuce leaves, half avocado

Snack: lärbar

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Day 23


Breakfast: 1 egg & 2 egg whites, mushrooms & prosciutto

Snack: larbar

Lunch: tuna salad & an avocado

Dinner: ground beef, marinara sauce, zucchini noodles

Snack: larbar, coconut milk, currants & shredded unsweetened coconut

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Keep going: 1 week left!!


If you're still trying to fend off the sugar dragon, don't feed it Lara Bars :) : those are emergency food only on a Whole30 Use the mini-meal recommendation of a protein and fat instead.


Instead of having a Lara Bar as part of your meal, have a whole piece of fruit instead.


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Good call on those Larabars! I've stopped eating them for the most part, but I'm heading into our Gala week, and I know I'll need some one hand for emergencies. My daily schedule is about to get super crazy!


I did have a crazy food dream last night. Mostly due to the fact that my first Whole30 is drawing to a close. It was a 'fear' dream that I will return to old habits.  I dreamt I went to my friend Lindsay's house (she is a professional baker, btw) and gorged myself on cupcakes.  The dream was simultaneously exhilarating and frightening. Ha!

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