Thoughts from 3 Weeks of #Whole30

Well folks, I made it 19 days and then opted to choose social engagement and a night cooking with my husband instead of complying with Whole30 rules.

Could I have chosen water at the MBA School happy hour instead on Friday? Yes. But they were serving a really good Pittsburgh IPA and I wanted to enjoy a beer with my friends. That night, Alex and I cooked a London Broil for dinner and he used butter instead of ghee and tossed in some flour to thicken up the sauce into a gravy. And I have no regrets or disappointments about not ‘lasting’ the 30 days.

Of the past 6 months, this recent Friday and Saturday were the first days that actually felt like a ‘normal’ weekend. I closed my computer at 6 p.m. on Friday and met Alex and friends at school for happy hour. We came home to cook dinner together which we haven’t done in months. On Saturday morning, we slept in and woke up with nothing on his agenda until 3p. Usually, Alex has school commitments all weekend long and I’m left to my own devices so to have a Saturday morning together with neither of us stressing about needing to be somewhere or do something? Such a treat!

With a beautiful blue skied morning on Saturday, we drove down to the Strip District for brunch and wandering. While I ate as Whole30 as possible at brunch, I chose to not make a huge deal out of not being 100% compliant. Maybe/probably they cooked my eggs in butter or a non-compliant oil. YOLO.

Whole30 //

I debated most of Friday about how I would handle the happy hour – should I even go? I wanted to be compliant because the book says to do 30 days and I hate breaking rules. But I also wanted to enjoy a beer with my husband and friends. It would have been easy to just skip the happy hour and make a fuss about butter/flour  at dinner but it was such a nice evening that I didn’t even care. Emotional well being > completing 30 days of compliant eating, in my book.

So it may have only been 19 days but I do feel like I’ve gotten the benefit of Whole30. I feel great. I’m eating more fruits and veggies. I’m drinking lots of water and tea. I didn’t break Whole30 because I couldn’t do it; earlier, I wanted to quit because I was bored and tired in prepping/cooking my food. If I’d stopped then, THAT would have felt like quitting. But this? This doesn’t. This feels like an adult choice of moderation.

I went into this as a learning opportunity. I’m not a person who craves sweets or binges on bad-for-me foods so I wasn’t expecting for Whole30 to cure me or radically change my thoughts on food. I wanted Whole30 to help me be more mindful about what I was eating and to give my body a reset which is exactly what I got.

This exercise has taught me to be more conscious about what I’m eating; reading food labels in preparing for Whole30 was eye opening as to what is included in the pre-packaged foods or sauces I love. It’s astounding how many foods have added sugar or are chock full of sodium!

If you break the rules in Whole30, the program suggests the participant restart their 30 day count. I won’t be restarting my count back but I am planning to move forward mostly eating per Whole30.

Striving for the healthiest, least processed option will continue to be something I do. I’ll continue to keep gluten and dairy in my diet to a minimum and will cut back on alcohol consumption because it just feels better that way.  But I am not going to beat myself up if I go out for a burger and fries on a Friday night or bake a pizza at home on a busy week night.

Because YOLO, friends.

Thoughts from Week 2 of #Whole30

As I’m writing this on Sunday night, I’m wrapping up day 15 and I’m officially halfway through my first #Whole30! I haven’t had any feelings of enlightenment or major epiphanies but my body and mind do feel really good. I know I’m more hydrated, my skin looks pretty and I can clearly see I’m less puffy/bloated…even on my period. (TMI but true.)


To be honest, I was kinda over it last week. I’m pretty tired of eating the same ingredients over and over and I’m tired of having to clean up an entire kitchen several times a day. And yes, these are both totally within my control – I can research new recipes and I can do better meal prep ahead of time. Last week was crazy with work so I just stuck to what I knew (scrambled eggs for breakfast; sausage + mustard + kale salads for lunch; simple meat + veggies for dinner) which I’m sure is a big part of feeling bored.

This weekend, I made this Cincinnati Style Chili recipe and it was legit. Alex, always skeptical of DIY Skyline recipes, said it was the best DIY Cincinnati Style Chili he’d had and I agreed – Mel Joulwan nailed it! I ate mine with spaghetti squash, Alex ate his with pasta and cheese. And while I didn’t add cheese to mine, I really wanted to – not because I am fiending for cheese but because I *know* cheese in Cincinnati chili makes it better. I’m looking forward to Day 31 when I can choose to add cheese to my food again if I want to.


The other thought I’ve been mulling over this week is that this is likely the longest I’ve gone without having an alcoholic drink since I was 18 or 19. (I mean, since I was 21 if your name is Sandy and you are my mom.) Not in an OMG alcoholic! way but in my adult life, Alex and I usually have a 6-pack of beer in the fridge and some weeknights and most weekends, I enjoy a beer with my dinner and/or Alex and I will meet up with friends at a bar. I’m rarely getting drunk these days in my old age but I do enjoy hoppy IPAs a couple/few times a week. So I’m sure my liver is really enjoying this little break and, while I do miss beer or a glass of wine with my meals, I’m thinking I can probably drink a bit less going forward. I’ve been replacing my weeknight beer with hot tea and it’s really nice, actually – gives me something to sip while I wind down, is hydrating and has 0 empty calories.


