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w30Virgo Round 3 January 2020


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I started my third round of Whole30 this morning. I posted a log here of my round 2, and found it very helpful to keep myself on track with recipes, meal prep, and tracking my NSVs. I stopped posting around the end of February, in a Post-Whole30 log, and I wish I had kept it up. I've taken up journaling as a habit in the past few months, and have found it very clarifying. I don't really want to keep my Whole30 log in my normal journal though, because I enjoy the community aspects of the W30 forum, and have a separate place to just focus on the way I'm eating and feeling physically is easier for me.

I just reviewed my W30 log from last year, when I did my second round, and I was happy to see that I've maintained some of the habits I developed last round. I've kept up walking - I walk 45 minutes each day, at least, which has helped to keep my spirits up. I've gotten more into hiking as well, taking several trips in the last year that focused on hiking, rather than eating/drinking, as I'd done in the past. 

I've slipped on the way I eat, however, which is why I'm back to Whole30. I find myself making less healthy decisions more frequently than healthy ones, and I want to get back to energy and motivation that eating Whole30 provides me. So, I'm back for another round, and this time, my boyfriend is doing his first Whole30 with me. I'm excited to have a partner on this round, if just to share the dishes and grocery bills! 

So, I'm planning to do a by-the-book Whole30, avoiding fruit/nut convenience bars which I had some issues with self-control concerning my last round. We did a quick grocery shopping trip yesterday, to get ourselves food for dinner, today, and tomorrow. I'll do a more thorough meal plan/prep this weekend for the upcoming week. We live in Pittsburgh, and the only grocery store around that was open was Giant Eagle, a local chain that we don't frequently shop at. They tend to be a bit more expensive than other grocery stores, so we normally stick to Costco, Aldi, Trader Joes, and different markets in the Strip District, which is a market neighborhood in Pittsburgh close to the area where we live. Last round, I tracked my groceries and spending, so I'd like to do that again. I left our receipt from yesterday in the car, so I'm going to get it later and update my log today or tomorrow with what we bought and how much we spent.

Our plan for the next couple days:

Breakfast: Cabbage cooked with sausage and eggs.

Lunch - Buffalo Chicken Salads - My boyfriend (we live together) got an Instant Pot for Christmas, so I'm planning to christen it by making this buffalo chicken recipe: https://www.thekitchn.com/instant-pot-buffalo-chicken-22948830

Dinner - Yesterday: Beefy Foil Packets - I don't really follow a recipe for these, but they are a Whole30 favorite of ours - 4 cups diced potatoes, 4 c diced veggies (we used zucchini last night), 1 lb ground beef, choice of seasoning (we used Primal Palate's Adobo) - mix together and divide into four foil packets on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 F for 45 minutes, top with desired fat/sauce (I used a Central PA brand - Torchbearer - Smoky Horseradish Sauce and also added some Roasted Garlic Cleveland Kraut).

Tonight - Sheet Pan Dinner - I'm just going to wing this - we have some delicata squash and we got some broccoli at the store yesterday, so I'm going to roast those together and then add Aidell's Chicken Apple Sausage (a great Whole30 option that we get at Costco) during the last 20 minutes. We'll top it with some compliant ranch or maybe some other sauce.

Tomorrow - White Chicken Chili (this recipe: https://therealfoodrds.com/slow-cooker-white-chicken-chili/) I made this during my last Whole30 and it was delicious! I'll need to run to Trader Joe's after work today or tomorrow to get coconut milk for it, because I couldn't find a compliant brand at the Giant Eagle we went to last night.

Then Saturday we'll have our meal plan, and do a larger shopping trip. If I can get it together, I'd like to make a more complete meal plan today, so I can get some stuff at TJs for it when I go, hopefully eliminating some grocery shopping this weekend.

Here's my log so far today:

Breakfast - 1/4 lb savory sage breakfast sausage, 2 c red cabbage, sauteed, and 1 fried egg. - This held me over to lunch really well - it's been about 5 hours, and I just got hungry for lunch in the last 1/2 hour.

Lunch - I didn't get around to making the buffalo chicken today, so I'm going to just have some leftover beefy foil packet for lunch, with avocado.

Dinner - We'll either do buffalo chicken salad or the sheet pan meal, I'll let my boyfriend decide.

I started to get some heartburn around 10 AM, but it was short-lived. I'm feeling anxious today, but I think it's mostly because it's my first day back at work after the holidays and almost 2 weeks off.

I haven't weighed/measured myself yet, so I'll probably do that later today, just to have a starting point for how things are looking from a scale perspective.

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Feeling okay today after breakfast. I woke up with my alarm, at 6:30, but felt groggy and unmotivated. Thankfully, a healthier habit I've developed in the year since my last Whole30 is a morning routine. So I just went on autopilot to get through my routine - 15 minutes of reading (Food Freedom Forever right now), 15 minutes of journaling, then breakfast before starting work. I work from home usually, and struggled with productivity and motivation as I've adjusted to working this way. I've found that consistent routines help me a lot with separating work from the rest of my day.

Last night, we went grocery shopping to Trader Joe's after work to get a few of the things we weren't able to on New Year's Day. Trader Joe's was completely out of lemons and full fat coconut milk! I made homemade mayo with vinegar last night instead of lemon juice, and will need to use (compliant) reduced fat coconut milk in the white chicken chili I'm making today. My boyfriend got very cranky at the grocery store - he's a big snacker, and he asked me about Whole30 snacks he could have. I explained the general idea of Whole30 to him - wanting to endeavor to eat three evenly spaced meals with no snacks, but any compliant food could be eaten as a snack, mini meals, etc - but he wanted popcorn. Poor guy. We went grocery shopping before dinner too, and he let me know that he had gotten hungry between breakfast and lunch, and lunch and dinner. I'll have to make sure to serve him larger portions when I'm cooking - I made him an extra egg with breakfast, but that must not have been enough. I also encouraged him to try adding more fat to meals, as well.

