Whole30: (Practice) Day #1

I earned the sugar hangover I woke up with Thursday morning, after enjoying a Dr. Pepper and a Dove chocolate bar the night before my first attempt at eating practicing a Whole30 diet.

Poor planning and purchasing the wrong bacon — I always get that brand, it’s local — meant I was left with eggs for breakfast, which I didn’t want, so I dipped into the Whole30-compliant blueberry Rx bars.

blueberry rx bar whole30 compliant

Those bars are supposed to be emergency food.

I also ate a handful of strawberries hoping to ease myself out of the late-night, sugar-soda coma.

Lunch went better.

Whole30 frowns on snacks. I snack constantly, so I felt a hole in my stomach the size of a mid-morning granola bar by lunchtime. But I waited until noon for lunch — go me! — when I MESSED UP ALREADY OMG.

What happened was…

I was scrambling eggs and cutting up mandarin oranges — yes, from a can, it’s fine — for my son for lunch at the same time. I got an itty-bitty, insignificant, barely-there piece of mandarin orange pulp on my finger and… slurp! … straight licked it off like it wasn’t previously swimming in “light syrup.”


I didn’t realize what I had done until I was serving a little pile of oranges to my kid, who gobbled them up guilt-free.

I made the same mistake later testing my son’s Gerber snack sticks, too. These things lose their crunch after being opened, and I wanted to make sure they hadn’t turned into styrofoam before feeding them to him because it could become lodged in his little toddler throat.

They were fine. Want to know how I know?

I took a bite of one… and then immediately spit it out in the sink and rinsed my mouth of the rice flour-based puff.

Even after that snack disaster, I ate my Whole30-compliant lunch — two eggs fried in ghee with salt and pepper alongside an arugula and walnut salad with made-it-myself lemon vinaigrette. Tasty! (Would have been tastier with parmesan, just saying.)

Fried Eggs in Ghee Whole30

Now, I don’t know if my nearly-nothing-to-it consumption of added-sugar mandarin orange pulp and the rice flour soaked into my tongue counts as breaking the Whole30, but I do know that I’m practicing. 

So it doesn’t matter… yet.

whole30 recipe greek style meatball salad

I pulled a recipe out of the Whole30 Fast & Easy cookbook for dinner: Greek Style Meatball Salad. Turned out pretty yummy despite my adjustments.


The recipe calls for an avocado, flax milk dressing. Unfortunately, my last avocado from last weekend’s grocery haul didn’t fair well and could not be consumed. I planned to substitute compliant coconut milk for the flax milk because I have no idea what flax milk is or where to find it in my grocery store. Alas! No avocado, no dressing.

I also planned to substitute sun-dried tomatoes for the roasted red peppers the recipe called for because I also could not find those. And there’s just no way I’m roasting my own red peppers. I have a toddler.

whole30 greek style meatball salad

It was good enough!

Whole30 Food Fiasco

I feel like this will be common enough to make a feature of it. Here’s Avocado Baked Eggs from Barf Town. No part of this was tasty. Eggs were overcooked. Warm avocado tastes like old avocado. Egg white bubbles are the least appetizing thing I’ve ever looked at.


Whole30 avocado baked eggs with coffee


Whole30: Preparation

whole30 means no ice cream ben and jerrys half baked

I’ve been feeling lousy lately. Back pain, upset stomach, general malaise… acne. Postpartum, I was a mess of hormonally driven health problems on top of edema, so I was a sad tree trunk trying to take care of a newborn. Breastfeeding, while the. single. most. difficult chore of motherhood, improved my health and mood.

I was a SUPERHERO. Not only was I producing life-giving nutrients for my infant son, but I also had clear skin, perfect digestion, and I could eat whatever I wanted — and not gain weight.

Super (ice cream). Hero (Pop-Tarts). Shae (carbs carbs carbs).

ben and jerrys half baked

Do I need to mention my sudden and desperate urge to drink Dr. Pepper after a lifetime of never liking Dr. Pepper? Thanks, pregnancy.

