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Working Mom on Day 3... Hoping I can pull this off!


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I am on Day 3 of the Whole30 and I am feeling optimistic at this moment but a little unsure about how I will keep this up... but i am taking it one day at a time!  Would love to get anyone's insight or thoughts.... 


My Life... i am a 35 y.o. teacher and mother of a 2 year old and almost 4 year old (who is a really challenge).  Like many people... I am lacking in time, under constant stress, and feel like I just don't have a lot of control over much in life... My husband works long hours (he is a gastroenterologist) so i find myself just eating whatever is left on the kids plate... or whatever is lying around at work.  I love to cook but never find time anymore.


My Typical Diet... I don't eat meat (chicken, beef, pork, shellfish) but i do eat fish... love salmon... and tuna.. I like pretty much everything else except olives.  But I put cheese on almost everything!  I LOVE eating salads and most all veggies and fruits... but I find myself not having time to really prepare food.  I have settled into the terrible habit of drinking Coke Zero in the morning.  I don't like coffee.  


My Motivation... I have a weird form of psoriasis that only responds to phototherapy (time consuming)... I have unexplained joint pain... I am tired A LOT... I have difficulty concentrating... I feel like I don't have control over much of anything.... less so (but still a motivation) I am not overweight, but I am holding on to 20 lbs from what I weighed before my first pregnancy.... lastly, my GI doctor husband thinks I am nuts for doing this... want to prove him wrong..   


My Challenges... (in order!)... 1) time, time, time!! I can usually get to the store to buy good food, but I have a really difficult time once I am home to really prepare real meals.  The other day I was trying to grill fish on the stove (our oven isn't working... delightful)... and I opened the front patio because the vent wasn't handling the cooking smoke well enough.  The kids went out on the patio... started fighting over toys... next thing I know I am trying to keep them apart, not burn down the house, and still make myself something 'compliant' :)... my husband is almost never home for dinnertime...  2)  Caffeine... ahhh!  don't really like tea... can't stand coffee... if i go without, I get headaches.  Definitely need to wean it i think.  3) the whole no meat thing... REALLY doesn't appeal to me.  Have zero desire to eat it. 4) I am really bad at planning... just about anything... 5) I am a snacker...  6) By the time I get the kids to bed, i am too exhausted to do much of anything! 


So far... I have been compliant for 3 days... I am not sure that I am doing a great job of making 'meals' but i have managed to not eat any of the off limits stuff.  I have resorted to a Luna bar twice because I was really hungry.  I haven't had any diet soda but I have had a little of that HiBall Energy drink (technically compliant but I recognize it isn't really ideal). Otherwise, I have only had water.


I am finding myself at a loss as to what to eat.... every day I have had 1-2 eggs, avocado, almonds, cashews, salads, raw veggies as snack, limited fruit.  I am not eating the allowed things on the veg list... i figure by eating fish, I am going to be fine on the protein end of things.. I have the book (It Starts with Food) but really have only had a little time to read it (in peace at least!)


I am really trying to get a handle on the sugar thing.... just how much fruit/juice is reasonable?  In terms of servings and/or actual amount in grams... and am I right that I don't need to be paying attention to amount of natural sugar in non-fruits ?  ie: I know there is sugar in carrots, tomatoes, beets, peppers... which are 'vegetables' ... i don't need to think about that sugar... right?  Its just the added sugar.  


What are quick easy things I can make?  I am so accustomed to making things from the Trader Joe's freezer section that are basically ready to go.  Planning, reading copious directions just isn't going to happen.  


What else do I need to know to be successful?  Is there anything I am not thinking about that I should?  

Appreciate any insights!!!





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To hit a couple things on your list:

 - did you have Luna Bars or Lara Bars? Most Luna Bars are not compliant.

- juice is only ok in limited amounts as a flavoring in cooking: not as a beverage

- the recommendation on fruit is 1-2 servings a day, where a serving is whole fruit the size of your fist. Have fruit only with or immediately after your main meals.

- overall, keep things simple. Follow the recommended meal template of 1-2 palms of protein, 1-3 cups of veggies, and the appropriate amount of compliant fat at every meal. Create meals that satiate you for 4-5 hours, to minimize the need to snack.

