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Whole30 and Adventure!


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After thinking and researching for quite some time, I decided to do Whole30. My reasons might be a little different from the average. As far as I know, I don't have any food sensitivities or intolerances. (Although I may be surprised - sometimes you don't know you're in discomfort until it stops.) I've got three major reasons.


1. Sugar. (This one's probably a more common reason.) Ever had MnMs for breakfast? Because I have. Not with breakfast. Or after breakfast. FOR breakfast. I seem to have a limitless capacity for sugar. I have NEVER found anything to be too sweet or had "too much" sugar. I've always been aware that I eat more sugar than I probably should, but I wasn't really aware of exactly HOW MUCH sugar I ate in a day until I decided to track it for a while. Oh my gosh. SO MUCH SUGAR. 


2. My mom has long wanted to do an elimination diet of some kind for herself and my kid brother, to see if it would help with any of his digestive or ASD/sensory related problems, but she's really nervous about it. What do you eat? What don't you eat? How do you do it? How do you know which foods are problems? I figured if I do it first, I can answer some of the questions and help walk her through it.


3. Adventure. January and February are the hardest months of the year for me to get through. It's dark, it's cold, and I don't want to go anywhere or do anything. I come straight home from work, turn on the tv and sit there until it's about an hour later than I should go to bed. Last winter, my car broke down and I couldn't afford to repair it. I had to walk to work! The horror! To my astonishment, being forced to trek five miles a day through the snow completely snapped me out of my lethargy. It felt like an adventure. So this winter, I wanted to try a different adventure. Something that would be challenging, even unpleasant at times, that would require effort and willpower but would be completely worth it. Enter Whole30!


I'm officially starting Monday but today I cleared out my cabinets and fridge. The fridge was nearly empty anyway, and most of my spices and herbs turned out to have expired years ago. Tomorrow I'm going on a wild shopping extravaganza for protein, vegetables, and seasonings, etc.


My whole entire pantry, after clearing out non-Whole30 and expired goods:



On a side note - why does lemon tea contain soy lecithin? Fortunately, my mint tea does not and I can always add a lemon wedge to plain black tea.   

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I may have gone a little crazy on the shopping today. I decided that since I could this month, due to some extra work around Christmas, I would go ahead and make my Whole30 adventure an organic and grass fed/pastured one. I always want to eat that way but it honestly is considerably more expensive and my budget usually just can't handle it. I eat vegetarian half the time because, well, beans are cheap. Meat is not. Then I got to the store and decided, what the hey, why don't I make my body care products as natural as I can, too? I've always wanted to try that clay-and-salt toothpaste and I enjoy making my own lotion. Why not? 

One thing - I assumed the newish Whole Foods in town would have many exciting options in the meat department. Not so much. I was very underwhelmed. They had grass fed hamburger and very pricey steak - no soup bones at all. No pastured chicken. And the pastured eggs were shipped in from Texas. I'm sure they're fine, but are there no places raising pastured eggs a bit closer? I think someone does sell them at the farmer's market, have to check on that. And there is a pastured meat coop thing in the area, so I'll look into that. Whole Foods is still the best place for fresh fruits and vegetables. Kroger and Meijer have some options but the organic produce always looks sad and tired. 

The lady running the register at Garden Patch, the local mom-and-pop natural food store, was pretty excited about the coconut vinegar and coconut aminos I bought. Never used either of those before.

In fact, list of foods I have never had or at least have never personally cooked with:

coconut vinegar

coconut aminos

stone ground mustard (I read the label carefully; it's compliant)

arrowroot powder


raw cacao nibs (I was curious, and I've read they add an interesting flavor to meats when used as a spice)

macadamia nuts 

avocado oil

wild capers

green tea with spearmint and lemongrass

lacinato kale (so pretty - and apparently also called "dinosaur kale")

a pomello (claims to be like grapefruit but less bitter ... we'll see)


Also, my mom, while supportive, is deeply concerned that without dairy I won't get enough calcium. A cup of milk appears to have about 300 mg of calcium and the recommended intake of calcium is 1000 mg/day. According to my extensive research (five minutes of googling), virtually any dark, leafy green vegetable is going to have at least 100 mg of calcium per cup. Given how much they cook down, I don't think it will be a problem. I'm not saying I'm going to eat 10 cups of kale a day, but if I make sure to have a couple of servings along with my other vegetables, I should be good.

Internet research ... so helpful yet so problematic. I found one article that had a list of the "12 Vegetables with the Most Calcium". Soybeans came in at number one ... the list also included almonds, oranges, molasses, sesame seeds, and brazil nuts ... none of which are vegetables. Half the list of vegetables were not vegetables.   

