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ChristinaG

Too picky, too expensive, too much time

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Sorry for the vent but I am two weeks In and getting frustrated. To start my entire family is very picky, including myself. None of us care for sweet potatoes, most of the time everyone chokes down as much as they can but no one likes them. We have never liked salads except as a side salad and then only occasionally. I'm finding that white potatoes are out due to the impact on my gut, I'm not sure if it's because they have too many carbs but I suspect that as my doc says to stay away from them. I gag at breakfast eggs and can't even choke them down. My body just won't seem to eat in the morning until about 2.5 to 3 hours after waking and by that time I have to go to work. Secondly this is just too expensive. My goal is to adopt permanent healthy eating habits not just for 30 days but my last two grocery bills were $230-$275. I have 2 adults a 13yo and a 4 year old. I am not buying any organic and no special meat because of the cost. My groceries are just meat and veggies how can this cost so much? I shop at Walmart by the way. Finally the meals just take too much time and are way to complicated and not family friendly in respects to time. I get home from work at 530 pm and even the so called easy dinners are taking me to 7 pm before we eat. At which point my kids are about ready to devour a cardboard box if given the choice. Due to their needs I have been giving them fruit as they will eat it, but it's just one more thing I'm struggling with and don't want ton crease my bill even more. The whole reason we ate bad was not because we craved it or wanted the bad foods, it's always been because of the above 3 things, being picky (even though we do try new things), the cost is to high, and it takes too long. I don't know what to do HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!

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Ok, first off, take a few deep breaths.  :) 

Second, ask yourself why you and your family chose to take on a Whole30 at this time.  It may help to make a list of all the benefits you hoped to attain and post that in a place where you can review it daily.

Next, consider checking out this article on smart shopping strategies.

 

You don't need to eat eggs, potatoes or sweet potatoes to do a Whole30.  I think I may have had salad once or twice on my Whole30s. If you don't like salad, don't eat it. You also don't need to cook every.single.meal. Get your 13 year old to participate in the prep.  Leverage compliant canned seafood or poultry. Make hearty soups, chilis or stews. Crock pots are a beautiful thing. Weekend batch cooking is another popular approach. For an example of the latter, check out Mel Joulwan's "hot plates" method here: http://meljoulwan.com/2013/07/27/whole30-week-1-food-plan/

Think about joining in on a group thread of other folks doing a Whole30 at the same time as you for some camaraderie and shared ideas. Here is a group that started on Feb 1st. 

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Thanks Chris. Unfortunately I have done all of the above and it's still not working well for me. We wanted to do this to feel better, be less tired, have more energy and sleep better. After two weeks of being compliant I am sleeping very well, I now wake without being tired, and I feel good all day. Whereas before I was pushing through my day trying to combat pure exhaustion. I love how I am feeling and I am proud of what I have achieved, but I want to eat healthy for life. Not necessarily whole 30 for life but healthy and this is the first step. So far I am doing well but I just don't know how to do this so we can eat things that we like that are fast, and that don't break the bank. I use my weekends for meal prep and make my sauces, divide meat and veg/ cut up veg for meals. I meal plan every week and shop weekly. If it helps these are the meals we have had. Week 1 chili, pork carnitas over salad with guacamole , buffalo chicken strips with bakes sweet potato fries, chicken green beans and mashed potatoes-compliant, chicken stir fry, chicken cacciatori, cilantro lime steak salad. Lunch was basically leftovers or salad with meat leftover. Breakfast was eggs with sausage and smashed sweet potato, and frittata. By week 2 I was so exhausted and got a cold, I didn't eat breakfast most mornings or had a banana. Dinner week 2 was buffalo wings with potato fries pan cooked carrots/celery, salmon cakes, chicken green beans mash pot, spaghetti over zoodles, pot roast, chicken chowder. Lunch was all leftovers. I feel like I never leave my kitchen and my husband is tired of doing so many dishes. My 13 yo and husband both will help, but it still isn't enough to get it done faster. I don't want to go back to eating badly butt for us it was mostly just the time. I love the new foods we are eating, except the few I state earlier that we don't like, but I am just at a loss on how to make meals that are still good butt quick. I have spent so much time online looking for easier options but everything just is so complicated.