I learned an important lesson on Saturday during my long run; what you eat the day before and morning of a long run/workout is wildly important. Duh, right? As I mentioned, it’s been a while since I’ve been in the long distance running game but I should have known better. I did not eat enough carbs on Friday night but still assumed I could go out and run have a strong run…wrong-o. I felt like I was running through cement the entire time and frequently got light-headed. Will definitely be planning ahead better this week!

So, 15 days down, 15 more to go. I already have a few new recipes picked out to make this week so hoping for less food boredom over the next 7 days!

Thoughts from 1 Week of #Whole30

Last Monday, I officially started my first ever round of Whole30. For those not familiar, per the website, Whole30 is a ‘nutritional program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.’ (source) The plan cuts out dairy, gluten, added sugar, alcohol, legumes and encourages high-quality meats, veggies, eggs and other Whole30 approved ingredients.

At the suggestion and encouragement of my friend Gretchen who started a #RunningWhole30 community group, I decided to look into the plan. I’ve been looking for a ‘reset’ for a few months (isn’t everyone, after the holidays?) and after reading the book, I understood the science/reasoning behind it. I picked my start date, January 18th, so that I could enjoy alcohol at a MBA school party a few days prior, and created a mini-meal plan for my first week.Thoughts on 1 Week Whole30 //

It’s only been 7 days – which feels like not enough time to have opinions since I’ve only just started – but I do have some thoughts to share for others who consider starting a round of Whole30:

Reference the Timeline. But don’t hold yourself to it. I’m a gal who doesn’t have a sweet tooth and I also don’t eat much dairy or pasta/breads so I didn’t go through a lot of the hangover/kill all the things emotions. Yay! But it also made me question if I was inadvertently eating something I shouldn’t be. Nope! Just not having a severe reaction – and that’s kosher!

Enjoying to cook. I’m learning to enjoy cooking and this past week has really helped further this. There aren’t many grab-and-go options for Whole30 so the plan requires a lot of cooking and meal prep. I’ve never been great about these things (because I don’t like to plan or prepare ahead) but I’m getting the hang of it and enjoying cooking. Although, I do wonder if my simple meal tastes good because I’m hungry? Or because I did a good job cooking?

Tired of cooking. As much as I’m enjoying cooking, I’m also really tired of it. It requires much more thought and attention than I’ve ever put into my meals before. With the limited free time I have in a day, spending it thinking about how I can make a Whole30 compliant meal is not how I’d choose to use it.

It gets easier. Last weekend, I spent an absurd amount of time researching what is/is not allowed, pulling recipes from the internet and browsing the aisles at three (3!!) grocery stores to find compliant ingredients. After 7 days in, I feel like I have the hang of it and feel less stressed about being 100% ready to go on Sunday night. (Which is good because I opted to ski yesterday instead of meal plan!) The point is, once you get a few days under your belt, it’s easy to figure out what you like/don’t like, what can be paired together, how to make breakfast better (add breakfast potatoes!), etc. I know that I really like to eat sausage with spicy brown mustard, kale/salad and fruit for lunch and until I get tired of it, I’ll keep eating it.

Missing non-compliant food. It’s ONLY been 7 days which makes this feel a bit ridiculous but I miss knowing I can choose to eat a burger with fries or a chocolate chip cookie if I wanted to. I rarely choose to eat cookies but know that I know I can’t for the next 21 days, psychologically, I feel like I’m missing it. I do really miss beer – it’s only been 7 days but with the winter storm, an afternoon of skiing and the Broncos game last night, I really missed drinking a beer during/after these things. (To be fair, my body feels better that I *didn’t* drink a beer during these things so I guess that means it’s working!)

One day at a time. Right now, 21 days feels really, really far in the future but I know it will pass quickly. My mentality is to plan to be Whole30 compliant for today and only today…for the next 21 days. After skiing yesterday, I was really grumbly about not being able to warm up with a burger and a beer after I was done (it’s practically tradition!). But instead, I went back to my car and ate a banana I’d brought for the ride home. Womp womp. But I’d told myself in the morning to make Whole30 choices that day and that day only. I have pretty strong willpower but in situations where I’d rather not eat Whole30, I remind myself it’s just for today.

So! 1 week down, 3 more to go. According to the timeline, day 10-11 are days people feel most like quitting (that was me, yesterday) but I’m committed for the long haul. And I’ve got a delicious pork loin cooking in the Crockpot so Day 8 will be a breeze. Onward and upward!