We made it another week! What did we learn now that we’re seasoned experts? Read on to find out!
: See Week 1 here:
Molly: I should probably mention that I’m doing the vegetarian version of the Whole30. I haven’t eaten meat since some time in high school, which was so long ago that there are now period films about it (Lady Bird, I’m pulling for that Oscar nomination). The W30 description of the vegetarian diet sounds like it was written by Regina George. It’s basically, “you’re a nonsense person who has chosen a garbage lifestyle, but here’s a way you could ruin your diet less I GUESS.” The difference is mainly that I don’t eat meat (obviously) but can eat some legumes. Whole milk organic pasteurized plain yogurt is OK but I’m not going to do it. I mean there were 4 modifiers before I even got to “yogurt.” This is actually the first day I’ve had any legumes – for the most part, I’m doing the regular W30 but with an almost obscene amount of eggs – but I realized my protein intake was a bit low so I made lentil soup and a roasted beet salad with edamame.
Peeling roasted beets is pretty gnarly, huh?
Traci: RX Bars – what is the consensus on these? I had one that contained egg whites, dates, almonds, blueberries, other items and it was super dense. I couldn’t even finish it.
Since I’m on my regular meat-eating diet, for dinner, I had pork chops with Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute that you can put on pretty much anything and it will taste like you actually put an effort into cooking. I had that with roasted broccoli and cauliflower rice, and it felt the most like a regular dinner since start this a week ago!
M: I’m not buying RX bars or Lara Bars. I make my granola bars in real life (real life being when I’m not doing W30 I guess?) and switching to premade ones would probably feel like dessert. #Sexpants. [Update: toward the end of the week I had a Lara bar in a pinch. It was OK but not great. I’d treat it as a backup food but not a regular thing.]
M: Here’s something I’ve noticed: getting hungry makes me feel way more panicky than normal. I was at the hardware store tonight and felt famished as I looked at the junk food by the register – and buying snacks on the go isn’t even something I do! But I couldn’t have it, was the difference.
They announced a snow storm for Friday into Saturday and I immediately knew I’d push my weekly shopping trip up to Thursday even though I avoid grocery stores the night before a storm. The idea of being trapped in my house with just a bag of frozen spinach and a dwindling egg supply was terrifying.
T: Do you guys know how hard it is to find a breakfast meat that doesn’t include sugar? 99% of all bacon (not a real stat) includes some kind of sugar, specifically brown sugar. Our friend Tori, who is also doing W30, suggested Pederson’s brand for all my breakfast meat needs. I went to Whole Foods since it’s the only local place that carries it – and a pack of uncooked no sugar hickory smoked bacon is $7.99!!! Gonna have to ration this shit out.
A lot of people at my work are sick, and since I’m paranoid, I felt like I needed to act before those germs could strike on me. But my usual plan of attack is to down Vitamin C and gulp a lot of orange juice. But can’t do that this time around. I’ve been eating a lot of oranges, but it doesn’t seem enough to me. Which is why I went to Whole Foods in the first place. They carry these wellness shots by Kor that are supposed to help the immune system. My friend also told me about these Elderberry & Zinc lozenges that I also purchase because this bitch isn’t getting sick. Especially not on W30.
My friend invited me to an impromptu W30 dinner, since 4 of my friends are also doing it, and 2 others just went along for the ride. They made baked waffle fries and this slow cooker chili (but added sweet potato and sliced carrots and used low sodium chicken stock, not beef). It was so freaking good and again, didn’t felt like it was a typical “W30” meal.
T: You know what you shouldn’t do? Take the Kor wellness shot while you’re driving. I knew it had cayenne pepper in it but a greatly underestimated how it was going to effect me. It’s straight up ginger, cayenne, lemon juice, coconut juice, and tiny tiny little shivs made into particles that go down your throat. I had to get rid of the burn by grabbing some cashews originally rationed for lunch. But am I sick? No. Worth it? I guess.
Today I got halfway from the parking garage to my office and realized I forgot my lunch bag in my car. I couldn’t just leave it because it had my breakfast and all my W30 approved snacks for the day! I couldn’t survive off the things from craft services and the commissary – which I obviously would have to spend money on. I walked all the way back. Extra exercise, I guess?