I stopped breastfeeding my son the moment he had enough teeth to cause real damage. Thirteen months. I thought, I have my body back. No more pumping. No more middle-of-the-night comfort boob. I could drink again (I couldn’t).

The downside? All my fun health perks disappeared.

Physical therapy helps my back pain. At the end of the day, though, the pain is pretty intense. On top of back pain, I’ve started to feel… awful…. after eating, specifically at the end of the day. Right around 7 p.m. And acne made a comeback to my face. Who knew it’d want to relive high school, and then get worse. Weeee!

So, back pain, upset stomach, general malaise… acne.

My physical therapist sent me to my primary care physician because my back pain wasn’t improving. My primary care physician conducted a dozen blood tests looking for the cause of my inflammation and found nothing. My OB commiserated with my pain, upset stomach and general malaise — said the acne was normal.


But they all asked me the same question, “Well, what are you eating?”


If you know me, you know I enjoy eating whatever I want whether or not I gain weight. Eating is my second favorite. Right behind sleeping. Food is fuel, sure. It’s also a delight.

But I looked at what I was eating.

Ice cream (back pain). Pop-Tarts (upset stomach). Carbs carbs carbs (general malaise).

And the Dr. Pepper…

My solution, of course, is simple. Change what I’m eating, but which thing — ice cream, Pop-Tarts or miscellaneous carbohydrates — causes my symptoms. How am I to know?

Oh, yeah, they made a diet for that.


If you know me, you know I hate dieting. In all my years of desired physical fitness — I don’t have this desire anymore; I only desire more sleep — but, in fitness endeavors, food was almost never part of the equation.

title boxing

So, fitness wasn’t always successful, but I was OK with that.

What diet am I talking about? The dietiest diet of them all… Whole30.

Whole30 requires what I consider an extreme elimination diet for 30 days. No ice cream (what). No Pop-Tarts (shut up). No good carbs (pasta, bread, pancakes, happiness). The actual rules make sense: no dairy, no added sugar, no grains and so on and so forth. Fruit, vegetables, nuts (not peanuts), seeds and meat-based protein — all OK.

While tragic, cutting some of my favorite foods out of my diet doesn’t scare me. The planning, preparation and follow through on all of the other foods are terrifying.

I meal plan well. I meal prep just OK. I don’t meal follow-through for crap.

Work, plus life, plus toddler… plus more toddler (same toddler, just more)… plus dinner… plus clean-up? No, I don’t want to do that. I get through about three days of good food, and then it’s two days of crap, and then another day of good food, and then scavenging the kitchen for food because it’s gone bad or we’ve eaten it or it’s weird to eat together.

Whole30 requires all of that. So much of that. Without excuse.

I planned my Whole30 for Aug. 2-31. However, because my mombrain separates its life into different buckets — work, life, toddler, more toddler, taking care of itself, etc. — I also planned a Date Day right in the middle of it with my husband at a favorite event complete with off-limits food truck food and beer.

Guess what you can’t have during Whole30?

viven wine dive wichita kansas



I love beer.

I bought the Whole30 cookbook and the beer tickets like, the same day because life and taking care of myself are not the same bucket.

They’re different buckets.

Here’s my new plan:

Cut my off-limits foods one-by-one. No more Dr. Pepper, ice cream or Pop-Tarts.

Reduce pasta intake and try not eat all the rice with all the soy sauce (because soy is also against the rules).

Then, practice.

I need to practice Whole30. I have mombrain and limited meal follow-through and UberEats. I’m set up for failure.

Plus, I really want to go to the beer event, drink the beer, eat the off-limits food truck food and enjoy Date Day.

iron childhead fest 2017

I will practice Whole30 for 15 days starting Aug. 2. During my practice, I will test some of the recipes from the Whole30 cookbook and find at least seven, solid, cookable-by-Shae recipes for family dinner during my actual Whole30, which is yet to be scheduled.

Because Date Day at the beerfest is happening.

#mealprep: Food for the fam, vol. 5

Before becoming parents, my husband and I were pretty good about cooking at home, trying new recipes and having fun with food, in general.

