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Whole30 Sweeteners

   
whole30 sweeteners
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Whole30 sweeteners are a bit of a gray area.  Sweeteners are technically verboten: “Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial” but the rules also go on to say “[f]ruit juice as a sweetener” is an exception and dates are also an acceptable food with certain caveats.

       

I finished my sixth Whole30 last week and am already thinking about going back.  Why Whole30?  Because I love and hate it.  The strictness keeps me totally in line and the results (feeling better!) are mostly worth the (sometimes incredible and annoying) effort.  What I really need to make it through another round are some fresh food ideas and that’s what got me thinking about sweeteners.

I don’t really need sweet food and I’m not talking about trying to create “SWYPO” (sex with your pants on) type goodies, but good cooking requires layers of flavors and a depth that sometimes can’t be filled without a hint of sweetness.

So what can you use as Whole30 sweeteners?

Dates

In the form of whole dates, date paste, date sugar

I love dates.  Sweet, chewy little bites of natures candy, but also dangerous because of that.  Eating whole dates as a treat is a no-no, but eating dates as a part of a recipe should be okay (again, no “SWYPO”).  Dates work beautifully in sauces and other dishes that get pureed.  Not so much for other recipes due to their clumpy, sticky nature.  I haven’t found any magical conversion rate when using dates or date paste as a part of a recipe so I usually start small and taste as I go.

The mere mention of date sugar will probably send hard-core Whole30 militants into fits of rage, but whatever.  Date sugar is just the powdered form of very well dried dates.  I love the idea of a powdered form for measuring and mixing ease.  Will it work like sugar?  Nope, but it will give sauces or other recipes a nice kick of sweetness without forcing you to bust out the blender or food processor.

Be very careful if you buy date sugar for your Whole30 as I have seen at least one popular brand add oat flour to prevent clumping which makes it unsuitable for Whole30.

Apples

In the form of applesauce, apple juice

Applesauce is an easy addition to baked goods, soups, stews or sauces that need a little boost in the sweetness department.  I like to buy the little 6 packs of individual servings and use those to prevent waste.

Apple juice can also provide a nice bit of sweetness in those same dishes.  It also works like a charm in marinades.  I was totally stumped on how to make really flavorful beef jerky sans sugar until I realized apple juice made an excellent addition to the marinade.

Oranges

In the form of orange juice

Just like apple juice, orange juice can be a great addition to marinades.  Chicken and pork are especially good candidates for marinades with orange juice.  Cuban-style mojo is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of oranges and marinade.

Prunes

In the form of whole prunes, prune paste

Like dates, prunes are a bit candy-like and can be dangerous when eaten by themselves.  As a part of a recipe they offer a deeper, richer flavor than other sweetener options, but are best blended to incorporate them well.  The slight tartness of prunes can be a good match for meat dishes, stews and other bolder recipes.

Bananas

In the form of mash, the riper the sweeter

Mashed bananas are perfect for adding a touch of sweetness in baked and other goods.  If you have trouble with custards, sweet treats and the like you may want to avoid eating this type of stuff while on Whole30 though.  This pumpkin custard and banana pudding are nice examples of recipes where bananas add just the right amount of sugar.  Bananas are also great as the sweetening element in smoothies, though they are frowned upon on Whole30.

Using moderation is absolutely key with these sweeteners.  When doing Whole30 you are not trying to recreate your old way of eating, you’re trying something totally new and possibly very foreign.  Use these Whole30 sweeteners judiciously to enhance your new way of cooking, but don’t abuse them.  After 30 days you might be surprised to find that your desire for sweet stuff has greatly dimished anyway.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

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Whole30 on the Go: Traveling on Whole30

   
Traveling on Whole30
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Traveling on Whole30 wasn’t something I ever envisioned having to do, but smack in the middle of my current Whole30 (number 6!) I found myself hitting the road for work.  This was totally new territory for me.  All my previous Whole30 rounds were completed in the comfort of a very controlled home environment.  At first I was worried, but after some research and pre-trip planning I think I got a handle on traveling on Whole30.

       

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #1 – No Kitchen

I stayed at a place with no kitchen.  There was only a mini fridge and microwave.  The options with this arrangement weren’t spectacular, but they were definitely better than nothing.  The ability to store and heat food allowed more flexibility with what I could buy and eat.

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #2 – Limited Restaurants

My favorite Whole30-friendly restaurant is Chipotle and luckily there was one within walking distance.  Other options included Salad and Go and a burger joint.  These are probably not ideal places, but based on their menus I could come up with some customized meals that will work.

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #3 – Limited Shopping Potential

I was traveling in an area off the beaten path.  Without wheels Wal-Mart was my only outlet for shopping.  At first I was really down about this, but after some research on what to buy there during Whole30 I realized that I wasn’t as limited as I first thought.

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #4 – Office Food

I have the extreme luxury of not working in an office.  While there are tons of benefits to this: no commute, no dress code, etc., one of the major benefits is not having to deal with office food.  No bagels, no donuts, no vending machines, no candy bowls, no catered lunches or brought in pizzas, the list could go on and on.  I had to fend off all offerings related to office food to stay on plan.

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #5 – Is it Worth it?

Was all the effort worth it?  I asked myself that while worrying about how I would handle this trip.  Part of me feels it seems silly to put this much thought and effort into eating.  Part of me gets really angry about why you to have to fight so hard to not eat crap.  Another part of me says yes, it is worth it because you really have to take care of yourself.

