Monday, February 15, 2016

A Simple Whole30

I did a Whole 30 in January (and am continuing on-Day 45 today) and some of you have asked me some questions about how I did it etc.-here's that post!

First off, my friend Jane helped me a ton and really got me started and motivated.  Here is her post on her Whole30 experience (she is still going strong months and months later with I think a more than 30 pound weight loss!)

If you want to read about what the Whole30 is, this is the basic information you need to know. I really didn't read either of the books (first one, second one) until after I started and then had to return them mid-journey. I also read a book the Whole30 authors refer to a few times as they have based their program off of it, called The Paleo Solution by Roff Wolf and I really liked how this guy explained the paleo philosophy and also gave some weight training information as well.  All books are very motivating and interesting.

There are a TON of recipes on the internet for Whole30 (and Paleo-which is not the same as Whole30 as Whole30 excludes some things basic Paleo plans do not.) BUT I did not want to overwhelm myself and wanted to start slow and simple.

I know enough about my lifestyle, my appetite and what will work for me especially the time I have for all of this. I love Whole30 and it worked for me because it is not restrictive on the amount of food you can eat. I know I hate being hungry, I hate not having food choices, I am very much an "all or nothing" person (called an abstainer instead of a moderator, thank you Gretchen Rubin).  I kept a very simple "meal plan" for myself and kept up cooking normally for my family. I know my weakness is sugar and I must go all or nothing because it slowly creeps into my life and before I know it, it is my main food group. My older sister has been telling me for years to control my sugar cravings by eating more protein and finally I listened to her, and you know what, she was right.

Eating out I've just figured out what I could have. Parties-I eat before I go, and go saying to myself I will eat nothing the entire time. I feel good when I get home instead of gross like I used to.

Benefits of Whole30 for me:
I have never once been hungry on this plan. I am usually too full by dinner time to eat much dinner.

I've slept better, lost weight, tons more energy, no afternoon slump, no sugar cravings, no sore joints, clearer skin, better mood all the time, think about food less, and life more.

Just an important side note-there are times in life when we have more time for ourselves than others. If someone would have tried to get me to do this plan, as simple as it is, one or two or three years ago when Janey was a high needs baby and there were other stressors in my life, I might have said a bad word or two back to them in my head.  I just didn't have the mental energy, the time to sit down and eat a nice meal some days, the extra space in my soul for motivation, the ability to deprive myself of some major stress relief chocolate eating. I was doing my best giving most (all?) of my energy caring for this gorgeous baby and five other children and a husband and keeping it all together. If this is you, you know that's okay right?  I know that might not be the message we hear-(take time for yourself, go on date nights, exercise, look sexy after baby, fit back into those jeans, eat frequent small meals, make sure you get enough sleep blah blah blah shut up)-SOMETIMES IT IS NOT POSSIBLE.  Like you don't have ONE second to go to the bathroom, how could you do any of this??? IF THIS IS YOU RIGHT NOW, JUST KEEP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING IT IS GOD's WORK. Give it-it being mothering-your all. You will never regret it and will be rewarded for the rest of your life, and once this hard stage of mothering passes, or ebbs till the next baby, know one day you WILL be able to sit down and eat a healthier breakfast, and might have time to make a salad or even do a few leg lifts, lose a few pounds if so desired, and pay a little attention to yourself. 



So here are my basics:
Every morning for breakfast I have the same thing. I take a small frying pan, put MILD olive oil in it, saute some spinach, tomato, and chopped peppers (maybe some mushrooms and onions) and once those are soft I add two or three scrambled eggs right on top. I turn heat on low and cover the pan, and it "souffles" into a nice little meal.  I make normal breakfast for the kids while I am doing this whether it's eggs, waffles, pancakes, or cereal.

