w30Virgo Round 4 January 2021

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Gearing up to start my fourth round of Whole30 this January. I posted logs for my last two rounds on this forum, and I've found it really helpful for tracking meals I like, as well as habit tracking. Just read my logs for the last two rounds, and I'm happy to see that I've come pretty far with my eating and habits since I first started my Whole30 journey.

Thinking about how much the world has changed since January 2020 is really unbelievable, although my lifestyle actually hasn't changed much. I worked from home mostly before the pandemic - now I just don't travel for work anymore. I miss seeing friends and family - with the spikes in numbers, I haven't seen anyone outside of my family in at least two months. I'm excited to do Whole30 as a way to break up the winter, fortify some healthy habits, and continue to improve my health.

My boyfriend is doing Whole30 again with me - he did it with me last year as well, and really enjoyed it. We'll be starting 1/1 - no use in putting it off, since we won't be doing anything super special for New Year's this year. I'm just making us a nice dinner, and we'll enjoy some champagne. I've started planning, and did some grocery shopping to get us set up for success earlier this week.

I'm taking the rest of the week off work, so I'll have more time to prep and get things ready later on in the week. Here's my meal plan for the first few days:

1/1 - Pork & Sauerkraut for luck, of course

1/2 - Indian Skillet Roasted Chicken from the Defined Dish cookbook

1/3 - Burgers with a Veggie, Oven-Baked Fries, and Awesome Sauce from the Whole Smiths cookbook

1/4 - Chicken Tortilla-Less Soup from the Defined Dish cookbook

1/5 - Steak Street Tacos from the Defined Dish cookbook with slaw and roasted sweet potatoes

That's all I have planned so far - for breakfast, I'll make an egg casserole with whatever veggies we have leftover and sausage or bacon, and we'll figure out lunches with leftovers for the time being. I'll probably plan more formal breakfasts/lunches for next week, when I'll be back at work. I'm planning to go to our local winter farmer's market on Saturday, and will get veggies and other items there for the week ahead. I'm going to start my grocery tracking then, when the new month starts.

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Hubs and I are W30 #4 starting tomorrow too. We, like you, are looking for a way to break up the long winter and add some spice to the endless hours at home. We have an immunocompromised daughter who lives near by and she is the only one we see - ever. We live on zoom and everyday feels pretty much like the one before!

It's weird knowing 100% what to expect and to be so excited by the prospect :) 

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Day 3 today - we ended up starting on 1/2

So far so good Whole30-wise. I journal every morning as part of my morning routine, and just started keeping a to-do list planner where I plan meals as well, so I've been keeping track of how things are going with my Whole30 when I was away from my work computer, where I make my updates on this forum. Meal tracking for the last two days below:

Day 1

M1: Chipotle - Chicken with lettuce, fajita veggies, pico de gallo, and guac - Just saw that they added cauliflower rice as an available option today, which makes me more excited for my future Chipotle trips during this Whole30! I'm normally more of a carnitas/carne asada gal, but I've been trying to be more mindful of how much red meat we eat, so went with chicken as an easy trade-off.

M2: Instant Pot Pulled Pork (I just googled bone-in instant pot carnitas - the recipe I used wasn't Whole30, so I left out the sugar in the recipe and subbed coconut aminos for soy sauce) over baked sweet potatoes with White BBQ sauce (Primal Gourmet) and cole slaw (Primal Palate) - This was a favorite of my boyfriend's from last round, and I didn't end up getting it together to make pork and sauerkraut on 1/1, so we had the pork butt defrosted.

Just got in two meals this day - you'll see I tend to struggle with getting three meals in on the weekend. Hopefully this will improve as I get in the groove of Whole30 again.

Day 2

M1: Sausage Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole (Wholesomelicious) - This was sort of spur of the moment, but I wanted to cook something nice for breakfast (turned into brunch). It turned out good!

M2: Indian Skillet Roasted Chicken from the Defined Dish cookbook - This was really tasty and easy! I did some meal prep in the afternoon and got all the veggies cut up, so I just had to mix the spices and spatchcock the chicken before roasting. I absolutely love to roast whole chickens - and luckily we got one in our Butcher Box this month! 

