Busted Gut Club: Whole 30 Diet

The Busted Gut Club is one family’s attempt at a clean eating challenge

The Whole 30

food

4 Delectable Clean Eating Meals

Who are we?

Ondrea:
My name is Ondrea and it’s the day after my 23rd birthday.  For the last 3 years, I’ve been dealing with chronic stomach problems due to Gastroparesis. Gastroparesis means that food takes a very VERY long time to break down in my stomach causing it to make me feel nauseous and/ or get sick to my stomach.  My friend Rusty shares this chronic illness and recommended the Whole 30.  Another friend of mine, Lisa, has recently conquered the 30 day challenge and noticed a lot of health problems had cleared up due to eating clean. I’m trying the Whole 30 to hopefully help my Gastroparesis, raise my energy levels, and reset my eating habits.  I want to eat foods that help my body rather than bog it down.  As a body-positive advocate, I need to pay attention and care for my body.  Everyone has their own way of doing that.  This Whole 30 is dedicated to my tummy health.  I’m very happy to have a household (my best friend & boyfriend Ray) who will be supporting me and also trying the Whole 30 with me.
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Ondrea, Mirely and Ray

Mirely:
Hi, I’m Mirely.  I’m 23, scorpio, I enjoy sunsets and stuffing my face with food.  But I’m willing to give up this stuffing for a chance to have natural energy, stable emotions, clear mental state and a happy healthy gut. I’ve recently grown a deep love for my belly but when it starts to ache, cramp or swell-up it does suck. I also love my face, but not when nasty acne starts popping up.  I’m pretty over it.  So by the end of the 30 days I hope my acne will clear up, I can sleep deeply and restfully, have energy that lasts all day, focus on work without getting easily distracted, my emotions will level out, and reduce tummy inflammation and aches.
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What is the Whole 30?

On the Whole 30, you eat nothing processed, no sugar, no alcohol, no grains, only food that can be easily broken down and is filled with quality nutrients.  It lasts 30 days, it’s strict but after the 30 days you can start introducing foods back into your diet to see what actually harms your digestive system and what you are actually allergic to.
It’s pretty simple but often the simplest things in life are the most challenging especially when food is no longer just for fuel.  Food has become something pretty complicated; now we have to worry about hormones, pesticides, GMOS, additives, and we often look past moral aspect of food raising and harvesting.

Food has become something pretty complicated; now we have to worry about hormones, pesticides, GMOS, additives…

Homesteads, farmsteads and urban gardens are on the rise and people are making a change by growing their own food.  Not to mention body positivity movements are also spreading and sharing the importance of loving your body regardless of it’s appearance and making a change when you don’t feel good. This is about our health, our physical, mental and emotional states and kicking it to the industries that produce food only focused on creating zombie consumers.  So here we go. We decided to do this program not because we think we’re fat or ugly but because we do feel pretty gross and a lot of it is related to the food we’ve been eating.  We’re over it and we want to feel energized, with a happy healthy gut and see if some of our other health issues will lessen or even go away! So we begin today, 30 days of clean eating with the end goal of resetting our awful food habits.
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Day 5:

The last 5 days have been easier than I thought they would be, but still challenging.  Ray misses his 1-3 beers after work. I miss bread so much.  Mirely, up until today, was always hungry.  Oh, and we all miss sugar.  Anytime I see a commercial or hear that awful Blue Bell jingle, I crave processed food like nobody’s business. We have already noticed that our energy levels have increased.  I feel lighter and more active.  Like I want to do errands instead of pout around avoiding them.  I used to feel sludgy and I just thought it was the heat or whatever but now I’m feeling energized through my entire day.  I also sleep through the night which I didn’t do before.

Though our diet has been restricted, meal times are more important and thoughtful now. 

Ray said he feels less bloated.  He is so energized that he cleaned our house this morning.  Ray takes my nana to her senior center every morning and when he gets back, he usually goes right back to bed. This morning, he cleaned dishes, took out garbage, organized messes, etc…and then went back to bed.
Mirely has been experiencing less cravings and more stability throughout her day.  She also feels less tired when she first wakes up in the morning.  Mirely has also been feeling hungry only when she is actually hungry instead of just bored. Though our diet has been restricted, meal times are more important and thoughtful now.  We eat dinner as a family more often and help in the cooking process.  We praise each other for the thoughtful and delicious meals.  We feel better and fueled after each meal instead of too full and bogged down.
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Here are the recipes for some yummy foods that we have been making on our Whole 30: 

