How to Use Bone Broth in Your Whole30 Cooking

Bone broth, a food with ancient roots, has made a comeback. It’s known to help improve gut and joint health, boost immunity, and heal wounds. Bone broth is especially popular in Whole30 circles as a stand-alone drink or as an ingredient in a recipe.

Husband and wife Ryan and Katherine Harvey are right in the mix of things with their Whole30 Approved company Bare Bones Broth, selling several varieties of bone broth along with collagen peptides both online and in several markets across the country. Read more about their story here!

Bare Bones Broth has big news: On May 8, the company will launch their classic beef and classic chicken bone broths in Whole Foods Markets nationwide!

To celebrate, we’re highlighting some favorite recipes from our Facebook group and other blogs that incorporate bone broth. We hope you enjoy these delicious and nutrient-rich dishes!

Whole30 Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Cleansing Carrot Autumn Squash Soup (omit the maple syrup)

Instant Pot Roasted Potatoes


Stuffed Delicata Squash

Whole30 Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla-Less Soup

Chocolate Chili

Bone Broth Pumpkin Spice Latte (Omit the agave/honey)

Whole30 Bone Broth Sausage & Vegetable Soup

Creamy Sausage & Potato Casserole

Paleo Whole30 Zuppa Toscana

Want to grab some Bare Bones Broth online? Use code “JUJUSWHOLE30” for 15% off your order at www.barebonesbroth.com

Everyday Whole February Whole30 Discounts

Looking to save a little money this month? Or just need to stock up on some of your favorite products? We’ve got you covered! Here’s a round-up of some our group’s current deals and discounts. Some of these links are affiliate links – Thank you for your support!

1. Ayoba-Yo – Use code WHOLE30FB10 for 10% off South African dried meat and a new delicious spice blend.

2. Bare Bones Broth – Use the code “JUJUSWHOLE30” to save 15% on your order of bone broth and collagen peptides.

3. Chomps – Get 15% off your order + free shipping when you shop. Use code WHOLE30. Good through August 2019.

4. Cooked – Get 10% off your first order of ready-made Whole30 Approved meals when you use the code WHOLE30FB.

5. Cucina Antica – Get 25% off your purchase of Whole30 Approved tomato sauce with code EverydayWhole. Good through February 20.

6. Gather Superfoods – Use the code “WHOLE30” for 30% off your ghee order.

7. Georgia Grinders — Use code “WHOLE30” for 20% off your nut butter order. Good for the month of February.

8. Naked Bacon – Use code EVERYDAYWHOLE for 10% off your order of heritage breed raised Whole30 Approved bacon and sausage links, made in small batches.

9. nutpods— Use code “JUJUSWHOLE30” to save 15% off your first order. One coupon use per customer.

10. Paleo Powder – Use code “everydaywhole” for 15% off your order of Whole30 Approved seasoning blends.

11. Tiny Little Chef – Use code WHOLE30 for 20% off your order of handmade seasoning blends.

12. The New Primal – Use code “whole30facebook” for 25% off your order of sauces, marinades, and beef thins!

13. Thrive Market – Use the link for 25% off your first order when you activate your trial membership. You will also be directed to a list of our favorite Whole30 compliant products!

14. True Fare – Use code MYWHOLE30FB for 10% off your order of chef-prepared frozen Whole30 meals.

15. Wild Zora Foods – Use code WHOLE30FB for 20% off your order of meat and veggie bars.

17. WholeMade Kitchen – Boston’s North Shore only! Get 10% off your order of homemade Whole30 Approved meals with code EDW10 at checkout. Good through March 31. Order online!

ENJOY!

Cooking with Friends – January Whole30 Edition

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite way to meal prep is with friends! As often as I can, I try to combine my weekend cooking sessions with a playdate – so I get to cook (and share good food) with my friends and my daughter gets to play with hers.

To do this, I usually ask a friend or two to join the fun. Once we make a date, we email back and forth about the menu and come up with some recipes to try. We make a plan, and then divide up the shopping list so we know who will bring what.

We choose a house to meet at, and make sure we arrive with lots and lots of storage containers to take home all of our delicious eats.

While we cook, our kids play. While we have to stop every once in a while to break up a disagreement between 5-year-olds, it’s more than worth it in the end. We get to spend time together (hard with busy #momlife) and leaved with food prepped to get us through the first part of the week.

I recently had a cooking play date with my friends Andrea and Alyssa – and their daughters. Read on to see what we made:

PALEO PAD SEE EW

I recently saw the episode of The Paleo Way on Netflix that featured Danielle Walker from Against All Grain. One of the recipes she made was her Paleo Pad See Ew – and I knew I had to have it. This recipe did not disappoint! Alyssa was the master of peeling the carrots (I stay away from my peeler since cutting my finger on it last year and needing stitches) and boy, did she make beautiful carrot noodles! This dish was delicious, didn’t require complicated ingredients, and we doubled the recipe to make sure we had plenty to go around.

CHICKEN POT PIE

I had seen Lauren’s Chicken Pot Pie all over Instagram – and my friends agreed this was one to try! We used this recipe and it came out great. We did add some arrowroot to thicken it up to make it more like a true pot pie. It was definitely tasty and we approximately tripled the recipe to make sure we had plenty. A week later, I tried this recipe again with the goal of using canned vegetables. I could only find canned green beans so I used those and it came out great. Next time I find canned carrots and potatoes I am going to grab those to make this dish come together in a snap.

THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING + WEDGE SALAD

Each week in my January Whole30 Coaching Group, we are trying out a different recipe from the fabulous Michelle Smith of The Whole Smiths. This week, I tasked my group with making Michelle’s Thousand Island Dressing + Wedge Salad so I used this cooking play date to make mine. I did get pre-made hard boiled eggs to save time (no shame!) and used some of my delicious Naked Bacon which made the salad incredible. (Save 10 percent off your order with code EVERYDAYWHOLE at checkout!) The homemade Thousand Island dressing was fabulous and got better over time. The salad was a winner and I plan to make it again!

INSTANT POT PULLED BBQ CHICKEN

To make the most of our time in the kitchen, we let the Instant Pot do some work while we chopped, stirred, and cooked! I used this recipe from our blog to make pulled BBQ chicken. It’s so easy – I just added chicken tenders, chopped red onion and small potatoes, The New Primal Classic BBQ Sauce and garlic powder to the Instant Pot. I pressed some buttons and voila – pulled chicken to eat throughout the week! Be sure to use code “Whole30Facebook” for 25 percent off your order from The New Primal.

SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS

What’s a Whole30 meal prep session without meatballs? We made beef meatballs, loosely based on this recipe from Noshtastic. We added tons and tons of spices – lots of garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, parsley, oregano and more. Instead of making our own sauce, we doctored up a jar of pre-made Monte Bene sauce, one of the Whole30 Approved sauces from Cucina Antica. The sauce was delicious on its own but we had some leftover onion so we sautéed that in olive oil in a pot with some garlic and then added the sauce. When the meatballs were cooked, we added them to the sauce to simmer. If you want to try Cucina Antica, save 25 percent off your purchase through February 20 with the code “EverydayWhole” at checkout!

ROASTED SQUASH

While the oven was on, we decided to throw in some roasted squash to help round out our meal prep. We did half of the squash with olive oil and salt and pepper, and the other half with olive oil and Tiny Little’ Chef’s Inflammation Buster seasoning blend. It’s a combo of cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cloves and cayenne — and it’s SO good. Pro tip: It also is a super addition to your coffee. Use code “WHOLE30” for 20 percent off your order when you shop any of Tiny Little Chef’s seasoning blends.

DUMP RANCH

Andrea whipped up some Dump Ranch for us to take home and use throughout the week. This is such a versatile added fat that makes every meal better. We use the Whole Sisters recipe because it’s delicious and easy to modify based on the herbs and spices you have on hand.

MAYONNAISE

Andrea also made some of her famous homemade mayo for us to share. She followed the recipe we recently featured on our blog. This mayo can be used as is or turned into another fun sauce to liven up your meals throughout the week. Mayo is a quick, easy, and budget-friendly added fat for your Whole30. And if you don’t have an immersion blender, get one! It’s a champion of the kitchen and will help you with so many recipes on your Whole30. I have this immersion blender and I highly recommend it!

Have you ever cooked with friends? What’s on your meal prep menu this coming weekend?

A Look Back: Our Top 10 Posts of 2018!

Eight months ago, we jumped into the blogging world and created Everyday Whole. Since then, our little corner of the Internet has been filled with lots of useful hints, tips, tricks, recipes, and support to guide you through your Whole30!

Thank YOU for being here, and for joining us on this journey. To mark the end of our first year with Everyday Whole, we’re taking a look back at our Top 10 Favorite Posts of 2018!!

Cheers to the past year – and let’s raise a glass (of kombucha!) to a healthy, happy, and transformative 2019!

10. Premade vs. Homemade: Prepping for a Round

A couple of years ago when I started my first Whole30 round, there weren’t many products on the market that were compliant. Now, there are lots and lots of choices. Homemade is usually the cheaper of the two but premade products are convenient and save time. Whatever your budget and inclinations are, there’s something below for you.

9. Whole30 Meal Planning: Success is in the Prep

After completing multiple rounds of Whole 30 and mini resets I learned that preparation is the key to my success. Before creating my own meal plan template, my preparation consisted of writing a random grocery list on the back of an envelope. That resulted in multiple trips to the grocery store because I’d always forget something. That process and cycle made meals and shopping frustrating and overwhelming. I would become easily overwhelmed with trying to figure out what I was going to eat for the upcoming week and when I was going to cook it.

8. Load ‘Em Up: Whole30 “Nachos and Fries”

Hey everybody! My friend and fellow Whole30 Certified Coach Judith asked me to stop by and share a little with you today about one of my favorite Whole30 comfort foods… nachos. Wait, what? Nachos can’t be Whole30 compliant, can they? Well yes, as a matter of fact they can, and I am here today to tell you how to make the magic happen in the kitchen. With the nachos that is – at least for this guest post anyway! If you know me, you know that nachos and me are like peas and carrots. Nachos have been there for me when no one else has. They are undoubtedly the epitome of comfort food for me and aside from that they are just freaking delicious.

