Wednesday, July 31

August 2013 Whole30 Journal

Welcome to our "Whole30 Journal!" This post contains daily entries from our August 2013 Whole30. Throughout each entry you will find recipes, commentary and resources. During the program we regularly updated this post with meals Jess and I ate, along with how we were mentally and physically feeling day-to-day. We also made it a point to include any tips and tricks along the way. It's our hope that you can utilize this page as a reference, leave comments for questions, and follow along if you're doing a Whole30. We truly hope this becomes a valuable asset for folks doing a Whole30 in the future!

Day 0: July 31, 2013

Alright, alright! The day before we start. As I mentioned in Part V of the Whole30 Series, I'm giddy-giddy Paleo gum drops! I'm sure everyone is slamming bread, chips, queso and beer. I'm avoiding most of that (except for maybe a couple of beers tonight!). Jess and I have plans to head to Whole Foods after work today to stock up on a few simple Whole30-approved items. Since this Whole30 starts on a Thursday we figured we'll just get through the first two days on easy-made meals. Then, over the weekend when we have more time, we'll plan some fun recipes. 

Day 1: August 1, 2013

As suspected, Jess and I both felt good today! No complaints, a lot of business as usual. Although I will say putting raw coconut milk into your coffee tastes different than cream. Boo-hoo, right? One day down, just like that.

Breakfast: Sweet potato hash w/ one poached egg (see Jessie's recipe here)
Lunch: Sliced turkey, carrots/celery sticks, guacamole
Dinner: Chicken, Swiss chard, sweet potato fries
Also: Coffee with organic/canned coconut milk
Snack: Banana almond coconut bites 

Dinner Day 1: Chicken, Sweet Potato, Swiss Chard
We realize that sweet potato fries are an attempt to replicate an element of fast-food, which isn't technically Whole30 in the psychological sense. But because Jessie and I rarely eat french fries outside of the Whole30, we don't consider this to be a mental hazard in the way of our program. Put another way, we never "crave french fries." They were faster to cook in the oven sliced up like 'sticks', and as we said before, these first two days of meals are meant to be slightly easier to make until we hit the weekend (since we started on a Thursday). If fries are something you crave or used to eat frequently pre-Whole30, we do not recommend making them or using them as a crutch. This same concept goes back to "Paleo-ifying desserts". Read more at Whole9 here.

Day 2: August 2, 2013

Two days down! Jess and I both felt good today. Started to drag a little bit toward the end of the day from a stressful work week. When you're stressed and hungry you're much more apt to make a poor eating decision. Given that, we've made it a point to make sure we're never too hungry. When we feel hungry, we eat. End of story. Our meals have been big enough to keep us satisfied for a long time.

We're actually traveling this weekend with my mom and sister. We're heading to Indianapolis to visit my family. We have a later flight tonight (Friday), so we were able to pack a good amount of Whole30-snacks (like sugar-free/grass-fed jerky, macadamia nuts, Lara bars) in case we get in a jam. We had to stop at Chipotle on our way to the airport as we ran out of time. Not ideal to eat out this early into a Whole30, but we had limited choices in a rush. We had planned to cook and eat before leaving, which was good that we had the plan. But as you'll come to find out at some point or another, things don't always go accordingly. The ability to have back-up's and contingencies is huge. When you're in a bind, don't panic, there are always options. 

We'll keep you posted on our struggles and successes as we remain Whole30-compliant in a place away from home. Talk to you tomorrow!

Breakfast: Left-over sweet potato hash in an omelette
Lunch: Salad with half an avocado, olives, tomatoes, olive oil and balsamic, left over chicken
Pre-workout snack: sweet potato baby food
Dinner: Salad bowl from Chipotle: lettuce, beef, chicken, vegetables, guacamole, pico-de-gallo, etc.
Also: Coffee with organic/canned coconut milk
Snack: banana almond coconut bites (Jessie's recipe here), or Lara Bar

Chipotle Salad Bowl
Day 3: August 3, 2013

The Whole30 daily e-mails identify Day 3 as a potential brutal side-effect day in terms of energy levels, detoxification (manifesting itself in rashes, acne, digestive issues, etc.) and moodiness. It's a natural part of the process. Jessie certainly experienced the energy level swings, while I had the hint of moodiness (whoops). I've also been having some digestive issues, but we won't go into that. Confirmation bias? Hardly. I did my best to cover it up as we're in Indiana visiting relatives. Traveling during the Whole30 isn't ideal, but it's certainly doable. We've seemed to make it work, although breakfast was sketchy...

Our morning meal was at the hotel. It's not until you do a Whole30 that you realize continental breakfasts are nothing but processed carbohydrates: bagels, toast, jam, waffles, syrup,low-fat yogurt, etc. Luckily they had some eggs, although I'd be lying if I said it didn't weird me out watching the hotel employee dump a bag (yes, a clear plastic bag) of eggs into the serving tray. Bleh. 

Lunch was a big salad (featured below) and dinner was an awkward BBQ with family. I say awkward in that we made the error by not informing our family ahead of time that we're on a stricter "diet." We had to politely say no to: buns, baked beans, potato salad, cheese, chips, alcohol and pie. Silly error on our part, but we learned our lesson and everything was fine. Props to an awesome and flexible pair of hosts, Don & Karen. 