Snack: I couldn't tame my sweet craving after dinner, and had two dates drizzled with some cashew butter. This was tasty, but obviously not in the spirit of Whole30, so not something I'm hoping to repeat very frequently. I think I likely didn't eat enough yesterday, which could explain the cravings.

And that brings us to today for meal tracking:

Day 3

M1: Leftover Breakfast Casserole - yummy leftover, but kind of rethinking the sausage as a daily thing with breakfast - we have some from Butcher Box to use up, but I don't think I'll be going out of my way to order more in the future - more of a treat, and I'll move to turkey or chicken sausage.

M2: Leftovers - Pulled pork with slaw and leftover veggies from last night, probably. I'm saving the leftover chicken for tonight's dinner.

M3: Chicken Tortilla-Less Soup from the Defined Dish cookbook - I got this cookbook for my birthday back in September, and I've really liked almost everything that I've made from it. Excited to really cook my way through it this Whole30.

As far as groceries, we didn't make it to the farmer's market on Saturday, which stinks because it's only twice monthly in the winter, so I won't have another chance to go until next Saturday. We had some errands to run and weren't going to be able to fit in grocery shopping, so we did Whole Foods delivery.

Groceries 1/4

Whole Foods

4 Sweet Potatoes - $2.10

3.4 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - $18.67 - We didn't have any chicken breast left from our Butcher Box, so needed to get more. I've added it to my order for this month, so we'll have more in the future.

2 White Onions - $3.67

3 Tomatoes - $3.14

1 Broccoli Crown - $1.43

Coleslaw Mix - $2.99 - This was really good coleslaw mix - better quality than Trader Joe's or Aldi's, so I'll try to remember that when buying it in the future.

5 oz bag Baby Spinach - $1.99

4 lb Yellow Onions - $1.49

Canned Chipotles in Adobo - $2.99 - This was a pretty big can, but expensive compared to Aldi, where we can also get it.

5 lb Russet Potatoes - $3.49

1 bunch Radishes - $2.50

1 bunch Celery - $1.69

3 lb Brussels Sprouts - $8.97

Baby Bella Sliced Mushrooms - $2.79

2 Cauliflower - $6.98

2 heads Butter Lettuce - $5.98

4 Avocados - $3.99

Tip for Driver - $10

Total: $84.86 - I don't love supporting Whole Foods, but their grocery delivery is just so convenient, and honestly, the quality of the produce is much better than Trader Joe's and Aldi in my experience. I prefer getting my produce from the Farmer's Market, but that's not always an option in the winter. This weekend, I'm planning to walk down to the market area in Pittsburgh, called the Strip District, which is about 2 miles from our home.

Thrive Market - I also placed an order from here for some Whole30 staples, since they're having a sale.

3 bottles Whole30 Ranch - $12.57 - This is the best bottled ranch I've had, Whole30 or not. I like to make homemade ranch, but this is great for an easy option - buffalo chicken stuffed baked potatoes or salad are such a tasty, easy meal.

Kettle & Fire Tomato Soup - $7.49 - I like to have soup in the winter, with Meal Prep Meatballs, for lunches during the week. So I got a couple soups to try, in case I don't feel like cooking.

Kettle & Fire Butternut Squash Soup - $7.49

Whole30 Creamy Balsamic Dressing - $4.19 - This one was really good when we tried it, too.

Whole30 Elderberry Vinaigrette - $4.19 - Trying this for the first time!

Thrive Market Dijon Mustard - $1.79

Chomps Italian-Style - $13.99 - Got this for an on-the-go snack.

Total: $51.71

Total Grocery Spending so far: $136.57

And Chipotle was $20.33 for both of us

That's all I'm going to write for now!