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Welp, day one down. 29 more to go. 

So far, things are as expected. Had some very mild cravings but nothing too intense. I know from quitting soda pop that they will become more prevalent in the next few days. 

I planned to get a lot done yesterday but instead spent the day curled up on the couch going uuughh. Yay being female! So today, I had nothing really prepared for meals. I'd intended to make some soups, mayonnaise and ghee but none of that happened.


Had 2 eggs and broccoli for breakfast. I know that's not much by whole30 standards but I wasn't able to finish even that. I expect it will take at least a few days to adjust to meal sizes, especially in the morning. 


For lunch, I flung together some leftover vegetable stew from last week that was accidentally compliant with a piece of leftover baked chicken that I'd made on Saturday. I was expecting it to be pretty unappealing but it actually turned out really good. Sadly, however, I had more lunch than lunch break. This time I was still hungry but didn't have time to finish my soup. I also had an orange, which I ate among the bites of soup.


After work, I had to run to the store for a few ingredients I forgot and I was SO HUNGRY. I should probably have just finished the rest of the soup, but it was completely cold and unappealing by that time. There was a display of those larabar things people talk about, so I figured I'd try one. Bad plan. Well, not the worst plan ever, but those things could be seriously addicting, and way too much like candy. So I will be firmly avoiding them for the rest of my whole30.


For supper, I made meatballs in tomato and kale sauce with a bag of frozen zucchini and peppers. And discovered that stone ground mustard is my new favorite thing. I added some to the meatballs, the acorn squash soup I made for tomorrow, and even some to my mayonnaise.

Speaking of mayonnaise, it turned out fascinatingly. Sort of pale green (I'm guessing because I used a combination of avocado and extra-virgin olive oils?) and speckled because of the mustard, but the taste is good. I don't mind it with a strong flavor. However, my poor cheap old blender barely survived. Pretty sure it was smoking by the time I was done.

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Day 2

Breakfast: 2 eggs wtih spinach, which I didn't finish. I managed both eggs, but the spinach was just bitter and blah.

Lunch: Acorn squash soup, raw cauliflower, canned tuna with mayonaise, and an orange.

Supper: Chicken, broccoli and carrot stir fry. The coconut aminos really are like soy sauce - I was skeptical. Maybe a bit sweeter and more mild.


I've realized that eating Whole30 takes time. And I don't mean just the cooking, although that does take time. The actual eating also takes longer. You can eat a pastry or a fast food cheeseburger in under a minute, easily, but a plate of protein and vegetables just takes longer to chew and swallow. I've generally left myself about 10 minutes in the morning for breakfast, which is simply not enough time.


Oddly, no problems with cravings thus far. I find that strange, given that I used to have chocolate every single day. Seriously, I can't remember the last time I went a whole day without chocolate. I think quitting soda pop two months before starting whole30 has been very helpful. Going through pop withdrawal would make this much more challenging.

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And, Day 3

Breakfast: Hash brown potato egg thingy, with broccoli

Lunch: Acorn squash soup, raw cauliflower, canned tuna with mayonnaise, and some blueberries. Yup, pretty much the same lunch as yesterday.

Supper: Reheated my meatballs from Monday and just couldn't do it. Meat textures can be a problem for me, some days more than others. I realized that possibly, I'm trying too hard. There's no need to make complex, highly seasoned dishes. If all I want is baked chicken and vegetables, that's fine. So I put the meatballs back in the fridge and just boiled up some eggs to have with more broccoli.


I know it's only day three, but I seem to have skipped the early stages and gone straight into, "Meh, nothing sounds good and I'm not that hungry anyway." Greens are problematic for me, too, because most of them are really bitter to a sweet tooth like me, unless they're hidden in something spicy or heavily seasoned. On the other hand, it's probably better to eat vegetables I like than to prepare but not finish ones I don't. It's just that those dark leafy greens have the most calcium and I assured mom that I'd be absolutely certain to get enough calcium. What is it with people and calcium? Sure, it's important, but so are lots of other minerals. Nobody's ever worried that I'm not getting enough magnesium. 

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Day 4

Breakfast: Salmon, peppers, and about three bites of sweet potato. Every couple of months I try sweet potatoes to see if I like them yet - I don't. Both the taste and texture thrown me off. They seem to be everybody in the world's favorite food but I just can't eat them

Lunch: Left-over stir fry from Tuesday.

Supper: Egg salad, kale cooked in ghee, about a quarter cup of potato and carrot soup.


Still struggling with the fact that I'm just not very hungry. No real cravings, no crazy food dreams, no bouts of irrational anger, no nasty headaches. I just don't really want to eat anything. 