For dinner we did the sheet pan meal, which was delicious! I used Primal Palate's Meat & Potatoes seasoning to season the squash and broccoli, and mixed some compliant dijon in with the homemade mayo as a dip. Yum! I'll have to incorporate that more into our meal planning, since it's so easy and versatile.

So, breakfast today was the same as yesterday for me. We got some NSA bacon from TJ's, so I made Dave, my boyfriend, two slices of that, and he made his own eggs, so I'm not sure how many he made. 

I'm a bit scared to use our new Instant Pot, so we'll see how that goes in making the buffalo chicken today. It'll be a good Friday treat if it turns out well.

Here's the plan for today's meals:

Breakfast - 2 c red cabbage sauteed with savory sage breakfast sausage, seasoned with Primal Palate's Breakfast Blend, and a fried egg

Lunch - Buffalo Chicken Salad w Primal Kitchen Ranch

Dinner - White Chicken Chili with Cauliflower Rice and Avocado

I also got my receipts together for our grocery shopping this week, at Giant Eagle & Trader Joe's

Giant Eagle 1/1:

1 lb 85% lean grass fed ground beef - $5.99 - used this for our Beefy Foil Packets, since we didn't have any ground beef defrosted.

Primal Kitchen Ranch - $6.49 - normally I make homemade ranch, but we went grocery shopping at like 5 PM and were planning to start Whole30 the next day, so I wanted something easy. It's okay, but I like my homemade ranch better.

Giant Eagle brand organic Dijon mustard - $1.99 - I discovered that this was compliant last year - it's a great price.

2 bags broccoli florets - $6.00 - used one for dinner last night, and now I have an extra for sometime this week. We loved roasted broccoli, so it's always a go-to vegetable.

Cleveland Kraut Roasted Garlic and Beet Red sauerkrauts - $8.00 - This is a really good sauerkraut brand that is sold at local grocery stores - I'm not sure if they're nationwide yet. I had another type, a spicy kind called Gnar Gnar, already in the fridge, but when we went through it to get organized for shopping, I discovered that it wasn't compliant - sugar in the sriracha they used. The two types we bought are compliant. They were on sale for $2 off each bag too, which was why I bought two.

Giant Eagle Sage Breakfast Sausage - $3.99 - There wasn't any compliant bacon available, so I found this compliant sausage for breakfasts. I would buy it again - it was quite good.

Primal Kitchen Ketchup - $5.99 - I've never really used Whole30 ketchup frequently before - I like the sweetness of regular ketchup too much. But, my boyfriend likes ketchup, so I figured we could get this.

1 lb carrots - $1.49 

Cherub Tomatoes - $3.00 

Organic Baby Lettuce mix - $5.99

Jalapeno Peppers - $3.00

Cilantro - $2.99

Imagine Chicken Bone Broth - $3.49 - This was the cheapest compliant broth I could find, for the chili. I'm going to roast a chicken soon, maybe this weekend, to make bone broth. I'm excited to try making it in the instant pot.

5 bulbs garlic - $2.49

Ghee - $9.99 - Again, I normally make my own ghee, because I haven't liked the flavor of store bought ghees, but I want to set myself up for success this week with some shortcuts.

3 small zucchini - $3.68 - we have one leftover from the beefy foil packets, and I'm going to use it to make Mel Joulwan's Comfort Noodles next week

2 small summer squash - $1.75 - got these for the beefy foil packets, and didn't use them - they'll be used for the comfort noodles

Yellow pepper - $2.91 - this feels really expensive to me for a yellow pepper

4 organic avocados - $8

Small red cabbage - $3.19 - cabbage is one of our favorite vegetables. It's so versatile and cheap for how much you get out of one head of cabbage.

1 lime - $0.89

Total: $91.59 - my boyfriend and I are splitting the cost of groceries this round, since we're basically eating the same foods


Trader Joe's 1/2

3 packages NSA Bacon - $13.47

3 GTs kombuchas - $8.97 - we both enjoy kombucha, so these will be good special drinks for the weekend

Chicken Sriracha Epic Bar - $2.49 - I discovered during my last Whole30 that fruit and nut bars like Rx, Larabar, etc. don't usually sit well with me, so I try to have a few meat-based shelf-stable snacks around in case of an emergency.

1 dozen pasture-raised eggs - $3.99 - I know we'll go grocery shopping again this weekend, so I only got one dozen.

Reduced Fat Coconut Milk - $1.29 - see my frustration above re Trader Joe's being out of full fat coconut milk

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena - $2.29

Red Wine Vinegar - $1.99 - I discovered after buying this that it has sulfites, so I'll save it for post Whole30

1 lb Organic Carrots - $0.89 - We have some leftover thyme in the fridge, and I want to make Thyme Roasted Carrots from cravingsbychrissyteigen.com this weekend, so I got some extra carrots. Lesson: carrots are way cheaper at TJs than at Giant Eagle

Parsley - $1.99

2 sweet Potatoes - $1.58

4 Chomps sticks - $6.76 - I think my boyfriend will like these, so I got a few to have on hand

2 single serving packs of manzanilla olives - $1.99 - Got these to have on hand as snacks or on-the-go food for myself

Total: $47.69

So far we've spent $139.28 on groceries - these should hold use over until around Tuesday of next week, but I'm sure we'll go again this weekend to set ourselves up for meal prep.

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Day 5

Happy Monday! I update on my work laptop, and try not to work on the weekends if I can help it, so I'll update for the weekend here.  

Overall, it was a good one. We had a chance to just relax and get stuff done to set ourselves up for the week. I didn't get as much meal prep done as I wanted to, so I'll need to work on finding a good balance there. I felt the same good energy as I've come to expect with my Whole30s - consistent motivation throughout the day, not jittery or anxious, just energized. Yesterday, I only had one cup of coffee and had sustained energy pretty much all day until 9 PM, when I normally go to bed.