For lunch almost every day:
A big salad.  Romaine, some broccoli slaw for crunch and color, tomatoes, onions, maybe a hard-boiled egg, or avocado cut up and grilled chicken. I cut up the chicken when I get home from the store and freeze some with the garlic in freezer bags, keeping what I will use that week in the fridge. I usually grill up a batch about every four days as needed. I also have made taco salad with ground beef, avocado, cilantro, etc. and used the Ranch dressing with cilantro added as a dressing.

I use these three dressings-your really have to make your own and honestly, homemade dressing makes a salad, so I didn't mind, although it does take more time. I would double the recipe so I'd have the dressing to use all week.

Ranch -scroll down when you get to this post. This is delicious and I use this for sweet potato fry dip and also in place of ketchup on burgers. (I thought I'd die without ketchup (and there are Whole30 ketchup recipes that you can make-but I haven't missed it at all and now it's gross to me.) I printed out this entire post and put it in my recipe binder, but have only used the Ranch so far.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

My Greek dressing

Snack:
A handful of cashews or almonds or walnuts and black berries or maybe grapes. I try to go easy on the fruit although it's part of the plan because I am afraid of awakening my sugar cravings.  I have also used this snack a few times as a meal stand-in if for some reason I didn't have time for the salad or dinner.

For Dinner:
I still plan my meals for the family weekly (very simple ones), but think about what I can eat too with each meal. For my spaghetti stand in, I made a batch of these meatballs and froze them, and either eat them with zoodles or broiled eggplant and added store-bought "pure" marinara to put on top of meatballs and eggplant. I would highly advise always having a back-up like this frozen as it makes it easy on those hectic nights. 

Many times (especially the busy sports evenings) I make sweet potato fries and ate those alone. I have made burgers for everyone (ate mine with the fries, no bun, a big tomato and lettuce) or maybe I've made pork chops, didn't bread mine, had a baked apple on the side. Or we've grilled steak and I made asparagus (but didn't put parm on it like I usually do.) I made blackened cauliflower as a side a few times and then Jeff ate it all. :) Janey steels my sweet potato fries all the time.

A few times I've had leftover salad from lunch and have eaten that for dinner, maybe with some sweet potato chips for a little extra hot side dish.


Essentials for me that I make sure I am never without: Sweet potatoes, spaghetti sauce, eggs, (and hardboiled eggs for salads), tomatoes, Romaine lettuce (I use one "stalk" for every salad), broccoli slaw to add crunch and color to salad, avocado...

...zucchini for zoodles, MILD olive oil (so the taste doesn't overtake my food especially eggs), red wine vinegar and balsamic, and the water is because I have to be reminded to not wait before bed to be thirsty. 

Mandoline slicer ($15) for sweet potato chips (another good irresistible side), my perfect sized salad bowl, plastic container to store coconut milk that I use for Ranch dressing, and glass jars for storing homemade dressings, and zoodler ($12).


Cocount milk essential for my favorite ranch dressing, see below.

I marinate my chicken in this-very simple.



I printed this out and hung this list on the fridge which helped me at first (it's SO basic-fruit, vegetables, some nuts, some fat, meat and eggs. No dairy, no processed foods, no flour, no sugar.)

That's it!  I have some simple recipes I've saved on my Pinterest Whole 30 board that I may plan to try when I have time (I made a goal of trying one new recipe a week and have done pretty well at it) but the key for me is not being overwhelmed by it all.

Any questions, feel free to ask.

34 comments :

  1. Thanks for posting this. I started a Whole40...on Ash Wednesday. I have lots of health reasons such as high blood pressure, weight creeping up with middle age (although not terrible out of control..yet) and the increased risk of diabetes after gestational diabetes with all of my pregnancies. It is one part of my Lenten preparations to focus on being able to live fully in faith. This has been very encouraging for me today.

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    1. I want to congratulate you for being aware of possible diabetes after gestational diabetes. The time for action is now! I had mild gestational diabetes with my second and while I lost weight, I didn't keep it off. Fifteen years later, I have prediabetes and am working hard, with success and setbacks, I've recently lost 22 pounds and aim to lose the "Final 15" pounds and create a moderate carb, regular exercise lifestyle that is SUSTAINABLE.

