*I mentioned in my last post that I started Whole 30 on April 22, 2014

Basically Whole 30 is this:

I had been wanting to do a little house cleaning on my old system and this seemed like a good way to fend off my sugar dragon for a bit and get back to eating whole, real, clean and healthy food.

There is a lot more to it than what I have here, but if you go to the Whole30 website all of your questions can be answered there more thoroughly and accurately than I can do. I can only give you my personal experience.

(they really need to hire this girl to be a publicist = book sales through the roof!!)

And if you are really, really interested you must read It Starts With Food, which gives you the research and science behind the meal plan along with the motivation to keep you going strong.

I really recommend reading the book with the plan, actually I just recommend reading the book.


Even if you have no intention of doing W30 there are so many nuggets of great info in ISWF that are beneficial to everyone. Sick, healthy, old, young, overweight, underweight, male, female...yes everyone.


After a few weeks of toying with the idea (Thanks Rachelle) I decided to give the program a go on a Monday and the very next day (April 22) I found this on my plate. An almond crusted chicken breast, a baked sweet potato, sautéed green beans with walnuts, plantain chips, and a little veggie salad. No weird ingredients you can't pronounce and no additives, just real whole food.

...and I finished the program today.

A full 30 days later. 

So let's get this going and chat about a few things!

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(veggie tuna salad :: eggs over sautéed sweet potatoes and power greens)

[ Energy, My Gut, Running ]

The next few days I battled through the typical energy slump where my body got a little confused on where all the sugar and grains were that it used as fuel.

Running was a challenge that week as well. I felt heavy and a little dazed on my runs, but I powered through.

The slump honestly wasn't too bad  - but I think that is due to the fact that our meals were already fairly clean with the exception of treats. After that my energy skyrocketed. No more mid morning or afternoon slumps.

Flying high and feeling amazing for a full 25 days after. 


That weekend the best treat ever was an organic protein style burger fresh off our new grill.

The next week I learned how to fuel better for my running (starchy veggies for dinner the night before) but my stomach was still dealing with issues in the change (constipation!) I read a bunch in the Whole9life forums on how to remedy my poor gut and decided that supplementing with some enzymes would be beneficial. And it worked like a charm!

I was also really worried about fuel on my longer runs. From the forums I found a gem of advice to squeeze almond butter into the cavity of a date then freeze it overnight and pack with me. I loved this idea so much more than trying out Gu or Shot Blocks and it has been the highlight of my longer runs -along with coconut water instead of Gatorade. 

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(super enzymes off amazon :: bunless chicken sausages with grilled pineapple, mustard and veggies)

[ My Family ]

Easy and the girls were great through the whole thing! I have always loved to try new recipes so they actually didn't turn their noses up at much. Mostly we all ate the same things with an addition of noodles or rice for them on occasion. 

E hung in with me for the most part until about the halfway mark. We went to Dairy Queen for a post-soccer game treat and at first I was impressed that he sat down without something. Next thing I know the girl from the counter is bringing a big Peanut Buster Parfait over to our table…for him! What a turkey!

So, I sat somberly forcing a smile upon my Larabar while they indulged - that was rough. 

(oven baked salmon with mango and avo salsa and a berry medley with big shred coconut)

[ The Eggs ]

Let's talk about all those eggs for a second. I love me some eggs, but I have never ever ever eaten so many eggs in my life!! Not even when we had our own chickens. I don't think that I can keep it up much longer so I'm really looking forward to adding back some oatmeal eventually, or homemade granola. That being said, I can cook a mean egg now. How do you want it? Fried, hard boiled, soft boiled, poached, scrambled? Done! 

(sautéed veggies with fried eggs over greens + blueberries and a kombucha)

[ Sugar Dragon ]

This is where I'm a little frustrated. I was hoping to really end my bad relationship with sugar while on W30, but I can sense that it is still there. I still want that treat after my meals!!!

Maybe it doesn't go away - I know that most addictions don't - people still go to AA years and years after being sober because it's still a temptation every day. Those damn addictions are always there lingering in the corner!

I do feel like I can walk away from it easier - like this morning I went to a baby shower and didn't even give myself the chance to smell, try, or even really look at the treats. I just grabbed some fruit and walked away. So I guess it has given me that. A little more self control. Willpower.

I guess the biggest victory in this area is that I no longer have sugar associated headaches. A huge win if you ask me :)

And fruit does taste absolutely like candy now - even carrots and sweet potatoes are divine.