I slept well last night - had a dream where I ordered noncompliant food, then changed my mind so I wouldn't break my Whole30. I woke up a couple minutes before my 6:30 alarm, but I was comfy in bed and our room was cold, so I stayed in bed until 6:45. I prepped our breakfasts for the week yesterday, so that was nice and easy this morning.

Digestion-wise, I've been having some issues. I normally have - not great - digestion, which is something that I'm determined to figure out with this Whole30. If Whole30 doesn't work, I'm going to try low-FODMAP or SCD to hopefully heal some stuff. On Friday, I was really craving something sweet and couldn't get myself to just sit it out - I had ~2 T compliant almond butter and a GT's kombucha. I had a horrible stomachache after that, and couldn't get to sleep until around midnight. I've found in the past that nut butters can be pretty hard on me, so I'm going to try to generally avoid them, especially alone as a snack.

My skin hasn't improved yet. I have some jawline acne that I think is coming from my diet, so I hope that it improves with this Whole30.

My parents are visiting this weekend, so I'm trying to come up with some restaurants we can go to during their stay. I'm thankful that this is not my first Whole30, because I have some experience navigating restaurants now, and know a few that are good options for us. My family tends to bond through drinking, so I'm interested to see how their visit will go with Dave and I abstaining.  My dad is doing keto right now, so he's at least somewhat familiar with dealing with restaurants on a restrictive diet, though it's easier for him.

NSV! I used our instant pot for the first time on Friday, to make buffalo chicken and white chicken chili - both turned out great! I love how easy the insert is to clean, and am planning to make bone broth in it this week with the carcass of a roasted chicken I made over the weekend.

Here are my meals Saturday-Today:

Saturday - Day 3

Breakfast - 2 c cabbage sauteed with 2 slices TJ's NSA bacon with 2 fried eggs - I had this around 8:30 AM and wasn't hungry again until 3 PM

Lunch - This was a smaller meal, since I ate it so late - 1 Aidell's Chicken Apple sausage with ~ 1 c roasted broccoli and ~ 1 c roasted delicata squash with dijon aioli - leftovers from dinner Thursday

Dinner - The Defined Dish Epic Whole30 baked meatballs (http://www.thedefineddish.com/epic-whole30-baked-meatballs/) - This recipe was delicious! I couldn't find Rao's sauce (still haven't tried it), so I used a compliant marinara made at a local Italian grocery store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Macaroni Company. Made a ton of leftovers, too. Had these with zoodles and a Caesar salad using this Defined Dish dressing recipe: http://www.thedefineddish.com/whole-30-caesar-salad-dressing/

Sunday - Day 4

Breakfast - This easy breakfast potatoes recipe (https://thewholecook.com/skillet-breakfast-potatoes/) with bacon and 2 fried eggs. I got a new Cast Iron two-sided griddle/grill pan that goes over two burners for Christmas, and used it for the first time to make this breakfast - it worked great! I was hungry after like two hours - I don't understand why the cabbage filled me up for so much longer than potatoes? But even while eating I missed "real" vegetables. I'll be sure to include some in my breakfasts moving forward.

Lunch - Big salad using leftover buffalo chicken and Caesar dressing - it had spring mix, romaine, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, carrot ribbons, and sauerkraut - yum!

Dinner - Delmonico steaks seasoned with Primal Palate meat & potatoes seasoning, chimichurri (https://meljoulwan.com/2014/07/02/chimichurri-aka-magic-sauce/), roasted carrots and asparagus, dipped in dijon mayo. I overcooked the steaks - I just don't make steak often enough to have gotten good at it. But, they were still good and the chimmichurri was delicious!

Monday - Day 5

Breakfast - 2 buffalo chicken egg bites (https://therealfoodrds.com/buffalo-chicken-egg-muffins/) with 1/2 avocado sprinkled with Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel seasoning and ~1 c brussels sprouts roasted under a chicken I made yesterday. I need to remember to get more brussels sprouts next time I do that, because we're already almost out after using them for breakfast for Dave and I - they're just so good!

Lunch - BLT Chicken Salad (https://madaboutfood.co/blt-chicken-salad-whole30/) - I still have to finish prepping this. Going to eat it over greens with sauerkraut, cucumbers, and onion

Dinner - (Hopefully) Chocolate Chili (https://meljoulwan.com/2009/02/22/my-favorite-chili-recipe/) with cauliflower rice, roasted sweet potato, and avocado - I wasn't able to find fire-roasted diced tomatoes this weekend, and I'm not sure if we have some in pantry. If not, I'm going to make Comfort Noodles (https://meljoulwan.com/2011/08/18/comfort-noodles/) and roast some sweet potato wedges.

I have a nail appointment tonight at 6, so if I'm not able to get anything together for dinner, I'll fall back on leftovers. We have leftover buffalo chicken, steak, and meatballs in the fridge. It's so nice to have things ready so the pressure to cook isn't as heavy.

I'm going to update with my grocery shopping expenses from this weekend later.

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Grocery shopping for days 3-10 

We went shopping in the market neighborhood in Pittsburgh, the Strip District, this weekend. We live about 2 miles away, but it's an easy walk, so we walked down and back. The whole trip, including the walk, took about 2 hours.

Salem's (Middle Eastern market with a halal butcher on site)

8 oz jar tahini - $3.99

3 lb yellow onions - $1.99

Whole Chicken ($2.29/lb) - $8.13 - this chicken was delicious when I roasted it - I love the meat from this butcher

1 red bell pepper - $1.28

2 red onions - $1.71

Total: $17.10 - this grocery store was the closest to our house. We just walked down the main street, Penn Ave, getting as much from our list as we could from each store.


Many More (Asian grocery store - all the veggies we got are just marked as "Vegetable" on the receipt, so I'll try to remember what we got)

Huge green onions - $2.21

4 lg zucchini - $2.69

Celery - $1.59

Some other vegetable (can't remember what it was) - $0.89

Red boat fish sauce - $8.99 - going to use this to make Hibachi chicken later this week

Total: $16.37


Pennsylvania Macaroni Company (Italian grocery store)

Iceberg lettuce - $1.99

Asparagus - $4.99

Romaine - $1.59

Spinach - $2.99

Bottle of water - $1.39 - we forgot to bring bottles of water - we got some reusable water bottles for Christmas, so we're trying to be better about single-use plastics

Penn Mac Marinara sauce - $5.99 - I was looking for Rao's, but couldn't find it. I know that Costco usually has it, so I'm going to get some the next time we go.