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  2. http://www.primallyinspired.com/crockpot-balsamic-roast-beef/ This was my favorite recipe while doing Whole30. Makes such great leftovers too.

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  3. I am going back to reread this again, but can I say that this brought tears in my eyes. I am not an emotional person at all, but I am overwhelmed with where to start and I really needed someone to 'spell it out'...and here is your post. You are pretty much my favorite person in the whole-wide world right now <3 :)!

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  4. I love your side note, Sarah. I did the Whole30 because it was the time for me. I am not sure I could have done this when the kids were younger. Thanks for sharing what has worked for you. I am going to try the liquid aminos. I miss having something for stir fry. But, honestly, I enjoy all the flavors of the vegetables. And being full! I love how this program is helping so many people and being shared word of mouth. It helps to have the support. I have found I can adapt many of my meals that my family enjoys. If I make chicken noodle soup, I cook noodles separately, and add zoodles or cabbage to mine. Tonight we had breakfast night. Since I eat so many scrambled eggs, I tried something different. I fried eggs and ate them with shredded Brussels sprouts. It was delicious! I will have to try the garlic marinade. Keep up your hard work!

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  5. This post is really inspiring! I have been wanting to do something like this for a long time. My mom has the book "Nourishing Traditions", and that recommends a diet very similar to Whole30. However, I never thought I would have the endurance to actually do the diet. Whole30 is a great idea because it only lasts 30 days! I aim to try this plan in March!
    ~Lolly

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  6. First time commenting - Just wanted to say thank you so much for your "side note." Literally brought me to tears (that might be connected to the exhaustion and hormones though.) :) As a mom pregnant with her 4th, 3 others 5 and under, and homeschooling - thank you for the words I needed to hear encouragement and permission that I AM doing my best right now. :) (Even if it just feels like I'm failing miserably on everything.)

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    1. YES YES YES to the side note and giving yourself some grace. I am pregnant with baby #5 and most days its all i can do to get the laundry and meals done. And I get the feeling about failing miserably at everything! I wanted to start the Whole30 during my pregnancy but I know it's just one more thing that will overwhelm me!

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  7. I loved this whole post, but especially your side note. I've been really down on myself lately for not being in better shape, especially with spring right around the corner. Thank you for helping me to not only feel better, but remember and feel good about the place I'm in right now. There is a time for everything and there will be a time when there's more time for myself. Also, I've always been so intimidated by the Whole 30. Like you, if it's overwhelming, I won't do it. Thank you for breaking it down and making it seem manageable.

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  8. THANK YOU! Thank you!! This is a wonderful and helpful post! I have wanted to start the Whole30 but get overwhelmed easily with these types of things. Love this simple(r) approach to it. Thank you for taking the time to make this blog post!

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  9. Great info presented in a succinct and inspiring way! Thanks for including the "permission" for moms to be where they are in their own season of life!!

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  10. Thank you for posting this, Sarah! Just exactly what I was needing. I get bogged down when people start adding so many extras that I just give up. I'm at the end (I think) haha of a high needs baby. at least it's slowing down a bit but I am so unhealthy right now and completely addicted to sugar. I really think your simplified version is doable and will be so helpful for me!

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  11. What have you been eating on Fridays during lent? I'm struggling with that one, fish for all is expensive!

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    1. I had avocado on salad and sweet potato for dinner.

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  12. Your approach was so appreciated by me in this post! I even forwarded it to a new mom family member and asked her to pay special attention to the bold side note. Your details of the plan are not overwhelming and I might try this. With all my littles in school for the first time, I've added exercise back in to my routine but facial care (I don't know where these eye wrinkles came from, I swear they popped up overnight) and nutrition I need to fine tune and put a plan in place. Thank you for giving me something to think about--and is vegetable soup what Friday has become for Lent?

