What Happened When I Said Goodbye to Sugar, and Hello to Whole30

If your new years resolutions include eating healthier, you might be considering Whole30in which case, check out this Whole30 diary to see what its like.

Theres nothing like a week in Vermont, home to cheese and creemees, and a trip to meat city U.S.A: Austin, TX to kick you into health gear. For me, getting back on track means another round of the Whole30.

Its now over a decade old, but for those who have no idea what Whole30 actually is, in simple terms, its cutting out (get ready for this!) sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy. What in the world can I eat? A lot, actually, including meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, some fruit, and good fats from oils, nuts, and seeds. You can consult theWhole30 program rules for much more in-depth information.

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, $16.45 on Amazon

You can also consult a wealth of Whole30 cookbooks.
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Whole30 may not be for everyone, but its most certainly for me. Ill be honest and say I wish I could live the lifestylebecause it really is a lifestyleall year round, but for now Ive settled into doing it every few months when I feel my eating habits spiral out of control and, more importantly, when I just feel plain old awful both physically and emotionally. But although I know it will make me feel better, its certainly not easy. Because wine. And cheese. And chocolate. Nuff said. But if youre organized, strong-willed and open to playing in the kitchen, youre fully capable of doing it. Plus, the benefits always outweigh the struggles, both of which you can read aboutalong with a ton of recipes and kitchen experimentationbelow in my consolidated diet diary:

Week One

Cauliflower Fried Rice recipe


So I never EVER start a new diet plan mid-week because Ill take any excuse to binge my way through a weekend before Im getting healthy. This is dumb, Im aware. But this time around I started on a Wednesday, a feat in and of itself. Of course, I ended up having a friends last minute birthday dinner. What to do? I ordered grilled fish, greens, and a seltzer while they had gooey, fancy gravy fries that looked like heaven in a bowl. To be honest, Im glad I didnt know of the plans ahead of time because I wouldve postponed my start date.

On Saturday, Day 4, I finally went for a run, but the rest of the day I hit the I dont care if its finally summer in New York I just want to sleep all day phase that you can find on the Whole30 timeline. However, I did try some new recipes, including Whole30s green cabbage slaw with Asian dressing and Pork Fried Cauliflower Rice from the One Pot Paleo book that I especially loved. I also made Whole30s Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato side dish, and holy yum, these two dishes were good (and pretty simple too).

Related Reading: Whole30 Instant Pot Recipes to Rely On

Week Two

roasted halibut recipe


While Week 1 ended with getting up early for a run, for the start of Week 2 I hit the snooze button no less than three times. And I never snooze! My pants also feel tight which is annoying, but I know I have to make it through these next few days to get to the good stuff. My willpower is also tested with a breakfast meeting full of carb-loaded, New York bagels. #Igotthis.

Over the course of cooking more at home, I achieved some self-discovery in the kitchen: I suck at making sauces. I made Whole30s Halibut recipe with Citrus Ginger Glaze (but I subbed cod).

The final dish was certainly edible, but Im not quite sure the orange glaze ended up in the right state. Was it the recipe, or my cooking competency? Hard to say, but its still worth a shot at making.

Another dish I discovered, which Ill go so far as to say is life-changing, is avocado baked eggs. HOW HAVE I NEVER TRIED THIS BEFORE?


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Heading into this slow Sunday after a holiday week of traveling & on the go & thinking of making a batch of these easy Avocado Egg Cups from the archives for the fam #paleo #lowcarb #whole30 . .Hope everyone had a great week & the best Sunday . FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE: https://lifemadesweeter.com/avocado-egg-cups/ . . INGREDIENTS: 2 avocados, halved with pits removed 4 medium eggs salt and pepper to taste chopped fresh parsley, for garnish . . INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Line a baking sheet or baking pan with foil or parchment paper (for easier cleanup). Cut avocados in half and scoop an additional 1-2 tablespoons of the avocado flesh out to create a larger nest for the eggs. Position the avocado halves propped against the baking dish or touching the other avocados snugly to avoid spilling over. You can also place a small ramekin and prop them against the avocados. Gently crack one egg in each avocado half (if needed, save some of the egg whites in another bowl if the avocado well is too small). Bake for 13-18 minutes, or until the whites are set and the egg yolks are cooked to your liking. 13-14 min. softer yolks 15-16 min. medium yolks 17-18 min. hard boiled yolks Garnish with fresh herbs + desired toppings. . .#breakfast #ketodiet #eggs #thefeedfeed #ketorecipes #avocado #lowcarbrecipes #thenewhealthy #myallrecipes #ketobreakfast #bakedeggs #lchf #lchfdiet #lowcarbfoods #eggcups #huffposttaste #avocado #todaybreakfast #f52vacay #kitchn #keto #madeinstaub #mywilliamsonoma #paleorecipes #glutenfree #f52grams #avocadoegg

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Its perfect for a weekend breakfast when youre not on-the-go, and truly, its so delicious. With that being said, Im still working out the timing to get the eggs cooked just right. Pair it with no-sugar bacon (Whole Foods sells some options). Cooking tip: Paleo-style bacon tastes best if you really cook it until its crispy.

