Whole30 Challenges (#WIAW)

As usual I will be sharing some of my recent meals today, but I also thought I would talk a bit about some of the challenges I have encountered so far since starting the Whole30. We are at day 17 now so more than halfway done!

-It’s really hard to find things without added sugar or oils that are Whole30 compliant. Almond butter and cashews are two things we were looking for and couldn’t find. We ended up finding both raw cashews and freshly made almond butter at Fresh Market on Monday which I was pretty excited about!

almond butter

I may have eaten this almond butter (that my parents got at Whole Foods) by the spoonful over the weekend. 

-It’s been tough to judge how much (if any) leftovers we will have from our meals. Sometimes I will plan to use leftovers for lunch and then I have to figure out a plan B. 

-Mornings when I don’t run I am starving by 6am. I can’t make it from 6 until 12 when I eat lunch so I’ve been trying to be creative about substantial morning snacks. 

-There has only been one meal so far that we’ve eaten “out” and by out I mean we made salads at the grocery store. Even just trying to decide where to grab a quick lunch from was challenging. It was a good thing we were eating the salads at home so we could use olive oil as our dressing. 


-Our grocery bill is getting much higher than we’d like. It’s somewhat justified by not eating out at all, but even still I would like to figure out ways to spend less. It’s challenging to buy high-quality food like grass-fed and organic while also trying to stay within a reasonable budget. 

Overall its going well but I can’t say I’m not excited for a glass of wine in a couple of weeks. 

So, onto the food!

wiaw meals


Pre-run: Banana and coffee

Breakfast: Eggs scrambled with sugar-free nitrate free bacon, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and kale

Lunch: Spring mix, baby carrots, cucumbers, green peppers, grilled chicken and sweet potatoes

Snack: plantain chips, raw cashews, raw almonds, raisins

Dinner: One pot chicken and potatoes with green beans added

Post-dinner: Green tea and apple chips with almond butter

Nothing too exciting, but a pretty typical day. This was what I ate on Monday and since I was off from work I was able to be a little more flexible with my choices. Dinner also took almost an hour and a half to cook which is why I planned it for a day when I would be home in the afternoon. 


Thanks Jenn for hosting the #WIAW link-up!

If you have done the Whole30 did you face any of these challenges? Any tips for dealing with them?

If you haven’t done the Whole30 but have considered it, what are some challenges you would expect to face?

What is the best thing you have eaten this week?

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70 thoughts on “Whole30 Challenges (#WIAW)

    • I am glad that I am giving it a try and it does feel pretty good- but I am seriously looking forward to a glass of wine in a couple of weeks!

  1. There is no way we can buy organic everything all the time! This is probably why I buy a lot of ground meat and chicken thighs , even organic is reasonable. Most of our produce is not organic. When I was trying to do organic I couldn’t stick to a budget at all, now I pick and choose. The no meals out also makes a difference.

    • I have noticed that too and will need to keep that in mind! We have a really good deal at our grocery store on regular chicken ($1.99/lb) so its really hard to justify buying organic. But the ground meats are much more reasonable!

  2. I couldn’t go from 6 to 12 either without eating. My stomach is like an alarm clock and would go off on schedule by 9 am…It sure gets expensive to keep eating healthy at home but agreed that it’s sometimes justified since we aren’t eating out. I try to remember that sometimes when my grocery bills get high – I really do try to cook dinner 6 nights a week, most of the time and rarely eat lunch out during the week.
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted…WIAW- Recent Eats, Same & DifferentMy Profile

    • Its only 11 am and I have eaten like 3 meals already lol. But then I realized in the past 18 hours I have done 60 minutes of yoga, ran 3 miles, and taken an hour of body pump- so it kind of makes sense!
      I think that overall its definitely less expensive to eat in, especially since if you go out you may be likely to pay for extra stuff like drinks. That’s what always gets us when we go out for dinner!

    • I think I would be pretty happy with just eating those foods as well! My wallet would probably like that better too, since its the meat that seems to be the most expensive!

    • Thanks! My parents didn’t have any whole30 approved snacks but I was so excited to find that all natural almond butter! I couldn’t resist just digging in with a spoon:)

    • Its really good for making you aware of your sugar intake. I was eating mostly paleo before but this has definitely been eye-opening as far as exactly what is in all my food!

  3. I’m glad you touched on the grocery bill thing! This is one of the reasons I haven’t done Whole 30 or made any significant changes to my diet in that direction – I just can’t justify the cost of buying all organic, grass fed, etc. everything. I look at some people’s eating habits and wonder just how much money they are spending!
    Brenda @ Don’t Lose the Trail recently posted…Trail running at the Middlesex FellsMy Profile

    • I really don’t think I could ever go all organic/grass-fed/etc. Actually my husband would never let me! I think its all about figuring out a good balance. I like to buy organic produce when its on sale and then pick and choose a few other things. We just have to do the best we can, I think!

