Whole30: Practice Week


I ran out of time in the morning, which happens fairly often, so I ate a blueberry Rx bar for breakfast… and I was starving two hours later. (I had another one after lunch because I was fading fast at 2 p.m.) Thankfully, I had a busy morning and four or seven cups of coffee to keep me going.

I inhaled a leftover pork chop and handful of sweet potatoes from Sunday night, which reheated super well. Then, I devoured a side salad that more resembled the size of a full dinner salad of arugula, Romaine, chopped walnuts and cherries, which I pitted sans cherry pitter.

buy a cherry pitter for gods sake

My fingernails are still pink.

cherry walnut salad

This salad was so good, I made it again for dinner alongside some chicken thighs that I had to dip in stone-ground mustard because turmeric is not a strong spice, in case you didn’t know.

Monday: Whole30 Compliant


I woke up early enough to make breakfast Tuesday, but it was too early to eat. I need breakfast, but I don’t need it before the sun comes up.

…so I ate a blueberry Rx bar.

I sense a pattern.

I also drank a Bolthouse Farms B Balanced Sweet Green Smoothie, which I’m pretty sure is Whole30-compliant, but I can’t be completely sure. It has no added sugar.

B Balanced Sweet Green Smoothie

It even says so.

Whole30 does prefer you eat your calories over drinking your calories, but I was tired and not hungry enough to make and eat eggs at 7 a.m.

Lunch was leftovers again. Those pork chops are definitely staying on the menu; they taste good and keep so well.

For dinner, I planned a family favorite: Roast Sausage with Potatoes, Peppers and Onions. It’s a sheet-pan meal that takes little to no preparation, and it’s tasty, especially with a side of spicy ranch.

I can eat potatoes, peppers and onions. I cannot eat the mild Italian sausage I use. Why? I have no idea what’s in it, but I’m positive it’s not compliant.

It’s too delicious.

I made the meal as usual, with the non-compliant mild Italian sausage. For my husband. For myself? I sliced up leftover chicken-apple sausage we’d eaten Saturday night, reheated it in a frying pan, and then fried an egg in the sausage… juice? Fat? I dunno. You pick whichever one sounds less weird.

Roast Peppers Potatoes and Onions Whole30ed

Pretty tasty, and the runny egg yolk made a substitute for the spicy ranch. I say “a substitute” because it wasn’t a better option… just an option.

I’d pick spicy ranch every day.

Tuesday: Whole30 Compliant (probably)


Pattern Identified: Blueberry Rx bar — and four cups of coffee — for breakfast (and afternoon snacks).

I’m nothing if not predictable.

I also forgot to prepare lunch before leaving for work, which is equally predictable, so I had to wing it. Previously, winging it involved a microwaved black bean burger, whole avocado and two servings of cottage cheese. (I really like cottage cheese.)

Whole30 winging it is a packet of tuna and an avocado.

Tuna and Avocado Cat Food

Yes. Cat food.


Crackers, pita, tortillas, any bread… might have made this more edible. And, oh my, have I wanted some gluten.

Thankfully, my husband made a delicious dinner we devoured in minutes. Venison steak and a mixed greens salad with cucumbers, strawberries and sliced almonds. It was perfect… except for one small thing.

My husband cooks steak in butter.

Real butter.

And I ate it.

I also ate a pound of strawberries, I’m sure. Suuuuuggaaaaaarrrrrrrr.

Wednesday: Not Compliant (but compliant enough for me)


Another morning, another blueberry Rx bar, and another Bolthouse B Balanced Sweet Green Smoothie.

These things are seriously good, but I miss my organic toaster pastries and Bolthouse B Strong Coffee Protein Smoothie, which has dairy and soy and whey (probably).

Lunch was leftover salad from Wednesday night…

…and a packet of tuna and a whole avocado. Turns out, lemon-garlic salad dressing puts a good mask on the cat food-ness.

Now, for dinner — and a situation I was sure I’d run into: long day, exhausting toddler, too tired to cook and clean. What’s the solution?

Take out.

I stopped by Jimmy John’s to get my husband a sandwich, and I refrained. I can’t eat any of that food. So what was I going to do? Improvise. Next door is Chipotle, which is full of non-compliant food. I did my best: salad, no rice, no beans, meat, salsa, quac, no cheese, no chips, no Mr. Pibb.

The sink mess visible top of frame is major reason I couldn’t bring myself to cook when I got home. I did chop some home(not my home)grown tomatoes to go on top. Made a nice meal and maybe my sixth or seventh salad of the week.

I’m only Whole30-ing for a practice week. How am I going to improvise when I’m the one home all day with a fussy toddler? Ugh.

For dessert, I ate another pound of strawberries because I’m starving, and I really like strawberries.

Thursday: Close Enough


I almost made it. SIGH.