Another dish I made, which is great for both lunch at work and dinner at home, are these paleo chicken fingers.

They actually got rave reviews from my co-workers, which is huge, let me just saytheyre a picky bunch! I use Trader Joes tomato sauce in a can (always make sure to check your labels!) as a dipping sauce.

Week Three

Romesco Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles recipe

Alexandra Grablewski

I had to do something I NEVER do and thats send my food back, during a breakfast meeting no less, because my omelet had cheese in it. Fail. But lets be honest, I didnt stick to my guns for two weeks to ruin it just because Im embarrassed to say something, right? Heres a harsh, but predictable truth about doing Whole30: Its very hard to be social. And dont even get me started on going on a first date sans booze. But hey, if your friends/colleagues/awkward first dates are understanding, then you can make it work, not to mention that youll feel better when you dont wake up with a hangover or stuck in a food coma!

You can also show them how eating healthy can be tasty, which is why instead of going out to dinner with a friend one Saturday night I cooked for us. I took a risk by trying a new recipe, but wow, it officially tops the list of one of the best things Ive ever cooked. Period. Not just on Whole30. I made this Romesco Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles recipe, and thistime, I finally got a sauce right! Plus, my non-dieting friend loved it too. Wins all around. I also follow Whole30Recipes on Instagram and found an easy stuffed peppers recipe.

An easy one-pot weekend dish I made (which is great for lunch leftovers) is this slow cooker sweet potato, kale and chicken stew. I also discovered another easy lunch is shredding (aka ripping apart) a whole rotisserie chicken and adding some pieces with mashed avocado as a fake chicken salad. If you want to be fancy, you can make your own Whole30-approved mayo, but Im not fancy, plus I dont like mayo anyway.

Related Reading: The Best Healthy Meal Kits to Try in 2020

Week Four

Whole30 chicken cacciatore recipe

Alexandra Grablewski

By this stage, if not sooner, you realize you have no idea what day it is during your Whole30 because its become your everyday normal. This is the best part because you feel great, you look great, you dont feel like youre uprooting your life, and youre happily eating whole foods and cooking new recipes like its no big deal. Why is that? Oh yeah, because its not a big deal. And its a good thing too because in my final 9 days I have a July 4 BBQ/kids birthday party and I dont even feel like I have to miss out.

I also finally took a trip to the new Bareburger in my neighborhood. From all my Googling, it seems this is the place to go if youre Paleo/Whole30, and now that they dont use peanut oil, their fries are safe to eat! I got a burger wrapped in a collard green with a side of fries. Such a nice treat to eat out and not worry about every single little ingredient. Added bonus points: its also fast and cheap. But this is also where you can learn from my mistakes. Despite having read the Whole30 book countless times, I missed the part where you cant have French fries, even if theyre compliant. Fail! But the good news is I didnt eat anything Im not technically supposed to, its just the idea of fries they dont subscribe to.

In my final days, I also made Whole30s Chicken Cacciatore recipe and mashed cauliflower. Remember that whole not good at sauces thing? Well, it came back to haunt me, and while my cacciatore sauce was watery and ugly, it still tasted OK. I had a kitchen fail trying to make coconut cream, but again, the mashed cauliflower was good! Again, always remember to check your labels on coconut milk since only a few brands are Whole30-safe.

With that, Ive come to the end of my 30 days. Funny enough, I had no idea I hit the last day until it appeared on my calendar! I feel pretty great, I got a compliment on my skin yesterday, and I can totally have my tight pants on.

A few recipes I didnt cook this time around, but I made during the winter while on Whole30 and LOVED are:

I highly suggest giving these recipes, plus these favorites a shotwhether youre on the Whole30 program, or not. Yes, theyre that good:

Expert Tip! Here are some go-to food items that always save me throughout the program:

  • Raw cashews
  • Hard-boiled eggs (This is my week day breakfast; prep a big batch in your Instant Pot.)
  • Pickles (I have a few when I get home from work. Its weird, Im aware.)
  • Grapes (Preferably frozen. This is a legit new obsession of mine to have at night.)
  • Lara bars (I didnt have any this time around, but theyre good to have handy in emergencies; these are the Whole30-compliant flavors.)

See more Whole30 tips from people whove done it, and youll be set up for success.

Robyn Ross was the Special Projects Director for TV Guide and is now a supervising producer at People. You can follow her on Twitter at @RobynRossTV and Instagram at @RobynRoss214.

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