Tag Archives: healthy living

What Whole30 Taught Me About Cooking

One of my favorite implications of Whole30 has been the way it’s forced me to make friends with my inner Bobby Flay (or whatever celeb chef you prefer. No judgement, unless you pick Paula Deen. Then I judge you.) Unless I’m going out for a pre-planned meal like date night or dinner with the fam, I’m cooking and preparing meals at home.

My grocery shopping and at-home food strategy has barely changed since Whole30. We essentially have the whole “but there’s no food, just ingredients to MAKE food” thing going on. We have meat, fruit, veggies, eggs and condiments like nut butters and salsas. There’s some Luna bars in the pantry chillin with the oils/vinegars and some nuts, now added by Paleo baking ingredients. But there’s hardly anything that can just be heated up in a flash. We have to get creative and work a little for it. At first this was overwhelming, but now I absolutely love it.

So what has this experience taught me about cooking?

Lesson One: Keep it simple

  • You can roast just about any vegetable with a little olive oil, balsamic and random spices.
  • Everything is better if you just throw it on the grill.
  • Salads aren’t boring if you do it right. Open the fridge, pull everything out, chop it up and put it on lettuce. Wasn’t that easy?
  • Need a side dish? Have some snap peas with Sunbutter. Throw some carrots in the oven. It doesn’t need to be an ordeal. These foods taste good all on their own.

Lesson Two: Give yourself a break

  • It’s okay to take shortcuts that make cleaning easier. Slow cooker liners, Ziploc steamer bags, etc. There’s no award for doing it all by hand.
  • If you’re really out of ideas, just steam it and put some sort of sauce on top.
  • Eggs are easy, fast and cheap. Eat as many as you want for any meal you want.

Lesson Three: Get creative and just try it, already

  • Any dish can be salvaged or elevated with one of the following ingredients: salt/pepper, olive oil, a fried egg or hot sauce. And sometimes, all of the above.
  • You don’t have to make a traditional food. Our society is obsessed with naming our foods; everything has to “be” something. Get that our of your mind right now. Forget lasagna, gumbo, tacos, etc. Just throw some food together without worrying about what it “is”. Here are some of the traditionally nonsensical things I’ve been eating:
    • Roasted brussel sprouts with spinach turkey sausage slices and avocado
    • Microwaved sweet potato with fried eggs
    • Ground beef sautéed with zucchini and onion
  • I was scared of trying new produce items because I didn’t know what to do with them. That is ridiculous, because Google and YouTube exist and they can help you cook anything.

Lesson Four: Treat Yo Self


  • You really do need a food processor. Or super buff large arm muscles.
  • Get a couple Paleo or Whole30/Whole9 cookbooks. If nothing else it will give you inspiration and the motivation to make healthy meals.
  • New cooking tools (spatulas, zesters, slicers, peelers) are an inexpensive way to up your game.
  • You can’t cook every meal every day without going insane. Find restaurants that are Whole30 or close enough. For me, this is Agra Culture and D Brian’s. I know I can get lunch if I’m in a jam without stressing out too much.

I love that I can open my fridge and come up with a creative meal that takes little effort without that meaning I’m heating up a frozen dinner. I like that a snack can just be a handful of nuts. I’m loving my new sense of adventure and how I actually enjoy making things from scratch. And I can confidently say that this would have never happened without Whole30.

How’s that for proof that Whole30 can change your life?


Reintroduction: Rules Are For Breaking (Oh Well!)

It’s been exactly seven days since Whole30 ended. Remember when we were going to reintroduce foods very carefully one-by-one on a specified schedule? Yeah… that didn’t really happen. I blame ice cream and birthday dinner at Barbette and friends brunch and the fact that I’m just plain out of willpower. 30 days is a long time to be so strict, and adding another 10 on for reintroduction was apparently more than we could truly handle.

So we didn’t stick to a schedule, but I still think we’ve been pretty good. Below is what reintroduction has looked like since my cookie-baking incident.

