This is Not the Whole 30

A lot of people I know online are doing the Whole 30 program for the month of January. It’s a paleo-based whole-foods plan that eliminates dairy, grains, soy, legumes, processed foods, sugar, and alcohol. This wasn’t something I would normally consider because, from what I knew, the paleo thing isn’t really compatible with a vegetarian diet because paleo forbids soy and beans — leaving the vegetarian and vegan would-be paleos without many sources of protein. I mean, I knew Susan Lacke could do it, but I didn’t think I wanted to. No thanks.

Then, I read Holly’s post where she linked to the vegetarian shopping list for Whole 30. Not only was I shocked to find out they had an approach for vegetarians at all, but this approach allowed certain soy products (tempeh and tofu) as well as beans. Well, now. That’s interesting.

So I perused the materials and I thought about it. I really liked the idea of eliminating alcohol and sugar for 30 days. After a two-month holiday season of over-indulging in candy, cookies, cupcakes, wine, beer, and bourbon (let’s face it; it all starts with Halloween), I knew it was time to cut back there.

And dairy? Well, y’all know I avoid dairy anyway. I spent about 3 years being completely vegan, then added back (local CSA) eggs, and then started occasionally eating dairy “when it would make things easier.” Laziness was what that was, and no, I’m not proud of it. But eating dairy most definitely did make things easier on my recent trip to Iowa — there wasn’t really any tofu or beans to be found, and, as one would expect for a long-time farming family, meals were based around meat. In order to feel like I was getting enough protein, I ate A LOT of dairy on that trip. Let’s just say I…I felt it. By the time we were headed back, I felt like my entire body was made of cheese. I was ready to 86 dairy from my diet for a good long while. Honestly, don’t even show me a piece of cheese right now; I don’t even want to look at it.

So: no sugar, no alcohol, no dairy. Good. Fine with me. Let’s do this. But no grains? Oh hell to the no. I honestly just don’t want to cut out grains. I don’t think it’s a good idea for me. I realize there is a point to it as far as the paleo eating strategy goes, but It’s not something I feel I need or want to do. So here’s what I’m doing regarding grains this month: I am allowing myself to eat whole grains if I want to, but only quinoa, brown rice, or oats. I’m avoiding any wheat/flour/bread products. But it turns out that so far, I have successfully avoided any and all grains — go figure. Knowing I’m “allowed” to eat some if I want is comforting.

I’m making one other exception: I am allowing myself to drink alcohol one night later this month, when my good friend B. celebrates her 40th birthday. I’ll probably restrict myself to a small number of drinks, the specifics to be determined later. I feel fine about this exception, too.

Tea time

It’s going well so far. My usual routines of drinking a glass of wine while making dinner (and then another one with the meal, naturally) and of having something sweet after dinner (and sometimes after lunch) are tough habits to break. I miss my daily treats. In order to make that part easier, I’m trying to find other things to replace them with. I’m trying some herbal teas (one of the Yogi “bedtime” varieties is becoming my after-dinner routine, for example), lots of fruits, and sparkling water.

[366/366] Bubbles

Yes, I finally bought a Sodastream! I’ve been looking at these forever and decided that now was the time to pull the trigger. I love it. The sparkling water I make at home is taking the place of the two-liter bottles of seltzer I normally buy at the store and the twelve-packs of flavored La Croix water I started drinking when I quit Diet Coke. Those twelve-packs of La Croix are, like, five bucks at the grocery store. I am going to save so much money. MWA HA HA HA HA.

So, I’m feeling good about my plan for the month and getting used to some of the changes. I weighed in on January 1st at about ten pounds over the top of my happy weight range, which wasn’t so pleasant to see on the scale. Holiday indulgences coming back at me, I’m sure. As of now, I’ve lost five of those pounds. It’s mostly water weight, of course. The first week or so of a low-carb diet (which I suppose this more or less is) causes you to shed a lot of water weight. We’ll see how it goes moving forward, but I have hopes of returning to my happy weight range, or close to it, by the end of January.

So, are any of you also making changes to your diet or fitness routines for the new year? In case you haven’t been there yet, a community of Whole 30 folks is connecting via Holly’s blog, but I’d love to hear about anything else you guys might have going this month.



  1. I thought I’d left a comment to ask you how eating was in Iowa and if you faced any dietary challenges. I guess it was only in my head. (I think I was trying to think of a way to ask you if that was a tough trip to be vegan without sort of sounding like I was passive aggressively accusing you of not being vegan.)


    I am with you on feeling what I’m calling “a bit squishy,” and it totally starts at Halloween. One thing I miss about working from home is getting to skip the conference room full of goodies.


    1. Yeah, vegan would have been nearly impossible on that trip. I mean, I could have eaten things, but I don’t think I can cope with zero protein at all. Or at least I wasn’t really willing to. At any rate, dairy can get the hell away from me now! Ugh. I am already feeling much better in that regard.


  2. I didn’t know there was a veg approach to Whole 30 either! This is not the month for me to do it (it’s my birthday month, for one thing), but I think it could be something for me this summer, once all my big races are over and I need to stop eating like I’m training for crazy long endurance shit, you know? So, anyway, I’m anxious to see some of your recipes (should you choose to post them). Good luck! Stick with it!


    1. Thanks! I think it’d definitely be worth a try (though I agree it’s probably better to try when you aren’t putting in quite as many hours of endurance training). Not sure yet if I’ll be posting recipes — I tend to make really boring food, like roasted vegetables and baked tofu, over and over and over again. If I come up with anything interesting, though, I’ll share!


  3. Whoa. Whoa, whoa, whoa! I am so excited to see this! I had no idea that paleo people gave a rat’s sh*t about vegetarians and vegans, so I am beyond thrilled to see this nod from the Whole 30 toward meatless eating. I like your modified approach to the grain question–one can definitely eat grainless vegetarian meals (I did it for a week as an experiment), but allowing grains gives you some flexibility and variety.

    Good luck! I am very curious to hear about your adventure with a veg Whole 30 🙂

    PS Here’s a link to my posts about eating (mostly) grainless for a week, which is somewhat analogous to the veg Whole 30:


    1. I know! I was so surprised to see that! They do make a point of saying that doing it the vegetarian way is “not ideal” due to the soy products, etc. I’m sure my little caveat about whole grains would pretty much invalidate the entire venture if you were to ask the authors of that program, but I still think it’s a good challenge for me.

      And thanks for the link — off to check that out!


    1. Thanks! It has honestly been really good so far. Some difficulties, for sure. I’m going to need to make better packed-lunch plans from now on…but I’m up for it!


  4. I love Whole30 & the way of eating. I think no matter if one is vegetarian or not, most people need a more plant based diet rather than relying on processed foods and grains.

    I too was wondering how the food situation would go on your trip. I bet you’re glad to be back into a routine in your normal habitat. Glad it wasn’t too terrible though. Being flexible probably saved you a lot of heartache and stress.


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