Also, I seriously underestimated the amount of food I'd need for a week, especially vegetables. I'm down to a package of frozen onions and peppers, and half a bag of that bitter spinach. And it's white-out conditions today, so no going to the store for me. 

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Day 5

Breakfast: Omelet with peppers and shredded potatoes, 1/2 pomello (it really does taste like non-bitter grapefruit!)

Lunch: Left-over chicken stir fry.

Supper: Steak with green beans and a potato, canned (no sugar/sweetener) peaches, 1/4 warm coconut milk with cinnamon


Overdid it a bit on the fruit today, but still not too bad and nothing off-plan. I guess the peaches and coconut milk were kind of a dessert, which is frowned upon. But it's not like I tried to make it into a pie or something.


Speaking of, weather cleared up and I got to the grocery store. Had to walk through the bakery to get to the produce section and wasn't even tempted by the pies, cakes, and cookies. I mean, did I glance at a chocolate cake and think yum? Yes, but it wasn't like a craving, more like an acknowledgement that chocolate cake is a thing that tastes good - sort of an irrelevant fact, like "Bismark is the capital of North Dakota" or something. What is going on? Am I going to get bombarded with a month's worth of cravings and mood swings at the last minute? Did I just happen to time my Whole30 so that everything aligned to create the perfect circumstances? Or is it somehow possible that what I thought was a serious sugar addiction was in fact more of a habit? I mean, I'll take it, but it's still weirding me out a little. 

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Day 7

Breakfast: Pumpkin souffle - I felt so fancy - and raw cauliflower.

Lunch: Tuna salad on spinach and a few more strawberries.

Supper: Baked chicken and asparagus, and some blueberries. And then a couple of potatoes and carrots from the stew for tomorrow because I was still hungry.


I realize I am starting to treat fruit as dessert, so I will pull that back. Not because fruit is bad but because I need to get my tastebuds to stop expecting a sweet dessert after every meal.

My appetite has returned - hit right about supper time. I was suddenly hungry. Made a large piece of chicken and a generous handfull of asparagus and still wanted more.

Also, sadly, I had been cautiously optimistic that Whole30 might have done something about my chronic headaches, since I hadn't had one all week. Alas, Sunday night a headache hit. Oh well.

However ... on second thought ... I had to back off on organic produce and grass-fed organic meat, because I ran out of money from my extra job and my budget just can't handle it. Is there any chance my headaches are triggered by something like trace amounts of pesticides? It's a thought. Probably not, since I still had headaches during my previous attempts at going organic. Sometimes, it just makes me mad that I can't afford better and safer foods. But then, I'm the one who decided not to go into a lucrative career.

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Day 9 - Tuesday

Breakfast: pumpkin souffle again (leftover pumpkin) and cauliflower

Lunch: left-over roast, potatoes, carrots and green beans

Supper: Was feeling kind of whiney and wanting a "treat" (ordinarily, I'd order a pizza or get a king-size candybar), so I decided to make something elaborate and festive - broiled salmon and roasted brussels sprouts and shallots in ghee, all of the above topped with a little lemon juice, and some raspberries. (By the way, slightly sweet roasted shallots, plus creamy richness of ghee, plus tang of lemon juice - definitely amazing.)

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"Last winter, my car broke down and I couldn't afford to repair it. I had to walk to work! The horror! To my astonishment, being forced to trek five miles a day through the snow completely snapped me out of my lethargy. It felt like an adventure. So this winter, I wanted to try a different adventure. Something that would be challenging, even unpleasant at times, that would require effort and willpower but would be completely worth it. Enter Whole30!"


Walking in the snow - much less for 5 miles - IS an adventure!!  At least for someone in the south.  Challenging, unpleasant, effort, willpower - yep.  Thanks for the smile.  Good luck - sounds like you're doing great.  You're supper yesterday is very appealing - sounds like a plan for us very soon.

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Walking in the snow - much less for 5 miles - IS an adventure!!  At least for someone in the south.  Challenging, unpleasant, effort, willpower - yep.  Thanks for the smile.  Good luck - sounds like you're doing great.  You're supper yesterday is very appealing - sounds like a plan for us very soon.

Yes, every single person who found out I was walking everywhere behaved as thought I had quite literally lost my mind and needed some kind of intervention. When I pointed out that there are plenty of places in the world where walking is the norm, everyone responded with, "But not places that are cold!" When the snow melted and I could bike instead, I got more or less the same response. When I pointed out that many people routinely bike commute, I got every response from, "Yeah, maybe three crazy people in Seattle!" to "But not women!".