Spicy Pitted Olive Mix - $3.88 - deli olives are my favorite food, and this place has the best prices for them.

Grape Tomatoes - $2.49

Brussels Sprouts - $5.02

Baby Bella Mushrooms - $1.99

Basil - $3.98

2 oz cayenne pepper - $0.99

2 oz dried dill - $0.99

2 oz chili powder - $0.99

Tomato paste - $2.99

Seedless cucumber - $1.59

Total: $43.65


Wholey's (known for being a Fish Market/Butcher, but they have all kinds of groceries)

Strawberries - $2.99

2 dozen eggs - $9.18

Sundried tomato stuffed olives - $7.78 - these are my favorite kind of olives, and Penn Mac didn't have any on Saturday

3 avocados - $3.87

1.4 lb ground pork - $4.20 - for the meatballs, and some of it will go in the chocolate chili

Total: $28.02

In total, we spend about $110 on groceries, so now we're at $249 for the month so far.



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I was getting anxious about the amount we're spending on groceries - then I realized that the amount I'm tracking is for both my boyfriend and myself. Last year for Whole30, I only tracked my own spending, since he wasn't doing it with me. I spent $700 on groceries/meals out that month (!!!!) So, I'm trying to limit and spend a lot less this time around. Doing Whole30 with my boyfriend is obviously helping - $125 for my half of the groceries this month isn't so bad.

Another really great aspect of our Whole30 so far - yesterday I was so tired from meal prepping that I just didn't feel like making dinner. So Dave prepped the veggies and got them roasting, then I jumped in to cook the steaks and make the chimichurri. Now to get him to do his fair share of dishes ;) I work from home most days, so I just end up doing a bit more of the cleaning around the house.

Anyway, feeling good midday. I normally work til 4 PM, and the last couple hours always tend to drag. Today, I've been more focused and I'm shocked that it's already almost 4. Tomorrow, I'm going into the office to work, so I'm looking forward to a really productive day. I had my chicken salad for lunch with a big bowl (like 6 c) of mixed spring mix, spinach, and romaine, sauerkraut, cucumber, and red onion. I didn't feel super satisfied by that - not as satisfied as I did from my buffalo chicken salads last week. Maybe I should add some more fat - I'm going to bring some chimichurri to dress the greens for my lunch tomorrow. I haven't snacked - I drank some water and took a walk. Didn't get to the chili today - I'm going to do comfort noodles today and will make the chili in slow cooker tomorrow.

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So for dinner yesterday we ended up just doing leftovers, and I sauteed some diced potatoes and zucchini for a vegetable. So I ended up having 2 epic meatballs (yum! Delicious leftover), 2 c potato/zucchini mixture, dijon aioli for dipping, and some olives (I had been craving them all day).

I woke up pretty easily today - no tiger blood yet, but felt pretty good and motivated this morning. I'm trying to get to the office today, and I didn't quite get it together to go in on time this morning, but I'm still planning to go in later this morning/afternoon. 

Digestion: Still not...great. My stomach has been grumbling almost nonstop the past couple days. I'm assuming it's still the adjustment to the new way of eating, so I'm not too worried. It's nothing debilitating.

Skin: Not really clearing up - had a couple new zits yesterday - my skin is quite dry this morning.

I journaled this morning about a part of Food Freedom Forever that I've been ruminating on - the idea of starting to consider yourself as changed, and the changes that will more naturally follow. I've been thinking a lot about "I am a healthy person." I think I almost created a personality around being unhealthy since I was a teenager - smoking, drinking, experimenting with drugs, being "deep" because I was unhappy or depressed, being "type A" because I was so anxious all the time. I'm trying to let go of that mindset moving into the next season of life - I'm 28 - not old by any means, but at the point where I'm ready to become more of an "adult." I made a list of qualities of a "healthy" person that I am going to emulate. I have some experience with setting intentions from yoga, and doing moon rituals for the new moon, and I've always really enjoyed the process of changing, so I'm hopeful that if I keep these qualities in mind, it will become easier and easier to emulate them:

-I eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods.

-I exercise to strengthen my body and clear my mind.

-I enjoy nature as often as possible.

-I go to the dentist, doctor, OBGYN, and eye doctor for regularly scheduled checkups.

-I care for my mental health.

-I nurture my relationships with friends and family.

-I fully experience my emotions, fears, and hopes, rather than numbing myself.

Here's my meal plan for today:

Breakfast: 2 buffalo chicken egg bites, the remaining brussels sprouts from roasting the chicken (I need to figure out some more breakfast veggies today), and 1/3 avocado with ETBB seasoning

Lunch: BLT Chicken Salad over greens, cucumber, red onion, & sauerkraut

Dinner: Chocolate Chili w roasted sweet potatoes, cauliflower rice & avocado, or Comfort Noodles w roasted sweet potato wedges.

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17 hours ago, w30virgo said:

I was getting anxious about the amount we're spending on groceries - then I realized that the amount I'm tracking is for both my boyfriend and myself. Last year for Whole30, I only tracked my own spending, since he wasn't doing it with me. I spent $700 on groceries/meals out that month (!!!!) So, I'm trying to limit and spend a lot less this time around. Doing Whole30 with my boyfriend is obviously helping - $125 for my half of the groceries this month isn't so bad.

I am also anxious about spending on groceries. I'm on my second round and my general feeling toward the first round (in regards to cost) was that it sucks that it is so expensive to eat healthy! I felt like I was always running to the grocery store for another item or something we ran out of (my husband would devour more than planned).  I try to limit the groceries for our family of 4 to $100 a week; I'm pretty sure we doubled that during the first Whole30 - granted I was still buying the kids some non-compliant items that are included in that cost (and still will this time). My husband said he thinks we spent less overall because we weren't eating out; I didn't double check the numbers, but this time I am keeping better track of our grocery spending.

