Whole 30 – Q&A Session

Some of you know I did a Whole30 “Paleo Challenge” during the second part of January through the middle of February. I didn’t blog about it (obviously) but I posted a bit on twitter and Instagram about it.

It was good. Seriously. I craved milk, hot chocolate, chocolate ganache, hard. At the beginning, anyway… I made mental lists of all the things I wanted to eat when it was over. And since it has ended, I’ve really been quite “bad”… but now I’m noticing how bad the bad makes me feel, way more than usual. Because I had an entire month of feeling amazing.


So I’m gearing up for another one for the month of March. I’m partly doing it again to get myself into a different mindset about it… I did it as a physical AND mental detox and “back to basics” challenge. The rule about not paleofying meals made me eat a lot less of the grain free muffin/pancake/paleo pizza “food group” and a LOT more vegetables.

I also didn’t eat any pepperoni or salami for the month, and didn’t buy any deli meats at all. They seem fine on the outside – I mean, they’re meat – but who knows what all the ingredients are, since the packages aren’t really available to pick up and read.

I’ve been reading the book Paleo Coach and realized I Really Really Really do need to “divorce myself” from foods I know aren’t doing me any favors. It’s true. I need to stop thinking of sugary cupcakes as an awesome delicious treat, and realize that the stomach cramps and itchy skin might be a sign that they aren’t really that great. There is a LONG history of happy associations with so many bad foods that it is going to take a while to completely break those associations… I know several of the primal/paleo “gurus” took years and years before they were truly divorced from the SAD. I’m still working on it. I’m completely divorced from pasta, which is a major win. I can take or leave rice. But I have trouble with bread and bready things.

Soooo… as quickly as I can, before a child wakes up and needs me (and with the dishes still waiting for me in the kitchen), I’m going to answer a few of your questions, from facebook. (Don’t follow me on facebook yet? Now’s a great time to click “like”!)

What is Whole 30? I’m going to guess eating “clean” for 30 days?

Basically. But not just like clean-ish. Super duper clean. NO grains at all. NO dairy. ZERO legumes. NO nasty vegetable oils. NO paleo-fied treats, even if the recipes follow all other rules. And you have to lose the attitude that you’re doing something hard or honorable.

I love the quote from The Whole30 Book (It Starts With Food):

It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.

Kinda gives you a “Suck it up, Ninny-pants” kick in the butt, doesn’t it?

So if one wanted to get started with this, what do you suggest doing first?

Really decide you’re going to do it, and set a date. Read up about it on www.whole9life.com so you know what you’re getting into. Read the book It Starts With Food. Start making lists of things you’d like to eat on Whole30. And maybe find some friends who want to do it with you, whether in person or online. Make sure the friends you’re doing it with are committed too, otherwise you’ll have a possible situation with “enablers” trying to derail you.

I’ve decided to sign up for the emails from whole9 this time, not because I feel like I need them, but because I’m nosy and want to know what’s in them.

Did you pay for the meal plan or just do it on your own? And what major changes from your normal diet did you make? Weight loss? Recommended after pregnancy?

I’m not sure what meal plan I would be paying for… is there one on Whole9? No, I didn’t pay for a meal plan. I planned my own VERY SIMPLE meals, which I’ll write another post about later.

Major changes from my normal diet were no paleo-fying non-paleo food, no “cheats” or “slips” (or no obvious ones), no deli meats at all, and zero dairy.

Weight loss? Yes. I LOST TEN POUNDS. Seriously. I fit into my smallest pair of pants, perfectly. Effortlessly. With 0 exercise. After returning to normal/not good eating… About 4-5 came back, which is kind of my normal water weight/ bloat amount. It’s super easy to lose but super easy to gain back too… but 5-6 gone for good, and inches from several major body parts too.

Recommended after pregnancy, or anytime. I believe it’s really the healthiest way you can eat, and as long as you make sure you’re eating ENOUGH, I think Whole30 should carry no “precautions”… I know a lot of “diets” caution pregnant or nursing women. Healthy foods don’t need a disclaimer.

Did you cheat any? Did you have cravings? Have you continued eating whole30 style after the 30 days?

I did cheat. My husband and his squadron planned a dinner for us wives to celebrate the halfway point of their deployment. I knew ahead of time when it was happening, but the details were a secret. I knew it wouldn’t be a paleo night though… and thought about waiting until after that dinner to start, but though that kind of wasn’t the point, and that it would be better to start ASAP even if I knew that dinner was coming. The REAL Whole30 response would have been to refrain from any non-paleo foods and drinks because “you’re a grown up” and you can say no. But I wanted to relax with the other pilots’ spouses and celebrate, and damn it, if my husband planned a dinner for me LITERALLY from the other side of the earth, I was going to enjoy it.

So I did. I had a few drinks (I’m NOT a big drinker, and I think my few drinks was literally more than I’ve had in over a year combined), enjoyed a couple of truffles, and ate some non-paleo food (a semi-set menu, with no real paleo options), including bread pudding for dessert, and then had a stomach ache (But no hangover. I’m still proud of never having one ever.) to remind me that it was a bad plan.

I had “regular” mayonnaise twice, but also made my own. I had wheat-free tamari a couple of times, which is a soy product so not whole30 approved, but I plan to buy some coconut aminos this go round. The sausage I buy has some sugar in it (actual sugar, not corn syrup). I can make my own, but with all of the veggie prep, this was one corner I was okay with cutting, and it isn’t like I was eating sausage 3 times a week. I think I also had 2 single-serving packages of salt and vinegar almonds (they’re GOOD) which have “bad oil” in them. I think that’s all.