7. Whole30 Day 30…now what?

Congrats! You’ve finished your Whole30! You’ve checked off a whole bunch of Non-Scale Victories, you feel amazing, and hey, maybe you’ve even lost a few pounds along the way. Your skin is glowing, your thinking is clear, and you’re sleeping like a baby.

Day 30 comes with a ton of emotions: You’re happy, joyful, proud, and feeling so accomplished, as you should! But is also brings fear and a sense of uneasiness – what’s going to happen now? Will I fall face first into a meal of nachos and ice cream? How do I keep up this good feeling forever? Will I fail?

6. Meal Prepping: Our Members Weigh In

We all know that meal prep and planning is key to a successful Whole30. It’s really hard to wing it when you need to have protein, vegetables, and fat handy for EVERY SINGLE meal. But, the beauty of Whole30 is that there is no one right way to do it!

We checked in with four members of our Facebook group to learn how they stay focused, organized, and on track during Whole30! Check out how THEY do it!

5. A Tour Through Your Whole30 Plate

So, as a novice Whole30er, you might find yourself asking, “What is with all this talk about a meal template?” Basically, the meal template is our goal and guide as to how much of what types of foods we should be eating. It reminds us that veggies should be the primary food on our plate (and that means you too potatoes and sweet potatoes). It also reminds us that we need other real food on our plates. It’s critical that all meals include veggies, protein and a healthy plated fat. Fruit is optional but if consumed, should be eaten as part of your meal and not as a “dessert” Also, keep fruit to no more than 2 servings a day. Remember, ½ of a banana is one serving.

4. Five Things I Should Know About Whole30 But Forgot!

In recent weeks, as I’ve been prepping for my Whole30 coaching exam, I’ve picked up all three books again for another read. I confess that I was dreading it a bit – reading these days often feels like a chore with all of life’s other busy-ness swirling around me. But, it’s actually been eye-opening and kind of fun to go back and read the words that inspire my daily life.

Re-reading the books also reminded me of a few things that I had forgotten along the way of my Whole30 journey. And if I forgot them, chances are others have as well!

3. Five Week Whole30 Meal Plan

Meal planning can be overwhelming when you start your first round. Today, we’re turning over the reins to our wonderful member Christa Page so she can share her meal plans for five weeks. FIVE weeks! Admittedly, I can’t get myself to put together one week of meals so my hat’s off to Christa for being organized on par with the likes of Mary Poppins. Her notes, recipes links, and meal schedule may be found below. Here’s a link to the Excel sheet with the meal plan schedule and a link to our Pinterest board that has all the meals below pinned. Enjoy and a big thanks to Christa for making this available to everyone.

2. The Ultimate Whole30 Guide for Newbies

Totally new to Whole30? Welcome! You may have found our Facebook group or our blog as you search for info on the program, and decide if Whole30 is right for you. To make your research easier, we’ve put together some super helpful links with everything you need to know about Whole30 – what it is, how to do it, what to eat, and more!

1. Starting a Whole30 Round

We’re so glad that you found us in our corner of the Internet. Whether you’re new or a seasoned Whole30’er, we have tonnes of resources available for you to get through a round successfully.

On The Road…With Whole30

I recently hopped on a plane by myself for a girls’ weekend away. It was my first time spending more than a night away from my daughters. I was so excited to catch up with friends. I knew there would be linger-y dinners and food that was definitely NOT Whole 30 compliant, but I still wanted to maintain some semblance of my normally healthy diet.

Since it was a special trip, I had made dinner reservations at some hot restaurants in Chicago months in advance. I also planned for healthy quick lunches in the city.

For breakfasts, my plan was to rely on food that I brought with me and to augment with food from local coffee shops. I also bought myself a new small water bottle that I kept filled with water and in my purse. Staying hydrated throughout the day is key for me to keeping cravings at bay.

My flight out was at lunchtime so I took food with me to the airport. I had a hardboiled egg in a Ziploc baggie, ½ a Fawen brand soup, sliced cucumber, and an apple with a Barney Butter.

This is definitely less than what I would normally eat at lunchtime, but to be honest I’m not a great flier so I wanted to keep it light. I drank the soup while waiting in the security line so I could get rid of the liquid and finished the rest of my lunch while waiting for my flight to board. During the flight I opted for a seltzer to drink from the beverage chart and a serving of Barnana bananas. For whatever reason those seemed to settle my stomach.

In the mornings on my trip, I left the house with a turkey strip, Vital Proteins collagen, a Barney Butter, and a compliant bar. The bar was for emergencies. I tend to get HANGRY if meals are delayed, but luckily that never happened.

My flight home was delayed by more than two hours and I didn’t leave Chicago until 10:30 pm. While waiting, the restaurants in the terminal shut down and I was happy that I had a compliant Rx bar with me. I ate it before boarding and then tried to sleep a little since my new arrival time plus time change meant that it was nearly 2am before I landed.

Not ideal, but this falls under the category of a true emergency for me. My flight kept getting delayed and there was no back up or healthier options for a meal.

All in all, I had a great trip and I was happy to stay close to my routine. I had a fabulous time away and felt great about my eating. This is true Food Freedom.

How do you handle being out of your routine? What’s your favorite Whole 30 travel food?

Easy Whole30 Weekend Meal Prep

Our schedule changes all the time. My husband’s a nurse and his shifts are different from week to week. I always take some time over the weekend to sit down at the kitchen table, listen to a good podcast (I’m blowing through them so if you have good ones that you listen to, let me know!), and plan, plan, plan. So, what did I make last weekend?

Every week, I do the same ol’, same ol’:

  • I roast a bunch of veggies

  • I make some meatballs. This week it was turkey meatballs because ground turkey was on sale. I toss them in almond flour, an egg, spices and pan fry it in ghee. And, apparently, looking at the picture on top of this page, I made a small meatball Christmas tree. Deck the halls! Blogging tip–look at your picture closely BEFORE eating. I’ll have to add more decorations to my Christmas tree the next time.

  • I also put a package of chicken breasts into my Instant Pot to cook and shred so I had a container full of grab and go chicken. I didn’t feel like cooking the other day, so cut up some veggies to stir fry, grabbed some chicken, and some The New Primal Mustard BBQ sauce. Super simple supper as shown above. You can get 25% off The New Primal sauces, marinades, and beef thins using the discount code whole30facebook.

  • I also make a sauce for the week… This week was a double batch of Eat The Gain’s creamy lemon garlic sauce. I usually make a double batch for a plated fat and vary it each week.

There were some beautiful green plantains in the supermarket which I took advantage of. I grabbed a bunch and made lots and lots of tostones to use for Clean Eating Veggie Girl’s Ground Turkey Plantain Nachos AND to freeze. So, so good. If you haven’t delved into the awesomeness that are tostones, don’t wait a minute longer. They are super easy to make. You can get a how-to on tostones here.

The best part about tostones–well, there are lots of good parts but here’s two: you can cut them into thinner strips like I did for the nachos to have more crunch AND, our Facebook member, Margarita, suggested freezing them after you fry them once and press them. This is exactly what I did and I have a bag full of tostones in my freezer to take out when I want them but am too busy for the prep work.

I also made Nom Nom Paleo’s Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili. I love my Instant Pot so much–I sauteed everything in it then pressure cooked it for 15 minutes. I skipped most of the spices that the recipe called for, except salt, and used my Tiny Little Chef Traditional Chili Seasoning instead. The chili turned out a little watery so I think I’ll put a bit more tomato paste in it the next time. You can get 20% off Tiny Little Chef seasoning with the discount code WHOLE30.

And, speaking of tomato paste, I can’t stand buying those little cans only to use a tablespoon or two for a recipe. I took some parchment paper, put it on a plate, and doled out the rest of the can in little 1 tablespoon scoops. Off to the freezer they went to harden a bit and they’re now sitting happily in my freezer in a bag waiting to be used. I feel like Martha Stewart for thinking of doing this!

I don’t want meal preps to be overly complicated and end up spending all afternoon in the kitchen. I usually try at least one new recipe a week. If you need some inspiration, you can check out our recipes here or visit our Pinterest page here.

Hopefully, this’ll give you a few ideas for you meal prepping this weekend!

Whole30 Weekend Meal Prep

It’s been a busy month for me – between lots going on at work, Halloween festivities with my daughter, my Whole30 Coaching, and more! I finished my 8th round of Whole30 in early October and since then, I have added back a little sugar and alcohol to my diet.

I still eat mostly Whole30 but in the past few weeks, my meal prep has gotten a little lazy. There have been lots of Bubba Burgers, chicken sausages, and some True Fare meals (Use code MYWHOLE30FB for 10 percent off your TrueFare order – They are great to keep in the freezer in a pinch!) There’s nothing wrong with ANY of those options – they are all compliant and delicious – but I’ve taken a few weeks off from a hard-core meal prep weekend.

I had some time this past weekend and I decided to dedicate it to cooking. Read on to see what delicious eats I made to set myself up for success in the coming week.

PROTEINS

I am a TOTAL InstantPot newbie but I wanted to give it another whirl today. I put some thin chicken breasts in the IP with some Classic Buffalo Sauce from The New Primal, water, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and some diced red potatoes. I pressed some buttons and set it for 17 minutes. When it beeped, I turned it to quick release and when it popped, I had a delicious shredded BBQ and potato dish. I am going to have to try this again!

I also made Whole Kitchen Sink’s Paleo Cashew Chicken Skillet – This one is easy, delicious, and lends itself to leftovers. The sauce is especially yummy! I made a bag of cauliflower rice to serve this with and divided up the skillet and rice to share with my neighbor.

It was a week of chicken and lastly for proteins, I made fellow Whole30 Certified Coach Miranda’s Chicken Broccoli Casserole, which we just shared on the blog It’s creamy and rich – so good! This is definitely one to add to your holiday rotation.

CONDIMENTS

I whipped up a batch of homemade mayonnaise using the tried and true Whole30 recipe. I took some of the mayo and mixed with a bag of shredded cabbage, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, raw cashews and yellow raisins (mine were not compliant as they contain sulfites but I am OK with that in my Food Freedom.) I also used the mayo in the chicken broccoli casserole mentioned above.

I also baked a sheet pan of Wellshire Farm Paleo bacon that I had defrosted from the freezer. When the bacon was done, I put half of it away and used the other half (and the same foil-lined sheet pan) for more veggies – read on below.

