This week kicked off an entire month of Whole 30 for My Clean Kitchen. I (Jessica here!) decided to take on the Whole 30 challenge and document my adventure. Since many of the posts I have read in regards to Whole 30 seem to take a “cheer leading” approach to the program, I decided to be very honest with you about my experience. I will share the good and the bad! I intend for this adventure to help people who are considering taking the challenge but are unsure of what to expect or how to pull it off. Hopefully you will find it helpful.
Whole 30 is basically a sugar free version of the Paleo diet. I am over simplifying it of course and if you want to learn more about what Whole 30 is click here. Another important aspect of Whole 30 is that you are not supposed to make any “substitute” foods, in other words making pancaked and muffin with Paleo substitute flours if off the table. Ugh. So really you are supposed to eat foods in their whole original states. The idea behind this program is that it will help you start to change the way you look at food.
My strategy for the first week is to make foods that I know we love. I am assuming that we will be craving sugar pretty badly, so I want us to at least be excited about the meals we do eat. We will see if this strategy works out. Wish me luck!
Here is what I experienced and ate during my first week of Whole 30.
Breakfast: Breakfast on Day 1 consisted of 2 baked egg cups with sausage and peppers that I prepared the night before and a banana.
Lunch: For lunch I had a Scotch Egg that I prepared the night before, another egg cup, and 2 clementines. At this point I was getting a little over eating eggs for the day, but I wanted to make sure that I stayed full enough not to be tempted to cheat.
I was a little heavy on the eggs today, but that is what I had prepped ahead of time. I wanted to make sure that I had filling and tasty food for breakfast and lunch. While the eggs were a little overkill I will admit that I stayed full all day and was able to overcome the desire for sugar (which I am craving right now)! In addition, this was the first time I had made Scotch Eggs and I am now hooked!
Breakfast: I had a lite breakfast this morning of a banana, 2 tbsp almond butter and a clementine. I think since I overdid it on the eggs on Day 1, my body wanted an egg break!
Lunch: For lunch I had some of the leftover pulled pork and pureed cauliflower from Day 1. I also had an apple.
Dinner: I decided to spice it up a little bit for dinner on Day 2. We made some Chicken Jalapeno Burgers and spicy guacamole. In addition, we threw together a quick salad of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden.
Day 2 was definitely a little more difficult for us than Day 1. For one, the sugar cravings started to kick in. I was surprised by how intense my cravings were. I eliminated almost all refined sugar from my diet a while ago, but still use honey and other natural sweeteners in my cooking. I thought since I already had cut back significantly on the sugar in my diet, that eliminating all added sugar would not be that difficult for me. I was wrong. My sugar cravings would come in waves, and while I was going through them, my desire for sugar was all I could focus on. I will not bore you with all the details, but I will admit there was a point in the night where I had to wrestle a piece of chocolate out of my 200 lb police officer boyfriend …if only I had gotten a video!
One thing that I have found helps with the cravings is to eat a banana with almond butter. For us it is just enough to get us over the hump. I am hoping that tomorrow will be easier…
Breakfast: Breakfast on Day 3 consisted of 2 eggs scrambled with sauteed onions and jalapenos. This year I grew way too many jalapenos in my garden and am having trouble what to do with them all! I sauteed the jalapeno and onions in a little coconut oil and once they were soft added the eggs. The combination was delicious and the slight coconut flavor was great, will definitely be doing this one again!
Lunch: For lunch I quickly cut up and apple and served it with a Scotch Egg I had prepared earlier in the week. After having eggs for breakfast, I didn’t really want another one for lunch, but I already had them made and hate wasting food. They are also really tasty and filling!
Dinner: I made an easy dinner of a baked sweet potato, some roasted carrots and onions and grilled chicken breasts. I marinated the chicken in the same marinade I used for this Mustard Marinaded Pork Tenderloin.
All in all Day 3 was easier than Day 2. Our sugar cravings are less intense and happening less frequently. Where as on Day 2 I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it, today I started to feel like it was possible! One funny thing that happened was that I dreamed about bread and sweets all last night. I guess my brain is not ready to give up the baked goods we love so much.
Breakfast: For breakfast I decided to make a classic, scrambled eggs and bacon. While this is not the most original breakfast idea on the planet, it is still one of the most delicious. I mean, you really can’t go wrong can you?
Lunch: For lunch I had a Scotch egg and a cut up apple. This lunch was great because I was pretty busy and did not have time to cook.
Dinner: Okay, dinner on Day 4 was sort of an experiment. I have recently become an avid curry lover, we make it in our house at least every other week. I was upset at the idea of having to give up curry while going on Whole 30. Even though the curry itself qualifies, the rice it is usually served over does not. So for this experiment I decided to make some of my beloved curry and put it over cauliflower rice. I am happy to say it worked pretty well!. While the cauliflower rice does not have the same absorbency as real rice, it still gave me the texture and dish composition I was looking for! HAPPY!!!