    • I always think about that…like I never ate organic before and never had any problems…but I do think its good to keep in mind and try to get some things when they are on sale. Or pick and choose a few things to splurge on each week.

    • Its always so tempting to do that! When I want nut butter I try to eat it with carrots or apples rather than out of the jar…but sometimes its so much better that way!

    • We’ve been getting things from amazon as well. Is there anything in particular that you find is a better deal on there? I’ve had trouble finding nut butters that are reasonably priced on amazon- it was way cheaper to buy them at fresh market!

  4. So coffee is allowed? Haven’t read the book yet but I am excited to start. It might not be too realistic for me to go all in with my schedule but we will see. Love seeing your meals though to see if it is practical for me.

    • Yes coffee is allowed! But obviously with no dairy or sugar/sweeteners. Did you decide when you will start?

        • Yes but they recommend you make your own at home because its really hard to find any in stores without non-compliant ingredients. I have no idea how to do that so I’ve never tried it…so no almond milk for me. But coconut milk is allowed!

  5. I can see how the grocery bill would add up! But I also think it’s worth it. You have really done a great job sticking to the plan and I’m guessing much of it will now be a regular part of your routine. That first glass of wine is going to be delicious, though! : )
    misszippy recently posted…Do epsom salts work?My Profile

    • I can’t wait for that first glass of wine! I think its the only thing I really miss. A break from it was a good thing but after 2 weeks I could definitely use a glass!

    • I actually didn’t get to make my own but I really want to! My parents had bought their’s at Whole Foods but then when I bought some at Fresh Market it was freshly made but already in the container. You could do it yourself but we were kind of rushing so just bought the one that was already made. Hopefully next time we will try it out!

    • I think that is the hardest part…the food isn’t really an issue (especially since I have been eating at home and don’t have anything going on this month) but there were plenty of days where I would have loved a glass of wine!
      Buying frozen fruits and veggies is a great idea!

    • Wine is definitely the hardest part for me! At least its only 30 days. We don’t have a Trader Joes close by but I would love to give their cashew butter a try!

  6. I can only imagine that grocery bill! That’s why I don’t think I could ever do Whole30. Plus being on the go leads me to grab whatever’s easiest sometimes. However, some of the meals look so delicious that it would be worth splurging on!!
    Is it sad that I haven’t had anything spectacular this week? I’m trying to clean out my freezer so I’ve been eating super simple and very “blah”.
    Sam @ The Running Graduate recently posted…On-the-go weekendMy Profile

    • Sometimes its good to just eat the food you have! Then when its all gone you can do shopping for more exciting food:) If I were on the go more and didnt have as much control over my food Im not sure I would survive the whole30!

    • Mostly from pinterest! But some stuff I had already been eating anyway when I started trying out Paleo so I just adjusted the recipes based on what I like. Its alot of planning but I don’t mind it too much! I think once its over I will have some new meal and snack ideas that I wouldn’t have tried otherwise.

  7. Yum that almond butter looks delicious! Honestly, I think the hardest part about Whole 30 for me would be giving up my morning oatmeal. It works great for my body, especially because I eat after I run, it’s kind to my stomach, and I love the way it tastes. I still love Whole 30 style dinners – we had spaghetti squash with turkey and garlic the other night, and it was delicious!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Vanilla Cinnamon Swirl BreadMy Profile

    • I would imagine it would be hard for you to give up oatmeal! Since I had already transitioned away from most grains it wasn’t too hard for me to give that stuff up. I would mostly indulge on things I really wanted when I was eating out. So without eating out it hasn’t been too bad!

  8. You are stronger than I am. I love homemade nut butters but don’t take the time enough to do it. I love my oatmeal and frankly, despite arguments that it won’t cost more, I can’t afford to buy all grass-feed organic meats! Woohoo count down to that wine! I’m doing the Advocare 24 day challenge which involves clean eating, avoiding sugar, coffee and alcohol so I’m counting down until wine-o-clock too!
    Lauren recently posted…Undiscovered Kitchen Ultimate Fitness GiveawayMy Profile

    • I’ve never made my own nut butter at home..it sounds like it would be kind of tough! I really like the natural, freshly made almond butter though even if its still store-bought! I’ve never heard of the Advocore 24…sounds really interesting!

    • It really hasn’t been too hard! But I miss wine. 2 weeks from today I will be enjoying a glass!

    • I would think that it would be really challenging to go from not eating any meat to relying on meat as your main source of protein in the whole30. I wonder if there is anything similar that would work better for you without such a dependence on meat. Or maybe you could slowly start adding it back in if that was something you wanted to do:)

  9. You did great! I find the same issue with almond butter. I love getting the Fresh Market stuff and I’ve ground my own plenty of times. I have to say I can taste the freshness or lack thereof of the almonds when I grind my own.
    Marcia recently posted…A Day in My LifeMy Profile

  10. I have heard about the Whole30 and been wanting to look into it a little more. I think the no sugar would be hard, even though I don’t eat a lot of sugar on the regular, I’m sure I’d find it tricky. I’d miss a weekly splurge of something sweet for sure!