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Day 4

Feeling pretty good this morning, though yesterday ended up being a little rough. I had some headaches in the afternoon, that I tried to power through by drinking water, but after I took my daily walk in the afternoon (50 minutes - a little over 2.5 miles), which was nice, but when I got home it was like I hit a wall. I told myself I could lay in bed for a little while, since I slept so poorly the night before, and I ended up staying in bed for two hours. I felt no motivation when I got out of bed, but it was cold and dreary yesterday, and I had a nice soup planned for dinner, so I got up and made it, which I'm proud of. Outside of Whole30, that would have almost certainly been a takeout night. 

Having a plan is always so important to my success in maintaining healthy habits and routines, and ever since I read Food Freedom Forver last winter, I've gotten better at using "If, Then" plans in my day-to-day life. So my experience yesterday has me wanting to make an If, Then plan for nights where I just don't feel like cooking. I think I'm going to make a list of easy, no-brainer meals that we can keep available in the fridge/freezer for when we have nights like last night. So far the only one I really have is sheet-pan dinners with chicken sausage, which requires some prep, but it's normally prep that's easy for me or my boyfriend.

I really like the planning aspects of cooking, but sometimes just don't feel as ambitious in the moment when I need to cook, so I asked my boyfriend to cook tonight to give me a little break. We're having an easy dinner - Steak Tacos with roasted squash and cauliflower rice that's already made.

Anyway, I'm hopeful today will be better, and knew that some kind of "hangover" would be expected in the first few days of this round. I've been pretty productive at work so far, but I haven't had breakfast yet. I'm going to make buffalo chicken egg muffins (Real Food RDs) for a late breakfast/brunch for myself with brussels sprouts - that'll be really good. 

For lunch yesterday, I ended up having a turkey burger with some leftover cole slaw and veggies from under the roasted chicken I made on Sunday with a curry sauce that's made by a company local to where i grew up in central PA - Torchbearer Sauces. It was really good, and I made the choice to have a turkey burger after writing about my desire to decrease the amount of red meat we eat, so I think the journaling is really helping me with achieving my goals.

I didn't love the soup I made last night - I probably wouldn't make it again. It was fine, just nothing special.

Meals today:

M1: Buffalo Chicken Egg Bites w Roasted Brussels

M2: Leftovers - maybe the same as yesterday if we have enough veggies leftover, or maybe a protein with the leftover soup I made last night.

M3: Steak Street Tacos (Defined Dish Cookbook) with Mexican Cauliflower Rice (Nom Nom Paleo) and roasted acorn squash

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I'm also a list-maker/planner, and like you, I love to plan meals but don't always feel like following through when the time comes.  The idea of if-then backup meals is a good one.  I'll often fall back on leftovers, but I've certainly run into situations where there is nothing quick to make.  I do have a few Walmart W30 meals in the freezer, but those are absolute last resort as I really wasn't impressed with them.  

Your meals sound so delicious!  And I'm excited to learn of Chipotle's cauliflower rice - this is the first I'm hearing of it.  

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@MadyVanilla Thanks! I'm glad to hear you weren't super impressed with the Walmart W30 meals. We don't have a Walmart in the city of Pittsburgh, but I was thinking about driving out to the suburbs to pick up some for emergencies. Knowing that they aren't so great, I might try to buy some of the Primal Kitchen frozen meals to keep on hand.

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Day 5

Feeling really good today. Just calm, focused, and energized. My day, and what I have planned for it seem totally possible, doable, and enjoyable. I'm not sure if it's just one little honeymoon day, or if this will keep up, but I'm excited that it's happening so early in my Whole30.

The only thing that's bothering me a bit is my digestion - I struggle with it almost always, and I'm telling myself it's my system sort of cleaning out of what I was eating before, but it's the only real negative with today. 

I asked my boyfriend to make dinner yesterday, since cooking was feeling overwhelming, so that was a nice little break. I'll be back at it today - I love to cook, so don't normally mind doing it. It's just one of those - "I have to do this every day for the rest of my life" things that can feel totally overwhelming at moments. 

I started writing yesterday - and that's what I had before getting distracted by everything else going on in my life and our country.

