When restricted to only certain foods, oils, and ingredients, the easy path is to stick with what’s easy and what you already know. So we cooked a lot of egg scrambles, mixing in things like broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and even butternut squash. We also got stuck in a food rut, repeatedly eating grilled chicken, chicken salads, egg salads, apples and almond butter, hard boiled eggs, raw nuts, ground turkey tacos, and compliant RX Bars.
But seriously, how many times can you eat the same thing?!
A Lot Of Variety With Whole30
There is a HUGE world of healthy and delicious foods available to you when doing Whole30.
You just have to be willing to do a little extra work to change up your recipes or find new recipes, try foods you have never had before, plan your meals, and try cooking and combining foods in cool new ways. You also need to be willing to shop differently, which always means reading nutrition labels and sometimes means buying things that cost more because weirdly, healthy eating is expensive!
Finding foods without any type of added sugar, unhealthy oils, and chemicals is also far more difficult than it should be. I was SHOCKED at how many foods I thought were good for me actually have added sugar!
Honestly, the first time we did Whole30 and the second time we did Whole30 and after the first 10 days of this round — even though we are modifying the rules slightly to allow for Vegan Shakeology — Brian and I felt fatigued and found ourselves getting bored with our food — because again, we default to what’s easy. For the record, fatigue around Day 10 is normal. It’s happened to us every time we’ve done the program.
On my most recent grocery run, I made an effort to plan more meals in advance and buy a wider variety of foods. As a result, these past few days have produced some of our favorite and most delicious meals!
Whole30 Day 11
Brian did most of the cooking today. He threw together our breakfast scramble using the veggie, turkey sausage, and hash browns mix I meal prepped over the weekend. He also boiled eggs for me in the Instant Pot and barbecued the chicken for dinner. This made me acutely aware of how much control I relinquish when someone else is in charge of my food and I didn’t love it.
I was a little more than cranky about dinner being delayed. Sorry babe!
Ironically, this cranky feeling aligns perfectly with how we felt during our previous rounds of Whole30 and how the program guidelines say you’ll feel around Days 10-11! Around this time, the newness of the program has worn off, you’ve felt crappy, and you’re not yet seeing results. You’re acutely aware of everything you can’t eat, you’re cranky, and you’re feeling like cheating.
This is when most people who give up, quit.
After dinner I hit the grocery store to stock up on meats, veggies, fruits, some extra seasonings, and more breakfast supplies! This weekend I’ll definitely need to do some meal prep again!
- EXERCISE: I got in a Beachbody On Demand Barre Blend workout in and I’m still amazed at how much this workout kicks my butt. It’s low impact, calm, and hard work. I am always dripping in sweat when I finish Barre Blend workouts. I am noticing though that my flexibility is improving and I can kick higher and raise my leg higher than I could in the beginning of the program!
- FASTING: Because I relied on Brian to make breakfast and Brian to cook dinner, I wasn’t great at staying in my fasting window. I had breakfast a little earlier than normal (around 10:15 am), which meant lunch was a little earlier too (around 1:15 pm). But dinner, because I waited for Brian to do the eggs and the chicken, it was late! I didn’t eat until 6:30 pm but was able to finish all food consumption by 7:00 pm.
- FOOD: We enjoyed a delicious breakfast scramble to kick off the day. For lunch I had a snack plate with fresh fruit salad, beet chips, and a chopped Chicken Sriracha Epic Bar. Dinner was a super yummy Strawberry And Pecan Chicken Salad topped with my current obsession: Tessemae’s Everything Bagel Ranch.
Whole30 Day 12
Today was a good day. I felt good about the amount of work I got done, I got a good workout in, and our food was delicious.
- EXERCISE: The day totally got away from me and at dinner time, I realized that I never worked out! Rather than start a Beachbody On Demand program, the family started a movie. So I lifted weights, did a lot of squats and legs work, and stretched while having some family time. I sort of miss weights, so I’m thinking of working some 10 Rounds Lift Days into my workout routine — I love Joel Freeman and the 10 Rounds boxing workouts!
- FASTING: I had a video call from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm and I didn’t want to break my fasting window of eating between 11:00 am and 7:00 pm and fasting from 7:00 pm to 11:00 am. So I didn’t end up eating my first meal of the day until 12:45 pm! Surprisingly, I guzzled a ton of water all morning and wasn’t actually all that hungry.
- FOOD: My first meal was grilled chicken with Tessemae’s BBQ Sauce, an apple with almond butter, and beet chips. My mid-day meal was light: A Chocolate Shakeology with loads of spinach. Then, for dinner we had Chipotle Chicken Salad and potato wedges.
Whole30 Day 13
Okay. I actually asked my husband if he wanted to abandon Whole30 today so we could eat cookies. Yes, cookies. We had my favorite cookies in the house because Natalie had a couple friends over for a socially distant swim/hang out and they were calling my name. This is when I’m really thankful I’m doing this with someone else — someone to hold me accountable when my lack of willpower sneaks up!
- EXERCISE: The day was spent in our backyard, demolishing the raised bed garden that’s now too shady from nearby tree growth, but I did sneak in a Barre Blend workout and it felt sooooo good!
- FASTING: I left the house at 4:45 am to take Natalie to the official senior sunrise event for her senior class and by 9:00 am my stomach was growling so loudly that Carter, who was sitting next to me on the couch, could hear it! I came so close to caving and making an early breakfast but resisted and kept on my fasting schedule, eating my meals at 11:30 am, 3:00 pm, and 6:30 pm. The trick was drinking A LOT of water.
