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Greetings. So I guess I begin at the beginning. As I was reading through WordPress, I saw a user talking about having finished their Whole30 and something just sort of clicked. I filed that away for later and went about my day.

Less than week later I was feeling unusual. I'd eaten a whole pack of Mint Oreos in a few days, I'd just finished making Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, I had some chocolates in the fridge, and a tendency to drink a half gallon of tea every day. My body must have reached the limit of it's tolerance because I could feel it rebelling. It was then I decided that it was me or my sweet tooth - and I was going to choose me.

So I'm doing a bit of a dry-run for a Whole30 while I'm doing my homework. I've stashed all my sweets out of sight (locked in a trunk in a closet.) I'm beginning to live by the principle: "Everything I eat will be the product of a conscious, deliberate decision." I'm trying to plan my meals ahead of time and to stick with it. I'm doing better about eating proteins, fruits and vegetables.

Already I've run into a few difficulties - the lack of a nearby Whole Foods / Trader Joes - meaning Wal-Mart and Aldi's (distant grocery stores, located in another county) and IGA and Save-A-Lot ("close" grocery stores, located in another town) will be my go-to suppliers as the nearest of all stores in this region is a Dollar General (that doesn't have a fresh meat or fresh produce section,  but has a limited selection of frozen and canned meats and veggies) I'm not really well-versed in healthy fats - and I never did like mayo in the first place. The bacon I had for breakfast had sugar in it - it's just what I had on hand ... and since this is a dry run, I figured I'd use up what I had and get an idea of what I'd need to replace with compliant versions. I'm not that great at cooking and need a refresher in the basics - most of the Whole30 recipes I've come across look fairly complicated. I also don't  have a copy of any Whole30 books yet - I'm not sure which one(s) to get. So, do any of you have any tips on how to get started or where to go from here?

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It doesn't have to be complicated. Eat grilled/roasted meats and veggies, eggs and healthy fat. You don't have to use recipes simply make food. Use spices to switch things up. It can be expensive and complicated but doesn't have to be. Good luck. I'm sure you will do great

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I'm kind of hoping it won't be an issue if I decide not to eat them and stick to the plan. And the plan is to let my relatives raid my stash so that the money spent isn't wasted; which is why they know where the key is and I don't.

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Week one - stick a fork in it ... it's done.

I finally got a chance to stop by the grocery store, and was able to pick up some of the more difficult to find items. Not all though, turns out my store doesn't carry Apple Chicken Sausage. Anyway, I made Sweet Potato Chili tonight and have become a believer.

As far as the timeline goes - I didn't really feel a heavy impact. My 'hangover' was half a day, and I felt 'hangry' - I think that's the word - for the 'kill all the things phase' for just about a day (and that was probably because I didn't eat enough fats to help it stick.) Fortunately for me, I was able to work through it and that kept my focus off of my food. And I haven't felt sleepy, had a headache, or felt general malaise. 

I guess it goes to show that in general, my diet was pretty healthy. I'm lactose intolerant, so no worries about giving up dairy. I didn't eat much breads/grains in general because my allergy isn't the only one I have to work around. I also didn't make it a habit to drink pop. But I've also identified a few weaknesses - namely a lack of a wide recipe base, lack of knowledge about meal planning, lack of cooking practice - or knowledge of how to cook in the first place.

I do have some questions:

(1.) what do you use almond butter on?

and (2.) what do you use coconut flakes for?

 

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Almond butter is something that you'll really need to pay attention to -- many people find it's best not to even keep it around, because they find themselves eating it straight out of the jar, which is not really in keeping with eating mindfully. It is a fat source, so your serving size at a meal if it's your only fat would be about 1-2 thumb-sized portions. It's not bad on top of a baked sweet potato with a little cinnamon (you may still want a bit of ghee or coconut oil or something, sometimes it's a little dry). If you're having fruit with a meal, you can put a little almond butter on it -- it's really good with apple or banana. You can do a paleo version of Ants on a Log by putting it on celery sticks and topping with raisins (watch for sulfites and added sugar in dried fruits). I sub it for sunflower butter in recipes like Sunshine Sauce (which is a nice dip for meat or vegetables, or can be used in stir fries or Pad Thai). 

