My relationship with food has always been complicated. I feel like I could write a book about its transformation and place in my life. I don’t want to start this out with my past though. I want to start this blog out on a positive note. Where I am now and my hopes for the future. I finally feel like I’m on the right track towards a valuable, healthy relationship with food. In fact, I’ve never felt better. While it’s taken me my whole life to get to this place, I know it is worth the battle.
I recently got married to my amazing husband, Court. He was honestly a lot of my inspiration for getting healthy. I was so inspired by his tenacity and perseverance with reaching his biking goals, that I took a look at my own life and realized I could do more. And I could. I did.
We both enjoy eating healthier more often than not, and he’s the brave soul who tries all of my recipes, always with the promise of pizza in the freezer if it’s a complete failure. That being said, sometimes that pizza in the freezer is EXACTLY what we want and going through an enormous bag of Sour Patch Kids in a few months has absolutely happened. We got married last December, so with all of the holidays, our wedding and honeymoon and the expected stress of joining our lives, we knew eating healthy wasn’t going to be the top priority for a bit. We had decided that after things settled, we wanted to start fresh in a lot of ways. An exciting start for our relationship and life together, and a sort of ‘cleanse’ for our bodies as well.
I had heard some from a friend about Whole30, and seen a few blog posts about it, but in my mind just kept thinking people were crazy for limiting themselves that much. I mean, come on! The list of foods you can’t eat seems outrageous when you first hear it, especially without knowing the reasoning behind it. But I started to read more and more about it last year and finally broke down and bought the book. I am still skeptical about a lot of things, but I thought what can it hurt? We’re not going into this as a permanent diet. We just want to cut out anything that could possibly be effecting us negatively for a while and eat completely whole and clean foods. We both like the idea of at the end, being able to slowly reintroduce foods and see the effect they have on our bodies. Everyone is different and no book is going to be able to tell me exactly how dairy treats me, but I can absolutely find out myself. And so we’re treating ourselves like scientific experiments for the next month.
I’m writing this on Day 6, so I obviously can’t go back in time and take pictures of meals or describe exactly how I felt, but I’m looking forward to using this blog to keep track of the present from now on. Also wedding pics. I will show wedding pics.
And so it begins…
I felt tired and like I needed snacks to get through. I had decided that I would drink a cup of water every time I felt hungry between meals and then gauge again if I was still hungry. This worked many times, but generally by 10am I still felt like I was too hungry to wait until noon for lunch, even after downing my water. Same with the afternoons. Even with VERY large meals. Maybe we should work on adding more fat to each meal to make them last. That being said, we have breakfast at 6am, lunch at 12pm, and dinner at 6:30/7pm generally. That is a very long time to go without food. Feels like an eternity when I tend to drift to food blogs in my spare time. Self control dwindles. I’m not convinced we’ll be able to find a meal that keeps us full for that long anyway, but I have been trying.
What I Miss. So Badly.
The good news is we have been LOVING the recipes I picked out. Everything tastes amazing and we honestly do not realize we’re missing anything. Until after the meal. That’s when the craving for dessert comes on FULL FORCE. My sugar addiction was pretty hard-wired and it’s been hard to kick. Fruit has been a welcome sweet source in our meals, but I do miss the little treat to finish everything off.
The other thing I miss is wine! I loved winding down with a glass and enjoying nights (and days if we’re honest) and sharing a bottle (or box) with my husband. Thankfully I discovered infused water on Friday. A couple of lemon slices and all of a sudden I was drinking something special again. Not just everyday water out of my water bottle anymore. And although this might be against some of the ‘mental’ points of the program, I totally enjoyed it out of a stemless wineglass. Even better!
Even though I didn’t work out much the first week, I still did my walking. I try to get steps in every day and that still happened, which I was happy with for the first week. Even if it’s light exercise, at least it’s something. (Most of the weight I lost was from walking a figure-8 in my living room, watching Hell’s Kitchen and Maury for long periods of time most days. No joke.)
Court and I also both had VIVID dreams about cheating on the diet! I ate a cupcake in one and drank a Diet Coke in another. The feeling of guilt in the dream when I realized what I’d done was intense! Waking up to figure out that I hadn’t cheated, but also hadn’t gotten to eat a cupcake, were equally relieving and disappointing.
I shopped Saturday and prepped anything that needed to be done for Saturday or Sunday morning. Then we did all other prepping for the week on Sunday. Except whatever we wanted to cook together on a date night. We like to prep and cook together! Sue us.
And as I said, our menu so far has been top-notch. And unless stated otherwise, I made 4 servings of the recipe (actually usually about 6 servings since Court and I both can EAT) and we have leftover dinner for lunch the next day, as well as tripling (or quadrupling…) the breakfast recipe for two and eating that multiple days as well. We also ate a serving a fruit with breakfast every day. And a Brazil Nut… ya know, for selenium.
