I’m not gonna lie. That was ugly.
We are just starting Week 2 of The Whole30. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the quick & dirty & vague & incomplete version: it’s an elimination diet where you strip dairy, grains, processed sugars, booze, and beans from your diet for 30 days to “reset.” After 30 days, you add those things back in one at a time to identify what might be causing you issues.
The thing is, I actually know which of those foods wreak havoc on my system but I love them and deal with it. Giving them up for 30 days? That hurts.
I’d recently given up processed carbs to improve some aspects of my health, felt great, and then fell off the wagon. After reading It Starts with Food, we committed to the 30-day regimen of good protein, lots of veggies, and no pita chips. Or hummus. (That one actually hurt more than “no beer.”)
The food for Whole30 is… real food. Wholesome food. Salmon and chicken. A little skirt steak fajita salad. Berries. The occasional sweet potato. And lots of asparagus and broccoli. Sounds easy, right? And the food looks and tastes great! I wouldn’t turn down a single thing in a single one of these photos (although those beans actually belonged to my 3 year old)… but on the whole, Week 1 wasn’t even remotely about pretty, picture-perfect food. Not even close.
You’re not supposed to weigh yourself during the 30 days but that’s unrealistic for me. As a female. After week 1, I’m -6. And I’m certain that 5.871 lbs of that was beer and pita chips.
This is what Week 1 looked like in more detail…
Breakfast: By the time I had time to actually cook breakfast, it was lunch time. So…
Lunch: 2 poached eggs over leftover roasted asparagus with a slice of bacon* crumbled over top. Seriously, the runny egg yolk + green vegetable is a winner.
Dinner: Grilled Salmon with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa, baked sweet potato fries, and steam-in-a-bag green beans
No one got stabbed. No one was jailed. No one hid in her closet with a bag of pita chips.
And that, my friends, is how I measure success.
*Bacon isn’t exactly a by-the-book Whole30 food. But it’s bacon.
Breakfast: 2 eggs over leftover steam-in-a-bag green beans with a slice of bacon crumbled over top. No really, the runny egg yolk + green vegetable is the THE BEST THING EVER. Oh, also a handful of blackberries.
Lunch: Lettuce-wrapped tuna salad (olive oil mayo whipped up in the blender, soy-free tuna*, boiled eggs, salt, pepper, and green onions), the last of those steam-in-a-bag green beans, and a scoop of leftover strawberry-avocado salsa.
Dinner: Grilled chicken with leftover strawberry-avocado salsa, baked sweet potato fries, grilled asparagus.
Late night snack: handful of cashews
I was not hungry between meals. Like, at all. I even felt like my standard dinner portion was too much… But then I had to fill a dozen plastic eggs for The Little’s Easter party. With candy. I could smell each individual grain of sugar in those Hershey eggs. And then I washed my hands twice because I swear I could still smell candy-coated heaven on me. So I hit the cashews and chugged water. It was not the same 🙁
I did manage to drink enough water today to raise the water level in the pool out back by at least 3 inches.
*Did you know that almost all canned tuna comes packed with soy? Even the low-sodium tuna has some soy in it. Kind of a bummer when you compare prices of the 1 brand of soy-free tuna to the 10 brands of soyed-up tuna… because soy is very much not a by-the-book Whole30 food.
Feeling awesome! No carbs? Or cheese? Or beer? No problem, y’all! This is so easy – everyone should do this! And I pushed that book like a dealer on anyone who got within 6ft of me. (Sorry, Mom. And Dad. And slightly freaked-out stranger at The Little Gym.)
Breakfast: Guess what IIIIIII haaaaaad? 2 eggs over leftover grilled asparagus with a slice of bacon crumbled over top.
Lunch: Lettuce-wrapped tuna salad (see Day 2), leftover grilled asparagus, half a grapefruit.
Dinner: Leftover grilled chicken as lettuce wrap fajitas with grilled onions & peppers and avocado, and grilled broccoli with chipotle-lime butter (made with clarified butter). I really missed my tortillas.
Day 4 – Now with more F-Bombs and Public Melt Downs!
