Whole 30: My Experience

April 2014

"She wore an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini..."

Uhhh... No. She didn't. She wore a cover up and sunglasses to mask the embarrassment of being in a bikini!

That was is me. 

Don't get me wrong. I still cringe walking into a dressing room with a handful of bathing suits, (I did that tonight, actually). The difference is that I know where I WAS and WHERE I AM NOW...because of Whole 30. 

Now, if you are looking for a quick fix or diet trick, click the little (x) in the corner because this is not for you. Close you eyes if you don't want to see the truth. (Seriously..I am about to drop a bomb) Here goes...Eating right and exercising is THE only way. Again, THE only way to get your body back. BAM! Seriously, did I just knock your socks off?

I decided to do Whole 30 the moment I read about it. I was tired of the 10ish pounds that I still had to loose from my pregnancy with Carter. Yes, the kid is worth it...blah blah blah...but enough is enough. I wanted to feel like myself again. I wanted to wear my clothes again. I wouldn't trade him for the world, but being depressed about my weight and being sluggish because of my diet was not making me a good mother. 

I decided to go cold turkey on brownies and bread. Gone are the days of sitting in bed and eating Reese Cups, as much as it pains me to say. They are my crack. My drug. Well, chocolate in general is my drug. 

Once I decided to jump in head first, I read about everything on the whole30 website, online forums, instagram boards, and Pinterest boards. I made the move, and you can to. 

NOW, if you missed my previous blogs about Whole 30, you might want to jump back and read them. I explain what Whole 30 is there, but here is a quick refresher. You are not allowed to consume dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, or processed foods for 30 days. Nothing. Not a lick. Not a bite. Not a taste. You commit yourself to only eating WHOLE food for 30 days. (stop rolling your eyes and shaking your head and listen to me!) If you would like to find out more about it, visit their site: www.whole30.com. There is also a book that I suggest you buy before you start called, "It Starts with Food."

If I hear one more person say that they can't do it, I am going to scream! I know you all have more willpower than that. Give yourself some credit! You are strong! Food does not control you! (steps off soapbox) I loved this quote from the Whole 30 site: “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.”

Yeah. You heard them. Do this for yourself. For your health. For your family. 


If you follow me on IG, you know that I posted a before and after picture. I actually have a different one that would blow you away, but it is too much skin for me to post online. Sorry. ha! Trust that the difference is mind blowing. 

  • I lost 8 pounds
  • I went down 2 pants sizes
  • I lost most of my love handles
  • I stopped taking my asthma medicine (see below about this)
  • My skin cleared up
  • I have a FLAT stomach. FLAT. After a baby. Let that sink in. 
  • I have gained knowledge about my diet that I would not have found out without the commitment and research.
  • I cooked more homemade meals. 
  • We ate as a family more. 
  • I am HAPPY. 
  • I inspired a LOT of people to join in. I am actually dumbfounded how many people have contacted me to tell me they are improving their health. 

In 30 days, everything above happened to me. I am NOT fibbing or stretching the truth one bit! I am NOT selling a thing. I was NOT paid to do this. This is legit, folks. 

Let me elaborate more on the asthma medication. I have had asthma as long as I can remember. I was the cool kid on the playground sitting on a bench taking her inhaler because I couldn't run to keep up with everyone. It never left my side. I took a nightly pill and a nightly inhaler to keep it under control. I played around with getting off of both of the medications when I was pregnant, but failed. I couldn't do it. Well, fast forward to my experience with changing my diet, and I can HONESTLY tell you that I have not have either of my medications for weeks. NONE. Guys, I was in tears when I realized I didn't have to be on it anymore. If you feed your body with the nutrients that it needs, it will function properly. You will heal from the inside out. I promise you that! Get rid of the toxins and chemicals for good!

Anyway, moving on. If you were to look into my shopping cart at the grocery, you would find about $75-100 worth a produce a week. I didn't even go to the center aisles. I shopped in the produce and went home. When I would plan my meals, I would make sure I had a protein source, good fat (like nuts or extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, and the rest of my plate as vegetables. I bought my meat and eggs from a farmer down the road, Preferred Meats for locals, and as much organic produce that my grocery store could provide. If you would like to see a list of foods that I frequently bought, click here: http://emilyburke.biz/blog/whole-30-week-1-update/

I am going to answer some questions and hopefully help as many of you as I can! I am not a specialist, I am not a doctor, I am not a nutritionist, but I am honest and willing to give the advice that I have found in my research!

