Whole 30: Week Two!

So, I’ve made it through two weeks of Whole30! Woo-hoo!

And… uhm…. I failed. A lot. I did have plenty of Whole30 meals… and then some not so Whole30 bites to eat. Things like a slice of pie, a chocolate bunny, hot dogs (on buns), potato chips, a handful of Goldfish crackers, and pizza. Sigh. I feel like I have a good reason for some of these food choices (like those two days my emotions we were weird and I dealt with sadness & anger…. and that one night I had no other choice but to eat nothing), but yep… I failed the Whole30….. more on that at the end of those post.

Here’s what I ate last week:

Day Eight

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Breakfast: bacon/sweet potato/spinach scramble with iced chai tea.
Lunch: strawberries, Larabar, water.
Snacks: mixed nuts, LaCroix
Dinner: Italian beef (I skipped the bread) and various veggies (not pictured).
Today’s cheat: apple dipped in caramel sauce.

Day Nine

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Breakfast: bacon/sweet potato/spinach, banana, water.
Lunch: salad, Larabar, water.
Snacks: cashews, raisins, water.
Dinner: Chick-fil-a Whole30 option: grilled chicken nuggets, fruit cup, water, iced coffee
Today’s cheat: chocolate bunny split with my husband

Day Ten

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Breakfast: three egg veggie omelet, iced chai tea
Lunch: peas & carrots with peaches (not pictured), mixed nuts & dried fruits, Larabar, water.
Dinner: hard-boiled eggs (not all the eggs in the photo!), mixed nuts, water.

Day Eleven





Breakfast: strawberries, hard-boiled eggs, iced coffe or chai tea (cannot remember)
Lunch [today’s cheat]: Chick-fil-a…. not a Whole30 meal, iced coffee.
Dinner: fruit-infused water, Italian beef (no bread), salad.
Another cheat: slice of apple pie from local restaurant in town.

Day Twelve

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Breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, iced coffee
Lunch: salad, NAKED juice (probably wasn’t Whole30, oops…)
Dinner [today’s cheat]: I actually did not have a proper dinner but between 6pm and 2am, I consumed a slice of pepperoni pizza, three hot dogs (two with buns), handful of potato chips, and an almond milk coffee energy drink. Definitely threw my Whole30 out the window there. However, I woke up the next morning feeling pretty fantastic…. Weird, right? Might be endorphins from all the running around I did.

Day Thirteen

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Breakfast: bacon/sweet potato/spinach scramble, iced coffee
Lunch: veggie salad, some nuts (not pictured), strawberry-infused water
Dinner [cheats]: two slices of sausage pizza

Day Fourteen

Ohh…. all I had to eat today were some slices of pizza, chocolates, and water. Ouch. Let’s leave it at that. At least I consumed a lot of water today, right!? Yeah…. But I don’t want to entirely give up just yet.

How did I feel this past week?

As I mentioned earlier, I went through a couple days of sadness and anger. It was so weird. I think it was due to some other things going on in my life, but someone pointed out that the Whole30 could be doing that to me as part of my withdrawl from certain foods. Perhaps? As for those times I consumed chocolate and pizza? The chocolate left me feeling really icky afterwards and the pizza made me bloat. But other than that, I was energized and happy.

So…. am I still doing this challenge?

According to the Whole30 rules/guideliness, if you ‘mess up’ and sneak or consume something that is not Whole30, you have to start all over again. With that in mind, I should have started over again. But I didn’t. I’m thinking that as long as I maintain a 80/20 Whole30/whatever eating lifestyle, that I’ll be OK (this is my personal experiment… let me do what I am comfortable with!). At least, a lot better than I have been for the last few months (which is the reason I took on the challenge). I have a feeling that once the challenge is ‘over’, I’ll be sticking with it. I’m still going through the next two weeks with Whole30 in mind. Taking it one day a time.

Whole30! Week One Progress.

Last week Monday, I started a personal Whole30 challenge. For thirty days, I’ll be eating a strict Paleo diet: basically veggies, fruits, meats, seafoods, eggs, nuts, water, and tea. No sugar, no cheese, no dairy, no breads, no grains, no pasta, no legumes (beans, soy, peanuts), no alcohol, and no processed foods of any kind.