Day 6

Again, wildly, feeling really good today. I was amazed by how calm I felt this morning while going through my morning routine. I woke up at my normal time - 6 AM - for the first time since before Christmas, with no trouble at all. I'd been gradually moving my alarm back to 6 this week, but normally it takes a lot more time to get myself back on track if I get off my normal sleep schedule for that long. I got a lot accomplished this morning, including starting to tackle our mountain of dishes. We don't have a dishwasher, and both my boyfriend and I struggle with naturally cleaning up after ourselves, so it's easy to let dishes get out of hand if we're doing a lot of cooking. I spent about 20 minutes on them this morning, and the task feels a lot more manageable.

I had some really good NSVs yesterday, with regard to dealing with my emotions. In the morning, I was confronted with a mistake I had made at work. It wasn't a major one, and I had done what I needed to to fix it, but the fix required some extra work from others. I tend toward perfectionism and take mistakes really hard. Normally, I would numb myself or dissociate to deal with my negative feelings in this type of situation - my most recent vices have been TikTok and using legal in my state THC/CBD. I'm giving up THC/CBD for my Whole30, and I decided to try to address my feelings rather than dissociating by scrolling through TikTok. My boyfriend could tell I was upset (we work in the same room), so I told him about what happened and how I felt. He was a good listener - I didn't really need advice, since the problem was already fixed. I felt so much better after talking with him. I normally try to hide any shortcomings I have, refusing to talk about them, and feeling ashamed of myself. It felt so good to express myself, be heard, and be accepted.

So, that was a little hiccup in my day, but I moved on from it well. Then, the afternoon....well, we all saw what happened in the afternoon. I was totally hooked to the news from around 2:30 until after 5, stuck to the couch, couldn't do anything but scroll Twitter and watch CNN. I had a work call from 4-5, which was pretty funny - all of us trying to talk about client deliverables while there's an attempted coup going on at the Capitol. Anyway, that kind of ruined my plans for doing all of our dishes before cooking dinner, and my boyfriend suggested takeout, since there was some unprecedented stuff happening. We ordered takeout from my favorite local restaurant to eat at during a Whole30 - Gaucho. It's an Argentinean steakhouse style restaurant in Pittsburgh, and we hadn't had it since the pandemic, so it was nice to help support them. Our dinner was easy and delicious, and we felt like we had something special, while remaining compliant and nourished.

If that wasn't enough, after dinner, my boyfriend had to call his mom to apologize, because they got into an argument about politics over text. His apology didn't really turn into an apology, and they ended up loudly arguing in our bedroom for about an hour. We live in a one bedroom apartment, so there wasn't really anywhere for me to go. I really hate listening to people argue, and have some childhood trauma stuff surrounding that experience, so it was difficult for me. I reached out to some friends over text and talked with them about how I was feeling, and then I listened to some music that makes me feel happy and silly - "Love on Top" by Beyonce was among my picks - at max volume in headphones while I did my nighttime routine. I feel really proud of how I handled these emotions too - sticking to my routines, setting myself up for a good day today, and taking care of myself.

So yeah, big day yesterday. Today is much calmer, going really well as well. I was able to switch gears quickly to help support one of my coworkers on some of her projects this morning, which is an NSV too. Normally, I struggle with changing my plans or switching gears in general, and especially at work. I like to follow my little to-do list for the day and check things off as I've organized them. I had no problem stopping what I was doing to help my coworker. I've gotten most of the stuff around the house/self-care I wanted to do today done, and I achieved camel pose in my yoga practice this morning! This one was a real struggle for me for the past couple weeks - I've been doing a short Underbelly class on it every day to try to get there. Something about it scares me - sort of list a trust fall with yourself. Anyway, I did it today, and I'm going to continue to practice to strengthen it. I feel really proud of myself.

Okay, that was a novel. Here are the meals from the last two days:

Day 4:

M1:  Buffalo Chicken Egg Bites (Real Food RDs) with roasted brussels sprouts and Basic Ranch (search basic ranch on the Whole30 website)

M2: Meat stick from Costco (sort of like a big Chomps stick) with whole grain mustard and sundried tomato stuffed olives - ended up making the egg bites more of a brunch, so this was a minimeal

M3: Burgers with grilled onions and mushrooms, Awesome Sauce (Whole Smiths cookbook), and tomato wrapped in lettuce with homemade roasted potato wedges - Dave made this and it was great - ButcherBox burgers are so good. We really liked the Awesome Sauce too - sort of like a zesty ketchup mayo.