(sausage and veggie kabobs + pineapple marinated then drizzled in lemon juice, evoo, s&p)

[ Benefits ]

I am naturally tall and pretty lean (lucky) so I didn't do this to lose weight or inches. However, I did notice a little difference in my core and tone in my muscles. Which was a huge benefit since I have been battling a little post-4-babies abdominal muscle separation and a weak core. 

The biggest benefits were increased energy and the feelings associated with doing something hard and succeeding at it. Having willpower is such a gift!

Friends! Oh my goodness I have made so many new friends doing W30. I love the IG community and the support. Seriously so great! I also have a few friends that our dates overlapped and encouraging texts/meal ideas were sometimes the highlight of my day. 

I have also been sleeping better and waking early (between 5:30 and 6:30am) without my alarm. I wake rested, hungry, and ready to face the day (this will shock my big brothers), but by the time 9pm rolls around I am toast and ready for bed. The book talks about this and associates it with hormones. When you aren't pounding your body with sugar and are eating satiating food on a set schedule (no skipping breakfast) your body is soooo much better regulated and your brain can more easily send and recieve clear signals to/from your body.

Also, I've realized that I'm an adult (Andy Samberg anyone?) There is no reason for me to be eating like a kid. I now know I don't NEED cheese on everything and I know that having PB&J or Mac and Cheese are horrible choices for a meal.

And lastly, I cut my bloat. 

(blackened mahi salad with berries and plantain chips :: balsamic seared pork tenderloin with almonds over veggie noodles)

[ Drawbacks ]

It's a mess. A literal mess. I am a good cook, but I am a messy cook. Every meal of everyday left my kitchen in a complete disaster. I had to plan a few one-pot meals just to survive the dishes. I'm not one to prep food, but I can see how that would be a huge benefit. 

Time. It takes a lot of time to prepare wholesome food and to shop for fresher food it takes more trips to the store than I am used to. If and when I do this again I'll try better to prep my food more to save time. 

Gas. Cutting out grains and adding in waaaay more veggies and protein = a pretty smelly situation at times (just keeping it real here). The enzymes helped this a ton. :)

It's a lot of meat. I'm not super comfortable with eating sooooo much meat.


[ Moving Forward ]

So what now? That is a great question. I am still training for my race so I plan to keep this up for the most part until the end of June for the sake of my training. I feel great and I want to continue to feel great. I am excited to try a few new things, but I plan to stay mostly Paleo.

I would love to add a few grains back into my diet like rice, oats, and quinoa but I will do that slowly. 

As for sugar I'd like to continue to use my willpower and save the indulgences for special occasions. One of my favorite parts of ISWF says it so much better than I can and it's something I'd like to live by:

"One thing we'll tell you right now-the box of doughnuts (or the open bag of pretzels, or the bag of M&Ms) sitting on the break-room counter is not special. You're a grown up. You earn your own money. And if you want doughnuts, pretzels, or a bag of M&Ms, you can walk right into any supermarket or convenience store and buy them. These foods are not special. They're not homemade, or a once-a-year treat, and we're pretty sure they don't evoke fond childhood memories of sitting around the dining room table while Mom pulls things out of the oven...Don't indulge in something that's less healthy just because it's around."

 That being said, we are prepping for a big camping trip this weekend and you can bet that I will for sure be having a s'more. I am planning on it. 

[ Favorites ]

My absolute favorite thing about W30 was eating soooo many veggies. I loved trying out new things and will continue to introduce my family to new vegetables. Roasting or grilling them is always a hit! 

Here are a few of my favorite meals along with those posted above.

[ for most of these you can find recipes in my Instagram feed @wholehayley ]

(veggie quiche with sweet potato and almond meal crust)

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(applegate loaded hotdogs with carrot and parsnip fries :: infused water)

(lemon roasted chicken with vegetable shepard's pie)

(coconut chili lime blackened mahi mahi with cauliflower rice)

(skewered chipotle lime shrimp with pineapple and veggies right off the grill)

To celebrate the end of my 30 days I took the girls to Chipotle for my final meal. A carnitas salad with veggies, pico de gallo, and huac. 

It was pretty perfect! 


Off to pack!


Kelli said...

This answers every question I ever had! I loved all the dinner ideas on insta. I'm always looking for new menu ideas. All this food looks so yum.

Meg said...

Thank you SO much for writing this post! Your meals look amazing! I've been on the fence about doing this, but decided this last week that I really need to clean house. My book came in the mail yesterday and I'm going to start next week. Dates with almond butter, brilliant! Thank you so much for the low down, I'm sure I'll be referring back to this and your instagram for these yummy meals! Way to go!!!


Good work! This is inspiring! I want to take a stab at it again to beat the bloat. Hope my meals are as appetizing and pretty as yours.

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