Whole30 Week 1

Disclaimer: Despite being motivated, I failed my Whole30 on Day 6 and have not regained my momentum since. More on why I think I failed later in this post.

Three years ago I successfully completed a Whole30. It was wonderful and I felt great! I did not, however, follow a proper reintroduction and despite eating well-ish some of the times. I backslid into a typical SAD diet, got pregnant, let cravings run rampant, ate a ton of fast food, had complications breastfeeding, multiple surgeries, got pregnant again, committed to cooking healthy meals at home, had a healthy pregnancy and complication-free delivery, successful breastfeeding, and lost all of my second-baby weight in two months without dieting or exercising. I by no means feel like a failure and am very proud of my progress overall. I knew that this was an incredibly difficult time to attempt a Whole30, but I was feeling so frustrated and like a victim to my hormones and my obsession with food. Here’s how my week went:

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I made myself a nice batch of egg muffins with sweet-potato bottoms (starches are supposed to help keep milk supply up) and had three for breakfast. Lunch was Cuban pork wraps, mustard-mayo sauce and a lime slaw and dinner was meatballs I found at Costco with zoodles and a spinach-walnut pesto. I drank my coffee black and found it difficult to finish. My milk tanked… like 7oz for the day instead of my usual 11-12oz and I was a little upset that I had to throw in extra pumping sessions to make up for it. Other than that I felt pretty good all day long. No serious lethargy and I never got crazy hungry. (If you are familiar with breastfeeding needs you know why my milk tanked but at this point I wasn’t really sure and needed to experiment).

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Day 2 I drank significantly more water and managed to get my milk back to 9oz, but still not what I needed. Breakfast was the same three egg muffins, lunch was a buffalo chicken salad with a hard boiled egg and homemade avocado ranch and dinner was THE BEST THING I’VE EVER MADE! I had a jumbo spaghetti squash from my csa and my husband hates spaghetti squash (it’s a texture thing). I’ve tried them as pad thai, stuffed them, put them in casseroles, etc. and he’s hated it all. I finally tried these spaghetti squash fritters from Real Food with Dana (omitted the bacon and made my own sauce) and they were a hit! We used them as buns for a shredded chicken sandwich. Mine had homemade russian dressing, spinach, shredded chicken, and sauerkraut and his had bacon and spinach. He ate four fritters (in the form of two sandwiches) and my toddler ate an entire fritter himself plus a few extra bites. What a major win for mom!D86398DA-37BA-4E40-AB2A-F86A73D86143By Day 3 I was beginning to suspect a lack of calories was the reason for my milk supply issues and I added in a fourth meal plus some extra fat with my breakfast (half an avocado). When nursing I need about 2,000+ calories per day without exercising to keep up my supply (I generally log daily with MyFitnessPal) but logging on the Whole30 is a no-no and I was trying to stay within the guidelines. Breakfast was three muffins again, lunch was chicken shawarma with a cauliflower tabouleh and a tahini dipping sauce, and dinner was my husband’s favorite combination: tapioca-starch coated meat fried in avocado oil, steamed veggies, roasted cauli-rice, and whatever sauce I feel like making. This meal-type is a regular rotation in our house with things like sesame chicken, bang-bang shrimp, orange beef, teriyaki chicken, etc. This one was a combination of coconut aminos, sesame oil, red chili flakes, and rice wine vinegar. My fourth meal was one can of tuna, a scoop of homemade mayo, Cholula, and lime.

If you’re trying to stay sane on the Whole30 then you repeat a lot of meals. Days 4 and 5 get a little repetitive in that sense. On Day 4 we had family over for our weekly dinner and my husband smoked dry-rub ribs, roasted asparagus and I made a ranch mashed potato with coconut cream and mayo. With family around I often forget to take a snap of my food (plus it’s kinda a weird thing to do at a table full of people) so I’m using the picture of my leftovers-taken-for-fourth meal instead. Lunch both days was more buffalo chicken salads and breakfast was more egg muffins with avocado except I also added some spicy kraut to make it more interesting for my tastebuds. Friday is usually pizza night, but we opted for some oven roasted wings instead and I ate sooooo many because they were delicious. Pizza and wings are my all-time-hands-down favorite food.

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Day 6 is my sad day (Saturday). We had back-to-back birthday parties and I thought I was prepared. I ate a huge breakfast with potatoes, sugar-free bacon from Pederson Farms, spinach eggs and avocado. I also packed a Larabar “just in case” and I think that’s what caused my crash and burn. At the first party there was a taco bar so I helped myself to loads of marinated carnitas and chicken, scoops of homemade salsa, tomatoes, and lettuce for wraps. We managed to get our toddler down for a nap between parties but time was a crunch so I quickly ate Cashew Cookie (a beautiful combination of nuts and dates) and the sugar rush triggered massive cravings. When I got to the second party (a police academy graduation) there was a cake made from a mountain of donuts and I just couldn’t get it off my mind. Oddly enough I cheated on everything but the donuts. I had two jalapeno poppers, a taquito, (not cheat-worthy) boiled shrimp and raw veggies. The problem? Not what I ate, but what I felt. After this I spiraled into all my favorite things that I was avoiding (worth-it gourmet donuts, pizza, etc) and lost all the good feelings from the first week. Now I need to regroup, recommit, and plan a better time to try Whole30 again while making smart decisions (like lots of calories and more starches) that will support my milk production.

