Hi, I'm Erika.

I'm a Minneapolis-based writer. Click around to learn more about what I do.

Days 1, 2, & 3

Days 1, 2, & 3

Happy Whole30! Below you will find an extensive breakdown of what I ate and how I felt during Days One, Two, and Three. For a peek at everything I ate these past 72 hours, head to my health & wellness Instagram account.


DAY ONE

BREAKFAST | 7:15AM

The Whole30 book recommends a Day One breakfast of: frittata, an avocado, and a side of fruit. I was *so* excited to eat my spinach, mushroom, and tomato frittata for breakfast on Day One, but it was challenging to eat so much food so early in the morning.

It took me 45 minutes to finish my breakfast, and I didn’t even eat the second half of my avocado!

The good news? I wasn’t hungry again for more than three hours.

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MID-MORNING SNACK | 10:50AM

I was disappointed that my breakfast didn’t sustain me all the way until lunch at noon, but I refused to let myself feel guilty for needing a morning snack (it’s only Day One, after all). I grabbed an apple, some carrots, and a La Croix, and was sure to eat them mindfully, as is recommended.

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LUNCH | 12:00PM

Day One lunch was: “protein salad” (tuna salad made with homemade, compliant mayonnaise, salt, and pepper) on a bed of spinach, with a side of fruit (I made fruit cups with apples, strawberries, and pomegranates to munch on throughout the week).

Because the Whole30 is designed to change our eating habits, it is recommended we eat each meal at a table (not at a desk), with limited distractions. My friend Nora and I just so happen to work together, so we sat down in the breakroom to enjoy our meal, but we got kicked out when an unexpected client call came up. We wound up finishing lunch at our desks, even though we didn’t really want to. That's life.

Note: This lunch was deceivingly filling. When I first assembled it, I didn't think it would fill me up, but it was actually a challenge to finish just the salad—and I had fruit to spare!

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DINNER | 5:45PM

Normally, I would have never made it from lunch to dinner without a snack in between. I was shocked when 4:00PM hit and I was still full from lunch! (Whaaaat?) Most of my dinner was already prepared from the day prior. On the menu: ground beef on top of roasted spaghetti squash with homemade, Whole30-compliant tomato sauce to top it off. SO GOOD!

SURPRISES

I was surprised throughout the entire day. First, I was surprised at how challenging it was to eat a full breakfast right away in the morning.

Secondly—and perhaps most noticeably—I was surprised to realize just how dependent my body is on getting energy from sugar! By 2:00 in the afternoon, I was so tired! By 3:00, I wanted to go home and take a nap.

Without added sugars in the foods I was eating, it was hard to keep going when I hit a wall midday (luckily a small cup of coffee put me back on track). I also found my temperature changing a lot throughout the day. One minute, I was freezing; the next, sweating. I’m chalking this up to the regulation of my hormones, but I need to do a little research to be sure.

Lastly, I was surprised at how desperately I wanted to chew gum (for those who don't know, gum is 100% off limits during your Whole30). I wanted it to freshen up my breath after eating tuna salad for lunch. My solution? Adding fresh mint to my water. That’ll have to do for now.

I want to close out my Day One summary with a few “wins”:

  • WIN #1: I stuck to my meal plan and did not cheat

  • WIN #2: I found compliant coffee creamer at the supermarket

  • WIN #3: I discovered that my three favorite beverages ARE. ALL. COMPLIANT. (They are: Starbucks unsweetened iced coffee, Aveda tea, and LaCroix sparkling water)

LaCroix too boring for you? Check out this list of Whole30-approved LaCroix-based "mocktails."


That’s all for Day One! Read on for a breakdown of Day Two.


DAY TWO 

They call Day Two "The Hangover," but I woke up feeling a million times better than I ever have experiencing a true hangover. I did, however, wake up at 5:30AM (SO EARLY!) and could not fall back asleep. Day Two was all about discovery for Nora and me. It's fascinating to see how each of our bodies are responding to the Whole30 differently.

Days 2-3 are supposed to be some of the hardest when it comes to fighting the "Sugar Dragon" (fighting sugar cravings and withdrawal-induced headaches) but I am still feeling A++.

I want to take advantage of this feeling and be able to look back on it as the days get harder. I know this process will not always be easy, so I'm trying to soak up the good as much as I can!

BREAKFAST | 6:30AM

The Whole30 recommends eating breakfast within an hour of waking up, so by 6:30AM, I had my leftover spinach frittata with avocado and Frank's Red Hot all warmed up, with a cup of fruit and a cup of tea on the side.

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MID-MORNING SNACK | 10:35AM

I was really hoping I could stay full from breakfast to lunch today, but once 10:00AM rolled around, I knew I needed a mid-morning snack to sustain me (I guess that's what happens when you eat breakfast at 6:30AM). Today, I opted for 2 hardboiled eggs and an RX bar.

TIP: As a general rule, I try to always snack on the fresh stuff before I dive into any dry/manufactured goods. For one, fresh fruits and veggies don't stay fresh for long, whereas energy bars, jerky, nuts, etc. keep longer. Additionally, the fresh stuff is healthier! So, why not fill up on it?