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There are many many many easy fast and affordable ways to eat. I'm an artist and professor and I chose to keep my meals very simple when I did my Whole30. I found out the frozen vegetables are affordable and convenient and quick to prepare. I made my own mayonnaise and clarified butter--very cheap condiments. I bought fresh vegetables and fruits and meats and fish on sale. Breakfasts were cooked eggs of one sort or another or a frittata--fast and cheap to make. I roasted or broiled meats or fish filets and roasted vegetables. I used spices to very the flavoring of my meats and I roasted my veggies with just olive oil and salt and pepper. I didn't worry about sauces or new recipes because that wasn't my focus at that time. I just wanted to nourish myself, stay strictly on the Whole30 and fuel my activities. (Although I did buy the Tessamae catsup, which is DELICIOUS. My fats included olives--very cheap to buy.

I became adept at getting home from the pool and getting a dinner cooked (with enough for leftovers) in 20 minutes or so.

I can cook the Applegate hot dogs in 6 minutes and eat them with fresh sauerkraut and mustard. One of my favorite meals!

I went to Whole Foods on Tuesdays to buy their plain rotisserie chicken (compliant, but as always, check the labels when you buy) because it's $2 off. That fed me for a dinner AND the leftovers because a 30 minute soup with the addition of sautéed bell peppers, onions, garlic, carrots or mushrooms (whatever I had leftover) and chicken broth and that soup fed me for several more meals.

I bought organic and free range etc when I could and when it was affordable.

I "remembered" that I actually love simple meals.

At the end of the 30 days I found that I had saved a TON of money because I wasn't buying processed foods, I wasn't paying for meals out and I was using ALL of my leftovers!

The point of all this is not for you to eat as I did but to really give some thought about why you are doing a Whole30 and what you can do to make it work for you, and to look at how you can make it cheap and simple.

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To piggyback on ArtFossil's terrific response, there are many ways to eat simply on a Whole30.

 

I leverage sardines, canned chicken, canned salmon, and prosciutto for quick easy meals, in addition to Applegate hotdogs once in a while or compliant sausage.

I happen to like sweet potatoes, but always have a few other veggies on hand. At the moment, that's spinach, broccoli, butternut squash, tomatoes, celery, carrots and sauerkraut. 

I always have homemade mayo, clarified butter, pickles and olives handy. 

Oh, and I haven't been on a Whole30 in over a year. I just choose to continue to eat this way most of the time, because I love how I feel when I eat this way. For me, the meal template is genius.

 

It sounds like you've had some great benefits already - I would encourage you to step back and look at how you can simplify your approach to make it work better for you. Give you and your family the gift of finishing your Whole30. 

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I am looking at adding a cook book to my to-do list. A cook book devoted to 15-minute meals. I cook lots of 15-minute meals and some 10-minute meals. Here is an example...

 

Place a wok over medium heat and melt a tablespoon of fat in it. Chop up an onion and throw a handful of onion into the hot fat. Add a palm size serving of ground beef. Dust the onions and ground beef with salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Open a can of green beans and drain off the liquid. Throw the green beans on top of the onions and ground beef and stir everything together. Cover the wok and let it cook for 5 minutes. Put the food on a plate and eat. 

 

Are you cooking for 4 people? Add 4 servings of chopped onions and 4 servings of ground meat. Add a generous dusting of spices. You could add two cans of green beans, one can of mushrooms, and one can of carrots. Stir everything together and let it cook 5 minutes or until everything is hot. 

 

I shop at an ordinary Publix grocery store and have discovered I really like the Publix brand of canned veggies. I can't remember if the veggies are 5 cans for $4 or 4 cans for $5, but it is a good price. 

