Getting Saucy at The New Primal

One of the best parts of my recent trip to Charleston was the chance to hang out – and eat lunch – at the headquarters of Whole30 Approved superstar partner The New Primal.

As you may already know (because I screamed it from the rooftops last year!), I was one of The New Primal’s 2018 Whole30 Coaching Scholarship winners. Becoming a Whole30 Certified Coach and being able to officially share my passion for Whole30 with the world is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me!

Beyond loving them for the scholarship, The New Primal makes INCREDIBLE Whole30 Approved items, ranging from sauces to marinades to beef thins to salad dressings. Their products are true game changers in helping to get fast and delicious Whole30 meals on the table. (As a reminder, we have a generous group discount of 25 percent off online orders with the code “WHOLE30FACEBOOK” at checkout.

So, when I booked my trip to Charleston, I immediately got in touch with my friends at The New Primal. They invited me to join them for their monthly lunch series, which is part of their effort to have people “return to the table” and connect over healthy food and good conversation. I eagerly accepted!

Lunch was awesome…starting with the company! I got to see Jason, Melissa, and David from The New Primal, who I had met at the Whole30 Coach Summit in Utah last August. And I met Meredith and Carson, other members of TNP team along with Valerie Skinner from Whole30 Approved Personal Chef Service Thyme & Joy who I’ve been following on Instagram for a while! Val cooks the monthly meal for The New Primal team lunch – More on the food below!

Each month, The New Primal invites other local friends and community members so there were also a few more new faces at lunch for me to meet.

Now, onto the food! Val prepared a Caribbean Themed Lunch, featuring The New Primal products. On the menu: Jerk Chicken Breast, Island Tahini Sriracha Coleslaw, Caribbean Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Plantain Chips (hello, Food Freedom!) and Island Punch. There was also LaCroix galore, of course. Everything was DELICIOUS!

During lunch, I had the chance to ask Jason questions about the behind-the-scenes of running a business (it takes a lot of hard work and way more money than I imagined!) and get a little scoop on some new soon-to-be-released products. Are you sitting down? Later this year, The New Primal will release seasoning mixes, coconut aminos, and wasabi coconut aminos!

Once you catch your breath, I have more good news. Also in the works: Whole30 Approved meat sticks (they are reformatting their current recipe by removing the honey) and Whole30 compliant ketchup!

So, now you’ll basically be able to build your entire meal – from spices to finishing sauce — using The New Primal products. I don’t know about you, but I am doing a serious happy dance!

Before I left, Melissa loaded me with some sauces (including my two favorites – Medium Buffalo and Classic BBQ, beef thins, and super cool TNPswag. She also gave me some of their Snack Mates for my daughter. (Note: These are not Whole30 compliant due to honey but a great Paleo choice.)

And of course, we had to snap a group shot and a Boomerang video. Because if it’s not on Instagram then it didn’t really happen!

All in all, it was a lovely lunch and a great time connecting with one of my favorite Whole30 brands. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it on repeat: The New Primal team members are some of the nicest people I have ever met.

Their products and customer service are top-notch, and they believe in Whole30 and this lifestyle wholeheartedly. And they believed in me as a coach – and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Have you tried The New Primal products? Which ones are your favorite?

Jeff – 47 – Port Huron, MI

This is my dream–I come home and tell my husband about Whole30 and he starts with me the next day. Jeff IS the example to use when telling your other half about Whole30! Will I be casually showing this post on my phone to my husband in hopes that it’ll pique his interest. Yes…minus the bit I’ve just written here! –Jenny

How many times have you done Whole 30?
I have completed Whole30 once and I am currently on Day 10 of my second round.

When was your first round?
I began round one April 2nd, 2018.

How did you hear about Whole 30 and what made you decide to do it?
I heard about Whole30 from my wife, Julie. On Easter, my niece brought up the fact that she just completed a successful round and my wife was hooked. Julie came home from Easter Dinner to tell me about it and we started the next day.

I was quite skeptical at first when she mentioned everything we needed to eliminate. But, after reading the book, which I highly recommend, it all made sense.

What scale and non-scale victories have you had as a result of Whole 30?
I have a couple NSVs – I have been on allergy medication to control my asthma and allergies most of my life. Astonishingly, I no longer need to take them. I also was having issues with my gallbladder and those symptoms have disappeared. I certainly have more focus and energy, too.

As far as a scale victory, I know it’s not about weight loss, but I have lost 30 pounds and really didn’t notice a big difference until I looked at some before and after photos on my phone.

What helped you to succeed the most on Whole 30?
Certainly my wife was one of the major reasons for my success. She prepared most of the meals for me and was extremely supportive.

Another big reason for my success was just thinking about how I felt prior to Whole30 compared to how I felt while on Whole30 that kept me motivated.