Anyway, here’s what we were working with the first week:
Sunday Breakfast: Pizza Quiche inspired by Jay’s Baking Me Crazy
I couldn’t find compliant pepperoni, so we used Applegate Turkey and then added lots of red pepper flakes. We also used my own marinara sauce I made for the program.
We did TONS of prep, including making our own mayo, sriracha, chili-garlic sauce and ketchup. All were used and worth the time.
Sunday Lunch: Meatballs, Zoodles and my Marinara
Sunday Dinner: Pot Roast inspired by Noshtastic http://www.noshtastic.com/company-pot-roast-gluten-free-paleo-and-whole-30/ with Sweet Potato Mash and Steamed Broccoli on the side
Monday Dinner: Chicken Curry Stir-Fry inspired by Fit Mitten Kitchen
With Cauliflower rice. I like it a little different so I changed the recipe a bit, adding Garam Masala and Curry Powder as well a splash of Coconut Aminos instead of Fish Sauce.
Tuesday Breakfast: Brussels and Sweet Potato Hash inspired by A Healthy Life for Me
With Eggs and homemade Sriracha.
Tuesday Dinner: Jalapeno Turkey Burgers by The Organic Kitchen
With Sweet Potato Fries and all. We wrapped it in collard greens with guac and an egg on top and devoured that mess two days in a row. The fries were a little soggy though
Wednesday Dinner: Cashew Almond Crusted Tilapia Salad with Lemon Pepper Ranch by Whole30 Recipes. We left the fish whole and ate the salad on the side, all topped with the dressing. Even better than we thought it would be!
Thursday: Sweet Potato Noodles inspired by Pinch of Yum
We added homemade chili garlic sauce to the cashew mixture and used ALL OF IT. Also we added a ton of spinach, leftover tomatoes and some other things we had on hand and topped it all off with an egg. So good, but next time I’ll use the blender and not the food processor to get the mixture a little smoother.
Friday Breakfast: Kale and Butternut Squash Breakfast Bowl inspired by The Organic Dietitian
With eggs, lots of hot sauce and no avocado since it went bad, ultimate sad face. (Ultimate Jeff sad face in background)
Friday Dinner: Tomatillo Pork inspired by Stay Fit Mom
With Cauliflower rice and Roasted Balsamic Carrots. Way better than we thought it would be. Glad we added some color, too…
Saturday Dinner: Balsamic and Basil Marinated Skirt Steak with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto by Planks, Love and Guacamole
With Potatoes and Broccoli on the side. We also used two roasted red peppers in the pesto to increase the flavor, along with some parsley. I’d dip basically anything in this. So. GOOD.
Snacks consisted of hard-boiled eggs, bananas, apples, nuts and raisins.
I felt less tired and all-around better. Even my craving for dessert has lessened some, although not gone by any means. I started working out again and have been waking up easier. Still having a difficult time with the snacking since meals are so far apart, but water does absolutely help. Still miss wine too, but much less. The water in a wine glass routine is totally working for me. I think I just need something to hold!
Food has been delicious once again! Same rules apply this week. And here’s what it looked like:
Sunday Breakfast: Caramelized Onion Butternut Squash Crustless Quiche by Physical Kitchness
With pleennnnttttyyy of hot sauce and breakfast potatoes on the side
Sunday Dinner: One Pot Lemon Chicken and Asparagus by Sweet C’s Designs
As well as a Carrot Raisin Pineapple salad on the side (only other ingredient not listed is mayo). Good stuff!
Monday Dinner: Whole30 Grilled Steak Bibimbap Bowls inspired by Girl Carnivore
With bell peppers instead of sprouts and we didn’t cut the steak (mistake).
Tuesday Dinner: Tuna Green Chile Zoodle Casserole inspired by Cotter Crunch
With homemade sriracha mixed in and plenty more tuna and zoodles, as well as Rosemary Roasted Radishes on the side for some color.
Wednesday Breakfast: Roasted Vegetables Breakfast Hash by What’s Ur Home Story -Without the turnip and plus some sweet potato. Also with scrambled eggs and lots of hot sauce.
Wednesday Dinner: Thai Chicken with Spicy “Peanut” Sauce inspired by Whole Fork With cauliflower rice instead of zoodles and almond butter instead of sunflower. Complex flavor in the sauce! We liked it!
Thursday Dinner: We went out to dinner with my Dad and his wife. Ordered simply grilled Salmon and steamed broccoli. Ended up smothering it in hot sauce… still compliant!
