Saturday, August 24

Whole30 Potluck Party!

To celebrate reaching the half-way point of our August Whole30, Jessie and I hosted a potluck dinner last Saturday at my parents' home in Carrollton, TX. My folks had graciously offered up their house as the venue since my condo wouldn't accommodate everyone. There were about 15 people that came, and everyone brought a Whole30-approved dish. Most people were on the Whole30, but a few weren't.

People started coming over around 7:00p to heat up their food and set everything up. It looked like Thanksgiving there was so much food! We had to give everyone notecards to use as labels to identify their dish. After tasting a little bit of everything, people sat around chatting as they let their food digest. The conversations continued through the tedious clean-up and most everyone left around midnight. A five hour party with no alcohol? I'd call that a success!

As I was driving home, full as I've ever been on a Whole30, I started thinking back on the night: the conversations, the food, health and all things related. A few things stuck out to me that night... and here they are: some observations from a Whole30 Potluck Party.

Alcohol isn't essential to have fun

This may seem obvious, but it wasn't to me. After all, I can't remember the last time I'd been to a social gathering where alcohol wasn't served. Throughout the day leading up to the potluck some were joking around about the lack of booze that was going to be at the party. One tweeted: "I know tonight is going to get crazy, so you can all crash at my place!" Hours before the party I posted a picture of a stocked fridge... full of La Croix waters of course. 

But it didn't matter that there wasn't alcohol. We still had fun. The conversations were arguably better without the booze and the next morning was certainly better. Sure, letting loose with some tequila or brewskis leads to great nights, but for the first time in a long time I truly realized that alcohol isn't a necessity in social situations. It's become a default, however. A habit. An indisputable automatic. That's why it was also incredibly refreshing to know that good times can be had on Saturday nights with friends that don't involve a buzz with a subsequent headache.

Whole30 not required

There are two points I want to make here. The first, is that just because we labeled the party a "Whole30 Potluck" didn't mean people couldn't come who weren't doing the program. There were a hand-full of people there that night who weren't doing it and they all thoroughly enjoyed the food, and the party overall. Initially we had thought invitations would only be extended to the August Whole30 participants, but we quickly nixed that idea. Why isolate folks who aren't doing it? That doesn't sound like the greatest way to spread the "Good Food" word. My only regret about that evening (outside of eating three too many chicken tenders) was not including more friends that weren't on the Whole30.

Secondly, is that there doesn't have to be an official Whole30 in place to have healthier get togethers. I understand it's a cultural norm to have parties that contain beer, chips and cookies, but we need to start making it more of a norm to have Paleo Potlucks. It doesn't have to be weekly, or even monthly. But every now and again people who truly believe in the impact of good food need to step up and host such occasions, including myself. Bridging the wide gap of modern day society with healthier lifestyles isn't going to come from any program or company, it's going to start at the grass roots. It's going to start with people who have already felt the benefits of clean-eating.

Community is critical

While it is more than feasible to do a Whole30 on your own, Saturday night made me believe that having a group to do it with adds so much value. That value comes in many forms, including accountability, knowledge-sharing and a hell of a lot of fun. The Dallas Whole30 crew has established relationships and common bonds that would have never happened had it not been for this August journey. Sitting around in the living room after dinner was a blast. We shared stories of our first-week side-effects, second-week benefits and everything in between. 

Here's to many more of these in the future!

8 (of the many) Dallas-based August Whole30'ers
Below are some pictures from the evening, and below the pictures are a list of all of the dishes we had. Jessie and I will be hyperlinking to the recipes of each dish in the future if you'd like to try one!

Kale chips
Paleo chicken tenders
Jessie preparing the green beans 
Esther, Denise and Jessie's mom Cat
Green beans with almonds and garlic 
Bacon & guacamole sandwiches
Food's about ready!
Guacamole deviled eggs
My mom Pam, and sister Kylie
Kale chips
Scoping out the food!
Waldorf kale salad 
Spiced sweet potatoes and apples
Jackson and Sadie (who ate grain-free dog food!)
Kylie & Annie
Whole30 Potluck Menu:

Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers
Paleo Meatballs (onions, mushroom & parsley) 
Spiced Sweet Potatoes & Apples
Guacamole Deviled Eggs
Bacon & Guacamole Sandwiches
Eshther's Southwest Meatloaf
Sauteed Onions, Bell Peppers and Italian Sausage
Kale Chips
Jalapeno Turkey Burgers
Taco Lettuce Wraps
Green Beans w/ Almonds & Garlic
Waldorf Kale Salad
Bacon Wrapped Meatballs
Doug's Shrimp Stir Fry


  1. Jackson is famous!! PS: he always eats grain-free. ;) we're all about health at the Baugh home

  2. YUM!!! Nothing more exciting than a fridge full of LaCroix. And those chicken tenders look amazing! Recipes please!:) (and my pups are grain free too!)

    1. Hi Alicia! I used this recipe for the chicken tenders:! I cut back on the cayenne pepper to a little less than half, but go for it if you like them really spicy!


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