What’s your favorite Whole 30 recipe or go-to meal?

My go-to meal is Sweet Potato Hash containing compliant prepared meat, jalapeños, basil, power greens, coconut oil, and onions.

How has your life changed since Whole 30?
My life has changed by being more educated about the role of sugar. Prior to Whole30, I was unaware how prevalent sugar was hidden or unhidden in many foods. Almost everything I consumed prior to Whole30 contained sugar in one form or another. I’m also able to fit into some clothes that I haven’t worn in years.

In addition to Whole 30, did you make any other healthy lifestyle changes (such as incorporating fitness, smoking cessation, etc) at the same time?

More changes that I have made is getting out and walking on a routine basis. Also, making sure that I continue to keep myself educated on what is healthy and what is not. I devour any online or printed material on Whole30 or transitioning off the Whole30 Program.

What message/inspiration do you have for those just starting the program?
Preparation is key, read the book plan out your weeks. If you wait to the last minute and your starving you may end up reverting back to old habits.

I always go back to what Melissa Hartwig says in the books. “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard…” and “The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy.

Mylene – 33 – Quebec, Canada

This week, we’ve headed up North to beautiful Canada to feature Mylene. Having an eating disorder is no joke and she put in A LOT of work to change her mindset and her relationship with food. Her commitment is both admirable and inspiring. Mylene, thank you so much for sharing your story.

–Jenny


How many times have you done Whole30? When was your first round?

I’ve only done the Whole30 once. I started on April 16th, 2018 and followed strictly the program for 40 days. After that, in social settings, I allowed myself to eat non-compliant, but I continue to follow the program and eat only compliant food 98% of the time. My husband joined me in the program but didn’t complete the Whole30 days, but he continued to eat what I would cook and therefore would follow the program with occasional cheating with non-compliant food. We haven’t done a proper, scheduled reintroduction yet as we want to continue to eat mostly Whole30 and I personally eat non-compliant only on special occasions or when I feel something is really worth it. Therefore, there is some types of food I haven’t eat since April 16th.

How did you hear about Whole 30 and what made you decide to do it?

The first time I’ve heard of Whole30 was in 2017 through a good friend who introduced me to CrossFit. At first I was reticent about the program as I suffered from eating disorders for most of my life and was keeping away from anything that looked like a diet. In the past 10 years every time I would get to a point where I couldn’t stand my weight anymore and would start to control my food and eliminate types of food, I would end up at the hospital in a special program for eating disorders. And every time that would happen, I would end up gaining even more weight than before I started restricting.

Following another treatment for eating disorders, in 2015, I and my husband got married. It was a lot of adaptation for the both of us and our health wasn’t that great which led us both to adopt unhealthy eating habits which included a lot of takeout and we gained a lot of weight. With the added weight came some more health issues, including low self-esteem, low energy, more inflammation, more heartburns, etc…

Therefore, when I started CrossFit in 2017, I was the heaviest I had ever been, which was making it difficult for me to do as much as I would have wanted while training. However, the friend with whom I was training with was eating Paleo and we would often have discussion regarding nutrition which was motivating me to be more balanced and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Being highly overweight for me and my husband, it was impacting a lot our life quality and we were both suffering from a lot of inflammation, me with my asthma and knee pain as I got to do more CrossFit, and my husband with his injury to his sciatic. Furthermore, being so in love with CrossFit, I was getting frustrated to be limited in my movements due to my weight and my inflammation and even more frustrated that despite all my efforts, I wasn’t losing any weight, nor improving my health that much.

At the beginning of 2018, we moved for work to a very remote location where we don’t have access to restaurant, fast food, take out, etc… I wanted a change for us, I wanted my husband to stop suffering so much from his inflammation, and I wanted us to be in better health. At one point, on Facebook, I saw a friend’s post mentioning she was doing a round of Whole30, that’s when I remembered that my CrossFit friend had told me about that program and I became more curious about it.

I started to make a lot of research about Whole30 and bought the Whole30 book that I read cover to cover. As I read about it, I loved the principles behind the program, I felt it was healthy, balanced, and made a lot of sense. I felt like I had found our solution to improve our lives and health and it was decided that we were going to do the program.

At that point in my life, I felt more in control of my eating and felt like I was ready to try the program without fearing too much that it would lead me to relapse into my eating disorder. Furthermore, being in such a remote area, months at a time, where a lot of temptations are non-existent, I figured it was the best setting to try the program. So for weeks, months, I planned the beginning of our first round and we had decided to start it on April 3rd, however circumstances out of our control made us postpone to April 16th, where we started for real!

What scale and non-scale victories have you had as a result of Whole 30?

There is so much to say about the results! One of the most obvious result is the weight loss. For me, according to the last time I weighted myself, I lost 36 lbs in about 2 months. As for my husband who didn’t weight himself recently, he had lost 25 lbs. Yesterday, he showed me that he can now buckle his belt 5 wholes smaller. I can now wear clothes that couldn’t fit me for years.

