Whole30 Mistakes

(Enter disclaimer text) Well, now that another Whole30 Round is in the books, it is a great time to share with you some of the Whole30 mistakes I’ve made along the way. (Truth be told, this eating right thing is pretty tough, so mistakes are sort of expected.)

Whole30 Mistakes

Whole30 Mistakes

Mistake 1: Not trying Ghee in Round One.


I loved putting this on my sweet potatoes and cooking with it during Round 2. But in Round 1? I didn’t spend the money on it, nor did I care to take the time to make my own at home (because it involved cheesecloth and patience, but is totally doable with the recipe in the Whole30 Cookbook). That was a big mistake!

Ghee is a healthy fat that is made from pulling all the water and milk solids out of the butter, leaving you with pure goodness. If you’ve ever had an addiction to honey butter, this is a close friend. You should be able to get Ghee at your local grocery store (I did, even in Kittanning!). This is the brand I used and fell in love with – you might just want to put two in your cart now.

Mistake 2: Not keeping compliant snacks handy.

While snacking isn’t a thing on Whole30 (you should really eat three solid meals a day), I was training for the Half Marathon and sometimes needed a little extra to boost my energy and progress. Or there were times that I wasn’t fully hungry (or not feeling well) and just needed a quick, small bite.

For those times, I should have had some good snacks around – like cashews or macadamia nuts. (When I was in Round One, plantain chips were my jam. They’ve now been removed from the plan but will show up in my meals when I’m not 100% Whole30.) And while bars – not granola! – are not shortcuts, they’re really good to have on hand, too.

Mistake 3: Not trying RXBAR until the last day of Round 2.

It was the last day of Round Two. There I was, overwhelmed in Trader Joe’s and super hungry. Knowing my Crispy Angry Chicken Drummies wouldn’t be ready for at least another hour (because the coconut aminos Greg needed to make them were in my basket), I was staring at RXBAR in hopes that I’d see one I’d like that could tide me over yet be compliant. It was only a few hours left, but I still didn’t want to mess up.

I did it. I went for the Coconut Chocolate Rx Bar because I love those two ingredients so much (yes, I’m a Samoa girl). And guess what? Not only was it okay and compliant and delicious, it took me FOREVER to eat. (Perspective, I was at the Penn Ave Trader Joe’s near-ish to Chatham and I didn’t finish it until I was passing the Harmar exit on 28.) As a sweets girl, this was huge. My enjoyment of the bar lasted and it made me feel so much fuller than anything else I’d tried as a “quick win” snack.

If you’d like to try RXBAR, you can get them right from their site and if it’s your first order, you get $5 off your order when you click here!

That being said, I did have a few Lara Bars this time, too – Apple Pie and Cashew Cookie. They sound so “bad” but they are good too! I just ate them way too fast and will be sure to have a combo of these and the Rx Bars on hand next time – see Mistake 2. 

Mistake 4: Evangelizing Whole30 Too Much

Guys. I love this program / lifestyle. Maybe I talked too much about it, but it’s really changed my life. Sorry, not sorry. Some of my fears are that I made it sound scary and tough, but it’s really not. If you have your mind set on being successful with this, then every meal prep is worth it. Every “sacrifice” is worth it.

And it really helped to talk to everyone I knew about it – because then they understood when I couldn’t try their oh so delicious looking brownies or sloppy joes or have a beer at Beer Friday. And it helped them know that I am committed to making myself better. That’s big when you do something big like Whole30.

Mistake 5: Not keeping coconut aminos in the pantry.

coconut aminos

Some of our favorite recipes (Spicy Turkey, Chicken Drummies) call for coconut aminos and we always seemed to run out. I’d been buying them on Amazon which was fine, but a little pricey. Thankfully I was clued in that Trader Joe’s has them for just $2.99 a bottle! We are now stocked up and ready – we’ll be using this for our stir fry, meatloaf, wings…anything that called for soy sauce in the past!  (I’ve found throughout the years that soy makes me itch from the inside out – before I go to a hibachi or enjoy sushi, I have to take benedryl to “survive”!)

Mistake 6: Not trying Passion Fruit La Croix sooner.

Alright. This one is tough. As someone who really only drank pop when it was a birthday party or pizza night (hey, there’s something about Diet Pepsi with chocolate cake and pizza), giving up the sugary drinks was not an issue for me. Instead, I actually added something by giving La Croix waters a try. But I didn’t give my absolute favorite, Passion Fruit, a try soon enough!


Say what? These don’t sound like Whole30 mistakes! The honesty about this post: if you make a true mistake on Whole30 (stepping on the scale, eating dairy, etc.), then you start over at Day 1 the next day. These mistakes I made aren’t like that, they’re mistakes I learned from and want to pass on to you – you’ve stuck around this long, why not give the Whole30 life a try?

What’s the first step to Whole30 Happiness?

Buy this book and this recipe book because they will teach you everything you need to know. We got some really great recipes from living out of these books during my Whole30 rounds and they’ll be family favorites for a long time. Promise.

