Alternatively titled: I miss toast.
We are almost finished with our first ever attempt at whole30 (I know, I hate me too) and I wanted to share some thoughts & tips with you all. I have gotten tons of emails and messages about what we are doing, how it is going and advice for anyone who is going to try it. I will start by saying, there are SO many amazing resources for whole30 so please don’t let this be your main resource, do tons of research before starting and decide what foods you will and won’t eat. We decided to do ours after basically binge eating & drinking all the sugary things and junk food on our beach trip, we came home feeling like we needed to hit the reset button. It helped so much to have each other to hold accountable, and Brandon was a champ, both at grilling lots of the meals and also putting up with me saying “I’m hungry” two thousand times a day.
I learned after we started that there are a lot of different levels of whole30, we basically followed the rules on the whole30 site & the grocery list. Some people don’t eat any fruit because of the natural sugar, some don’t eat potatoes at all, etc. but we did the less strict version and I realized there is no way I could have done it any other way. We printed this grocery list and based most of our meal planning on what was on it. We tried to keep meals super simple, rather than complicated and full of substitutes. We also basically stopped going out to eat for the most part, it felt overwhelming thinking about what was in all of the dishes, so aside from when I was travelling, we cooked basically everything at home.
Some of the biggest struggles for me were finding food I liked for breakfast that would also keep me full. I looove my sweets at breakfast (waffles, pancakes, french toast, TOAST) and usually do not wake up wanting to eat salty/savory food, so it was hard to eat eggs early in the morning. I started eating a banana when I first woke up and then would wait and do a later second breakfast of eggs + sweet potatoes or avocado. Also, the banana + 2 egg pancakes are legit and topped with some fruit and shredded coconut can be a pretty great substitute. Although the whole time I eat them I can’t help but think, “stop trying to make whole30 pancakes happen, they’re never going to happen.” Strangely I didn’t miss milk or cream in my coffee, I had no problem drinking it black (I tried unsweetened almond milk but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference in taste) but I reeeeaally miss having yogurt and fruit for breakfast.
One thing that I think made our things a little easier was doing it during summer when fruit is in season & grilling is always an option. We eat a ton of grilled chicken, fish, burgers, and pork chops. Roasted veggies are everything, we did lots of cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini, squash and sweet potatoes. Ohhh the sweet potatoes, they were my saving grace, either in the oven or sauteed in some olive oil, YUM. I could still eat them for every meal. LaraBars, RX Bars & LaCroix are life savers, and adding essential oils like Peppermint, Orange, Grapefruit & Lemon to my water helped to curb sugar cravings. I made a lot of smoothies using unsweetened almond milk, frozen fruits, almond butter & shredded coconut.
Some of our favorite dishes include burger bowls (grilled burger over sweet potato hash, topped with a fried egg, sauteed onions & avocado), chicken fried cauliflower-rice (using my favorite chicken fried rice recipe but substituting frozen/steamed riced cauliflower + sweet potato), chicken salad (best mayo option), sweet potato breakfast bowls, chicken or turkey lettuce wraps, and the best ever cracklin’ chicken. I followed this blog religiously for amazing recipes & love this list of breakfast food options.
What I learned from doing this so far is how bad my eating habits were prior to making a point to eat healthy. I never ate a ton of junk food, but would never turn down pancakes for breakfast, and could easily follow it with grilled cheese for lunch or fries with my dinner. Not to mention the handfuls of goldfish or peanut butter crackers I would eat here and there with the kids. Doing whole30 has helped me change my perspective on food, to view it as fuel instead of treats. I have learned what sweets are necessary in my life (yogurt + granola) and what is not (donuts). For the first time ever, I paid attention to added sugar and feel that I can make much better decisions on meals for our whole family.
Did I do the best whole30 ever with absolutely no cheating? Not a chance. There were meals when I was travelling unexpectedly last week that I couldn’t really avoid (although I did my best), I drank at a concert because #lukebryan, and I definitely ate a few pieces of homemade popcorn without even thinking about it. But when I think of all the food I did not eat (and drinks I did not drink!) and all of the amazing, healthy meals that I now love and will make often, I feel really good about it. To be honest, I never thought I would make it through a week, so to have done this much is a huge accomplishment!
So if you are thinking about attempting your first whole30, my advice would be yes, try it!!! Even if you only make it a week, the knowledge you will take away from it is worth it, and you will see amazing changes in your energy & body after just a few days which is so encouraging.
Have a happy weekend, friends!! XO297
Fantastic post!!! Thanks for sharing your experience! Did you lose weight while doing it? I’m currently breastfeeding my third little one, but have been debating doing a Whole30 once I’m done (I probably could do it now, but I’m always so hungry when BFing so I don’t want to push it, haha). I agree that it would be so nice to have an accountability partner (ie husband) to do it with. I don’t know if I’d make it a day if my husband wasn’t on it.
Thank you for sharing your experience!! Hope you have a great weekend!
