Day Five of our Whole30 program on the road, and things are going really well – so far, not a single “Paleo-but-still-basically-candy” Larabar in the mix. We’ve driven through the Keys, up through Florida to the panhandle (where we had an awesome workshop co-hosted by Lightning CrossFit and CrossFit Fort Walton Beach), and then on through Alabama, Mississippi and now, Louisiana. (We’re currently hanging in the hotel post-workout, gnawing on our PWO meal from the Baton Rouge Whole Foods. There are no forks in sight.) Eating most of your meals out of a cooler is challenging, and we’ve had to get creative to keep from getting bored. We’ll be doing up a “Whole30 while traveling” post soon, to give you more ideas on what to eat while you’re on the road. (Thanks to MGood66 for the suggestion!)
Because this isn’t our first rodeo, we’re not experiencing most of the typical Whole30 effects that come within the first week – the headaches, lethargy, GI distress, sleep troubles or performance dips. These are all TOTALLY common, and can last anywhere from a few days to the first two weeks. (Did you really think you could make up for 20 years of less-than-stellar eating habits in just a few days? It takes your body a while to adapt to eating like this, so be patient with yourselves.) However, there is one “side effect” which we are currently experiencing in full effect.
We. Are. Cranky.
Not because we’re missing some of our fun foods, like heavy cream in our coffee or the occasional glass of wine with dinner. Those have been easier to set aside than even we anticipated. And not because eating well on the road is hard – we knew it would be, and we’re having fun with the challenge. No, we’re cranky because we have recently re-discovered that there is hidden sugar in EVERYTHING.
Now, we’d consider ourselves to be pretty darn savvy consumers. We read the fine print and study ingredients, and we know just because something says it’s “Paleo” (or “Organic” or “Smart Choice“) doesn’t mean it’s even in the neighborhood of healthy. But this Whole30 has made us realize how truly difficult it is to avoid all “added sugars”, and leaves us surprised and dismayed every time we set out to fill our carts at the grocery or health food store. (Ironic, as this is our own darn program.)
Our favorite Madras Curry sauce? Cane sugar. Whole Foods roasted beets? Added sugar and honey. (Do beets really need more sugar?) All the almond milk varieties we’ve ever come across? Cane sugar. (And the “unsweetened” stuff still has soy.) Our go-to sweet treat Sahale snacks? Cane sugar – as though the dried fruit included isn’t enough sweetness.
We’re grateful for this reminder, though, because if we’ve been letting these “extra” sugars and additives slip into our normal daily diet, we can only imagine how much harder it is for those of you on the Whole30 for the first time. So here’s a caution – read your labels. Doesn’t matter if it’s the first ingredient or the last, or if the sugar is in the form of cane or agave or syrup or honey. If it’s got sugar, or soy, or corn, or ingredients you can’t identify or pronounce – it’s OUT. But don’t just label-read and toss foods aside – learn from this experience. Take a moment to be outraged at how food manufacturers and advertisers trick consumers into a false state of health by using buzzwords on labels. Learn to translate complicated ingredients (xylitol and sorbitol = sugar). And weed out those foods that don’t fit into your new way of eating and find healthier alternatives in your local markets.
We couldn’t do deli turkey and beets at the Whole Foods, but we found all natural pre-cooked chicken breast (chicken, sea salt and pepper), a cold asparagus salad (asparagus, red and yellow peppers, sweet onions, cilantro, basil, sea salt, pepper and vinegar) and followed that up with some fresh roasted pecans we bought on the side of the road in Alabama (pecans and sea salt, hand-labeled and packaged in a Ziploc bag).
Have you recently discovered a food you thought was “approved” is, in fact, OUT due to hidden ingredients? Share your frustrations here (and warn your fellow Whole30 friends to steer clear)… AND suggest a healthier alternative! Keep posting, and keep up the strong work, everyone.
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So I am guessing that this means my vitamin d that has corn starch in it is also out?
Today is only my second day of the Whole 30 and I wasn’t feeling the soggy salad that I had packed earlier this morning. So…I went to the vending machine to buy the only semi-paleo thing I could think of. Beef jerky. It was after my first bite that I looked at the package and realized the third ingredient is brown sugar. Wuh-wuh-wuh. Luckily I’m not starving today like I was yesterday. So far, I would say my biggest problem is not packing enough food to eat. I have this insatiable hunger it seems. On that note, it’s off to Wegmans to buy more food. :)
has anyone found a commercially available bacon that doesn’t use sugar in the curing process? because I’m not sure I can live without bacon!