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The sticker shock at the grocery store can be alarming, but if you eat out even a little bit, the numbers probably at least even out. I'm spending probably 25% more at the grocery during Whole 30, but I used to buy lunch at work every day. EVERY DAY! I also used to buy at least a bottle or two of wine to bring home, and then we would eat out probably 3 times a week. I'm not doing any of that, so I feel like I'm probably gaining money doing this. I know I'm probably more indulgent than most, but I still think in the long run, eating healthier isn't as expensive as it may seem.

Also - grocery spending will start to even out a bit more. The first week, you're buying all the healthy things new. So if you bought any compliant condiments or sauces, that adds up, but you won't need to buy them again for a long time. I didn't need to buy chicken this week because I still had some from the last week, and so on. So the first week is really the most expensive. 

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@heb2014 @JessFind  I'm glad I'm not alone with the expensive groceries anxiety/nerves. I've definitely bought some more expensive spices/condiments in the past couple weeks that will last well beyond this round of Whole30 - fish sauce, ketchup, etc. 

I totally agree that in sum, we're saving in not going out to eat/ordering take out as frequently - easily $50 for dinner 2/3x each week - and not buying alcohol. I've also been good so far with using up food as we buy it - throwing away wilted veggies or old leftovers is always a sad experience. I've gotten better over the past two rounds of Whole30 at not trying to tackle a new recipe for each day of the week, incorporating in "leftover makeover" recipes for the dregs in the fridge - oven foil packets, frittatas, veggie soups. So I think we're in a good spot for this round of Whole30.

Doing it with my boyfriend this time has been a huge help too. He also needs to eat three compliant meals a day, so leftovers get eaten up more quickly. I totally lean towards you, Jess, in that I tend to be fairly indulgent with buying new products, fun drinks, and trying for complex recipes on Whole30. I think about it as developing more healthful "treats" for the future - instead of a meal out, I'll cook a fancy recipe, or instead of a bottle of wine, I'll treat myself to a new flavor of Spindrift.

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I completely went in to the first round buying ALL THE CONDIMENTS. 5 bottles of salad dressing (for 30 days!). Ha!  Still have one of those bottles unopened that I'm going try as a marinade soon. 

Definitely trying a different strategy this time.


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@heb2014 LOL I had the same issue - I have an unopened compliant salad dressing, Spicy Marinade, and Yai's Thai Curry sauce sitting in the pantry. Waiting for some food boredom/nothing to eat days to come around so I can use them up. Now that I'm thinking about it, I have some chicken breast defrosting in the fridge for chicken salad - I only need one breast for the salad, so maybe I'll use some of the marinade on the other ones in the package. 

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I wanted to do a quick midday update with some thoughts I'm having.

I added chimichurri to my greens today for lunch, and had a bit more chicken salad. I'm feeling much more satisfied than yesterday!

I was thinking more on my "Healthy Person" statements from my entry this morning, and on something else I read in FFF (that book sneaks up on you!) about habit forming - that it often takes at least 60 days to build a habit. I think I'm going to focus in on one of those statements every two months this year - there's 7 statements there, so it'll go a little into next year - this feels like a really good way to transform into the person I want to be, that I know I can be. 

Anyway, back to work for a couple more hours.

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Day 7

Yesterday afternoon, around 4 PM, I got very hungry and had a snack/mini-meal - one of the leftover meatballs with olives. I don't have time today, but in the future when I make chicken salad for lunches, maybe I'll make some hard boiled eggs to add to my meals as well. Today, I think I'll bring some strawberries and almond butter with my salad.

For dinner last night, we had the Comfort Noodles with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and leftover meatballs. I added the meatballs because we ran out of eggs and I was only able to use 4 rather than the 6 in the recipe. We also dipped our sweet potatoes in dijon mayo. My boyfriend loved the comfort noodles - he said they tasted cheesy. I think I cooked the eggs too much, but, they're a good recipe for if you're not feeling well, and the whole thing take like 25 minutes, including time spent sweating the zoodles, so it's really quick.

Quick run-down of how I'm feeling.

Sleep - I struggled to fall asleep last night, but I slept really well and felt rested when I woke up at 6:30 today. It's time to inch my alarm back to 6:25 and see how that goes.

Skin - No new zits developing - the old ones are slowly healing. It also hasn't felt quite as dry as usual.

Digestion - Still not the best. My stomach grumbled all day yesterday, and I was feeling a bit bloated. That's pretty normal for the timeline, so I'm not worried. If things aren't moving in a good direction by day 15, I'm going to get a probiotic.

Energy - Good! No afternoon slumps, feeling sustained good energy throughout the day for the most part.

Meals today:

M1: Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins with Salad (spring mix, tomatoes, onions) and leftover Caesar Dressing

M2: BLT Chicken Salad, Salad (spring mix, tomatoes, onions, sauerkraut) dressed with chimichurri, strawberries with almond butter

M3: Chocolate Chili w roasted delicata squash and cauliflower rice, topped w avocado


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Getting a little post-lunch energy slump. Not sure if it's the shorter amount of sleep I got last night, or maybe the strawberries (really?!). Anyway, I'm going to take my normal post-lunch walk, which usually helps, and see where we're at.

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Day 8

Feels good to have one week down. Actually eating compliant meals has been easy - I was feeling a little "blah" about food yesterday, but I made Mel Joulwan's Chocolate Chili last night for dinner tonight and WOW that stuff is delicious. So I'm looking forward to dinner tonight. I think repeating meals (same breakfast, same lunch) over the course of the whole week is wearing on me a bit. It's hard to meal prep mid-week for us, though, so I'm not sure what the best way to prevent this is. I'll experiment some and see what works.

