Today marks day seven of my first full-on, all-in round of Whole30! I’ve done Emily Schromm’s 21 day challenge in the past, which is similar but less restricted, but I have never attempted a Whole30 before.
If you’re not familiar with the Whole30 program, it’s all about cutting out foods that tend to cause inflammation and focusing on whole foods, hence Whole30. It’s designed to help you “reset” and identify foods that are causing symptoms you may not even realize are food related. You may not even realize they’re symptoms. Whole30 has been around for over ten years now, but I have really seen it gaining popularity in the last couple years.
I almost didn’t share about it on here for a few different reasons. Primarily, fear of being judged. But I ultimately decided I wanted the accountability of checking in here.
So first of all, what’s the point?
I won’t deny that losing weight played into the decision. I’ve lost and re-gained a lot of weight over the last five years in the process of graduating college, getting a job, moving, changing jobs, getting married, and having a baby.
I’d enjoy being back in my pre-baby pants, for sure, but more importantly, I am looking for a way to help manage my anxiety.
I’ve talked briefly on here about my struggle with anxiety, but I mostly save that for therapy. (If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression or just struggling, please talk to someone. Therapy has done wonders for me.)
I have heard several testimonials on how Whole30 has helped others with their mental health and based on my own experience, I know that taking care of myself physically corresponds to feeling better mentally. I am hopeful that this reset will help me get back on track physically and better manage my anxiety by identifying any foods that could be exacerbating it.
What did I eat this week?
A lot of ground meat and a lot of veggies. We didn’t have much for compliant meat, so I was pulling ground beef and turkey out of the deep freeze most days.
Breakfasts were mostly leftovers, but honestly I’m so busy during the breakfast hour at work that I don’t usually eat much on the day’s I’m in the office.
Lunches were a lot of leftovers (I made A LOT at dinner to make sure I had plenty of food the next day) and/or salads with homemade vinaigrettes. I also made tuna salad one day and egg salad another day. Sir Kensington’s avocado mayo is my favorite mayo and, fortunately, it’s Whole30 compliant.
Dinner was where most of the work went in. You’ll notice there are a couple repeats here. While you can get plenty of variety and the internet is full of whole 30 recipes, for me I like to repeat a recipe a few times to make sure it’s dialed in. And I like tacos. Not sorry.
Monday I made a marinara sauce with ground beef over carrot strips (I’m not calling them noodles). I was surprised how much I liked it. Carrots are sturdy enough that the strips hold up to the heavy sauce and don’t turn to mush like you get with some softer veggies.
Tuesday was Mongolian Beef from The Defined Dish (linked here) with sauteed broccoli. I got pulled away and slightly overcooked the meat, but the sauce was spot on. Wednesday was quick taco bowls with ground beef, cauliflower rice, hot sauce, and avocado.
Thursday we had my sister-in-law over and made brunch for dinner. I sauteed up a bunch of veggies in ghee then put them into an omelette and served it with a salad of mixed greens and lemon vinaigrette.
Friday — more tacos! This time in lettuce cups. I also made a sauce that was a magical blend of Sir Kensington’s mayo, Cholula hot sauce, and a squeeze of lime juice. Pro-tip on the lettuce cups – layer two or three leaves of iceberg to get enough structure to hold up to a taco.
Saturday was going to be veggies and marinara, but once I got going, I realized we didn’t have any canned tomatoes. How does that even happen?! So I ended up making ground beef and veggies over sweet potato and carrot strips (still not calling them noodles).
I still haven’t figured out what to call tonight’s dinner, but it was really good. Shredded chicken breast simmered in an Asian/Indian inspired sauce of tomato paste, coconut milk, garlic, coconut aminos, lime juice, and topped with sesame seeds. I wish it would have had cilantro and grated ginger — next time. With a pile of sauteed broccoli and zucchini that I should have roasted. I am planning to hone this recipe a little and then share it here. Maybe I’ll actually buy all the ingredients I need for it this week.
If you’re interested, you can find all the program info at www.whole30.com. The website is actually really helpful, not just a fluffy teaser to try to get you to buy the book (although I did buy the book). It includes information on the guidelines, meal planning, finding compliant ingredients, and just about anything else you could possibly need to take this challenge on for yourself.