Another one that makes me cranky is the egg white omlette I’ve ordered from a breakfast restaurant that comes out super fluffy. It should be flat. If it’s not flat, then it probably has pancake batter in it. Why would someone bother ordering an egg white omelette if they weren’t trying to avoid something like pancake batter. Grrr. Not sure an omlette is paleo unless you make it yourself as there is often milk in them. But still a good thing to know.
Unfortunately (and I feel your pain!), I had to cut out bacon during my Whole30 as I have not found any bacon without sugar in the list of ingredients.
Here’s my tip: Avocados! Soooo good. On Everything.
The ONLY bacon I have every encountered that was sugar-free, nitrate-free, AND from properly-fed/pastured hogs is from an Amish, Weston A Price Farm in Pennsylvania. I hate giving out this info because I would be bummed to limit my own availability of this but I guess it’s worth it. I was about to look up their phone number because I used to have to call them to have them fax me a price list but low-and-behold they have a website. http://www.millersorganicfarm.com/ The ingredients aren’t listed on the site but just call and ask which bacon you need to order. How do the Amish run a website? I don’t know but the world is better for it.
Also, US Wellness meats makes a sugar-free/nitrate-free BEEF bacon from grass-fed cows. While it is good, let’s be real here… it’s no delicious swine. http://www.grasslandbeef.com/Detail.bok?no=1094
Oh wait… I read further on the http://www.millersorganicfarm.com/ site and it says “Membership to this club from this site is for people living in or near MIAMI or PLANTATION, FL. If you live outside of this area, you will need to contact Millers Farm directly to obtain info on a club in your area or start your own. Miller’s Organic Farm (717) 556-0672.”… Either way…. CALL THEM!
I seen some un-curred bacon at my local health food store today, not sure of the ingredients, I did not look at it that hard. Might be something to check into
I’ve done a fairly unstrict paleo before and so this diet is pushing me. I am going to have to really focus on reading my labels to keep all sugar out. I had a T of Terriaki Sauce on a stir fry I made myself last night. I noticed afterwards that it had a few grams of sugar in it. I’m sure that’s not going to send me into a tailspin of destruction, but I’ll try to keep to the diet ;)
Samantha Aurelio says
Melissaaaaa… you get me every time. I’m going to the farmer’s market tomorrow. I had some chocolate after a strict few days and it just made me feel gross – hah. It’s meant to be. I’m going to try to avoid any packaging (all fresh farmer’s market food + fasting every now and again) for 30(+) days. All farmer’s market, home cooked foods. And I don’t eat fruit. So. I’ll keep you posted on how this all goes. Can I shoot you my same question as before? I know life gets busy so I wont fret over lost emails ;) – Supra iliac. Something I’ve always battled. So what is good for fat loss around the “love handle” areas. I know you can’t PINPOINT fat loss but sometimes I feel like it’ll never go away, haha. Should I do a strict – by the book – until I get to a certain BF%? MAKE ME YOUR GUINEA PIG. PS. I had a customer today (I work at lululemon athletica in Philly!) who came in talking about weight watchers and I brought up paleo and then sent them to this blog and they’re really, really excited to start. I felt like I helped someone hah. But it’s all you guys, so thanks :) Philly misses you!
Recently my wife has been having some problems breast feeding due to my daughters “milk protein” allergy, its also found that 40% of those that can’t process the milk protein can’t process the soy. So we have been avoiding soy and dairy which is good for me, because it means I can eat half of her food. But I was really shocked to find out how difficult it is to shop. Why does deli meat need to have dairy in it? I don’t know. Why is soy in everything? I hear your furstration.
Andrea S. says
So I decided after finishing my usual “breakfast” of coffee + Coffeemate + Atkins bar + weekday hangover that I’m going to do this whole Whole 30 thing. I’m completely petrified, and have never had success at anything food related since I first learned how to cook, but here goes. I’m on board. My body deserves a break. Now I’m going to stop talking before you all think I’m a complete hot mess (that will prove itself soon enough!).