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Whole30 Shopping and Week 1 Meal Prep

I’m sure there are some people who can succeed on the Whole30 without meal planning or meal prepping, but not me. Unless I spent $$$ at Whole Foods every day? Despite wanting to clean up my diet I’m still on an extremely tight budget (about $125 per week for everything for my family of three) and just can’t afford not to cook at home and buy all the things. Wouldn’t it be great if organic/additive free/sugar free food was the norm and the conventional extra processed stuff was the exception? Yes, yes it would!

That’s not to say I didn’t buy anything for my Whole30, I need bacon after all! So here’s what I’ve got stocked up:

  1. My organic csa basket: this baby has netted me a lot of produce to get through. I’ve got two bunches of asparagus, two bags of spinach, two bags of grape tomatoes, 2lbs of yellow onions, two spaghetti squashes, one butternut squash, two heads of cauliflower, 1lb of broccoli, three green peppers, 1lb Brussels sprouts, two sweet potatoes, avocados, and 1lb of snow peas. (Yes, we can and will eat ALL the veggies)IMG_3050
  2. Costco: I get my non-perishables at Costco as much as possible so that includes coconut flour, almond flour, avocado oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and canned tuna (nothing added in there). I also buy canned chicken but this will be out for Whole30 since they add “Food Starch” which can be from anything. Eggs in my house are practically non-perishable since we can easily go through three dozen in a week which means those are a Costco food as well. Since nut butters, nuts, and dried fruit are out for emergency food I needed meat. Thankfully Costco has some great options with 0 junk that I stocked up on included Aidells chicken and apple sausages, smoked pulled pork, and chicken basil meatballs. Once home, I repacked all of these into smaller servings so that I could stash the extras in the freezer for later.IMG_3065
  3. Sprouts: Sprouts is the store where I fill in the gaps… and shop like I don’t know what I’m doing. This time around I picked up sugar-free Pederson’s bacon, a bag of kraut, some cashews, lemons, green onions, cilantro, and shallots. I usually buy my coconut milk, coconut aminos, tapioca starch, and arrowroot powder here too but I’m all stocked up on these essentials already so I didn’t need more.

Now to the meal prep! I can’t follow a strict meal plan because on Saturday I have no idea what I want to eat each day for the entire week. Instead, I make a checklist of meals I have the ingredients for and am interested in and then as I cook them I check them off the list. Often, I add things to the list that weren’t already there (for example there is nothing Mexican/Latin on my checklist this week and I already can tell I want some taco-meat in my near future so that’ll have to be corrected)

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This meal plan really should be called a “dinner plan”. When prepping only for myself I generally make a jar salad to take to work for lunch and egg muffins to take for breakfast. However, I’ve been meal prepping for family and friends the past month and got way fancier. My lunches this week were made on Sunday (when I made 96 meals in total) and include:

  1. Cuban pork lettuce wraps with mustard dipping sauce and cilantro-lime slaw
  2. Buffalo chicken cobb salad with avocado ranch
  3. Chicken shawarma with cauliflower tabouleh and tahini dipping sauceIMG_3066I’m about as prepared as I can be… now let’s just hope I can survive the ups and downs during the first two weeks and stay strong.

My Whole30 Plan

I vented in my last post about the struggle I’ve been having with the slippery slope of poor eating decisions. It’s time to lay down my plan, map out my calendar, and prepare myself for the struggles ahead. I recently read Melissa Hartwig’s Food Freedom Forever and I noticed in the alternative resets some suggestions for cravings and decided to add those rules to my own personal Whole30 Guidelines:

Whole30 Yes No List

In addition to all of the normal Whole30 Rules, I’m also not going to be snacking or “emergency food” planning with crave-worthy binge-starting foods like Larabars or handfuls of cashews or spoonfuls of sunflower seed butter. I find that when I create these emergency snacks for myself (like my mason jars full of cashews) they became everyday snacks. That’s not necessarily bad (nothing wrong with a daily handful of cashews) but for me it’s just another way to let food rule my mind and it’s got to go.

My husband doesn’t want to do a complete Whole30 and we decided for my success and for our two babies it’s probably better if we don’t both hit the tired/cranky stages at the same time. In fact, my husband gets HANGRY when he doesn’t eat enough and when we do a Whole30 he often feels like he doesn’t know what’s “ok” for him to eat or not so he just won’t eat. To make sure my house isn’t filled with tempting noncompliant foods he and the toddler will be following a modified yes/no list:

Modified Yes No

My son loves fresh corn and white rice so those will be his “occasional grains”. I also like him to get his probiotics in with yogurt/yogurt pops and some days the only protein I can get him to eat is cheese. Instead of eliminating those items, I’m going to find better quality sources and pay attention to the additives.

Finall, nothing is worse than doing a Whole30 and hitting the rough patches when you need to be on your A-game so I created myself a calendar. Like I said in my last post, this is probably the worst time to do a Whole30 but I just can’t wait any longer. In the next 30 days…

  1. I will turn 27
  2. My son will turn 2
  3. There will be three birthday parties, including the one I host for my son
  4. My dad and his family will visit for a week
  5. My uncle, his 7 kids and my grandfather will visit for a week

I won’t lie and say I’m not worried, but I’m sure I can navigate these events with mindful choices and pre-eating (where you eat before you go to a party/dinner/etc). To see where the Whole30 Calendar lines up with my days I needed a visual:

Whole30 CalendarLooks pretty good right? I’ve got this, and I’m going to feel so good when it’s done.

Up next: Prepping for the Whole30 and Whole30 Day 1 Reflection