VEGETABLES

If you’ve been reading this blog or hanging around in the Facebook group, you’re probably well aware of my love for Crispy Fried Oven Green Beans by Low Carb Yum. I substitute nutritional yeast for parmesan cheese – and use lots of more of everything than called for. I love these and make them (or a variation using a different vegetable) pretty much weekly! I made a double batch and shared some with my neighbors.

I also roasted some pre-cut butternut squash cubes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Nothing crazy but just good to have some extra veggies on hand for the week.

I took the bacon I mentioned above and rough chopped it. I tossed it with some diced onion and red potatoes and drizzled with olive oil and Primal Palate Meat and Potato Seasoning which I gave at Thrive Market. I baked for about 35-40 minutes at 400 and voila, it was DELICIOUS!

FRUIT

I had some strawberries on their VERY last leg that I didn’t want to waste. So, I cut them up and put them in a saucepan with a little water. I added some blackberries and a chopped apple – and boiled it until it was a makeshift applesauce. You can add cinnamon, nutmeg, or any spice you choose. I kept this one simple.

I also bought some extra apples, pre-cubed cantaloupe (more expensive but worth it to me!), more strawberries, and blackberries to get me and my daughter through the week fruit-wise. Easy peasy!

EXTRAS

As I’m not currently on a round, I wanted to make something different to go with my meal prep. Last week my neighbor made this Sweet Potato Apple Breakfast Bake from Paleo Running Momma and shared some with me. It was so good – that I wanted to try it this week. I also added shredded coconut to the recipe. Mine didn’t come out quite as good as hers but it’s still solid and I will use it to round out meals as needed during the week. It’s not sweet but it definitely blurs the line toward dessert so I personally would save it for after your round!

BEVERAGES

I made sure I was well-stocked on seltzer – I rotate between buying Polar, Bubly, Spindrift, and LaCroix. This week, I picked up some Bubly to add to my stash. I also got some of my favorite Dark Roast Coffee Pods at Trader Joe’s and of course, I have plenty of nutpods to keep my coffee creamy and delicious! (Use code JUJUSWHOLE30 for 15 percent off your first order of nutpods!)

And that’s my weekend meal prep. I will likely make some more food mid-week but those dishes will be easier! I am thinking I’ll do a sheet pan chicken sausage supper with whatever veggies I have on hand and some salmon burgers from Thyme & Joy that caught my eye.

I may also throw some frozen burgers in my Air Fryer – another great idea from Thyme & Joy. I always keep some emergency veggies in my kitchen – potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, and frozen cauliflower rice so I can make any of those in short time if I need to and put together a quick meal.

And that’s how I prepped this weekend. What did YOU make?

A Look Back at my August Whole30

I have admired so many friends and colleagues over the past few years who have successfully completed a Whole30. I thought that there was NO WAY that I could ever be that disciplined and restrict my favorite foods, wine, and sweets for a month!! In fact, I started a few rounds over the years, but failed miserably after a week into it — of course coming up with the best excuses ever as to why I just could not continue.

After thoroughly enjoying the first half of 2018, I was finally ready to take control over my issues with food. I was desperately seeking the Food Freedom that so many have found through this journey and started my first REAL Whole30 on August 1.

I can’t tell you how many people asked me why I was doing Whole30?? The unsolicited comments included:

  • You already eat healthy…

  • You do not need to lose weight…

  • You do not have any real health issues…

  • Are you crazy!?…

  • Why would you give up alcohol for a month?…

  • So that means we won’t see you next month since you can’t hang out at night anymore? …

  • Can you at least cheat once?

  • And the list goes on and on and on, leaving me feeling somewhat guilty.

These questions challenged me to dig deep and gain a better understanding of why I was choosing to embark on this 30-day personal experiment and mental journey. Quite frankly, I fear failure, and this journey did seem rather daunting as I spent a week making the necessary preparations. I needed to be fully armed with answers so I wouldn’t feel guilty about telling friends why I was taking control of my eating for a month. The bigger issue was why in the heck was I feeling guilty??? What is wrong with simply telling people that I care about myself and I am doing this for ME so I can be a better mother, wife, and friend!?

I needed a mission statement for ME, words to repeat over and over in my mind, reminding myself WHY I was taking on Whole30. As each week progressed, my “why” seemed to change and become more refined. The initial goal wasn’t about losing weight or trying to fit into a dress for a special event. Fortunately, I don’t suffer from any major health issues. I already know how to read labels and prepare healthy, nutritionally balanced meals made from whole foods.

The ultimate goals were to uncover the origins of my emotional eating, take away my constant focus on food, practice/implement portion control, feel better about myself both mentally and physically, gain a more positive outlook on life, gain more energy, and improve quality of sleep. With school starting back after summer break, I wanted to be more present for my kids in the evening and not let the back-to-school stresses affect me.

I was craving a new routine, one full of structure both at home and at work. Weekly meal planning and meal prepping were brand new practices for me – I needed to do this so we didn’t end up a restaurant for dinner!

As my journey began, I started to come to terms with the fact that I have a REALLY unhealthy relationship with food and that I need to free myself from this trap. It is no real secret the I love food, especially GOOD food. I started cooking when I was in second grade and married a true foodie, who equally enjoys cooking and eating amazing meals.

