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The S Family's First Whole 30

Jocelyn Sauter

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Hello All,

My name is Jocelyn and my husband is Bryan. We decided to start the Whole 30 program after reading some reviews of other people's experiences. We started Monday, 2/18 and are currently on Day 4. So far, so good.

On Saturday, 2/9, we bought It Starts with Food. We finished it on the morning of Saturday 2/16 (I read the book aloud to Bryan - which is something we do a lot). That afternoon we made a meal plan for the week and did our shopping that evening. On Sunday, we did the prep for our breakfasts that we would have for the week and our lunches that we would have for the week. And even some of the stuff for our dinners. It was about 3 hours of prepping, but we've learned that that saves so much more time throughout the week.

Our meal plan consists of:

  • Breakfast - Sweet potato hash topped with an egg. (On Sunday I cooked up the master recipe for the ground beef, roasted the sweet potatoes, and cut up the peppers. In the mornings, all I have to do is throw the ingredients in the skillet and our breakfast is cooked in less than 10 minutes.)
  • Lunch - We each have salads. I made myself salad jars for the week - Spaghetti sauce jars cleaned and labels removed, layered starting with dressing (I made the Dreamy Avocado dressing from It Starts with Food, YUM!), then carrots, green beans, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, radishes, chicken, and spinach. They stay fresh and crispy and I just have to grab a jar and go. I also pack a 1 oz container of fresh berries and olives for my fat. Bryan has a spinach salad with bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and Dreamy Avocado dressing. He also has berries. (over the weekend we are going to switch up our salads and have a Crispy Avocado, Chorizo, Spinach Salad - really looking forward to that!)
  • Dinner - We used the meal map to plan out three separate dinner meals for the week. Since it is our first time doing this, and our first week, we didn't want to get too crazy with being inventive. We chose:
    • Tarragon Cream Pork with Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts: This was delicious. And satisfying. We had enough food to have dinner for 2 days.
    • Mexicali Beef with Kale topped with Dreamy Avocado Dressing: We had this last night and it was super yummy. Because we already had the peppers cut and the beef cooked, it was very quick meal as well. Again there is enough to feed us for another day or two.
    • Moroccan Cod: We haven't had this yet, but I can only guess it will be delicious.

Seeing as it is only our Day 4, we don't have much to report other than that we are super excited to be doing this.

The things that have been hard for us:

  • No cream in my coffee (blech - going to try a better quality coffee. I know I can use coconut milk, but I really want to try to adjust to the taste of black coffee, so for this 30 days, cream free for me)
  • No sugar in Bryan's tea (the upside to this for him is the unsweetened tea makes his mouth dry and he in-turn drinks more water).
  • My 3 pm Sugar Dragon - comes to life like clockwork every afternoon. I know that this is my brain being used to me eating a snack at this time and not legitimate hunger. So I typically have water or herbal tea and it helps.

The things that have been easy for us:

  • Planning, shopping, and prepping. I did this before we started this program. I planned a menu each week and shopped according to that. Sunday was my prep day. So there was no adjustment there. Which is great, because I would imagine that would be the hardest part for most people.
  • Cooking. I love to cook. Bryan helps me. We enjoy doing that together. There is no learning curve for me, and the meal map meals are super simple. I'm excited to start trying more complex options.
  • Not snacking all the time. We used to snack because we were bored or because it was "time to eat." But we know that that isn't an option any more, and surprisingly, our resolve to succeed is making it quite easy to give up those habits (again, I understand it is only Day 4 and this could very well change to something more difficult for us).

When we exercise, we each have a hard boiled egg before our workout. I mix mine with some sliced carrots, a dollop of Dreamy Avocado dressing, and red pepper flakes. This gives us an energy boost to get through a low intensity workout.

Some things we've been experiencing:

  • Bryan had a dull headache starting Day 2, persisting through Day 3.
  • Bryan was exhausted and cranky all of Day 3.
  • I became very tired on Day 3 in the late afternoon, persisting through the evening.
  • I woke up on Day 4 with a dull headache persisting through late morning.
  • I woke up on Day 4 feeling tired and foggy, but that lifted late morning.
  • Bryan has had food dreams consisting of fried chicken and dinner rolls, both of which are not regular foods we eat.