For Dinner last night, we just ended up doing the same sheet pan dinner we had last week, with potatoes instead of squash - chicken sausage, broccoli, & potatoes. We ran out of mayo, and eggs (!), so I had some compliant Curry hot sauce with mine - no fat, but I was satisfied.

I talked to my brother earlier this week about where he wants to take my parents for dinner on Friday, when they're in town, and he wants to take them to one of two taco places that have no obviously compliant items on the menu...great. Still not totally sure what we'll do - go to a place with options for us, grab Chipotle bowls on the go, or just go home early and have a late dinner of leftovers. It's still good to have three options set up for myself, so we don't panic and end up going off-plan.

We're getting to a dire place with our dishes though, so I definitely need to work on figuring out a system to keep them consistently done.

We're going grocery-shopping tonight, to Trader Joe's, since we'll be busy this weekend. Here's our meal plan for next week:

Sunday: Hibachi Chicken with Magic Mustard Sauce (http://www.thedefineddish.com/hibachi-style-chicken-with-magic-mustard-sauce/)

Monday: Slow Cooker Thyme Dijon Chicken Legs (https://therealfoodrds.com/slow-cooker-dijon-thyme-chicken-legs/) with Grilled Delicata Bacon Ranch Salad (https://whole30.com/januarywhole30-recipes-epic-winter-salads/)

Tuesday: Mac's Bacon Wrapped Peppers w Awesome Sauce (made these a few times last Whole30 - yum!) (https://healthylittlepeach.com/2018/07/12/bacon-wrapped-sausage-stuffed-peppers/), with Avocado Salad (https://www.thekitchn.com/avocado-salad-268092) and Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

Wednesday: Chicken Zucchini Poppers (https://www.onelovelylife.com/chicken-zucchini-poppers-gf-df/) with Brussels Sprouts and Warm Potato Salad (https://whole30.com/the-best-of-whole30-recipes-summer-celebrations/)

Thursday: Leftovers/Easy Dinner (Sheet Pan Meal or Foil Packets)

Friday: Same as above/Go out to eat

For breakfasts, we're going to have Breakfast Burrito Casserole (https://realsimplegood.com/breakfast-burrito-casserole/) with Chipotle Slaw (https://eatthegains.com/chipotle-mexican-coleslaw/). I'm going to have Stuffed Mushrooms (https://whole30.com/tailgating-part-2/) with Roasted Broccoli for lunches, and Dave's going to have leftovers.

Here's my plan for today's meals: 

M1: Spring mix with Caesar Dressing, Buffalo Chicken Egg Bites - getting bored of this, but it did what it needed to do.

M2: Salad w red onion and Beet Red Cleveland Kraut and BLT Chicken Salad, strawberries and almond butter.

M3: Chocolate Chili w cauliflower rice & delicata squash, topped with avocado & green onions

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I forgot to do a run-down of my focuses/goals for this Whole30 like I've been doing the other days, so I'm going to do a quick one now.

Sleep: Slept well, fell asleep around 10 PM too, which is awesome, and earlier than lately. Woke up at 6:15 on my own, but let myself close my eyes again and ended up sleeping til 7. Woke up easily, but still a bit groggy.

Skin: Same as yesterday - things are healing, but nothing spectacular

Digestion: Grumbling stomach, feeling a bit bloated still. 

Energy: Good! Sustained, good focus so far this morning. A bit of a slump yesterday afternoon. We'll see if I have the same today.

I'm also going to include my meal prep plans for this weekend/week. As I have time, I'll work on these lists. My Ideal (which doesn't frequently happen) is to do veggie prep on Saturday after grocery shopping, then meal prep Sunday. Since we have plans this weekend, I'm not sure where I'll fit it in. But it's nice to have a list to check things off of! I'm going to write the prep lists out too and hang them on the fridge, so Dave or I can jump in and work on stuff as we're able.

We have plans with my parents at 9 AM Saturday - we're going to an RV show - so we're going to have a good breakfast before we go. I'm thinking that I'll prep bacon and breakfast potatoes tomorrow, so that we can quickly heat them up, fry some eggs, and have them over salad greens in the morning. I'm bringing snacks, too - Chomps/Epic Bars and olives for me, nut butter for Dave (he doesn't like olives). I think I might cut up some carrots and celery too - they should keep okay at room temp. We're going to lunch after, fingers crossed it's somewhere with compliant options. But I know my plan if not - go home and eat, grab Chipotle, or convince them to go to a place with compliant options.

Here are my prep lists:

Veggie Prep:

-Prep veggies for Hibachi Chicken

-Peel ginger & garlic for magic mustard sauce

-Cube 1 lb potatoes for breakfast casserole

-Dice bell pepper & onion

-Shred 5 c red cabbage, 7 c green cabbage, 3 carrots, and julienne 3 Fresno peppers for slaw

-Dice ½ yellow onion for stuffed mushrooms

-Mince 2 garlic cloves

-Finely chop a handful of spinach

-Finely chop 3 dates for chicken legs

-Slice Delicata and onion for salad

-Mince 1 clove of garlic & ½ yellow onion for stuffed peppers

-Prep 12 peppers for stuffing

-Mince 1 T yellow onion for awesome sauce

-Chop ½ cucmber and ½ red onion for avocado salad

-Juice 1 lemon for avocado salad

-Cut peppers for stuffed peppers

-Slice sweet potato into wedges

-Grate 2 c zucchini, slice 2 green onions, mince 3 T cilantro, mince 1 T garlic and squeeze out excess water from zucchini for zucchini poppers

-Prep brussels sprouts

-Scrub and cut 6-8 red potatoes into bite size pieces for potato salad

-Slice green onions for potato salad


Meal Prep

-Make Magic Mustard sauce for Hibachi Chicken

-Cut chicken thighs into 1 in cubes for Hibachi chicken

-Roast 1 bag cauliflower rice

-Make breakfast casserole

-Make slaw

-Make stuffed mushrooms

-Roast broccoli

-Sear chicken legs 3-4 min on each side for Slow Cooker Chicken Legs

-Blend sauce for chicken legs in food processor

-Combine legs and sauce in slow cooker and put in fridge until Monday morning

-Make bacon bits w four slices bacon – ½ for Delicata Salad, ½ for Potato Salad

-Make ranch

-Make Awesome sauce

-Prep peppers

-Prep poppers

-Hard boil 2 eggs and chop for potato salad

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Day 9

Feeling really good this morning! Today was the first morning of waking up before my alarm and actually getting up this round. I loved that about previous Whole30s, and am so happy to be in that place now. I feel so much more calm and at peace when I have a significant amount of time to myself to get some things accomplished in the morning. 