Friday Dinner: All Meat Veggie Chili inspired by Laura Fuentes Fresh Living
With a Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Apples and Walnuts and seasoned sweet potatoes on the side… honestly I found this recipe on Pinterest and now I don’t have the link. Whoops!
Saturday Breakfast: We made a scramble of leftovers on hand. We happened to have broccoli we never used and half a bell pepper, so we sauteed those, added some eggs and ate it all with some leftover seasoned sweet potatoes from the night before on the side.
Saturday Dinner: Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken by My Natural Family
With asparagus on the side. We made this recipe with my sister-in-law and her husband, both of whom are NOT doing Whole30, so this was a real test. Everyone seemed to like it though, which was a relief. Drank lemon water all night and we were totally fine with this as opposed to our usual wine. Another relief!
Snacks this week included bananas, apples, hard boiled eggs, nuts and raisins, veggies dipped in leftover pesto and the occasional Larabar when nothing else was available (or when it sounded best).
More dreams this week! Feeling like I cheated. Also still bloated and tired. Buttt that may have to do more with something else going on with me (!!!)
We are definitely getting used to not drinking, and I still crave my desserts, but again… could be contributed to something else (!!!)
Sunday Breakfast: Southwestern Frittata inspired by $5 Dinners. Made with our homemade sausage! Topped with avocado and salsa, with baked sweet potatoes, peppers and onions and fruit on the side.
Sunday Dinner: Tuscan Pork Loin inspired by Sweet C’s Designs with a Brussels Sprout Salad on the side. This was very filling despite not looking like as much food as our normal dinners. Court wasn’t feeling well and ate even less. We added Herbs de Provence to the pork and veggies and it was delicious, if not a little dry… not the meat in general, I guess I’m just a saucy person. Yes.
Monday Dinner: Date and Shallot Rosemary Chicken inspired by PaleOMG with veggies and potatoes on the side.
Was earthy and delicious. Plate pic is not representative of how much I ate… I snacked on potatoes and brussels sprouts almost the entire time the chicken was cooking since I vastly misjudged cooking times of each.
Tuesday Dinner: Meatloaf inspired by Stay Fit Mom with Cauliflower Mash and veggies on the side. Used my new Instant Pot for the first time to steam the cauliflower! Exciting, but definite learning curve. I of course forgot to take a picture of the pretty finished dinner, so you get to see lunch on Wednesday instead…
Wednesday Breakfast: Sweet Potato Apple Hash inspired by Paleo Running Momma with eggs and fruit on the side. And of course our Brazil nut. The hash wasn’t my favorite. Just a hint of sweetness, not enough to qualify as a sweet breakfast, but too sweet to qualify as a savory one. I chose to mix everything together, cover it in hot sauce and just let there be a complexity of flavors there. I liked it better that way. The husband did not.
Wednesday Dinner: Whole30 Asian Salmon by Cleaver Girl with Cauliflower rice and steamed veggies on the side. Yay my first original recipe post!
I think the recipe could still use some work, and I definitely wanted more sauce, but I’ve just been feeling that way lately, too. Find more about this recipe here and I’ll update it if I do more work there. It’s a good starting point though! And as you can see… I was hungry and it was eaten.
Thursday Dinner: We went out with my mother and father-in-law to the same place we went last time where we knew we could order very simply cooked meat and steamed veggies, still made delicious. I got the chicken with balsamic and pico de gallo and then brussels sprouts and asparagus on the side. It was good and big, but I was hungry by the time we were going to bed. I ate some nuts and dried fruit so I could sleep better.
Friday Dinner: Flank Steak with Chimichurri and Rice inspired by Girl Carnivore My Mom and step-dad came over for dinner and LOVED it. They were seriously impressed by the flavor and presentation (thank you very much). I like it too and we had SO MUCH EXTRA. I was worried we wouldn’t have enough, but definitely didn’t need to!
Saturday Breakfast: We used leftover produce, cooked it with some eggs and paired it with some leftover potatoes. Delicious!
Saturday Dinner: Sweet Potato Noodles inspired by Pinch of Yum again. Plans fell through and got moved around. This is an easy go-to where we know we’ll use the ingredients at some point no matter what. We ended up switching Friday and Saturday and making this for just the two of us instead. We again put tomatoes in it, as well as caramelized onions and hot sauce. We made a salad on the side, but ended up being plenty full from dinner.
No new details, sorry… just trying to get through at this point. Here’s our menu though!
Sunday Breakfast: Buffalo Chicken Frittata by Maria Makes
Delicious! Especially since I’ve been putting hot sauce on everything lately. We also had red potatoes on the side.
Sunday Dinner: Braised Shortribs with Sweet Potato Puree by Girl Carnivore
It was absolutely delicious! Much better than the pot roast I made a couple weeks ago.