My salad on top, Jessie's on bottom
Fortunately we had picked up three sweet potatoes at the store earlier, so we had that as one of our sides. My mom also made guacamole and we picked up a vegetable trey. I had a burger in between two big pieces of lettuce with pickles, mustard, tomato and avocado. It all ended up hitting the spot and worked out nicely.

Breakfast: sketchy eggs, sausage, coffee
Lunch: Salad: avocado, chicken, bacon, tomato, olive oil, red wine vinegar
Dinner: burger, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, carrots, sweet potatoes 
Post-workout snack: Lara bar

Day 4: August 4, 2013

Today was interesting in that the anticipation of symptoms described in Day 3 was high, but I'm not sure they ever came like we thought they would. Whole9 described today as "Kill All Things!" day. (Typically folks doing the Whole30 really start to feel the impact of the new diet around this time. And as I'm sure you've guessed, people can get cranky.) It was like bracing for a tornado when just a light shower came through. 

Last night we got nearly 9hrs of sleep and woke up feeling amazing. Jessie and a few of our fellow August Whole30'ers in Dallas had guilty food dreams! I'm not even going to try and explain Jessie's weird dream, but the bottom line was that she ate a cookie and felt guilty. Amazing how the Whole30 Daily E-mails call this out on this exact day. 

Some of our Whole30 friends also complained about headaches (entirely normal) which we never experienced. We did, however, have a continuation of yesterday's symptoms: energy level dips, slight moodiness and digestive issues. Although I'm starting to wonder if the gastrointestinal (GI) issues were partially an extension of 'travel stomach.' Eating on the go in a foreign place, not to mention air travel. Flying tends to jack with our guts, but I'm sure bagged eggs from yesterday certainly didn't help.

Speaking of which, we opted out of that hotel breakfast today. Jess, Kylie and Mom all agreed: no chance we're eating eggs from a bag again. As a matter of fact we virtually skipped breakfast entirely. (Side note: No, this is not a bad thing. Common myth that you're supposed to eat several meals a day -- will write more on this later.) We woke up not too terribly hungry, which can be a potential sign of a fat-burning metabolism, so we had a light snack with some coffee and headed off to church.

Had an omelet and fruit for a late lunch, toured downtown Indianapolis, then it was time to head home. We landed back in Dallas late enough to where we chose to eat "out" (Whole Foods) again, but early enough to where we could knock out some shopping to tee us up for a solid week ahead. 

Excited to get into a rhythm. Excited to push through the toughest part of the Whole30 and feel that oh-so-amazing feeling again. Talk soon!

Breakfast: Lara bar, coffee
Lunch: Omelet (chicken, spinach, tomato, jalepeno, green chile), fruit (strawberries, grapes, canteloupe) 
Dinner: Chicken chile verde (chicken thigh meat, tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalepeno, lime juce, pasilla pepper, sage, cumen, coriander, salt), green beans, La Croix
Snack: Cashews, almonds

Chicken chile verde, green beans
We realize Lara Bars aren't ideal to have frequently. Although most of them (not all, be sure to always check the label) are Whole30-approved, they pack a lot of sugar. Again, this was a choice we made given the circumstances we were in.

Day 5: August 5, 2013

Crazy how "Day 5" perfectly aligns with "August 5th!" Who would have thought? That's nuts, man. ...OK, I'm delirious

Suffered a little bit today with energy levels and slept poorly last night. Whether it was travel-related or Whole30-related, I'm not sure. What I know is Whole30 related are my GI issues. They continue, but are lessening. Jess also experienced some emotional up's and down's. When the happiest person on the planet looks even semi-sad, you notice it. And it wasn't anything I did (I think). Hormonal imbalances on their way to being corrected are common at this point.

On the bright side, we made it through Day 5, and are closing in on completing the first and toughest week. We also had some good food today, or at least compared to the bagged eggs from Indiana.

Breakfast: Bulletproof coffee, the Whole30 version (coffee, coconut oil, ghee)
Lunch: I had a smoothie (see my own recipe here), while Jessie had a salad (chicken, mango, avocado, almonds, cucumber, oil/vinegar).
Dinner:  Pork tenderloin, broccoli and cauliflower mash

By far and away the best dinner I've had on this Whole30 yet.

Pork tenderloin, broccoli and cauliflower mash
Day 6: August 6, 2013

Day 6 was much better than Day 5. The emotional swings didn't happen for Jess and the digestive distress went away for me. We both woke up feeling great and had sustained levels of energy throughout the majority of the day. It wasn't until 4:00p where we really started to lag. We began losing focus and just wanted to nap.

The cravings also haven't completely gone away. We each had a post-dinner snack for the first time this Whole30. Jess had a banana with cashew butter, while I had a sweet potato/carrot cake with cashew butter and blueberries. Both were Whole30-compliant, but not Whole30-ideal.