 

You can switch between ground beef, pork, and chicken and mix and match.

 

You really need to get an Instant Pot 7 in 1 Programmable Pressure Cooker. It is dead simple to make great meals with little hands-on time. My favorite is to dump two pounds of baby cut carrots in the pot and then to cut up a few white potatoes and throw them in too. Take a whole chicken of 3-4 pounds, rinse the chicken and then dust it generously with salt, yellow Jamaican curry, cayenne pepper, dill weed, and black pepper. Dump one can of coconut milk in the pot. Put the top on and set it to cook for 35 minutes. Preparing the food for cooking takes me 5-10 minutes. Then I have to wait about 45-55 minutes for the food to be finished. Then you open the pot and can serve plates straight from the cooker. Clean up afterwards is one pot, plates and utensils. 

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I am looking at adding a cook book to my to-do list. A cook book devoted to 15-minute meals. I cook lots of 15-minute meals and some 10-minute meals. Here is an example...

 

Place a wok over medium heat and melt a tablespoon of fat in it. Chop up an onion and throw a handful of onion into the hot fat. Add a palm size serving of ground beef. Dust the onions and ground beef with salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Open a can of green beans and drain off the liquid. Throw the green beans on top of the onions and ground beef and stir everything together. Cover the wok and let it cook for 5 minutes. Put the food on a plate and eat. 

 

Are you cooking for 4 people? Add 4 servings of chopped onions and 4 servings of ground meat. Add a generous dusting of spices. You could add two cans of green beans, one can of mushrooms, and one can of carrots. Stir everything together and let it cook 5 minutes or until everything is hot. 

 

I shop at an ordinary Publix grocery store and have discovered I really like the Publix brand of canned veggies. I can't remember if the veggies are 5 cans for $4 or 4 cans for $5, but it is a good price. 

 

You can switch between ground beef, pork, and chicken and mix and match.

 

You really need to get an Instant Pot 7 in 1 Programmable Pressure Cooker. It is dead simple to make great meals with little hands-on time. My favorite is to dump two pounds of baby cut carrots in the pot and then to cut up a few white potatoes and throw them in too. Take a whole chicken of 3-4 pounds, rinse the chicken and then dust it generously with salt, yellow Jamaican curry, cayenne pepper, dill weed, and black pepper. Dump one can of coconut milk in the pot. Put the top on and set it to cook for 35 minutes. Preparing the food for cooking takes me 5-10 minutes. Then I have to wait about 45-55 minutes for the food to be finished. Then you open the pot and can serve plates straight from the cooker. Clean up afterwards is one pot, plates and utensils.

I didn't want an Instant Pot until now! That sounds delicious!

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We LOVE our Instant Pot.  It was ~by far~ my best Black Friday purchase.

 

I do not really enjoy cooking.  There, I said it.  But I have been feeding our family of five this way for the most part ~ for over 3 years now.

 

In the beginning, we never (no really, never) went out to eat for a solid 6 months.  That was HUGE.  And I felt like I spent that entire 6 months in the kitchen.

 

Over time, I realized we are all pretty happy just eating simply.  Our food does not have to be entertainment.  

 

We used to use our grill outside A LOT ...and year-round, even in the snow.  We would cook up a variety of meats to have in the fridge for people to grab.  On the top rack, we'd put together a foil packet of ~whatever~ veggies we had, with some coconut oil and ghee, garlic salt... let it roast in there while you're grilling your meat.  Always make extra when you've got the grill fired up -- that's the point here.

 

The Instant Pot is a game-changer.  I have been buying cuts of meat that I never would have had any idea what the heck to do with before.  Now... if it's on sale, we're trying it.  You can throw pretty much anything in that dude, with a little bit of chicken stock, dump on a bag or two of frozen veggies and some seasonings... done.  Our veggies turn to mush, but no one here cares.  It's good.  It's quick.  And it frees up time for other things we actually love to do.

