I had planned to start on May 1st but then last week I got so excited about starting that I just couldn't wait!!
So I sat down and planned some meals, made a grocery list, and spent some time stocking up on WHOLE30 essentials. I think starting on a Friday was great because it gave me the weekend to really get adjusted and determine the best way to prep, plan, cook & shop for success.
Next week I'll share a basic meal plan, some of the WHOLE30 essential foods I always have on hand and of course, more recipes!
For today, below is a mini recap of my first week on WHOLE30.
Day 1 // Friday, April 25: Woke up feeling great. Made a delicious sweet potato hash for breakfast, tuna salad for lunch & then an incredible chicken puttanesca for dinner with my hubby (find those recipes here). About 10pm, my stomach ached a bit and I was feeling bloated. I looked deeper into it and determined it was likely because (1) I was eating a much larger amount of vegetables than I was used to and (2) I was eating a much larger amount of protein than I was used to. I figured the first week would be the adjustment period so I didn't stress out and instead made a cup of peppermint tea and hit the hay.
Day 2 // Saturday, April 26: Woke up early feeling better but not 100%. I still enjoyed an early hot yoga class and then ran some errands. I picked up a digestive enzyme at Whole Foods in the event that my stomach didn't improve (digestive enzymes aid in digestion until your body is used to the change in your diet) but thankfully, I haven't ended up even needing them. My stomach began feeling better after lunch and around 3pm I was feeling super tired and Olivia went down for her nap, so I figured I might as well also. I slept for two solid hours (and so did she!) and woke up feeling better. I had a light dinner and was feeling really good.
Day 3 // Sunday, April 27: Woke up pretty tired, but no stomach ache/cramps so that was a plus. I ended up napping later that afternoon again and then going grocery shopping to stock up for the week ahead. My goal was only to go to the store once or twice a week and so beforehand I spent some time figuring out what meals I would make and then considering how much to buy so that I would have leftovers for the next day's lunch or dinner. Utilizing leftovers saves me time since I only do half the cooking!
Day 4 // Monday, April 28: Woke up feeling great. Ready to take on the week and try some new meals. We made delicious bullseye taco salads for dinner and that pretty much set the tone for my Mexican-food themed week because I ended up eating taco salads almost every day. They are so easy and packed with lean protein (ground turkey) and lots of hearty greens. Oh, and guacamole of course.
Day 5 // Tuesday, April 29: I woke up early for my women's bible study and once V woke, I packed her up and we headed to church. It was our year-end party so I was wondering how I would feel with everyone eating "junk" around me so I ate a good-sized breakfast and packed a water. I honestly didn't even think twice about what other people were eating and I saw desserts, chips, etc. and didn't even want to eat them. It is so rewarding to really think through what you're eating and to be conscious of what you put in your body. I had a taco salad for lunch (big surprise) and then a random, light dinner because we had a lot going on related to our renovation. Oh, P.S. When I got dressed on Tuesday, I noticed my pants are already looser! I typically wear a 2 so going into this I wasn't expecting to notice a big difference physically (waist/weight-wise) but that was the icing on the cake to start my day off!
Day 6 // Wednesday, April 30: I woke up feeling good and ready to try some new recipes and take a short break from taco salads. I've had the habit -- ever since I was a child -- to eat something over and over until I become so sick of it that I can't even bear the thought of it. I did that with almost every cereal. My dad would always warn me but I did it anyway. SO as an adult I try to mindful not to overdo anything. I'd hate to burn out on an easy meal, especially on my WHOLE30 so while I do eat leftovers, I try to limit it to 2 days/4 meals total. For dinner I came up with a delicious sweet potato chili with ground turkey and zucchini. Obviously, you can't have beans while on the WHOLE30 but I knew I could "replace" the typical chili beans with two of my favorite veggies. I've always loved zucchini in chili and sweet potatoes, well...they go with everything!
Day 7 // Thursday, May 1: I woke up feeling great and noticing how much slimmer my stomach looks even only being a week into it!! I haven't had a single stomach ache since the end of Day 1 and I've been eating regular, balanced meals with maybe 1 snack. I only eat 1 serving of fruit per day (due to the high sugar) and it is usually frozen (ha!) at the end of my day. My favorite fruits to freeze are grapes, pineapple & blackberries. I've always loved freezing fruits as a treat and they have been a great snack on my WHOLE30. My breakfasts before WHOLE30 used to be my smallest meal of the day and now they are my largest. I look forward to waking up in the morning knowing I will be eating a healthy and nourishing breakfast and that (plus a hot shower!) always gets my day started right.