Breakfast: I had coffee/coconut milk, with some berries and Jess had the other half of my smoothie from yesterday! 
Lunch: Paleo Chili (recipe coming soon) - we made a big batch the night before so it'd be ready to rock for a few lunches this week.
DinnerSpaghetti squash with sun dried tomatoes, basil and chicken sausage 
Snacks: Listed above

Brian's guilty post-dinner snack
Day 7: August 7, 2013

Whole9 describes today as "I just want a nap" day. Well, guess what? I did nap. Jessie didn't. And for that she is jealous. I believe the nap was more a product of a neighbor's dog barking all night than Whole30 symptoms, but perhaps it was a double-whammy. 

Even before this Whole30 I was eating a higher-fat diet. I'd drink bulletproof coffee on occasion, have my smoothie, along with a lot of other healthier fats. This concept all goes back to Part I of the Whole30 series, in that I want to teach my body to burn fat for energy as opposed to sugar. My point is that even though I was eating more fat and less carbohydrate before starting this August Whole30, I can still tell a difference between being 100% Whole30-compliant, and 75% Whole30-compliant. It's incredible. 

Days 1 and 2 there weren't many cravings because it's the very beginning... it'd be like complaining for the first two miles in a marathon. But days 3 thru 6 the cravings were abundant. We'd want a beer, some chips, maybe a dessert. I'd also get hungry more frequently.

That hunger and those cravings are certainly subsiding. Although I haven't documented specific macronutrient (carbs, protein, fat) break-downs or added up total caloric intake, my guess is that we're unintentionally eating less. The cool thing is that we're feeling fuller, longer.

Today's meals were good, but they were a lot of left-over's. Nice in that there wasn't much cooking today as we made enough the days prior. Capitalize on this concept more and more throughout your Whole30 to make life easier.

One week down! Let's keep it going.

BreakfastSweet potato carrot cake, fried egg, grass-fed beef slider, coffee
Lunch: Left over Paleo chili
Dinner: Green beans, left over cauliflower mash, turkey

Paleo Chili 

Breakfast sandwich
Day 8: August 8, 2013

This week has been incredibly stressful at work for both Jess and me. I've worked until 7:00p most nights and have been non-stop while in the office. Part of me starts to think that the hectic, always-on-the-go lifestyle negates some of the healthy eating. I can only imagine how I'd feel if I wasn't eating clean. Things in the office should calm down for both of us soon, just in time to break through the hardest part of the Whole30 (Days 9-12).

Despite the stressful few days from work and poor sleep, my energy levels sustained themselves today. Jess spoke of not feeling hungry too often. Things are starting to click, although we haven't felt any "magic moment" just yet.

Today's eating was pretty good. Breakfast was higher in carb to scale for a workout. For lunch I polished off the remainder of the Paleo chili and am now officially tired of chili. I just couldn't let that grass-fed ground beef go to waste! Jessie on the other hand had an awesome salad. For dinner we went out to eat with my family as my Aunt is in town.

Hittin' the hay early to get back on track, see you back here for Day 9... almost at double-digits!

Breakfast: Smoothie (coconut milk, cashew butter, peaches, blueberries, banana), coffee
Lunch: I had left-over chili (again), while Jess had an awesome salad (spinach, tuna, onion, pepper, apple, lime juice, balsamic, olive oil)
Dinner: We ate out at Bolsa, one of our new favorite restaurants. For starters, I had tomatoes and balsamic while Jess had a beet salad. For entrees, I had pork tenderloin, kale and rutabaga puree, while Jessie had halibut, asparagus, ham and fennel

Jessie's lunch (which wasn't chili)
Day 9: August 9, 2013

Today was a tough day for a lot of the August Whole30'ers. It was a prime example of why it's nice to do this with a community you can lean on. I saw some social media updates and read some text messages that made me realize folks were getting hit hard with symptoms. Specifically, some people were feeling burnt out, doubting their tenacity to make it the full 30 days. Others had cravings and temptations galore. By now we've been at it for about a week and a half, and as Whole9 points out, the "newness" is starting to wear off. It's also Friday. The end of a first full work week on a Whole30 eating regimen. Typically this would be the night we'd celebrate the weekend's arrival with some chips, queso and beer. But instead I have a feeling people will be staying in and shutting it down early tonight (at least that's what I'm doing). 

Whole9 describes Days 10 and 11 as the hardest. I realize their framework is an approximation, but I don't think the next two days will be the the toughest. As a matter of fact, my bet is today was. We August Whole30'ers lucked out in that the 'hardest days' fall on a weekend. Capitalize on this. Sleep in, get some exercise and relax.

Even though today wasn't easy, it was still fun. I laughed pretty hard at a text message conversation involving the Dallas Whole30 crew. We discovered that many of us broke out with pimples today. I've got a doozy right by my lip which I've deemed a "limple" -- lip + pimple. Jessie's got a good one, as does my friend Curtis and several others. Despite the trials in the first part of this program I'm still having a hell of a good time! I'm so glad I started this. 

Shout-out to my fiance Jessie who is traveling again this weekend, at a bachelorette party no less! Two straight travel weekends on the Whole30... ouch. She's got it down though. Her travel kit was genius (post coming soon) and she's become an expert at ordering out.

Enjoy this weekend. Sleep a lot. Be productive and keep eating clean. Before you know it we'll be two weeks in feeling better than ever.

