A Busy Mom’s Version of the Whole30 – Week 1

As summer approaches, many of us are thinking about losing weight, in a healthy way. I’ve been hearing success stories from people who’ve tried the Whole30, so I’ve decided to give it a try. With a twist – I’m a vegetarian. The Whole30 isn’t touted as a weight loss program; it’s a clean eating program designed to make you feel better. And in doing so you’re probably going to lose weight as part of the process. In the Whole30 you stop eating dairy, sugar, grains. legumes and alcohol for 30 days.

As a vegetarian, I can’t give up legumes. So I found this Whole30 shopping list for non-meat eaters, and it’s what I’m following. I just finished week one and for the next four weeks I’m going to document here what I’ve eaten, how I’m feeling and overall how it’s going in an attempt to share and make it easier for anyone else that wants to try this. But first, a disclaimer: I am not a doctor or dietician! Please take my experience with a grain of salt and do your own research before starting any drastic change in diet.

Week 1 overall insights:

1. I started this right after spring break in Nashville and New Orleans, where I enjoyed the food and came back feeling sluggish. The first few days I had a dull headache I attribute to the sudden stop in sugar. But it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated.

2. As a busy mom I had to make this as easy as possible in order to stick with it. I couldn’t vary too much from my regular routine, which includes a smoothie every morning for breakfast. Whole30 doesn’t ban smoothies but isn’t fond of them either, as you consume them quickly, not giving your brain time to realize you’re full. And they generally have a lot of fruit sugar which can result in a blood sugar spike and lead to cravings later in the day. Additionally, it’s hard to find base ingredients without added preservatives, etc. This is how I make my smoothies so that I feel compliant enough: organic almond milk (find the one with the least ingredients); 1/3-1/2 cup frozen berries; Trader Joe’s organic pea protein (only ingredient is pea protein); 3 cubes Trader Joe’s frozen coconut. The coconut doesn’t get completely blended, it’s more like shredded, resulting in some chewing. I drink/eat the smoothie while I get ready for work which takes about 20 minutes and by the end I am full, satisfied and it carries me through until a mid-morning snack. I used to have a banana in my smoothie but I moved it to my afternoon snack to cut down on sugar in the morning.

3. I’ve already tried two new foods on this plan that I found as a result of looking for healthy, compliant food. Both are from Trader Joe’s: Green Goddess dressing found in the refrigerator section (it’s incredibly fresh tasting with avocado, lemon juice, garlic – delicious!, and caperberries – the fruit of the caper bush and pickled. If you like salty, briny things they are amazing.

4. If you start this, make sure you drink a TON of water. A high fiber diet demands it. I had some bowel distress the first night I attribute to not enough water. After this I increased my water intake and have been fine.

5. Don’t miss out on social time because of a “diet.” During week one I had a standing monthly lunch date, weekend dance competition which means a combination of bringing food and eating out, and Saturday night dinner and movie plans with friends. I didn’t want to miss any of this and made due – many restaurants can fulfill dietary restrictions if you don’t mind asking the questions!

5. Cauliflower rice can be found fresh or frozen in most grocery stores these days. If you are at Trader Joe’s, I really like their frozen organic cauliflower.

6. Leftovers are your friends! I ate dyed Easter eggs all week, as well as the soup I made on Sunday, and roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli made on Monday.

Week 1 results:

How I feel overall – dull headache I started the week out with is gone. Energy level is a little higher in the evenings. Weight loss = 3.8 pounds. (Note: Whole30 will say not to weigh yourself, as it isn’t about weight loss. But who wouldn’t look at the scale???)

What I ate during week 1:

Day 1 Monday

  • BREAKFAST: Smoothie
  • AM SNACK: Almonds
  • LUNCH: Lentil soup (I made this soup and ate it for three days. Substitute cauliflower rice for the rice.)
  • PM SNACK: Banana
  • DINNER: Hard-boiled egg, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted broccoli, olives, apple sauce.

Day 2 Tuesday

  • BREAKFAST: Smoothie
  • AM SNACK: Almonds
  • LUNCH: Lentil soup, carrots with Green Goddess dressing. I learned on day one to bring more food for lunch.
  • PM SNACK: Banana
  • DINNER: Hard-boiled egg, caperberries, apple sauce.

Day 3 Wednesday

  • BREAKFAST: Smoothie
  • AM SNACK: Almonds
  • LUNCH: Hard-boiled egg, lentil soup, apple sauce.
  • PM SNACK: Banana
  • DINNER: Olives, caperberries, sliced tomatoes with Green Goddess dressing, “casserole” of beans and leftover roasted sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli.

Day 4 Thursday

  • BREAKFAST: Smoothie
  • AM SNACK: Almonds
  • LUNCH: Work lunch club! We went to a new (to me) farm to table restaurant where I had delicious, compliant, soup and chopped salad. If you’re in the Chicago western suburbs check out Nature’s Best Cafe.
  • PM SNACK: Banana
  • DINNER: Second half of my giant salad from lunch, “casserole” of beans and leftover roasted sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli.

Day 5 Friday

  • BREAKFAST: Broiled tomatoes (slice tomatoes, season as you’d like, sprinkle with olive oil and broil for 3-5 minutes); hard-boiled egg chopped and mixed with avocado (“egg salad” with avocado instead of mayo); “fried apples” (slice apples, saute in coconut oil and sprinkle with cinnamon. A family favorite!)
  • AM SNACK: Almonds
  • LUNCH: Rest of egg salad from breakfast, hummus with carrots (make sure you buy hummus with no sugar or preservatives)
  • PM SNACK: Banana
  • DINNER: Chipotle – black beans, veggies, pico, lettuce.

Day 6 Saturday

  • BREAKFAST: Broiled tomatoes, hash with scrambled eggs, sweet potatoes. Clementine.
  • AM SNACK: Almonds. second clementine.
  • LUNCH: After a late breakfast and snack, had a banana for “lunch.”
  • DINNER: Ate at a steak house, which made it easy for me as they usually have basic salads and vegetables. I ate a plain baked potato with a thick, vegan black bean soup as a topping, and asparagus.

Day 7 Sunday

  • BREAKFAST: Smoothie. 6am – early start for dance competition!
  • AM SNACK: Clementine.
  • LUNCH/LATE BREAKFAST: veggie omelet and sliced fruit.
  • PM SNACK: Carrots and hummus.
  • DINNER: Salad with balsamic vinegar, veggie stir-fry with coconut aminos (a delicious substitute for soy sauce which has added sugar), riced cauliflower.








Jennifer Strilko

Jennifer is the Director of Operations at DI/LDM, keeping the train moving for several operational teams and helping them meet their goals. Jennifer believes that everything happens for a reason and that we don’t meet anyone by accident. She’s looking forward to meeting new people and widening her tribe through this blog project. In her spare time Jennifer enjoys DIY projects (upcycling curbside finds is her favorite past time). Her Mom Hustle includes being a dance and baseball mom, maneuvering teen drama, and preparing her kids for college. She lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, three teenagers and two dogs.