Whole30 Update: Sh*t gets real


September 23, 2012 by Darlene McC

(quick note: this is a long one, but there are recipes at the bottom if you want to jump ahead)

Dallas & Melissa don’t shy away from the fact that this is hard:

Days 1 to 7: The first week will be tough as your body heals and adjusts to this new way of eating and your brain wraps itself around going without all its habitual sweet tastes and sugar-driven energy spikes.  In addition, the reward, pleasure, and emotional connections to supernormally stimulating, nutrient-poor foods will take a lot longer to overcome, so the cravings can be intense.

They go on, but you get the idea.  But I’m ready, right?  I’ve armed myself for this challenge and I can take it, right?

Sweet Treat?

I’m at my mothers house for a party.  It’s probably a birthday party for a relative, but I’m not really sure whose.  It doesn’t really matter.  What I do know is I’m surrounded by temptation.  It’s everywhere!  In the chip bowl, the buns for the burgers, THE CHEESE PLATTER.  But I’m doing okay!  I haven’t cheated yet and I’m not going to start now, because it’s not worth it.  I try to distract myself.  I talk to my cousins and uncle, I play with my nephew; until there’s a change in the cross-breeze.  A waft from the other side of the kitchen over to the nook of a dining area where I’m perched… and there’s my grandmother bringing over a Sunshine Cake.  The dream cake of my childhood – two layers of yellow cake and thick chocolate frosting made from scratch.  NO.  How can I ever hope to resist it?  She perches it before me… it’s my birthday and I give in.  Like a 2 year old I plunge into the cake and eat every bit, licking chocolate frosting from my fingers as the rest of the party melts away into my sea of guilt.

And that’s how Wednesday (day 3) started… guilty.  I woke up guilty from dreaming about cake…

Easy Start

I started on Monday with this post about Whole30 and the challenge I’m issuing to myself.  30 days. Only Good Food. No cheats at all. No stupid excuses.  Going in I had no doubts: sugar was the psychological problem.  But for 3 days it wasn’t really that hard.  I had to plan ahead, which has provided a nice (and frankly, needed) structure to our home life; but other than that I was okay.  Maybe the dream was a warning, yet Wednesday went by okay.  The biggest problem for those first 3 days was not eating enough at breakfast (5am) to sustain me till noon.  Small potatoes (which are off plan, btw).

Thursday – Day 4 (decent into food craving hell)

The Wednesday to Thursday turn around is always a special hell – due to work hours and client demands I get a max of 7 hours of sleep; but when I have clients who need late night sessions I’m down to 5 or 6.  Often my dinner on Wednesday night is right before bed; but on this plan that’s a huge party foul.  Dinner was at 5pm, bed at 11pm.  When I woke up on Thursday all I wanted was a giant dose of sugar – to go back to my yogurt and honey days and stay there.  But no go, that’s not what I signed up for.  Ate 4 eggs with sauteed veggies and had an apple for a little controlled sugar and went about my way… but the whole day was a fog.  I had to force myself to get into the seminar I attended on injury prevention and whined like a tired child when I got home to my poor husband.

But I had a nice surprise when I got home.  My sweet hubster went out on the inter-webs and found me a Whole30 approved meatloaf recipe and cooked it up.  So very tasty!  But after all I wanted was bed.  Never been so happy to sleep in my life.

Friday – Day 5 (Stress Test)

Stress does weird things to the body.  Cortisol, the “stress hormone”, is released to quicken your pulse and ready you for action; but if it’s not burned off it causes tightness, fatigue, and an influx of testosterone (which, coincidentally, is why you break out on your chin when you’re super stressed… you’ve had a boost of T), and fat to deposit.  It can also harden your arteries, which is why your doc keeps telling you your high blood pressure is related to stress.

Things were going okay; but all morning I was STARVING!  Again, hadn’t had enough for breakfast.  I had lunch early to try and get through: meatloaf leftovers.  And they were delicious, until the very last bite when:

A little extra protein baked right in!

Living in New York you have to be careful of the local animal population sometimes.  This little fella was somehow in the batch of meatloaft… so that was cute.  And on the last bite, of course.

Immediately following I had a major client problem.  Last week there would’ve been a sugar band-aid on that.  Mind you, it would be “good” sugar: a blended bowl with acai & agave nectar with peanut butter – but every time I take that road I feel sick a few hours later.  This time I went and got ingredients to make a nice dinner at home with my husband.  No cheats, no sick.  Hmm.