Gluten Free Grains

Cookie day was also the official gluten-free grain day. I ate a little bit of quinoa with lunch. It was fine., I guess? I kind of had to force it down. We planned to have some jasmine rice with our curry pot roast for dinner but neither of us really wanted any rice. Turns out we just aren’t into GF grains like I thought. Friday night we really wanted pizza, but weren’t sure we were ready for straight-up gluten pizza crust yet, so we got gluten free.

Can we please discuss GF pizza crust? What the hell IS that stuff? We ordered from Pizzeria Lola and all the reviews said they were known for having great GF pizza. If that’s the best there is… forget that. Go for the gluten my friends. Eat real pizza. GF crust has the texture, consistency and flavor of bad frozen pizza. No thanks, no way. I pretended to like it because PIZZA (duh!) and the melty cheese was delightful.

GF Grains Verdict: My body reacted fine to them both times but I’m just not really into it. I’ll likely have rice with my sushi, and when we go out for Asian/Thai/Chinese (but in reality I would prefer come cauli rice instead).

BEER & Wine (A Redux)

Friday night (GF pizza night) was also beer night! I wanted to test my reaction to beer as a gluten source stand alone. Mainly because I’ve had a huge fear this entire time that I would react poorly to beer. My first beer was a Surly Cynic (a top 5 beer for me), and later in the evening I had part of a Boom Island. Unlike my first experience with wine, I found the beer to be delicious right off the bat. It did take me forever to drink– 3ish hours total — and yes, I felt tipsy all the way through. I didn’t sleep the greatest, which I know is typical when alcohol is involved, and had a small hangover the next day. Other than that… no major reactions to the gluten! I tried another beer (Bell’s Two Hearted, another top 5 for me) last night and did great with that as well.

Out to dinner on Saturday I decided to give wine another chance. I started with a dry white, which I really enjoyed. With my steak I had a pinot noir, which was my favorite so far. Again, I was such a slow drinker… barely finishing my two glasses over a 3.5 hour dinner. And I definitely couldn’t have driven afterwards. Turns out I’m officially a cheap date. I also felt significantly crappy when I woke up the next day.

Beer/Wine Verdict: It’s a go in moderation. I’m certainly more susceptible to hangovers now and one or two drinks seems to be my current max. I’m fine with it as there’s rarely an occasion that actually merits more than two drinks (maybe a wedding or bachelorette party?). In which case I’ll make that decision in the moment based on how I feel. And with the knowledge that I’ll be paying for it significantly the next day.

Additional Reintroduction Thoughts

I still haven’t had straight-up gluten- or not in a significant amount. At dinner on Saturday night I had a couple bites of baguette (I mean we were at a french restaurant) and piece of breakfast quiche that had regular pie crust on Sunday. I do plan to have pizza or pasta or something, but I just haven’t really wanted it yet. I never thought I’d say that as gluten was a huge part of my life pre Whole30, but so far it’s been the reality. No legumes yet either, which I don’t miss in the least.

Dairy and I are getting pretty serious. It’s really the only non Whole30 category that is sneaking into my diet almost daily in moderate amounts. Some cheese in my eggs some mornings, or a latte every now and then. It isn’t a ton, but I seem to react well to it and really appreciate it. I’m trying not to eat it every day but I can say that I’m not going to be a strict no-dairy paleolite. Yes, I think I made that word up. What do you call someone who’s paleo, anyways?

Sugar is delightful but too much gives me a headache. Dairy agrees with me but I will get a rumbly tummy 2 hours on the dot after I have some. I still drink a TON of water. I’m gravitating towards Whole30/paleo foods even now that I don’t “have” to. I want veggies with every meal and I find myself appreciating/enjoying meat like I haven’t ever before. (Especially my grass fed steak at Barbette. HOLY CRAP that was good.) I’m still losing weight but I’m really not trying, it’s just happening. Coffee stays black unless it’s a delicious macchiato or some other purposeful indulgence. I’ve started to really want pasties and pie so at some point soon I need to stop a bakery and satisfy that urge. I’m obsessed with trying recipes from my paleo cookbooks.This day-by-day approach seems kind of reasonable and sustainable. I still grocery shop Whole30 with the exception of butter. Whole foods (not the store, but that too) are amazing.  I feel healthy and fit. I’m still in awe that we did this.