I'm hoping that we both pass over the "kill all the things" stage... Although, for me, it might be hard to differentiate that from a normal day. I'm a high stress, quick tempered person. One of the things I'm hoping to change as a result of this program. Also, I am starting my ladytimes and that's making it hard to tell if certain things (mood swings, skin breaking out, being tired) are a result of my hormones or the program, maybe both.

In addition to me wanting to level out my stress, here are our reasons for wanting to do this:

  • We both want to eat better and be more aware of the food that is going into our body.
  • We made a "be better" goal to eat at our table and not in front of the t.v. - since this is one of the rules, we are killing two birds with one stone.
  • Bryan has bad allergies and is hoping the symptoms lessen or go away
  • I have arthritis, hypoglycemia, major ladytime cramping pains, and sleep issues and I'm hoping the program helps to fix those ailments.

I will be blogging about our weekly process and checking in here from time to time. Not sure if anyone will take the time to read my lengthy posts, but it feels good to put it out there and be held accountable, even if it only by the internet!

Good luck to everyone doing their Whole 30.

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Hi, Jocelyn:

Do you make the entire week's worth of salad jars at the beginning of the week? I love that idea.

I've been having a lot of fun with the nomnompaleo app on my ipad! Getting lots of good recipes.

Where will you be blogging about your progress? I'll follow along with hopes of gaining some of your culinary organization skills by osmosis. :)

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I do make my salad jars on Sunday. I make 5 so I have enough for the work week. I've been taking pictures of my meals and will put them on my blog when I do my first entry.

My blog is: http://sauterdiaries.blogspot.com/

And you can find a link to the salad jar idea in this post: http://sauterdiaries.blogspot.com/2013/01/pinterest-in-kitchen-chapter-4.html

I totally checked on the nomnompaleo blog yesterday and pinned a bunch of recipes. I don't have an iPad, so I can't use the app, but so much of her recipes look delicious and relatively simple.

Thanks for your reply!

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I am IN LOVE with the salad jar idea! I rarely buy grape/cherry tomatoes though...I imagine chopped tomatoes might make the dressing a runny mess? Also it seems like the spinach might be too wet to stick in a jar all week, even though I have a salad spinner. Maybe dry it with a paper towel first?

LOL I was thinking the same thing about the cookie dough xacerb8!

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What I would suggest, is to put your tomatoes closer to the top layer, maybe between another set of veggies. I buy the prewashed spinach so I don't have an issue with the spinach getting soggy. But I would think drying with a paper towel would work just fine. You could always start small just to test it out, like I did, with one or two jars. The order I listed my ingredients is the order I put them in my jars, dressing always first and then a dense veggie that won't suck up the dressing and become soggy (like carrots and green beans), spinach or greens ALWAYS last. Here is a pic of my salad jars (pre-Whole 30) http://instagram.com/p/UkFPsKi0y_/ (I no longer shred my carrots, I slice them with my mandolin slicer).

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The Whole30 Daily

I signed up to receive The Whole30 Daily during my first Whole30. I figured, it couldn't hurt and it would be extra motivation and reminders to stay on track. I've really been enjoying it so far, and I like that you can click on a link at the end of each day saying that you completed the day with flying colors. This is perfect for me because I'm a total check-things-off-a-list kinda girl. Plus, you get rewarded with an inspirational and/or funny picture or video after clicking on the link. I don't know what happens when you click on the "I need to start over link" and I don't intend to find out.

Today, they suggested popping over to the Whole30 Forum and posting one thing that is significantly better than it was just 5 short days ago. (Day 5, here just in case you didn't know) I've been thinking about this all morning. For me, I would have to say my mood. As mentioned in my initial post, I'm a quick tempered person. I'm a perfectionist. I have frequent meltdowns about ridiculous things. Luckily, I have a husband who not only patiently waits for the storm to pass, but helps bring me back down to earth and allows me to see the humor in my ridiculous behavior. But, when I read in It Starts with Food that mood swings can even out as a result of the Whole30 lifestyle I was cautiously optimistic that it would happen for me.

I think it's happening. There are a couple of reasons I feel this way. First, this is the week leading up to my ladytimes and usually I'm a ticking time bomb at this time. And while I can't pretend that I've been a bucket of smiles and hugs this entire week, I've certainly experienced a calmer disposition than usual in my pms week. Also, last night I received some distressing news regarding a family member*. I received it in an inappropriate fashion (via text - not okay in this context), which upset me further. My reaction to this situation was pretty surprising. Yes, I cried about the news and I got very angry and upset about the inconsiderate manner in which I was told (especially since this is repeat behavior), but I did not fly off the handle. I did not let these feelings of anger and hurt color my reactions to other situations - which would have happened in the past. I talked with Bryan about it. I went into a different room to just breathe. And then I got ready for bed and watched a funny T.V. to distract me and allow me to calm down so I could get to sleep. I wanted a glass of wine. I didn't have it.

