Whole30 Recap with Photos & Recipes

Happy Saturday, friends! I’m officially three weeks post-Whole30, and I have a lot to share with you, from overall experiences to crazy dreams and even recipes I think you’ll love!

Overall Experience

My initial concern with doing Whole30 was that I would not be able to complete it, or that I would feel so deprived during it that basically I would end up rolling around in carbs a week later.


Yup kinda like that. But surprisingly enough, I made it through without the carb fest. YAY ME! I My overall experience with Whole30 was fantastic. Here are several observations about my experience. Survival tactics, if you will.

I was thinking about food and planning for food all the time. This is because I had to prep everything to make sure I excluded the non-compliant items from my meals. Even on my longest days, I was roasting veggies at 11 pm – otherwise I might be without food for the next few days.

Without working a plan, I would not survive. It helps if you have a plan in advance. So I planned meals for the week in advance, grocery shopping days (Fridays after work), and cooking days (Saturdays, Sundays, and during the week if needed).

I had to change where I shopped and it was difficult to find some foods that were Whole30 compliant. No shade to Safeway or Harris Teeter, but there were items that I could only find at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods (i.e. sugar free salad dressing, Coconut Aminos, etc.). Although further away from home, many items are cheaper at Trader Joe’s (um, hello eggs for 99 cents a dozen!); however even at TJ’s and Whole Foods I had to scrutinize labels for added ingredients. Meanwhile, I saw online that somewhere out there is Whole30 approved Salami. Well my quest ended empty handed so I determined that to be a lie…still salty about that one.


I could play it safe, or I could enjoy my food and this experience. Who wants to eat roasted chicken and veggies every day for 30 days? Not this girl. In the past, I have done the Daniel Fast and not really planned my meals. The result? I was miserable, underfed, and frustrated by the time the fast ended. I wanted this program to be successful and result in lasting changes, so I followed @Whole30, @Whole30recipes, and others on Instagram for exciting recipes. I was very pleased, and found several recipes that will become staples in my meal planning. This proved to me that food could be healthy and fun too!

My cravings didn’t go away. Whoever told that lie, shame on you! Truthfully, I know that everyone’s body is different, so maybe this is true for some. While my “wanting” sugary items did not subside, I did not give into the urge to eat that doughnut. My goal and my commitment were stronger than my urge for the contraband items. Instead of eating a cookie, I had a piece of fruit, or a Larabar (made with 100% fruit).

I was fuller longer. This is a definite win. This is not a weight loss plan, and I didn’t weigh myself before starting; however, I noticed that my paints fit much looser by the end of the 30 days. WIN WIN!

I dreamed a dream of time gone by… Not really. But I did have two (not one but two) dreams about mayonnaise. In the first dream, I realized I was about to purchase mayo made from chickpeas (and chickpeas are off limits in Whole30 LOL). In the second dream, I dreamt that I was spreading mayo onto bread and realized it was not Whole30 approved mayo (um, neither is the bread!). I never had any conscious cravings for mayonnaise, but my subconscious made sure to remind that I was missing something. So weird! And stressful and funny all at the same time!

I think the Whole30 life is for me! While I have transitioned, I have noticed some foods no longer serve me well, so I plan to eliminate those. I plan to continue checking food labels and resuming Whole30 for a longer period of time, with hopes to see even more results!

Some of the meals I prepared for Whole30


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Whole30 Snacks and Beverages* 

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*During my Whole30, plantain chips, kale chips, and other pre-made chips were removed from the approved list, due to their becoming “food without breaks.” Also the plantain chips say roasted but in fact they are fried!


As promised, here are a few of my fave Whole30 recipes! For more, check out @whole30recipes on Instagram!

Sweet & Sticky Wings

Baked Lemon Herb Tilapia

Apple Cider Braised Chicken & Collards

Basic Bolognese Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

 If you’ve tried Whole30, I’d love to hear how it went for you! Please share in the comments!



Observing Lent

This year for Lent I will do the Whole30 Plan with a group of friends. What’s funny is that when I came across Whole30 at the beginning of the year, I saw all of the “restrictions” and said oh no, this is not for me. There’s no way I can give up “all the things.” Well as usual when I say I am not doing something, God simply says, “Oh really?  Well, we will see about that.”

I love God’s sense of humor.

Except when it involves me giving up carbs and all forms of sugar.

Fast forward a few weeks later, and I found myself at brunch with some friends, one of whom had just completed her third Whole30 and said she felt great. Everyone was curious about it so we asked her tons of questions about her process and any changes she noticed before and after. We were all so intrigued.

Friends, I should have known that Papa was up to something.

But I was too busy enjoying my Star of Africa tea (ahem, with honey, not allowed on Whole30) and my amazing Greek dish (with feta cheese, also not allowed on Whole30) to notice what was happening.

I am sure you can guess what happened next. Somewhere in the midst of conversation we all decided that we would do the Whole30 together beginning March 6 (after our girl’s birthday of course, no one is giving up sugar and dairy on their birthday!).

I said yes…with excitement. What had happened to me? Where was my resolve that I would not give up all the things? Friends, it is probably floating in the Jamaican waters along with my resolve to not go snorkeling with my mission team…which I ended up doing haha! You can read about that experience here. So much for my resolve.


Photos courtesy of whole30.com

But truthfully I was excited. I was excited to try a new challenge for Lent, and knowing that I wasn’t alone made me more excited for the journey. Life was truly meant to be done in community. I found resources to help me with meal planning, along with It Starts with Food, the book that explains the science behind the Whole30 plan. And thanks to Instagram, I’ve found some recipes that are Whole30 compliant. YAY!

Part of tackling the scary things is equipping yourself with resources and support. I’ve since shared my plan with three other friends and now they are on board too! From March 6 – April 6 I commit to a Whole30 eating plan, as well as sustaining my fitness plan (currently at the end of a 21 day fitness challenge woot woot!).

I asked myself what do I hope to learn, and how do I hope to grow through this process? As I sacrifice these things, I want to grow in intimacy with Christ. Grower closer to God is always the desire regardless of what I am fasting. I anticipate that God will give me new eyes to see the abundance of good, healthy choices I have instead of focusing on what I think I am missing. I anticipate noticing changes in the way my body runs based on the “fuel” that I give it. It’s my hope that I will also make some long term changes for the better after this process is done. These are just a few things I am praying will happen as I am on this journey.

I look forward to sharing snippets of the journey here with you.

So in a few days, I must bid my new favorite bagel place and beloved cups of honey-laced tea adieu. Excited about how I will learn, grow, and be challenged to leave my comfort zone. And thanking God that I can still have BACON.

Do you have a special way of honoring the Lenten season?

How can you incorporate community this season?