Relatedly, besides all the cooking, my other complaint about this is how much money you spend. Between organic foods and items like coconut oil or ghee, it’s a lot of stuff I don’t usually buy that costs nearly twice as much as my regular groceries. Here are some super helpful tips on how to save money on W30 from 40 Aprons (home of the delish crockpot carnitas from last week) if you can relate.
I also just want to give a shout out to Simply Organic Dijon Mustard – it is giving me life through W30. It’s surprisingly delish and I’m maybe putting it on everything moving forward.
M: I donated blood today because there’s a shortage, I’m 0- (universal donor), and someone in HR specifically emailed me telling me there were cancellations and she noticed I had donated before. Hello, guilt trip. I have a super-low resting heart rate and tend to get woozy after donating, which is admittedly like … two times because I used to be ineligible. I was worried that I’d feel even worse being on the W30, but it was fine! I did have raisins and apple juice (no added sugar or weird stuff in either) right after because I know how I get.
M: My Whole30 Mantra, because I have a Whole30 mantra, is “it’s my Whole30.” I use it when I read Whole30 commentary about the ideal way to do things, like not snacking and going full-egg if you’re a vegetarian. I’m doing this to reset my dietary preferences and habits. I know I’m not sensitive to legumes so I’m not stressing about doing the version that allows them. I’m also not trying to lose weight so – Whole30 controversy alert! – I’m still weighing myself since I know I won’t quit if I’m not losing. I don’t know what I’d do if I gained – back off the fruit? No. “Back off the fruit” is the diet plan of a crazy person.
I really want, like, a single square of chocolate at night, but I am also deep enough into W30 to appreciate the total restriction approach. Until February. Then gimme me that 80% cacao.
T: I totally agree that “It’s My Whole30” should be everyone’s motto. It’s probably against everything the founder talked about in her book
we didn’t read, but I still stand by it.
Here’s a good snack I’ve enjoyed at work: carrots and an individual cup of Wholly Guacamole. It feels like guac shouldn’t be compliant, but thank god it is.
T: I was 3/4 of the way through eating my hard boiled eggs, avocado, and chicken sausage breakfast topped with Trader Joe’s Chili Pepper hot sauce when I thought to myself, “Hmm this hot sauce tastes a little sweet”. Then I looked at the ingredients. Right there, listed second, was SUGAR. Lit’rally an hour before, I was texting Molly and our friend Tori, and said “I decided if sugar sneaks in i’m going to pretend it didn’t happen.”
WELL IT DID, TRACI. IT DID. How much sugar is in it, exactly? 1 gram. OK FINE. IT’S BARELY ANYTHING, BUT STILL. This is how sugar just comes out of nowhere. We eat too much sugar as a society, y’all.
Anyways, I’m pretending it didn’t happen and moving forward with my life. Because I’ve been super careful up until then.
I’d also like to point out the dessert I just whipped up like a contestant on Chopped. If the contestant was given a basket of non-weird food items that go together.
M: While I’m avoiding anything dessert-y (including nut butters), that looks amaaaazing. I made a cereal that was the first sweet food I’ve had other than plain fruit (food processed walnuts, coconut, chia and raisins) and it was just like Traci with the RX bars – I couldn’t even get through a serving because it was so dense, like fruitcake cereal. I only made the damn fruitcake cereal because I have been powering through this frittata I don’t like for about 3 days and I need a break. I spend so long cooking that I can’t bear to waste perfectly ‘good’ food.
Update: 3 hours later my mouth still feels sugary and gross from the ‘cereal.’ There’s a reason the serving size of raisins is one box that fits perfectly in a dollhouse pantry. They’re TOO SWEET. Back to eggs and veggies for breakfast.
T: I went to go see Call Me By Your Name and the smell of popcorn was wafting in the air as i watched my new favorite couple fall in love on screen. I just sat there and drank my smuggled in bottle of water.
I also received my first Blue Apron box! they’ve paired up with W30 to provide compliant meals and i thought what a better time than any to finally try it out! i got some kind of deal where i got $50 off (split between boxes) so it works out to be about $10/meal, which provides 2 servings. First up was Mexican spiced barramundi with kale, roasted sweet potatoes and avocado salad. there’s a step by step guide that times everything perfectly, so it’s basically cool proof. It wasn’t too laborious and tbh i wasn’t even sure if it was going to taste good. especially bc i’m so picky with kale. But let me tell you – it was DELISH. Like i was surprised at how good it was. And the kale salad? I went back for another heap of it bc it was that good.