I know a few people out there are considering starting their own Whole30’s. I have to say that I fully recommend that you do. I’m working on compiling a list of Whole30 resources all in one post for those who have been asking. Look for it in the next few days– and let me know if you do decide to start this journey! I’m here to help.

Reintroduction (What Happens on Day 31?)

Overall, it’s been incredible all of the Whole30 support Tim and I have both gotten throughout this process. From questions, to nice notes, comments and even people providing Whole30 snacks at events – it’s been awesome to be cheered to the finish line. But as today marks day 27 I keep getting the question “What are you going to eat on day 31? All the foods you missed? Can we go get cupcakes?” To that I say… I WISH.

Reintroduction is the next phase of Whole30 and will likely take an additional week-and-a-half after the original 30 days are up. While it’s tempting for me to load up day 31 with pizza, pasta, ice cream and beer, if I did so I would have completely wasted the past 30 days. Whole30 was an elimination diet science experiment- much like when a doctor helps a patient determine a food allergy. We’ve removed the offending substances for a period of time and now it’s time to test how our bodies reacts to the same foods with a clean slate.

Whole30 reintroduction comes by way of foods in specific categories. On day 31 we will reintroduce small bits of one category (we’re thinking dairy) while continuing to eat Whole30 otherwise. Then for two days afterwards we will go back to 100% Whole30 and see how that category affects our digestion, mood, sleep, etc. Here is (tentatively) how we plan to reintroduce:

Day 30 (dinner): Glass of wine. We want to celebrate!

Day 31: Dairy reintroduction. This will likely mean cream in my coffee, some cheese with lunch or dinner, and ice cream in the evening.

Days 32 & 33: Back to Whole30. See how dairy works in our systems.

Day 34: Gluten reintroduction. A piece of toast with breakfast, maybe we’ll go out for (cheese-less) pizza for dinner. A beer for sure.

Days 35 & 36: Back to Whole30. See how gluten affects us.

Day 37: Non-gluten grain reintroduction. I’m thinking tacos with corn tortillas, some quinoa or white rice. Perhaps a cocktail this night.

Days 38 & 39: Back to Whole30. Evaluate grains.

Day 40: Legume reintroduction. I’ll have some peanut butter and maybe some black beans. I’m not really looking forward to this day as I had a bad experience with the peas on day 15. I

Days 41 & 42: Back to Whole30. I’m interested to see if it’s a pea day repeat for me with a headache, bloating and anxiety.

Days 42 & beyond: Decide which foods we are willing to bring back into our diet, and essentially develop a sustainable diet from now until forever. Okay,  maybe it’s not that dramatic, but now it’s free reign and we will be responsible for making our own decisions when it comes to health, food, and what our bodies can tolerate.

Sugar, some oils/fat sources and alcohol don’t have their own specific reintroduction days, so we’ll kind of add those as we see fit. Ideally, processed foods wouldn’t make their way back into our diet at all.

I’m not quite ready to commit to or even hypothesize regarding our “forever” diets. Will we be Paleo? Maybe. Will we just become good “clean” eaters? Very possibly. Will we return to our pre Whole-30 habits? I really hope not. It will completely depend on the reintroduction phase and how our bodies (and even taste buds) have changed during this experiment.


Finishing Whole30: Tips on reintroduction, “off-roading” and making a plan for the future

That Time I Bought 1/8 Cow (Who Am I?)

Seriously, Whole30 is making me somewhat unrecognizable (for the better, I think). Prior to this experience I will admit that I had little respect for my food. Okay, that isn’t exactly fair. I’ve always LOVED food and had a respect for how incredibly delicious is it. But I never had true respect and appreciation for where my food comes from, how it’s treated, how it gets to me and how my choices impact the entire food ecosystem. I mean, that’s a lot to think about when you’re hangry and/or just trying to get out of the grocery store for under $200.

When we decided to do Whole30 I knew I was going to have to shake things up because my usual food routines just weren’t going to cut it anymore. Here’s some of the crazy-ish stuff I’ve done since starting Whole30:

  1. Weekly CSA Produce Box: Did you know that CSA stands for Community Sourced Agriculture? You probably did. I definitely didn’t. One fantastic and under-utilized perk at work for me is access to a weekly CSA for fruits and veggies through Hay River Farms. The produce is organic and usually local. Enlightened by my fantastic co-workers, I decided to give it a try to help me stay on top of my produce game for Whole30 and reduce my trips to the grocery store. I was totally surprised when I opened my seemingly basic brown box at work!xsa1

The CSA box is not only fresh and delicious and organic, but its also helped me being way more adventurous with my food. When you pay $37 for produce you’re not going to waste it, even if you don’t know what it is. A sample of what we’ve gotten in CSA (bolded items are new to me): Avocados, strawberries, figs, kale, baby bok choy, cherries, tomatoes, green top carrots, purple chives, plouts, apriums, green zucchini, fennel, spanish onions and nectarines. I have to admit that we let a few things go bad out of fear/ignorance in our first box (fennel and whatever those purple onion things are above) but overall it has been an amazing experience. How cool that it’s all organic? Or that much of it’s coming from farmers in my own state? I’m just obsessed with the idea.

2. Purchasing 1/8 of a cow through a beef CSA: I seriously laugh just thinking about this. When some good friends told us a few years ago that they had 1/2 cow I just about lost my mind. I can’t help but picture someone neatly sawing a cartoon cow in half and one person taking the front and one taking the rear. Seriously, what the hell?

And then I realized that grass-fed beef is really expensive at the grocery store. And the more I started thinking about the quality of the meat I eat, the more sense it made to do this thing. So after some recommendations and a lot of research, we ordered 1/8 of a cow from Grass Fed Cattle Co. If you’re wondering what that looks like, here’s the box of beef I picked up yesterday (this is half our order, so technically 1/16 of a cow):



So far, I would say that I’m obsessed with Grass Fed Cattle Co. I mean, look at the thank you note and the info about our farmer (Farmer Dan)! And they have been a joy to work with. I see more cows in our future.



3. Ordering Paleo cookbooks from Amazon: I’ve pretty much abandoned any sort of physical recipe or cookbook since Pinterest came along. However, the ringing endorsements from both of these books (and my love of Juli Bauer and her PaleOMG blog – seriously, she might be my spirit animal) made me actually order the physical copies. I spent hours going through them, page by seriously gorgeous page, and making the recipes that I must try ASAP when Whole30 is over. I marked almost every single recipe. I’m hoping to post recipe reviews when I start cooking. This is going to be crazy-fun! (sorry for the bad pic, links below)


The next question is: how will I change AFTER Whole30? At this point, I can’t really imagine going back to life as usual before Whole30. So, am I permanently Whole30? No, I don’t think  I could handle that. Am I paleo? Maybe. Am I hybrid of it all? I’m really not sure. I think that reintroduction will be incredibly telling, which starts next Monday.

Hot Links

CSA Finder (MN): Want to be a part of a CSA? Here’s a great resource to find one that fits your needs.

Grass Fed Beef Co: Our beef CSA provider. Highly recommend.

PaleOMG: One of my favorite Paleo blogs, and author of one of the cookbooks I bought.

The Paleo Kitchen: A brand new cookbook by Juli Bauer (PaleOMG) & George Bryant. Every recipe looks amazing and completely realistic. Can’t wait to try it!

Against All Grain: A fairly legendary Paleo cookbook by Danielle Walker- supposedly she has the best recipes for non-grain food that is traditionally grain based (i.e. bread). Recipes look a little more time consuming, but I’m adamant about tackling a few.

How to Have an Awesome Whole30 Weekend (One Week Left!)

I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but after a fun-filled, easily Whole30 compliant weekend I actually feel as though eating Whole30 is becoming second nature. Can I claim that it’s easy? Would that be going to far?

It’s officially Day 23 which means that Tim and I have exactly one week left of Whole30! I feel like I’m barely ready for it to be over. I’m in a groove! Eating is way simpler now, I feel amazing and I’ve pretty much embraced my new lifestyle. Okay, I guess I am ecstatic about the prospect of cheese on my burger and ice cream… lots of ice cream. Dairy reintroduction is day 31, can you tell?