 

And really ~ what Chris said.  The template.  Protein+veggie+fat.  It doesn't have to be exciting or even very pretty ~ just nourishing to your body, so you can move on with your day.  We "hodge podge" things together here, all the time now.  No recipe required!

 

I would also add that having only a banana for breakfast ~ while it may seem like a time-saver, is probably not doing anything to help your blood sugar, mood, and stress level for the rest of the day.  Really strive for a template breakfast.  It really does set the stage for how your entire day goes.

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Thank you all. I still have more planning and work to do to get more ideas on how to simplify things but I successfully dropped 85.00 off my grocery bill this week by simplifying. If anyone has any additional simple meal ideas I'd sure appreciate it.

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Stick with it. The learning curve for new cooking techniques can be huge, but you are getting there. It does get easier with time and practice, and collecting new cookware along the way.

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For cost, also check out what meat and veggies are cheapest and try and build a meal around that.

 

My first Whole30 I was pretty sure which meals were my time intensive and expensive ones, but when I actually used a timer and checked my receipts, some were cheaper than I thought and a few ones I thought were cheap were actually the most expensive.

 

The Hot Plates from Mel Joulwan really helped me see how much harder I made my first Whole30 than it needed to be, I was cooking weekend effort meals every week night. Now I do more bulk cooking as I like to take Wednesday off from cooking and have three meals which are leftovers requiring only a reheat or assembly (if it's something like a salad).

 

It really gets easier, but it's important to work out which meals are worth the extra effort and which meals are weeknights or weekends.

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I am looking at adding a cook book to my to-do list. A cook book devoted to 15-minute meals. 

 

 

Please do!! I would love to buy a cookbook with recipes such as that meat/green beans one!

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I bought 4 pieces of meat that looked like steaks, but were something tough. They cost $4.49 per pound. I marinated all of them in spices, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar for about 36 hours. I put three in the freezer and skillet roasted one with carrots, potatoes, and kale. Skillet roasting worked out okay, but the meat remained tough. I failed to go to the grocery store and soon pulled one of the marinated pieces from the freezer. I put about 1 pound of carrots in my Instant Pot 7 in 1 Programmable Pressure cooker and dusted them with salt, garlic powder, and cumin. Then I stuffed the frozen meat in the pot which was hard because the meat would not bend. I had to dig a hole in the carrots to make room. Then I set the Instant Pot to cook for 20 minutes. It took maybe 20 or 30 minutes to thaw the meat before it started cooking so I had to wait almost an hour to eat, but the meat was tender and tasty - much better than when I skillet roasted it. And the carrots were fabulous after cooking under the piece of meat. Pressure cookers are amazing with tough cuts of meat. 

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Tom, those recipes sound delicious. I'd be at the front of the line to buy your cookbook. We definitely need more Instant Pot recipes for the Whole30. Maybe we could start a thread devoted to it. I just got mine. If anyone is looking for one, the one's Amazon selling in the Warehouse are great and much cheaper. They say used but most times it is a crunched corner on the original packaging. I got my 6-1 for $65 that way.

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You know, the Instant Pot doesn't appeal to me at all. What I love about crockpots is that I can make dinner before I go to work and come back to a ready meal. I wouldn't want to come home and then start dinner and then wait an hour to eat.

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Canned green beans are also great with canned tuna too :)

I sometimes throw canned tomatoes (diced or stewed) into green beans and tuna. 5 minute meal. Also works when I'm traveling and need something portable.

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I don't know where you live or how accessible local farms are, but I find shopping at farmers markets and buying from my local organic farmers really isn't much more (sometimes less) than buying at supermarkets. I'm very blessed to live among so many wonderful, ethical farmers and get the bounty they produce.