Days 4-6 were mostly a blur. One big ^%$#@ gigantic, f-bomb filled blur which included two childrens’ birthday parties and a holiday and me sniffing a cookie dough candle for an awkwardly long time.
I also discovered coconut aminos* so those 3 days weren’t a total loss. But I did get desperate enough to google “Paleo sushi” and I cried in public. And then in my car in public. And then in the parking lot in public.
Breakfast: Probably eggs over something green.
Lunch: Probably not eggs.
Snack: Does the panic attack standing in the middle of Whole Foods when I saw a $4/pint strawberries (NOT organic – I think those were $6) while hissing, “Those ^%$#@ strawberries are 2/$3 at HEB! How the eff can people afford to shop here?!” at my husband count? No? Then I didn’t have a snack. But I did cry. In public.
Dinner: Tuna & salmon sashimi picked up from the HEB sushi bar topped with diced cucumber, sliced serrano, and the meat from a snow crab cluster. (My mood greatly, greatly improved.) And a bunch of 2/$3 blackberries.
*Coconut aminos, guys. I said I wouldn’t buy any specialty, expensive ingredients to do Whole30 but this will be the only one and it was worth it. It’s like soy sauce. But you know, not. And I’ll never go back. I’ve used it in marinades and drizzled over sashimi. It’s not as overwhelming as soy so I thought it went perfectly for my PPMD (post public meltdown) recovery dinner of sashimi.
And I thought day 4 was bad! Day 5 ^%$#@ suuuuucked. The ugliest day yet for sugar withdrawals. And cheese. I really, really missed cheese. No one in this house was happy. I would have punched a baby (just kidding, CPS!) for the crunch of a single pita chip. I tried to beg my way out of the deal. I have no idea mostly what we ate. But it was all Whole30 approved, even if the almond fried chicken pushed it so much that it probably wasn’t really approved. Whatever.
It was definitely more Whole30 approved than the late-night skinny margarita I sneaked in. The psychological effects were noticed by the 3rd sip. I cheated.
And I like to think that it saved a life, even if it was my own.
And then I dreamed about cheesecake and queso. Yep, together.
The worst was over – and no one got divorced or stabbed! (And no children were punched, CPS.) There was Easter and the tempation of 1000 kinds of Reese’s Peanut Butter treats and mini Snickers in pink foil wrappers that I couldn’t have – and mostly didn’t want to. Except for the Snickers – I really wanted like 7 of those. But I made a monster batch of Roasted Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette to take to dinner and bacon made everything better so Easter was survivable.
Dinner: Grilled chicken with pico de gallo and avocado, grilled broccoli, but not the strawberry margarita in the picture. (That’s my go-to recipe for TexMex style grilled chicken. Goes great with everything!)
The junkie carb cravings are gone (for me). No emotional roller coasters. Almost back to my normal level of F-bomb usage – that’ll happen when your 3 year-old chides you, “Momma! We say goodness – not those other words!”
Breakfast: 2 eggs over steamed-in-microwave-safe-bowl broccoli topped with crumbled bacon and blackberries.
Lunch: Leftover almond-fried chicken tenders and steam-in-bag green beans with a handful of fresh strawberries.
Dinner: Grilled tilapia with orange-avocado salsa, steam-in-bag green beans and leftover grilled broccoli.
Snack: Some cashews and blackberries.
It looks like you are doing well and eating delicious food in the process. Thanks for a day-by-day breakdown. Even though prices are a little higher for wholesome, organic ingredients, I think they are much higher quality and taste so much better.
My hat is off to you for doing no carbs! I’d be a grump and I don’t know how my family could live with me! Your meals look bright, colorful, and delicious. I need to do at least no carbs for dinner. I think I can do that, especially with some of the meals you have here.
Aaaah I’ve been contemplating whether I should try this… but I can’t imagine life without coffee. Did you just drink water (other than the skinny margarita!)?
Yep, just water with lemon. Or lime. Or a wedge of grapefruit. I occasionally tried unsweetened iced tea with lemon when I felt super desperate for a caffeine hit but, well, it’s just really not that good. I do drink a bit of black coffee, but that’s really tough too.