Breakfast: Jess had Sweet potato carrot cake, and a fried egg, while I had scrambled eggs and coffee with coconut milk
Lunch: Jess had a salad (egg, tomato, avocado, bacon, ham) while I had sweet potato carrot cake with cashew butter and banana
Dinner: I had sweet potato, spinach and turkey while Jessie had lettuce taco wraps

Jessie's salad lunch

Jessie's lettuce taco wrap dinner
Day 10: August, 10, 2013

Day 10... double-digits. One-third done. Just like that. 

I hear this often regarding the Whole30: "Oh, I couldn't do a month of eating like that." For some, it seems daunting to commit to this program. 30 days sounds like an eternity, but I'm telling you, it's not. It seems like yesterday we launched into this thing. For those that are double-clutching about starting a Whole30: stop! -- then start!

Today was fantastic. No complaints whatsoever. If this was one of the hardest days, I certainly didn't notice. I doubt Jessie did either being surrounded by great friends at a bachelorette party in Charleston. She sent me a few pictures of the desserts that taunted her, but she held strong. Her friends were also incredibly supportive.

I'm going to break up the format in today's journal entry to explain a couple of quick things.

Breakfast: Jessie had bacon/eggs with some berries. I had bulletproof coffee. I blended about two cups of coffee with a tablespoon of coconut oil, ghee and a dash of cinnamon. By drinking that coffee I kept insulin levels low and fat burning on.

I had a three hour bike ride and ate real food the whole time to help fuel my effort: sweet potato baby food, apple sauce, banana, etc.

Lunch: Jessie had lettuce turkey wraps while I had a shrimp/avocado salad from Cafe Express. I asked for the dressing on the side, which was a chipotle dressing. I figured the dressing would be just fine... probably some chipotle, spices and vinegar. However my paranoia kicked in and I wanted to be certain it was Whole30-compliant, so I asked someone who worked there. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: Do you know what's in this dressing?
Employee: Not entirely, are you looking to avoid something?
Me: Primarily added sugar.
Employee: Honestly, I'm not entirely sure, but I should know this, so let me go check.
Employee: There's brown sugar and cane sugar in it, so you'll probably want to avoid it.
Me: Thanks so much for checking!

Many themes in this conversation. For one, sugar is in everything. Secondly, it's completely okay to ask someone at a restaurant what the ingredients are. Be polite and kindly ask. You have a right to know

Dinner: Jess had bacon-wrapped scallops with asparagus and a Cobb salad. I had a feast provided by my mom: pastured pork sausage, sweet potato mash, green beans, kale salad (Jessie's recipe!) and tomato with balsamic. The pastured pork came from a local Texas ranch and was absolutely delicious. No added sugar, just spices, herbs and some salt.

Paleo feast at The Wellman's!

Day 11: August 11, 2013

"Tread lightly." That's how Walter White in Breaking Bad ended his convers--- oh, whoops. Wrong topic. Apologies.

Well, another check-mark in the land of Whole30 as we rounded out the second of the two hardest days according to Whole9. Jessie and I had two completely different days today, so I'll describe hers first.

As you know, she was out of town again this weekend, which was two straight weekends being away from home on the Whole30. Certainly less than ideal, but she made it work and didn't break, despite being at a bachelorette party surrounded by tasty treats and booze. A late night last night coupled with an early flight today had her feeling pretty beat. No matter how healthy you think you eat when you're at a restaurant or away from home, nothing comes close to a home-cooked meal. She was so excited, in fact, that when she landed back in Dallas she went straight from the airport to Origin (a local Paleo restaurant) then to Whole Foods to shop! I think most people appreciate a home-cooked meal, but you appreciate it even more after you've been eating clean for a while. Eating out has become a 'special occasion' for Jess and me. Our norm is cooking with fresh ingredients at home. It seems as if the majority of society has that backwards. Jessie certainly got frustrated toward the end of her trip. A long lay-over with limited food options on the journey back can certainly do that. But she learned a ton of valuable lessons regarding traveling on the Whole30 that she shares with you in another post

My day was great! (Sorry to rub it in, Jess) Slept 10hrs without waking up once! My energy was consistent and my mood was positive. The limples and pimples are gone and I've already noticed some pants fitting differently. However my favorite result thus far has been mental clarity, no 'brain fog' whatsoever. I'm feeling mentally sharper than I have in months -- it's truly amazing!

Breakfast: Jessie (poor thing) had bacon and eggs again. I woke up at 10:00a (sorry I'm not sorry) so I had a cup of coffee with coconut milk.
Lunch: I had an omelet with mushrooms, tomato and spinach while Jess went to Origin and got a Whole30-approved beet salad and chicken salad.
Dinner: We both had a grass-fed ribeye steak with asparagus and a baked sweet potato (with coconut spread). The steak had a rub that included: paprika, chili powder, decaf coffee grinds, salt and pepper. A delicious and filling meal... just what Jessie needed!

Jessie's well-deserved "welcome back" meal!

