Whole30 (possibly Whole50) round 2!

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Hi all, I'm new!

A bit about me: I'm female, I'm in my second year of medical school, and we're about to start preparing for our first set of board exams. I attempted the Whole30 twice; my first attempt proved unsuccessful after 23 days, but my second attempt almost one year ago was very successful in spite of all the temptations (free food) and struggles (staying social and finding compliant meals at restaurants around town), and I felt amazing afterwards. I want to reset my diet after two weeks of very unhealthy holiday eating and develop healthy eating habits that help eliminate fatigue and boost brain power, especially with board exams approaching.

My second round begins tomorrow and I'm very excited about it. I spent several days researching recipes and coming up with meal plans that incorporate the same types of ingredients. There is a Trader Joe's and a Whole Foods about 20 minutes away from my place, and I've allotted time on Sundays to buy the ingredients and prep the meals. For those of you in medical school or any other type of graduate program, you probably know how much of a time commitment it can be, so I made sure all of my meals are quick and easy to prepare (lots of soups, salads, and "wraps"!) Although I'm normally a vegetarian, I've decided to incorporate fish and poultry-based bone broth into my diet as protein sources.

I'm super excited to start this round. I will post food logs and pictures as I go... now off to start meal prepping!

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9 hours ago, 50andstillhere said:

So do you make your own bone broth? I have done it but it never "gels" like the recipe says it should.  I figure, that it probably is still good for me.

Unfortunately I haven't made my own yet! One thing I've learned over the past two years is that sometimes you have to pay for convenience, but I'd love to make my own when I have the time. Whole Foods has some compliant chicken and turkey bone broths-- I got the approved Kettle & Fire flavors to try because they were on sale, but I might get the 365 brand next time because it's less expensive.

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Day 1:

M1 - Chia seed pudding (chia seeds, coconut milk, unflavored Vital Proteins collagen, blackberries, and pomegranate), coffee with TJ's unsweetened almond milk.
**Note: I found out this morning that chia pudding was discouraged, so I froze the rest of my 7-day batch to save it for post-W30 breakfasts.

I wasn't hungry for about seven hours after breakfast. Pre-Whole30 I was accustomed to having a Quest bar or something similar for breakfast, which would keep me satiated for a few hours but I'd be ravenous by noon. It was 2 PM before my hunger cues actually kicked in.

M2 - Triple greens salad (dinosaur kale, arugula, snow peas) with homemade ginger-sesame dressing (sesame oil, EVOO, ACV, coconut aminos, minced garlic, ginger, and orange zest) and hard-boiled eggs x 2 on the side. I also brought a homemade bulletproof matcha (just matcha powder and Vital Proteins collagen in hot water) in case I got hungry at school, but I wasn't.

Not only was I definitely not hungry for the remainder of the afternoon, but my usual mid-afternoon slump was gone. Pre-Whole30, around 3:30 or 4 PM I'd have to turn to the Diet Coke or some sort of snack (usually salty-- salty snacks are my vice) to keep me plowing through. What I ate typically depended on the day-- some days I'd take advantage of the free food provided at meetings or talks (pizza is the most common and as much as my mouth likes it, the rest of my body dislikes either the gluten or dairy), while other days I'd bring something like almonds and carrot sticks and would end up hungry again by mid-afternoon.

M3 - By the time 7 PM hit I wasn't very hungry, so I whipped up vegetable "soup" with zoodles and leftover dinosaur kale in a cup of bone broth. I also added some hempseed for omegas, and garlic and Veracha for flavor. I thought it needed salt, but that was probably just my body being accustomed to very salty meals. There's also 1/2 avocado (which unfortunately still wasn't in that "ripe enough" window) on the side.

Even as a child, I was conditioned to have dessert after dinner. It didn't matter if it was ice cream, a piece of chocolate, a granola bar, or a piece of fruit-- my brain is used to the habit of signifying the end of dinner with something sweet, so my sugar dragon loves to rear its head after dinner. I did get compliant kombucha but realized I'd probably use it as a dessert or fruit substitute, so I've decided to save the kombucha for another occasion. As far as new after-dinner habits, I'm thinking of either switching out the sweets for unsweetened tea, or simply brushing my teeth once the necessary window has passed.