After two very long, very boring weekends we’ve finally discovered the secret sauce to weekendh appiness during Whole30: staying busy + embracing the foods you can eat + rethinking your “normal weekend” = success! Here’s how we finally created a fulfilling Whole30 weekend.

Friday: Date Night Out

Pre Whole30: Usually this would mean dinner and drinks, followed by maybe a second/third cocktail at another location. Generally one of the two stops would be somewhere we haven’t tried before.

Whole30: Dinner and a movie time! Guardians of the Galaxy was a must-see for Tim so we snagged tickets to the theater at West End (thanks Grandma Ann for the giftcard!) and started thinking about a place for dinner. As luck would have it a brand new Whole30 compliant restaurant opened a few weeks ago! The fast-casual restaurant is called Agra Culture. We went to the 50th & France location which is across the street from Pig & Fiddle.

Holy buckets this place was AMAZING. The entire premise is healthy, clean-eating food & pressed juices. I really didn’t know what to expect… fast-casual, is this like Noodles & Co? Sort-of but not really. Yes, we stood in line to order at a register and then found out seats to wait for the food. But I’m sorry, Noodles (big fan), but this was some really great, high-quality food! I could hardly believe it.

Tim and I both got the Agra Plate- by far the easiest  options to make Whole30 compliant. You pick a protein, a sauce and a couple of sides. I seriously couldn’t believe what we ended up with! We each also got a fresh pressed juice 🙂

Elisa: Beet It - red beet, yellow beet, carrot, orange, ginger Tim: Greenie - spinach, ginger, apple, celery, parsley, water

Elisa: Beet It – red beet, yellow beet, carrot, orange, ginger
Tim: Greenie – spinach, ginger, apple, celery, parsley, water

Elisa: Salmon with romesco sauce, harissa yam wedges & spicy broccolini

Elisa: Salmon with romesco sauce, harissa yam wedges & spicy broccolini

Tim: Sesame crusted tuna with chimichurri sauce, potato summer hash & spicy broccolini

Tim: Sesame crusted tuna with chimichurri sauce, potato summer hash & spicy broccolini

Did you expect food that looked like that? Me either. My food definitely rivaled entrees at significantly fancier restaurants. Flavors were big and bold, and it was 100%, no guesswork Whole30 a-okay. They post their entire nutritional details on their website so you know exactly which items have soy, dairy, gluten, sugar, etc. I was so impressed. And yes – they do have beer/wine for those who aren’t currently Whole30-ing. We loved it so much that we are heading back tomorrow night!

As it turns out, going to a movie is a perfect Whole30 activity. If you go after dinner like we did it’s almost impossible to be tempted by the concession stand. And Guardians of the Galaxy was phenomenal! Highly recommend it – and I would check out this sweet article about the woman who basically made the movie happen. Some groundbreaking stuff for women in sci-fi.

Saturday: Summer Activities

I was a little nervous about attending the Premier League soccer match at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. I’m not the biggest soccer fan, and I can’t have snacks or beer due to Whole30? Boo. To my surprise and delight it was a perfect Whole30 activity. The weather was hot, so water was really all we needed. It was a very family-centered event, so I didn’t even notice that I wasn’t drinking a beer (sports + beer = bffs4l). And as it turns out, soccer is really fun when the teams are as amazing as Manchester City & Olympiakos. Win!

Afterwards it was time to attempt another bbq. This was one of our most difficult activities during week one but I’m excited to say that this one was a piece of cake! We brought all of our own food (just in case) but didn’t even need it! Our friends and family were so supportive of our program that we showed up and found a plethora of Whole30 approved food 🙂 Burgers, guacamole, delicious paleo deviled eggs, veggies and the most gorgeous fruit plate. We grabbed soda water w/ limes in place of a cocktail and boom! IThis was by far the easiest Whole30 social event we’ve attended! (Well, turning down the Dairy Queen ice cream cake wasn’t exactly easy.)

Sunday: Relax, Exercise & Cook at Home

What’s better than a relaxing and productive Sunday? We had some family time, grilled some great lunch and dinner and prepped for the week. Whole30 is always easiest when you’re at home, so I just love Sundays.