Why? I’m tired of feeling sick all the time. For the last seven months or so, I’ve been sick on and off more than I’ve ever been. I attribute it partly to the weather, stress, and change, but also because I’ve been eating ‘worse’ than usual: too much pizza, too much pasta, ramen, candy, soda, etc. Lack of time and low funds have greatly contributed to that icky diet (now I understand why so many busy, broke Americans eat so poorly). We’ve got a better handle on things now and I’m ready to take control of my health again. And yes, I’m eating meat for this.

The day I decided to start Whole30, I went through my fridge and cabinets, moving all non-compliant foods to a different shelf or drawer (my husband is still eating whatever he wants). I had a few staples to work with but went to the local grocery store to pick up some eggs & meats to start. I tried my best to select items that were compliant (organic, grass-fed, no soy, no sugar, etc.) with the options I had. After a whirlwind Easter weekend in Chicago, I started Whole30 last Monday!

Here’s how my first week went:

Day One





Breakfast: coffee (two sips and I was done), apple slices, sausage
Lunch: green beans, pineapple, water.
Snacks: raisins, banana, water.
Dinner: kale & spinach salad with grapes, blueberries, seeds, olive oil & vinegar, strawberries, water.

Day Two

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Breakfast: two eggs, sausage, steamed kale with sesame seeds, tea.
Lunch: grapes, strawberries, apples, water.
Snacks: handful of mixed nuts, Coconut Creme Larabar, LaCroix drink.
Did not have dinner. Wasn’t hungry, I suppose.

Day Three




Breakfast: two eggs with spinach, bacon, iced chai tea.
Lunch: turkey & romaine-wrapped pickles, mixed fruits, water.
Snack: nuts, Apple Pie Larabar, LaCroix, water
Dinner: lemon-pepper chicken, mixed veggies, roasted red garlic potatoes, water.

Day Four

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Breakfast: sausage, two eggs, orange, coffee with coconut milk.
Lunch: leftover herb roasted potatoes, turkey & lettuce-wrapped pickes, Larabar, water.
Dinner:  hot dog with veggies (no bun!), water

Day Five

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Breakfast: bacon, eggs, iced coffee with coconut milk
Lunch/afternoon snack: water, two Larabars, salad
Dinner: random fruits and veggies, sausage (not pictured)

Day Six

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Early lunch: stir-fry veggies, water.
Morning/afternoon snack: LaCroix, dried fruits, water.
Dinner: salmon, sauteed veggies, water.

Day Seven

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Breakfast: two eggs with spinach and mushrooms, banana, iced coffee
Afternoon snack: Larabar, Kombucha
Dinner: some ground beef (it was the only thing I could eat from what was offered)
Dessert: green smoothie with spinach, pineapple, and banana

So… how do I feel?

GOOD! The first day was rough. Total lack of sleep and dealing with a cold plus not enough food made for a very cranky and exhausted Laura. I was unable to prepare enough for that day and had to make my lunch stretch through dinner since I had a 12-hour work day, as well. All the snacks in my classroom and all the food in the building? Couldn’t have most of it. I resisted temptation (go, me!) but it was hard. Rawr. Fortunately, it got better from there…. except for the constant headaches. Withdrawl, perhaps? I’m not sure. Also, I bought the LaCroix drinks because they are apparently Whole30 compliant and I thought it would be nice to have something to drink other than water, tea, and coffee. The LaCroix drinks give me headaches too. I never finish the entire can when I have one. I have no idea why they give me headaches…!? I was also getting over a rough cold when I started the Whole30 and now I feel so much better (aside from the headaches)!

I need more filling meals, though.

Most of my meals were lacking ‘completeness’ in my opinion. They were bare bones and needed a lot more veggies and well, food in general. It doesn’t help that I didn’t plan any of my meals — just thought of what ingredients I had and put things together as the meals came. Hoping to change that this week as I’ve dug up a few yummy-looking recipes and picked up some of the things I needed for them.

I did, however, notice my desire to snack lessen as the week progressed. I’m usually a nonstop snacker. Not munching on crackers or jelly beans was weird for me…. but I got used to it. Hoping it lasts the rest of the thirty days.  (Soooo thankful for a chance to visit Whole Foods today — they’ve got way more compliant options.)

