So I convinced my husband to do a Whole30 with me. We typically eat fairly “clean:” organic produce, good fats and pastured meats. But I love bread. And ice cream. And cookies. In other words, I’m totally addicted to sugar. After going dairy and gluten free for the first 6 or so months of my daughter’s life, I didn’t think giving up grains and dairy would be too hard. But sugar? That’s been WAY harder than I expected!
What’s a Whole30, anyway? It’s basically 30 days of squeaky-clean Paleo, with some added restrictions. No grains (or “pseudo-grains” like quinoa), no dairy, no sugar (including honey, maple syrup, stevia, etc.), no alcohol (no vanilla extract!), no legumes, no MSG, sulfites, or carrageenan. Also no “Paleo-fied” baked goods: pancakes, waffles, cookies, breads.
Sounds terrible! Why would you do such a thing? Yeah, it’s kind of hardcore. But people who do Whole 30’s regularly consider them sort of a “nutritional reset.” It’s about more than just restricting your food choices for a month- it’s also about breaking any unhealthy psychological relationships you might have with food. That’s the part that really resonated with me- I’m a textbook emotional eater. It’s so easy to turn to food when I’m stressed, bored, lonely, or upset. And that’s a cycle that I’d like to break.
So what do you eat, anyway? Here’s a little recap of our meals for the week. I try to stay pretty close to the Whole30 template: 2-3 cups of veggies, 1-2 palm-sized portions of animal protein, 1 thumb-sized portion of good fat (ghee, coconut oil, nuts, nut butter, avocado, olive oil).
- I’m still breastfeeding, so I do snack when I’m hungry (not usually recommended, but okay for nursing mamas!) and I try to have a starchy veggie with each meal.
- I’ve linked to recipes where I used them.
- We are loving the Whole30 version of bulletproof coffee- our regular black coffee blended with a spoonful of ghee. Tastes incredible and counts as a fat serving for breakfast.
Tuesday, Day 1
breakfast: frittata with red pepper and spinach (James), eggs with spinach and arugula, bulletproof coffee (me)
lunch: spicy tuna cakes (these are bomb, making more this week!), avocado, carrots & sugar snap peas
dinner: kalua pig (SO good), baked sweet potato, green beans
Wednesday, Day 2
breakfast: Aidell’s Chicken sausage, Japanese sweet potato hash with spinach + arugula, bulletproof coffee
lunch: kalua pig, mason jar salad, olives (James), chopped salad with kalua pig (me)
dinner: best chicken ever (I’ll be honest, this recipe didn’t live up to its title for me, but I do love brining chicken breasts before grilling them in general), balsamic roasted brussels (a pre-Whole30 favorite! I use bacon instead of pancetta), sweet potato mash with rosemary
Thursday, Day 3
breakfast: pig in a skillet (James), spinach, sausage, sweet potato hash with eggs (me), bulletproof coffee
lunch: leftover Kalua pig + sweet potato, mason jar salad (James), chopped salad with grilled chicken (me)
dinner: thai turkey meatballs, cashews, spaghetti squash
Friday, Day 4
breakfast: sausage, sweet potato, zucchini hash. bulletproof coffee
lunch: Kalua pork, sweet potato, sugar snap peas
dinner: chocolate chili (this was also solidly “meh” for me) topped with avocado, carrots & celery, roasted potato
Saturday, Day 5 (Valentine’s Day!)
breakfast: sweet potato + spinach hash, fried eggs, bacon
lunch: emergency Larabar (me), leftovers (James)
dinner: filet mignon, roasted potatoes, asparagus, strawberries
Sunday, Day 6
breakfast: BLT breakfast salad
lunch: leftover Kalua pig over sweet potatoes
dinner: leftover chocolate chili + Applegate hotdogs, avocado
Monday, Day 7
breakfast: spinach, red pepper, and egg scramble. bulletproof coffee.
lunch: leftover kalua pig or chocolate chili
dinner: burrito bowls: cilantro-lime cauliflower rice, leftover chicken and steak, salsa, fajita veggies, guac
That doesn’t sound so bad! Really, it’s not. So far what I love about the Whole30 is that you’re eating real, whole foods and there’s no calorie restriction, so you never have to feel hungry.
Okay, you’ve convinced me to do it. Where do I start? Buy the book- It Starts with Food– and read it. It’s full of helpful information and food-nerd science/nutrition talk that will help you really understand the program. And spend some time on the Whole 30 website. I’d also recommend joining some Facebook groups ( if you’re into that sort of thing) or having a buddy for support!
I’d say our Week 1 was successful! Have you done a Whole30? Any advice for us as we start Week 2?