Whole 30 (in a Nutshell)

On August 5, 2012, we in our household decided to embark on what is known as the Whole 30. I spent a couple of days looking into it, we went shopping, and on August 8 we were on our way - I'm an all or nothing kind of girl and I know procrastination is a big issue for us, so we struck while the iron (and the will) were hot.

And because I know it was extremely useful for me, as I began our journey of 30 days of eating well, to rely on fellow bloggers who had done the same to share what they had eaten and, basically, how they survived, I documented our eating habits, as well (much to the boredom of many, I am sure).  And now, for the benefit of all, I'm combining it all into one place.

For the sake of eliminating needless repetition, I will note we ate eggs scrambled in either walnut, olive or coconut oil every morning for breakfast (sometimes with salsa thrown in, because why not?) with a piece of fruit on the side.  Lunches were often leftovers from the night before, so I will only be listing dinners here with a few extra links for breakfast/lunch ideas thrown in at the end.

Clearly I am not a banana snob.

So, without further ado, our Whole 30 Battle Plan (and some results):

Day 1: Mexi Salad (substituted Chicken for Beef because it's what we had)

Worst Moment of the Day: Longing for chocolate.  Any chocolate.
Best Moment of the Day: Licking my guacamole fork knowing I just made something amazing and it's good for us!  Healthy eating does not equal bland eating.

Day 2: Shaslik (Russian Kebabs - with chicken rather than lamb because lamb was too expensive and broiled, rather than grilled, because our grill is broken), Green Bean Bacon Bundles (minus the sugar and with Ghee rather than butter), Sliced Tomatoes

Today got rough when I gave the kids popcorn for snack (their diet isn't as hard-core as ours, though they have the same breakfast and dinner) and wanted just one kernel, but I held strong.  Also, the Whole 30 plan discourages against snacks, but I'm a nursing momma who is donating a good portion of her calories to a certain little boy, leaving me hungry and shaking even after I finished breakfast, so I had to put those back in - I don't plan to rely on them, but I won't deny myself nourishment when my stomach is super angry.  Finally, that dinner was about the most amazing thing I've ever made/eaten - LOVED it!!!  We'll be pulling that out again, and long after this Whole 30 is over, for sure.

Day 3:Sweet & Spicy Bacon Chicken (minus the sweet), Green Beans

Worst Part of Today: Movies without popcorn?!  What kind of madness is this?!
Best Part of Today: Being full after dinner, but not feeling gross or heavy, as I would after being too full from carbs or sugar.  I don't think I ever knew you could feel a little too full but not feel yucky.

Day 4: BLAT Salad

Worst Part of Today: Remembering not to lick the spoon while dishing up pudding for the kids.
Best Part of Today: Philip telling me, "I'm not very happy with you.  I'm not supposed to like this because it has avocados and mayonnaise.  I don't like what you're doing to me." Love it when he's surprised to discover the things he thought were bad really aren't so bad.

Day 5:  Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole,

Worst Part of Today: The severe temptation to just grab a bowl of cereal when my belly was rumbling later in the evening.
Best Part of Today: Realizing I really don't miss some of the things I used to think necessary, like cheese or a breading in egg casserole (or even just cheese on my salad).

Day 6: Store-Bought Cajun Rub Rotisserie Chicken (label carefully read), Green Beans

Worst Part of the Day: Waking up absolutely sick, wanting nothing more than a Gatorade and saltines and hoping it doesn't last so I don't have to give in.  Then, when the sickness subsides, feeling too weak to prepare acceptable food and wanting to just sit on the couch and indulge in comfort foods - crackers, cereal, chocolate milk, the list goes on. 
Best Part of the Day: Realizing there are options for meals that don't require an hour in the kitchen (like store-bought chicken) and, overall, just surviving the day without giving up.

Worst Part of the Day: The epic fail that was dinner.  I want to blame the recipe but, as it turns out, we apparently had a bad squash.  Having never experienced Spaghetti Squash before, we didn't know the bitter taste wasn't normal.  The sprouts inside should have been some sort of indicator, though. The kids had hot dogs; Philip and I dug around for bacon.
Best Part of the Day: Strawberries and Bananas.  That's all I need to say. 

