An Adventure in Food or Where’s the Swedish Chef when you need him?


We started talking about this sometime last fall because of conversations with friends and family who have done it and decided that we would not attempt it until after the new year because of our calendar. January was the first month that we didn’t have anything on our calendar that would preclude us from endeavoring to take this step. As soon as grands went back to school we embarked on this 30-day journey.

There were several things that we wanted to accomplish by doing this: really address the fact that we were unconsciously eating things that aren’t good for us even in minute amounts, wanting to see if eating in this way would affect our labs at the doctor’s office and thereby allowing us to take less medication and curiosity as to whether we really would feel better without certain foods in our diet.


Things to note before starting:

  • Nothing’s ever as hard as you think it will be when it comes to denying self of certain foods.
  • You won’t starve on this plan
  • It’s not a diet. It’s an eating plan to eliminate foods that are common triggers to reactions, inflammation and/or allergies.
  • It’s better not to try this alone when there’s more than one person in the house. Otherwise, if that other person or persons do not join in on the fun, there will be sabotage. Maybe not intentional or conscious, but there will be sabotage.
  • Decide in advance whether you are willing to say “adieu” to some favorite foods for 30 days.
  • Remember this is designed to be temporary. You may find later that you really like eating like this and make changes to modify to accommodate foods you’ve left out for 30 days. Adding foods back in may be revealing to you- I’ll let you know on this one.
  • You will be reading lots and lots of labels at the grocery store.
  • Your grocery bill will increase- but your dining out bill will markedly decrease.
  • Get the book and/or the cookbook. You will need them to guide you in several ways.
  • You don’t have to eat what you don’t like. This is not designed for deprivation but alteration. You are not 7 years old and eating food that is good for you is an intelligent decision you make for yourself.


A look back at the first week:

  • I’m surprised at the things I don’t miss: bread, sugar, treats
  • I’m surprised at the number of veggies I’ve been eating- I don’t think I’ve had this many in the past 5 years!
  • I did get cranky one morning- no energy, brain tired. But it passed within a few hours
  • There’s a LOT of prep-work that goes into the Whole30 recipes. The cooking has been the easy part
  • We went to the grocery way more than I want to admit
  • Douglas did a lot of the prep- I don’t like that part- so divide and conquer has been our motto
  • I miss the smell of baking- just a little.
  • I’m amazed at the times I’ve been exposed to opportunities to break the Whole30 and it hasn’t bothered me enough to not be able to dismiss it and move on
  • I’ve had to remind myself a couple of times that I can’t run through the drive thru and pick up something but that’s been more out of habit rather than actual desire to eat
  • I think about eating out very little as I’ve moved into the second week
  • There’s a lot of ingredients that are hidden in our food that don’t need to be there
  • Thank goodness for oranges, grapefruit and apples
  • I’m amazed at how not hungry I am
  • Some foods have been hits and some have been misses
  • Giving each other grace not to like something and take it off the rotation is important
  • Boredom snacking hasn’t been an issue for me
  • We are learning what foods trigger the instinct to eat anyway and are avoiding those
  • Doing this if we were both working would have been a challenge for us
  • Do not make their mayo recipe with extra virgin olive oil- you will regret it


There are some good recipes that we will continue to make even when this is over. Getting creative about it all and adapting our own has been entertaining. The walnut-crusted pork tenderloin- we had pecans (this is the south) and substituted these- was a major hit over here as were the salmon patties. The spinach frittata, on the other hand, not so much for us. Too much spinach for either of our tastes. We made a taco salad without the taco, a chicken tortilla soup without the tortilla chips, and stew without Worcestershire sauce (it’s a staple here).Toasted kale chips- a lot of work for little reward; however, if you are looking for some crunch it is satisfying.

Eggs are another creative challenge. They are pretty much an everyday breakfast item. We’ve had scrambled, fried, boiled (hard cooked), poached and I made my quiche recipe without cream, cheese or crust- needs a bit of a tweak but definitely edible. The frittata was an emphatic no at our house. If you like a lot of spinach you will like the frittata.

Avocados are our friend. At breakfast, in food, on food, etc… same with some of the veggies.

I’m not too resistant when it comes to veggies- I like most and tolerate just about every kind that’s been thrown at us. Douglas, on the other hand, not so much. The pleasant surprise for both of us has been the salmon patties recipe that includes sweet potato in the mix. He has never liked sweet potatoes unless it’s the chips at Blue Mesa Café, however the extent to which he has gone to try to incorporate them into this eating plan: roasted potato and sweet potato hash for breakfast, and this recipe has impressed me. If I didn’t know the sweet potato was in the patties I’d have never known.

Oh – last thing- you will talk more about food than you have ever talked about it and the grocery shopping becomes an adventure; both when you are trying to read the -00 font on the labels and when you think you’ve found something new that’s on the list to try!

Yesterday, tired of looking for things I totally pulled everything out of the pantry we couldn’t use and divided it up into food to pass on to the kids and food for the food pantry- not bad food- just food we didn’t want to be staring at every time we opened the pantry. One shelf now is devoted to foods that the grands will eat and the rest of the shelves are organized for ease of use- amazing!

If you are considering Whole30 in your future, please don’t do it for the sole purpose of losing weight- that’s not what it’s designed for; do it to get things out of your food that don’t really need to be there or don’t belong at all and to see what that does for your body.  After all, it’s only 30 days. We are already committed to seeing this through to the whole 30 days. If it doesn’t work for you, chuck the book at the Half Price Books resale counter, recoup some of your money and move on. however, if you find you like it you may have a clean pantry like we now have!

I’ll let you know how it’s going next week. And Doug is making a list for me to share from his point of view.

Questions? Comments?




2 thoughts on “An Adventure in Food or Where’s the Swedish Chef when you need him?

  1. As yet, I am unfamiliar with Whole30, but what you have described parallels me giving up wheat and most dairy.

    I find it liberating to be somewhere where the food is all cakes and other baking, and to look at is as if it was cardboard.

    It is wonderful to have genuine reason not to partake.
    I didn’t consider doing this a diet, either, but I did loose weight, then stablised at a lower weight.

    The health benefits though, have been enourmous!
    I used to have migraine 5/7 days a week and often had a swollen bloated tummy. Living without these is absolutely life-changing and wonderful.

    I called it a change in lifestyle rather than a diet.

    May the changes you and Doug make reap huge benefits for you both!

    • Mary, check out their website, lots of worksheets, references. It will show you what we are doing. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the point where baked goods are not appealing or chocolate for that matter. But, for these 30 days I can do without and that’s enough.

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