Dallas @ Whole9 says
Correct. Here’s a link to vitamin D drops that are olive/coconut-based, and corn-free: http://drclarkstore.com/vitaminddrops.html It is hard, for sure, to find stuff that’s corn, dairy, and soy-free, because They put that stuff in everything these days. It’s like finding organic, grass-fed beef – it requires some effort, but it IS out there. Kudos to you for your thorough investigation.
Poached eggs are a much safer bet that an omelette when eating out. I had an avocado on my poached eggs this morning, in fact :)
Something interesting that I’ve learned is that often the baby’s “milk protein allergy” is actually an intolerance to stuff that the mother is eating, like grains (containing gluten, etc.) and soy-containing products. All in all, the less processed food you buy, the better. Keep us updated on how changing your family’s diet affects your daughter’s “tolerance”. Best,
Melissa @ Whole9 says
@Sam: Hi, hot stuff! Your comment on our “Testify” post was AWESOME, thanks so much for sharing.
Re: your supra-iliac question, if you’ve read Poliquin (which I know you have), you’ll know his theory on body fat stores says that fat stored in the “love handle” area is related to circulating insulin levels, and insulin sensitivity. And while you’ve made great strides in this area with your food choices and attention to protocol… here’s the tough love.
You’ve never stuck with something long enough to make a REAL difference.
You’ve done the full Whole30, I know, but based on your food logs and training logs and our communications, I know you’ve bounced around from protocol to protocol for a while now. And while all may have added some value to your big picture plan, you’re going to need some consistency in that plan to get you to a solid baseline where you can then AFFORD to play around with some of these factors (like IF and carb-cycling).
So what I’d like to see for you is the commitment to stick to a plan – whether it be a super-strict Whole30, or a 30 day program followed by very moderate (like, 1-2 “treats” a week) plan that focuses on food quality AND meal planning such that you’re getting ADEQUATE calories to support your health and fitness goals. JUST the basics, ma’am… nothing fancypants, just good food in good amounts, day in and day out. Continue to tailor your training such that you’re not over-trained or under-recovered at any point along the way. Continue with a solid sleep schedule. AND THEN… give it a solid 6 months (yes, I said SIX MONTHS) and see where you shake out.
The body doesn’t always respond to changes in dietary factors or training plans super fast, especially if you’re coming from a history of dietary and training volatility. “Evaluating” a protocol for two weeks and then making tweaks does nothing but spin your own wheels. Give this a serious shot, and commit to sticking to the basics for a good chunk of time. I think that may be the only plan you haven’t tried yet.
Thoughts? If I’m off base, let me know, and we’ll continue the dialogue. But I’m posting this here instead of emailing you because (1) I know you’re a tough girl and can take the advice as it’s meant, and (2) there are probably other people out there who can and will benefit from this.
We think you’re awesome, Sam, and we want to help you do awesome things. Stick with us, and we’ll help you out. :)
Melissa @ Whole9 says
AND… @Andrea: GOOD GIRL! And welcome. Stick with us and stay active in your postings here – the community aspect is a huge part of what keeps people motivated and successful!
Thanks for this post Melissa. I am on day six of my whole30. I have managed to not have any strong craving, yet. I had already started cleaning up my diet before I decided to go Paleo which I think helps. I have been reading labels and to crap that is in stuff has made me mad. I have talked about it anyone willing to listen. I grew up on the processed stuff and never really liked veggies. So this is difficult for me to when I struggle with the taste of many veggies. I am trying to get to the place where I know I am eating for fuel and totally on taste, but taste needs to be at least 1% of the equation. I am sure one day I will get there. I have had moments where I have thought about certain foods i.e. ice cream. I was in a mood where if I didn’t get it I would kill someone. It was more of a “I’m bored and now what do I do”. I really think I just ate because I was bored.
I also just lost my cat suddenly and I was surprised myself by not going straight for the comfort food. I feel like I just might make it if that happened week one and I didn’t run straight to the ice cream. I look forward to the rest of this journey.
Thanks so much for your Whole9 Blog, Melissa! There was a fleeting rumor that you and Dallas would be in my neck of the woods visiting SLC Crossfit next month, but it didn’t work out so we have to wait for the next time your road trip comes through Utah!