Wow im sure this would be tough for us too!!!
Thank you for this post! I just bought the Whole30 book – you have given me inspiration to start! Can’t wait to see what public meltdowns and f-bomb’s that come out of my mouth. I hope my sweet pea can forgive me. Now only if I could make him do it with me…..
You make me laugh! I don’t know if I could do it honestly ;). Although the dishes you made look amazing!
At this point, if I could live through it and not be arrested – ANYONE can 🙂
Congrats on getting through the first week!! I’m not doing the Whole30, but am trying a super low carb and sugar thing right now and it was definitely brutal at first. I’m not sure I could eliminate them completely…
Dang, sounds like Paleo Gone Wild! Good for you. I know I feel a thousand times better when I eliminate all the processed junk. I’ve yet to buy all organic veggies and fruit. I’d rather put the money towards grass fed beef. I am sure I will get there eventually what with the GMO stuff running rampant. Rock on Sista, you can do it!
Girl you are WAY WAY WAY stronger than I am!! I am so proud of you!! I started counting calories again this week just to get a handle on things…hopefully gonna stick to it for at least a month and get some habits formed!
Thank you for sharing your experience. My family is starting Whole 30 next week, and I’m a bit anxious about it. Today I’m working on our menu & shopping list for the first week. Somehow in all the reading I totally missed the tuna-soy thing. Could you please tell me which brand of tuna is soy free?
Even though day 3 sucked for you, it was certainly a breath of fresh air to me: it’s good knowing that I’m not the only one who, while under a lack of sugar, yells and cries. Gotta love HEB. 🙂 keep up the good work! You’re giving me new ideas on what to eat to stay on my healthy track.
Oh, my sides – they ache! From the laughter and the crying. I commiserate fully – did the Whole30 back at Thanksgiving (IDIOT), and felt fantastic and lost seven pounds the first week and 19 overall…and then Christmas came. And it was awful. And I’m running a show, so don’t have time to fix anything…and it’s now April and I’m still gulping down fistfuls of sugar. It was SO HARD that first week, and I felt so good afterward, and with the promise of potential recipes from you, I’ll vow here and now to climb back on the wagon! Good luck!
The sniffing of the cookie candle awkwardly had me doing a spit take on my keyboard. You are the second blogger I follow that is testing this and it has peaked my curiosity. However, as a vegetarian I don’t see it working out.
They have a vegetarian plan. It allows a few foods that aren’t normally allowed(tempeh, tofu, and lentils mostly).
These meals look amazing. You’ve done so well! It is so hard, even though the food is delicious! I have very nearly committed unforgiveable acts to strangers and have been banned from a beautician’s when I’ve been trying to give up sugar! Even my family refuse to visit me! Well done you!!
Wow, what a challenge you’re up against but it seems like you’re doing great! I don’t think I could ever fully eliminate carbs from my diet but I have ENORMOUS respect for people who can. At the end of day 30, celebrate with a big batch of margaritas! Keep going, girl!
So interesting that you are doing this right now – my family (sister, etc) is doing it, but not I, sistah. Don’t have it in me right now to give up coffee, grains, cheese, and the killer – sugar! Actually, sugar is not the hardest one for me, but the grains, legumes, and coffee?? forget it! Kudos to you for making it so far!
Loved this post. I think it’s really important to reset, but it’s also really %&$*&@^ hard. Even cutting out processed foods takes some effort. Keep doing what you’re doing. &$*% those pita chips.
Wow, thanks for this! I’ve been considering doing a similar short-term dietary change, and I’m scared. And I’m still scared after reading this post. But I feel less alone – because I would be crying and angry just like you are.
“And then I dreamed about cheesecake and queso. Yep, together.” – When this is all said and done – you need to make that happen!
OMG, I am so glad to hear that you are doing the Whole30. I’ve done the program about 3 times now, with great results each time. As you know, legumes are not allowed on the W30 (just had to get that out of the way), since it was included in that one pic. US Wellness Foods has sugar free bacon that is permitted on the program. It’s a expense but not bad. I never thought I could do the W30 prescribed (no cheats) but I did. I felt so amazing after completing the program, that I did it for another 30 days. Congrats to you on this journey! It’s life changing! So what’s next for you…CrossFit?! Please say YES. I’ll love you even more. 😉
Yeah – the beans were for The Little (we don’t dare remove beans from her diet). I’m debating doing crossfit – haven’t committed but will probably at least check it out, my friend does it and “loves” it.
