For some reason, I decided in January that I wanted to complete two Whole30s this year… for some unknown reason… so I felt obligated to myself to complete ANOTHER one. And I’m here to say that I DID IT! From mid-August to mid-September I stayed away from sugar, gluten, grains, alcohol, dairy, legumes, and a lot of other things and focused on eating my body weight in veggies every day. Each time I do one of these, I feel like it was easier than the last one, and that is definitely the case this time around, too. (P.S. you can read about my last mega Whole30 here, here, and here!!)
Just like with all of the Whole30s I’ve done in the past, the reason I got through this one with any sense of sanity was the actually insane amount of PLANNING that I put into it. I’m serious. In this particular situation, failing to plan is absolutely planning to fail. I went into this with a meal plan of all 30 days – what I would eat, what recipes I would make, what groceries I would need to buy, and when I would most likely be cooking and shopping for things. I wanted to avoid cooking at 9pm after getting home from bible study or realizing at 3pm on a Saturday that I needed to go get something at Whole Foods at all costs. (I did make the mistake of going to Central Market at 4pm on a Saturday once during the 30 days though… it was terrible and I will never make that mistake again.)
One thing that I wanted to do this time was try as many new recipes as I could! There are just so many resources out there for free (hello, Pinterest!) and I wanted to find good, healthier recipes that I enjoyed cooking and eating that I would hopefully want to make again after the whole 30 days was over. And while some were definitely not going to be repeated, I did find a few new recipes that I’ll be making again for sure! Here’s what I ate this go-round:
- Turkey apple sage meatballs with zoodles and veggies – these were…. fine. You have to REALLY like sage, tho. My roommate said “oh wow those meatballs are stinky!!!!” and she could smell them every time she opened up the fridge… so… make with caution… or maybe with less sage? I feel like it used a TON. I ended up mashing up the meatballs and putting some of this bbq sauce on top and it made it SO much better! (I got the bbq sauce at Whole Foods and trust me it’s worth the money!!)
Will I make this again? Probably not… Maybe because it was the first meal I made tho? I usually tend to not like the first meal I make during a Whole30, so maybe it was the timing and not the food? Either way, I probably won’t make it again to find out.
- Greek chicken with veggies – I do not love cauliflower rice, so this one took some self-convincing to eat all of it. But the rest of it was actually good! Instead of olives and tomatoes, I just did zucchini and squash. And MAKE THE TZATZIKI SAUCE! That’s the only reason I ate this, really! I found the coconut yogurt at Central Market during the ill-timed weekend shopping trip mentioned above (I think it was this brand?) Eating tip: cut up your chicken into little bites, dump all of it into a bowl, and mix in the sauce. Yum.
Will I make this again? I believe that I will! I might not use exclusively cauliflower rice, though.
- Chicken bacon ranch bowls – These were very good. However. DO NOT MAKE MY SAME MISTAKE and use turkey bacon. Nope. Get the applegate Whole30 approved bacon and USE THAT (I get mine at Tom Thumb, but I know they sell it at Whole Foods and probably other places, too)!! And if they’re out of the Whole30 bacon at your store, please drive to another store and buy it there. Don’t think that turkey bacon will be good enough because it will not be. And also since I’m lazy, I did NOT spiralize my own sweet potato but I bought this mix from the frozen section and used it instead and it was still delicious.
Will I make this again? Oh definitely! But with NORMAL BACON and NOT TURKEY BACON. Seriously, I cannot emphasize that enough.
- BBQ chicken, roasted asparagus, mashed potatoes – this might be my favorite meal that I’ve had so far and it wasn’t even a recipe!! Here’s what I did tho- for the chicken: just cut up your raw chicken into little chunks, toss in this bbq sauce, and bake! So. Good. I used the same mashed potato recipe that I’ve used in the past, and it’s so good. So so good.
Will I make this again? Oh yeah! In fact, I made it again at the end of my Whole30 because I wasn’t feeling like trying one of the recipes I’d saved and this was just so easy and so good that I gave it another go!
- Tomato basil turkey meatloaf and veggies – This was also fine/bordering on good. I think I’ve just made the personal decision that I’m not a huge turkey fan unless it’s Thanksgiving… so I guess ground turkey just isn’t my jam. This would probably be good with ground beef. Just like the sage, you’ve gotta LOVE basil cuz it uses a lot. So I’ll use less next time.
Will I make this again? Ummmmm I might try it with less basil and also with ground beef. So that’s a solid maybe.
- Sloppy joe bowls and veggies – ummmm yes these were amazing. AMAZING! I made my roommate take a bite of the sloppy joe part because I thought it was that good! And she agreed! I didn’t add in the green pepper cuz I forgot to buy it and also I didn’t want it and I made mashed potatoes instead of the potato bowls.
Will I make this again? Yes I definitely will! I mean, it was really really good! Like, really good!
- Chicken nuggets and sauce – these nuggets are GOOD! Definitely soak the chicken in pickle juice (follow the recipe), it made all the difference. And the SAUCE!!!! #praisehandsemoji ooooh it’s good. But really, I don’t even like pickles, and I thought “why on earth would I soak my chicken in pickle juice that will taste weird” but it didn’t, it tasted wonderful.
Will I make this again? You bet I will! They took some time and attention but it was worth it. I’ve actually made the dipping sauce again already because I liked it so much!
- Sweet potato fries – I had these with the nuggets above. So good. I LOVE the seasoning on them! And they got so crispy! I was very careful to cut them thin and as close to the same thickness (thinness?) as possible. And bonus, I would dip the fries in the dip I made for the nuggets above and it’s so good!
Will I make this again? Already have! I made them when some friends came over for dinner and they also thought that they were crisp and seasoned really well and very delicious!
Something I did differently with this Whole30 was I worked out more than I have with previous ones. After a few days of acclimating to the lack of sugar I resumed walking/jogging outside regularly and I even switched my gym and joined one closer to my house! There were a few days where I struggled energy-wise (depending on the time of day, I don’t think I had eaten enough calories to balance with the exercise… I’m not a person that does well with fasted cardio) but for the most part it went really well! I was “training” for a 5K that I ended up walking with a friend last month, and it was good to have a goal in mind to keep me motivated during those 30 days.
So now that it’s over, have I kept up with eating all the healthy things? Ummmmmm no, not exactly… remember my friend came into town at the end of September and we ate ALL the food that weekend, haha. But I have been eating more veggies and I’ve definitely noticed that I’ve cut down on sugar more than normal – there is halloween candy EVERYWHERE and while I want all of it, I haven’t really felt the need, which is new and different for me! (I say that while actively texting with my roommate about having leftover pumpkin bread for breakfast this morning… pumpkin bread that definitely had cream cheese frosting on it… so basically I had cake for breakfast… lol you can’t win ’em all.) Really I’m hoping that going into the holiday season with all the yummy foods and treats and cookies (the cookies!!!) I’ll be able to keep myself in check and be healthier overall, while still being able to enjoy myself and enjoy the meals and treats that accompany family gatherings and work potlucks and things like that.
I love talking to people about Whole30 and how to do it successfully, so if you want to know anything specific or have questions feel free to ask! I send emails to people all the time with a fully curated list of products, tips, and recipes, and would love to share it with you, too! 🙂