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I haven't read the entire thread, but I can completely understand your frustrations. My husband and I just finished our first whole30 two weeks ago, and I hated how expensive it made our grocery bill. We normally spend $75/week and on whole30 it was $125 a week. Here are some tips that I found and things that may make your life easier and less expensive :)

-Sunflower Seeds: these are the cheapest 'nut' substitute that we could find

-Trader Joes Chile Lime burgers: we loved these burgers and at 4 for around $3 they were a very inexpensive meal to make. We paired them with lettuce for a wrapper, frozen veggies, and roasted sweet potatoes

-Frozen Veggies: frozen veggies may not taste as good or be as versatile as fresh veggies, but they are dang easy. Find your favorites (ours were green beans and broccoli) and use them as a side to your meal every night. All you have to do is pop them in the microwave and they are inexpensive

-Trader Joes Plantain Chips (I know some people have different opinions about plantain chips being SWYPO or not-for me they are not a food without brakes): these are inexpensive (less than $2 a bag) and great for salad toppers, soup toppers, with guacamole etc.

-One Pot Meals: chili was the easiest thing for us to make for lunch-we had it every day for three weeks straight. Fill it up with the cheapest veggies out there (celery, carrots, zucchini), a pound of two of ground beef, and inexpensive canned diced tomatoes. Serve over inexpensive potatoes and boom-there ya go

 

As far as keeping the prep time down, here is what we did to make it easier

1. Make all lunches ahead of time-we bought Tupperware containers at the dollar store, and I prepped a crockpot of chili for lunches on Sunday and baked potatoes. Each Tupperware container got a cup of chili and half a potato. That plus a few pieces of fruit was lunch for every day-easy to grab in the mornings. (Edited to add: obviously the chili did not have beans in it :D)

2. Keep it simple at breakfast-we had scrambled or fried eggs with fruit every morning for breakfast (Yes, we should have had veggies, no we didn't, I'm sorry-if I do the whole30 again, I would add veggies to breakfasts more often)

3. Keep it simple at dinner with make ahead or quick proteins. My go to's were: chile lime burgers, pulled pork (crock pot, few seasonings, 8 hours on low), baked chicken (season with curry, season with Italian seasoning, cook with peppers and onions for fajitas), and taco meat (throw it on top of a potato with some salsa and a side of veggies)

4. Keep your dinner sides easy: frozen vegetables and roasted potatoes. In, out, done

 

I never bought coconut aminos or ghee. I stopped buying la Croix because it wasn't worth it. We snacked on mandarin oranges, almonds, sunflower seeds, apples, and cashew butter. I never bought compliant sausage except once because it was expensive. On Friday nights we had an inexpensive cut of steak with curry powder, sautéed onions, and mashed potatoes-easier and cheaper than trying to eat out (and delicious). Guard your leftovers like a hawk and repurpose them whenever you can.

 

Is whole30 more expensive? Yes definitely, but by the end of week 4 I had gotten our bill down to $90. Now we're trying to do 80/20 whole30 lifestyle and my bill was $82 last week--getting closer!

 

Is whole30 harder to prep? It doesn't have to be--by making things that didn't need a recipe I saved time, saved money because I didn't buy lots of ingredients, and saved my sanity. Now one thing I have to mention is I was only cooking for two people-adding in two more people definitely increases the prep time, but with a little planning, you can do it!!!

 

Last thing-if there is an Aldi's near you, go there this week. They have amazing produce deals, inexpensive meats, and compliant nuts (I also didn't buy top grade meat, too expensive)

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-Trader Joes Plantain Chips (I know some people have different opinions about plantain chips being SWYPO or not-for me they are not a food without brakes): these are inexpensive (less than $2 a bag) and great for salad toppers, soup toppers, with guacamole etc.

 

 

Plantain chips from Trader Joes are absolutely not allowed.  No commercially prepared chips of any kind. It's not whether people have differing opinions on whether its SWYPO or not, it's a hard and fast rule on the Whole 30.

