filed in

2019 Whole30: Week One (aka torture)

Note: all photos are from my phone. I haven’t yet explored food photography, but maybe I’ll step up my game next week.

If you’ve seen me in the past week or checked out my Instagram page, you know I’m currently suffering through Whole30 during the first month of 2019. This is my third time doing W30. Last year, thanks to the persuasiveness of my colleague and friend Julia, I agreed to this food elimination cleanse without truly knowing what I was getting myself into. At the end of January 2018, I knew a few things: it was hard, the payoffs were amazing, and I’m addicted to maple syrup. Many people asked me if I was going to write something about my experience, and despite my best intention, I never sat down to put my thoughts on paper.

Last August, while only remembering the amazing “tiger blood” feeling during my first W30, I set out to do it again. I mistakenly thought summer would be a great time to do the cleanse since fresh veggies were in abundance, and I had easy access to my parents’ lakeside grill, which is definitely not the case at my apartment in Boston. Well, despite my *somewhat* best effort, I didn’t make it through two weeks. Poor food planning and working weddings every weekend made it hard, and I quickly caved. First meal “back”? A lobster roll.

 One pan balsamic chicken bake. Easy. Moderately delicious. Does the job.

One pan balsamic chicken bake. Easy. Moderately delicious. Does the job.

Welp, here I am again. Day one of W30. Except this time, I was a poor planner (I clearly didn’t learn from my experience in August), and it’s coming back to bite me in the butt. Yesterday was my first day back to school after a two-week holiday break. Needless to say, I was the driver of the struggle bus, so I talked myself out of starting W30 on a day I already knew would be a grind. Note: I also didn’t start on January 1st, like I did last year, because I was home in Vermont and wanted to enjoy my mother’s delicious NYE meal leftovers. If you’re starting to think I wasn’t quite as driven at the start of all this as I was last year, you’re right. I did, however, tell enough people I was doing it again to feel like I was being held accountable. Just as I was ready to make a maple latte with true dairy milk this morning, I received a text from my aunt exclaiming, “It starts today!” While she had enlisted me to be the one to hold her accountable, her 6:05 am text on Thursday morning was enough to get me going. So, without having gone to the grocery store (note: this is a DUMB way to start a W30, which thrives on preparation and planning), I started. I’m currently surviving on three items I purchased on Amazon last week that was delivered to my doorstep: Nutpods, roasted almonds, and RXbars. Needless to say, I’m actually looking forward to a trip to the grocery store to stock up on veggies, fruit, and meat. Stay tuned. What did I eat today? Blue RXBar, latte made with a NutPod, almonds, a bland salad (barely), apple, balsamic chicken + veggie one-pan bake (I ate half the pan because I was ravenous by the evening due to my poor planning).

Day 2: January 4th. Actually having groceries helped with my mindset going into the day. I also think, however, that having groceries made me think about food for most of the day. Thankfully, I had a pretty heavy teaching load that did not afford me a ton of downtime to think about food. I once again choked down my Nutpod latte on my way to school. It’s not the Nutpods; it’s me. I think it’s a great product, and this year, I have a little better liking of alternative milks. A little. I always flavor my lattes, so the lack of maple or vanilla is truly what I’m struggling with. Despite having an apple, a container of raspberries, and leftovers from last night while at school, I was quite hungry by 3 o’clock. Naturally, I went to Whole Foods on my way home from school. I don’t think I went to the grocery store twice during the month of December, yet I’ve gone twice in two days. Oh, and I still don’t know where my credit card is. Don’t worry; it’s lost amongst my own belongings… So, I’m doing the whole “how much can I get for this amount of cash” move, which forces me to be a bit more frugal. I will be tracking my spending, so you can get an idea for how much W30 cost me. I know, I know, I’m shopping at a store jokingly called by my roommate and me back in Connecticut as “Whole Paycheck.” I’ve gone there for sheer convenience. I will be working more Trader Joe’s trips into my routine once I have my act together. For the past two days, that hasn’t been the case. What did I eat? An apple, one container of raspberries, another fake latte, leftover chicken + veggies balsamic bake, tuna salad (tuna, avocado mayo, apple, red onion) lettuce wrap, attempted to eat a plate of steamed broccoli with everything but the bagel seasoning but ditched it halfway through, another container of raspberries (this behavior could get expensive).

Day 3: January 5th. I started out with a cold brew coffee and almond milk. I tried to change it up from my usual latte because I predict, like last year, coffee will be my largest obstacle this month. Well, it tasted like gasoline. Not that I’ve ever tasted gasoline, but hopefully you get the picture. Today’s downpour in Boston coupled with zero social or work plans to hold me accountable means that I didn’t make it out of my pajamas, and I didn’t hate it. The lack of plans, however, caused me to do nothing but think about food non-stop. I’ve now had the balsamic chicken bake for four straight non-breakfast meals, and it’s getting old. I need to change it up, but that will require a trip to the grocery store, which just isn’t happening in the rain. So, I’ll turn to a non-traditional meal of steamed broccoli and some strips of compliant bacon. It tasted just about as good as you would think. In order to take my mind off of food, I’m going to bed early and will try again tomorrow.

Day 4: January 6th. My entire day consisted of thinking about food, shopping for food, cooking and preparing food, and eating food. Repeat cycle. When I was tempted to quit, I started an Instagram story because I knew going public would at least hold me accountable. So, rather than write about it, I’m sharing the video:

Day 5, 6, + 7: January 7th-9th. The subtle sugar detox headache is still lingering. Pure exhaustion is settling in. But, shockingly, I’m starting to enjoy my Nutpod lattes…go figure! The Defined Dish ( food blogger has been a wonderful addition to my life, and I made several successful dishes on Sunday that are helping me survive this week. Between the chicken salad, the chicken, avocado, and lime soup, and the bacon, chicken, and ranch bowls, I feel like I’m actually eating delicious food with flavor. Now, I totally feel like a dog because I’m basically eating the same thing around the same time every day, but I feel like I’m somewhat settling into a routine. I did stumble on a new discovery: FaceTime Cooking. I cooked dinner while FaceTiming Mooks as she prepared her own W30 meal in Ohio. It wasn’t planned, and it turned out to be the best. Honestly, having friends do W30 at the same time is a lifesaver. Lastly, I’m also proud of myself for not setting off my apartment’s smoke detector at all last week. I’ve likely just jinxed myself, but this became commonplace last January, so I’m going to celebrate this little victory. Bring on Week Two!


The List

Sign-up for my mailing list to receive my somewhat monthly newsletter and keep up on the happenings over here at Ellen Sargent Photography