Unpictured - Lots of water!

My recommendations to myself are to watch dressing portion sizes, especially when the avocados are actually ripe enough to add to my salads, and to switch out the oils for more protein. I'll be using those zoodles in tomorrow's breakfast and plan on using the bone broth as a base for a starchier butternut squash soup. I know the hangover is coming tomorrow (in addition to a couple of other things) and my sugar dragon won't be happy in a few days, so I had better rest up and prepare myself for what's yet to come.

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Day 2:

M1 - Sunny-side up eggs x 2 with zoodles, topped with Veracha, plus coffee with TJ's almond milk and Vital Proteins collagen. Later on I had some lavender rooibos tea (compliant AND made by a local lavender farm!).

M2 - I didn't have the appetite for a salad, so I brought some snow peas, raw cauliflower, hard-boiled eggs x 2, and 2 tbsp of my ginger-sesame dressing for dipping. I also grabbed an apple from the assortment of free food in the student lounge. It was very filling and would definitely work for future lunches, except maybe I'll have to switch out the apple for something less sugary.

M3 - I quickly made some "egg drop soup" - I cooked some zoodles and cauliflower in 1 cup of bone broth, then I added an egg and cooked it some more. The egg got poached rather nicely inside the broth, and the yolk added a rich flavor. I also added a little garlic and salt for flavor. On the side I had lavender kombucha.

Also, as usual, I had plenty of water throughout the day.

No pictures today, sorry! The food wasn't exactly the most attractive.

I did experience a pretty significant hangover (mostly nausea but also a headache) first thing in the morning. It improved after I ate my apple, meaning it's definitely a symptom of sugar withdrawal. Thankfully I didn't have any mandatory AM classes and things cleared up enough by the time clinical skills class rolled around. I'm still feeling the ill effects of the hangover, but historically it has cleared up by day 3. Until next time...

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Day 3:

M1 - Eggs x 2 with Veracha and sauteed dinosaur kale and arugula; coffee with TJ's unsweetened almond milk and collagen.

M2 - Same as yesterday! Snow peas, cauliflower, HB eggs x 2, 2 tbsp homemade ginger-sesame dressing, and an apple.

M3 (unpictured) - I was at school pretty late and I had to run to the store for eggs (ran out) and picked up some sweet potatoes while I was at it. For dinner I had the last of the cauliflower (about 1/2 cup?) and microwaved a small sweet potato and put a glob of almond butter in it. I had heard of the sweet potato/almond butter combination for a while and wanted to try it-- it tasted pretty good, but holy stickiness, Batman. I also realized that almond butter may be a FWOB for me.


Day 4:

M1 - Eggs x 2 with Veracha, 1 serving smoked salmon (the grocery store has a compliant local brand!), and 1/3 of an avocado which I ultimately saved for later because the salmon and eggs had enough fat on their own. If you couldn't tell, I'm a huge fan of sriracha and other hot sauces, and Veracha (by True Made Foods) is my favorite compliant variation. I'm not sponsored by them or anything-- I just really like using it to give my food an extra kick :)  Next time I'll add some vegetables! Also my usual coffee concoction.

M2 - Salad (dinosaur kale, snow peas, and the 1/3 avocado from breakfast) topped with a sprinkling of hempseed and some nutritional yeast I found in the pantry, and 2 tbsp of my homemade ginger-sesame dressing. Also another serving of smoked salmon. I wasn't hungry until 2 PM-- as somebody pursuing Surgery as a specialty, staying full for longer a good thing because you never know how long a surgical case is going to take.

M3 (unpictured) - Zoodles and the last of the dinosaur kale in chicken-mushroom bone broth. I poached an egg in the broth to give it some extra protein, and had a hibiscus ginger kombucha on the side. I didn't take a picture because the kale turned the broth a rather unattractive color.


I'm definitely experiencing everything on the Whole30 timeline twice as quickly as expected, but if it means more days of Tiger Blood then I'm all for it! The physical fatigue is still there and part of it is the need to get back into exercising, so I'm hoping to address that soon. For now I'm mostly just getting my steps in and the occasional low-impact yoga, but my body needs cardio.