Breakfast: I was feeling lazy this morning so I decided to cut up and apple and eat it with some almond butter for breakfast. It’s funny, sometimes I forget how much I love apples. They are delicious and since I have not had any sugar this week, incredibly sweet! I almost felt like I was cheating!
Lunch: Lunch today was also super easy. When I grilled the chicken on Day 3 I made sure to cook a couple of extra breasts. For lunch I sliced up one of the breasts and served it with half a sliced avocado and a clementine.
Dinner: By the time dinner rolled around we were in the need for some serious comfort food. That is why I decided to make spaghetti squash with a tomato meat sauce. While all the food I have had so far on Whole 30 has been delicious, I needed a bit of a break from the grilled meat. This dish really hit the spot.
Today we had our first real test of whether or not we would be able to stick to the Whole 30 program. We spent the day babysitting and for the first time found ourselves in someone else’s house, and pantry, since we started Whole 30. Now at this point we thought we were doing pretty well, our intense sugar cravings had subsided and we were settling into the pattern of what we are supposed to eat…then lunchtime came around. We made a certain classic boxed macaroni and cheese for the kids and wow, did our comfort with our new diet fly out the window. It was scary how intense my cravings were for those creamy orange noodles. I found myself smelling it as I spooned it onto the kids plates. Running through my head was the idea that one bite can’t hurt right? I could just take one bite! WOW was it hard to resist. But I am proud to say we did it! We resisted the yummy, gooey, addicting box of childhood memories (sorry I still am craving the stuff) and ate our healthy Whole 30 lunch instead!
Breakfast: Breakfast today was conceived as a result of a funny story. We were sitting on the couch drinking coffee enjoying our Saturday morning watching the new show, Top Chef Duels. One of the challenges was to create the ultimate burger. One chef made this amazing burger with blue cheese, a fried egg, and avocado. It looked amazing. Once the show was over my boyfriend (who wishes to be called Robocop, sigh) jumped up and said I am making that! So that’s what we did, we made a Whole 30 version of that delicious hamburger. It was really good!
Lunch: After our insanely heavy and filling breakfast we decided we needed something a little lighter for lunch, so I sliced up some tomatoes from our garden (I have so many tomatoes!) I served it with a sliced avocado and some salt and pepper.
Dinner: We actually went to a cookout at a friends for dinner and that is why I do not have a picture. Dinner consisted of a grilled hamburger (I know another one, had we thought it through we might not have made our morning hamburger concoction) and cut up fruit.
We faced our second Whole 30 challenge today. When we decided to begin our Whole 30 we had forgotten that we had already agreed to go over to a friends house for a cookout…oops. I’m not going to lie, trying to eat at a cookout while complying with Whole 30 is not the easiest thing in the world, but we did it! It did take some effort however. When we arrived at the party we walked over to the food table to check it out. Without even thinking Robocop picked up a piece of cheese and a cracker. I watched him do it thinking he was joking at first, but then we went to put it in his mouth! I grabbed his hand an asked what he was doing? I mean if he really wanted to eat it I wouldn’t have stopped him. He looked at me confused for a second then looked at his hand and was shocked. It was such an autopilot thing for him to grab cheese and crackers he didn’t even realize he was doing it. Food habits really are strong!
Breakfast: By breakfast this morning I was very over hamburgers, but we cooked some extra yesterday morning and I refuse to waste food, so I ate one. I also fired some eggs…not the most colorful breakfast ever, but hey its Sunday right? I don’t think I will be having hamburgers again for at least a week though.
Lunch: Lunch today was some of our Avocado Chicken Salad and assorted nuts. It was light which was perfect after our heavy breakfast.
Dinner: For dinner tonight I decided to make a roast chicken. I figure it was Sunday so I should do something special to celebrate the completion of our first week on Whole 30. I used the same rub we use for the Roasted Garlic Chili Chicken, minus the honey. To be honest I didn’t even miss the honey. I served the chicken with some Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts and roasted carrots.
Wow we made it! An entire week of Whole 30 complete!!!
This week was tough. There were some moments where I wasn’t sure if I was going to to make it or not. My sugar cravings were way more intense than I imagined they would be and my energy level was very low. I am starting to get sick of eggs and will have to become more creative with my breakfasts next week. I have heard that by the end of next week my energy should return and I should start to feel amazing. I hope so, because right now I am a little grumpy and want to take a nap. Or eat a piece of chocolate.
I think that my strategy of making foods we loved this week paid off. We looked forward to our meals and that helped us to forget about everything we weren’t having. Next week, I think I am going to start making the meals less rich and full of fatty foods. I will also begin to incorporate different ingredients. Many of the ingredients I used this week I purchased in bulk in a effort to save money and that is why you see so many repeats.
All in all I would say that the first week of my Whole 30 ha been a positive experience, if not a challenging one. I look forward to seeing what the next week brings!
Check out how the rest of my Whole 30 went: