Friday (Whole30) Fives

FridayFives!(Whole30 edition)

It’s Friday! I’ve been enjoying some time off this week, and still have the weekend, Monday, and Tuesday (the 4th of July!) off before I’m back to work on Wednesday.  Today, I’m going to share with you FIVE of the Whole30 tools or foods I can’t live without.

Silicon Muffin Pan

I didn’t know I needed this until I threw away ANOTHER muffin pan after making egg muffins and not being able to clean it. This silicon pan is a GAME – CHANGER. You don’t even have to spray your pan, and cleanup is a breeze (I’m talking rinse it with soap and water, and you’re done). I am thinking about replacing every pan I have with a silicon one…..

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Pineapple Slicer

Another thing that people kept telling me to buy and I KEPT thinking was unnecessary was this pineapple slicer. It is ANYTHING but unnecessary. Stop what you’re doing and just go buy one now. They are cheap (I actually found mine at Aldi), they are small, and they make me want to buy and eat a pineapple a day.

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Immersion Blender

I have been making Dump Ranch on the regular lately – and I don’t know if it would even be possible without this magic wand. Again, cleanup is a breeze (are you sensing a theme here?) and it works perfect every time. Before this one, I had a cheaper brand (this one is still cheap!) and it broke after a couple months. This one is going strong and showing no signs of wearing out, even with frequent use.

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Nutpods Coffee Creamer

I LOVE my coffee. I used to love coffee creamer – but when I realized how much CRAP was in the creamer, I knew I had to give it up. Luckily, with Nutpods, I don’t have to give it up completely. This stuff is fully Whole30 compliant, and it tastes amazing. There are different flavors (original, French vanilla, and hazelnut) – but hazelnut is the one that has my heart. I have it on my Amazon Subscribe and Save, so 4 fresh containers show up every month on my doorstep.

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Carrot Cake and Coconut Cream Pie Larabars

I know on Whole30 snacks like these are only for emergency – but most days there is an emergency and I reach for one of these. I swear that Larabars are an acquired taste – but once you like them, these flavors SERIOUSLY taste like dessert, and I’m loving them both right now. These are another item I’ve been getting with Subscribe and Save – and you can’t beat the price with the extra discount!

SO there you have it – five of my favorite Whole30 convenience tools and foods. Enjoy your 4th of July weekend – and even if you aren’t participating in a full Whole30 right now, make the best decisions that you can, and make sure your splurges are really worth it!

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*This post includes affiliate links. If you purchase through these links I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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You Want to Know More About Whole30?

You want to know more about whole30

Thank you for the amazing response to my first post about my journey with Whole30. I had a number of friends reach out to me with additional questions, or to tell me they were now considering Whole30. I’m serious, you all – it has changed my life.

If you want to give Whole30 a try, here are a few tips to get you started.

Be prepared.

Like, really prepared. I recommend purchasing and reading a book first – but it’s not necessary. You can get the Whole30 book – which is the rules and guidelines and explanations AND lots of recipes (kind of like a cookbook). Or you can get the one I prefer which is It Starts With Food. I like getting my recipes from Pinterest (here’s a link to my Whole30 board), so it wasn’t necessary for me to have the whole big book. I love how It Starts with Food will tell you WHY some foods make you feel like crap, and the background of the program. Having that knowledge really motivates you and makes you think twice when you’re about to grab a treat out of a candy jar. It also helped me understand why other programs I’ve tried in the past maybe didn’t work for me.

All that being said, one of my favorite things about Whole30 is there is nothing to buy (besides groceries) – so it really is for anyone. There are tons of free resources on the Whole30 official page. If you peruse the website, you can find anything you might need. I just think it’s helpful to read the book (or skim it if that’s more your jam) so you’re in the right mindset before starting.

Pick your start date.

You don’t have to start on the first of a month – but it makes counting easy. I like being intentional when picking my start date, although the whole point is to change your habits, so waiting for a month when you have nothing going on kind of defeats the purpose. You’re probably going to have to go out with friends at some point in your Whole30 and order a water (or sparkling water with lime if you want to be fancy). You’re really going to wish you could go sit on a patio and drink a beer or eat chips and salsa. But the key is – its ONLY 30 DAYS. You can do it. 

I tend to go back to this quote from the Whole30 program when I feel like it’s too hard or restrictive:

“This is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth—the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.”

Know what you can’t have.

You can’t have SUGAR (real or artificial), SOY, DAIRY, GRAINS, ALCOHOL, LEGUMES, OR ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS. The official Whole30 page is the best place to go if you want to figure out what all you need to cut out. The point of my blogging my experience is not to pretend to be an expert about Whole30 – but to share my experience and show you that it’s completely manageable for ANYONE to do.

Know what you CAN have.

There is SO much variety in what you CAN have. Seriously! You can have bacon (sugar free, though!). You can have potatoes (any variety!) You can use ghee as a butter substitute, eat almost all cuts of meat (hello, chicken thighs!), all fruits, most vegetables, and there are even compliant snack bars for when you’re in a pinch. My favorites are Coconut Cream Lara Bars and Chocolate Sea Salt RX Bars. I even found some compliant fruit snacks today at Aldi! These aren’t meant to replace your 3PM daily afternoon snack….but they are compliant for times you are starving or on the run and not around good, wholesome food.

Meal plan/prep.

Every weekend you’ll want/need to meal plan and prep for the coming week. There is not  one more important tip I can give you besides meal planning and prep. When I fail it’s because I’m ill prepared. Write out everything you’re going to prep on Sunday, and everything you’re going to eat throughout the week. Then get groceries accordingly. Here’s a sample of my meal plan for this coming week:

Sunday: Bun-less Burgers

Monday: Beef and Cabbage Skillet

Tuesday: Taco Salad

Wednesday: Chicken Thighs and Veggie Sheet pan meal

Thursday: Out to dinner with friends (left overs for rest of the family)

Friday: Flank Steak and Broccoli

And here’s a sample of what I’m going to prep today for lunches and to make the week easier:

Salads in containers for the week, Italian Dressing, roast whole chicken, sausage patties for breakfasts, carrots portioned out in baggies, ground beef cooked for the week, and Chicken Fiesta Lime Soup. Having these things prepped will make lunches a breeze, as well as make dinner a little easier every night. And my philosophy is if I’m going to dirty the kitchen….might as well just do it once. Plus, plan your prep order so you can use the same ingredients all at once. For example, I’ll cook the sausage, then move straight to the ground beef, I have two meals with ground beef next week, so I’ll cook 2 pounds today, and have half for my Beef and Cabbage skillet, and half for my taco meat.

Get used to reading ingredients, not nutrition facts.

You will become an expert at reading ingredient lists – but not overnight. It takes some practice and time to learn. You want to avoid anything that says “artificial” or “artificially flavored”. You want to avoid SUGAR and any sugar trying to hide in a different form (I’m talking about you dextrose and maltose). No maple syrup or honey or Splenda or anything else “like” sugar. Find a full list of those tricky names here and a full list of all the okay ingredients that you might find in things here.

Your first trip to the store when you’re planning your Whole30 is going to take forever. Print those pages off, along with the list of what you can have and take those with you. You’ll need to look at every ingredient unless you’re buying produce raw and straight off the shelf. You will start to realize there is sugar in EVERYTHING (in some form or another). One time I found there was sugar in the spice packet of my potatoes. WTF.

Keep it simple – especially at first.

When I started my first Whole30, I had so many dishes every night it was a freaking production and it WORE. ME. OUT. You can find millions of recipes on Pinterest for Whole30. Some are super complex. Save those for when you are really going and ready for some variety. When you’re just getting started, STAY SIMPLE. I mean sheet pan meals, zoodles and spaghetti sauce, meat, veggies, fruit, salads. If you don’t know what all these things are, that’s okay – I’ll be posting compliant recipes over the next month and beyond that can help you get started and stay on track.

Heres a look at what I’ve been eating so far in my first 3 days:

I’ve learned so much just from following Whole30 myself. The main thing I’ve taken away is that sugar is in EVERYTHING. Even if you think you’re being healthy by eating greek yogurt (full of sugar) or reduced fat this or that (tons of sugar), or even DIET something (get outta here aspartame!), until you actually learn what you’re putting in your body and cut out the sugar, your weight is just going to keep fluctuating and you’re going to keep feeling like crap. Fake sugar makes your body think you’re eating sugar, which makes you crave more sugar. Its a terrible cycle.

Here are some Q and A’s I was asked since my last post and want to share with you all.

Do you feel really restricted on Whole30?

In short, yes, but only for 30 days. And there are so many convenience foods I’ve found that it really isn’t bad. The hardest for me personally are sweets and alcohol. But those also are probably the two that make the biggest difference for me. Once you’ve done your first 30 days, you can add back in what you want, but you honestly don’t even want them like you used to. You know how it makes you feel/what it does to you, and it’s a million times easier to say “no thanks.”

How can I get started? Where should I go?

As I said before, I plan on posting my personal experience on this blog, so I encourage you to sign up for email updates and check back often. However, I’m not an expert, I’m only sharing MY OPINION and take on the program, so your very best bet is to check out the real Whole30 program page. Those folks are the experts, and everything on the site that you need without buying A THING.

Are you working out, too?

I’m not proud to say I’m not right now. I’m still nursing so I know that’s helping me burn 500 or so calories a day. And I am chasing a toddler around, so I call that some exercise. Additionally, though not technically “working out,” I try to get up and walk around through out the day as much as possible. I know I need to get more consistent with working out because the health benefits are obviously super important, but I’m not there yet. If you aren’t eating healthy and you aren’t working out right now, I recommend you get your eating in check first. If you try to do too much at once, you’re going to set yourself up to fail. If you ARE working out – don’t stop!