For that matter, I decided to combine my passion for healthy lifestyles, food and cooking, co-founding Georgia Grinders nut butters in 2012 with my husband. The ultimate problem is that I am addicted to food and have trouble with portion control. I am an emotional eater and truly have no willpower when it comes to sweets – especially cake with an extraordinary amount of icing, gooey brownie, and ice cream. Especially after enjoying red wine and cheese! I have mastered turning any situation, either positive or negative, into a reason to celebrate or cope with food.

I have never lacked an appetite and exercise heavily as justification for indulging ALMOST.EVERY.SINGLE NIGHT. I guess this is my way of purging after binges. I can’t tell you how many times I have stuffed my face until my stomach feels like it is going to explode. The guilt starts setting in, I might take another bite or two, start complaining to my husband and finally go to bed feeling grouchy, though convinced that tomorrow will be my day to start over and quit torturing myself!

Fortunately, I inherited good genes, a fast metabolism and do not struggle with being overweight, but that certainly does not equate to being healthy, feeling energetic, or positive about my image. I have never been a calorie counter, nor have I been one to weigh myself. Working out genuinely fuels my soul, clears my mind, and makes me feel amazing. Going to exercise classes with friends will ALWAYS be a huge part of my life, though I want to get rid of the pressure to exercise daily and guilt that follows if I am not able to fit a work out in. I truly believe that this will take place once the binges stop and I find balance.

I successfully completed my first round of Whole30 with the support of a few friends who joined me on the journey. We shared recipes, exchanged meals, and kept each other motivated. While my husband and kids did not do Whole30, they were very supportive of my goals and kept me on track. The Whole30 Day By Day book was exactly what I needed and would highly recommend this book to anyone who is thinking about embarking on their first round. When I do a second round, I will most definitely pull it out again. Melissa nails each day to a science and often it felt as if she were reading my mind and had the perfect answer to my questions/complaints. Her motivation/tough love was just what I needed when I got sick of meal planning, meal prepping, and doing countless hours of dishes! When I got bored with the food, her obvious suggestion to find new recipes and flavors to incorporate into the routine were just the inspiration and reassurance I needed.

So, what did I notice during my 30-day experiment?

Food/ Cravings: My sugar and alcohol cravings were gone, which absolutely shocked me. Yes, there were plenty of nights that I would have loved to have enjoyed a glass of wine or a margarita on the patio with friends, but I really enjoyed waking up without a headache and extra pep in my step. I severely missed cheese and pizza though (SALT) and thoroughly enjoyed the Chicago deep dish pizza on my daughter’s birthday after completing the round. I honestly did not miss the sweets or chocolate that I previously devoured each night after dinner, simply because I got them out of the house and told myself that they were off limits! But let me tell you, my craving for SALT WAS REAL. It makes sense though, since so many processed foods are loaded with salt.

Well Being: Overall, I felt really good and had positive outlook throughout the 30 days. Unfortunately, I never experienced the improved quality of sleep that so many report. In fact, my sleep quality declined and I had many nights where I woke up at 3 am and never went back to sleep. I must disclose that I have suffered from insomnia for a large portion of my life, but I was quite surprised that this particular month was sub-par in the sleep department. The good news is that I did not feel guilty when missing my cherished work outs after a night of no sleep because I was not bingeing on sweets!! This was a monumental discovery for me and very liberating.

Despite my lack of sleep, overall, I felt more energetic, was extremely productive and conquered one of the most stressful times during the life of Georgia Grinders without alcohol or sweets! It is with pride that I checked the box of completion at the end of each day, keeping me motivated and positive. At the halfway point, quite a few people commented that I looked toned and my skin appeared to be clearer. I personally felt less bloated, swollen and puffy, even noticing a few abs and that my clothes seemed to be fitting better. Talk about motivation to keep moving forward!! Food boredom definitely struck during week 3, which inspired me to seek out new recipes and flavors, per Melissa’s on-point suggestion. The last week seemed to go a little slower and oddly enough, I got one of the worst migraines ever. This still perplexes me??

Re-Introduction: I am rather disappointed to report that re-introduction did not go as planned, which is why I have had such a challenging time writing my story. I feel like I have failed, even though I just completed my first Whole30 and learned so much about my personal struggles with food. Re-introduction IS SO IMPORTANT and I wish I spent more time focusing on the 2-3 weeks after my Whole30 and not just on the 30-day journey. This re-introduction phase failure has turned out to be the best thing that could have happened though, as it has become crystal clear that the Whole30 lifestyle is something that I need to follow until I can successfully practice moderation. I am very black-and-white and do not thrive in the gray zone. I need rules to follow, but occasionally bend. Clearly it makes sense for me to avoid my trigger foods and keep them out of the house, otherwise these trigger foods will haunt and lure me in like a demon. Meal prepping is something that I have NEVER done until now and will most definitely carve out time each week to meal prep so that I will always have healthy meals available. This will prevent me from reaching for the snack foods when the hunger pains, boredom or stress strike, ultimately preventing me from bingeing on the random stuff in my pantry….even if it is 100% compliant and then feeling guilty.