And then, along came this baby.

toddler food

My meal planning and preparation attention focused solely on him for… like… a year.

medela breast pump

Breastfeeding and pumping.

baby food ice cubes

Homemade baby food.

#mealprep (30)

Ain’t nobody got time for homemade baby food.

Now, he’s a walking-running-climbing toddler with molars who can eat nearly all the foods we eat, so I can plan food for the whole family again. Instead of just for him.

I say, he can eat the food we eat.

He sometimes just won’t.


What I need now — that I didn’t need before bringing this needy little life form into the world — are tools. Meal planning tools.

Because I no longer have the leisure time to organize a weekly meal plan, put together a grocery list, hunt for sales, cut coupons, go grocery shopping, forget three things, go back to the grocery store, lug all the groceries inside, neatly place items in the pantry, quarter and freeze the poultry, cut and store the produce, put together make-ahead breakfast sandwiches and individual smoothie ingredients…

I have exactly enough time to preheat the oven to 375 (or is in 350? I can never remember) and throw in a few chicken thighs we hope I seasoned while my kid screams at me for MORE SNACKS OMG MOM.


Hence, tools — and I have a smorgasbord.

Evernote used to hold all the recipes I used regularly. There’s still dozens in there. Now, I don’t have time to test a recipe, make the adjustments I like, and then add it to Evernote for later use.

Tool #1: Bookmarks. 

Internet bookmarks are an under appreciated tool.

Recently, I went through all the recipes I had saved looking for something new to try while the toddler napped.

I deleted half I’m sure I saved because of hanger, and then I deleted another quarter I’m sure I saved thinking I’d have so much more time once my son was older to make complicated recipes.


Tool #2: A dry-erase board. 

It’s sticky-tacked to the freezer door, and it dictates our lives.


Tool #3: The Dillon’s store app.

I used to shop sales at different stores. I used to go to farmers markets, local shops and speciality stores to get the obscure ingredient I needed to complete an equally obscure recipe I dug out from the depths of some random cookbook.

Now, I shop at Dillon’s.

Sometimes, I still go to Wichita’s weekly downtown farmers market to get the flavorful asparagus, cucumbers and tomatoes you just can’t get at the grocery store.

I nearly always buy my coffee from the Spice Merchant because there. is. no. better.

But the bulk of my groceries come from Dillon’s. The store app lets me download coupons to my store card, add items to a shopping list and make use of ClickList, which is a grocery pickup service I use every other week.

Confession: I do not like ClickList. I’m picky about my coupons and sales, and the substitutions offered for out-of-stock items I know are in-stock (just hard to find) make my blood boil. Baby food is the worst. Not all of those pouches are created equal, and if you need to substitute baby food, don’t substitute the SAME ONE FOUR TIMES.

Variety is the spice of getting calories into my kid.

End mini-rant I’m not actually that upset about.

Tool #4: Mealime. 

Mealime is a meal planning app with recipes you can add to your weekly meal plan that also automatically creates a grocery list based on the recipes you selected.


mealime recipe

I subscribed to the Pro version, so I could get Pro-only recipes (not that big of a deal) and other functionality. It’s $2.99 per month, and I cancelled my subscription because I wasn’t convinced it was worth it.

While I enjoy the meal planning, grocery shopping and recipe storage all in one app, Mealime’s recipes aren’t too much to get excited about. The app does allow you to add your own grocery items but not personalized recipes, which makes it hard to incorporate the tried and tested dinners we’ve come to rely on using the app.

So I still need to use bookmarks, three-ring binders, cookbooks and Evernote to organize non-Mealime recipes.

Plus, nearly all recipes in Mealime instruct you to use coconut oil — no — and a lot ask you to wash the meat bits out of a pan before you make the sauce… like the meat bits aren’t the best part of the sauce? Because they are. (There’s a fancy French word I’m not looking up for “meat bits.”)

Maybe that’s how meal planning is, but I’d continue to pay $2.99 per month for an app that did what I need meal planning to be.

I’m open to suggestions.