I'm excited to see my parents tonight when they come into town. I have a shorter work day today, due to some overtime earlier in the week, so I'll have some time to get some stuff around the house before being consumed by family activities this weekend. We ran out of our egg muffins this morning - I ate the last two. They were good, but I'm ready for something different. I'm just now realizing that I think I should double the breakfast burrito casserole recipe for this week. If we go to a store this weekend, I'll need to get more sausage/pork for it.

Here's my meal plan for today:

M1: 2 buff chick egg muffins, 2 cherry tomatoes, spring mix with caesar dressing

M2: BLT chicken salad over spring mix & spinach, with red onion, sauerkraut, and Chosen Foods Lemon Garlic Dressing. Strawberries w almond butter

M3: Chipotle/other meal out/come home and have leftover chocolate chili/turkey burgers

We went to Trader Joe's last night to get our groceries for the week. I was really disappointed that they had no compliant uncooked sausage at all. I got ground pork to make my own sausage for our breakfast casserole & stuffed peppers next week, and found a recipe for Whole30 compliant chorizo, so I'll make that if nothing else. Trader Joe's also didn't have single-serve packets of nut butter like I was hoping.

Seaweed Snacks - $3.49 - I've never tried these before, but they're a compliant option to add some fiber to a snack/mini meal, so I figured I'd try them.

Cherry tomatoes - $3.29

White onion - $0.99

1 lb carrots - $0.89

Butternut squash zig zags - $3.49 - We need a starch option for one of our meals next week, and this seemed fun.

Fresh riced cauliflower - $2.49 - Roasted this with delicata squash for our chili last night. I prefer fresh cauliflower rice, but it goes bad pretty quickly if you buy it pre-riced, and is a pain to make with a whole head. So this was a little treat.

1 lb brussels sprouts - $2.49

Green shredded cabbage - $1.69 

2 bags green and red cabbage and shredded carrots mix - $3.98 - I wanted to buy heads of cabbage, but this was all they had, so I saved myself a bit of prep.

Mini sweet peppers - $3.49

1 lb purple brussels sprouts - $3.99 - I'm trying to broaden our vegetable horizons a bit, and thought these would be fun to try.

2 packages NSA bacon - $8.98

2 GT's kombuchas - $5.98

24 oz broccoli florets - $4.58

3 cans coconut milk - $5.07

Lean ground chicken - $3.79

1 lb limes - $1.49

1.5 lb red potatoes - $1.79

Cilantro - $1.99

1 lb lemons - $1.49

Coconut aminos - $2.99

8 pack blackberry Spindrift - $6.99 - I love this seltzer

3 dozen eggs - $11.97

2 lb ground pork - $9.58

2 avocados - $2.38

Red bell pepper - $0.99

Total: $101.18 - $350 total for the month so far

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Thanks for sharing all of your Trader Joes foods for meal prep.  I see a lot of broccoli, eggs, and cauliflower in my future too!  Your meals sound delish!  And the post from the day before... I see you mentioned Awesome Sauce.  Are you a Melissa Joulwan fan?  I love her.  I have Well Fed and Well Fed 2.  Can't wait to dive into her recipes again!

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@Amy_Michigan Thanks - I love cooking, and always find it hard to balance fun, new recipes with simple meals that are easy to make. I love Mel Joulwan's recipes! We just made her Chocolate Chili this week. She finds a way to make simple, easy foods sooo delicious. The Awesome Sauce that I'm planning to make next week is actually from Healthy Little Peach, a different food blogger. She has some great recipes on her site, too.

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7 minutes ago, w30virgo said:

@Amy_Michigan Thanks - I love cooking, and always find it hard to balance fun, new recipes with simple meals that are easy to make. I love Mel Joulwan's recipes! We just made her Chocolate Chili this week. She finds a way to make simple, easy foods sooo delicious. The Awesome Sauce that I'm planning to make next week is actually from Healthy Little Peach, a different food blogger. She has some great recipes on her site, too.

I'm pretty sure the Chocolate Chili was the very first recipe of hers I tried.  YUM!  Thanks for the recommendation on the other blogger!  There are so many nowadays it's hard to find the good ones :)

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I realized I forgot to post a run-down of my goals/areas for improvement.

Sleep: Slept well, woke up feeling rested before my alarm. Woke up multiple times throughout the night though - around 12:30, 1:30, and 3 AM. This is not normal for me, but I'm not too worried, since I went back to sleep quickly and feel rested today.

Skin: I have two small pimples developing, but not in my normal chin area. One is by my hairline, and one is under my eye (not where my glasses hit, which is sometimes an issue). I noticed this morning that it seems like my pores on my cheeks appear smaller. My skin in generally looks more...filled in. 

Digestion: Still working on this. My stomach is still grumbly, I'm still a bit bloated, and BMs are...not ideal. I'm definitely feeling better than I was this time last week though. No real pain/indigestion.

Energy: Great! Sustained throughout the day - no dip in focus/productivity yesterday afternoon. Woke up feeling GOOD this morning.

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Happy Monday! We're at Day 12. 

I'm feeling quite good. We had a busy weekend - out from 8 AM-8 PM Saturday, then all morning yesterday. We had a good time with my parents and managed to find compliant meals everywhere we went.