Days 10 and 11 went fine, and I know I ate on plan and on template, but for the life of me I can't remember what I ate when. I know vegetable stew, eggs, and chicken stir fry are in there somewhere.

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Day 12 - Friday

Coming to the end of week 2, and still doing fine. It occurs to me that I haven't been in any really challenging situations, though. I haven't been out to eat, or to a food-related social event, and since i have complete control over what comes into my house there are no tempting snacks lying around. However, my students (and fellow staff/faculty) have been begging (seriously, there has been actual begging) for me to bring in homemade cookies the way I used to. So I am going to make cookies this week, take them to work - where they will sit immediately beside my desk, there's no other place to put them - and NOT EAT ANY. We shall see how much that challenges my willpower. I do plan to make a type of cookie that I don't like that much. No point in straining my willpower too far.

Breakfast: Salmon and broccoli

Lunch: Egg drop soup and salad. First time ever using olive oil and vinegar as a salad dressing. To my surprise (I've always been a diehard ranch dressing girl), I liked it quite well.

Supper: The last of the leftover roast, potatoes, one remaining carrot, and asparagus.

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Day 13 - Saturday

Breakfast: I ... don't actually remember.

Lunch: Beef stir fry and bananas (not mixed)

Supper: Egg drop soup with cabbage and strawberries (also not mixed)

Went way overboard on fruit today - two bananas (in my defense, they were small) and some strawberries.


Day 14 - Sunday

Breakfast: Spinach, mushroom and onion omelet

Lunch: Dropped a lid which shattered into shards all over my meatloaf ... so instead, I had salmon, fried potatoes and green beans.

Cravings hit today. Well, I knew they had to come some time. I want a cheeseburger, then some fresh yeast bread with butter, then some cake, then some chocolate. Was definitely thinking, "Oh well, I've done two weeks - that's good enough, right?" Fortunately, I already spent the grocery money on compliant foods and there is no money for any more. So, being broke saves the day. Besides, I don't really want to quit halfway through.

Supper (provided there are no further explosions): Turkey and asparagus. 

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Day 15 - Monday

This morning was one of those mornings. I didn't get up late, or do anything that I don't usually do. But as I was packing my lunch, I looked at the clock and realized that I needed to walking out the door right now to get to work. I hadn't had breakfast yet so I grabbed the only easily portable food I had in the house - a boiled egg (just one stray boiled egg) and a larabar (I bought two during my first week and then decided I'd better stay away from them after eating one.) Ideal? No. But I don't think the world will end.

Lunch: Salad with assorted vegetables, turkey and olive oil and vinegar. Surprisingly good. I usually loathe salad in the winter - it's cold, and I want something warm and comforting. Maybe my scant breakfast is making it more appealing.

Supper: Meatloaf, fried potatoes and collard greens.


At the halfway point, I was contemplating my Whole30 thus far. I've haven't seen any massive improvements, but then I didn't have any major health issues related to diet in the first place, plus it's only been two weeks. I feel like my skin is a bit clearer, although it's hard to tell since my skin cycles between clearing up and breaking out. My energy levels are not necessarily any higher, but do seem more consistent. Rather than having moderate energy, then crashing, then having moderate energy again I have moderate energy throughout the day.

Interestingly, I have not had a single kill all the things day, which is odd because I routinely have kill all the things days. We'll see what happens when PMS week shows up ...

And, now that I think about it, I had one of my headaches around the end of the first week but didn't have one at all the second week. I think I may resume cautious optimism that my headaches might at least become less frequent. I usually have them at least one day a week, sometimes as many as 5 days a week. When I've talked to doctors about it, the response has always been, "Yup, some people have headaches, that's life. Take some tylenol."

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Day 16 - Tuesday

Breakfast: Eggs with mushrooms, onions and broccoli

Lunch: Salad with turkey, egg drop soup

Supper: "Taco" salad - seasoned ground beef, assorted greens and fresh pico de gallo. And some raspberries. To be honest, it wasn't that appetizing. Some things just aren't the same without cheese and taco salad is one of those things. I'm fine without the tortilla chips and even the sour cream, but to be a taco salad for me, it really does need cheese. 


But part of it might have been that this was just one of those days. I went to the store to grab some olives and wanted everything - chips, cookies, chocolate - even things I never usually eat. As long as it was unhealthy, it looked good to me. I bought raspberries instead. They were delicious, and while my cravings were all over the place they didn't last long after I got home.

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Day 17 - Wednesday

Breakfast: Eggs with collard greens. Surprisingly good texture combination. Texture is just as important to me as taste.