This is my first Whole30. I started following your first Whole30 back in September and did pretty well except for hanging on to my beloved coffee and a little dairy (for my coffee) and continued to imbibe on the weekends and on special occasions. During December and part of January, I cut the alcohol completely out and my workout performance (and other friends) thanked me.
Well, guess what, the alcohol drifted back in and the dairy never left and I have been on the verge of what I believe to be overtraining since March. So Whole30 part 2 couldn’t have popped up at a better time for me!
Day 5 and what I crave most, much like you and Dallas, is available food that’s just food. Grrrr! Here are some other observations from my Whole30 week 1: Planning my fuel consumes most of my free time; My sink/dishwasher/countertops/car/office are already filled with re-usable plastic containers in all stages of (re)use; My coworkers have asked that I bring my own fridge to work because all of my “leaves and dead animals” are taking up too much fridge space; I have made more trips to the grocery store than I used to make to Starbucks and finally, My family and friends are supportive, coworkers still think I’m weird and I sleep. Like. A. Rock. Love it!
Keep up the good work everyone!
I am on day 12 and going strong. If I see another brownie, homemade German cheesecake, doughnut, cookie or cake, I may just scream. I have learned over the past 12 days that eating out is almost impossible. Most people don’t know what is in their food. People have been trying to pressure me into just tasting. They are often surprised at my determination. Living in a hotel, I have found my self being very creative. Plan, plan, plan is the only way I can make it. It is so sad that it is so hard to eat clean healthy food. I am curious as to what exactly is in the cooler of yours, Melissa and Dallas, I am running out of ideas. Any help you can lend would be great.
I’m finding that pretty much all sunbutter is out — every brand I come across has cane sugar. Sticking w/ the natural sunflower seeds so far (raw, unsalted).
Samantha Aurelio says
Please tough love me all the way. Haha. So what you’re suggesting is a Whole6month plan? Hah. Your by-the-book for a solid 6-mo period. I’m really not opposed to it. It’s summer (YAY I’M A SENIOR) session and I really have nothing to do but focus on this kind of stuff (I think I need it). I definitely know I need to stop bouncing and so long as I can come to Whole9 and comment(/complain) to you guys daily! – and I totes don’t mind the publicity – it’s way easier to stick with my guns and I hope someone else benefits from my trials!
Let me know what’s up!
☺ – Samantha
Blaaarg. One strange thing that’s driving me nuts this time around that I had no problems with last time? Bacon. I’m usually not a big bacon person, but I’ve had the weirdest craving for it lately. That and it seems downright impossible to find bacon without either weird preservatives or sugar. Still going strong, and I guess its not that bad since chocolate, ice cream, pizza, and burgers all hold no draw to me whatsoever. (I think it’s because they’re totally not paleo, so aren’t even considered, whereas bacon is close enough that that voice in my head is trying to make an argument for it).
Anywho, hope everyone else is doing well! Hang in there first timers!
Samantha Aurelio says
PS. to bacon. From the farmer’s markets…? I assume that’s OK.
@ Sam-Next farmer’s market around here isn’t until wednesday, sadly. I’ve got the connection for fruits and veggies, but no meat so far.
P.S.- Sweet blog! way cooler than mine.
Couldn’t agree with you more, since I started eating cleaner I have been amazed at the amount of sugar added to products. It’s unbelievable that a company has to add sugar to frozen fruit or jerky. I just today went to grab some uncured turkey bacon from Traders Joes that I like and realized it had sugar – bummer! You really do have to pay attention to your labels.
Ok so here I go… I have been trying to eat mainly Paleo for a few months now. Today I am starting my first Whole 30. Good bye wine, occasional Think Thin Gluten Free Bar, Lara Bars, and Weekly Cheat meal. I travel a lot for work so I am really looking forward to your posts about eating clean and Paleo on the road.
Thanks for this great website and all you guys do:)
I get so frustrated trying to find decent non-additive infused food at my local Publix, especially since I’m not much of a cook. Speaking of which, if anyone has a good recommendation for ham or turkey deli meat that isn’t too terrible with sugar and salt, I’m all ears. Thanks.