Moving Forward: I will most definitely make the time to meal prep Whole30 compliant meals for the week to keep me on track. I plan to limit alcohol consumption to the weekends/special events, since that glass of wine or two ultimately leads me to make poor food choices and binge. I plan to keep my trigger foods out of the house, but I will never deny myself what I enjoy on special occasions! I need to move out of the kitchen when the urge to binge strikes and find something to distract me…like, take the dog on a walk, play with my kids or simply sit and breathe. I plan to start journaling what causes me to binge so I potentially identify patterns/ trends and ultimately find true food freedom. It will probably take another round or two of Whole30 with proper re-introduction to discover this phenomenon, but I am hopeful and encouraged by what I experienced after this first round.

And of course, Georgia Grinders kept me fueled and satiated throughout my Whole30 journey. Nut butters are one of the most versatile pantry staples and can be incorporated into just about every meal of the day, while appealing to people of all ages. With no added sugar or oil, Georgia Grinders has four Whole30Approved products- Original & Salt Free Almond Butter, Cashew Butter and Pecan Butter. I absolutely love creating sauces and dressings with nut butters to pair with chicken, fish, grilled veggies, salads and zoodles.

Asian inspired flavors tend to pair well with nut butters, so I typically throw almond or cashew butter, garlic, fresh ginger, red pepper flakes, curry powder, coconut aminos, fresh squeezed lime juice and fresh squeezed orange juice into my Vitamix and blend with bone broth until desired consistency is reached. Less bone broth for a dipping sauce and more for a salad dressing. See my recipe below if you want to give this sauce a try!

In addition to making sauces and dressings, the Pecan Butter is fantastic drizzled over roasted sweet potatoes with chipotle/red pepper and of course, sweet potato toast topped with nut butters also became weekly staple.

Here are some of my favorite Whole 30 meals, with photos:

Italian Shrimp/mussel Salad with avocado oil and Italian seasonings (parsley, sage, oregano, basil)- again, more herbs from my garden.

Smoked Chicken Wings with Asian Sauce / Whole30 Ranch and Kebobs grilled on the Big Green Egg- fortunately my husband LOVES to grill!

Burgers with sweet potato buns

Seared tuna with roasted broccoli and Asian salad with almond butter dressing

Of course, I NEVER left home without a 3 oz. re-sealable travel pouch of Georgia Grinders Almond Butter!

My new coffee obsession:

Collagen and coconut oil blended in coffee each morning… sometimes with nutpods!

Mocktails:

Kombucha mixed with LaCroix served in a wine glass so I would feel fancy!

Jaime’s Asian-Inspired Nut Butter Sauce Recipe:

  • 1/3 cup almond butter or cashew butter

  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut aminos

  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

  • 5 garlic cloves minced

  • 1 tablespoon compliant sriracha

  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger

  • 1/4 bone broth (more or less, depending on desired thickness)

Throw in the Vitamix and blend on high until smooth. Add more bone broth, depending on desired consistency. Great for dressings, sauces for zoodles, dipping sauce for chicken, fish, veggies, etc. The possibilities with this sauce are endless!

Why Thrive?

We get asked A LOT about what we have in our kitchens and where you can find those products so I thought it was time we properly introduced you to Thrive Market. It’s an online grocery store full of compliant items and so much more—picture Whole Foods with bargain basement prices!

It’s a shame that products without all the sugars and other unpronounceable stuff is higher priced. Take regular ketchup vs. compliant ketchup for example. Great, so I have to pay more for better choices! Fortunately, over the past couple of years, there are more compliant products that have come into the market and we have a place that has lower prices to shop at. Enter Thrive Market.

When I was first introduced to Thrive, I was looking to stock up on essential pantry items for my Whole30 and figured I’d give their free 30 trial a whirl. I tried and loved it and ended up getting a membership. So far, with the five orders that I’ve put in, I’ve saved $175.44.

So, gimme the details…what’s the incentive?

The easy answer is money. You can sign up for a FREE 30 day trial membership and get 25% off through our link. No commitment. If you even try it once, you’ll save money.

Any reason why I might be interested in getting a membership?

  • 25-50% below retail prices for organic, non-GMO, high quality products. I’ve checked several items and they are lower in price. Take almond flour, for example. Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour Super Fine (16oz.) is $9.49 at Target, $11.49 at Stop and Shop, and $8.49 at Thrive. They have their own Thrive brand almond flour which is $7.99. Win!

  • They have LOTS of Whole30 compliant products all in one place (Primal Kitchen, The New Primal, Good Food for Good, Yai’s Thai, and more). Our favourite products appear when you click on our link.

  • You can order beauty products, cleaning products, pet products, and more from there and get FREE shipping on any order over $49.

Is the membership worth it?

  • Yes! I paid $60 for a year membership (so, $5 a month) and have saved well over the cost of it so far. Plus, Thrive market guarantees that you’ll save your membership fee’s worth or else they’ll refund you the difference.

  • My membership sponsors a free membership for a low-income family, teacher, veteran, or student. This makes me feel good!

  • On the flip side, if you’re a low-income family, teacher, veteran, or student, you can apply for a free membership here. Go ahead, apply!

What are a few of my favourite things? Flours! The flours above are what I have in my pantry at any given time. Gimme all the flours! With a little flour, egg, and some seasoning, you can coat any meat, fish, or veggies. Almond flour is great to make meatballs with! I could go on and on but I don’t need to bore you with an exhaustive list of what I cook with these but if you need a coconut fish recipe, email me.