Ashley Stewart says
Such good tips! My husband and I have been thinking about trying it for a while, but I have a toddler and a newborn so I was hesitant to have to make a second meal for the toddler because he is pretty much lives for carbs (TBH me too). Did you girls do variations of your dinners?
Love the ideas! I’ve done several Whole30’s and it creates such a new perspective on what we put in our bodies! I couldn’t believe how sweet sugar tasted after finishing my first! Nice job! Did the whole family participate?
I feel the whole30 does the same for my perspective on food! I remember thinking how have I gained weight I don’t eat very much! But what I was eating was a handful of goldfish here and there, a spoonful of peanut butter, and not very healthy. You learn that the content of the calories are so much more important. I basically was living off carbs and sugar and basically 0 protein. I literally had goldfish brain (brain fog) because I lived off gold fish and no protein lol So glad you had a good experience with it!
I feel like there are basically two camps: paleo (whole 30 type) where sugar is the devil, and the raw vegan approach where (obvi) you eat zero meat/dairy but all the fruit your heart desires. I have to say, I have done the whole 30 type thing before (it was a similar Dr Oz type program w the same basic restrictions) and I agree, I saw results, but I was STARVING! All. Of. The. Time. So it was great but totally not doable long term for me. So recently I started looking into the 80/10/10 diet which is essentially raw vegan diet. I can totally not claim to be even *close* to raw vegan, but I have attempted to do as much raw fruits/vegetables as possible and I will say eating all the fruit you want is waaaaay more doable and waaayy more satiating imo. So I am pretending to be Beyoncé currently where I will try to go raw until 4. I promise it is not as hard as it sounds, but I also don’t eat any dairy at all to begin with so maybe it is different for me. I think it really just has to do w what works for you and your body/metabolism type. But totally agree w you on the whole just basic paying attention to what you eat diet (e.g., handfuls of our kids leftovers do not count as meals, LOL) is prob the best one there is.
This is so helpful, thanks for the tips and recipes!! We have attempted it twice and never made it past a week but honestly this is so encouraging and makes me want to try it again. Still laughing about “i miss toast”!
Congrats on doing the Whole30! My husband and I did it in January and it was HARD! But, we did it in May for a 2nd round and it was much, much easier the 2nd time around. I highly recommend trying it again in a few month (I’m thinking maybe October before the holidays). It definitely helps when your spouse joins you!
Lacey Hill says
I’ve been thinking about this after about a year of not giving an eff about what I ate or drank…thank you for posting this! I feel better about how feasible this can be! 🙂
I haven’t done Whole30 (yet), but I’ve been following a low carb diet for the last several months and it borrows a lot from Whole30, and I’ve noticed so many of the things you have noticed. It’s been a revelation on my prior eating habits and I feel so much better because of it. You definitely learn a balance. I haven’t given up carbs, but I pick and choose when I’m going to indulge. I’m always looking for great new recipes, and switching up my diet has helped me find so many new great ones, and the ones you talked about sound great.
That Whole 30 breakfast list is everything! We are on day 3, and I’m already missing missing my usual PB toast or yogurt with fruit.
My husband and I have done one Whole 30, and want to do another, but now that my daughter is older, I’m struggling with how to include her! Did you wind up making separate meals for your girls? I’m worried if I take carbs out she’ll lose about 50% of her diet, ha. Thanks for the tips!!
Elise A says
I have two toddlers but am interested in the whole30 idea. You said you did a whole family change. Did you keep milk in the girls’ diet? We switched to fairlife milk about when you did. Was that something you kept while doing this?
Jessica Garvin says
The girls didn’t change their diet at all, they continued to drink milk and eat dairy, less sweets for snacks but basically the same foods they always eat 🙂
This is a timely post as I’m planning on doing the Whole30 when we get back from
Camping next Saturday! I’m so nervous but I also know it’ll help me reset as well! Thanks for the tips and real talk!
“Not to mention the handfuls of goldfish or peanut butter crackers I would eat here and there with the kids.”
^^This right here. I had NO IDEA how much crap I was shoving in my mouth until I had to make a conscious effort not to do it. I made it about 12 days strict Whole30 before the holidays, but have adapted so many of the principles into my every day life. I did a few Whole5 & Whole3 resets and then kept things mostly gluten & dairy-free for awhile. I’ve now sort of transitioned to a high fat, low carb way of eating. And while I DO miss toast & chips & all things crunchy, I find that after following the Whole30/Paleo lifestyle, even loosely, I appreciate those sorts of things as treats so much more & honestly can’t even tolerate large amounts of sugar!
And completely agree that doing it in the summer is so much easier! Grilling all the meats & eating fresh fruits & veggies just comes naturally!
P.S. Try nutpods coffee “creamer” (I like the French vanilla) if you are craving a little something in your coffee periodically! I buy mine in the wellness section at HyVee but you can also order online.
My husband and I are doing another round of whole30 (my third and his second) but this time we made the recipe for dump ranch from whole sisters and it made the world of difference for us this time!! So many yummy salads. http://www.whole-sisters.com/dump-ranch/