Day 12: August 12, 2013

Jess and I both had average days. Could have been worse, could have been better. Jess mentioned some digestive issues and is still breaking out a bit. Her energy levels weren't great either as she rebounds from a crazy weekend. My energy was much better than I thought it was going to be given the mediocre night sleep I had. My brain wouldn't turn off given everything that's going on at work. 

Alright. Who's tired of eggs? 

I'm not, but Jessie is... and I have a feeling some others doing this Whole30 are too. We decided to mix it up for breakfast this week and try different things. This morning's meal was absolutely delicious. Tomorrow we're trying something different as well, so be sure to check back.

Breakfastapple cinnamon turkey -- filling, delicious and not eggs.
Lunch: Left over steak, broccoli and some cantaloupe with prosciutto.
Dinner: I met a good friend (the same friend that got me into this nutrition-obsessed-mess) for dinner at H&G Supply Co, another Paleo-inspired restaurant in Dallas. I had a bowl with steak, spinach, guacamole and grilled vegetables. Jessie had a hatch chili buffalo burger on a bed of spinach with guacamole, cherry tomatoes and salsa.

Brian's dinner at an awesome restaurant

Day 13: August 13, 2013

Lucky 13! Jess and I both felt pretty good today! Our meals were excellent and our energy was high and consistent. The mental clarity remains and we can both tell our physiques are getting leaner. 

Something interesting happened to me today. For the first time in, gosh I can't even remember how long, I didn't get an afternoon cup of coffee. Out of sheer habit I almost did, but I stopped myself and thought: Do I really need coffee right now? The answer was no. I didn't need it at all; I had plenty of energy at 2:00p and probably did tonight's sleep a favor by not having caffeine after lunch. I'm not discounting my energy levels here -- but isn't it incredible that I almost bought a $3.00 coffee in the afternoon because that's what my routine is? Grabbed the coffee just because? Don't get me wrong, had I been truly tired like I usually am around 2:00p-3:00p I would have certainly purchased that afternoon hit of joe. It is, however, simply amazing how we reach for something out of sheer habit. Candy after lunch, beer after work, chocolate after dinner... all just... because?

BreakfastOatless Oatmeal! Scrumptious, and again, different than eggs!
Lunch: Jess and I both had left-over hatch chili burgers. I piled on some greens and guacamole/salsa.
Dinner: one my favorite meals of this Whole30 by far: paleo chicken parmesan. My goodness it was delicious (and filling!). Looking forward to left-over's tomorrow at lunch.

Chicken parm really hit the spot!
Day 14: August 14, 2013

Two weeks completed! I've had high, sustained energy all day. I'm just now starting to taper off as I type at 11:00p. The increased energy and mental clarity has now become substantial. Jessie still doesn't feel as good, but she's getting there. This same thing happened last time we did a Whole30: I started reaping the benefits a little while before she did. We've got some theories on why this might be the case that we'll share at a later time.

Breakfast: left-over apple cinnamon turkey with a fried egg on top. This was the first time we had eggs (actually "egg" -- singular) in a couple of days.
Lunch: Jess had left-over paleo chicken parmesan while I had my cashew coconut berry smoothie.
Dinner: I had left-over paleo chicken parm, and Jess went out to eat at a fancy restaurant where she had gazpacho, steak, green beans and asparagus.

Day 15: August 15, 2013

Half-way done! At this point there's no turning back. I mean, why would you? The hardest parts are behind us. Celebrate the victory and stay focused on the present. Jess and I feel as if this went by within the blink of an eye. Again, this is what always intrigues us about people who say they can't dedicate 30 days to a particular diet. It just goes by so fast...

We both felt pretty great today. No complaints. Jessie really started to recognize the mental clarity aspect, it's such an important benefit from the Whole30 that some people overlook. I've felt a difference for a little while now and it's amazing. Zero brain fog whatsoever.

Breakfast: tomato, avocado, egg scramble. Back to eggs, which tasted great, but it was nice having a little break from them, I have to admit.
Lunch: I had an impromptu work lunch where I had a salad with chicken, salsa, guacamole, grilled vegetables and pico de gallo. Jessie had a cashew coconut berry smoothie.
Dinner: we had ground beef-stuffed bell-peppers. So tasty! Recipe coming soon.

Day 16: August 16, 2013

Officially more than half-way done. Another great day in the world of Whole30. Some observations on how we're feeling...

Jessie: Had some intense dreams last night. So much in fact that she woke up crying! Despite the creepy dreams, she had a great day. She experienced high levels of energy with zero coffee, which is a first for a while. Her skin is clearing up and she's not experiencing drastic swings in hunger, a product of a more efficient fat burning metabolism. 

Brian: I slept so deeply that it was almost hard to wake up. Once I was up, I felt great. No scary dreams for me. **Caution, I'm about to describe something that may gross some folks out, so stop reading now and skip to the food diary if you don't want to know.** I've started to notice that I go to the bathroom (if you know what I mean) less frequently, the volume in which I go is less and the experience is, shall we say, "easier." This is an extension of eating foods that my body is actually absorbing, as opposed to foods that promote gut leakage and inflammation.