 

Chips: Not if they’re commercially prepared or deep fried

While we recognize that potatoes are a real food, we also know that eating them in the form of fries and chips has turned them from “produce” into an adulterated commercial “product.” It’s easy to find sweet potato, beet, or vegetable chips that meet the Whole30 ingredient standards. It is not easy, however, to consume those chips in a way that’s true to the spirit of the Whole30. It’s hard to find a suitable place for them in our meal planning template (no, half a bag of “Sweets and Beets” is not an appropriate way to fill your plate with vegetables), and even harder to stop yourself from eating them when the designated serving comes to an end. For most of us, chips are a bonafide food-with-no-brakes, and fall into that deep, dark area of less-healthy foods with technically compliant ingredients. For that reason we do not allow frying starchy veggies and turning them into chips during your Whole30. (However, if you want to roast some kale until it’s crispy, or thinly slice jicama into a scoop for your guacamole, be our guest.)

- See more at: http://whole30.com/2013/06/the-official-can-i-have-guide-to-the-whole30/#sthash.ybqmn28e.dpuf

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Plantain chips from Trader Joes are absolutely not allowed.  No commercially prepared chips of any kind. It's not whether people have differing opinions on whether its SWYPO or not, it's a hard and fast rule on the Whole 30.

 

Chips: Not if they’re commercially prepared or deep fried

While we recognize that potatoes are a real food, we also know that eating them in the form of fries and chips has turned them from “produce” into an adulterated commercial “product.” It’s easy to find sweet potato, beet, or vegetable chips that meet the Whole30 ingredient standards. It is not easy, however, to consume those chips in a way that’s true to the spirit of the Whole30. It’s hard to find a suitable place for them in our meal planning template (no, half a bag of “Sweets and Beets” is not an appropriate way to fill your plate with vegetables), and even harder to stop yourself from eating them when the designated serving comes to an end. For most of us, chips are a bonafide food-with-no-brakes, and fall into that deep, dark area of less-healthy foods with technically compliant ingredients. For that reason we do not allow frying starchy veggies and turning them into chips during your Whole30. (However, if you want to roast some kale until it’s crispy, or thinly slice jicama into a scoop for your guacamole, be our guest.)

- See more at: http://whole30.com/2013/06/the-official-can-i-have-guide-to-the-whole30/#sthash.ybqmn28e.dpuf

 

Okay-understood. So just to clarify, they are out because they are commercially prepared (i.e. store bought)? Because they aren't fried. And then just another question-so if I bought a plantain, sliced it, and roasted it until crispy, that would be allowed assuming it was eaten in an appropriate manner according to the meal guide or no?

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Also, for further clarification, in this thread (http://forum.whole30.com/topic/9035-plantain-chips-that-have-only-palm-oil-and-sea-salt/), one of the administrators Robin said that "As long as you're eating them inside the template, I'm honestly okay with it. If you find yourself compelled to eat them outside of meal times, ditch them."--that was why I thought they were okay because I did research them (and everything else I ate :)) prior to purchasing them.

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Okay-understood. So just to clarify, they are out because they are commercially prepared (i.e. store bought)? Because they aren't fried. And then just another question-so if I bought a plantain, sliced it, and roasted it until crispy, that would be allowed assuming it was eaten in an appropriate manner according to the meal guide or no?

They're out because they're commercially prepared.

 

But yes, if you bought an actual plantain, took the time to slice it and roast it yourself, then you can use it as a condiment... much like you did with the commercially prepared ones.  The difference being that you took an ingredient, prepared it and cooked it instead of opening a package.

 

For others coming along to read this... remember, you can make yourself baked potato, plantain or other veggie chips but you can NOT deep fry and if you have a history of disordered eating with 'chips'... steer clear!

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Also, for further clarification, in this thread (http://forum.whole30.com/topic/9035-plantain-chips-that-have-only-palm-oil-and-sea-salt/), one of the administrators Robin said that "As long as you're eating them inside the template, I'm honestly okay with it. If you find yourself compelled to eat them outside of meal times, ditch them."--that was why I thought they were okay because I did research them (and everything else I ate :)) prior to purchasing them.

I'm not sure if the rules were less clear at that time about commercially prepared chips but they're quite clear now so go ahead and make your own or leave them off for a whole30 :)

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