Still trying to keep up the good fight down here. Here is a horror story for people that might feel like cheating. I had some (read: lots) of pizza Friday night. Certainly not Whole9 approved, but it did have tons of meat on it. Anyway, I’m assuming b/c of all the salt, I blew up like a balloon with water retention. Seriously, my hands were so swollen that my finger joints hurt. I’m fine now but learned my lesson.
I also HIGHLY recommend Artisana coconut butter. Basically just raw, pureed coconut meat. It is truly the most delicious thing in the world, and nothing added. I’m carrying a jar of it around with me now when I travel. It’s not exactly cheap, but it’s amazingly filling and delicious.
mgood66, so you carry this coconut oil, how do you use it? does it not have to be kept refrigerated? I travel a lot too.
It’s awesome. Requires no refrigeration. It’s a bit like a thick nut butter. You could either just carry the jar around with you, or you could transfer it to a smaller plastic container. I’ve done both. At room temperature it’s fairly solid, but doesn’t take much warmth for it to become liquid-y.
I eat it with a spoon. Delicious with a little cinnamon mixed in. If anyone has any other suggestions for it I’m open. It’s remarkably sweet, but I’ve been off sweeteners for so long now it doesn’t take much for my taste buds to register sweetness these days.
Warning: this stuff has serious crack-like qualities.
Melissa @ Whole9 says
@MaryT: Welcome aboard, and thanks for sharing. I promise, if you stick with this long enough AND put some effort into trying new cooking methods, recipes, etc. your tastes will change. You’ll start to appreciate the subtle flavors of fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs and spices. Try the chimichurri sauce from today’s post – it’s delicious on top of just about everything, vegetables included.
@KimA: We laughed out loud at your descriptions. We hear you! We couldn’t pull off an SLC workshop in such a short time frame, but we’re still planning to stop in and check out the area, so hopefully we can drop in and say hello! Keep us posted as to how the tupperware battle is going.
@Cara: We’re working on a cooler post, as soon as we stock up again. It’s been tough, but we’re a week-plus into it and still not even close to bored with our food options and meals. Stay tuned!
@JFlood: The Organic Sunbutter has no added sugar of any sort. Yay!
@Sam: I’m not saying you should Whole30 strictly for six full months… I AM staying find a meal plan that works for you (like the Whole30) and stick with it for a solid amount of time. Even if you start to include less than perfect food choices once in a while in a smart fashion, make sure you’re eating enough, getting your veggies, taking your fish oil, and don’t start throwing in stuff like IF or carb cycling or any of that nonsense. Give yourself some TIME with just the basics and see where that takes you!
@Jesse: Unfortunately, there are no grass fed pigs. Bacon is going to be darn near impossible to find in high quality form, so we encourage people to include it sparingly. Doesn’t mean it’s “out”… just know (as, of course, you already do) that bacon as your primary protein source doesn’t make you healthier!
@Dusty: Welcome to our life! It’s disappointing, how many ways food companies (even Whole Foods) find to stuff extra sugar into our diets. If nothing else, it’s an important lesson to learn, and makes you even more careful about your food purchases. Will the extra 3g once or twice a day kill you? Maybe not… but it sure does add up, and that’s not okay with me.
@Cindy: Welcome aboard!
@Jimi: The Applegate Farms brand of turkey includes only turkey, water and sea salt. It’s not the best tasting, compared to a Boar’s Head maple honey, but when you’re in a bind and need a portable protein source, it’s our go-to.
@MGood: Diego (a trainer in Austin) told us he uses the coconut butter in his coffee! He says it melts in smoother and thicker than just plain coconut milk. Worth a shot, because I really don’t love my coffee black (even though that’s exactly what we’re doing during this Whole30).
Great, thanks. I too have been off sweeteners for a while now. Just good to have something in a pinch if one gets the old hunger pangs while traveling.
Appreciate the tip!
Grrr. “Chunk light tuna in water” label: ingredients-light tuna, water, vegetable broth, salt. Allergy info: CONTAINS: FISH, SOYBEANS and, finally, “product may contain bones.” Nice.