What I learned:

Soy and sugar is in almost everything!! Seriously! I’m a label-reader, but for Whole30, I’m reading every label and finding so much soy and sugar in everything (in its various forms)! It’s ridiculous. And sad. Especially when you are in an area where you have no other options for certain foods. Eek!

On that note….

Have you done Whole30 or started eating Paleo? How did things go for you?

Here’s to another healthy week!

A Room Without A View.

We have settled into our new apartment well; living in town has its perks! The photo above is a panoramic view outside our ‘front door’ a few weeks ago. The buildings across the street don’t look that exciting, but less than a minute’s walk away is a bakery/cafe/coffeeshop, a hardware store, fabric store, our favorite pizza place, several flea markets and antique stores, and a recently-opened ‘hippie’ store that delights me. Just last night, we walked over to the opera house/movie theater for a fantastic performance by some local talent, where I ran into a bunch of people I knew. Love, love, love this small-town life. If we walk a little bit further, there are more restaurants and a grocery store a couple blocks away. Walmart and Tractor Supply (pretty much the only ‘big’ stores in this town) are a five-minute drive. I still do miss living on that farm — that darn rooster has a place in my heart. However, I think I’m pretty content wherever I am. It’s a pattern I’ve noticed as I look back on how much we’ve moved.

Philippians 4:11-13 comes to mind:

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

We’ve experienced ‘nothing’ to ‘everything’ and all in between. There have been moments where we don’t know how we will afford meals for the next few days, but there have also been moments where our fridge is flowing with plenty. It is indeed Christ who has carried us through this past year (and all the years past). We are learning to let go and rely more on Him than just ourselves. What a blessing and relief that is! We are so filled with joy!

Yet… our current struggle with this apartment? You might laugh.

There are no windows.

Yes, my friends. No windows. At all. OK, we do have a back patio door that we can open to look up into the blue sky and sunlight, but without a screen door [yet], the door needs to stay closed to keep our beloved cats indoors. From time to time, I do open that door just to look outside and see the sun. And of course, daylight is always the best for taking photos of cups of coffee….

The only thing a window-less room really affects is our sleep pattern. 2am feels like 10am, which feels like 2pm. And 8pm. No windows = no sunlight = no idea what time it is! Getting up in the morning does have its challenges some days. Today, I woke up at 10am. Oops! (For those of you that know me, I do not sleep in — that is late for me!) Honestly, I’m more concerned about our cats lacking daylight than myself! I can tell they miss looking out the window(s), but they sure do love all the room to run around! (Note to self: get a screen door soon so can all get a little more sun.)

Having no windows was a concern of mine before we moved in, but the rest of the space is pretty good (if you can overlook the pink kitchen cabinets). It’s there. It’s warm. It’s ours. All we need, right? Yeah, it’s empty and furniture-less (other than the bed, television/chest stand, and outdoor bistro table), but who cares? I am a bit self-conscious about inviting people over (“hey! come over and sit on our floor while our cats walk all over you!”), but that’s something I am working on. (And no, we don’t need any furniture, really, it’s OK. We know we’re moving out of this apartment eventually and less furniture makes for an easier move.) We do spend a lot of time on the floor… and out in town, exploring and connecting.

We’ve come a long way from our first apartment together — granite counters, stainless steel appliances, fireplace, balcony overlooking a pond, fancy-schmancy for sure — to where we are. Who needs fancy stuff and all that matters is a roof over your heads? And running water! That might be the one thing I’m most grateful for in this moment, haha. Happy, happy, happy, indeed.

The apartment has also done for us what we needed: relieved us from a lot of the stress of RV/farm life (more like… RV during cold winter on a muddy farm life) and given us the energy and time to invest in others. We are much more involved with different aspects of our church and developing strong relationships. I’ve also noticed a different dynamic out here than back in hectic Chicagoland — people are more able to “do life together.” Schedules aren’t as busy and distracted. Life is slower. There’s a lot more face time than screen time. I love it. My phone doesn’t get picked up as often anymore. (On the other hand, apologies to y’all that I’ve not been in touch with as much lately! Eek!)

We are good. Life is good. God is good. All the time.