Since we’re 3/4 done, I think it’s time for a quick health check in:

  • Energy: Amazing. I feel like Superwoman. I’m generally stable throughout the day with no crashes.
  • Sleep: By far the most noticable change for me. I sleep like a rock and feel super rested in the morning.
  • Exercise: While I haven’t been exercising as much as I should, I find that I am performing so much better when I do. I’m even switching to heavier hand weights in my fitness classes!
  • Skin: This feels like a total wash to me. Most people report amazing skin changes but I’m not ready to claim that yet.
  • Weight: I have definitely, 100% lost a good amount of weight. I’ve stayed true to no scales but I’m guessing its over 5 pounds- and definitely all fat. I’m wearing clothes that made me too self conscious to even consider 3 weeks ago.
  • Mood: Pretty good! I do find myself happier more consistently than I did in the beginning of the program. And while I do still get annoyed when I’m hungry it’s less of a “hangry” situation like it used to be.
  • Teeth: Seriously, my oral health has improved. Flossing is easier and I can feel that my teeth have less plaque build up in between brushes. What a surprising but pleasant effect!
  • Overall: It’s hard to describe, but my body just feels CLEAN inside. I know that’s weird but I don’t know how else to put it. It’s like everything is working together in perfect harmony. Does that make any sense? I don’t know, but it feels incredible. This must be the “tiger blood” that Whole30 talks about!


Agra Culture: My new favorite restaurant in MN!

Whole30 Timeline: Learn about tiger blood here 🙂

Meet the Woman Who Made History with Guardians of the Galaxy: Nicole Perlman is one badass lady.

Where’s the Food?! (Pt 2)

Just a note… I’m not being paid to promote any of these products. Yes, these are honest reviews and recommendations. I just straight-up enjoy them.

During week one of my Whole30 I wrote this post about my favorite new Whole30 foods. Now that we’re kicking off week 4 (woohoo!) here are some additional can’t-live-without Whole30 finds.

Best prepared protein: Bilinski’s Chicken Sausages

Near the end of week one Tim and I both realized we were really missing sausage. There’s something about meat with the flavor turned up that leaves a void when you go without it. Initially I thought sausage was a no-go item, but after some additional research I learned that organic, natural, etc. were okay as long as the ingredient list checks out. Luckily there are some brands of sausage that don’t overprocess, use pork casings, or add extra ingredients. Cue these babies!

How I’m using it: Just heating and eating plain as my primary protein. These are SO flavorful that I don’t even miss condiments. I also plan to bring these to any grill-outs I attend during Whole30.

Where to find it: According to the Bilinski’s website the only retailer in the Minneapolis area that carries their products is Kowalski’s.

Favorite pre-Whole 30 carryover item: Applegate meats

I’ve been an Applegate fan ever since Target started carrying the brand sometime last year (don’t quote me on that timing, coworkers). Once I learned about the horrors of regular deli meat I knew I would never go back. Applegate is a little pricey, but I’ve always felt it’s worth it. In addition to their lunch meats, they sell one of the only nitrate-free bacons on the market.


How I’m using it: Pretty self-explanatory. Just as you would other bacon or lunch meats 🙂

Where to find it: My Applegate products are coming from Super Target. In the Minneapolis area their products can also be found in Lunds, Byerlys, and most co-ops.

Best mocktail: Soda Water w/ lemon and lime

Super unique and inventive, I know. But really I hadn’t realized just how good this is! And yes, there’s a ton of debate between sparkling water/seltzer/club soda. But we’ve been using Club Soda because that’s what I can find. I’m not sorry if this isn’t 100% compliant.

How I’m using it: As a straight-up substitute for alcohol. This is awesome in a low-ball glass with two ice cubes and a couple slices of citrus. I anticipate that I will have this often post-Whole30  in lieu of alcohol.

Where to find it: You can find it everywhere. But interesting to note… it’s been hard for me to find seltzer, which is technically more compliant.

Coolest Fruit That Looks Like a Monster: Figs

I had never eaten a raw fig prior to starting Whole30 and getting my first CSA produce box. I’d had figs in things and I’d heard rumblings about them being crazy-delicious. But no one told me that they look like aliens!

