We’re ten days into The Whole30 Program. We’re one-third of the way done. Already?! Holy moly! I can hardly believe it. I feel amazing and my skin looks great. I’m not dying over not eating sugar and treats (although it would be nice). I have some tough moments, but I don’t miss the grains and bread like I thought I would.
The basic guidelines of The Whole30 are to cut out hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups, including dairy, grains, sugar, legumes, and alcohol. That means no hummus, no peanut butter, and no seed oils like corn oil, rice bran oil, soybean oil, and peanut oil. It also means limiting use of oils like safflower, sunflower, canola, grapeseed, or sesame, and reading labels to avoids carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites.
Woah. At first Whole30 feels like you basically have to cut out everything yummy. But really, you’re cutting out everything processed and everything with added sugar. You’re getting down to a meat, fruit, and vegetable diet.
While Whole30 is similar to a Paleo Diet, and sort of like the Atkins diet in that you’re cutting carbs, it differs in one big way: You can’t recreate your favorite foods by modifying the ingredients. No cauliflower pizza crusts, to french fries made from alternate vegetables.
We put off starting our first Whole30 for a month because we had two business trips in March, we’d be seeing a lot of our friends, and we didn’t want to have to deal with a new diet during all of that. So we started it April 1, not completely thinking through the fact that this month includes spring break and Carter’s birthday!
Spring break for us usually means road tripping, and this year it is no different. This time the destination is Fort Bragg and the Mendocino Coast in Northern California. We hadn’t been there since the kids were really little and were excited to go back.
The Food: Eating Whole30 While Road Tripping
I was anxious, apprehensive even, about traveling while doing our first Whole30. Usually on road trips and vacations, we stay at places with breakfast, and we eat out lunch and dinner, or pack stuff for picnic lunches and eat out for dinner.
Let’s just say that I wasn’t looking forward to navigating Whole30 while traveling.
Thankfully, because we chose to take a road trip for spring break, traveling while doing Whole30 wasn’t as big of a deal. We had the room in the back of Brian’s truck to take anything we needed and we have a giant ice chest for longer trips, so I did a lot of food prep in advance — and I mean a lot! We were going to be picnicking for pretty much every meal during the week, which we were really curious to try.
We love picnics out in nature or with beautiful views way more than sitting in a restaurant and eating mediocre food. Plus, packing our food with us allows us to eat wherever we happen to be at lunch time instead of having to go back into town and find a restaurant, and that means we can get back to our adventuring and exploring much faster.
Whole30 Day 6
I had fierce cravings today. I wanted chips, cookies, bread, a bagel… and I wanted them all day. But I resisted. This has been the hardest day so far and let’s just say I hated Brian all day because he had no cravings at all.
For breakfast, I made separate egg scrambles because I wanted bacon. We both had a base of broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, and eggs, but my scramble was a Bacon And Asparagus Breakfast Scramble, and Brian’s was a Mushroom And Asparagus Breakfast Scramble. (He loves mushrooms. I hate them.)
For lunch we used some of the hard boiled eggs and made Crunchy Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps with almonds and celery, which tasted much, much better than I expected.
For dinner, we had a simple Thai Red Curry Vegetable Stir-Fry with carrots, onions, asparagus, and red bell pepper. Spicy and super delicious.
Whole30 Day 7
I really, really wanted my order from Tessamae’s All Natural to get here before we left of our spring break road trip so I could pack some of the sauces and dressings in the ice chest, but no such luck. Bummer.
Today we made quick breakfast scrambles with asparagus, tomatoes, and bell peppers, and I added mushrooms to Brian’s scramble again to use them up. We topped our scrambles with guacamole to get in some healthy fats.
Brian already went through his first two Nutpods coffee creamers and needed more. His trip to WholeFoods resulted in not only more Hazelnut Nutpods Coffee Creamer, but in another Whole30 compliant coffee creamer, the Coconut Cream And Almond Milk Better Half by Califia Farms. He tried the new coffee creamer today — it’s not as nutty as the Nutpods creamer, but closer to a traditional dairy creamer like half-and-half. Bonus: Califia Farms brand is cheaper per ounce than Nutpods creamer.
The day was spent wrapping up client projects, packing, grocery shopping, and meal prepping for our family road trip to Fort Bragg for spring break, so we had apples and almond butter for lunch.
This is our first Whole30 and we’re on vacation. Yikes! I was a little apprehensive about traveling and staying on track with The Whole30 Program, but we grocery shopped smartly and took the time to prep good foods today before hit the road.
- Brian Marinated and barbecued a giant pack of chicken breasts and hard boiled a dozen eggs.
