Whole30: halfway there

As soon as I decided to do the Whole30 I started working on my meal plans and grocery lists for the first 15 days. (You can never be too prepared.)

I compiled recipes from Pinterest, and two cookbooks: Well Fed 2 by Melissa Joulwan and The Whole30: The Official 30-Day Guide to Health and Food Freedom by Melissa and Dallis Hartwig. 

I found and ordered a kick-ass all-purpose spice blend from Paleo Powder. It gives a little bite of flavor to whatever you put it in – eggs, steak, veggies, and more. Spices really make the dish. I’ve been experimenting with different mixes and I don’t think I’ve eaten more flavorful food. 

The meals have been fabulous: scrambled eggs loaded with meat and veggies, summery fruit salads, sweet potato chili, juicy baked chicken, plantain nachos, golden cauliflower soup, and so much more. I’m actually following recipes, modifying as I go, and writing down the differences.

Meal prep helps significantly. I spend a few hours cooking and baking on the weekend to get ready for the week. Good make-ahead foods include chili, roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed zucchini, spaghetti squash, baked chicken, and meatballs. They are great meal starters that make it so much easier to finish up dinner after a long day – you’re practically halfway there. Plus, they keep nicely in the fridge. 

The food is very filling and I’ve found myself eating a lot less. Before, I would snack throughout the day, mindlessly eating trail mix while sitting at my desk or popcorn while watching a movie in bed. Now, if I’m hungry, I drink a glass of water, wait 20 minutes (as recommended), and if the feeling jd still there, grab my go-to snack: frozen grapes. 

The goal is to eat three meals a day, each being large and satisfying enough to last you to the next; minimal to no snacking throughout the day. I drink a lot of filtered and sparkling water during the day and sometimes have a mocktail at dinner to spice it up a bit. Herbal tea is sprinkled throughout the day – dorm times mid-morning, sometimes in the afternoon. 

I stopped drinking my morning shake, which contains stevia, pea protein, and other unapproved ingredients. Liquid meals are also not recommended during the program, or after for that matter. My replacement breakfasts include eggs, sweet potato hash, breakfast bowls, and even chili. 

Day 1 was a little tough – I don’t think I’ve gone a while morning between breakfast and lunch without snacking. I didn’t start sleeping well until day 5 and then I started waking up before my alarm – a total first for me. I also started craving some junk food around day 6/7 – sugar withdrawal at its finest. 

Some people have experienced mood changes, but I didn’t (at least I don’t think I did). My headaches have continued in full-force (pain 6-7/10) almost every day, so I’m still hoping for relief in that area. But – and this is HUGE – I’ve been dairy free for 15 days!

Overall, so far so good. More details to come on day 30 (August 3rd, but who’s counting?). I’ll share everything you need to know about the program for a successful beginning, ending, and everything in between. Stay tuned!  

You copycat!

Larabars are one of my favorite snacks, but the ones I like (Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip) are not Whole30 approved. I thought about making my own, subbing cashews for the peanuts  and leaving out the chocolate chips. Then I found out there is already a Larabar for that – Cashew Cookie. I eagerly tried it, but can’t say I enjoyed it.

So after doing a little research and modifying a recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring, I came up with my own version – the perfect combination of salty, sweet, and satisfying. Just dates, cashews, coconut oil, and a sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt (see above pic). 

First, crush cashews.

Next, add remaining ingredients.

Then, press dough into parchment-lined pan. Chill.

Finally, cut into bars and enjoy!

No baking, no cooking. Seriously, it doesn’t get much easier. And, it just happens to be one of the most delicious treats I’ve made – healthy or not. 

Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo also makes her on version called “Liar Bars,” which she sometimes shapes into balls and rolls in coconut. Sounds super yummy and I’ll have to give them a try!

Whole30 guidelines recommend these snacks on an occasional basis. So, try one recipe or try them all, but don’t eat them all in one sitting – even though you’ll probably want to!

Whole30 – The beginning 

I don’t cook every night. I try, but every now and then it’s just too much – I’m tired, have to do laundry, and sometimes I just don’t want to adult. I’m totally guilty of sending the quick afternoon text: pizza or nah? Spoiler: the answer is always pizza.

If you follow my blog, you already know that I’m lactose intolerant AND have a severe dairy addiction. Somehow – and I’m still trying to figure this out – the luxurious taste of cheese, yogurt, and ice cream today outweighs the discomfort I will feel tomorrow. It’s not a maybe-it-won’t-happen-this-time thing; it’s an it’s-definitely-going-to-happen thing. I will eat dairy and I will feel like shit the next day (no pun intended). Why? because I’m human. 

What you probably don’t know is that I get terrible, crippling migraines and ice pick headaches 4-5 days a week, and they last the majority of my waking hours. I’ve had every test you can imagine, taken every migraine and pain medication, tried acupuncture, went to the chiropractor, and visited multiple doctors. Nothing helps or cures, and no one can figure out what’s wrong. I’ve been battling this condition for 10 very long years. It’s a pain I wouldn’t wish on my very worst enemy (if I had one).

After doing some research, I came across a program – or way of life, really – that could potentially solve both the addiction and the pain. The Whole30 consists of a month of whole foods – no dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, alcohol, or processed foods. If that kind of “diet” sounds familiar, it is based on the principles of paleo. Real food only. The guidelines are pretty strict, but doable. So many people have had amazing results – medication reduction or discontinuation, weight loss, glowing skin, lower sugar levels, stabilized blood pressure, better sleep quality, etc.

In their book It Starts with Food, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig talk about the science behind cravings and how the brain plays a HUGE role in why we love what we love. “It’s not your fault. You aren’t lacking willpower. You are not lazy. And it’s not your fault you can’t stop eating these foods” (p 29). The entire book is very logical and easy to follow – even for us non-science-y types. This book is the why behind the Whole30, which thoroughly outlines the program and gives you step-by-step directions for how to make many of the yummy recipes, including homemade mayo, southwest scrambled eggs, and sweet potato soup (all of which are on my menu!).

My two main goals: banish the migraines and kick the dairy addiction to the curb! Check back for an update on day 15 and a detailed review on day 30. This is happening.



If you’re thinking about doing the program, I can’t recommend both books enough. It will be like having a friend or coach guide you through every step of the way. Check out the Whole30 website for online support, a ton of resources, pantry items, recipes, and the books available on the Whole30 website.