Paleo Vegan Black Bean Burgers

 
Ingredients
  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  •  1/2 onion, finely chopped
  •  1 clove garlic, minced
  •  1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  •  1 small carrot, shredded (about ½ cup)
  •  1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  •  1 teaspoon sea salt (we used pink Himalayan salt)
  •  Pinch of cayenne
  •  4 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  •   1/2 cup water
Instructions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Combine ground flaxseed and water and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.  Pulse beans in a food processor a few times or slightly mash them in a plate with a fork. In a large bowl, combine, onions, garlic, beans, carrots, flaxseed/water mix, coriander, salt and cayenne.  Form mixture into 6 patties, and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Then, flip burgers, turn oven up to 425 degrees F and cook for another 10 minutes. Alternatively, I’m sure these would cook well in the skillet over medium to high heat.  Enjoy! We served these on a red cabbage leaf with avocado, a homemade pale pesto, and thick organic tomato slices with a side of homemade sweet potato fries.

Easy Sweet Potato Fries – Adapted from nomnompaleo

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Ingredients
  • 2 large garnet yams
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted (I just nuke it in the microwave for ~30 seconds)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper**
  • Smoked paprika**
Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut yams into whatever shape is your jam.  We are all about the shoestring french fry so we tried to cut them as thin as we could.  Place fries on a foil-lined tray.  Add your oil and spices. Bake for 30-ish minutes.  Bam! **We are about those Dornish Fries from Surly Wench so instead of paprika and pepper, we used cayenne, coriander, cinnamon, and orange peel.
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Day 10: I feel normal now.

Recently, we all have been having mad cravings for things like chips, fried foods, SUGAR, and beer.  For Father’s Day, we ate raw tacos while everyone else ate deep-fried delicious tacos and drank beer.  Those are Ray’s favorite things.  Even though our tacos were delicious, we couldn’t help but envy the other side of the table where the normal tacos and beer were.  Almond butter and Larabars or R Bars have saved us in trying times. Other than the cravings, all of our energy levels are up.  I feel normal now.  I love feeling like I can go strong for the entire day.  I used to be drained by the end of a work shift and would go home, cook dinner, and pass out.  Now I don’t feel tired at the end of my shifts.  I have energy to go on night bike rides, do home improvement projects, or even go out in public!  At the very least, this clean eating program has done wonders for my skin & energy.

Zucchini Bruschetta Boats

In order to satisfy Italian food and pizza cravings…

Ingredients for 4 boats:
  • 2 zucchinis halved length wise
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced*
  • 1 cup of minced or finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of dried basil
  • Pinch of thyme
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 1tsp of olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 400F.  First, I scooped out some of each zucchini boat with a melon baller.  I then added all of the listed ingredients into a bowl and tossed them in olive oil. Then I added this mixture into the scooped out zucchini and baked them on an un-greased sheet for 20ish minutes.  Eyeball it.  The veggies were still a little crunchy and the flavors were perfect.  I preferred crunchy to soupy or soggy.  Enjoy!
*If you aren’t a fan of spicy garlic, sauté the garlic before adding to the mixture.

Paleo Plantain Tortillas (AIP, Grain-free, Gluten-free, Vegan)

My nana would kill me if she saw the tortillas I made today.

We were craving something more than just vegetables prepared in various ways so we did something wild and made tortillas out of plantains.  I saw this recipe and decided to try it. Mine came out thicker than the pictures from that blog post, but we were stoked to have something that resembled a tortilla.  Next time, I would just try spreading my batter thinner.  I’m usually not successful when I attempt gluten-free stuff so I was afraid to make them thin.  I also used kind of ripe plantains instead of unripe so the outcome was slightly sweet.  I highly recommend trying these. Here is the recipe straight from FreshTart: Adapted from a pizza crust recipe on Simple & Merry.  Makes 12 tortillas
Note: the color of the tortillas varies by ripeness of the plantains combined with the reaction of baking soda with vinegar.  I have been unable to predict, by looking at a plantain, what color the finished tortilla will be, so be prepared for them to perhaps be brown, or perhaps yellow, or perhaps somewhere in between.  Also, if the batter isn’t completely buttery smooth, they will likely not puff.
Ingredients: 
  • 1 pound peeled, cubed large green plantains (I’ve found they can be at various stages of ripeness, anywhere from bright green to yellow-ish; I suspect super-ripe/blackened plantains would be delicious if you left out the garlic and ate them with warm fruit for breakfast or dessert; plantains are most easily peeled with a paring knife)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil (or extra-virgin olive oil; avocado oil is more neutral tasting and takes high heat better)
  • Water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Arrange racks in the middle of the oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Add ingredients to the bowl of a blender (a Vitamix is wonderful for making these).  Add 1/3 cup of water to the blender, cover, and puree on lowest setting for a minute or two. Gradually turn speed up, adding a bit more water if needed, to form a thick, very smooth puree, similar to smooth hummus. With a spoon, smooth batter into 12 equal tortillas onto the two baking sheets, approximately 1/4-inch thick and 6 inches across.  Bake for 10 minutes, switch racks, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until puffed and browning in spots. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.  Or, cool to room temperature and store in airtight container for up to 3 days.  Can be gently reheated before serving. With the tortillas, I made soft tacos.  I sautéed some garlic, onions, and peppers with coconut oil and added black beans and the juice of half of a lemon to the mixture, put it on our tortillas with fresh cilantro and avocado.  This was my favorite meal we have had so far.
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Day 15:

Hardest Moments So Far…

And How We Dealt With Them:

  • Ray’s transitioning from 1-3 beers after work to 1-3 glasses of water and lemon.
  • Going out to bars and not having a drink.  Luckily, Hotel Congress had cucumber water so we could feel a lil special when we drank our water.
  • Going to the movies and not getting popcorn.  Luckily, we go to The Loft Cinema and they have R Bars.
  • The day we almost decided to quit because of stress and too many pizza commercials.  We stayed home so we couldn’t be tempted and we made a really elaborate meal with a dessert to keep us busy and full.  We ate really well and had a lot of dishes to clean up, so we ended up not making it to The Manly Manlesque Show where we would have probably caved to Dornish fries.
This day was an extreme day, so we had to go to extreme measures to keep on track.  We are going to be real, this Whole 30 challenge is very hard.  We didn’t realize we were emotional eaters and ate our feelings.  We are the kind of gals who pizza & beer it up on bad days, Pho at least once a week for that cozy feeling, and treat ourselves to dessert daily.  If you aren’t an emotional eater, this challenge would probably be a breeze.The thing about the Whole 30 is that you need to complete the 30 days flawlessly for your body to get the most results.  We are doing this to heal our bodies and if we dipped out early, our bodies wouldn’t get to that point, so we need to keep reminding ourselves why we are doing this in order to stay on track.
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Smoothies

Mirely is the smoothie queen in our house.  She packs them with lots of super foods like shredded coconut, cacao nibs, spinach, almonds, chia, and flax.
Smoothie

Look at those cacao nibs and shredded coconut!

On the Whole 30, we aren’t allowed to add things like yogurt, store-bought non-dairy milks, juices, honey, etc.  We have been using water to blend smoothies and relying on the fruit themselves for sweetness.  For creamy consistencies, we use avocados or bananas or both.  Coconut milk is also great for creamy consistency and flavor.

Ingredients for the delicious smoothie pictures above: Chia seed pudding, almond butter, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, spinach, cacao nibs, cinnamon, and coconut.
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Chia Pudding – Perfect Breakfast or Snack To-go

I have been all about chia seed pudding the last week.  I make it in jars for days I just want something on the go.  I layer it parfait style with fresh berries and cinnamon.  I used to sweeter the pudding prior to The Whole 30, now I think the berries add all of the sweetness it needs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup of chia seeds

Instructions:

Throw that deliciousness in a container together, stir well, and let it hang out over night. The next morning, the chia seeds will have absorbed some of the moisture of the coconut milk and will become gelatinous.  That is your chia pudding.  If you are eating sugar, you can sweeten the pudding prior to refrigerating it or drizzle it on top when you serve it.

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Whole 30 Completion

So me and Ray completed the Whole 30!  Mirely had to end it a few days early since she traveled to Mexico and found it hard to stay on track.  Before the W30, we wanted improved energy levels, better skin, balance in our bodies, and for our busted guts to feel better.  I would say that our goals were met and more.  We liked eating clean so much that we are continuing on a loose paleo lifestyle for now.  This means we are basically eating the same but we allow a few treats here and there, oh, and agave and honey are okay on occasion.

 I would say that our goals were met and more. 

Would I do it again?  I would.  But I would have to plan it carefully so that I’m not on vacation or make sure it doesn’t fall on Thanksgiving.  I have so much energy during the day and so much mental clarity.  I think clean eating could really benefit me during the school year when my head feels extremely cloudy. Ray said he would also do it again.  He hated the no beer rule for more than half of the W30, but now he says he enjoys a beer more since he restricted them.  He is even better at clean eating off of the W30 than me and Mirely.  He won’t eat any agave or wheat for now. Mirely isn’t sure if she would be down to do it again.  She had the roughest time but it was because she was in and out of Tucson during her W30 which made it hard for her to plan her meals.  Though she didn’t complete the full 30 days, she still received some of the benefits such as clearer skin, less bloating, a less busted gut, and more energy.

Would YOU try the Whole 30? Tell us in the comments below!

 

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