- I made a thick, spicy homemade cashew paste, and prepped veggies like celery, carrots, and bell peppers.
- I made a fruit salad of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, and prepped a container of red grapes.
- I picked up a variety of Whole30 compliant RxBars and Larabars, Orchard Valley snack packs of almonds, cashews, pecans, and dried fruit, and Made In Nature organic dried fruit packs.
- I bought more apples, some bananas, almond butter, cashew butter, pistachios, and sea salt macadamia nuts, fresh carved turkey, guacamole, a couple bagged salads, and a Whole30 compliant Italian Salad Dressing.
Because Brian and I were going to be picnicking much of the trip, we also bought all of the kids’ favorite road trip foods like Lunchables, cheese and salami packs, fruit and veggies squeezes, Danimals, yogurts with toppings (like dessert), Goldfish crackers, Odwalla Superfood, and some candy and chips. I also made about a hundred blueberry and raspberry mini muffins!
Before heading out of town, we ate dinner and had Mexican bowls with chicken, sautéed peppers and onions, salsa, and guacamole.
Whole30 Day 8
Today We woke up in Fort Bragg and I was starving! I was looking forward to breakfast at our hotel, but then was super disappointed that the only thing available was a continental breakfast full of everything that we can’t eat while doing The Whole30 Program. Dang it!
The kids enjoyed chocolate chip waffles and toast, Brian grabbed coffee with the Nutpods creamer we brought, and I had Tejava. Brian and I then each had a hard boiled egg, an RxBar, and roasted pistachios. Brian also had a banana and I had an apple…
Thank goodness I bought those RxBars, even if they are $2.50 a piece, because at that point I knew these would be part of my breakfast everyday of this trip. Next time we road trip, I’ll come more prepared for breakfasts (and bacon) on the go.
We spent the morning walking along the coastal bluffs first at Pomo Bluffs Park, then at Noyo Headlands Park. We then checked out all the little shops in historic downtown Fort Bragg, toured the Guest House Museum, and treasure hunted out at Glass Beach. It was hard and more than a little frustrating to walk into the foodie shops, want to buy things or try things, and not be able to because basically nothing is Whole30 friendly and everything has added sugar.
We had a tailgate picnic lunch in the Glass Beach parking lot with chicken and mustard, baby carrots, and mixed berries.
The afternoon was spent tidepooling at MacKerricher State Park and enjoying a snack of apples and almond butter. We then walked across the Pudding Creek Trestle before calling it a day and heading back to our hotel to relax.
That night we had a picnic dinner in our room while we watched a movie. Brian and I had turkey, homemade spicy cashew paste, bell peppers, celery, and guacamole. It was dark and we were tired, so I didn’t bother grabbing a photo. I’m pretty sure this is how dinners are going to go for this entire trip.
After dinner, I was seriously wishing for cookies and dessert. Seriously wishing. Really, seriously wishing. Especially because the kids were eating candy and cookies in front of me! But I resisted, and really, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.
This was our first full day on vacation while doing The Whole30 Program and the biggest benefit is that normally we allocate $200 per day for food, which means this trip would normally cost us $1,000 on food and snacks, but today we spent $0 and the total spent on groceries for this trip was only $200.
This. The money. This is what has me the most excited. Not only do we both feel great and have none of that gross feeling you start to get when you eat out too much on vacation, but we’re spending way less. This means now we have more leftover to spend on another trip!
Whole30 Day 9
Brian took the kids to breakfast for toast and waffles while I showered, then while we refreshed the ice chest and filled up our water bottles, we Brian and I ate hard boiled eggs, RxBars, and mixed nuts.
We then hit the road for Point Arena, stopping at the Mendocino Bay Overlook, Van Damme Beach, Greenwood State Beach, and finally at the Point Arena Lighthouse. After touring the Lighthouse, we enjoyed another tailgate picnic lunch in the parking area of chicken, guacamole, carrots, and mixed berries. While eating, we watched whales off the coast — it was amazing!
After lunch, we hiked along the coast near the Lighthouse to see sea lion rocks and drove over to and walked out on the Point Arena Pier. We also visited Arena Market in town, a natural foods market, and found some awesome Whole30 compliant snacks — Livin’ Spoonful Sprouted Crackers! Score!
We tried the pizza flavor Livin’ Spoonful Sprouted Crackers in the car and OMG, YUM! They were amazing and totally tasted like pizza. I’m so happy we found these. They won’t be an everyday thing, but are a great road trip car snack.
On our way to the B Bryan Preserve for a safari adventure, we stopped at Moat Creek Beach for some sea shell collecting. Then we had the most amazing experience: getting up close and personal with zebras and antelope, and kissing giraffes, before stopping at Manchester State Beach Park.
