“The food we eat…” Another round of Whole30.

I want to address any potential misconceptions about the title of our blog.  You know, the part where it talks about “the food we eat?”  Other than the post about Oysters and The Wharf, we really haven’t talked about the food we’ve been eating.  That’s not at all because this part of the world doesn’t have an awesome food scene (spoiler alert, it does).  It’s because Mel and I have been finishing up a round of Whole30 as we’ve been settling in. 

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Whole30 is a very strict 30 day elimination diet with the end goal of providing the participants with food freedom, more energy, and an opportunity to do a “reset” in order to check and see whether certain foods are contributing to fatigue, stomach issues, skin problems, etc.  Something to note is that Whole30 is not advertised as a weight loss diet.  While most people who complete the 30 days do lose weight, the purpose is not to lose weight.  Here are the ground rules.

We wanted to do a round of Whole30 once we arrived in Arlington for a few reasons.  Going back to Thanksgiving there have been a significant amount of get togethers, parties, cookies, drinks, and plenty of opportunities to eat more than necessary.  Right after Christmas, we started packing up our house and were working with a limited kitchen and food supply.  This means that there were DAYS in a row where we ate pizza and burgers.  Not that there is anything wrong with this, but after two and a half months of party-mode, both of us wanted to do a reset with food and give our bodies a fresh start.

Mel and I did Whole30 last year in January-February and were very strict with the rules.  This time around, we gave ourselves a little bit of leeway.  My biggest complaint with following Whole30 is the absolute devotion to the rules.  Any cheat or slip is a trip back to the starting line.  I don’t think this is very fair, introduces guilt, and highlights certain foods as “good” or “bad.”  Especially given our situation, some wiggle room is required.  Whole30 is big on making your own dressings, mayo, sauces, etc. since nearly every sauce or dressing sold in the store has added sugar.  However, we don’t have a food processor, blender, magic bullet, or other kitchen utensil that would allow us to emulsify, blend, or otherwise make these special sauces.  So rather than a true Whole30 compliant mayonnaise, we bought some mayo from the store and lived with the fact that there was a little added sugar.  Same goes for bacon.  Aldi sells some Whole30 compliant bacon, but when Aldi is all out of stock and our weekly meal plan calls for some bacon, we buy the bacon with added sugar.  Whole30 also advises that you don’t make compliant versions of your favorite foods, like brownies, cupcakes, or fries.  We’ve made oven fries several times using compliant ingredients.  It’s a potato with oil and salt for goodness’ sake. Whole30 purists would likely shake and cringe after hearing about our modifications, but it works for us and was really the only way to make this work without significant inconvenience and cost on our side. 

The biggest challenge I face when following Whole30 is the need for constant snacking in the first two weeks.  I went through so much dried fruits, fresh fruits, and nuts.  All the time.  If anyone has followed a ketogenic or low-carb diet in the past, you know that the majority of your calories will come from fats vs. carbohydrate or protein.  The same is true of Whole30.  While Whole30 isn’t necessarily a low carbohydrate diet, the bulk of the calories will come from fats (avocado, olive oil, ghee, animal fats, nuts, seeds) due to the nature of the diet.  My body switching the primary fuel source from carbs to fats for energy makes me very hungry and I’m in constant snacking mode. 

There are a TON of Whole30 compliant recipes out there.  Whole30 sells official recipe books and their website is loaded with great recipes. A Google or Pinterest search for Whole30 will give you tens of thousands of results as well. Now complete with two rounds of Whole30, here are some of our favorites. (Mel and I forgot to take pictures of the food we made, so we’ve included pictures that other’s have taken.  Photo and recipe credits can be found by following the associated links. Sorry for not taking pictures of our food as we made it — still getting used to the whole blogging thing!)

Another reminder, BUFFALO WINGS are good to go on Whole30. Just need to be careful with the sauces you use, but a traditional buffalo sauce that primarily uses a vinegar based cayenne pepper sauce is fully compliant. We opt to bake them in the oven on parchment paper at 425 and I like to finish them under the broiler for 4-5 minutes per side to really crisp them up!

We are also big fans of something we call “happy hour.” Mel’s grandparents, Alan and Joyce Dietzler, have passed onto us the tradition of “happy hour” which is usually a tray of fresh cut veggies, some cheese and crackers, and other small little finger foods often accompanied by a glass or two of wine. (Often enjoyed mid to late afternoon and before dinner, hence the term “happy hour”) We’ve taken this idea and it is now a beloved and favorite dinner idea for us. Think charcuterie board meets midwestern veggie and pickle tray. While our “happy hours” look slightly different on Whole30, we love to fill up on trays of fresh cut and pickled veggies, fresh and dried fruits, nuts, and cured meats. While on Whole 30 we substitute the wine with a can of La Croix sparkling water. Of course, we have an abundance of roasted veggies as well.  Its super easy to toss some veggies in a bit of olive oil, add compliant seasonings of your choice, spread on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and bake at 425 until done.

Now with another round of Whole30 under our belt, we are very much looking forward to getting into the local food scene here.  More to come on that “food we eat” in the coming weeks!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *