The Whole30, Week 2: The Return to Rational Thinking

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King Crab Legs with Clarified Garlic Butter

We started Week 3 this week – we’ve officially made it halfway through!

We were a little more organized this past week, since the sugar withdrawals are gone and we’ve returned to the era of rational thinking. (Well, as rational as things get around here.) Here are a few things I’ve learned in 14 processed-food-free days.

We are spending more money on groceries
– I draw the line at specialty, expensive ingredients. I did give in to coconut aminos but that’s still the only purchase in 14.666 days. And I’ll never go back to soy sauce, unless it comes down to coconut aminos vs running water. I did make an almond-fried chicken last week that used spendy almond flour… but that was from a year-old bag in the freezer leftover from a macaron phase. You can make more than macarons from almond meal – who knew? (Thanks, Kat.)
– Our usual super cheapo Fiber One cereal/oatmeal breakfast is now replaced with eggs, a green veggie (for me), and bacon. Still pretty inexpensive, though – eggs are cheap. Thankfully. Because the 3 of us – we eat 6 every morning 😳
– Our usual super cheapo lunches of sandwiches and chips (and hummus!) have been replaced with dinner leftovers; so I’m now planning 4 dinner servings a night (instead of 2) so there are enough leftovers for lunch the next day.
– We aren’t eating out… so it’s pretty close to being a wash, budget-wise. I usually meet Jason for lunch at Ninfa’s once a week (for chips. And queso. And tortillas!), we have a weekly family breakfast date on Saturday at Chick-fil-A, and then I usually weasel my way out of cooking dinner once a week in favor of… anything but me cooking. Those things, not happening right now.

Asparagus with Poached Egg and Bacon

Spring is the perfect time to go Whole30
Produce is plentiful, fresh, and inexpensive right now! This is HUGE because every 3-4 days you go shopping, you feel like you’re buying half the produce section. I bought asparagus for $1.88/lb this week! I bought 5 bundles of asparagus for $1.88/lb this week 🙂

Ingredient labels will gross you out. And frankly, piss you right off.
SERIOUSLY. Why is there added sugar in my _______? And why is there a &^%$load of MSG in my favorite fastfood breakfast? Why do eggs have an ingredient list – why isn’t it just egg? Soy? Corn? They’re in EVERYTHING. And it’s very off-putting.

I could never do this because I can’t go without my _______
TRUST. ME. You are preaching to the caffeine/wine/tequila/sugar/carb/hummus/cheese/beer-addicted choir. The first week? It’s no ^%$#!&@ joke. It’s exactly what the preacher meant when he said “for better or for ^%$#!&@ worse” (I’m paraphrasing). But it IS only ~5 days. And once you get over that hump, it’s actually okay.

It’s more work & harder to eat clean
It just is. My pre-Whole30 snack-of-choice was HEB Multigrain Pita Chips & hummus. Both store-bought. Pre-made. Just open, over-indulge, and immensely enjoy. Or rip-and-inhale Fiber One bars (Oats & Chocolate, please!). And just when you think you’re finally done in the kitchen after dinner, it’s time to get lunches (and snacks for The Little) together for the next day. I run a cram-packed dishwasher twice a day and still feel like I have things heckling me from the sink every morning.

It’s not one-size-fits-all. Or gospel.
I don’t know that I 100% agree with everything in the book. We haven’t been 100% by-the-book perfect. But, we knew we ate (and drank) far too much sugar and needed a way to help us be accountable and break that. And I think we have. A few years ago, my doctor recommended that I follow the South Beach Diet, Phase I and II, as part of her treatment plan: “Make it your new way of life for 5 days a week.” And that mindset is how we’ll likely live our Life-After-Whole30.

Grilled Chicken with Pico de Gallo & Avocado

All that said, this is what the menu has looked like this past week.

Always 2 eggs over whatever leftover green vegetable we had the night before (roasted or grilled asparagus, green beans, or broccoli) with a slice or 2 of bacon. Sometimes berries (strawberries or blackberries are plentifu. and cheap right now), sometimes not.

Always leftovers from dinner the night before. Unless you’re the resident 3-year old and then you get a dinosaur-shaped PB & J with carrots & ranch. (Lucky.)

