Sunday, February 15, 2015


After recently watching the documentary, Fed Up, I was inspired to eliminate sugar from my diet (ironically this does not reflect the title of my newly created blog.) In doing some research on how to do so, I stumbled across the Whole30 program. The rules go a little something like this:

No Added Sugar, whether it's natural or artificial
No Alcohol
No Grains, Legumes (that includes soy!) or Dairy
No carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites
No everything for thirty days

Now, me being a realistic kind of gal I decided to do it for the entire month of February, a modified Whole28 if you will. I started by clearing out the refrigerator and pantry of any food items that were considered to be non-compliant with the rules. I was basically left with yellow mustard, apples, and a can of green beans. The funny part about that was even the 'healthy' items had to go. The almond milk had ingredients that I couldn't pronounce, the lunch meat had all kinds of preservatives, and the cashew butter was sweetened with sugar. Needless to say, the kitchen was empty and I needed to go shopping.

If anything has made this easier, it has been Trader Joe's. Cheap, lots of compliant foods to choose from, and smiling cashiers in Hawaiian T-shirts. Here are my Trader Joe's go-to items:

Light Coconut Milk - a very tasty, very creamy, ever so compliant substitute for coffee cream and milk.
Garlic & Herb or Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Chicken Sausages - perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
4-Sack of Organic Avocados - the most perfect, buttery avocados you'll ever eat.
LaraBars - my sweet tooth secret and late night indulgence
Coconut Oil - a long time alternative to lotion and my, now, go-to choice for cooking oil and butter substitution. (Please buy two jars if you plan on using one for lotion, and I recommend that you do. You'll thank me later when you smell and taste like a cookie.)
Raw Almonds - a big bag for a small price and my only shot at sanity after breaking up with peanuts.

In actuality, it's not that difficult. If anything it has been a pleasure. Sure, the display of mini-cupcakes and Valentine's Day chocolates on the break room table this week was painful, but the appreciation I now have for the simple and beautiful foods that have replaced them is just as satisfying. There is something truly lovely about a label that has three ingredients or less and I can't help but wonder why everyone isn't doing this.

If you're considering the challenge, here are my tips for being successful:

Do it with a friend. If your roommate is going to be stocking the refrigerator with cookie dough and CoolWhip, you're setting yourself up for a late night spoonful of failure.

Plan your meals ahead of time. I cook my weeks worth of lunches on Sunday night and I don't have to worry about it on work days. If you prepare your own meals, you'll always know what's in them.

Carry snacks with you. If hunger strikes, you'll have your LaraBar or hard-boiled egg in hand and will be less likely to shove that mini-cupcake in your mouth.

Try new recipes and be creative! You can only have eggs so many times for breakfast, so why not try that recipe for mashed acorn squash and coconut for breakfast?

I'm halfway through my 28 day challenge and I'm in no hurry for it to be over. Although, I am still dreaming of white cake from time to time...

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