Breakfast: I had bulletproof coffee while Jessie had left-over ground beef-stuffed bell peppers with an egg on top.
Lunch: I had sashimi (raw tuna) with carrots and guacamole while Jessie had (not sure why) the same thing she had for breakfast, less the egg.
Snack: I had a Lara bar smeared with raw cashew butter and Jessie had a banana with almond butter (we had a snack since our dinner was so late).
DInner: Jessie really wanted to try H&G Supply Co. with me since I'll be out of town a lot in the coming weeks. She got ahi tuna while I got venison steak. We split broccoli and curry-flavored cauliflower. 

Ground beef-stuffed bell peppers

Day 17: August 17, 2013

For the most part Jess and I both felt good, although I slept poorly last night. Really the first time I had trouble falling asleep since the program started 2.5 weeks ago. Even with that I had a tremendous amount of energy.
Jessie's Mom, Cat, got into town today. They both went wedding dress shopping. I had to go into the office for a few hours. My productivity/efficiency (especially when it's quiet in the office with no one there) was incredible. I've noticed this as another benefit from not having brain fog. I can stay focused on tasks for longer periods of time.

I ate more fruit than usual to cycle carbohydrates for workouts. I'll end up doing the same thing for tomorrow with a 90min run that's on my schedule.

The best part of today was a Paleo Potluck dinner I hosted at my parents house in North Dallas. There were a little under 20 of us who all brought some Whole30-compliant food. It was a really great time that I plan to write more about later. Hadn't ever been to my parents' house with almost 20 people where the food was clean and booze wasn't an option. No one was worried about anyone else driving home. A nice change. Again, more on this later as I think get-together's like that should be more frequent (even if folks aren't on a Whole30).

Breakfast: Jess had bacon and eggs while I semi-skipped breakfast. I had a couple cups of coffee with raw/organic, canned coconut milk until I needed to start preparing for a workout. At which point I had a banana and a Thunderbird bar. What I love about the Whole30/Paleo lifestyle is that you eat when you're hungry, and you're not always hungry!
Lunch: Jess had a grilled chicken salad while I had a post-workout smoothie (blueberries, one banana, water and a raw egg).
Dinner: Whole30 Potluck! A post will be coming soon on all of the food we had, along with our thoughts on the experience itself. Stay tuned!

Left to right: Annie, KylieStacy. All enjoying the Potluck!

Day 18: August 18, 2013

Fed the body, mind and soul today. 

I was up early for a long run. It had been the first long run I'd done since Newport. Dallas weather has been amazing the past few days (yes, 90 degrees is cool for mid-August) so I wanted to capitalize. I had a banana and some apple sauce with cinnamon (that I added myself) before the run, and a Lara Bar after.

Went to Church and heard the best sermon I've heard in years. Left truly feeling inspired and motivated. Went to lunch with my Mom afterward at Breadwinner's. I had a burger with lettuce as my bun (pickles, tomato, green chile) with a side of fruit. For dinner I had some left-over green beans from the Potluck with chicken.

Energy levels stayed high, even after a 9 mile run and less than 7hrs of sleep.

Breakfast: Jessie had a coconut berry smoothie
Lunch: Jessie had a salmon salad 
Dinner: Jessie had pork tenderloin with spinach and asparagus 

Day 19: August 19, 2013

Brian: For only getting 5 hours of sleep last night, Brian felt surprisingly good today. As he made his way to Atlanta for a business trip, he feels it would've been a much different story If it hadn't been for a healthier diet and it's impact over the last 19 days. 

Jessie: My energy levels came in waves today, but overall I felt motivated and focused. The absence of that "brain fog" has become truly noticeable now! Towards the end though, I started to feel a little off and emotional. My hormones might still be working themselves out, or tiredness and my Mom going home back to NC after such a fun weekend of wedding planning might have me a little down. Ready for a new start tomorrow!

Breakfast: Brian had eggs and Guacamole; Jessie had a coconut mango smoothie
Lunch: Brian had a berry cashew smoothie; Jessie had a seafood salad with shrimp, lobster and crab
Dinner: Brian had trout, carrots, spinach and brocolinni; Jessie had chicken, green beans and a sweet potato
Snack: Brian has some cashews and macadamia nuts to tie him over on his trip

Chicken, Sweet Potato and Green Beans

Day 20: August 20, 2013

Another day in Atlanta for me and I begin to feel Jessie's pain of traveling on the Whole30. As I sit here about to turn in I just don't feel as satisfied as I do when I'm at home. It's a semi-hungry feeling but different. Hard to describe.

Besides that, I was in great spirits all day. At a work function I had to stand up and introduce myself; people could tell I was filled with energy. They actually joked around about it a couple of times throughout the event. "Whole30... enabling you to become that energetic guy!"

Dinner was interesting. We had our meal catered and it was an Asian cuisine. It looked absolutely delicious, but unfortunately I couldn't eat a single part of it: rice, stir fried vegetables (soy), sweet and sour chicken and egg rolls. It was at that point I dipped out to the hotel restaurant I've eaten at twice before on this trip to find a Whole30-approved meal.

Pre-workout meal: Thunderbird bar with almond butter
Brunch: 4 (yes, 4) poached eggs, tomato and grilled ham
Dinner: Salmon, green beans, cherry tomatoes. 