Tilapia with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa (strawberries are .98/lb this week!) + grilled broccoli
Baked Sweet Potato halves topped with chili. And onions. And the world’s most disappointingly not hot serrano. And asparagus on the side. (It was a weird-sounding combo but the chili + sweet potato actually went well together.)
HEB Sushi Bar to the rescue! Tuna & salmon topped with the meat from a couple of steamed snow crab clusters and slices of a wickedly hot serranos from the garden. Side of a cucumber-red onion-rice vinegar “salad.”
Baked Sweet Potatoes halves topped with barbecue pulled chicken + asparagus (this was the hit of the week!)
Grilled Chicken with Pico de Gallo & Avocado + sweet potato fries + grilled asparagus (x2)
King crab legs (8.99/lb!) + clarified garlic butter (I didn’t even make a vegetable 🙂 )

11 comments… add one
  • I’m really digging this series from you and it’s inspiring to see that even us food bloggers can do a strict detox-y diet. My husband and I do a 5 day/week Paleo thing but I’m going to try to convince him to do a month of this. It will be SO hard to give up my late Saturday night ginormous burritos though!

  • Anna

    I don’t know how you’re not eating cheese! But everything you’re making sounds absolutely delicious. Good for you for sticking with it!

  • I to am impressed with your success . Are you saying this is a lifetime change? I guess I should go google and read up on this subject. Trouble is we are full time RV’rs and are not close to a market/food store at all times. Plus if you have ever seen an rv fridge it is hard to stock up. But I shall not be deterred and will do some research. Keep us inspired please!!

  • Amberli

    Hi – Thanks for continuing to post about your whole30 experience! You inspired me last week and we are giving it a go! I had never even heard of the book/plan until your post and after reading I immedietly downloaded it on my kindle. We are on day 4. Day 3 was soooooooo bad. Today is much better. We did something similar last summer for a week and it changed my life, so I am really looking forward to the effects after 30 days – if we make it – I hope we do 🙂 You are doing great and good luck! I am so jealous that you are halfway!

  • Amanda

    I don’t know if you have incorporated almond milk into your diet yet, but I have replaced cow’s milk with almond milk I make at home. After I make the milk, I store the leftover pulp in the freezer until I get enough to dehydrate and then pulse through a food processor for “free” almond flour. It’s a lovely little side product that comes from our newfound love of raw almond milk (healthier too!). It actually enables me to experiment more with almond flour, as the price for the ready made stuff is not one I’m super excited about paying.

  • It’s amazing how much processed stuff we eat – even when you think you eat “good”. Don’t know if I could go all in like you – but does inspire me to try and be more conscious about what we do eat. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Christine

    Good for you! I eat Primally (Paleo + high fat high-quality dairy) about 75% of the time, and I’ve found that I spend a little bit more on groceries, but not much. The Whole 30 is harder than day-to-day maintenance, but it set me up for good habits after I was done with the initial month. Cutting down on the expensive bottles of liquor + mixers + garnishes (limes and lemons, etc.) does add up quickly. Farmers markets are SO much cheaper than the grocery store where I live, too. Soups are easy to make in bulk, cheap to make with leftover veggies and meat, and help bust the lunchtime boredom. A lot of times I’ll have a salad or soup on Monday for lunch, and then eat Sunday’s leftovers for Tuesday’s lunch, etc., to help stagger out leftovers and keep myself from getting sick of the same stuff. Keep us updated! 🙂

  • I’m so proud of you guys for hanging in there and sticking with it! You’ve even gotten me starting to consider the idea. Often I just feel “bleh” and I’ve thought it might be something I’m eating – but what? Might be worth a try for me!

    Also, that crab – totally from the Northwestern. I can just feeeel it!

  • Erin

    I know you aren’t supposed to weigh yourself, but just curious if you did? I’ve read quite a bit about this and considering starting on Monday.

  • I’m impressed with your commitment! I did the South Beach Diet years ago — the first phase was definitely HARD, but I kept up with Phase 3 as a lifestyle for quite some time (until culinary school — oops). I still make quite a few dishes from the cookbooks.

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