Day 5:

M1: Buffalo Chicken Egg Bites with roasted brussels and ranch

M2: Turkey burger wrapped in lettuce with leftover mushrooms and onions, dijon mayo, a small handful of roasted potato wedges, and leftover coleslaw

M3: Gaucho takeout - I had a big salad with lots of veggies, avocado, oil and vinegar, and pulled chicken. We shared a side of roasted potatoes and cabbage.

Day 6:

M1: Buffalo Chicken Egg Bites with coleslaw and ranch

M2: Turkey Burger with mushrooms/onions and dijon mayo, and leftover tortilla soup without chicken

M3: Steak Street Tacos (Defined Dish cookbook) with Mexican cauliflower rice (Nom Nom Paleo) and roasted acorn squash - gonna make some homemade guac (I use a recipe from the Thug Kitchen Party Grub cookbook, which is a vegan cookbook, that is compliant) to go with this, since we have all the ingredients.

That's all for now!

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Wow - I'm so impressed and encouraged to hear how you dealt with all those emotional stressors.  Certainly, Wednesday's events were enough to put all of us on edge, but then everything else, too.  Good for you for having great go-tos and the strength to go-to them, rather than to food.  It's not easy.  I find that W30 takes the edge off, or at least keeps me from reaching the highest heights my emotions sometimes take me.  W30 is a wonderful thing.  

And congrats on camel pose!  It definitely is a trust exercise!  

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20 hours ago, w30virgo said:

I had some really good NSVs yesterday, with regard to dealing with my emotions. In the morning, I was confronted with a mistake I had made at work. It wasn't a major one, and I had done what I needed to to fix it, but the fix required some extra work from others.

I'm 60 years old and still struggle with this. I, too, made an error at work last week that is so minor as to be not an error at all but could not let it go. KUDOS to you for doing this work! It's not easy to face our own fears of not being good enough


20 hours ago, w30virgo said:

It felt so good to express myself, be heard, and be accepted.

This boyfriend of yours is a keeper :)

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Day 7

I wrote a long entry that got deleted so I'm going to keep this one short and sweet. I'm still feeling good - really good honestly. My skin is clearing up - it's only been a week, so nothing miraculous, but trending positive. My energy levels are way up, sustained focus throughout the day, motivation out the roof. The only real issue I'm seeing is my digestion is still not 100% - I almost always have issues with this, but I'm hoping to see some improvement during Whole30, so we'll see how that goes.


M1: Buffalo Chicken Egg Bites with roasted brussels sprouts and ranch - Roasted some brussels fresh this morning - yum! These were the last of the egg bites - they'll definitely be making a reappearance during our W30, I'm sure.

M2:  Turkey Burger with lettuce, cholula mayo, and tomato with leftover veggies from Sunday's roast chicken, probably.

M3: Leftovers - I think I'm going to do a copycat Chipotle bowl, with cauliflower rice, frozen peppers and onions, avocado, salsa, and some carnitas and leftover steak taco meat from last night.

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Day 8-11

Took a little break there! Still going strong with Whole30. My boyfriend proposed over the weekend on Saturday! We're very happy and excited, but are sticking with Whole30, because it helps us feel our best. I'm having some issues, sort of, with my eating over the past couple of days, since Friday really. I've had almost no appetite over the past few days. I'm sure a lot of it is from excitement/stress over our engagement, but it's getting a bit frustrating. I normally have no problems whatsoever with my appetite, the opposite really, so this feels unnatural. I'm definitely not eating enough to fuel my body - max 2 meals a day, and small portions at those meals. I just get to a point where I'm totally nauseous even thinking about food of any kind. Hoping that it's partially my body getting more adapted to this way of eating, and that things will normalize soon. I'm also not sleeping the best - struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep, and waking up early. Again, hoping it's from the excitement/stress, and that things get back to normal soon. I got a new to-do list planner for Christmas, which has sections to plan meals, so I've been keeping track of what I've been eating there. I'll update with my meals later, as I don't have my planner with me right now and can honestly not remember a lot of what I've eaten!