Friday began the same as every day this week: a blueberry Rx bar and a gallon of coffee. I worked through lunch, munched an apple at my desk and speed-cleaned my house before getting the toddler.

It was a long week. I was hungry. There was a leftover sandwich from Jimmy John’s in the fridge, and I wanted a beer.

angry orchard hard cider rose

At least it’s gluten free! (The sandwich wasn’t.)

Friday: Practice Week Ended (early)

I feel pretty good about the effort I put in this week. While I did not enjoy the benefits of reduced inflammation, which is the goal of this little diet experiment, I did discover one not-so-small benefit.

I lost five pounds.

If I lost five pounds in four and half days, how many pounds would I lose in a full 30 days?

What was the cause of my weight loss? Maybe because I didn’t eat ice cream, drink Dr. Pepper or eat after 7 p.m. all week. (I didn’t have a rule for not eating after 7 p.m., but there wasn’t food to have after dinner… except the occasional pound of strawberries… so I didn’t eat.)

More likely, it was a reduction in calories. Salad has fewer calories than French fries, and I ate a LOT of salad.

Monday starts a new week of Whole30 meals before date day at the beer fest with my husband. Maybe I’ll lose another five pounds (not likely), but it’d be nice to keep those five off for good.

Whole30 Practice Week: Calling It a Success

Whole30: (Practice) Day #1 (Again)

So I made it a day and a half…


I am not surprised and only a little disappointed. On vacation, not fully prepared for running out of eggs, mindlessly eating toddler leftovers, mindless eating other food, trying to start a thing ON A THURSDAY.

No one starts things on Thursdays.

I did not fail without learning a few lessons.

  • Moving forward, we buy two dozen eggs a week.
  • Lettuce doesn’t wilt as quickly if you store it properly and can therefore be used to make a quick salad whenever you need a quick salad, so I bought these things. Take that wilty lettuce.
  • Berries last longer if you store them properly, too.
  • I now know what the inside of a rotten sweet potato looks like. FYI, it looks just fine on the outside.
  • I’m keeping packets of Whole30-compliant tuna nearby at all times.
  • QuikTrip iced tea, unsweetened, is probably not Whole30-compliant BUT WHO WOULD KNOW THAT?! IT’S TEA. Luckily, my favorite beverage is Whole30-approved because I’m not doing anything without coffee.

Also, don’t leave the house. The world is not compliant.

I found safe sausage, mustard, salad dressing, tuna and vegetable broth during my grocery run today.

Finding compliant dressing was actually easy BECAUSE IT’S LABELED. Hallelujah.

whole30-compliant salad dressing

Guess what I didn’t find.


It’s nuts and seeds and sometimes dried fruit.

I get added sugar in dried fruit, but what do pumpkin seeds need with dextrose? Why do all the bulk options at Dillon’s have to have soy beans mixed in? I just want some nuts and seeds mixed together and maybe a coconut flake, gah.

It’s probably for the best I didn’t find a bag of compliant trail mix — or try to make my own. The sausage, tuna and broth I bought were at least $1 more expensive than their non-compliant counterparts. Only one vegetable broth on the shelf didn’t have some form of sugar in it. (Did you know there was sugar in broth? Yeah, me either.) The only available sausage I found was nearly $3 more expensive. Who knows how much sugar-free, slightly salted, pre-mixed nuts and seeds and maybe a coconut flake are.

Less ingredients, more money. I will never understand processed food.

Whole30 Skillet Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Coleslaw

We tried another Whole30 Fast & Easy cookbook recipe last night, and it wasn’t bad. My husband wasn’t fond of the almond-flour coating on the pork, which — yes — would have had a better texture if we’d used day-old crusty breadcrumbs. But breadcrumbs have the gluten, and the gluten is not OK on Whole30.

Never in my adult life have I cooked sweet potatoes in a skillet, and I might never go back to the oven. They’re so yummy from the skillet — cooked and delicious without getting hard or chewy, which occasionally happens in the oven because… I don’t know, ovens are hard.

I made the slaw on the side simple by buying a bag of coleslaw mix, dumping it in a bowl with dressing and mayo… and ignoring the other ingredients I was supposed to add. I’m not toasting or buying toasted pine nuts. We already know how expensive sausage is.

And my husband’s mayonnaise recipe is already compliant. No added sugar. No wine. No whatever else gets added to store-bought mayonnaise. Pro-tip, homemade is way better.

Whole30 Skillet Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Coleslaw

If I make this one again, I’ll duplicate the recipe with a breadcrumb dredge for my husband. Non-Whole30 recipes can be adjusted for Whole30 compliance, and Whole30 recipes can be adjusted for people who want to eat bread — and I honestly have no idea why I didn’t think of that before just now.

Probably something to do with the buckets.

Today is (Practice) Day #1 (Again). Wish me luck.

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.