Coconut flakes are also a fat source, the serving size if they're your only fat in a meal is a heaping handful or two.  They can be toasted and sprinkled on top of vegetables or salads for a different texture (here's one way to do that -- you don't have to add the cinnamon and salt if that doesn't match whatever you're eating them with). You can just eat them as they are if you like them. You could use them as a kind of breading on chicken, or use them to make Bora Bora Fireballs

I do want to just throw this out there, because it's something I see with new people a lot. You don't have to buy all the fancy ingredients. You definitely don't have to buy them all at once, right in the beginning. It's good to try new things, and it can help keep you from getting bored with your food, but it's also fine to eat grilled chicken, scrambled eggs, burger patties, salad, and steamed or roasted vegetables, all seasoned pretty simply. If it's that you want to buy all the stuff, and have the means to do so, and have it available somewhere nearish to you, that's great, go for it, but if you feel overwhelmed looking for stuff, if you don't have stores nearby where these things are readily available, or if buying them means breaking your food budget, look for things that fit in with where you are in your life right now. Go to the stores you would normally shop, and figure out what you can buy there that fits with Whole30, then base most of your meals around the things you can get most easily. At even small grocery stores, you should be able to  find eggs, meats, and vegetables, olive oil, probably coconut oil, probably some kind of marinara type sauce if you like to use that, probably some canned tuna. You may not find Epic bars or coconut flour or coconut aminos, but you can do Whole30 without those items.

The recipes I linked to are all from the same site -- www.meljoulwan.com. I like her style of writing and her pictures, I like all the recipes I've tried from her, and I find her take on meal planning a lot easier to wrap my head around than the super detailed plans that plan every meal for the whole week. I'd recommend going to this page, where she's got links to Whole30 meal plans and instruction on how she does things. If it all makes sense to you, great. If it doesn't, there are lots of other food bloggers out there, Whole30 or otherwise, where you can pick up tips on cooking and meal planning. You might try Nom Nom Paleo or Whole Life Eating, or follow Whole30 Recipes on Instagram or Facebook where you can see different bloggers every week feature new recipes each day. If you come across cooking terms you don't know, google them -- there are all kinds of Youtube videos showing how to do everything from boil water to chop vegetables to poach eggs. 

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7 hours ago, ShannonM816 said:

I do want to just throw this out there, because it's something I see with new people a lot. You don't have to buy all the fancy ingredients. You definitely don't have to buy them all at once, right in the beginning. It's good to try new things, and it can help keep you from getting bored with your food, but it's also fine to eat grilled chicken, scrambled eggs, burger patties, salad, and steamed or roasted vegetables, all seasoned pretty simply. If it's that you want to buy all the stuff, and have the means to do so, and have it available somewhere nearish to you, that's great, go for it, but if you feel overwhelmed looking for stuff, if you don't have stores nearby where these things are readily available, or if buying them means breaking your food budget, look for things that fit in with where you are in your life right now. Go to the stores you would normally shop, and figure out what you can buy there that fits with Whole30, then base most of your meals around the things you can get most easily. At even small grocery stores, you should be able to  find eggs, meats, and vegetables, olive oil, probably coconut oil, probably some kind of marinara type sauce if you like to use that, probably some canned tuna. You may not find Epic bars or coconut flour or coconut aminos, but you can do Whole30 without those items.

Right on! I could not agree more. I read a lot about how expensive it is to eat this way, and how complicated it is. I think it can be if you choose to make it that way, but I've managed to keep it super simple and within my regular very small budget. Meat+veggies+healthy fat ... easy. Bored? Add fruit! :)

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Thanks!

Quote

it's also fine to eat grilled chicken, scrambled eggs, burger patties, salad, and steamed or roasted vegetables, all seasoned pretty simply.

That sounds like my typical diet, so it's good to know that a lot of what I eat will be just fine. For me though, I was on a low fat diet and then I'd munch on sweets to help me stay full for the rest of the day. So I need to learn how to add healthy fats back into my diet.