Day 8:  Pizza Meatloaves, Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing (per the recipe on Pampered Chef's Measure, Mix & Pour - if you're interested, let me know - just sayin') 

Worst Part of Today: Taking a ten-minute on-line survey about chocolate cake. At least I got fifty cents out of it.
Best Part of Today: While Pigs-in-a-Blanket and Fruit Pizzas (on sugar cookies!) were offered at Bible Study this morning and I figured they probably tasted really good, it wasn't that difficult to turn them down.  I wasn't hungry and didn't even crave them.  You all, these are some of myabsolute favorite foods we're talking about, and I barely batted an eye.  Something is changing - and it's crazy. 

Day 9:  Baked Bacon Turkey Burgers (the recipe calls for Bison, but that is much more expensive and readily available than turkey - plus we like turkey),Zucchini Chips, Green Beans

Worst Part of the Day: We spent the evening at a Home-Schooling Panel where there were lovely trays of home-baked brownies, chocolate chip muffins, M&M cookies, cheese, crackers and salami (as well as multiple pitchers of lemonade).  Essentially, all the good public-gathering-type goodies.  I had a glass of water while I convinced myself the lemonade was probably watered down anyway.
Best Part of the Day: Forgetting I was even on the diet (you know, until the Homeschooling Panel) - which I take to be a good sign, because I'm no longer desperate for what I can't have (unless it's right in front of me) or feeling a giant rumbling in the tummy.  Just living my life, fueled by healthy choices.

Day 10:   Crockpot Chicken Carnitas, Romaine, Fried Plantains 

Day 11:  Store-Bought Rotisserie chicken, Plantain Chips (purchased from the bulk bins at Whole Foods)

Day 12: Grilled chicken salad, picante sauce (from QT - I picked off the cheese)

Day 13:  Spaghetti & Meatballs (minus the Spaghetti and without the Cheese and mushroom bits rather than bread crumbs)

Worst Part of the Weekend - Being away from home!  Being surrounded by all the things we never keep on hand (my favorite cereal, Hershey's Kisses, etc.) and having to resist.  Besides the fact that Vacation Mentality kicked in - you know the thought that you're on vacation so you can eat whatever and it doesn't count.  Only, everything counts in the Whole 30.  I had planned ahead and figured out meals to take with us, but then I got lazy and decided we could eat the same thing the whole weekend (Chicken Carnitas on salad) - which was a big mistake because we got bored of that after, oh, the second meal in a row.  So, I was torturing myself with the knowledge of all the great restaurants we don't have at home that I still couldn't eat at and not wanting to cook something healthy. It was bad.  Real bad.
Best Part of the Weekend - Heading to Whole Foods and stocking up on Plantain Chips and Larabars - maybe replacing unhealthy habits with "healthy" ones, but better than sucking down pizza, ice cream, chips and granola bars with reckless abandon (as I really wanted to do).  We were definitely in survival mode.

Day 14: Sexy Shrimp Scampi (lol, gotta love a name like that - and, oh my, sexy I'm not sure, but delicious, yes sir!), Broccoli

Day 15: Chili 

Worst Part of these Days: Twice a week I cook dinner for another family as well, usually doubling whatever I make for ourselves.  Twice this week I have made for them pasta when pasta is not our menu (because I thought they might actually appreciate the spaghetti in their spaghetti and meatballs).  It wasn't until after I sent their meal off last night and I was cleaning up the stray strands of linguini for their scampi that I realized two nights in a row I had eaten a piece of pasta, per my method for testing done-ness.  Darn it.  I messed up and it was entirely unintentional (believe me, if I had meant to slip, it would have been with a little bit of Micaiah's pizza this evening, not two innocent pieces of plain pasta). Please forgive me.  Also a bad moment - chili without cheese or fritos or crackers - who does that?!
Best Part of these Days: That Shrimp Scampi.  Ooooh, yum!  Also, we've made it past the hump!  Onto the second half of our journey!

Day 16: ShashlikCrunchy Broccoli Slaw (SO good!  Philip wasn't a fan because it was too sweet for him with the White Balsamic Vinegar - but Emmett and I loved it.)

Day 17: Beef and Chicken Fondue with Mojo Cooking Style (from Melting Pot Cookbook), Broccoli, Green Peppers

Worst Part of these Days - Feeling like we're still not past the craving stage.  More than halfway through and I'd like to stop waiting for this thing to be over and really appreciate eating good food - which I do sometimes, but it feels like we vacillate - it's definitely been a roller coaster that doesn't feel like it's evening out.
Best Part of these Days - Looking at my kids' colorful lunch plates, with carrots, grapes, cherries, cheese (yes, they still get cheese) and other good-for-them foods and knowing our eating habits are affecting them in a positive way.