Since we were so busy this weekend, I didn't end up getting much meal prep done. I did most of the prep for a breakfast casserole yesterday, and my boyfriend finished it up while he was watching football last night (I'm an early-to-bed person). After we got home yesterday, I was SO happy to be back to my own home-cooked meals. We were able to find compliant foods while eating out, but it really is stressful to be sure that you're asking the right questions, and to resist all of the noncompliant options.

I was really impressed with how far I've come in my ability to navigate social situations on Whole30, though. I had my if/then plan in my head, was calm and confident in each situation, and had a really nice time spending time with my family. During my first Whole30, my boyfriend and his family were going to the Farm Show in Harrisburg, PA - it's a huge trade show for the agriculture industry, with live animals, butter sculptures, all kinds of vendors, and tons of delicious (and almost all unhealthy) food. I was planning to go with them, but the morning that we were leaving I had a meltdown because I didn't have enough time to get my meals packed, and just stayed home. Looking back, I almost can't believe the way I handled that situation. I can find so many different strategies where I could have been successful (hello, prepare your food the night before, not the morning of!). It makes me happy that, while I may not have lost much weight over the past three years, my mind has changed so significantly. I think that the changes in my relationship with food are a better NSV than losing weight, anyway.

Here's a run-down of how I'm feeling:

Sleep: Good. Saturday into Sunday, I woke up early (6:00 AM on a weekend), feeling really anxious. I think part of it was the dream I was having, and part of it was just thinking about all the stuff I wanted to do, that I wasn't able to with my parents visiting. Last night, I slept well, but didn't feel well-rested when my alarm went off at 6:05. I let myself sleep until Dave's first alarm went off at 6:45 AM.

Skin: No new zits, my pores still look good.

Digestion: It was better Saturday/Sunday, but today is giving me some issues. I think all the food I ate outside the house is coming back to affect me.

Energy: Good. On Saturday, I was in good spirits all day until, after lunch, we went to a bar to watch football. We sat in the smoking side of the bar, and I just started to get to a point where I wanted to leave and go home. I stayed with everyone until we all went home after dinner, but I was getting tired. We walked 4 miles on Saturday, and I wasn't wearing the best shoes for it, so I'm sure that contributed. Yesterday, I had good energy all day, but I just wanted to relax when we got back from the morning with my parents. I'm definitely an introvert, and that much socializing takes a lot out of me.

I'll update with the meals I ate, and some grocery shopping we did, a little later.

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Okay, so my meals this weekend and today. I'm going to be pretty detailed here, in case anyone from Pittsburgh, or who's visiting, is looking for restaurants with compliant options.

Friday for dinner we went to OTB (Over the Bar) in the South Side of Pittsburgh. This restaurant has a Paleo menu (they're near a Crossfit gym), so I figured we could find something good.  I had "Heaven on a Plate" which was a turkey burger over sauteed veggies, topped with chipotle aioli, and a side salad with vinaigrette. It was fine, but I didn't really feel satisfied afterwards. I think there wasn't as much fat as I'm used to in the meals I make myself. We had a nice time at happy hour with my family and dinner, then went home.

Saturday - Day 10 - this was a long day.

M1 - Went to breakfast with my parents at Square Cafe in Regent Square. I love this place - it's a super cute neighborhood cafe, and their food is fresh and delicious. I had a smoked salmon scramble (asked the server for it to be prepared without dairy - she made sure with the kitchen that the eggs wouldn't be scrambled with milk), topped with red onion, tomatoes, & capers, and a side of mixed greens with a vinaigrette.

After breakfast, we went to an RV show. Breakfast held me over well, until around 1:30 PM - we had breakfast around 9 AM. I started to get hungry, but I was prepared with snacks. I had a refillable water bottle, two Chomps sticks, an Epic bar, an individual packet of olives, a bag with almonds, and seaweed snacks in my bag. I gave one of the Chomps sticks to a friend who was with us, had a few almonds, and split the other Chomps stick with my boyfriend. I tried the seaweed - it was the first time I had it. I did not care for it, LOL. This is great, because I bought a 6-pack of them at Trader Joe's. I'll have to find a way to use them in recipes. I got an unsweetened iced tea to get the taste out of my mouth and drank about half of it.

M2 - Walked from the convention center downtown to Burgatory in the North Shore. This is a chain in Pittsburgh, that has multiple locations. They have a build your own burger option, which I got. I got a Wagyu burger topped with mushrooms, grilled onions, avocado, and pickled jalapenos, with (another) side salad with vinaigrette. Yum! This was delicious - would totally get it again. I got to really enjoy a great burger without feeling terrible and bloated afterwards.

We went to a few bars to have drinks and watch football. We went to one in the North Shore that had hundreds of beers, and they had an impressive non-alcoholic drinks section of their menu. I saw they had Red Ribbon sodas (a small company from the Pittsburgh area) and their plain seltzer is one of my favorites, so I asked for that. They didn't have it. I asked about another sparkling water I saw on the menu - did it contain sugar? - the server didn't know. I ordered it to try, and she brought me the bottle unopened. Sadly, it had sugar in it, so I gave it back to her and just had soda water from the gun. Oh well.

When discussing where to go to dinner, I let me family pick where they wanted, since they'd been so good with our restrictions. They wanted to go back to the South Side, to a British (Scottish?) restaurant we love, Piper's Pub. There were a few different options I could get with some modifications, and hallelujah, I wouldn't have to have salad again. I love salad, but having it for 5 meals in a row was a bit much. We went to a bar in South Side to watch the game before dinner. The only area with a table big enough for our group was on the smoking side. I didn't want to be on the smoking side for obvious reasons, but I'm also a former smoker, so the nicotine cravings on top of everything else (noncompliant food, alcohol, etc.) started to wear on me. I stayed in pretty good spirits, though, and made it to dinner.

M3 - Piper's Pub on the South Side - love this place. I ordered a grilled salmon dish, no sauce, with roasted fingerling potatoes & green beans. The salmon was, no lie, the best salmon I have ever had. I can't wait to go back and have it again, LOL.

I'll update with Sunday and today's meals a little later.

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