The biggest change I've noticed: How much better my body feels "in general" -- no bloat, no stomach issues (aches/cramps/tightness)
What I've learned so far: I feel like I have learned SO much already and I'm only a week in!
But here are a few thoughts and lessons that have really stuck out to me:
(1) Food is meant to nourish us, not purely to satisfy us
(2) Creativity in the kitchen is so incredibly fun, fulfilling and definitely necessary on the WHOLE30
(3) If I am disciplined, I can go without certain things that my mind (or body) thinks I need (or want)
(4) Being healthy is a state of mind and being, not just about the food you're eating
(5) Sugar is in EVERYTHING
(6) A meal can be super delicious even if something that is normally a part of it is lacking -- such as no cheese on a taco salad or no cornbread with chili
My favorite meal so far: Am I allowed to say everything? Okay, if I had to choose just one: it's a toss up between my breakfast hashes [sweet potatoes, bell peppers, chicken sausage & an over-easy egg] and my taco salads [romaine, ground turkey, tomatoes, black olives & guac]. Oh and a spoonful of Trader Joe's Creamy Almond butter [just almonds + sea salt] ... yeah, that's pretty much my new favorite discovery since starting. (That and my serious love of guacamole.)
What I thought I would miss and I don't: Cheese, icecream & ketchup
What I didn't think about beforehand & actually miss the most: Pad Thai from Big Bowl // Dustin & I love to grab pad thai before seeing a movie on our date nights and I can't wait to eat that in a few weeks! It's filled with veggies and eggs but because it contains rice noodles, it's off limits for now.
What I'm looking forward to: I'm looking forward to continuing to try new meals and monitor how I feel every day. I'm also excited to weigh myself at the end of my WHOLE30. I feel like I'm already losing weight but have resisted stepping on the scale. Also -- I've heard that the first two weeks are tough because your body is adjusting and you often go through points of low energy. I've been feeling tired lately but part of that is because I stay up late (super late) to get things done that I put off during the day so I can be present with Olivia. So I am looking forward to an energy spike (hopefully) soon! Oh, and this is completely unrelated but I'm looking forward to having our basement bathroom complete!!
I'll send you off with one of my new favorite recipes. It's been rainy in our part of the country this week so the cure for any rainy day is a bowl full of chili & a cozy blanket. Happy Weekend!
Sweet Potato & Zucchini Turkey Chili [WHOLE30 / PALEO]
2 large onions, diced
2 lbs ground turkey // free-range, organic
2-2.5 cups cubed sweet potatoes // raw (uncooked) -- I peel 2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes and cube them
2-2.5 cups cubed zucchini (with skin left on) -- I use 3-4 medium sized zucchini
Your favorite chili seasoning that is WHOLE30 compliant (Our absolute favorite found here)
Additional Coriander // Cumin // Chili powder (optional; I always add extra in addition to chili seasoning)
1-2 medium sized cans of high quality tomato sauce // Be sure the can lining is BPA free and that it contains no sugar! Our favorite is Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce (found here)
1-2 TBSP Coconut or Olive Oil
Optional Garnishes: Homemade Sweet Potato Chips & Guacamole
1. In large pan or dutch oven, heat coconut oil over medium heat and cook onions; add S+P and continue to cook until translucent
2. Once cooked through, add ground turkey and brown, cooking thoroughly
3. Add uncooked sweet potatoes and let steam and heat from pot begin to soften them through // If you add cooked sweet potatoes, they will become mushy in your chili .. just be sure to cube them small enough that they have a chance to soften
4. Once sweet potatoes have softened, add tomato sauce, all desired seasonings and more S+P to taste
5. Finally, add cubed zucchini, just minutes before serving so they retain their color and slight firmness. Nobody likes soggy zucchini!
6. Serve in your favorite bowl and top with a small handful of sweet potato chips and a
small heaping of guacamole. Our chili seasoning, Chili 9000, has the most incredible flavors that pair so well with the cool guacamole. Bonus: Enjoy the bowl curled in a blanket cozy on the couch while watching Wheel of Fortune.