  1. Did you go out to eat while doing the Whole 30, what was the experience like and how difficult was it around family and friends? Yes, I went out twice, I think. (avoid it if you can) Both times it was to a Mexican Restaurant and I ordered fajitas. I asked the waitress what they cooked the food in, and based my decision on that. The food was cooked in vegetable oil, but if you have a life and go out at all, you are going to be forced to eat it. Just don't cook with it at home. Quiz them. Ask questions. You deserve to know what your eating. As far as family, most of my family knew what I was doing and made sure there was food for me to eat at gatherings. I would make sure I ate before I went to help avoid the temptation of eating everything in sight! ;) Think of it this way, if you take away the fascination with food and family gatherings, you have more time to focus on just being with your family and not about how bad you will feel about eating all of their cake. haha
  2. What are some tips on preparing meals? Any favorites? I would make a meal plan for the week, and we would go shopping on the weekends. We would come home and prep the food. Scott would cut the meat and put them in serving size plastic bags, and I would cut the veggies for easy stir frys. If you are looking for easy work meals, make hard boiled eggs, cook chicken or burgers in advance and have them ready to heat up, and sauté some vegetable to put in containers for quick fixes,too. You could buy some good greens and make a big salad that could easilly be taken to work. Be careful of dressings. A friend of mine told me about Tesse maes dressing that is Whole 30 approved. Also, buy some almonds and cashews for quick grabs, too. 
  3. Do you think this would be good for digestion issues? I think it would be amazing for digestion issues, but I would talk to your doctor first. 
  4. Can you do this while pregnant or nursing? According to the Whole 30 site, it is complexity safe to do while nursing or pregnant. If you are nursing, make sure you drink a ton of water and eat a lot. I have read that some people have an increase in supply, and some do not. 
  5. How did you get started? I read as much as I could on the whole30.com website, and online forums. I would highly suggest reading the book, "It Starts with Food" before you start. 
  6. Did your family eat the same foods you did or did you have to cook separately for yourself? I tried to cook meals that I could eat, as well as my husband who was not doing Whole 30. Here are a couple examples: Fajita night, they had torillas and cheese, I had avocado instead. I made roast one night, I ate the meat, carrots, and onions, while they ate the potatoes. I tried to keep the meals as close to Whole 30 as possible, while still allowing them to have some things that I could not. (like corn, bread, and potatoes)
  7. I do not eat meat. Could I still do Whole 30? Yes, you can! Here is a vegetarian and vegan shopping list from whole30.com! http://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-veg-shopping-list.pdf
  8. Did you work out during Whole 30? Uh..I am going to answer this honestly. Barely. I am a very active person, but I did not run all the time or anything crazy. I was too consumed in the rocking of my food world. I am starting my second round of Whole 30 and I will be introducing a workout routine with this one. For the best benefits, I would though. Do as I say, not as I do. ;)
  9. Did you feel like you were starving? Negative. The opposite actually. My plate was so full when I ate, there was never time to think about still being hungry. The best part is, there is no regret for eating a plateful of pasta, or whole pan of brownies. I will say that I struggled with snacking. I will be sure to stop that during my second round! Sometimes I needed just a little more to get me to dinner. 
  10. What were some of your favorite meals? Sautéed veggies with chicken, baked ham with mashed sweet potatoes, grilled steak with asparagus, grilled pineapple chicken with brussel sprouts, spinach eggs, spaghetti squash, banana/cashew/coconut flake mix, roast with veggies, eggs and bacon, and bunless burgers with sweet potato fries. Just to name some favs. Try to think about some of your favorite meals and how you can make them Whole 30 approved. 
  11. Did you mess up? Oops. Yes, I did, but I learned from my mistake and didn't let it get to me. For reference, no corn. It is a grain. Also, no baking, even if it is approved ingredients. You are trying to fill an emotional void of not having something. Just eat the whole food. You don't need a muffin or pancake. 
  12. Where did you get recipes? Oh gosh, where didn't I? Google, Pinterest, Instagram, and friends mostly. If you have instagram, use the hashtag #jennawhole30 and #whole30 for recipes that everyone else on Whole 3o is posting! It is GREAT for inspiration! 

Wow. I just wrote a book. Look guys, it is not that hard. The first week SUCKED. I went through a detox where I had bad headaches, I was exhausted, and I was emotional. I started to get energy around the completion of week two and it went up from there. I didn't even realize I had made it to 30 days. 

I would be glad to answer any more questions that you have. Feel free to leave them below! Thank you for following my journey. It has taught me so much about my health, my emotional attachment to food, and how one act can inspire a ton of people. I am so happy to hear so many of you are joining the fight for your health! Good luck! :)

Beach Vacation 2014

Whole 30: Halfway Update