This morning, I was still upset, and there was a moment when I was a little short with Bryan about something during breakfast. But considering that's all, I think that's pretty good. Bryan also recognizes the calm manner in which I'm handling a stressful situation. And on Days 4 & 5 of all days... Dubbed the "Kill all the things" days in the Whole30 Daily. I take this as a victory. Whether or not this has 100% to do with the change in my diet, all I know is that this part of my life is significantly better now than it was 5 days ago.

When I asked Bryan this question he said that he isn't hungry immediately after eating anymore. Before changing what we ate and how we ate it, Bryan would finish a meal and be searching the cabinets for something more shortly after. Typically he would emerge with a bowl of cereal or an apple with peanut butter. So, not cookies and chips (we didn't/don't keep those things in our house as an option anyway), but still more food than he needed. Now he doesn't do that. He is satisfied and full after each meal.

Clearly, you can see who is the wordy one in this relationship :) . It's amazing what 5 short days can do for change. And I'm glad that the Whole30 Daily asked us this question because it helps to keep the reasons why we are doing this right in front of us.

*For anyone who is wondering, the distressing news had a relatively good ending and the family member in question is expected to be 100% okay.

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Really enjoying your long posts Jocelyn. It's wonderful you are able to do this with Bryan. Your prep day sounds marvellous. This is something about the Whole30 I have yet to embrace, although I can see the sense in it and, if I had given a little more thought and time to preparation I may not have found myself falling off the Whole30 wagon 2 weeks ago.

Looking forward to reading more of your exploits and glad your family member is going to be OK.


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Weekend Success Story

Ok. So, I had big plans to write up my first week review on my blog yesterday (Sunday). But, I was laid up in bed in pain all day with a heating pad, club soda, and lots of tv. One of the things I'm hoping to at least alleviate (if not completely abolish) is the intense, incapacitating pain that I experience in the first couple days of my ladytimes. Sorry if this is tmi, but this is real life peeps. My mother has Endometriosis, and I've annoyed the crap out of my gynie asking him every time I visit if he felt I might also have it. He doesn't think so, and the only surefire way to find out involves an invasive procedure that I'm just not ready to do yet. Although, after yesterday's pain, I'm getting close. I tried to do things. Like, I helped Bryan cook lunch in my hunched over way. I tried to help with prepping our salads for the week... I made the dressing and then started crying b/c the cutting board was in my way. I retired back to the couch while he finished up. Therefore, my big plans of posting my review were delayed and I will hopefully get to that tonight.

But, I wanted to report a "success story" about our Saturday evening, aka Day 6. We went out with family and then friends that evening. First, we picked up Bryan's grandmother and we went to a high school production of Footloose. Of course, there was a bake sale to help raise money for the drama club. Cookies, cupcakes, chocolate covered pretzel sticks... all sitting on the table that you had to walk past before getting into the auditorium. I haven't mentioned this yet, I don't think, but I'm a major lover of all things cookies and cake. And cookies that have the consistency of cake. They are my kryptonite. But, we just grabbed two bottles of water and headed in. We weren't hungry and we knew that anything we felt when seeing those treats would pass once they were out of sight. And it did. We enjoyed the show and after dropping Mum-mum off, we met our friends at a bar.

We got to the bar a good bit after our friends so, they were well on their way with the drinking. I grabbed a club soda and lime for me and a water for Bryan immediately upon walking in the door and we found our friends. Not only did I not crave a drink, but I actually was happy that I didn't drink. I just had zero desire. My club soda was refreshing... and it was actually nice to be completely in control of everything I was doing and saying. I'm typically the kind of girl who doesn't have a "stop button" with drinking. It was nice remembering everything the next morning and not waking up with that shame fog of "did I do anything embarrassing??" or "do I have any friends left?"

Prior to going to the bar, a couple of my girlfriends were getting together at one of their houses for some drinks. The girl hosting sent me a text saying "I know you're not drinking, but wanted to extend the invitation to you in case you still wanted to come over." I said, "Yes, I'm not drinking right now, but I always want to hang if I'm available." Of course, I wasn't b/c I had plans, but it's important that people don't think no drinking means no socializing.