And ditch the scale. This isn’t about weight loss. This is about feeling good again. My mood has changed for the better. My body is lifting heavier and working harder and smarter. It doesn’t matter what’s on that scale. Just ditch it.

If you’ve decided to embark on the Whole30 lifestyle, let me know! I’d love to support you in your journey. Good luck! 

Whole30 Dump Ranch Veggie Dip

Enter disclaimer text This recipe for Whole30 Dump Ranch Veggie Dip was (as Greg put it) “a happy accident”. Because it would be great for picnics, I had to go up to the computer and work on this post right away (after I gobbled up my lunch with it as a side)!

whole30 dump ranch veggie dip

All I did was make my Dump Ranch (based on this recipe that’s from the must-have Whole30 Cookbook) for dinner the other night. Okay, I made it but I was one room temperature egg in before I realized I was out of my olive oil (and we’d been to two stores and dinner was already late). I stared at my gigantic jar of coconut oil and decided it would do. I scooped some in a bowl and heated it up so it was nice and melted.

The ranch served its purpose for dipping my wings in, then I put it in the fridge. The next morning when I had piping hot potatoes that were begging for something tasty on top, I grabbed for my ranch. Unfortunately, it looked more whipped than creamy. Oops.

Or not.

I had just discovered a way to 1) thicken without adding an extra egg and 2) have a healthy veggie dip (just in time for a 4th of July picnic, too!). It went great on my carrots but also worked on the potatoes because it came to the just-right temperature when hitting their heat.

To say I was surprised and ecstatic is an understatement. I was giddy! Arianna and Greg confirmed that I’d found a goldmine in my “mistake”. We’ll be making this more often, and perhaps you will, too!

Whole30 Dump Ranch Veggie Dip

Before you start this recipe, make sure you have an immersion blender (this one is the one we use because it is able to withstand lots of mixing when preparing dinners for six, even though it’s small it packs a punch!) and a wide-mouthed jar (while a pickle jar is good, if you are creeped out about sharing the dill taste with your ranch, give these ones a try).

If you try this, let me know what you think!

Whole30: Round Two

Yesterday completed Whole30 Round Two for me. Let me just shout it out – I am out top of the world happy with my results. There, I said it and that’s that, right?

No, for real. I’m more proud of myself than I was the last time I went on my weight loss journey. And if you don’t remember, during that one I dropped 130 pounds, ran a half marathon, and even wore a bikini for the first time since I was a kid. I was (excuse me) damn proud of myself and what I accomplished – and not just because I looked good but because I felt good and was healthier for my kids.

But this time is different. This time, I am older and have two more kids and a longer commute. I have more faith. I have more drive. I have more to overcome. And I am doing it.

Choosing to do a second round of Whole30 this year was a no-brainer. After reintroducting foods and then training for the half, my eating sort of slushed a little. I was mostly gluten-free, but I allowed myself some treats (and paid for them later). I was mostly dairy-free, but I ate ice cream twice in one weekend – packed with guilt. It was time to do something for me again.

This time, we tried a few new recipes. I ate less sweet potatoes. I lifted heavier (I still have lots of gains to make there, but boy am I seeing changes). I ran less distance. I found beauty in my imperfections. And I learned that eating clean is a good way for me to live.

Whole30 Round Two Results

As a result of my commitment to my health, I have:

  • Longer hair
  • Looser clothes (I have gone from an 18 to a 14/16 and even put on a pair of size 12’s!)
  • More energy
  • More strength
  • Lost 6 inches
  • Lost 17.6 pounds

And you guys – that’s just on Whole30 Round Two. In all this year, I have lost 43 pounds in six months and have found out what I need to put in my body to fuel it properly. And I’ve gained confidence, courage, and strength.

I have to give a big thank you to my husband for letting me take care of me – putting in hours at the gym or on the trail, leaving dinner work up to him, making him read labels and hunt for “weird” ingredients. Greg, you’ve made this so much easier on me, even though this time around of losing it has been the hardest. Thank you!

Whole30: It’s a Wrap

Enter disclaimer text My Whole30 journey (round one, anyways) officially came to a wrap on February 4th. It was an amazing experience and I couldn’t help but sounding like a “junkie” throughout the entire process – maybe too much.

For thirty days, I stripped grains, dairy, sugar, and legumes from my diet. For thirty days, I put my husband to the test in the kitchen. For thirty days, I made a commitment to myself and my family to be better. And for thirty days, I was whole.


Sure, eliminating cheese, bread, and peanut butter isn’t the easiest things to ask of anyone. I get that. But when you do, you’ll realize how much better you feel. At least that is what happened to me. Let’s rewind.

I started the Whole30 on January 5th following a 3-day refresh from Beachbody. **Full disclosure – I didn’t prescribe to quick fixes when I originally lost 130 pounds, so I was skeptical about the process. But after the holidays and  a year of holding onto 75 pounds gained before/after having the twins, I needed something to jump start my progress.**

Because I pretty much ate whole/clean from 2011 to 2014 (save for couscous, quinoa, whole wheat, cheese, peanut butter, and black beans), my body didn’t go through the rough days that many experience in the first days of Whole30. Pushing the reset button on my life actually felt right and not like a crash course diet (because it’s not, it’s about changing your life). (Alright, I did have 2 days of stomach issues – likely keto flu because my body started processing things a bit differently – but I soon bounced right back.)