Day 18: Mexican Crockpot Stew (using previously cooked/shredded Chicken Carnitas)

Day 19: Bacon, Roasted Red Pepper, Onion Frittata (Everyone LOVED this)

Day 20:Chicken Parmesan (we used a South Beach Diet recipe, minus the Parmesan and the Mozzarella), Green Beans, Salad

Worst Part of these Days: Salad Dressing.  I miss real salad dressing.
Best Part of these Days: Now two-thirds of the way done and only a week and a half from the finish line, we're planning our post-Whole-30 phasing back into real-life eating and I'm surprisingly ok with not jumping back into chocolate chip cookies and even holding off on the grains for a couple more days while we re-introduce dairy first.  My food has changed me!

Day 21: Mexican Chicken Soup (a South Beach Diet recipe)

Worst Part of Today: Running out of Plantain Chips.
Best Part of Today: Realizing how much I've enjoyed eating lunch lately.  It's so nice to not just be going to the old sandwich fallback every day and, yet, doing more than just salads.  Also, we haven't been eating lunch in front of the TV, so it feels less rushed.

Day 23: Mexi Salad (even better than I remembered!)

Worst Parts of These Days: I've still been awfully hungry in the afternoons, especially when dinner comes a little late, but I'm doing alright.
Best Parts of These Days: Watching our children beg for seconds on Brussels Sprouts and eat Butternut Squash Lasagna without complaint.  I truly believe their taste buds are changing along with ours and this makes every second, every day without dessert (other than the "itty-bitty grapes" we give the kids), entirely worth it.

Day 25: Leftover Chicken Parmesan

Worst Part of the Day: Realizing my husband and I were not on the same page regarding our goals for this program and our dreams of how we'll be eating afterward.  We're working on it.  (Also, rewarding a little guy with marshmallows while not sneaking a few ourselves.)
Best Part of the Day:  Being to the point where I don't really have to think very hard about what we'll be eating.  Eating this way is almost a habit now.

Day 26: Baked Chicken Thighs (marinated in homemade Italian dressing), Green Beans, Salad with Homemade Raspberry Vinaigrette, Raisins and Sliced Almonds

Day 27: Chicken Fajita Salad

Day 28: ShashlikGreen Bean Bacon Bundles, Sliced Tomato

Worst Part of these Days: Not eating enough for lunch on Monday.  My body needs its protein.  Yet, somehow it survived without making me double over in discomfort.
Best Part of these Days: Feeling like I can finally veer from the meal plan - having the knowledge of what to eat enough to throw things together last minute and still have them fit the "program."  We're learning.

Day 29: Spaghetti (Squash) and Meatballs

Worst Part of Today: Stocking up on cereal (hey, it was on sale and we're getting grains back SOON) and not being able to sneak even just a little.
Best Part of Today: Giving Spaghetti Squash another fair shot and realizing everyone is right - it's pretty good, especially as a healthier option to spaghetti.  Even Micaiah (who I think still connected it to the previous fiasco even though I hoped she wouldn't notice) admitted it's really good with sauce.  Whew!  

Day 30:  Shrimp ScampiMock Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans 

And just like that, we were done!  We actually survived and, with the exception of the absent-minded noodle testing, we stuck with it to the core.  While we've mostly gone back to a lot of things we ate before, we find ourselves satisfied a lot more quickly and not pulling out unnecessary snacks as a comfort thing.  So, it may not have changed what we eat for the long-run, but it definitely affected how we eat, so I think we'd all call it a win!

Let me know if you have any further questions - I'd love to try to help in any way I can!

Further recipes, etc.:

Breakfast Ideas: Cowboy Breakfast Skillet (I was kind of afraid of this one, but it was actually pretty good),  Sweet Potato Cinnamon Hashies (I was a little disappointed in these, but the kids loved them)

Lunch Ideas: Chunky Apple Chicken Salad (with Homemade Mayo), Salad with Leftover Chicken

Snacks: Mixed Nuts (especially mixed with raisins and dried cranberries), Frozen Fruits Blended together (a smoothie with nothing but the fruit), Cinnamon & Nutmeg Banana "Ice Cream",  Zucchini ChipsLarabar


  1. For the shrimp scampi on day 14, what did you replace the butter with? Clarified butter? Ghee?

    1. We used ghee and it was fantastic!