Today I was faced with a known challenge-- the cupcake truck that parks outside the hospital every Thursday. It's very popular among our classmates, and some of them get a cupcake from them every week. My sugar dragon always got excited when the truck showed up, and I'd usually give in to it once a month despite how many calories and how much sugar was probably in one cupcake alone. Today my sugar dragon didn't make a fuss about it and I kept my eyes and mind averted the entire time the truck was there.

At this point I'm not sure if I can extend my Whole30 into a Whole50, but I can still try to go as long as I can once the 30 days are up.

Also thank you to everyone who's left a comment! You're all awesome and I'm glad you like the pictures-- they're far from Instagram quality but I do try to snap pics of some of the less unattractive meals :)

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Day 5:

M1 - Eggs x 2 with Veracha, on a bed of arugula; 1 serving smoked salmon; my usual "bulletproof" coffee.

M2 - Salad (arugula, snow peas, 1/2 avocado, nutritional yeast) with homemade ginger-sesame dressing. We were to do ophthalmic exams in clinical skills today, meaning I'd be in really close contact with the standardized patients and didn't want to smell like a smoked salmon. Speaking of, I came super close to accepting a piece of gum out of habit but politely declined it with a quick "No thank you, I'm doing a Whole30." I felt super awkward doing it because I was taught from a young age that it was impolite to decline food**, but thankfully it didn't seem like a huge deal to anyone.

M3 - Dinner of the "Too Tired to Cook" variety - smoked salmon, snow peas, and an apple with almond butter. Next time I'll scoop out a serving instead of having the jar at the table with me.


Day 6:

First thing I noticed when I freshened up was that my skin is considerably clearer and softer.

M1 - Eggs x 2 with Veracha on a bed of zoodles; 1/2 avocado; my usual "bulletproof" coffee.

M2/M3 - TBD, but for a full day of studying at the library for neuro and boards practice, I brought the rest of my snow peas, 1/2 avocado with TJ's Everything But the Bagel seasoning, an egg, an apple with almond butter (portioned out this time!) and a kombucha. I am also going to bring a matcha with Vital Proteins collagen. I am not going to turn to Larabars or Rxbars as study snacks like I did last time.


We have a practice USMLE Step 1* on Friday, so I'll probably be taking a hiatus from the forum for a little while. I'll continue to log everything and do an update once the practice exam is over!


*For those W30'ers who aren't familiar with medical school, it's the first of three board exams that medical students are required to take, and they're a very significant determinant of how competitive we are for residency, so it's definitely a Big Deal. Most of us have sent out our applications for the real thing, which I'm planning to take in mid-May. This one is just practice, but it's still stressful to think about.

** This likely stemmed from my grandmother, who always took it personally whenever somebody declined the food she offered, regardless of whether it was due to allergies, a diet prescribed by a physician, or dislike of one of the ingredients. I have a very strong recollection of her yelling at my dad (who genuinely doesn't like beets) because she served us pickled beets for dinner and she could sense that he was only pretending to like them.

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Day 6 (continued):

I felt like I got hit by a semitruck. Slept for about 10 hours the night before and still didn't feel like I got nearly enough sleep. I was in bed by about 8:00, as opposed to my usual bedtime of 10:30.


Day 7:

M1 - Eggs x 2 with Veracha and nutritional yeast, and my usual coffee creation. Then I went to TJ's and WF for some groceries and passed the free samples with eyes fully averted. TJ's now carries this compliant almond milk that only contained water and almonds, which I was super excited about!

M2 - Apple with almond butter, snow peas (I know, not enough calories or protein)

M3 - A homemade veggie patty (beets, carrots, mushrooms, tahini, and egg and almond flour as a binder, adapted from a different recipe) slathered with Primal Kitchen mayo and compliant mustard and wrapped in bibb lettuce. Baked sweet potato wedges on the side. I'm normally a vegetarian outside of the W30 and don't eat red meat, so I went with veggie patties. Next time I'll go with tuna or salmon patties for more protein.


Day 8:

M1 - Eggs on a bed of mushrooms and arugula (which I meant to put into an egg bake but never got around to it), 1 serving smoked salmon, and the usual coffee. The compliant smoked salmon that TJ's carries was suuuuper salty... I'll probably stick with the brand I used last week! I brought some apple cinnamon herbal tea to school with me too.