Was there peer pressure at the bar? Sure, but it wasn't awful. A couple of my girlfriends were teasing me about not drinking, but in a light-hearted way. My one friend said she thinks I should do a "Whole30 Light" where I do all the food stuff, but I still drink. I just laughed and told her that would totally defeat the purpose. Bryan had two people ask him why he wasn't drinking, and when he told him, they said "That's awesome, buddy. Good luck!" And my girlfriends feel the same, they just like to have company in the drinking department. Obviously, drinking is a very social activity and it's easy to feel left out of things like group shots when you're not drinking. I still wanted to feel very much a part of things, so when everyone ordered their shots I had the bartender give me a shot of water. So, I could pose for pictures and take the "shot" with the rest of the girls without all the ill side effects. This is something I've been doing for quite some time, before the Whole30, because I hate shots.

That's our social drinking success story. We pat ourselves on the back for going out, being social, having a great time, and not ruining our Whole30. And, we felt great the next day (well, except the pain I had)!

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Day 9 - Feeling much better

I am feeling like a functioning human being again! I was able to get my week 1 review up on my blog. Per usual, it is lengthy. It does have some repeat info from my original post in this forum. But it also contains some new stuff about our experiences.

We had a pretty delicious lunch this weekend - Crispy Avocado Salad with Sausage. The link to the inspiration for the recipe is in my post, as well as the way I adapted the recipe to fit our Whole30 needs.

After 2 days of not feeling hungry, but forcing myself to eat b/c I knew I had to, it's nice to be hungry and eating b/c I want to. Looking forward to my yummy lunch today and my yummy dinner tonight - Italian Chicken with Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Green Beans. Taken from the Meal Map in ISWF.

I don't get anything special by anyone visiting my blog, it's just my personal space to write stuff down. I'm just providing the link in case anyone is interested in any of the stuff I might share there. Have a great day everyone! And good luck continuing with your Day 30.

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I am currently baking cookies. Yes. cookies. While in the very early stages of my 1st Whole30. Cray cray, right?

Well, I am a member of the sweet treat club at work and it's my week to bring in baked goods. I didn't have the foresight to switch with someone and peeps get mean when you don't bring in the goods. Maybe not mean, but they aren't happy. Riots have been threatened before.

I could go out and buy something generic from the store. But I think that's cheating. And I always got disappointed when there were store bought donuts or cookies... So I'm sucking it up. I had all the ingredients on hand to make these cookies (in the form of a handy cookie jar I got as a favor at a baby shower) so I didn't have to make a special trip or spend any extra money. And it took minimal effort to prepare them.

Don't worry, I have not taken a single lick or bite of anything. I have a very scientific method in place to ensure that I don't absentmindedly taste anything. I'm wearing a ski mask. Over my mouth. It's hot. But, it's working. Bryan has left the kitchen until I'm done. I've also got a bone broth cooking, so the smell of that is somewhat overpowering the cookie smell.

Photographic proof my neighbors would think I'm a nutball if they looked through my kitchen windows: http://instagram.com/p/WN0ANMi07I/

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Day 10: Weird Food Dreams

So, I told you how Bryan dreamed about fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and dinner rolls in week 1. Did I mention that these items were served up in a bouncy house in the middle of his work place? Yeah... weird.

I also had a dream in week 1 that I ate salad with non-compliant dressing and cheese on it. I had another dream that I was carrying around a purse made of pretzels and just munching on that throughout the day... b/c that's normal.

Last night I had a dream that we were back in the town where I was raised and I ordered a diet soda at the pretzel place where I used to work. Then I poured coffee for both Bryan and myself, loading his with cream and mine with a splenda packet.

Every time I have these dreams I wake up feeling absolutely guilty and disappointed with myself until I realize it was just a dream. This morning I remembered that I made it through baking two batches of cookies without ruining the program and I was all "Take that stupid dream!"

But seriously, if I'm going to have these food dreams, could I please be eating things that aren't basically what I'm already eating? Hi... dream fairy, I would like a seven layer chocolate cake with fudge icing and a large glass of red wine the next time we meet. Mmmkaythanks.

