Monday marked the halfway point of our Whole30 journey. I wanted to capture my thoughts and how my body has been feeling the first 15 days AND share a recipe for homemade (whole30 compliant) ketchup.
If you know nothing about Whole30, check out this article to learn more. The short version is that it takes 30 days to change your food habits, and “push the reset button with your health, habits, and relationship with food.” On Whole30, you focus on eating whole, real, non-processed foods, while ditching grains, dairy, sugar, and alcohol. The alleged end result is a reduction in inflammation in the body, resulting in clearer skin, increases in energy, amongst other benefits.
Why I decided to try Whole30
While I consider myself a pretty healthy and intentional eater, I have always wanted to try Whole30 to primarily see if it impacted my energy levels and skin. I eat any and all foods and haven’t experienced negative reactions to certain food groups, so I wasn’t all that sold on the anti-inflammatory impacts but was curious to see if I did notice any changes in that regard as well.
This summer we traveled a lot so weekends were spent eating out, indulging in sweets and alcohol, and then during the week scrounging around for food, with less than intentional meal plans. Knowing that we were going to be getting back into a routine this fall, the timing felt perfect. Somehow, we convinced my parents, sister and her boyfriend to also participate so it has been enjoyable to swap recipes, share photos, and check in with one another.
Days 1 – 7
The first week was pretty easy. I had meal planned and prepped for the whole week, allowing for dinners to come together relatively effortlessly. We did a Costco run to load up on nuts for snacks, and frozen meat to help with meal prepping. I knew that sugar was in everything, but I really didn’t know it was in EVERYTHING. I found sugar in chicken broth, CHICKEN BROTH – what?! Grocery shopping took a little longer than normal as I scoured ingredients.
Here is what we ate the first week:
Monday: Lettuce Wraps – I loosely followed this recipe, omitting everything with sugar, replacing soy sauce with coconut aminos, and loading up on the chopped vegetables for toppings.
Tuesday: Zucchini/Sweet Potato Latkes – I added some cayenne pepper, and topped them with fresh tomatoes and a runny egg (because everything is better with a runny egg)
Wednesday: My Butter Chicken, excluding the yogurt and served with spaghetti squash instead of rice
Thursday: Grilled hamburgers, with tomatoes, avocado, mustard, and pickles (check those ingredients for sugar they sneak in), pan-fried potato wedges, and steamed spinach
Friday: Balsamic Bruschetta Chicken, made with chicken thighs and steamed vegetables
Saturday: Flank Steak with Chimichurri, omitting brown sugar and replacing soy sauce with coconut aminos
How I felt:
I didn’t feel all that different than I did prior to Whole30. My body felt good and I never felt bloated or overly full. I experienced some extreme tiredness towards the end of the week, which happened to fall on a weekend. We would normally counteract the tired end of the week feeling by enjoying a porch beer, walking downtown for a drink or relaxing with friends with a glass of wine (I see a theme here). Instead, we poured ourselves some la Croix in fancy glasses and curled up on the couch to watch a movie.
Overall, the first week was pretty easy to stick with the plan and I haven’t really missed any foods (even cheese).
Days 8 – 14
Week 2 started off well as I did a bunch of food prep on Monday night to get us through a busy week. The rest of the week passed quickly and relatively effortlessly due to the meal plan, prep and having Whole30 compliant snacks around. David craved cookies, but alas he suffered through.
What we ate:
Monday: Beet and Potato Hash with Dill, from The First Mess cookbook, topped with poached eggs – so yum!
Tuesday: Grilled Brats (ours were from Hill Valley Farm) with sauerkraut, steamed spinach
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Kabobs – chicken thighs, mushrooms, peppers, marinated in olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic
Thursday: Grilled Pork Chops (again from Hill Valley Farm) – seasoned with salt and pepper, salad, crispy sweet potatoes, and no sugar added apple sauce
Friday: Baked Chicken wings (hot sauce and ghee for the sauce) and salad
Saturday: “Riceless Paella” – I made this one up on the fly with shrimp, chorizo, peppers, peas, canned tomatoes, spices, and let everything cook on low for an hour (adding the shrimp in the last 10 minutes)
Sunday: Brussel sprout mushroom potsticker filling from this recipe, and topped with poached eggs
How I felt:
Similar to week 1, I haven’t experienced increased energy levels, however, my body feels good – I feel healthy. No changes in my skin either. I am looking forward to week 3 when you are supposed to begin feeling the Tiger Blood.
Now for the ketchup – because the week 3 menu includes meatloaf, which we all know NEEDS ketchup.
1 15oz can tomato sauce (check for no added sugar)
1 6oz can tomato paste (check for no added sugar)
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Coconut aminos
5 dates, pitted, and chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 – 1/2 cup water
salt and pepper
1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of water and save the rest for blending. Cook over low heat for 20-30 minutes.
2. Use an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender) and blend until smooth. If the ketchup seems too thick, add more water until you achieve the desired consistency.
3. Transfer to jars or container and refrigerate until ready to use.