In my line of work I need to travel by plane almost every week. At first, I needed an extension to buckle the seatbelt, but about a month after the beginning of the Whole30, I could now buckle without the extension and this week I noticed, that not only can I buckle without an extension, but also I need to tie it up even more!

In terms of non-scale victories, both my husband and I have less downs of energy in the afternoon and I feel like I have more energy in general. I now sleep very easily and soundly. In addition, I no longer have constant difficulty with my asthma and my husband has less pain to his sciatica. We no longer have any heart burns and almost no gas.

I used to be very much into sugar, but I no longer have cravings for fast-food or sugar. The only cravings I experience now is of a great meal with protein and veggies. I feel more confident in the kitchen, taking a lot of pride out of doing everything from scratch, like mayo that I had never done before. I also learned to cook more with spices to my husband’s great joy.

My skin is clearer, breaking out very slightly only when getting my periods. We both feel more comfortable in our skins. I started to pamper myself more and look forward to shopping for clothes, whereas before I would avoid shopping at any cost. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to go to one class of CrossFit lately and despite not having gone for several months, I improved of 150% in at least one movement (wall climb).

And, probably, one of my dearest NSVs is that I can now wear my wedding ring again. I couldn’t wear it before, not because it wouldn’t fit, but because the metal would burn my skin, probably due to acidity, but it no longer does that.

What helped you to succeed the most on Whole 30?

Planning. For the first 6-7 weeks, I planned everything. Every week, I would make a meal plan and it helped me a lot. Also, having my husband do the program with me helped me a lot as I wasn’t alone in this journey. I think that just realizing all the benefits that came with the program made it so much easier to continue. And, of course, the setting of where we live made it easier for us as the temptations are almost non-existent.

Reading the Whole30 book was a big help for me. I knew what to expect, but also I understood the ideology behind the program. The main concept I keep reminding myself of is the fact that it’s not because something is in front of us that we have to eat it, but rather, we have to ask ourselves if it’s really worth it when the food is non-compliant. Asking myself that question has helped me find balance and food freedom, something I had never achieved so far.

What’s your favorite Whole 30 recipe or go-to meal?

Both my husband and I have found some very good recipes, some that are very quick and easy and others that take a bit more preparation, but are so good. One of the easiest and delicious one is now our Friday night tradition: Shrimps cooked in ghee and garlic on top of zoodles! So simple, but so good.

Another of our favorite one for weekday lunches is a salad nicoise. A bed of lettuce topped with half of a can of tuna mixed with mayo and a hard-boiled egg, surrounded by other veggies (often sweet pepper and cucumber), olives, and artichoke heart. Sometimes, I add some pieces of almond and we eat this with a homemade vinaigrette.

Another recipe I do often that is so quick is a piece of salmon on a cookie sheet topped with olive oil and garlic and surrounded by asparagus. It all goes in the oven and cook together.

Other favorites are all the recipes of bowls, especially the Mexican ones, like burrito bowl or spicy chicken on cauliflower rice, and another favorite is the walnut crunch pork tenderloin.

How has your life changed since Whole 30?
I would say I now spend my life cooking and doing the dishes! LOL. But more seriously, I feel it improved so much aspects of our lives. I listed a lot of the benefits when I talked about the scale and non-scale victories, but I believe on top of that, it completely changed my relationship with food. I now truly choose what I put inside my body. It’s not all guided by my emotions or by my mind, it’s a balance of both.

I’m also more aware of what is contained in food as I constantly look at the ingredient when I want to buy something new. Furthermore, I don’t dread going grocery shopping as I did before, because now going grocery shopping is synonym of putting together some great meals with amazing ingredients. I am no longer afraid of healthy fats. Most of my anxiety and guiltiness regarding food as disappeared because I know I truly make good choices now, even when I eat non-compliant.

In addition to Whole 30, did you make any other healthy lifestyle changes at the same time?
At this moment, I cannot think of any other changes. Being in a remote location and working a lot, I no longer train like I used to when I was doing CrossFit, however, as we don’t really have any means of transportation, I do walk more, especially when it’s time to do the grocery. Therefore, the main change in our lifestyle is keeping up with the Whole 30 even if we are not officially on a round.

What message/inspiration do you have for those just starting the program?
Be honest with yourself. Changing our habits is difficult and it’s a process. Don’t rush the process, when you are ready it works and it sticks. Be compassionate toward yourself and find the help and support you need. No matter the outcome, make sure you take the time to be proud of yourself. Remember the program is not just about compliant or non-compliant ingredients, it’s about your relationship with food and beyond! Don’t ever give up on taking care of yourself, only you can do that for yourself.