Saturday – Day 6 (back on track)

Yesterday was relatively easy.  Did my work, ate 3 squares, had great sessions and tons of energy; then went to the farmers market for ingredients. I’ve cooked more in the last week than I did in the month of June.  I’m spending less money on food by planning well and I’ve dropped a pants size in a week (likely from water shed because I’m not bloated).  I generally feel good.

The biggest surprise: the dreams I’m having!  As a child and teen I had epic dreams like movies, but as an adult they’ve faded.  Every night this week I have had incredibly vivid, wonderful dreams.  On Thursday night I dreamed I was on a date with a Lannister, which is just kinda strange.  My imagination has been active during the day as well, and it feels great.

What I’ve Been Eating:

Breakfast: 4 seems to be the magic number of eggs to get me through.  Most mornings I sautee veggies in ghee then add eggs and scramble.  If I have less than 4 I can’t make it to lunch without some discomfort.  Some mornings I’ll have coconut juice as well, and this week I’m planning to have some avocado too.  Adding an apple on mornings I feel a little sugar need.

Lunch: Leftovers!!  I’ve been cooking up a storm so there’s been plenty of options.  Also begun to collect some takeout containers with three compartments so I can easy-pack a lunch.  And I got a sweet little bento box to pack in too (pictures to come).  On days when I’ve been short at breakfast I go to the bodega and grab 2 hard boiled eggs to add some additional calories so I’m not starving before dinner.

Dinner:  I’ve got a giant crock pot and a husband who doesn’t mind chopping veggies.  Lets do this:

Monday – Beef Stew Recipe: Got stew beef at the farmer’s market as well as some (in season now) sweet potatoes, broccoli greens  & carrots.  Threw it all in to the slow cooker with some no-salt, no-sugar added veggie broth (harder to find than you’d think!!) and balsamic vinegar.  Let it go on high 4 hours, low for 3.  Freakin’ awesome.  Making again today and going to add apple for some crunch and sweetness.

Tuesday – Roast Chicken and Sweet Potatoes Recipe: With a whole, organic, pasture fed chicken from Whole Foods I buttered with ghee.  Added sweet potatoes and onions to the pan and roasted for 2 hours at 375, spooning drippings from the pan every 2 hours.  Served with coliflower; but the best part was by far the sweet potatoes!  They were AMAZING!  Used the drippings to reduce to a simple sauce, but the ghee didn’t want to reduce the same way.  Going to have to try that one again… hmm…

Wednesday – LONG DAY ALL LEFTOVERS: We covered this before…

Thursday – Grain & Dairy-Free Turkey Meatloaf Recipe: The awesome husband made turkey meatloaf with diced apples, 1 egg, and diced onions.  Baked at 350 until firm – I’d suggest omitting the roach from our recipe.

Friday – Roast Pork Chops & Roast Sweet Potatoes (& mystery ghord): This one’s pretty straight forward; except the mystery ghord.  I thought I’d bought a huge zucchini, but it definitely wasn’t.  Some big, green, mystery ghord that was delicious roasted with the potatoes.

Saturday – Sweet Potato Hash & Kale, Bacon, Apple Salad: Used two sources for this meal: It Starts With Food basic reference section and October Real Simple.

Sweet Potato Hash Recipe:

Saute onion and a little garlic.  Add ground beef and brown.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Add roast sweet potato, some more onion, green bell peppers, and some cinnamon.

It Starts With Food page 263

It was delicious for dinner, but AMAZING with eggs for breakfast.

Sautéed Kale With Apples and Bacon


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook 4 slices bacon until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool, then crumble.
  2. Add onion and apple to the drippings in the skillet and cook until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the kale, season with ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Mix in the bacon and vinegar.

Real Simple October – Recipe here



5 thoughts on “Whole30 Update: Sh*t gets real

  1. Mom says:

    I am reading this book, nodding my head. I am really interested in the reduction of chronic inflammation and migraines! So exciting that is may have an impact on the 7 pills I take everyday. Yoga tonight at home!

  2. xdhaas says:

    I have a bunch of web sites that have good recipes, if you’re interested. Some of the baked goodies are better to save for after your 30 day because of the sugar content (good sugars, but still, I’d wait). Here’s a good one though! You can stick it in the crockpot and even freeze it!

    Meatballs! Good by themselves or you can make extra veggies on the side, or toss them on spagetti squash. You can use paleo-friendly store bought sauce (watch the sugar) or make your own. I add more chopped things to these than the recipe calls for, such as mushrooms and spinach.


  3. […] week I was really surprised by the psychological affects food was having on me.  I’d weathered the stress test of week 1 and had prepped myself for week 2, expecting some digestive troubles but little else. […]

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