Our Whole30 Recap - favorite recipes, FAQ's, and confessions!

Hi everyone! We're finally sharing our Whole30 recap with you today...FYI this is a super long post with a lot of rambling, but we wanted to share everything we experienced during the process! ;) We received so many questions, so we're recapping it with a #coffeetalk format! Okay, here we go! 
Favorite dinner recipes?
Meggan: salsa verde chicken over cilantro lime cauliflower rice (so damn good!), chicken/veggie kabobs, jalapeño turkey burgers, balsamic roasted chicken and veggies, stir fry, meatballs with marinara and zoodles, turmeric roasted cauliflower soup, taco salad, and these sloppy joe sweet potatoes (omit the Worcestershire sauce).
Brooke: Asian chicken stir fry, Whole30 chili (I made the first one on this page), zoodles with ground beef (or turkey) and Rao's sauce, spaghetti squash with ground chicken and Rao's sauce (I liked the squash better than the zoodles), orange chicken (I adapted this recipe to make it Whole30 compliant & used cauliflower rice instead of rice), pizza spaghetti pie (favorite Whole30 recipe for sure!), chicken lettuce wraps, and roasted veggies with chicken.

Favorite lunch recipes?
Meggan: Asian chicken chopped salad, roasted butternut squash (bought precut at Trader Joe's and seasoned with olive oil, fresh rosemary, garlic powder, and pepper) mixed with red onion, sautéed kale or spinach and pomegranate seeds, cauliflower "fried" rice (similar to this recipe).
Brooke: I usually had leftovers from the night before for lunch, so all of the dinner recipes I mentioned above ;). The one thing I made and am now obsessed with is the sweet potato + egg + avocado dish you probably saw on snapchat or insta stories. Sauté a chopped sweet potatoe in coconut/avocado/olive oil (whichever you prefer), add salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, and any other spices you want. Cook an egg over easy, fried, or any other method (the runny yolk was the best part though, so that's my recommendation), and top with avocado!

What did you eat for breakfast?
We both ate A LOT of eggs for breakfast...which did get a little old! We found Whole30 approved bacon, so sometimes we'd have that too. If we were in a rush, we'd grab a RXBAR or Larabar and coffee.

What did you snack on?
Snacking is not encouraged on Whole30, so we really limited our snacking (so hard for us), but here are the few things we did have when we really needed something...
Meggan: Banana with almond butter and chia seeds, Larabars, banana chips with salsa or guac (sounds weird but it's good!), apples with cinnamon, cucumber salad, and hard boiled eggs.
Brooke: Dried mangos (from TJ's, so good!), Larabars - Cherry Pie & Cashew Cookie are my fave, but here's the list of the Whole30 compliant bars. I mostly snacked on fruit & my favorite combo - apples & bananas (did the Raffi song just pop into your head? lol) chopped and mixed in a bowl then drizzled with almond butter and cinnamon. 

What was the hardest part about it?
Brooke: For me, days 3-8 were the most difficult. The other thing that was hard was having to cook every single meal (especially if I didn't have any leftovers for lunch), and having to be prepared with a recipe & Whole30 approved ingredients. Before Whole30, I was ordering out at least 4 meals per week (probably more)...so this was a big change, but in the end I'm so happy b/c it got me back into cooking again.
Meggan: Finding recipes for lunch. I don't usually have an actual meal and just graze (deli meat, fruit, veggies and hummus, yogurt, Triscuits, etc) throughout the afternoon. By the time I get Camden fed and down for his nap I don't feel like making a meal so that was definitely hard! It was also hard for me to not take bites of Cam's meals. He was just getting over a double ear infection when I started Whole30 and pretty much didn't eat anything for a week so I treated him to some pizza for lunch. OMGGGG it was so hard watching him eat it lol! And I stayed at my sister-in-laws a few times (she just had a baby) and they had meals brought to them and/or ordered take out so I had to make my own meals which sucked lol. One night the whole fam was eating pizza and I made stir fry. It definitely tested my willpower.

