Whole30 Week #3 Update: Cooking & the Snack Struggle Bus

This week’s survival is brought to you by Trader Joe’s Plantain Chips, dried mangoes and GT’s Kombucha (or Chewbacca juice, as Jon calls it).

No, that’s not an official endorsement, but those sure are some tasty snacks. But more on that later.

This past week was SO MUCH BETTER than the one before it. I turned a corner, praise Jesus. The Hubs so gracefully explained my previous situation to the family at Sunday lunch: “Amber usually handles stressful situations very well, but last week, I thought she was going to burn the house down.” Thanks for the vote of confidence, babe. But yes, you pretty much nailed it.

Fellow potential Whole30’ers, I’m happy to report that things get much better after the second-ish week. According to the Whole30 timeline, last week  meant that I hit the downhill slope of the program in terms of cleansing and mood swings and that life would go back to being beautiful again. I definitely felt that.

My newest observations:
Ready for this? ……I think I like to cook. There, I said it. Cooking hasn’t been one of the talents I was really blessed with, mostly because I never really did it/had time for it with all my crazy running around. And you can’t count boiling water, throwing in some spaghetti noodles and heating up sauce as cooking, can you? Otherwise, I’d be the winner of all the cooking.

I can say with 100% confidence that how I’ve been eating has directly affected my performance in the gym (shout out to CrossFit616!). I feel more energetic, stronger and genuinely pumped to get my butt kicked during a workout. <–Yes that’s a thing. And guys, I did 2 unassisted pull ups in a row for the first time in my life! So pumped.

I wish I knew what I know now about food when I was in high school and college, playing sports. As I look back…I can hardly believe what I used to eat before practices and games. I just didn’t know, or maybe didn’t understand fully, how food directly impacts performance. Lets go back about 10 or so years, prime of my high school soccer career. I LOVED FOOD. And I was always hungry. So, naturally, before practice I’d either eat a few bowls of Lucky Charms, a few bagels or if I was crunched for time I’d swing through McD’s and grab a double cheeseburger or two. (Sorry Mom, you’re probably mortified.) Yes, this really happened. How I even functioned and performed after putting that crap into my body minutes before I trained or played in a game is beyond me. And don’t even get me started on hydration and drinking water. Gatorade for life. Drinking water was so boring and uncool. Hydrating before a game meant maybe hitting up the drinking fountain a few times during the day at school.

College soccer was much better as we spent a good amount of time on nutrition education. Hydrating properly definitely kicked up a notch too, as water bottles were like an extra appendage attached to our bodies during the season. But even then, I didn’t take nutrition as seriously as I should have or could have. I’m totally wondering to myself right now…how much better could I have been if I would have paid more attention to what I was putting in my body?! But that’s a conversation for another day.

Biggest challenges of last week?

SNACKS. My sister introduced me to Trader Joe’s Roasted Plantain Chips before I started Whole30. These babies are Whole30 approved and as a savory type of girl, they are the best Whole30 approved snack invention ever.

Let’s back up a little bit. When you start Whole30, you pretty much accept that when you go places outside of your home, there may be times where none of the food/appetizers provided are on the “can-eat” list. Besides the first time you go out and realize you can’t eat anything, this is no problem as long as you are prepared. So I got into the habit of bringing a small bag of these plantain chips with me wherever I went. Can’t get popcorn at the movies? Plantain chips. Can’t have that buffalo chicken dip at your friends house? Plantain chips. Can’t have pretzels as a bedtime snack anymore? Plantain chips.

See the downward trend here? Not saying that snacks are bad – but they can get out of control REAL fast. Last week I stepped on the snack struggle bus. I brought my plantain chips, dried mangos and Kombucha with me everywhere I went. Not that I needed food because I was hungry, but because I wanted to eat something while everyone else was eating something. It became my comfort food.

And by doing this, I put myself right back to where I started in terms of breaking habits. But, it was a good lesson to learn, and something I’m much more conscious about going into this week.

Other biggest challenge? Jet’s Pizza, cheesy bread and the always delicious homemade ice-cream dessert with rice crispy and hot fudge topping at Sunday lunch. Yes, again with the pizza, I know… it’s bad. I’ve been having dreams about pizza. Anyway – I’m not sure if you have heard of author/blogger Jen Hatmaker before, but she posted this status about passing up on Chick-Fil-A…and this basically sums up my Sunday lunch feeling while watching everyone enjoy that perfectly square cut pepperoni pizza while I ate my salad:


#Truth. Worst day ever.

I just keep reminding myself…”It’s worth it, it’s worth it, it’s worth it.”

And it totally has been.

I can cook a mean Shepard’s Pie without burning the house down, I’ve become a food prep machine and can organize all the tupperware containers in a drawer/fridge without wanting to lose it (you organizers know what I’m talking about), and I’m conquering pull ups – that’s more than what I could say 23 days ago. Not only that, but the encouragement I’ve received while doing this has been mind-blowing – both from those that have done Whole30 before and those who’ve never even heard of it until now. A few friends of mine started Whole30 in the past 20 days or so, and watching them go through it is so cool and humbling because everyone’s “results” and triumphs are so different and personal.

One friend told me last week that she went to church on Sunday for the first time since about high school and that she couldn’t wait to go back – this was the first weekend in a long time she didn’t feel dragged down from going out the night before. Another friend texted me saying she was at a weekend long bachelorette party and was surviving despite not being able to partake in all the festivities… and we all know how those bachelorette parties can get…#disciplineaward for that gal. You ladies inspire me.

Whole30 aside, it’s amazing to me the things we can start to achieve when we practice discipline in our lives. Whether that’s sticking to a budget, putting a little extra effort everyday into a relationship, walking for 30 minutes a day, or studying 15 minutes longer.

Additionally, it still blows my mind how much our lives revolve around food; how food is comfort for us, habitual, social, and used as a reward. And not that those things are bad – because they aren’t in the right context! Gathering together around a table with friends or family over a good meal or a beer is what brings us together and it’s one of my favorite things about life and relationships. But Whole30 continues to teach me what my body needs and how much of it is the right amount to keep me performing at my best, both physically and emotionally.

6 more days left, people. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it looks like pizza.

PS: Next week I’m going to dive into the most frequently asked questions I’ve gotten from people, what my meals looked like this week and what life after Whole30 means.





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Glass half full kinda gal. Lover of hugs and 'atta-girls.'

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