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Day 12: Excited for the weekend

Tomorrow is Saturday and it's also the first time Bryan and I are going to eat outside of the safety of our kitchen. We are pretty excited. We are going to drive into the city and do some shopping at the specialty markets and food stores to get things we can't get in our area. We were originally going to do this last weekend and our plan was to eat lunch, drive the 1 1/2 hour to the city, shop fast and hard, and then drive back home to have dinner. It was not going to be fun or leisurely... so we decided to just forego that plan and go this weekend.

We are going to look at the different dining options in the area online and choose a place to eat that we feel can best meet our Whole30 needs. This will allow us to enjoy our day there without the stress of making it home in time to eat. We are pretty excited to take this next step. And we are excited to see all the pretty pretty produce and the cheap cheap prices. That's just not something we are used to in our little behind-the-times town.

I'll be sure to report our dining-out experience on my blog when I post my week 2 review.

Have a good and healthy weekend, everyone!

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My club soda was refreshing... and it was actually nice to be completely in control of everything I was doing and saying. I'm typically the kind of girl who doesn't have a "stop button" with drinking. It was nice remembering everything the next morning and not waking up with that shame fog of "did I do anything embarrassing??" or "do I have any friends left?"

Wow, I can SO relate to that slight feeling of shame and dread on "the morning after." (not in any sexual way, of course, LOL!)

Good for you guys!!!

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Day 17 - we're pushing this bad boy to a Whole45

So, we are over half way "done" with our 1st Whole30. And, we've decided to push it out another 15 days. This has been relatively easy. It has opened us up to new ways of cooking and eating. We have tried different flavor combinations that we never would have done before the Whole30. Bryan is eating onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes - all of which were foods on his "never eating that list."

We are feeling wonderful. I feel proud each time I put a healthy and delicious meal on our table. We don't miss our old way of eating. Yes, this is more work and we have to set aside time each week to make sure everything is ready to go for easy weeknight dinners. But I love doing that. I love the sense of accomplishment I get knowing that we were productive.

There are certainly some items that we will be excited to reintroduce into our lives, but we know these items will need to be consumed in moderation. I'm pretty sure that no wine or beer is going to taste good enough to make me want to trade in how great I'm feeling.

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Day 18 - I "made" 180 dozen cookies and didn't eat a single chocolate chip

Okay, so I didn't actually bake the cookies. But I did assemble 60 mason jars of cookie ingredients. You know, those pretty jars with all the dry ingredients layered in them, with a tag of directions on how to make them? Yeah. I had volunteered (prior to starting the Whole30) to do these adorable jars as favors for my friend's baby shower. I made it through assembly of 60 jars without eating one morsel. And I didn't even need to wear a ski mask. Now, that's growth!

Our Week 2 review is up on the blog for anyone who is looking for some extra reading :)http://sauterdiaries.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-whole30-week-2-review.html

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  • 4 weeks later...

Been a while since I've posted anything. We are still going strong... we are on day 42. We had a compliant Easter dinner yesterday, and we loved every bite.

I've been getting creative with our cooking and we've been branching out. Loving how much this way of eating has us thinking out of the box. We love Well Fed and we can't wait for Well Fed 2 to come out.

Since we are done with the Whole30 in technical terms of days, we decided to hop on the scale. I've lost 9 pounds since starting the Whole30 and Bryan lost 10. We didn't do this to lose weight, but we certainly are not complaining!

Our skin is better. Our energy levels are up. Bryan doesn't need to take allergy meds anymore. I'm sleeping better than ever. My hair seems like it's thicker. My nails are growing and I got my first ever manicure last week. I don't snack between meals anymore.

Dudes, TMI ahead, you've been warned. I had my ladytimes last week and for the first time in EVER I did not experience any pain. I had slight discomfort, like you might get if you hold your pee too long. I'll take it. I was able to go to work and function like a normal human being, when up until this point I would be laying on my floor in the fetal position my entire first day. If this was the only change I experienced from the Whole30, it would have still been 1000000% worth it.

We aren't going back. We will allow ourselves to go away for weekends without bringing our cooler of food. If we want a beer or some wine, we are going to have some. If I want to bake some cookies and eat a few, you better believe I will. We are going to try out the new Sweet Frog that opened up just down the street from us. But these will be few and far between happenings. We love how we are eating. We love the ease of preparing our meals and shopping for our food. We love how we feel. And we don't want to trade that in for anything.

I posted a list of what we made for our Easter Dinner yesterday for anyone who is interested. http://sauterdiaries.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-whole30-compliant-easter-dinner.html

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