I'm still really happy to be doing Whole30 - almost no desire to celebrate with non-compatible food, or even all of the champagne we've been receiving. There will be plenty of time for that in February. I'm also planning to use Whole30 to jumpstart some more intense healthy habits to get me looking and feeling my best for our wedding. We're not planning to get married until April/May 2022, when hopefully our family and friends will be vaccinated and able to travel, so we have plenty of time. I've been working on improving my health generally over the past year or so, and I do feel a lot better than I have, but once we are vaccinated, I plan to start with more intense gym workouts, and will probably continue to return to Whole30 as a way to keep my eating healthy and fueling my body successfully.

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Day 12

Feeling okay this morning. I was able to fall asleep fairly early last night, around 10 PM. However, I woke up at 2:45 AM feeling like it was the morning, and couldn't get back to sleep. I got up around 5 AM and began my morning routine. I got a bit tired and napped for probably 20 minutes between 5 and 6, but I'm definitely dragging today. I'm going to get more serious about my sleep hygiene to improve things - I'm going to start using a sunrise/sunset alarm clock that we have, and reading before bed without screens. I'm hopeful this will help things. My fiance is also going out of town to visit his parents for a few days - sometimes I sleep worse without him, but I think I'll have fewer distractions to focus on really good sleep. We have different sleep schedules - I'm an early bird, he's a night owl - so he will come into our bedroom later at night and watch TV on his phone or scroll, so I won't have that blue light.

My appetite has been getting a little better, or I'm just getting used to it and serving myself smaller servings. I'm really not too worried about it - I'm overweight, so it's not a big deal to lost a few pounds. I'm making sure to eat vegetables and fruits, so I'm hopefully getting an appropriate amount of nutrients.

Even with these issues, I'm definitely feeling better mentally than normal - more alert, focused, and motivated.


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Day 13

Slept better last night - only 6.5 hours, but it's an improvement. My appetite still isn't great, but I feel good - energized, focused, positive.

I had a doctor's appointment this morning - an OB/GYN checkup and IUD removal - and it went really well. I've avoided going to the doctor for about 4 years now, because I've gained weight and feel a lot of shame around that. After my 29th birthday this year, I decided that I would take control of my health. I want to have children in the next few years, and want to get a better idea of what my fertility is like, and generally be the healthiest I can for the rest of my life. With this, I obviously need to get checkups, so today was sort of the first step for that. My appointment was great, my new OB/GYN was great, and so far everything looks good. My blood pressure was good, which is normal for me. I did look at the scale when I was weighed, so a little Whole30 cheat there, but even with my new heavy platform Doc Martens on, I've lost 6.5 lb since 1/1! 

My thoughts have been racing ever since Saturday with wedding plan anxiety, but I'm starting to calm down. We drafted a guest list, started contacting venues, and confirmed our budget, so we're moving in the right direction. I'm telling myself that I'm being so Type A about this because my work is going to pick up in March, and I won't have as much extra time at that point. I know I'm just excited to plan something, anything, especially a big party! I'm just so excited to see all of our friends and family together.

I talked to two of my friends on the phone last night, to ask them to be bridesmaids, and I felt so much better after catching up with them. Scheduling more regular phone calls with my friends and family is a non-food treat that I really want to do more often.

Meals have been smaller than usual, but I'm still trying to eat three times a day. I had part of a piece of breakfast casserole for breakfast, a Chipotle chicken salad for lunch, and an apple with cinnamon and cashew butter for dinner.

This was not the best for my digestion - for some reason Chipotle never agrees with me, and I'm not totally sure on the cashew butter. But, I'm eating and that's what's important to me. Once I get my appetite back, I'll work to realign myself to eating more balanced meals.



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