Samantha Aurelio says
OK. Summer is 94 more days long. It’ll be easiest to start now while I have time. So tomorrow I’m diving in. I really want to train to compete next year… this is something that really needs to be put into check. I’ll keep you posted, Melissa & Dallas. Ahhhhh! :)
I can handle cutting out a lot of not so healthy foods, but I’ll admit that i have a serious sweet tooth (and I’m great at making gourmet sweets. Salted caramels? Chocolate truffles? gelato to die for? You name it.) I love ice cream, and summer is around the corner, meaning i could easily find an excuse to eat ice cream everyday.
I recently came across the following recipe and thought it was genius. It’s surprisingly creamy and delicious, and I’m assuming you can actually eat it everyday on the Whole30 plan. It only has one ingredient- frozen bananas, but you can also add almond or sunnut butter or cinnamon to mix it up a bit. The one hitch- you need a food processor.
Seriously, this kicks the sweet treat cravings in a pretty awesome way.
Melissa @ Whole9 says
@KimA: Try the tuna in a pouch, but avoid anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce. There are some brands that preserve with something similar to MSG – bad stuff. The kind I use is by Bumble Bee, and the only ingredients are chunk white albacore tuna and water.
@Sam: Just stick to the basics and see where that gets you! Train smart, recover well and pay attention to active recovery AND fun and play and you should end the summer in great shape.
@Susan: We’re taking your question main page, sister, because it speaks to the very heart of our Whole30 program. Thanks in advance for letting us share your experience with others, and we really hope it encourages you to jump on board with the program TODAY. We’re looking forward to having you.
A note on travel cooking: When I used to travel for work, I brought an electric rice cooker. I even packed it in my luggage. It has an extra piece used to steam as well, which is what I used it for. You can steam your veggies, once done, put them in a piece of tupperware and wrap in a towel to keep warm. Then cook your meat. I made a lot of chicken, pork chops, etc., this way. When the meat is done unwrap the still warm veggies and enjoy. I did this in hotel rooms across the country.
Dallas @ Whole9 says
Awesome idea! I brought my camp stove, and cooked up some chicken sausage, steamed spinach and asparagus in a hotel room a few days ago… But, of course, you can’t fly with fuel cartridges, but it has worked great on our road trip! Thanks for sharing what has worked for you.
Frank Ignite says
ABSOLUTELY!! I LOVE Jerky so I went to Whole Foods and picked up 3 different kinds. I picked up some Buffalo, Beef and Turkey and all 3 had cane sugar. In a way I was kind of surprised but I’m currently readin the Omnivore’s Dilemma and ironically I was on the chapter where he addresses the fact that almost everything (even in Whole Foods) is processed. So I eat it only as a treat and I try not to consume too much of it.
Dawn K says
Yes!!!! I am following a diet called Specific Carbohydrate Diet for my ulcerative colitis and the sneaky sugar thing ticks me off every single time I’m in the grocery store. I love you guys and what you do and I follow the blog because if you guys are able to eat it, I probably can (except for the sweet potatoes, but that’s a different story!). At any rate, keep doing what you’re doing and sharing this great information. It really helps people, even those who aren’t “Paleo” or Cross Fitters. Your post about the cooler and your on the road food was awesome and very helpful for someone like me who has to take food with me pretty much anywhere I go.
Im on my first day. Made a rump roast. Only used pepper and salt. Is that okay? And made broccoli used a little evoo, is that okay as well?
So no peanuts at all? I’m hearing some people are eating pecans. What kind of nuts can we eat? Girlfriend is dying bc she can’t eat peanut butter, and it’s driving me crazy! Any substitutes we can get her?
Melissa @Whole9 says
All of those questions and then some can be answered in our Wole30 Success Guide (www.whole9life.com/success), or on our Whole30 Facebook page. Salt, pepper and EVOO are great. No peanuts, but all other nuts and seeds are acceptable choices. Organic sunbutter is a good sub for peanut butter, but eat in moderation, because it’s not the healthiest type of fat.
Hope that helpss!
I so didnt know that tuna fish in a can was anything more than just tuna– now I am grumpy I thought I could have it now I need to look for it in a pouch~! I am just proud to be following this as strict as I can– I am doing a great job on day 13 I may also extend it as well to a whole40! Its crazy how much stuff you think you can have has other ingredients in it! :(
Erin @Whole9 says
@Alex: It’s totally a learning experience, right? I think that label reading (a realizing that there’s sugar in EVERYTHING) was my biggest take-away from my first Whole30.