Whole30 Made Easy–Tips, Recipes, and More!

As I explained in the first part of this Whole30 series, the Whole30 is a “reset,” not a diet. You eliminate commonly problematic foods from your diet for 30 days, then reintroduce them for ten days to identify any trigger foods. My husband and I decided to do Whole30 to improve our energy, help me eliminate coffee, and get the best diet possible before we tried to get pregnant again. 

To be honest, this tough food journey was a bright spot in our lives–we had just had our second miscarriage. I needed a distraction, so I dived into Whole 30 prep and planning. Cleaning out cupboards, finding new recipes on Pinterest, and making sure we were set for success was high on my priority list. Why now? Well, I realized that three years ago I was told to go on an elimination diet, and that was (like I said) three years ago. Life happens, right? First I was traveling for work, then we had our first miscarriage, got pregnant with Brooke, was nursing, had our second miscarriage, and I still didn’t have my diet under control. I still hadn’t eliminated anything.

I was feeling farther away from my body then ever.

So, after the second miscarriage, I thought it was the perfect time to turn a really unfortunate event into a positive lifestyle change. The Whole 30 Day by Day  journal gives you a good overview of what to expect each day–it’s a rollercoaster ride. You feel like your body hates you, you’re irritable, you’re constantly prepping food, and there are so many dishes to clean. Then you start getting out of bed with a little more pep in your step. This doesn’t feel so bad after all. Towards the end you think you can go longer than 30 days–no problem!

We did 39 days and it was worth it. We saw serious results. Together, my husband and I lost 25 pounds and 13 inches. We went shopping for new clothes because we had to! We were getting compliments on our “glow” and bodies which were so welcoming after so many ups and downs with pregnancies. Because we had been to the gym maybe three times total during the 30 days, we know our success was mainly diet based. We also experienced numerous “NSVs” (non-scale victories): less acne, less bloating, more energy, better sleep, and it was much easier to pass up unhealthy options. We were very proud we followed a super strict reset longer than the program stated and we now know what it takes to do it again when we need another reset. 

We’ve been more “lax” with our diet since, but kept the same principles in place. The book, Food Freedom, Forever helps you get a plan in place when your reset is over. Just like the book mentions, about two months post-Whole 30 we are back to our old habits. Here’s the difference–we now know what to eliminate. We know how to identify that we are feeling cranky, sluggish, and bloated. We have go-to meals that are easy to cook and compliant to help us get back on track. 

Favorite Recipes


  • Tortilla Española (the only eggs I can eat re-heated and a favorite recipe from when I studied abroad in Spain) 
  • Egg scramble with Trader Joes “Everything but the bagel” seasoning, shredded pork (pre-packaged from Costco), salsa, on top of sweet potato 


  • Last night’s leftovers
  • Salads


Lessons Learned: 

  • Dairy (any form) is really bad for us.
  • We have a super hard time eating at Mexican restaurants now.
  • Weekly grocery shopping is ideal. Produce goes bad quickly, so we only buy what we need for a week Literally, our cupboards/fridge are empty besides condiments.
  • Actually incorporate Pinterest recipes into the rotation. We’ve tried so many new things, but we haven’t liked or kept them all.

Our daughter tried and ate everything we did, and she LOVED it. It has really made us realize how much our food preferences have heavily leaned towards an excess of sugar and processed foods. We are learning to accept that eating less of certain foods makes our food taste different than our expectations. Even now, we are making many substitutes in ingredients.

Food Substitutions 

coconut aminos > soy sauce
arrowroot > flour 
almond meal > flour 
honey > sugar
dates > sugar
coconut milk > dairy 
zoodles > pasta
spaghetti squash > pasta

Our Whole 30 journey was great–we learned a lot, cooked a lot, and eliminated a lot of things. While still not 100% compliant, we are now enjoying food freedom and exploring new recipes weekly. Now if I can just learn to massively meal prep to systemize this even more… 


Mandy welcomed her Rainbow Baby, Brooke Lynn, October 2016 and has been enjoying all that motherhood has to offer since. A North Liberty native, Mandy has spent almost her entire life in the Corridor. She took a brief hiatus and lived in Chicago for 5 years where she met her fun-loving husband, Tom. For work, Mandy is building a Corporate Innovation program to give Iowa businesses the tools they need to digest and implement new concepts. She recently named her passion for helping others by founding Huddle Line, a side hustle consulting company that works with local businesses to create unique game plans to achieve their goals. Mandy loves to spend time with loved ones, play and watch sports, hours of euchre, crochet, and bonfires. 2 things that will always win Mandy over? Cupcakes & corny jokes


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