Did your guys do it with you?
Meggan: For the most part, yes (only home for dinner). Kyle is actually a really healthy/lean eater and is usually the one keeping me in check! He ate all the dinners I made with no complaints but sometimes he would add hot sauce, cheese, or whatever.
Brooke: Not really, but my husband is gone 12-14 hours/day during the week, so it wasn't like he was sitting around eating things I couldn't and torturing me lol. He would eat the dinner recipes I made when he got home from work, and he loved all of them. His favorites were the spaghetti pizza pie & the chicken lettuce wraps.

Did you follow it 100%?
No. If you've been following along, you know we were totally upfront and admit we slipped. Brooke had 2 dinners out of sushi (rice is not compliant) and two glasses of wine during the Whole30 challenge. Meggan also had a couple cheat meals/wine (Red Hot Chili Peppers concert and one night with family in town). So, if you want to get technical...we failed lol, BUT our experience was still a huge success in our book. Here's why - the entire purpose of Whole30 is to change the way you think about food & understand how certain foods affect your body and your life. Our goal was not to say,  "BOOM! We did Whole30, we were perfect for 30 days, and now we're back to ordering out all the time & having wine every single night!" Our goals were to change the way we eat, cook, and figure out which foods work for us, and which ones don't... and we have totally met that goal! Also...some major changes in the next question are another reason why it was a major success.

Did you notice any changes?
Brooke: Yes! I lost 7 lbs, and my skin has stayed completely clear for the first time in SO long. Many of you know, since having Avery I've had some major skin issues (which I had never struggled with prior to pregnancy). Every month, my chin would break out for a week, then slowly clear up, and then like clockwork it would break out again just as soon as I was feeling good about it. I've read a few articles and talked to a number of estheticians that credit diet as the foundation for healthy skin, and I couldn't agree more. We went to AZ over Christmas and the day before we left I had pizza, tons of cheese, a latte with regular milk, and ice cream. The next day my chin was SO bad (you can see in the photo on the left below), and the pic on the right is my chin now - both with no makeup on, fresh out of the shower. I still have some redness, but my skin has stayed clear since I started Whole30 in January. I think dairy is the culprit for me, but I'll be testing other foods as well (I still haven't had any beans or legumes, added sugar, bread, or pasta since ending Whole30 so I'm not positive, but I do think it's dairy). Another change is just the way I have been eating and cooking - I have not been tempted to go back to my old ways. I just feel better, my stomach is flat and no longer constantly bloated (literally my family was suspecting I was pregnant over Thanksgiving lol), and I crave healthy food.
Meggan: Yes to everything Brooke said!! My jeans were definitely feeling a little tighter after moving (lots of takeout) and the holidays. I don't weigh myself but about 10 days in I felt SO much better and less bloated. I remember texting Brooke saying that my muffin top was gone and I didn't have to lay down to button my jeans (anyone else? lol). I have more energy, feel less anxious, and all around in a better mood. I just ordered this book and can't wait to read! I ate pretty healthy before but Whole30 made me REALLY realize what we put in our bodies has an effect on us physically and mentally.
Now that you're done with Whole30, are you sticking with any of the "Whole30 ways?"
Meggan: I am all about everything in moderation and try stick with the 80/20 rule. I don't like to deprive myself because it makes me crave things even more. One thing that has stuck with me is I'm still checking labels on everything I buy. Why is there added sugar in EVERYTHING? It's actually pretty gross :( I swapped my condiments out for "healthier" versions and started making my own salad dressings and sauces. I'm still avoiding dairy because I feel so much better without it and definitely cut back on soy lattes from Starbucks and wine.
Brooke: Yes, some of them & totally agree with Meggan - you'd be SHOCKED if you start looking into foods you buy - so many items have added sugar you would never know is there. I'm planning to stay dairy free (if I'm out to eat I may have cheese, but that's about it). Also, cocktails. Before Whole30, I was having one glass of wine every single night (and more on the weekends when we were out). Before Whole30 I couldn't even imagine going 30 days without one glass (I mentioned above I did end up having 2 glasses during the Whole30). But, I started drinking LaCroix at night in a wine glass - my favorite flavor is the Cherry & Lime. I muddle a strawberry at the bottom of the glass, then add the sparkling water - it is SO good. Now (post Whole30) I'm only having 1-2 glasses of wine/week, and I don't "crave" it, I think it's just the habit/routine of having a glass at the end of the day that I was craving. If you're trying to cut down on cocktails, definitely try this trick! I also quit Diet Coke (something I never thought I'd be able to do), and don't plan on going back! When I'm out at a restaurant, I order sparkling water with limes - it's good, and the bubbles really helped me with giving up Diet Coke. I'm still eating the same as I was during Whole30 90% of the time, but here's my plan - 1 "cheat meal" per week is not realistic for me, so I'm giving myself 3 meals/week to eat & drink whatever I want. It's realistic, and I'm not setting myself up to fail long-term since I'm not going to feel deprived. Healthy eating makes you feel better and look better, but the hardest part for me is always getting started.