Jessie had: 
Breakfast: Lara bar with cashew butter and coffee with coconut milk
Lunch: Large spinach chicken salad with avocado and eggs
Dinner: Peas and chicken with roasted cauliflower

Chicken, peas, garlic lemon cauliflower

Day 21: August 21, 2013

Three weeks down! Happy to report that we've been 100% compliant for three weeks and are reaping the benefits. Stomachs are better, no emotional swings, consistent and high levels of energy, sleep is great. I know we're being redundant with rattling off these benefits, I suppose we just think it's exciting to feel so awesome from food. Amazing what sort of an impact diet has on your life.

I couldn't wait to get back to Dallas today for a home-cooked meal. Much like Jessie felt at the bachelorette weekend, it was just time for some food that wasn't from a restaurant or out of my travel kit. 

Breakfast: Jess had two eggs scrambled with mushrooms, tomatoes and green peppers. I had an omelet with mushrooms, green pepper, tomatoes, jalapenos and bacon with a side of fresh berries (strawberries and blueberries).
Lunch: Jess had left-over chicken & peas with cauliflower. I had a random assortment of things as I traveled back to Dallas: small salad with chicken, avocado and grilled vegetables, and then I had a banana with almond butter.
Dinner: a much-needed home-cooked meal that involved a grass-fed steak, swiss chard and sweet potato fries (recipe here, these were the best I've had!).  

Swiss chard, grass-fed steak and sweet potato fries
Day 22: August 22, 2013

At this point the Whole30 has become automatic. If it wasn't for this journal as a reminder I may have forgotten that it's even going on. Food choices are easy, preparation has become simpler and the physical/mental benefits just keep on coming. For Jess and I, we've hit a stride. And it certainly feels good.

Today something out of the ordinary happened: I didn't have any green vegetables. I actually felt so guilty about this fact that I had to mix up some Green Vibrance with dinner. My, oh my, how things change.

It may seem like we're counting down the days, but we're really not -- at least not in the "I can't wait for this to be over!" sense. Although we've called out each individual day as a step closer to the end, we're doing it in a fashion to congratulate all those participating with us. We know for some this journey has been tough, but hopefully it's been worth it.

BreakfastJess and I each had Sweet potato carrot cake, a fried egg and sugar-free/pastured pork bacon, with coffee and coconut milk.
Lunch: We had left-over zesty lime sweet potato fries with chicken breast.
Snack: Banana almond coconut bites
Dinner: I had more sweet potato carrot cake with an egg and breakfast sausage while Jess had a taco salad. 

Also, as I mentioned above, I had some Green Vibrance with dinner. I highly recommend this if you are ever strapped for time and didn't get your green vegetables in. Don't rely on this as a replacement, however. Nothing beats the real-deal!

Day 23: August 23, 2013

The day started out great but went downhill as I (stupidly) didn't get around to eating lunch. Poor planning and busyness lead to my demise as I felt pretty grouchy and tired come early-evening. It's one thing to be fat efficient and not have hunger swings, and a completely different thing to simply under-supply your body with calories. I experienced the wrath of the former. I actually laid down and took a nap after work, meanwhile Jessie was happy and energetic as can be. Lesson learned!

Breakfast: Jessie had a sweet potato hash variety that was slightly different than this recipe. It was made with carrots, spices and sweet potatoes. She had it with a fried egg on top! I had a semi-breakfast/brunch... I ran out the door with two banana almond coconut bites and started sipping on my cashew coconut berry smoothie around 10:00a. That lasted me until about 2:45p until I started crashing.
Lunch: Jessie had the smoothie with a few of the bites.
Dinner: Jess and I went to another Paleo-friendly restaurant in Dallas called Kozy Kitchen. I had a grass-fed rib-eye with asparagus, grilled peppers and sweet potato hash. Jess had a salad with buffalo meat, grilled vegetables, sun dried tomatoes and olive oil/balsamic vinegar. We left feeling very satiated, and I was human again.

Jessie's breakfast, that I unfortunately skipped!
Day 24: August 24, 2013

Great day. I had my first hard(er) workout in the Dallas heat this year. It was a group workout. There was open water swimming, biking and running. I fueled my body with real food as I watched others slam artificial/manufactured food-like products. People have still yet to figure out that you can optimize both health, and performance. No need to sacrifice one for the other. I used dates, Thunderbird bars, apple sauce and other fruit. I needed the carbohydrate content as the workouts were intense. Remember, the higher the intensity, the more your body relies on carbohydrate for fuel.

Felt great today. Was very happy, as was Jessie as she went bridesmaid dress shopping! Jessie had sustained levels of energy throughout the entire day as she was go-go-go.

Breakfast: I had a wide array of fruits to fund the effort of 3hrs of working out. Jessie had what looked to be an amazing breakfast: Hawaiian Paleo Cereal. Yum!
Lunch: I had left-over sweet potato hash with a couple of fried eggs while Jessie went to another Paleo-friendly Dallas restaurant called Company Cafe. She had sweet potato with ground beef and a poached egg.
Dinner: I went to Origin to pick up a salad which had: pastured chicken, red, yellow, orange bell peppers, onion, cilantro, cumin, oregano, garlic, brussels sprouts, thyme, olive oil and sea salt. Healthy and tasty!  Jessie cooked a Paleo Pizza for her and two friends. Half of the pizza had cheese and the other half didn't.