Along the way, there were temptations, though not as many as I expected. The Mounds Cake was a tough one to walk away from. One night, Evan redeemed a Book It! pizza and I had major flashbacks to working at Pizza Hut as a teenager and I had to walk away quickly. And another weird one, Red Bull. (Someone opened one in the van while I was driving Uber and I got this pang of wanting one – I did kinda have an addiction to the sugar free version in 2006 because of the flavor. Thank goodness a co-worker clued me in the that cran-raspberry La Croix water has a similar taste.)

Along the way, there were wins. We really love the Spicy Turkey and Cauliflower Rice recipe in the Whole30 Cookbook and it was super easy for Greg to cook. I felt different, more energized. I enjoyed a girls’ weekend with my best friend and didn’t find eating difficult. We brought real bacon into the house and Evan about passed out with glee (he’d only ever had turkey bacon, but now that I know what’s really in there, I don’t want it anymore). Arianna and I went through about 10 dozen eggs (and are even more upset that we can’t rent chickens in our town).

And at the end? I felt so good. So good. I had some amazing NSVs (non scale victories): longer hair, longer/stronger nails, more energy, consistent exercise, no heel or hip pain while running, stress off my shoulders, less stress in general, better skin). And although it wasn’t about the weight loss, I did lose 17.5 pounds and 8.75 inches (officially retiring a pair of size 20 and size 18 jeans that I’d survived in for the last year).

whole30 before after
Can you see the difference?

Reintroduction (the ten days, for me 14, of bringing back the things stripped out) didn’t go so well. Wine was good. Oatmeal, too. Peanut butter gave me some hives. Gluten gave me issues – bloating and other gross stuff. I ate ice cream for the first time in 45 days (or more?) on February 15. I finally ate chocolate the other day – I missed that friend but not as much as I thought I would.

So my next steps? Living 90/10 Whole30. That means I’ll be eating clean 90% of the time as my goal. I know I can’t do glutens. I did them today – Thin Mints called my name – and I’ve felt awful ever since (my stomach is in knots). Cheese will still be part of my life, but in small batches maybe once a week. And I hope that I’ll see the results I saw in the two weeks post ending the Whole30 (down another 9 pounds) continue.

Pro Tip: If you are interested in doing the Whole30, I highly suggest you get a copy of the book and cookbook (linked above) and finding some friends who are into it, too. Like me. If soy sauce is something you love, I suggest replacing it with (compliant) Coconut Secret Organic Raw Coconut Aminos Soy-Free Seasoning Sauce-8 Oz (2-Pack). Trust me when I say I know it will be hard, but think about your end goals. You’re worth it.

Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

Doing the Whole30 sure has been eye-opening. I’m eleven days in and super happy with the changes (non scale victories) and most of all, the food. Especially my favorite meal of the day, breakfast! I’m all about quick wins for the morning, so I spent some time today prepping this sweet potato breakfast casserole to eat throughout the week.

(Enter disclaimer text)

Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

To make this savory (Whole30 Compliant) breakfast (that I’ve also had for lunch and dinner), you’ll need:

  • 8×8 casserole baking pan (this one is great because it has a lid for saving your leftovers) and a cookie sheet (treat yourself to a good set like these), each greased with EVOO spray
  • 2 large sweet potatoes – 1 cut in thin slices and 1 cut in cubes
  • Veggies of choice (recommend onions, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, or spinach)
  • 8 large eggs

Start off by roasting your sweet potato slices in the 8×8 pan (line it with the slices) and your vegetables on the cookie sheet. This happens best in a 425-degree oven for 20 minutes (recommend stirring the veggies at 10 minutes in).


While the veggies are roasting, whisk the eight eggs together. If you like spicy, mix in some red pepper flakes or garlic.

Once the veggies are roasted, pile them into the casserole dish on top of the sweet potato slices (they’re going to serve as the “base” / what bread normally would do here).

I really could have just ate these veggies…


Now pour the whisked eggs over the veggies and put the casserole dish back in the oven for another 20 minutes. You’ll want to be sure the egg cooks all the way through.


You can now cut and store this (I still was enjoying four days in), eating it when you need a quick-win meal.

If you are not doing the Whole30, you might be all like WHERE IS THE CHEESE?!?!? Let me tell you, as a cheese addict, I was skeptical at first. Try it first, the sweet potato gives it something special, something that cheese would cover up. Just trust me.

PRO TIP: If you are doing the Whole30, perhaps you’ll want to pair this with some fruit or top with a compliant hot sauce. Totally recommending both. This is hearty and delicious! Need a compliant hot sauce? Tessamae’s is a choice of many Whole30 vets! Click the photo to get it shipped right to your door from Amazon! 

What is your favorite breakfast casserole?