The thing that’s always attracted me to Blue Apron (and similar boxes) is there you’re provided w the exact amount of ingredients and nothing more. EG a bag of Mexican spices. a sachet of pepitas. so much better than having to buy a full container of cumin that i’m never going to use again.
M: The Blue Apron W30 box is non-veg, but based on my friends’ reviews I am signing up for it once I’m done with W30. Most of the expense of this has been buying pricey ingredients that are bigger than I need. Like, why do fresh herbs come in bunches the size of my head?
T: Additionally, I went to a party/movie night where there was cheese, brownies, s’mores, and even tempted my then offer of an ice cream sundae to my face but i said no sir. again what’s super helpful about this is that four of my other friends there are also on W30 so it’s not as bad when other people are eating bell peppers and disregarding the moist brownies on the table.
M: The hardest thing about W30 for me is the fear of seeming rude or bratty for refusing things. It goes back to the vegetarian thing: I feel so sorry for how it inconveniences hosts that I will eat literally anything else somebody is serving. That’s harder to do on W30 – at restaurants too! – because vegetarian options usually contain grains or cheese. I was at a baby shower this weekend where fortunately there were some vegetables, nuts (thank you, charcuterie boards!) and a fruit salad, and I loaded my plate with those so you couldn’t tell I was skipping the assorted brunch foods. I had visions of being that annoying girl listing off all the things she doesn’t eat while everybody internally rolls their eyes. All I wanted was for people to not notice.
It was also my goddaughter’s birthday, and fortunately she chose Friendly’s as her dinner of choice. Their lunch/dinner menu is so bad (so, uh… we’re not getting that Friendly’s endorsement, huh?) that sitting there sipping a tea was fine.
The easier part for me: I couldn’t care less about skipping cake, ice cream, pizza and snacks, and when they talk about ‘trigger foods’ you can’t stop eating, it doesn’t compute. I don’t even keep snacks in my house in ‘real life’ (non-W30) except fruit and plain popcorn, and I’ve never related to not being able to pass up dessert. Sometimes it feels like the W30 is written with this assumption that we all eat things like cookies regularly.
Here’s a legit vice of mine, though: in real life I drink diet soda even though I know it’s poison water pushing me into an early grave or whatever. I just think a cold fizzy drink tastes more refreshing than a cold-non-fizzy drink. Luckily I enjoy club soda and La Croix just as much, I just don’t usually buy them (to be fair, I wouldn’t usually have diet soda at home, but I’d order them out and sometimes pick one up as a treat when I’m grocery shopping … or to push through a mid-workday energy slump). Now I really wish it was easier to buy club soda/sparkling water on the go because I’d like to keep choosing these post-W30.
T: Not to dwell on Blue Apron again (but I am for the rest of the W30, so deal with it), but I went to TJ’s today and barely had to buy anything. It was fantastic. Most of the stuff I was buying for dinner, but I pretty much have that covered thanks to Blue Apron. I’m their spokesperson now, it’s fine.
M: You could copy/paste Traci’s paragraph about Call Me By Your Name here. All of it. Just like last week, I don’t ever get movie snacks but when I can’t have them all I can notice is how everybody else is enjoying popcorn and what I can only assume is cold, delicious diet soda. I never said I had a refined palate, y’all.
That said, here are some recipe recommendations! This curried cauliflower rice kale soup was delicious and ACTUALLY spicy, unlike the disappointingly bland lentil soup I made earlier. I ended up doubling the broth and milk to cover all of the kale, but I think I used a bit more kale than it strictly called for. If you don’t want to use almond milk, I think you could substitute broth and add some more cauliflower, then puree some of the broth/cauliflower mixture and add it back in.
I’d also recommend this cauliflower tabouleh. It loses some of its ‘crunch’ after the first day, but on day 1 I found the cauliflower a little crispy for my tastes. If you want a softer cauliflower to mimic couscous or bulgar, you could roast and rice it like in the soup recipe. I’d also add some chopped olives – green or black – next time.