How I’m using it: I’ve just eaten them straight-up so far. Supposedly I should be wrapping them with prosciutto, but that stuff is crazy expensive.

Where to find it: I can’t find them at my local grocery store,  but I’m sure they’re available at upscale grocers for a premium. Mine come in my CSA box.

Can’t Live Without It: Three Way Tie for Eggs, Avocados and Sweet Potatoes

I swear these three foods at the key to Whole30 survival. When in doubt put an egg on it, an avocado in it, or throw it on top of a sweet potato/yam. My favorite days are when I eat all three of these items together. Yum.

Sweet potato 1 298x300 Sweet potato, corn, and cheese muffins

How I’m using eggs: Hard-boiling for salads or snacks, fried on top of hash or veggies, scrambled for a quick weekday breakfast.

How I’m using avocado: Any way I can. On top of eggs, salads or any random dish. As a serving vessel for shrimp. On their own because yum. Mashed and mixed in with broccoli slaw… the possibilities are endless.

How I’m using sweet potatoes: As the main veggie (baked or microwaved) with protein thrown on top. We’ve also made a mean breakfast hash with them. We’ve diced them to add to curry as well. Seriously… these are perfect for any occasion.



Whole30 Bacon Manifesto – Information on why regular bacon should be avoided, and why bacon is approved but not a free-for-all.

A Typical Day (Pre Whole30 vs. During Whole30)

I held a 10 week old puppy yesterday. That’s all.

First time here? Learn about Whole30 by starting with this post.

So just how different are my Whole30 eating habits on a daily basis from my my pre-Whole30 days? In celebration of Day 20 and the 2/3 way there mark I decided to do a play-by-play to find out.

A Day in the Life: Pre-Whole30 Typical Work Day

6:00am – Alarm goes off. I press snooze- many, many times.

6:40am- Okay fine, I’m up! Shower, get dressed and ready, pour a to-go mug of coffee with cream and stevia and rush out the door.

7:30am – Get in line for breakfast at the work cafeteria.

Typical Breakfast: Two eggs over medium, hash browns with ketchup. A side of fruit or Greek yogurt. A second coffee depending on the day. If it’s a crazier day I may sub in a peanut butter Cliff Bar and a banana instead.

10:00am – I’m hungry for a snack. I’d likely eat any remaining fruit from breakfast or possibly try to wait it out until lunch with a rumbly tummy. I might head to Starbucks for a skinny hazelnut latte.

Noon – Lunch time!

Typical Lunch: If I brought my lunch it’s usually leftovers from dinner the night before. This often means a taco salad, soup or pasta, but maybe grilled chicken and veggies in the summer. If I didn’t bring lunch I might go grab a turkey sub from Which Wich w/ a bag of chips or a salad and soup from D Brian’s. Lunch ends with something sweet. Usually a piece of Dove chocolate or another find from a neighbors candy dish.

2:45pm – It’s snack time for sure. I usually keep either Lara Bars, Cliff Bars, trail mix or Pirate’s Booty at my desk for emergencies. Other options include string cheese or a trip downstairs to the cafe for a cookie.

4:30pm – If I’m super energetic and Tim doesn’t have class I may have made it to a group fitness class after work. If not, I’m getting home and dreading walking the dog because I am SO dang tired. Tim and I call this “Elisa Crabby Time.” I try to avoid other humans as much as possible for at least 30 minutes.

5:00pm – Back from the walk. I might consider working out but its so hard to get motivated. I likely eat a small snack. Chips and salsa, cheese or the like.

7:00pm – Dinner time.

Typical Dinners: If I’m using a recipe, I’m probably making Lasagna Soup, Southwestern Pasta, or something similar from a blog like Skinnytaste. If it’s just me at home I might make scrambled eggs with cheese or whole wheat pasta w/ jarred arrabbiata sauce with frozen veggies (and lots of cheese on top). If it’s Tim and I and we’re lazy we might heat up some Evol frozen burritos or make a “homemade” pizza. About half the time a beer or glass of wine is part of dinner. We eat in the living room on the coffee table in front of the TV.

