Well, this has been interesting. I totally understand how the book suggests that when you explain to people that you’re on Whole 30, you say you are doing a food experiment. Because I have had so many revelations this past week, and everything I’ve read about inflammation, food energy sources, mood, sleep and mental clarity, is coming true.
This hasn’t been hard. Yes, it’s taken some planning; but really, don’t you feel like you eat a more balanced diet and less crap when you plan your meals? And if you plan those meals, and then spend an hour on Sunday prepping some snacks, sauces and preparing parts of meals, you can easily prepare dinner during the week quickly and without stress.
Here’s how the week played out for me (also to note: I am the only one on this plan. Dinners are clearly Whole 30 compliant, and my husband hasn’t complained. I see that as progress):
Pre-workout: black coffee, banana, almond butter
Breakfast: leftover roasted zucchini, red bell pepper, grilled flank steak with a poached egg on top
Lunch: Spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, flank steak, avocado, olives, sun dried tomatoes in oil, with a vinaigrette
Dinner: Grilled chicken breast, roasted potatoes & cabbage slaw with homemade mayo (!)
Plus lots of water, tea and a few almonds as snack
Pre-workout (didn’t photograph): black coffee, 1 tsp. almond butter – this was totally inadequate, as I noticed I was much hungrier than Day 1.
Breakfast: leftover roasted potatoes, eggs scrambled with an Epic Bar beef bits & sliced apple
Lunch: spinach, sliced hard boiled egg, tuna in olive oil, roasted potatoes, sun dried tomatoes & olives, drizzled with olive oil
Dinner: Slow Cooker Chipotle Chocolate Sweet Potato Chili, which was delicious, and avocado
Pre-Workout: (suggestive) banana with almond butter (#sorrynotsorry)
Breakfast: sautéed spinach with leftover roasted potatoes & chicken breast and organic carrot juice
Lunch: leftover sweet potato chili with avocado
Dinner: Spaghetti squash with meatballs and Whole Foods 365 Organic Sauce – this was AMAZING! The recipes are from Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed & Well Fed 2.
Day 4: EPIC!
Pre-Workout: black coffee, sliced apple with almond butter
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs, halved and wrapped with prosciutto and some blueberries. This is actually quite delicious, I would have never thought of this but I saw it on a Pinterest Whole 30 board.
Lunch: spinach, leftover cabbage slaw, sardines, avocado, olives, sun-dried tomatoes with olive oil
Dinner: Mixed greens with avocado & vinaigrette and spinach frittata
Pre-workout: coffee, sliced apple with almond butter
Breakfast: my interpretation of Shakshouka – leftover spaghetti squash, meatballs, sauce & egg on top. I totally overcooked the eggs (due to inattention!) but it was still yummy. I’m going to try again because it was goooood!
Lunch: I’m usually on-site at a client on Thursday, so this was a lunch-to-go of leftover frittata and mixed greens.
Dinner: Tuna sashimi with green tea out. This wasn’t enough for me so I had an Epic Bar when I got home.
Pre-workout: coffee, sliced banana with almond butter & unsweetened coconut (yummy!)
Breakfast: leftover frittata with Organic, sugar free turkey bacon – Tasty!
Lunch: Leftover sweet potato chili with avocado
Dinner: Taj Mahal Chicken Curry (made by my husband!). The recipe is from Mel Joulwan Well Fed 2. It was so delicious! We make chicken curry frequently and usually serve it over brown rice. I didn’t miss the rice at all, but I think I’d like to try it with cauliflower rice for more texture and fiber.
Pre-workout: coffee, fried egg with avocado. This was a good pre-workout meal and I delibritly cooked the eggs through because I wouldn’t have anything to sop up the delicious yolk with.
Breakfast: Breakfast was simple, thanks to the satisfying pre-workout meal, of sliced apples and almond butter
Lunch: Tuna salad on greens with carrots and avocado
Dinner: Roast chicken with Brussel sprouts and Delicata squash
- I’ve never had a pre-workout meal because I exercise first thing in the morning and usually am not hungry. I’ve read how important this is, and I cannot begin to tell you what a difference eating before my workout has made. First, I have way more energy for my workout. Second, I’ve noticed that I am definitely able to push myself harder, without really noticing. I used to rush through certain things, and now, I’m not. Third, I’m not starving post-workout. I don’t have breakfast until after I come home, shower and dress, so it’s a good 45 minutes later. By then, I’m hungry, but not famished, and randomly eating.
- One of the rules of Whole 30 is no snacking between meals. This was hard for me the first few days, as I am typically a grazer and snacker. However, thanks to the pre-workout meal, I was satisfied between meals. The cravings I experienced were mainly due to the habit of snacking, then actual hunger.
- There was hardly any food waste! I’m notorious for over-cooking and not using my leftovers. Having leftovers was a godsend for breakfasts and lunches through the week, and would be even easier for those of you who work outside the home.
- I noticed on Day 6 tremendous energy! I deal with low-thyroid disorder and fatigue is real for me. On Day 6, I noticed that when I woke (naturally at 5 am), I was super alert, and while I was waiting for the coffee to brew, realized I could probably get by without it. This is amazing! Of course, I had the coffee because I love the taste. But hello?! Day 6 ended up being one of the most productive days I’ve had in ages. I went through piles of paper in my office and ruthlessly eliminated so much stuff and unnecessary paperwork.
- I’ve been sleeping better. I’m a very restless sleeper and usually cannot sleep through the night. But, I have been. I still wake early, but I have no problem with that because I am waking naturally after 7 hours, which is a full night for me. The key here, and it’s unbelievable, is that I’m sleeping through the night and I am well rested. Incredible.
I’m really happy I decided to try this. It has been nothing but good. I know so many people think it’s a lot of work, but if you’re organized and take the time to prepare, you will be ready and in a really good place.
I can’t recommend Melissa Joulwan’s two cookbooks enough. Between those and the Whole 30 cookbook, you have everything you need to plan, shop for and prepare really good meals that everyone in your household will love. Also, Melissa actually includes shopping lists and meal prep directions in the form of a Sunday Cookup, so it’s totally doable for busy professionals.
Yesterday I sat down and went through some recipes and planned out this week. I am trying to use up some items in the freezer and pantry, so many of the choices revolved around those items (chicken stock, shrimp, etc.).
So tell me – are you doing Whole 30? Have you done it before? What did you notice?