(Homemade mayo above)

Cravings – ganache, (grain free) cookie dough, french fries, anything fried, chocolate milk, milk, hot chocolate, sour cream. But they were manageable after the first couple of days, and I just added them to my list of “things I want to eat when this is over.” For the record, I haven’t had any milk, hot chocolate, chocolate milk, or sour cream. I have had french fries, grain free cookie dough, and ganache. haha.

(So no, I haven’t continued whole 30 eating after the end, which I kind of think shows me I need a huge overhaul of my relationship with food.)

How strict were you? Honey? Paleo baked goods? Why are you doing another one so soon?

Super strict, but with the “mistakes” in the last Q/A still (which I knew I was doing as I did them, and my Big Girl Panties told me I could). Zero honey, sugar, or sweeteners. Zero paleo baked goods. I didn’t even make paleo pancakes for my kids.

I’m doing another one so soon so that I can re-detox, and view it as more of a long-term change than “I can eat ganache when this is over!!!” I’m working on the divorce (mentioned above. From crap food, not from my awesome husband). I know it’s going to take more than another month to finalize the divorce, but every month/day/meal of “perfect” food is a step in the right direction.


Did you have a toxin unload? If so, did it affect your nurslings?

I’m not really sure what this means… “Toxin unload” that might be harmful to my kids makes me think of tar oozing out of my pores, while I off-gas noxious fumes, and poop “colon cleanse” type stuff into the toilet.

I had a couple of pimples pop up the first few days (I normally have clear skin), and after that, nothing. My nurslings were eating the same foods as me, and none of us oozed black tar, and we all pooped pretty darned well. The only fumes I off-gassed were those of garlic, because I kind of love roasted garlic, and some days I ate a lot of it.

What did you make for breakfast besides eggs? What were things you made for dinner? Were you able to eat a lot of variety? Did you spend a ton of time in the kitchen?

I’m actually planning a whole post on what I ate, and another on preparation in the kitchen. And about variety? I chose to keep things simple and pretty repetitive, because simplicity meant success. It worked out really well but I might infuse a little more variety into it this time, especially trying some spice mixes and recipes from Practical Paleo, my #1 favorite paleo book on the market right now.

Even with the simple, repetitive menu, I always looked forward to my paleo meals because every one of them rocked my socks.


Homemade York Peppermint Patty Recipe

One of my husband’s favorite candies is the York Peppermint Patty. This minty-chocolate treat might not be the most popular candy bar on the market, but it’s not that far of a stretch from his favorite ice cream, mint chocolate chip.

But take a look at this ingredient list:

sugar, corn syrup, semi- sweet chocolate (chocolate, sugar, cocoa, milk fat, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, PGPR, emulsifier, vanillian, artificial flavor), invert sugar, egg whites, and oil of peppermint

Gross, huh? I mean, lots of dieters LOVE York peppermint patties because they’re “OMG FAT FREE!” but with sugar in their ingredient list four times, they’re far from “good for you.” So I set out to make a much more nourishing, high-fat, low-sugar version.

And it is delicious.


The filling is simple. About a cup of coconut butter (I made my own by processing Organic Coconut Chips in my food processor until the oil released and the coconut became slightly doughy), with a few drops of peppermint extract and a touch of honey.

Next time, I’ll leave out the honey because the sugar in the dark chocolate coating was plenty of sweetness for me.

I made the patties about an inch and a half across, squeezing the “dough” tightly to shape it, placing them on a parchment-covered cookie sheet (you can use a silpat if you have one). When they were all shaped, I put the baking sheet in the freezer for just a couple of minutes.


While the patties were cooling down, I melted some chocolate — maybe a cup of dark chocolate, maybe a little less. You can use a double-boiler, but it works fine to do it in the microwave. Just microwave for 15 seconds, then stir, microwave another 15 seconds and stir. You want it to get to the point where there are still chocolate “lumps” in the melted part, that will melt as you stir… you don’t want them to melt in the microwave.

I hope that made sense. Basically: err on the side of under-“melted” and if you can’t get the pieces to combine by stirring, pop it in for another short period of time (even 5 seconds toward the end).

Then pull the cold patties out from the freezer, and coat each one with chocolate before placing them back on the parchment. Chill for another couple minutes to set the chocolate, and enjoy them cold from the fridge.


In a cooler climate or a better-air-conditioned house (we are trying to not go overboard with the cooling!) these might survive without becoming too sticky on your counter top… we just kept them in the fridge and enjoyed them cold though, which was very refreshing!

I see mounds/almond joy in my future… (would mix in shredded coconut with the coconut butter for a less creamy texture, leave out the mint, etc).

Homemade York Peppermint Patties Recipe

  • 1 cup coconut butter
  • few drops peppermint oil
  • small amount of honey — optional
  • 2/3 cup — 1 cup dark chocolate

This recipe makes about 16 peppermint patties, if yours are the same size mine were.

  1. Combine the first 3 ingredients thoroughly. Then shape into 1.5” patties with your hands and place on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Refrigerate or freeze.
  2. Meanwhile, melt your chocolate however you like to do it.
  3. Dip the mint patties into the chocolate, covering thoroughly. Then place back onto the baking sheet.
  4. Refrigerate or freeze until set, then remove from parchment.
  5. Eat!