Monday Dinner: Stuffed Cabbage inspired by A Family Feast
With half a baked sweet potato and roasted asparagus on the side. The marinara was wonderful (we used dates instead of figs) and this meal was WAY more filling than I thought it would be. I could only finish one roll and Court was really struggling to eat both of his. I made enough for him to have 3 and me to have 2 for both meals (leftovers tomorrow), plus an extra just in case! Whoopsie daisy. In the freezer most of them went.
Tuesday Dinner: Salsa Chicken by Cleaver Girl with Sweet Potato Fries and Avocado Cilantro Lime Sauce inspired by Bessie Bakes as well as asparagus on the side.
I used to make this Salsa Chicken topped with cheese and surrounded by corn. I have to say that I didn’t much miss either! The avocado sauce added a wonderful layer to everything.
Wednesday Breakfast: Roasted Veggie Hash inspired by What’s Ur Home Story again.
Wednesday Dinner: Blackened Salmon over Cajun Zoodles inspired by Today In Dietzville
With other roasted veggies on the side. The cooking time seemed off to me, so we ended up searing the fish and finishing it in the oven for about 10 minutes. The cajun seasoning was super flavorful though. Tasty!
Thursday Dinner: Balsamic Chicken Veggie Bake inspired by The Real Food RDs
This was very ‘meh’ for us. Kind of boring and lacking in flavor. This is the meal I think everyone assumes we eat every day on Whole30.
Friday Dinner: Paleo Mac N Cheese inspired by My Natural Family
With a Tomato Balsamic Salad on the side. This recipe turned into Butternut Squash and cauliflower soup, but it was still pretty delicious.
Saturday Dinner: Burrito Bowls inspired by Katrina Runs
With cauliflower rice and lettuce wraps. No pic, sorry. Having company over makes that a little harder.
Days 29 and 30!
SO CLOSE I CAN TASTE IT Menu:
Sunday Breakfast: Down-Home Brussels Sprout Hash inspired by Paleo Grubs
With scrambled eggs and hot sauce. The veggies were just kind of bland for us, but that’s easy to remedy with spices.
Sunday Dinner: Pressure Cooker Butter Chicken and Cumin Cauliflower rice inspired by The Primal Desire with asparagus on the side. I think we added too many diced tomatoes because it turned out very soupy again. Not sure, but the flavor was still great! We also added curry paste and a few other random things I felt like throwing in there.
Monday Dinner: Steak with Mint Chimichurri and Butternut Squash Rice inspired by Grits and Chopsticks
Obviously we used beef instead of lamb and we also had other veggies on the side.
I gave myself some time to reflect after finishing this before writing about it.
This was a good experience overall looking back. Court and I both noticed we had more energy that stayed constant throughout the day and we slept better at night.
We were a little surprised to feel fine after re-introducing dairy, but a little off after the gluten-free grain reintroduction day. Considering how much quinoa we eat, it’s nice to know that if we’re not feeling our best to maybe look at that as the source instead of what I assumed was copious amounts of cheese.
I was surprised to find that my craving for sweets never went away. Court’s did, but I never once didn’t want dessert after a meal. My friend was shocked by this because she felt that the cravings went away by the end of the month. I had a secret though, which I knew to be the reason for a lot of the Whole30 “miracles” not working on me.
By the end of the month, I was more tired and wanted all the cake, cheese and carbs, even though I hadn’t touched a one. I was irritable and pissed that we were doing this, but determined to just finish.
We both knew the reason for this of course.
We found out about a week into this that I AM PREGNANT! HOLY F.
This skewed my thoughts on a lot of this process and makes me a weird person to follow for this reason. Just for my own curiosity though, I had decided to continue. I knew I was getting plenty of nutrients for the baby, and I had already cut out alcohol, so… why not. By the end of the month though, it was very hard to know if what I was feeling, or NOT feeling for that matter, was because of the diet or my pregnancy. Dairy for example. I read that even many lactose intolerant women become tolerant during pregnancy. Well that doesn’t help me learn then, does it?
All in all though, being on Whole30 helped me curb a lot of the cravings I know I would have had early on. The structure was nice because I knew I couldn’t have one Sun Chip, so I DEFINITELY wasn’t allowed to finish a bag of them like my tummy was telling me to. I tried transferring that mindset over once I was finished, but I’m afraid I overindulged from the lack of doing so just a bit. I felt deprived and wanted to make up for it. Not healthy I know. Call it pregnancy brain?
So, for the next 6 or so months, you’ll be able to follow my fun first-time-pregnancy-ness along with my recipes.
Tips and advice welcome! We’re so excited, but also about 22% terrified.