I have read about this concept before (I don’t think it was called Whole30 in the book though). I have thought about doing it… maybe this summer when I don’t eat many carbs any way. So, can you drink regular green tea? Sugar and coffee will be the hardest for me…
After reading your post three days ago, I decided to start too! Yesterday, I thought nothing of it, but today I am defiantely dragging from the lack of carbs. The biggest issue I’m having right now if coming up with packable dinners that don’t need to be heated and don’t need a giant bowl(like a salad), for nights I have class. Your pictures and post are making me think I can make it through.
It’s hard at first, especially for us the whole wine and margarita thing is what we miss. But the fresh healthy foods prepared well help us get through it. We’ve done the 30 day challenges two times and mostly try to stay at least 80% Paleo . We give our weekends to the 20% which honestly is typically the alcohol. Stick with it and you’ll miss the hummus and chips less and less.
That kind of split sounds pretty doable to me 🙂
This post made me laugh, because I can totally commiserate. You are awesome! Keep up the good work!
I’ve seen the Whole30 on several other blogs, and I really want to try it, but I’m concerned about how it could impact my budget (I’m a student…things are like, thistight!). I know you mentioned not buying specialty items, so I’m curious to know if you think you spent more money at the grocery store buying all those “whole” products.
Love your recipes, pictures, and writing; they inspire me to cook more than a frozen dinner whenever I can =) Keep it up!
I did spend more the first trip. And I kind of freaked out about it…. in the middle of Whole Foods’ produce department. I did not go “free-range/grass-fed/local/organic” as the book suggested. There’s just no budget for that. I’m very much a compare-the-sales-of-every-circular-I-get-each-week grocery budget person (and I get 4-5). But our usual cheap (and processed carb-heavy) cereal for breakfast and sandwich & chips for lunch was replaced by eggs, bacon, veggies, and essentially a second dinner (our lunches have been the previous nights’ leftovers). So instead of planning for 2 servings, I’m now planning for 4 to cover dinner and lunch. BUT, we’re not eating out. And we usually grab one lunch and dinner out during the week + one or two meals on the weekends. It has actually ended up offsetting at then end of 10 days. The coconut aminos are still the only “splurge” ingredient I’ve purchased (and plan to purchase) for the duration.
I have never heard of the Whole30, but after reading this post I’m definitely intrigued. The food sounds good, but oh how I would miss cheese! I can’t wait read how week 2 goes. You may convince me to give it a try!
This deserves a legit slow clap. Way to go! Cheese is my kryptonite…not sure how I’d do without it. Probably be some combination of crabby, bitey, stabby, and weepy.
I think I would be miserable & not so nice around hour 6, let alone day six 😉 I’ll continue to be in somewhat state of denial while sipping on my skinny margaritas. Processed carbs I can live w out, sugar, depends on the day, coffee, bells no!
OK…I just found this post and I love it! I do Crossfit training and have to avoid dairy/grains like the Plague. So it’s veggies upon veggies upon meat that I eat…and sometimes I’m so ready to give up!!!!! I felt my best when I was doing strict Paleo, but then had to add in a serving of grains on the days that I train for some added energy. But it makes it so difficult to switch back to grain-free days!
Good to hear that someone else is affected greatly by the removal of carbs…
I don’t usually comment on blogs, but I wanted to say I have utilized your website many times when I am in a bind and need a good meal and you never disappoint. This whole 30 took this blog to the next level! I started my second whole 30 yesterday and the first time I struggled to find recipes. I am actually drooling over….asparagus in your pictures which is rare for me. Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write down whole 30 recipes that are not only edible but look awesome!
Best of luck on your Whole30! We’ve started a modified version this week (not giving up beans or quinoa totally; keeping a little cheese). Everyone is still alive as of today 🙂