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    1. Trust me-I get the wrinkle thing-like I woke up one day and there they were! :)

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  13. Thanks for this! I just did the Whole30 in January and until a few days ago...lasted 35 days then caved for a glass of wine for a Valentine's date with hubby. (I had actually thought it out for days and decided I was ready, not exactly caving...) I absolutely love the Whole30 and find that, like you, with sugar I need to go cold turkey, all or nothing for it to work. I do eat Medjool dates when I just need a sweet treat, but they're full of nutrition so I don't mind that as long as I only eat a couple and not every day. I love how simple you kept it and found that the simplicity of the plan was the greatest thing for me too.

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  14. I did my first Whole30 Jan 2015 and it was LIFE CHANGING. I couldn't recommend it more for tired moms.

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  15. Oh Sarah, thank you for your side note. While I don't have a little baby right now, I have a little 1.5 year old. Sometimes I think that's more challenging than a 6 month old, but really the first couple of years are exhausting. My older 2 were incredulous and laughed today when I exclaimed, "Oh, I forgot to eat lunch today!" Thank you for understanding and making it real that it is normal to not have time or energy to plan for two options for each meal (regular family and healthy mom). And, yes, I need a little stress relief food, too!

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  16. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing my recipe for baked apples :)

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  17. As always, you take a subject that can be very overwhelming and make it look SIMPLE!! Thank you!! What is your recipe for the Blackened Cauliflower? Thank you so much!!

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    1. Hi Lisa-
      I just cut up cauliflower in little pieces and made sure they were coated with olive oil (don't be too sparse) and put them in 400 degree oven till they were toasty.

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  18. Thank you for taking the time to explain this way new way of eating!! It makes sense and you make it sound do-able. Im most grateful.

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  19. Have you tried spiralizing your sweet potato? It's great satueed with onions and Brussel sprouts, then crack two eggs on top and put skillet in a 400 degree oven until cooked how you like.

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  20. so inspiring!!!! I swear..as soon as we move I am buying the book and starting this! just started following you on pinterest too :) xx

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  21. I have been trying to eat healthier by cutting out lots of simple carbs and adding in more veggies. I want to try whole30 but my biggest hang up is I'm scared to give up cheese. I have a breakfast like yours each morning but I have to have a little cheese grated on top. I also have a salad for lunch each day but I love it with cottage cheese. I had one question, how do you make your sweet potato fries? I buy precut frozen ones sometimes but would like to make my own. Thank you!

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    1. It's funny because I think there is always ONE thing that is super hard to give up for each person. I get it! I just cut mine in regular french fry slices with a knife, put them on a baking sheet with a little olive oil, making sure they have the olive oil brushed on them (sometimes I just use my hands to coat them), and then bake them at 400 degrees till they look done. Sprinkle with salt. That's all. They DO take longer than I anticipate, and sometimes I will finish them off on broil when I am impatient (and yes, I usually burn them a little this way. :)

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  22. One more question! Do you use the recipe as is or do you alter it? And do you limit how much you use on your salad? Thanks again for all of your help!!

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    1. Hi Lisa! Let me know what recipe you mean? Maybe the Ranch? I don't limit how much I use.

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  23. I have read your blog for along time and one thing I know is we both love chocolate and seaside! Please be careful with all the cholesterol in this diet. I wish you great success!

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    1. Hi Katie-I have never had an issue with cholesterol, but all the paleo type books especially Whole30 tell of so many instances where the health of the "dieter" including cholesterol levels improved drastically-because that has so much more to do with unhealthy fats found in processed foods vs. all fats. I don't know-but the books really dive into this and it's pretty interesting!

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  24. Perfect time for this post! I too was needing some inspiration with spring fast approaching. I really appreciate you linking your Whole 30 Pinterest board too. That is so helpful for someone who can never think of what to fix, like myself.

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  25. Goodness, this is such a helpful post!! Thank you for your insight and truth. Have a great day!! God bless!:)

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  26. Hi Sarah, Mike and I just started this morning. You were my inspiration.

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