Feel free to leave more questions in the comments. I hope you’ll be following along over the next coming month or share with someone else who wants to start eating healthier, and follow me on IG for more looks at my yummy (and simple) meals. Soon I’ll be posting some ideas for easy compliant convenience foods, my favorite sheet pan meals (I could make these every night), more Sunday prep ideas, recipes, and more.

If I can do it, I swear anyone can!

Who is with me???

*This post includes affiliate links. If you purchase through these links I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!

 

How I Lost 30 Pounds on Whole30

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I have two beautiful boys now, but my journey to motherhood wasn’t the easiest.

It took a couple years of trying before I got pregnant the first time. I had been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and needed to take a couple different medications. For as long as I could remember, my weight had fluctuated, but in that time when I was trying to get pregnant, I really started to gain weight due to hormones and my lack of control when it came to eating. I figured I was HOPEFULLY going to be pregnant soon and gaining weight anyway, so I might as well not worry about what I was eating.

Ugh. If I would have know then what I know now.

I suffered a miscarriage before getting pregnant with my first son. After I got pregnant after the miscarriage, already in an emotional state, I was at my 8 weeks doctor’s appointment, when the nurse said my weight out loud, in front of my husband. She said I was one pound shy of their threshold for sending mothers in for early gestational diabetes testing. I was horrified, and couldn’t believe I had gotten to that weight.

And as pregnancy goes, I continued to gain weight. I gained close to 50 more pounds before my son was born, and at the end was swollen so badly I couldn’t find shoes that fit. I look back at pictures now, and I swear even my nose was swollen. I didn’t take care of myself, and it showed and I felt it.

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38 weeks pregnant with my first son – everything was swollen and I felt terrible.

It was so hard to lose the weight after my son was born. I was nursing, but that didn’t seem to make a difference. I was still eating like crap and feeling like crap. I lost some weight, but it took a long time, and I was still not where I wanted to be. I succumbed to the fact that my pants were just a bigger size than they used to be. Chalked it up to being a mom.

I was about 10 pounds lighter than before when I got pregnant with my 2nd son. But I still wasn’t happy with my weight. A few weeks into my 2nd trimester, a friend asked me if I’d be interested in joining her for a “Whole30“. She explained that it was no grains, dairy, soy, sugar, legumes – basically nothing processed. You also couldn’t have alcohol, but being pregnant, that was the least of my worries. I figured I might as well try it. I spoke with my doctor who told me that he was absolutely supportive of it. He also told me if I never eat high fructose corn syrup again, that would be ideal.

So I joined her Facebook support group. My husband agreed to do it with me. We ate (mostly) whole foods for a month. And in those 30 days, so great things started happening.

  • I LOST 5 pounds (while pregnant!)
  • My energy levels were through the roof (while pregnant!)
  • I could feel a shift in my body – things didn’t ache like they had previously
  • I was less swollen all over
  • I was no longer craving sugar
  • And I felt like I could keep going eating mostly Whole30 compliant meals

My first Whole30 wasn’t perfect. But it was a start. And I learned so much about label reading and nutrition, and how to make better choices about what I was eating and what I was feeding my family. I continued eating mostly Whole30, living by the 80/20 rule, and the weight gain throughout the rest of my pregnancy was slow and manageable.

By the end of my pregnancy, people kept saying they couldn’t believe I was almost due. I didn’t look or feel huge. I felt great. I could still fit into many of my pre-pregancy clothes comfortably. I knew I had turned a corner and was looking forward to doing a full Whole30 again after the baby was born.

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38 weeks pregnant with my second son. I felt so much better after I started eating whole foods!

And only 2 months after my baby was born, I started another Whole30. I started dropping weight like crazy. I was still nursing, so I had to modify just a little (I ate snacks and would occasionally have oatmeal or other carbs) but for the most part I was very compliant. And once again, I felt great.

After that Whole30, literally none of my clothes fit me. I needed to go buy all new pants – and not just one size smaller than I was used to….TWO, sometimes THREE sizes smaller. I am now at the lowest weight I can remember in a very long time, and I’ve kept it off for several months now. I would like to lose about 10 more pounds, but I am not obsessive about it.

After Easter and a few weeks of really falling off the Whole30 wagon and indulging too much, I haven’t gained weight back, but I don’t feel very well. So I’m starting a new Whole30 today.

Follow me on Instagram for my daily meal posts, and check back here for updates and tips about Whole30. (Hint: I had shredded pork in a salad for lunch, and a bunless hamburger for supper)

“Diets” have never really worked for me. But eating using the principles of Whole30 has actually not been hard. And it’s only 30 days. Will you join me? Put any questions you have about Whole30 in the comments and I’ll try to help answer them. Having a support group was the biggest motivator for me, so I hope I can help others, too!

 

*This post includes affiliate links. If you purchase through these links I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!