- FOOD: My first meal was leftover Chipotle Chicken Salad, fresh fruit, beet chips, and some mixed nuts and mid-day I had a Vegan Cafe Latte Shakeology with spinach. The star of the day was dinner: I made a Smoked Salmon And Avocado Spinach Salad and it was the best thing I have eaten in a very long time! Brian said it was equal to any $20 restaurant salad!
Whole30 Day 14
My sister owns the best frozen yogurt shop in our area, hands-down. This morning, I saw one of her posts on Facebook — they have iced coffee fro yo and dairy-free pomegranate (my favorite) flavors right now and I got so excited! I made plans to take the kids over in the afternoon… then remembered that I’m in the middle of a Whole30 and was really sad. Seriously sad.
Again, this lines up with exactly how you should be feeling at this stage of Whole30.
During Days 12-15, you dream of junk food and the temptation to give up really kicks in. But you can’t quit now because the worst symptoms are behind you and you are going start to feeling a lot better. I’ve found the secret to staying on track is making sure you’ve got fabulous meals planned. When you’re eating really fantastic meals and splurging on more expensive ingredients, it doesn’t seem so bad!
- EXERCISE: Barre Blend Baby! Completed Day 15 of the 60 day program and while I’m enjoying it and getting a really good sweat on, it’s a little “WooWoo” for me, so I’ve started putting on music I enjoy and keeping the program on mute!
- FASTING: I again woke up really hungry but chugged about 30 ounces of water and then felt fine. That saying: Thirst presents as hunger is totally true! This morning was meal prep time and it took hours. It took so long, I didn’t eat my first meal of the day until nearly 12:30. Meal two was at 3:00 pm and dinner was at 6:00 pm.
- FOOD: Breakfast — which I think I’ll start calling brunch — was a Whole30 version of avocado toast. I used Cajun roasted yams as my toast and I think this just might be my new favorite way to eat avocado toast! It was so good in fact, that we replicated the favors for dinner, making Turkey Burgers with Cajun Roasted Yam Buns with a side salad and fresh fruit. My mid-day meal was a Vegan Cafe Latte Shakeology with added spinach.
One thing I’m noticing with the change in diet and fasting, is that the foods we eat are lighter and we’re not eating very close to bedtime. There’s no bloated overly-full feelings, no indigestion, and no heartburn and we’re falling asleep much faster!
Whole30 Day 15
It’s no secret I’ve really struggled to find any motivation to be productive over the past six weeks or so. I’ve been distracted, tired, and unfocused and I’ve been using our backyard renovation projects and online shopping as a coping mechanism and distraction. Last week, a pair of beautiful workout pants I ordered came and when I took them out of the bag, they looked really small. I didn’t think they’d fit so I stuck them in my closet. I figured I try them on in a month or so. But we haven’t done laundry in a long time and it’s too hot for long pants, so I put them on this morning and they fit!
Yes, they’re tight but they fit — those extra pandemic pounds are fading away!
- EXERCISE: I had more energy today than I’ve had over the past entire week, so I think I’m finally getting out of the Whole30 fatigue funk! WooHoo! My workout today was a double with Focus T25 Beta Day 10 Rip’t Circuit and Barre Blend Day 16 Full Body Blend — both available through Beachbody On Demand.
- FASTING: I wasn’t hungry when I woke up today so that was a win! I also feel great because I was able to stick to my fasting schedule eating at 11:00 am, 2:30 pm, and 6:00 pm.
- FOOD: Brunch was my delicious Broccoli and Asparagus Egg Bites and fresh fruit and lunch was a super yummy Avocado Egg Salad on Roasted Yam Slices. By the time it came to dinner, I was out of steam. I didn’t fee like cooking at all so I had an apple and almond butter, grapes, baby carrots, and a Chicken Sriracha Epic Bar.
Variety Makes All The Difference
The Whole30 rules are no alcohol, grains, legumes like beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts, no soy, dairy, carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites, and no added sugar (real or artificial), which means no maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol.
The trick to avoiding Whole30 burnout, food boredom, and the desire to give up mid-way through the program is variety in flavors and foods.
To ensure I always have lots of Whole30 compliant, healthy choices at my fingertips, I like to keep a variety of snack items on hand and meal prep our favorite “go to” foods. I also try to alternate foods weekly because when I batch cook foods during meal prep, I make A LOT of it so we can eat it throughout the week. For example, if we do a big batch of barbecue chicken one week, we’ll make a big batch of Cauliflower And Ground Turkey Taco Meat the next week, and shredded chicken the week after that.
Here’s a list of the basic foods and snacks I meal prep have on hand for Whole30:
- A batch of grilled chicken
- A batch of shredded chicken
- A batch of hard boiled eggs
- A batch of chicken and turkey meatballs — veggie or artichoke garlic
- Homemade mayo
- Breakfast mix — hash browns mixed with chopped onions, peppers, tomatoes, green onions, and turkey sausage
- Loads of fresh veggies like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, and butternut squash
- Raw nut mix — almonds, macadamias, cashews, and pistachios
- A large assortment of Tessemae’s BBQ sauce, ketchup, and salad dressings
- Sweet and regular potatoes
- Mini sweet peppers and cashew cheese
- Apples and almond butter
- Fresh fruit salad
- Bagged salad mix and baby spinach
- Chicken sausage
- Ground turkey and sliced deli turkey
- RX Bars and Chicken Sriracha Epic Bars (Lara Bars, while compliant, were too sweet for me!)
If you’re considering Whole30, or you’re in the middle of the program now and feeling bored of your diet, start mixing it up! You’ve got this!