If we’re even lazier we will order take out. Favorites include a beet salad with any pizza from Pizzeria Lola, or else a plethora of Chinese dishes from Xin Wong. Other fast options include Chipotle burrito bowls or chicken pho. Regardless, dinner is always followed by a piece of chocolate and/or a few bites of gelato/froyo.

9:30-10:30pm – Think about going to bed… watch more tv and play on the iPad.

11:00pm- Bed. Toss and turn until 11:30ish.

A Day in the Life: Whole30 Typical Work Day

5:30am – It’s light out, should I get up? Nah, not quite yet. But I could if I wanted to.

6:10am- Usually up with my first alarm. I think I’ll take the dog for a walk before breakfast!

6:40am- Breakfast time! Tim has usually gotten up and cooked for us.

Typical Breakfast: Eggs scrambled with chard/kale/spinach topped with half an avocado and salsa- maybe with a banana. Or sweet potato hash topped with with fried eggs and a side of macadamia nuts. Breakfast could also be something “weird” like ground beef on a sweet potato topped with an egg, you never know. Eggs are almost always involved and black coffee in a to-go cup.

If I’m in a bind and can’t make breakfast before work I order a omelette from the cafeteria when I get there. Turkey sausage, spinach, bell peppers and hot sauce. No cheese. Side of fruit.


10:00am – Some days I still get a little hungry but I do my best not to snack. If I do it will be half a Lara bar or some fruit. Maybe a couple macadamia nuts if I’m in a bind.

11:30am – Lunchtime!

Typical Lunch Foods:  Huge salad with leftover chicken or steak and a hard boiled egg. Any veggies in the fridge are fair game for toppings and dressing is olive oil & balsamic vinegar. If it’s not a salad, it’s usually a protein like chicken sausage or lunch meat with a side of veggies with sunbutter/almond butter for dipping. I usually bring some fruit. Lunch could also be dinner leftovers such as sauteed zucchini with ground turkey.

3:00pm- Feeling like I want a snack. I usually resist, but some days I’ll end up with part of a Lara Bar or a few macadamias again.

4:30pm- If schedules allowed I’ve stayed at work to do either a weightlifting or yoga class.

5:15pm – Get home and join Tim and the dog on a walk if they haven’t already gone. I have a weird amount of energy post-workout… I just want to keep moving!

6:00pm – Dinner time! Tim and I almost always cook dinner together now. Sometimes we plan ahead (like when we made curry) but often we’re brainstorming in the moment based on what’s in the fridge and needs to be eaten. The key is to keep it simple. Regardless of what we eat we sit at the kitchen table together to eat it. No tv, no phones, no computers. It’s like a mini date every evening!

Typical Dinners: Rarely the same meal twice. Here’s a few examples:

  • Baked sweet potato topped with browned ground beef sauteed with onion and zucchini.
  • Grilled chicken breasts with grilled peppers/onions, half an avocado.
  • Steak with roasted beets and a small arugula salad w/ balsamic vinegar and macadamias.
  • Shrimp in a ghee garlic lemon sauce in avocado halves. Arugula greens on the side.
  • Grilled grass-fed beef hot dogs with broccoli slaw and guacamole.
  • Chicken spinach dogs with broccoli florets with almond butter. Maybe some obscure veggie that came in my CSA produce box.
  • Ground turkey with homemade taco seasoning. Usually as a taco salad, but maybe on its own.

We usually have some fruit with dinner and possibly a “mocktail”. This is either a La Croix or some soda water with lemon/lime wedges. With the exception of a few extremely difficult days we don’t snack at all after dinner.

6:30-7:30pm Lots of kitchen clean up and prepping food for tomorrow.

9:30pm Starting to seriously think about bed, even though it feels way too early.

10pm Asleep within 10 minutes of hitting the pillow.

Writing this made me realize just how much better I feel throughout the day during Whole30 than I did before. I sleep better, I eat better, my energy level is greatly improved and I’m way more productive. I watch less TV, read more books, get more done around the house and I actually converse more with my spouse. Maybe Whole30 really can transform your life. We’ll see how I feel on day 29 🙂