Some other staples I buy are oils, vinegars, and spices. After those are in my cart, I move onto the dressings and sauces. Good Food For Good just started selling their ketchups (spicy and original) on Thrive and I’m over the moon. I tried them last year and have been waiting impatiently for them to arrive in the US market. Seriously, I am officially a ketchup snob now…only Good Food For Good’s ketchup in a crystal ramekin served cold with someone singing in the background while playing a harp while I eat. Okay, I know, I know…but it’s seriously good–try it! You won’t be disappointed!

There you have it! That’s what Thrive Market is all about. Give it a try–if you only order once and decide that it’s not for you, you’ll save 25%. Might as well splurge once.

Sheet Pan Meals: 10 Quick & Easy Ideas for your September Whole30

With the September Whole30 around the corner, we’ve been busy collecting quick and easy recipes to help us through the month. We’re turning to lots of sheet pan meals this month; you can’t go wrong with protein, vegetables, and sauce/seasonings cooked on one dish! Clean-up is minimal and most of these recipes will leave you with leftovers to make packing school or work lunches a snap the next day.

Here’s a round-up of TEN of our favorite sheet pan meals with thoughts from the bloggers who created them! Which ones will you try?

Food Family Wine’s Sheet Pan Sausage and Brussels Sprouts

“Weeknights are a perfect time for a simple and beautiful sheet-pan dinner. It’s only three ingredients drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with my Italian spice blend. Use your favorite seasoning blend if you don’t have an Italian blend. Getting dinner on the table can’t get much easier.”

Dolly’s Whole Life’s One Pan Crispy Cajun Chicken

“I don’t even know if this counts as a recipe because it’s stupid easy. I think the hardest part is making sure I don’t burn my chicken when I broiled it for maximum crispy skin. Other than that, you’re literally tossing a bunch of protein and vegetables with spices and calling it a day! …a very flavorful day I might add.”

Whole Kitchen Sink’s Pineapple Ham Sheet Pan

“The pineapple layered with the leftover Whole30 ham really gives the meat such a yummy flavor as the natural sugars in the pineapples help to caramelize the artificial sugar-free Paleo ham a bit. It’s like using brown sugar to get that slightly sweet taste, except totally way better, way healthier and obviously Whole30 compliant!”

Fed and Fit’s Teriyaki Beef Sheet Pan Dinner

“This Teriyaki Beef Sheet Pan Dinner came out of the oven absolutely PERFECT. The broccoli was perfectly cooked and even wonderfully crispy on the edges, the beef had that perfect takeout near-crispy (but not over-cooked) texture, and the marinade reduced to form the tastiest sauce over everything. I was blown away and so excited to bring you this method.”

The Defined Dish’s Sheet Pan Sausage with Veggies

“Sheet pan meals are just one of those things you have to have in your back pocket. Throw it all in the oven and let the oven do the work. It just doesn’t get much better than that. Plus, it makes for kitchen clean up to be a heck of a lot easier. Here is a super-duper simple sheet pan meal that is still satisfying and delicious. It’s simply Italian sausage links with green beans, bell peppers and onions roasted to perfection. I serve mine with a little lemon, mustard, and side of sauerkraut and I am a happy woman.”

Just Jessie B’s Sheet Pan Teriyaki Salmon & Vegetables

“We always keep salmon in the freezer, so I thawed a fillet quickly then scrounged together the vegetables we had left. It was a mix of fresh and frozen, but you know what? It still worked perfectly! So use the veggies that you have. Carrots, mushrooms, snap peas? Those would be equally tasty in this stir-fry inspired meal!”

Laughing Spatula’s Sheet Pan Fajitas *Make sure to omit the non-Whole30 compliant fajita toppings!

“I love that everything with this is Whole30 compliant and simple, right down to the seasoning. Cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper into some olive oil makes your perfect fajita marinade.”

Farmstead Chic’s Whole30 Steak and Potatoes Sheet Pan Dinner

“This Whole30 Steak and Potatoes Sheet Pan Dinner is the perfect meal for a busy weeknight or when you don’t want to spend an hour in the kitchen. Rosemary and garlic enhance the flavors of the steak and veggies without overpowering them. This meal is so simple and easy to make with minimal prep and cleanup.”

The Real Food Dietitians’ One-Pan Teriyaki Chicken Veggie Bake

“This One-Pan Teriyaki Chicken Veggie Bake made with a simple homemade teriyaki sauce is easy to make, infused with asian flavors, and Whole30 friendly! Most homemade teriyaki sauces are made with soy sauce and a sweetener of some sort but you won’t find either of those ingredients in this recipe. I replaced the soy sauce and sweetener with coconut aminos and freshly squeeze orange juice and the results were on point. A Whole30 friendly Teriyaki Sauce for the win!”

Kalyn’s Kitchen’s Roasted Lemon Chicken and Green Beans Sheet Pan Meal

“This Roasted Lemon Chicken and Green Beans Sheet Pan Meal is an easy and delicious dinner that’s low-carb, Keto, low-glycemic, gluten-free, dairy-free, and South Beach Diet Phase One, and can be Paleo or Whole 30 with the right ingredient choices!”