Lunch: I knew I would be working late and wouldn't get supper until 8, so I tried to have an extra satisfying lunch - tuna cooked with onions and peppers, potatoes, and strawberries.

Supper: Chicken and green beans.

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Day 18 - Thursday

Breakfast: Eggs with asparagus. I'm not really having any problem getting sick of eggs. I don't want anything too strongly flavored in the morning, and eggs have a good texture for me.

Lunch: Egg drop soup (more eggs), salad with turkey, strawberries

Supper: Leftover meatloaf, potatoes, and broccoli.

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Day 19 - Friday

Breakfast: Eggs with mushrooms, onions, and collard greens.

Lunch: Salad with tuna, strawberries.

Supper: Going out for the first time on Whole30. The restaurant does offer one compliant dish - salmon, spinach, and tomatoes cooked in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. Seems a little ridiculous to go to a restaurant for something I could make more cheaply (and possibly better) at home, but the point of the evening is a social outing rather than the food.


Oh my goodness, everything went out the window. The restaurant had too long a wait so we went to a different restaurant, one I'd never been to before. I get anxiety attacks when ordering food sometimes, and reflexively just order whatever the person who ordered before me got. But I couldn't do that (without sabotaging my whole30) since everyone ordered pasta or calzones! But I managed to order a grilled chicken salad with vinaigrette, hold the cheese, hold the garlic bread. It may sound a little ridiculous, but I almost can't believe I managed to do that. Now, I did not ask exactly what was in the vinaigrette or if the chicken was marinated, so the salad may not have been 100% compliant. But I'm calling it a win. 

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Day 21 - Sunday

The third week, finished. I have to admit - while I think I have adjusted to this healthier way of eating, I am definitely nowhere near past all the hurdles. This morning, what sounded really good for breakfast was chocolate chip cookies and milk, (Yes, this is a "breakfast" I have eaten in the past.) Most of me doesn't want to go back to that way of eating. I mean, I don't get hungry between meals, my energy is more consistent and my size 16 pants are starting to fit a little loosely rather than being right on the edge of "too tight, need to move up a size". (Weight loss isn't the point, as I keep having to explain to people, but it's a nice side benefit.) But at the same time, there's a small part of me that's saying, "But ... you mean we're never  going back to eat-as-many-donuts-as-you-want Saturdays? No more half a large pizza with dessert after for supper? No more king size candy bars as an afternoon snack?" This side of me feels like occasionally having a slice of really good cake for a genuine special occasion, or maybe a burger and fries out some day if I really want to just isn't good enough. This side feels like it is no fun if I can't eat junk food past satiety and into nearly making myself sick. And while the rational part of my mind is trying to figure out how anyone could think that sounds fun, the irrational child side is yelling, "Want all the cookies!!!"


Breakfast: While I theoretically have no problem with breakfast as Meal 1, I usually eat eggs because I don't want anything with a strong flavor in the morning. However, today for the first time, I went to get the eggs out and thought, You know what really sounds good, is the leftover beef stir fry. So I had that for breakfast. Entering new territory!

Lunch: Tuna croquettes and collard greens

Supper: Spicy shredded chicken with peppers, and an orange

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Day 22 - Monday

Breakfast: Eggs with sauted onions, mushrooms and zucchini

Lunch: Chicken and vegetable stew, and blueberries

Supper: Salad with tuna, and potatoes

I am probably overdoing on the potatoes ... I should look into other starchy vegetables, since I really don't like sweet potatoes.

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Day 23 - Tuesday

Breakfast: (some) Salmon and broccoli. I decided my salmon needed a few more minutes, so I had time to go dry my hair quickly. The dangers of multi-tasking - my salmon was blackened to point where my dog wouldn't even touch it. And the broccoli I'd left to steam was just past done and into mushy territory. So I picked off all the edible parts of the salmon and ate the broccoli even though it wasn't very appetizing. And then it was time to run out the door for work. I anticipate being pretty hungry by lunchtime. Today's lessons - 1.) don't try to multitask while cooking, especially if your other task takes you to a different room and 2.) I should probably get up earlier in the morning, so I have a little leeway rather than having just enough time to get everything done.

Lunch: Chicken and vegetable stew, and strawberries.

Supper: Salad, tuna, and potatoes.


I made cookies to take into work, and I suddenly had one of the most intense cravings of my life. I WANTED A COOKIE. I nearly rationalized myself into eating one. But I put it down. Sure, I can have a cookie if I want one. That's my choice. But it's also my choice to finish my Whole30 without cheating, and that's the choice I've made. It was just a cookie, but I felt pretty strong after I put it away.

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