For dinner, we headed back to the hotel and had a picnic dinner again. I made barbecue chicken salads with a cabbage salad mix, green onions, hard boiled eggs, and a Whole30 Italian salad dressing by Annie’s.
Whole30 Day 10
While we were refreshing the ice for the ice chest and filling up our water bottles with ice for the day of adventuring ahead, I walked into the hotel lobby to make Natalie some hot chocolate and the noise was startling. It’s been nine days since eating in a restaurant around others, and while this wasn’t a restaurant, it was the hotel lobby with the free continental breakfast. It was loud, kids were whining, babies were crying, dishes were clanking, and I was never so happy that we were doing our own thing.
We ate our breakfast overlooking the Pudding Creek Trestle and Beach in peace and quiet. We had hard boiled eggs, RxBars, and macadamia nuts in the truck as we drove to our first adventure spot, Russian Gulch and the Devil’s Punch Bowl.
After Russian Gulch, we visited the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, and after, grabbed a shady picnic table by the parking lot and had another fantastic lunch of barbecue chicken, mustard, carrots, guacamole, mixed berries, and grapes — and while we’ve had the same thing for lunch several days in a row, I’m not even sick of it yet!
We then visited Jug Handle State Natural Reserve, went sand sledding at Ten Mile Beach, and built sand castles at Pudding Creek Beach, where we had Kale flavor Livin’ Spoonful Sprouted Crackers as an afternoon snack. The kale flavor was just as good as the pizza flavor we tried the day before!
We kicked around the idea of going to out to dinner, but were so exhausted from our play, that we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel. Plus, we all have been really enjoying the quiet picnic lunches with gorgeous views and the relaxing, downtime in the evening.
After we all showered and all the sand was gone, we had a picnic dinner in our hotel room again while we watched a movie. This time we had barbecue chicken, apples, and almond butter.
An Early Whole30 Review
Usually by the third or fourth day of vacation, Brian starts to exhibit some weird side effects of eating out too much or eating too many foods with fat and sugar in them. Because he doesn’t have a gall bladder, his body chemistry gets all wonky and he not only starts to feel sort of crappy and tired, but his digestive system gets out of whack.
Also, I’ve been dealing with inconsistent digestive issues for years. I’ve had all sorts of tests done for food allergies, but other than a lactose intolerance, everything came back saying I was fine. But I was still having issues, and at times, it was affecting our vacation adventures.
We’re ten days into our first Whole30 and we’re loving the program.
- Brian and I feel the best we have felt in a very long time.
- I haven’t had ANY digestive issues at all, not one, not even while traveling.
- I’m sleeping more soundly and finding it easier to fall asleep.
- We haven’t yet experienced the usual vacation “eating out” bloat.
I began The Whole30 Program as an experiment born from curiosity and figured it would provide some good fodder for my blog.
I thought we’d just do the 30 day program to help build some healthier habits and learn some new vegetable recipes to expand our recipe repertoire, and at the end go back to a healthier version of our normal. But if things keep going the way they are, and we keep feeling the way we do, The Whole30 may become a more prominent part of our lives.
But we’re not going to be strict Whole30ers for the rest of our lives. That’s just insane. I am going to eat french fries. I am going to eat blueberry muffins when I make them for my kids. I am going to eat some chips, or a bagel, or a sandwich. And I can just buy the regular bacon at the grocery store. But I can order a small side of fries, I can eat just a couple mini muffins, I can have chips or a bagel or a sandwich once or twice a week, instead of every day. And I can make bacon.
It’s all about choices and creating healthy habits, and just as I’d hoped, The Whole30 Program is helping us kickstart those actions.
Follow Along With Our Whole30 Experience
Are you wondering, “What is the Whole30? What does Whole30 mean? Is Whole30 right for me?” If so, you’re in the right place because I wondered those exact same things. If you want to learn more about Whole30 and what’s it like to actually do a Whole30 in the real world, for a normal person whose not a nutritionist, workout buff, trainer, or health coach, I hope you’ll read out my other Whole30 posts documenting our daily experiences, including what we eat and cook, what we struggle with, and what resources and foods we found that made a big different, as well as how we handled eating out, the Easter holiday, a spring break road trip, and my son’s birthday party.
- Getting Started With Whole30 In The Real World: Day 1
- Getting Used To The Whole30 Rules: Day 2-5
- Whole30 (Spring Break) Road Trip Food: Day 6-10
- Staying On Track With Whole30 On A Holiday: Day 11-16
- Whole30 While You’re Sick, Parties, And Date Night at A Brewery: Day 17-22
- Date Nights And Eating Out During Whole30: Day 23-28