What was the best part about it?
Meggan: Trying new recipes, losing the holiday weight, feeling healthier/happier, and not craving processed foods.
Brooke: Besides the results I listed above - re-training my body and mind how to eat healthy, whole foods rather than processed foods. It's just so easy to reach for those quick snacks in the pantry (which are usually so processed), but Whole30 really makes you think about what you're eating and you learn a lot about what works for you! And the fact that I was able to quit Diet Coke is probably one of the best things ever!

Would you do it again?
Brooke: Yes, for sure!
Meggan: I would definitely do it again!

Any other tips?
 - Clean out your fridge/pantry before you start so you don't have any temptations!
- We joined a Whole30 support group on Facebook which was helpful. People posted recipes, tips, asked questions, and shared if they cheated lol.
- This tip goes for anyone (even if you're not doing Whole30), and it comes from one of our followers on snapchat. Cravings usually last only about 3 minutes, so if you're feeling like you really need that ice cream late night, try to occupy yourself with an activity for 5 minutes, and have a glass of water or tea. Chances are, after 5 minutes you probably won't be having the same craving.
- If you are struggling with cravings/snacks, try to swap a healthy snack instead of what you're craving. Lots of creative, healthy snack options to beat cravings here. These snacks are more for after Whole30 since snacking and replacing sweet treats with healthy versions is not encouraged during Whole30.

Let us know what you think, or if you have any other questions!! xx


7 comments:

  1. Wow, Brooke that picture of your skin makes me want to start Whole30 right this instant - that's so amazing!!! I suffer from acne as well as some digestive issues and I've never been able to pin down what exactly causes it, though I do think it's diet related so I'm feeling really encouraged by this post to try Whole30!

    Also, even before you mentioned that it was the Raffi song, I totally sang it in my head that way and now I can't get it out hahaa.

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  2. Your chin!!! Holy shit. I have the same issue with my chin and would have never attributed it to food, but instead, "I just tried a new mask." We start our Whole30 on Monday and I absolutely cannot wait!

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  3. Brooke what were you putting in your coffee during whole30 vs milk?

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    1. Califia Farms unsweetened creamer and I love it! https://www.califiafarms.com/unsweetened-creamer

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  4. Amazing! You've really inspired me to try bits of this in my meal planning! Thank you for the great post!

    www.violetandblush.com

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  5. In regards to your hypothesis that milk is the culprit for your breakouts, this would make sense since you broke out on your chin and breakouts in this area are usually related to hormones. Most milk contains bovine growth hormone, so this could be the underlying cause. I'm an Ayurvedic practitioner and Ayurveda utilizes ghee and other dairy products, so I find that if I only get very high quality, organic, hormone-free products I'm in the clear for breakouts.

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  6. Amazing recipes to try. It's like the combo of taste and health all together. I would love to make these delicious recipes at home. Great Post!!!

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