Paleo Pizza (1/2 Whole30 approved!)

Day 25: August 25, 2013

Jess and I were both pretty tired toward the end of today, actually. A nonstop weekend will do that to you. Despite being whipped we both had a ton of focus that comes with the mental clarity from clean eating. We both acknowledged that we've been busier and more stressed out on this Whole30 than our previous one. Work, travel, the engagement... it's been a lot. I can't imagine how we'd feel if we weren't eating clean. But just like you can't out-exercise a bad diet, you can't out-diet a stressful life. Now, having said all of that, we both have still felt pretty incredible. It's just important to realize how much stress can impact your overall health.

Breakfast: Jessie had an omelet with spinach, chicken and mushrooms. I had an egg-scramble with left over veggies from my salad the night before.
Lunch: Jess had a light lunch: a peach, macadamia nuts and coconut flakes. I also had a lighter lunch (more eggs!): an egg casserole with mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes. 
Dinner: Jessie and I had what we're going to call a "junk food" Paleo meal: chicken tenders and fries. We went to KFC and ord-- totally kidding! Although we did have some chicken breasts breaded in almond flour and spices with some sweet potato fries. Delicious!

KFC (Not)

Day 26: August 26, 2013

Feeling good has become normal... we almost forget what 'brain fog' even feels like. Food choices are becoming easier and easier; with each day brings more experience for making good diet decisions. One component is still missing, admittedly, and it is the stress of everyday life. It's been on medium to high heat recently as Jess, my family and I all prepare to head out of town to Italy this Friday. Yep, that's right. We'll be on a plane on Day 30. Technically when we land in Milan our Whole30 will be over. So while it's stressful organizing everything leading up to our departure, we know relaxing and fun times are just around the corner.

Breakfast: Jess and I each had bacon and eggs. Simple, yet delicious. Felt like we haven't over-done it on the eggs this Whole30, so we're still not too tired of them.
Lunch: Left over Paleo chicken tenders and sweet potato fries
Dinner: Taco bowl! Lettuce, grass-fed ground beef, spices, tomato, guacamole, etc.

Day 27, August 27, 2013

Jess and I felt much better today than we did yesterday from an energy perspective. Not trying to be a squeaky wheel, but sleep is so critical. We were both incredibly productive and had positive moods. Jessie had slight stomach issues, but the theory is they were related to something else other than diet. I haven't had any stomach issues in a while, no gas, bloating, etc. All is completely normal; or should I say: All is completely how it's supposed to be! Normal for some people, including myself for 25 years, is anything but normal in the general context of health. And yet we go through life not knowing how things should be with our digestion, our energy, our immune system, etc. We go through life surviving, not thriving.

T-minus three days until the August Whole30 comes to a close. We can't believe it's been three and a half weeks!

Breakfast: Sweet potato carrot cakes with a fried egg and pastured pork bacon.
Lunch: I had a cashew coconut berry smoothie while Jess had a salad with chicken sausage, berries, nuts, guacamole, etc. 

*Jess also had Itsumo tuna jerky. Yes, you read that right. Tuna jerky. Apparently it's delicious, although I haven't been able to validate it yet. Jess loved it and we're taking a few on our journey to Italy so we have some quality protein to snack on during the flight over.

Snack: Jess had peaches earlier in the day, and then we both a Thunderbird bar later on. I used mine as a pre-workout snack. 
Dinner: Asian stir-fry (carrots, broccoli, squash and pepper) with cubed beef steak in coconut aminos on top of a bed of cauliflower rice.

Day 28, August 28, 2013

Strange day of eating for me, not as much for Jess...

Breakfast: I had bulletproof coffee while Jessie had sweet potato carrot cake, sausage and a fried egg.
Lunch: Probably the strangest lunch I've had: a sweet potato carrot cake smeared in cashew butter with blueberries & raspberries, and then a bag of Itsumo tuna. Not the most elegant combination of food, but each were delicious by themselves... just needed to make sure the pallet was cleared.
Mid-afternoon/early-evening: I had some applesauce, a Thunderbird barand baby food (butternut squash, carrots, apples and prunes).
Dinner: Jess and I had pork tenderloin and a giant baked sweet potato with coconut butter. Because of the lack of greens in the diet today I supplemented with Green Vibrance.

Day 29, August 29, 2013

Second to last day! Can't believe it. As we get ready for our trip to Italy tomorrow, today was jammed with finishing up work projects and getting organized (as it always is before a long vacation). We powered through the day with a big breakfast and enjoyed a great dinner before our day of travel tomorrow. 

Breakfast: Eggs, avocado and bacon. Brian went all out and had at least 4 eggs!
Lunch: Brian had a lara bar and a primal pac. I had a salad with berries, cashews, olive oil and vinegar, and then a little later left over cauliflower rice with our steak and veggie stir fry dish. 
Dinner: We made salmon with a Moroccan spice, acorn squash with coconut butter and lemon, garlic kale. 

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