M2 - Paleo tuna salad (tuna, Primal Kitchen Mayo, compliant mustard, ACV, and a little EVOO) on  bibb lettuce wraps, with compliant pickles and a side of snow peas.

M3 - Same as day 7!

My sugar dragon hasn't been as angry as I thought it would be these past couple of days, most likely because I'm trying to limit my fruit to once a day (or zero times a day) and not resort to eating any of the emergency Larabars or Rxbars I have stashed away for dire emergencies. There are 9 bars in total and I'm challenging myself to have all of them left by the end!

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Long time no see! I've been so bad about not getting any pictures, but I'll try to fix that next week!

Day 9 - Tuesday

M1 - Eggs x 2 with smoked salmon and arugula. Later I had a bulletproof matcha with collagen and MCT oil, which I had around noon to tide me over.

M2 - Same as yesterday. I planned to eat lunch a little later in the afternoon because I knew I'd be at Grand Rounds until 8 and didn't want to cave in to the catering. We had two mandatory lectures that afternoon, and due to my lack of willingness to make the lecture hall smell like tuna, I ended up having to wait until 3 to eat lunch. This wasn't a wise decision on my part. Probably should have just brought some vegetables and a couple of hard boiled eggs as a snack. Lunch consisted of tuna salad on bibb lettuce wraps with compliant pickles and snow peas.

M3 - I attended Dermatology Grand Rounds and was faced with the temptation of catering from Panera-- sandwiches, chips, and cookies-- at the guest lecture and resident presentations. I reminded myself that the catering would be there next month and sat through the entire thing without even turning to the emergency bars. Once home (around 8:30 PM), I had some smoked salmon, sweet potato wedges, and some bites of the paleo tuna salad and carrots that I was prepping for future lunches.

Day 10 - Wednesday

Last night I had one of those dreams described in the timeline: I instinctively grabbed a fistful of Cheetos out of a large bag and started eating them. Then, midway through, I realized I was supposed to be doing a Whole30 and immediately panicked because it meant I'd have to start over. And then my brain screamed, "This is just a dream and you don't have any Cheetos in your pantry, so don't panic."

M1 - I heated up one of my veggie patties and topped it with TJ's Avocado's Number guac (compliant and a far better alternative than buying avocados that are either unripe or have gone completely bad) and put it on some bibb lettuce.

M2 - A "bento box" of tuna salad on bibb lettuce wraps, pickles, multicolored carrots, and snow peas.

M3 - Breakfast for dinner! Eggs x 2 with more guac, and about 1/2 of a purple sweet potato. Later I had some DAVIDsTEA loose-leaf rooibos from a sampler pack.

Day 11 - Thursday

M1 - Veggie patty on the last of the zoodles. I forgot what I topped it with, if anything.

M2 - Another "bento box" of multicolored carrots, snow peas, guac, and smoked salmon. I brushed my teeth afterwards, of course. ;)

M3 - I was a junior clinician at the free Derm Clinic tonight and saw patients until about 8:30. By the time I made it home (9:00), I wanted to dive head-first into a bowl of cereal (never mind that I don't have any cereal at home) but instead microwaved half of a large purple sweet potato. I had one half of that with TJ's Salsa Autentica (my favorite salsa, and it's compliant!), and the other half with almond butter. Probably not the healthiest option but better than nothing.

Day 12 - Friday

M1 - Eggs x 2 with TJ's Salsa Autentica, smoked salmon. I wanted my meal to be high in protein and fat to keep me full until 1.

Today we had our first USMLE Step 1 practice exam, which lasted from 8 to 1 and had about 200 questions covering everything from basic sciences. I brought some snow peas and multicolored carrots with me, and also one of my emergency bars just in case. I didn't need to turn to the emergency bar.

M2 - Lunch was a veggie patty on bibb lettuce with the usual toppings, and I had the veggies on the side. Then I completed some errands and got an unsweetened venti Iced Passion Tango tea from Starbucks. Score!

M3 - Eggs x 3 with Salsa Autentica and guac. Afterwards, Cold 911 from DAVIDsTEA.


Day 13 - Saturday

M1 - Veggie patty on the last of the bibb lettuce with the usual condiments. Then DAVIDsTEA earl grey with collagen. (I have a couple of DAVIDsTEA samplers and am seizing the opportunity to try the compliant teas, which is only about... 7? I absolutely love that store)

M2 - Another tuna salad bento box! I decided to put my tuna salad on nori that has been sitting in my pantry for forever. On the side I had snow peas and the last of TJ's multicolored carrots. The seaweed and carrot combination is surprisingly delicious.

M3 - TBD but I have one last veggie patty, one bottle of kombucha, and one last handful of snow peas awaiting in the fridge. I still have all my emergency bars left, which is a first!

Clearer skin! That's a huge deal for me because I've struggled with problem skin for years and it's usually exacerbated by dairy. I actually did not wear any makeup today, which is rare. It's much less time-consuming to throw on a tiny amount of eyeliner and mascara instead of having to layer on the foundation.

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Haven't fallen off the wagon yet! A lot of my meals have been quite similar lately so I apologize for any redundancy. I feel like I'm eating a lot more on this Whole30 than at my baseline, especially fats. While we're being completely honest, I often feel like I'm eating too much fat. Also, still waiting on that alleged tiger blood.

Day 14 - Sunday
M1 -
Eggs x2 and the small amount of smoked salmon that was left in the fridge.
M2 - After heading to TJ's and WF for my weekly grocery haul, I didn't make it home until around 2 PM and ended just having a bunch of (compliant) dry roasted cashews, and bites of the green beans that I was prepping.
M3 - Eggs x2 scrambled in a little coconut milk, about 1/2 of a purple sweet potato, and some Veracha and about a tbsp of Tessemae's avocado ranch (it's very rich-- yikes! Definitely not for every day) for dipping!

Day 15 - Monday
M1 -
For the week I made paleo egg bake (a base of purple sweet potato and brussels sprouts baked for ~20 minutes, then I added eggs scrambled in coconut milk mixed with mushrooms and arugula and baked it for another 30 minutes). It made a lot so I have enough to get me through the rest of next week. I had a piece of the egg bake, and later in the morning I had the most bitter sencha tea ever from my DAVIDsTEA sampler (not sure what I did to make it taste so vile?)
M2 - Salad (mixed greens, spinach, cucumber, green beans, and ginger-sesame dressing) topped with cashews
M3 - Smoked salmon and green beans

Day 16 - Tuesday
M1 -
Same as day 15
M2 - Same as day 15
M3 - I had a clinical skills "practical" that went extremely well, and I received very good news regarding my USMLE practice test scores (I won't disclose the actual numbers but my score was well above the passing threshold), so I decided to do something special and make "sushi". It consisted of cucumber, avocado, and smoked salmon wrapped in nori and doctored up with some coconut aminos. The nori is the compliant kind from Sea Snax, btw.

Day 17 - Wednesday
M1 -
More paleo egg bake with Salsa Autentica, and some pomegranate seeds on the side.
M2 - I was going to be working at the free clinic again this week so I decided to do something higher in protein and fat as well as fiber. For lunch I made tuna wraps with cucumber and the last of the nori, then shortly before clinic I had a serving of cashews and pomegranate seeds. I was at a meeting that was catered by Jimmy Johns (one of my favorite chains) so the sandwiches were definitely tempting! I reminded myself that they're not going away and I can just go back any other time.
M3 - I was kind of hungry when I arrived home around 9:30 PM and had some smoked salmon, green beans... and a handful of cashews. I bought them to put on my salad but they've definitely become a FWOB.

Day 18 - Thursday
M1 -
Paleo egg bake with Salsa Autentica
M2 - The last of my mixed greens/spinach/green bean/cucumber salad, and the last of my ginger-sesame dressing. That dressing lasted a while! I saved the cashews for later in the afternoon.
M3 - Smoked salmon and the last of the green beans. I will probably make some tea after posting this. Tomorrow I'll be doing something different involving the container of spaghetti squash in my fridge!

To drink: Plenty of water, my coffee with collagen and TJ's Simply Almond beverage, tea, and strawberry Waterloo! I also had a kombucha at one point.

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