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LUNCH | 12:20PM

Feast your eyes on that bright orange bell pepper! My Day Two lunch was an open-faced pepper topped with tuna salad with carrots, celery sticks, and homemade, compliant "ranch" on the side. Every Tuesday at my office, our leadership team orders us lunch and we eat together as a team. I was worried what it would feel like being one of the only individuals in the office not indulging in a Potbelly sandwich, but I made it through!

Once again, this meal was deceivingly filling. That tuna + pepper filled me up all on its own! I had a few carrots and celery sticks, but wound up throwing them back in the fridge because I was simply too full to finish what I'd packed. (How's that for a win?)

I once again needed a small cup of coffee around 1:30PM to keep me awake and focused for the duration of the workday; however, I don't want a midday cup o' Joe to become a new habit, so I have to keep an eye on how much coffee I'm consuming each day.

DINNER | 5:20PM

This evening was a little more chaotic than usual, so I wasn't able to eat my dinner as slowly and as mindfully as I had hoped. I was in a rush to eat before I left for a networking event, but luckily I had prepped Day Two dinner the night before, so all I had to do was pop it in the microwave. They say the key to Whole30 success is planning and preparation. I couldn't agree more. Thanks to planning + prep, I was already finding ways to work the Whole30 into my busy schedule by Day 2. (Another win!)

I had roasted potatoes (tossed in ghee, salt, and pepper), pan-seared chicken breast (with a side of homemade compliant mayo), and cabbage slaw for my final meal of the day. This dinner definitely filled me up... I wasn't hungry again until 10:30PM. That's FIVE HOURS of full!

The networking event I attended was a social happy hour, and I was worried. Even though I was full from dinner throughout the duration of the event, I still had to fight the voice in my head telling me to reach for an appetizer or have a glass of wine. I am happy to report that I stuck with the program and sipped on a glass of soda water with lime instead (Whole30 approved and no one knew it wasn't a gin & tonic).

CHEATERS NEVER WIN

Toward the end of the work day, I went to the break room to fill up my water bottle. Instinctively, I looked at the bag of Potbelly cookies sitting out and almost grabbed one! As quickly as I thought, "Those look good," I thought, "Wait, what are you thinking? You can't eat those!" I realized in that moment just how mindless some of my eating habits are. It occurred to me just how easy it would be to "cheat." (Too bad I don't want to!) I wasn't even hungry, I just habitually thought, "Why not?"

That's why I'm doing the Whole30... to change my [bad] habits and ultimately, my mindset—because we all know cheaters never win.

That's it for Day Two. Keep scrolling for a breakdown of Day Three!


Day THREE

The first two thoughts that passed through my head this morning were: "WOW I'm tired," and, "I am so thirsty." Between bedtime on Day Two and breakfast on Day Three, I could not get enough water!

This was the first day so far that both Nora and I veered off on our own instead of strictly adhering to the Whole30's 7-Day Meal Plan. We did this because we have SO many leftovers and we want to eat them up! I'm proud of myself for being able to create healthy, compliant (and tasty) meals after only two days of practice.

BREAKFAST | 7:05AM

On the menu this morning: 2 fried eggs, a little leftover ground beef, and roasted potatoes and tomatoes on a bed of fresh arugula.

I also snacked on a cashew cookie Lärabar around 9:45AM.

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LUNCH | 12:00PM

Tuna salad, cabbage slaw, and cherry tomatoes—with a side of fruit.

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DINNER | 5:45PM

Winner, winner... brisket dinner. Just look at that ah-mazing meal! I threw beef brisket into my slow cooker this morning before work, with 4 cups of compliant chicken broth, a few sprigs of thyme, and 4 cloves of garlic.

Stepping into my apartment after work was so satisfying—it smelled so good! In addition to the brisket, I had an avocado (my avocados are finally nice and ripe), and tossed together a side salad with fresh cucumbers from my coworker's garden and a few kalamata olives (my fave).

AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?

By Day Three, I couldn't help but wonder, "Am I doing this right?" Or, rather, "Am I doing something wrong?" Personally, I feel like I'm rocking this Whole30 thing, but I have yet to feel any of the expected negative side effects! I still felt great; my head is clearer, my bloating has gone down, and honestly, I'm happier and more productive already!

GETTING USED TO IT

It's tough doing small amounts of meal prep every night (although I am starting to get used to it). The meal prep itself isn't difficult, but getting home from work, heating/preparing dinner, eating, and then having to prepare more food for the next day is a little exhausting (not to mention washing all these dishes!) I keep reminding myself to power through, because once meal prep is complete, I get to spend the rest of the night relaxing. And, I must admit, having pre-made, healthy meals at the ready each morning as I head out the door is really nice.


HOW I'M FEELING

1 = The worst I've ever felt. 10 = The best I've ever felt.

  • Energy: 6/10

  • Sleep: 8/10

  • Digestion: 7.5/10

  • Mood: 9/10

  • Skin: 3.5/10

  • Allergies + Illness: 3/10


A FINAL REMINDER

This blog is a reflection of my personal experience with the Whole30 thus far. Everyone's body is different. Everyone who takes on the Whole30, or any other challenge, will experience things at a different pace. This is not intended to be a day-by-day guide telling you how you will feel or what you should eat. Instead, it is intended to help you get a feel for how you might fit the Whole30 into your own life. For additional information and resources, please refer to whole30.com.


Photo Courtesy of Minimalist Baker

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