"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Friday, March 6, 2015

Paleo, Whole 30 and Eating Clean

So I am going to try to keep this blogging thing going while I have momentum and a few minutes. Nick took the big girls to a “date” at Whataburger (slightly ironic given the title of this post) and I almost don’t know what to do with myself with only one kid. Ok, I do. Blog.

We started trying to really understand eating healthy in 2012, right before I became pregnant with Gemma. Everyone has a different opinion on what that means, but the two main books I read were “Eat to Live” and “The Beauty Detox Solution”. If I had to pick an eating style that made sense and seemed intuitive to me, I would say “Eat to Live” 100%. I really believe Joel Fuhrman knows what’s he’s talking about, so we tried his eating style for a while, but it was just too gross. Do you think you could eat food with no salt? And worse! Nearly every single nutritarian recipe involves just throwing a lot of nutritious food in a pot (without salt) and it all comes out tasting like goulash (gross). In the end, it just wasn’t sustainable for us. One positive thing did come out of it and we were able to practice living dairy-free for a while. That was something that once upon a time I thought I could never do, so it was good practice as we have slowly been cutting out dairy.

Between then and now, we’ve had TWO babies. We’ve jumped onto the healthy eating bandwagon and jumped off. I wouldn’t say that we are bad eaters when I cooked but we had two big flaws. 1) We have a major sweet tooth and I love to make cookies and brownies and all kinds of great tasting things from scratch. Then we cannot lay off of whatever it is I make and its gone within 24 hours. 2) When life gets stressful, we eat out a lot. Sometimes fast food (What-a-burger, Sonic and CFA are our faves) but even when its real restaurant food our attitude was always to just eat whatever we wanted.

Now onto Paleo! I could go into a long blurb on it, but basically I have read that a lot of women have noticed a great alleviation in their hypothyroid symptoms from eating Paleo. Once upon a time, I would have said that the “Paleo lifestyle” did not make sense to me on any level, but I was willing to try anything to not be so tired all the time. I also wanted to lose the baby weight from Zoya, and I’ve decided that I’m 31 now so there’s no reason to be coy about my actual weight numbers so I am just going to come out and share them.

For most of high school and college, I weighed between 102 and 105 lbs. After graduation and a desk job, my adult weight has usually been between 112 to 115. After Isla was born, at 4 weeks post partum I was down to 114. After Gemma was born, at 6 weeks post partum I was down to 111. They came off so easy that I was hoping it would be the same with Zoya even though I gained so much more weight. After you have a baby, you lose weight like crazy and then suddenly you stop losing weight. With Zoya I stopped losing weight at 128 lbs, which was too high for my comfort. I don’t need to get back to my high school weight, but I would love to skip the middle age spread if I can.

I started testing the Paleo waters in October and I lost a few pounds, and then between Thanksgiving and New Year I wasn’t very careful at all. Then I did the Whole30 in January. On January 1 I weighed 125 lbs, at the end of it, I had lost 5 lbs and was down to 120. I am now down to 117, and I am committed to this and I think I will continue to lose the baby weight. I’m hoping to get down to 112ish, and I’d be even happier if I kept losing!

The Whole30

The first Whole30 was really hard. I have such a sweet tooth I would have killed someone for a little dark chocolate, and I made a banana-nut smoothie that I am pretty sure qualified as SWYPO, but there’s no way I would have made it through the sugar detox weeks without it. I also ate a lot of sweet potatoes. Thank providence that I was allowed as many sweet potato fries as I wanted! I’m really thankful that Nick was doing it with me or else I would not have been able to finish. The girls mostly did it with us without complaining about no more cheese sticks or almond milk.

In February we had trips to Walt Disney World and Great Wolf Lodge and we cheated some, but we actually do really well on Paleo while at home. The girls are eating 90% Paleo, and I’m really proud of them. There are a few things that are really hard. I don’t miss cheese, but I know Isla does and she eats it up whenever we eat out. We all miss peanut butter though because did you know its technically a legume? Crazy. I am glad that most people allow butter on Paleo even though you aren’t supposed to eat any other dairy. Butter is my favorite thing. I’ve also been using ghee and avocado oil.

I’m doing the Whole30 again right now and it’s so much easier the second time, and I feel well. I am relying on nuts much less to satisfy my sweet tooth and I think that I will lose weight much faster this time. I don’t even need Nick to do it with me, he really doesn’t need to do it as he has already lost 25 lbs! This week I’ve passed up doughnuts and Whataburger (Nick offered because I guess he forgot about my Whole30) and it has been shockingly easy. That is a definite first! Also, yesterday I was having a bad day or in a bad mood for whatever reason. Normally I would be stuffing my feelings with food or searching high and low for chocolate, but surprisingly I just stuck with my normal Whole30 plan and I wasn’t even tempted to go off of it or deal with my emotions with food.

Here are some recipes that we like:

  • Crock pot whole chicken – I’ve stopped buying chicken parts, it’s nothing but whole chicken for our family. I’m so proud of myself!
  • Ribs – I put them in the crockpot on high for 4 hours and they are so tender and awesome.
  • Sweet potato fries coated in coconut oil, chili powder, garlic powder, arrowroot starch and salt to taste and baked on each side at 425 degrees for 10 minutes each.
  • Salmon croquettes – my kids go crazy for these, even Gemma
  • Home made larabars – switch peanut butter for almond butter, these make great snacks
  • pumpkin pancakes – I spread it with almond butter and sprinkle a little maple syrup and Isla and Gemma gobble these up
  • Fauxtmeal – this is soooo tasty, I love it too.
  • Paleo Pot Pie – This was so amazing. It’s not Whole30, and I wouldn’t have it every week, but it’s a nice treat and Isla and Nick loved it.
  • As I’ve mentioned before, we are big smoothie people. We’ve been using canned coconut milk as a base, adding any  kind of fruit, almond butter, spinach, flaxseed, dates and of course bananas in some combination or another.

Anyway, we are doing well and I am really proud of us. Although we have had some starts and stops since we started in October, this now feels like a permanent change in our home. I don’t think we will fall away if life gets stressful or busy or crazy; it’s a lifestyle we can sustain. Of course we will still have treats every now and then, but they will actually be treats, not just sweets because it’s Friday!

I would love any Paleo or Whole30 recipes that anyone has to share! If you are thinking about doing this, I highly recommend it.


  1. good for you! I keep trying, but I cannot get really committed to cutting out chocolate. I'm really good at working out consistently, but I know I need to do better eating. I want to, but apparently not really. I'm proud of you!!!

    1. You don't have to cut out chocolate, especially not dark chocolate :). Only during the Whole30. This paleo chocolate smoothie is so good, I crave it all the time. http://againstallgrain.com/2012/07/24/creamy-chocolate-avocado-smoothie/ I actually didn't finish this 2nd Whole30 because... chocolate. Good for you on working out, Nick and I have been consistently working out together for the past couple of weeks and that's the longest I've gone since college. I'm hoping we can keep it up!


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