    • It is kind of hard to go without sugar, but I wasn’t having a ton either so I figured I could do it for 30 days!

  11. I’ve done two whole30s and I know what you mean about the grocery bill! I had to pick and choose what I was going to spend extra money on, and for me the majority of what I ate, (and still eat) was not organic, I just couldn’t afford it. I still had great results though! Getting myself to eat a more substantial breakfast was hard too, make sure you’re getting enough fat. When I wasn’t I was starving all the time.

    Good luck!
    Elizabeth recently posted…Friday Five: What’s In My Gym Bag?My Profile

    • There are definitely enough good things about Whole30 to make it worth it, even if you can’t buy everything organize/grass-fed like they recommend. For our last full week of it I am really gonna aim to keep the grocery bill more reasonable!

  12. You are doing so great! I’ve been trying to be better with stocking up on groceries so we eat out less and am experiencing the same thing with the big grocery bill…but at least we are saving in other areas! You are SO going to deserve that wine in a couple weeks!
    Lauren recently posted…All fours.My Profile

    • It helps to think of it that way- but its frustrating to break even PLUS having to do all the cooking:) I think if it costs the same I would rather get to eat out for a meal or two on the weekends!

  13. I did a similar sort of challenge some years back to make everything I ate from scratch for a month. By the end of it I wanted white bread more than anything in the world, which is super weird because I normally don’t like it much at all. I also ran into similar problems when finding myself in a time crunch… I decided that the Whole Foods salad bar was ok as long as I stuck to the raw ingredients. It or fruit were basically the only things I could eat “on the go” if I had to. As a result, I handed WAY too much money over to Whole Paycheck that month.
    Lizzy recently posted…Training Tuesday – all over the city!My Profile

    • That’s kind of funny that you were craving white bread but hadn’t eaten it that much before! I guess eating this way is a learning process with not going over budget:)

  14. I definitely agree on some of those challenges. I too noticed them the first time I did it but this time not as much. Maybe it’s because I eat paleo most the time already so this isn’t a huge difference from my usual eating habits. Just less snacking which I’m getting better at… Oh and I do miss my wine!
    Giselle recently posted…WIAW – Second Whole 30 Edition!My Profile

    • I’m sure that if I hadn’t already done some Paleo before this it would be really hard! I think just some of the minor changes I’ve tried to make during the challenge have become really noticeable, whereas before I was able to just do what worked for me. Its still a really great experience though!

    • It’s so good! I try not to make a habit of it but sometimes you just have to go for it:)

    • I didn’t do a great job on the apple chips (they take SO long to cook!) but they were good enough and a decent snack for the Whole30!

  15. I’ve never done an official Whole30 but my husband and I pretty much follow Whole30 principals daily, because they basically mirror primal eating. One thing I’ve noticed you’re missing in your meals – which could also help with you making it to lunch time without a snack – is adding healthy fats to every meal: coconut oil in your coffee, fruit with nuts and coconut cream as part of your breakfast, an avocado on the side of your salad + nuts and seeds on top, fruit and nut butter for dessert. You could also look into eating fatty fish more often, like mackerel, herring, sardines and salmon (the first 3 are budget friendly). Sauces and dressings made with homemade mayo or tahini are also great added fat alternatives to dip vegetables, to use as salad dressing or for meat. Nom Nom Paleo has a bunch that are Whole30 approved, and Mel Joulwan makes a great tahini salad dressing (basically humus without the chick peas!).
    By adding more fat to meals, you’ll become satisfied sooner and it will take longer for hunger to come.

    You might also want to look into becoming a fat-burner, (using fat as your fuel) because again, one can get more than enough energy and nourishment (even runners because I do it), by using fat as energy.

    It does take a while to make this way of eating part of your life. It’s a process of trial and error finding ways to integrate weekend meal prep into your life, to make more than enough food for leftovers, and to not have every meal take 2 hours to make, but you’ll get there. And once you do, you’ll see you can actually save money by eating this way. My husband and I have cut about £80 altogether off our monthly grocery budget so far.
    Danielle @ Eat Primal, Run Hard recently posted…{WIAW} Back to Primal BasicsMy Profile

    • That is so helpful- thank you so much! To be honest part of my issue is that I am still trying to be braver about trying different foods. I don’t eat much seafood so I stick with salmon because I get nervous to buy something different and not liking it. I’m actually trying to force myself to start liking avocados- I refused to eat them for the longest time! I have been doing a lot of nuts and nut butters. Maybe I will try putting some coconut oil in my coffee and see how that goes! Thanks again!

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