I Tried the Whole30 & Here’s What the First Week Was Like

It took me until Day 6 to make this pad Thai, but I wish I'd done it on Day 1.
It took me until Day 6 to make this pad Thai, but I wish I’d done it on Day 1.

I’m just going to tell you right off the bat that I’m writing this on Day Eight. This allows me the perspective and sense of humor I absolutely lacked during the first week of the Whole30.

In my last post, I explained how relationships & general social anxieties (going to parties, restaurants, being around other humans) plagued my brain. I never once thought the actual eating plan would have a profound effect on me. Over the past few years, I’ve slowly weened myself off many bad eating habits: I swapped out Diet Coke for sparkling water years ago, I generally dislike pasta and rice, and am not much of dessert person. I was convinced I’d take to this “new” eating plan like a raindrop into the river.

This was going to be easy.

DAY ONE

I woke up on day one expecting excitement. Instead, I felt panic. I also felt like hell from eating like a pig the entire pre-Whole30 weekend (you gotta binge before you get healthy, right? That’s normal, right?). For the past year, I’ve been eating a paleo-esque breakfast five days a week (cauliflower egg bake) but all of the sudden it occurred to me that my next 90+ meals would be strict Paleo. Uh-oh.

This cauliflower egg bake would've been much better with cheese... not making it again until after the Whole30 (if I ever make it again). 
This cauliflower egg bake would’ve been much better with cheese… not making it again until after the Whole30 (if I ever make it again).

Luckily, I’d planned thoroughly for my day. I packed a good lunch (some salmon with dill, lemon and homemade mayo; a hard boiled egg and a salad) and my coworkers weren’t eating anything particularly yummy seeming, which helped.

Lunch
Lunch “al desko.”

At 1:30pm, when I’d normally have just a “small” bite of something sweet (what I’d previously believed was an inconsequential amount), my brain basically exploded. Total chaos. But I’d planned ahead! Instead of feeding myself sugar, I opted for snap peas, carrots and guac. About 20 minutes later, my bowels turned on me. Too much of a good thing? I felt awful, physically and mentally. C’mon, Whole30! Throw me a bone!

Immediately following work, I headed 40 minutes east for my stand-up class. Dinner that night was a chicken breast and salad, eaten in my car with my bare hands because I forgot utensils.

It was sad. I was sad. I went home and immediately went to bed.

DAY TWO

I woke up at 6:30am and snoozed until I could snooze no more. Chalk it up to a combo of W30 & stupid, no-good daylight savings (can’t we just spring forward and leave it that way permanently?). At least I enjoyed my breakfast more this morning:

Marilyn Monroe with egg on her face... Some call it art, others call it breakfast. 
Marilyn Monroe with egg on her face… Some call it art, others call it breakfast.

I felt much less anxiety than the previous day and even treated myself to a good coffee at my favorite coffee shop. Great coffee = no cream needed, and even if I got one every single day, that would still probably be less than what I’d normally spend on beer. Eek!

I was on top of the world… until I got to work. For those of you who don’t know, I work for this guy and spend all my days eating food, talking about food and writing about food. You know how you’re supposed to “plan ahead for potentially difficult situations”– like birthday parties or holidays? I realized every GD day at my office is such an event.

Girl Scout cookies, homemade granola and freshly baked chocolate chip/dulce de leche cookies from the Betty Crocker test kitchen (literally cookies that are scientifically engineered to be perfect. PERFECT, I TELL YOU!) littered our office. And it’s not like this is a big office where food magically disappears. There are only five of us. Food lingers here and it’s only ten steps away. Crap. At least I’d made some amazing grilled chicken with roasted sweet potato and onion mixes and asparagus:

Better than Girl Scout cookies. Really. Kinda. 
Better than Girl Scout cookies. Really. Kinda.

I’d love to tell you what I had for dinner, but I honestly can’t remember. I also think I went to the gym. Who knows. This day was a blur.

DAY THREE

Woke up with a headache. Arrived 20 minutes early for my 8:30am doctor’s appointment. Doctor arrived at appointment 20 minutes late. I wanted to kick her in the shins, even though I really do like her.

My boss saw my sad face when I arrived at the office and made me this, which actually helped:

Gracias. 
Gracias.

Made a great dinner: butter lettuce tacos stuffed with Mexican-stlye ground beef, sauteed peppers and onions topped with chipotle mayo. Lime juice. Soda streamed water with cucumber (aka Paleo beer). Happiness.

This tasted much better than it looks. Promise. 
This tasted much better than it looks. Promise.

DAY FOUR (aka Kill All The Things)

I woke up feeling like this, exhausted with a headache. I decided to treat myself to Grace Hightower’s Coffees of Rwanda, made in my lovely Chemex. That’s gotta help my bad attitude, right? Next thing you know, this happened:

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Ugh.

I arrived at work at 8:30am. I went to set my lunch in the fridge only to discover a homemade Key lime pie (my coworker was testing the recipe for Food & Wine magazine). Key lime pie is my favorite dessert. In fact, it’s one of the only desserts I like (or more accurately, love).

Then, six pints of ice cream from Salt & Straw arrived courtesy of FedEx & our chef friend Jenn Lewis. I don’t normally go for ice cream, but I’ve been DYING to try S&S’s honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper. And here it is, in my office, four days into my Whole30. Eff. Adding insult to injury, Asher Miller (the chef behind Andrew’s Food truck, AZ Canteen), came in to test a recipe, which involved frying up big, fat slices of bacon in our non-ventilated office (hello, sugar).

However, the biggest challenge of the day reared its ugly head that evening. About a month ago, I’d told my coworkers I’d join them at Share Our Strength’s annual Cakewalk. Picture this: 20 of the Twin Cities’ best pastry chefs churning out perfect sample-sized confections, plus craft cocktails/wine/beer.