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Hi Debdstein,


I'm also a working mum but I only have one child (18 months) so I know some of the challenges involved! Im on day 24 of my first W30 so it can be done!:)


My best advice would be to set aside some time (when the kids are in bed maybe) to batch cook as much as you can and put it into containers and freeze or refridgerate. Boil some eggs, make big pans of soup, marinara sauce, rataouille, salsas/pico de gallos etc. Then have fresh, frozen and tinned fish on hand so you can easily put meals together. Some of the meals I've had that would be suitable for you are: salmon cakes with roasted balsamic butternut squash, cod with pineapple and mango salsa, salmon with avocado salsa. You could also cook fish 'en papillotte' (wrapped in baking paper or tinfoil), things like salmon with lime, chilli and ginger or just keep it really simple with lemon and white fish. The fish steams in its little parcel and gets lots of flavour from whatever it's paired with. You could also bread fish by dipping it in beaten egg then dredging in seasoned almond or coconut flour, you can make fish fingers or nuggets in the same way, just add some dessicated coconut for the nuggets.


I'm in the UK so maybe some of my suggestions won't work for you but you are welcome to message me if you would like any recipes or tips.


Good luck, you can do it! It just takes a bit of planning and preparation but it's worth it, I promise!

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I understand, I am a busy working mom too and my free time is limited at best!


I found Sunday afternoon shopping and cooking is what saves me. I will go ahead and cook up a ton of stuff at once so I have "go-to" food all week. That way I don't get stuck eating who-knows-what for dinner because I got caught empty handed. I still cook each day, but I have a lot done ahead of time. And I am not a recipe person really, I don't like to hunt down weird ingredients just to make one dish.


Here's an idea for a good portable food - sautee a pile of veggies (onions, peppers, spinach, whatever you like) in some compliant fat, add whatever spices you like (I love adobo), if you want any meat throw that in, then whip up a whole bunch of eggs with a stick blender. Combine this all in an oiled muffin tin and bake it in your oven. You can grab a couple of these and heat them up quickly. They are great with (compliant) hot sauce.


Shred some sweet potatoes and sautee them in coconut oil with some seasoning to make sweet potato hash. I can't get the link to work but Nom Nom Paleo has a great recipe.


I also roast a huge pan of veggies (brussels sprouts, cauliflower, whatever) with compliant oil and seasonings in my oven every week so I have quick veggies to heat up.


Paleo mayo mixed with tuna makes a great topping for a mixed greens salad.


I totally feel for you, it would be totally overwhelming to do this if I did not plan ahead! Day 19 here and loving it! You CAN do this!!!

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Thanks! YES.... Larabars!!! The blueberry and pecan with the lowest sugar!

Sorry, the blueberry Larabar is not complaint, as it contains vanilla extract. No need to restart, just don't have that flavor for the rest of your Whole30.

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I'm a working mom with kids about the same age as yours and my husband also works long hours (probably not quite as long as yours!).  I just finished my first Whole 30 so it definitely can be done.  I think it's harder eating only fish/eggs/nuts for protein, but it can be done.  I wouldn't try complicated recipes but do make large batches of things so you always have a go-to if you get hungry.  I tended to cook on weekends or after my kids went to bed (and yes, I was super tired at that point!).  The other good thing is that the Whole 30 should give you more energy so that will help.  

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Thanks Chris!!! Totally missed that vanilla extract memo!  Glad I didn't have to start over...


Also, really appreciate the muffin tin/veggie/egg idea... those are the types of things i need to do more of because the "recipe" is in my head.  The food prep that I really struggle with is anything that requires to much reading and following of directions because I am just too distracted by life to make that happen.  


Last night I spent $175 at Whole Foods ... took both kids at 5:30... basically fed them dinner while riding in the cart off of samples and misc. stuff from the cart (we live by the company's flagship store... so the samples are plentiful!)... got a cauliflower curry dish for myself from the hot bar (read the label) and a compliant fish dish off of the hot bar as well.... then in bought almond flour, fish sauce (read labels for sugar!), coconut milk, curry paste, nut butter, fish, and assorted veggies.  Not entirely sure what i am doing with any of them... but figured I would have them on hand going into the weekend if i find myself with some time while the kids are napping.  


Gladly would welcome any other ideas or insights.  I have NEVER in my life done a real diet.  The idea of counting anything (calories, servings, grams of ____________) is super foreign and so undesirable... which is why the Whole30 seems doable to me despite just how restrictive and strict it is.  I have typically had a school of thought that I know what to eat, I know what I like and moderation of most things works for me...  it has just gotten so out of hand this last year that I know I need to do something... even if the only for the psychology of knowing I am making a change.  That in and of itself I think is making a difference for me.  


Thanks for all your support and insight!   

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