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1 hour ago, Host said:

Thanks!

That sounds like my typical diet, so it's good to know that a lot of what I eat will be just fine. For me though, I was on a low fat diet and then I'd munch on sweets to help me stay full for the rest of the day. So I need to learn how to add healthy fats back into my diet.

Lots of people have trouble getting in fats at first. Sauces and dressings are great for that, and they let you change up flavors easily. Any oil-based sauces like chimichurri or pesto, nut-based ones like the sunshine sauce I mentioned above, or mayo based sauces and aioli are great. You can drizzle them over your foods or use them as dips. Google Whole30 sauces, or Whole30 plus a specific kind of sauce (like whole30 pesto) to find recipes.

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Two weeks in and the dreams have begun. I woke up feeling pretty guilty about eating some junk food ... then I realized I'd been unconscious for the past several hours and couldn't have eaten a thing. I'm getting a little more confident in the cooking department - and my meals are simple but they're coming together. On tonight's menu: Chocolate Chili! I've noticed that I've had to tighten my belt a notch lately, so it's definitely working some Whole30 magic - yay for healthy foods! At this point, I'm also thinking about the reintroduction phase, I already knew that I was lactose intolerant, and none of the other food groups ever gave me too many problems. This is about conquering my sweet tooth. But I want to come out of it armed with more knowledge about nutrition. I looked up the Food Pyramid and My Plate recommendations and now wonder just what healthy eating would look like with all food groups on the table. How can I enjoy sweets responsibly? I guess there's no right one-size-fits all answer, each of us have different nutritional needs - athletes have to eat in ways that fuel them for everything they're going to put their bodies through, non-athletes need to eat in entirely different ways. I guess it just takes trial-and-error to figure out just what one should eat.

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Week three is now over. I'm now something of an adventurous eater - looking for big flavor in unexpected ways. Ages ago, I had an opportunity to try spicy watermelon - with chili powder, salt, and lime juice as the spicy mixture. I chickened out. But this time - I found a decent recipe for it on the internet and gave it a try. Much to my delight, it wasn't spicy at all - but really really yummy. I also tackled my favorite restaurant dish - chicken fajita - and made myself some from scratch. Why didn't I learn to do this earlier? Oh, and I learned that fish doesn't have to be fried in cornmeal or flour to be delicious - it's tasty with with a layer of herbs and spices. I'm feeling pretty good - I was already known for having high energy levels and they haven't gotten any higher. I really like making big meals and eating on the left-overs two, three days in a row. The spices really work their magic after spending all night in the fridge - it makes things even better the day after.

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Day 29.

This journey into uncharted territory has yielded a wealth of treasure. A newfound knowledge of nutrition, a cache of delicious recipes, and a fair amount of self-confidence. (Though I'm pretty dubious about knives, as a left-handed individual, they seem to always invite trouble.) We've even decided to build on the momentum of this healthy eating and basically stick to eating more fruits and veggies more often. I guess the trick of it is finding a way to make clean and healthy eating more convenient than the convenience foods I used to rely on. Tomorrow will be the last day ... and then - who knows?

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Before Whole30, I was plateaued at roughly 130 pounds - it changed by the day and it could go up or down a pound or two. I ate a bit more of the less nutritious foods than was good for me. I would always choose candy over fruit and had an unstoppable sweet tooth. I didn't really cook all that much. I was also pretty much a light eater, figuring that if I didn't eat too much then I wouldn't have as much to loose, though on occasion I'd go back for seconds if I was eating something really delicious. So the moment of truth has dawned - it's day 31 and I stepped on the scale ... 122 pounds. Wow - I ate generous meals for a month and lost eight pounds. While I did this to tame my sugar dragon, getting down from that plateau is just icing on my cake almond butter on my apples. Technically, I didn't set aside any time to do any workouts - but my job is an active one that keeps me walking a couple miles just about every day with little downtime to recover - so that likely accounts for at least some of it. I kind of started out hoping for the best, but now I'm a believer.

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