I thought I could skip it. Turns out the tickets were like $100. I had to go.

Carrot cake. Lemon curd. Chocolate cupcakes. Cake donuts. Cheese. You need to see the photos (courtesy of my coworker, Madeleine) to truly appreciate what I was dealing with:

:(
🙁
hmmmm....
hmmmm….
aw, nuts!
aw, nuts!
Chicken liver pate with granola and cherry... sounds gross, but I knew it was good.
Chicken liver pate with granola and cherry… sounds gross, but I knew it was good.
Too many desserts! jfkdlsa;dfjklsa;fjdkls;a
Too many desserts! jfkdlsa;dfjklsa;fjdkls;a
stupid cupcake.
stupid cupcake.
I remember you, cheese.
I remember you, cheese.

I don’t even normally like these things (except the cheese. I love cheese). In fact, I wasn’t really even that tempted to eat them. But somehow, I wandered around the party just feelin’ blue.

When I got home, I cried myself to sleep.

I’m not being dramatic. That actually happened.

DAY FIVE

Since Day Four was such a buzzkill so let’s focus on the positive: I invited all my Whole30 compadres over for a potluck dinner… and it was amazing.

Paleo Creole chicken is almost the same as regular Creole chicken!
Paleo Creole chicken is almost the same as regular Creole chicken!

I made a paleo version of this (recipe hack coming soon!). We had a Brussels sprout salad, regular green salad, sweet potatoes, and these killer deviled eggs my pal Hilary made:

Avocado deviled eggs with jalapeños... yes!
Avocado deviled eggs with jalapeños… yes!

We were all psyched about the grub… including the three party guests who aren’t Whole30-ing it with us.

Sign of a good dinner party: everyone is too busy eating to talk. 
Sign of a good dinner party: everyone is too busy eating to talk.
Full plate of good stuff. 
Full plate of good stuff.

After dinner, we went to Wrestlepalooza, which is my favorite event of the entire year. I love wrestling & think it’s the pinnacle of entertainment. Even though it was sponsored by PBR (a beer I despise anyhow), skipping the beer was no big thang.

Arik Cannon... the man, the myth, the legend.
Arik Cannon… the man, the myth, the legend.

DAY SIX & SEVEN

No hangover (literally, three beers = hangover for me at age 31)! But wow, was I ever exhausted. Turns out, the W30 timeline is crazy accurate. It was a Saturday, so my beyonce, Josh, made me breakfast. Food tastes better when someone else cooks it.

I did a little cleaning, a little work and a lot of TV-ing, something I hardly ever do these days. It was a low-key day. I needed it.

The next day was equally chill. Dog park, coffee, grocery shopping, dinner with non-W30 friends (they knew about our eating plan and tweaked their menu to accommodate… so great!). By the time Sunday night rolled around, I was feeling psyched that we’d completed the first week (and with only a few tears to report!)

SPOILER ALERT: It’s only gotten easier & better in the days since this first week. My anxiety about this Whole30 biz has mostly evaporated and I feel fab.

Only 21 more days to go!

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Comments (14)

  • Annie | Worthy Pause 3 years ago Reply

    The week #1 hump of the Whole30 is over. Yuss! hockey fist pumps

    molly mogren 3 years ago Reply

    Thanks, Annie! Our group has been making some of your recipes. I’ll post our pics 🙂

  • Nicolle 3 years ago Reply

    Good girl! I’m so interested in your journey through this. Keep it up, amiga!

  • Jillian 3 years ago Reply

    Where did you get the recipe for the first picture (thai?)? I’m getting ready to start this fun!

    Thanks!

    molly mogren 3 years ago Reply

    It’s this recipe & it’s awesome:
    http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2011/05/08/paleo-pad-thai/

    Her cookbooks are fab, too. Not too complicated & pretty hard to eff up!

  • Chelsea Rae 3 years ago Reply

    OMG! I just started the Whole30 3 days ago, so I am right behind you.

    molly mogren 3 years ago Reply

    keep me posted on how it’s going. the first week was really challenging, but it gets better. Promise!

  • Bruce Mogren 3 years ago Reply

    I’m very proud of you, keep the faith, next time PLEASEEE… invite me to be your designated eater at the "Cakewalk", those desserts looks fantastic!!

    molly mogren 3 years ago Reply

    You got it Mogie!

  • Dani D. 3 years ago Reply

    Very cool. I had never heard of you before a few days ago. When I Googled Whole30 stuff your blog & podcast were in the results. Today is day 2 for me. I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed reading your blog about your Whole30 experience & your talking about it on the podcast the other day. I thought I was crazy for feeling any different on day 1, I mean, come on, it’s day 1! Anyway, Great job!! Thanks for sharing & please keep blogging your 30 day journey!

    molly mogren 3 years ago Reply

    Ugh, day one was panic attack city for me! It gets so much better, trust me. I don’t know how many times I have said that in the last three days, but it’s true.

    Thanks for checking out my blog & listening to the podcast. It’s been fun connecting with so many awesome people. 🙂

  • Jess Volpe 3 years ago Reply

    Just found your blog because of Whole30 and I am kind of obsessed. What a great idea for a blog! You’ve also convinced me to try Whole30 which I’m excited about. Keep doing your thing!

    molly mogren 3 years ago Reply

    Thanks, Jess! It’s been so fun. Truly the best year of my life (or, more accurately, the best 6 months). The Whole30 really does get better after the first week. Thank god!

    If you have any Hey Eleanor ideas, I am all ears.

  • Lisa Brissette 3 years ago Reply

    Just starting out on the program- so looking forward to this first week…..no really! I think ill blog my experience too – what a great idea!

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