Honey Mustard Chicken adult food

Honey Mustard Chicken baby food

March Grams_1

He ate like two bites.

Bonus Tool: Ibotta. Because rebates.

Junior League and Child Advocacy

I joined Junior League of Wichita in 2016. Friends convinced me it’d be worthwhile. The League’s focus on child abuse prevention and awareness also aligned well with other non-profits I’d worked with in the past. So I was excited to spend my first active year on the Child Advocacy Committee.

The Child Advocacy Committee organizes a fundraiser during Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in April called Trash Bag Handbag.

junior league of wichita general membership meeting april 2018

Children moving through child protective services and foster care often don’t have the time or resources to pack their things in real bags — shoving clothing, toiletries and loved items into a trash bag instead.

Trash Bag Handbag calls for Junior League of Wichita members and supporters to switch out their backpacks, handbags and purses with blue trash sacks to raise awareness about this issue in our community and funds to solve the problem. Money raised purchases clothing, comfort items and real bags.

I used the same blue trash sack throughout the week, replacing my purse and the bag I use to carry my boxing equipment. It burst just before the last day of the fundraiser, and I had to double bag to keep carrying it.

Oh, yeah, I started boxing. That’s another blog post, and that’s Jen!

Jen is the executive director of ICT SOS working alongside other organizations charged with protecting young people at the Child Advocacy Center in Wichita. Money raised during Trash Bag Handbag goes directly to these organizations.

We raised about $7,000 this year.

  • Selling custom cocktails at the League’s April general member meeting.
  • Collecting donations on our website from our ambassadors, including Wichita columnist and reporter Bonnie Bing, Susan Estes and USD 259 Superintendent Dr. Alicia Thompson. Junior League of Wichita President Laura Roddy also played puppeteer with Joann from the League’s elementary school puppet show.
  • Taking donations on-air during a KAKE News live phone-a-thon.
  • Exchanging headshots for donations at The Studio, a favorite near monthly charity event of mine.
  • Throwing a wrap party at Newport with our ambassadors.


It takes a lot of work to raise $7,000. Thanks to all those who donated, participated and raised awareness. See you next year. I’m on the Child Advocacy Committee again.

A (late) Mother’s Day update

As Father’s Day quickly approaches, I recall I write a blog about mom-ing that I haven’t updated in since Mother’s Day.

And not even Mother’s Day this year.

May 10, technically, yes. I did bring over a throwback post from my old blog about Mother’s Day, but I don’t think that counts.

So here’s an it’s-almost-Father’s-Day update on Mother’s Day.

My husband woke up with the baby, sorry, toddler, so I could sleep in Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, my internal clock wakes me up at 7 a.m. on weekends whether or not I need to wake up at 7 a.m. or could sleep as long as I wanted.

My internal clock wakes me up at 5:20 a.m. weekdays, but that’s another blog post.

I sleepily descended the stairs to the smell of coffee and a squawking baby, sorry, toddler. 

My husband greeted me, asking if I’d like a cup of coffee.

Yes, yes, of course, I would like a cup of coffee. It’s 80 percent of the liquid in my body. Who needs blood? I have caffeine.

He gave me just the best cup of coffee.

perfect mother's day gift

I cackled this made me so happy.

funny angry baby face

Matt sent me this photo in April of our grumpy baby, sorry, toddler not getting his way. This kid makes some pretty good fuss faces.

Of course, we also went to brunch because it was Mother’s Day, and that’s what you do.

mother's day brunch 2018

And then, I got on a plane and flew to Seattle for a work trip, which reaffirmed my belief that I belong in the Pacific Northwest with mountains and ocean and rain and that sunset. (Also, did you know that wing seats are super bumpy because THEY ARE.)





While mommy worked in Seattle and daddy worked in Wichita, baby, sorry, toddler played with grandma and grandpa.

batman baby playing in the water

toddler mowing the driveway

oh the thinks you can think book

Now that my husband has won Mother’s Day, I obviously have to win Father’s Day. He’s so good at giving presents. I fully expect a coffee cup with a baby picture and witty saying every year for the rest of my life.