The Results

So what did I end up eating?  A quick trip to the store yielded cherry tomatoes, bananas, tuna packets, Aidells chicken sausages, green olives and smashed avocados.  This supplemented what I brought with me: Larabars, pumpkin seeds and raisins.

I further supplemented my meals with some offerings from the hotel food selection.  The meals they served were not even close to compliant, but I was able to snag bits and pieces. I found mixed spring greens, baked potatoes, mustard and other condiments for dinner and scrambled eggs and fruit for breakfast.   Unfortunately I was on the fence about the scrambled eggs so I only ate a very small portion one morning.  The server indicated they did not contain any dairy, but I have a feeling there were some mystery ingredients hiding in there.

In the end it actually wasn’t as hard to stay compliant while traveling on Whole30 as I thought it might be.  One of the benefits of travel can be experiencing new and different cuisine and this Whole30 pretty much sucked the joy right out of that.  Aside from that issue it wasn’t too bad.  Would I travel on Whole30 again?  Yes, if I had to I definitely could do it, but I probably wouldn’t if there was a way to avoid it.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week, both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends!

Want to see more Whole30 posts? Check these out!

Disclaimer: This post chronicles my personal experience while working through the Whole30. This is not a recommendation or suggestion for you to do the same, nor is it an endorsement of the Whole30 program. Before you begin this or any diet or exercise program you should discuss it with your doctor or qualified health care provider to determine whether it is safe for you. This post is based on my personal situation and is for information purposes only. Anything contained herein should not be treated as guidance or advice.

Transitioning off Whole30 and Reintroduction

   

Transitioning off Whole30

       

I’m one day away from finishing my fifth Whole30.  Transitioning off Whole30 has always been a challenge for me because by the time the days are up I am done.  Like annoyed, fried, a bit angry at food and plain grumpy about eating.  It’s been this way almost every time.  While a slow reintroduction would probably be good I am so over it that eating anything off plan sounds absolutely delightful.  Does this result in tummy aches?  Of course.  Does it result in regret?  Occasionally.  Does it ruin the progress I made?  Nope!

Transitioning off Whole30 in an orderly fashion (aka “Reintroduction“) is meant to give you greater insight into how certain foods affect you.  Adding food back one group or type at a time allows you to experiment with how you feel after eating.  This way you can take control over items or groups that may cause you trouble.  Maybe beans or oats or rice don’t bother you a bit, but alcohol or dairy sends you into fits.  You may never nail down the source of potential issues if you add back lots of different foods at one time.  The Whole30 website lays out a 10 day plan for reintroducing potential agitators.  It’s a smart plan, but in all honesty I’ve never had the patience to follow it very closely.  Even without following the plan I’ve still been able to identify some potential trigger foods so I don’t think I’ve cheated myself too bad.

Each Whole30 has helped me a little bit differently.  I’ve learned there really are certain foods that bother me more than others.  I’ve learned that eating greatly impacts my sleep.  I discovered that alcohol, while occasionally enjoyable, is pretty much not my friend.  I’ve learned that I can eat more by volume (a hugely surprising amount) of quality food and actually lose weight.  I’ve found that Whole30 helps me reset my cravings for sugar and junk food.  I also learned that food actually starts to taste different once you aren’t eating sugar and processed goo.

I didn’t step on the scale once or take measurements or even pictures this time.  This time it was about cutting out food that wasn’t nutritionally sound and killing my cravings for junk food.  In the past I’ve wanted to stick with Whole30 principals and for a while it has worked, but eventually the bad stuff has crept back in.  Instead of letting things spiral into an eventual free for all I’m making a different plan this time. I’m going to to eat fairly close to Whole30, but add dairy back in.  Dairy is something I miss terribly when I do Whole30 so I feel like if I allow some latitude with this food group maybe it will be easier to stick with eating better.

Are you thinking about starting a Whole30 or doing one right now?  Follow my Whole30 Pinterest board for ideas and inspiration!

 

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week, both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends!

Want to see more Whole30 posts? Check these out!

Disclaimer: This post chronicles my personal experience while working through the Whole30. This is not a recommendation or suggestion for you to do the same, nor is it an endorsement of the Whole30 program. Before you begin this or any diet or exercise program you should discuss it with your doctor or qualified health care provider to determine whether it is safe for you. This post is based on my personal situation and is for information purposes only. Anything contained herein should not be treated as guidance or advice.

Back on Whole30

   

Back on Whole30July seemed like a great month to get back on Whole30 so here I am, already on day five of my fifth round. Since having surgery in April I’ve found myself eating like a machine. While I think it’s been somewhat part of the recovery process I feel like I really need to break the pattern and get back to eating better food. Despite my grumblings about past Whole30 rounds I am convinced that it’s the best way I know to reset my eating habits. It’s really nice to take a break from food/drink that I enjoy, but doesn’t necessarily do me any favors (I’m looking at you beer!)

       

Starting a Whole30 so close to a holiday is probably not the best idea and I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner. I figured I had enough experience to navigate those waters safely enough. We did a shrimp boil sans sausage and no corn for me. I made my own dipping sauce with approved mayo and hot sauce and it was awesome. I skipped the angel food cake and ate some frozen banana slices instead and was perfectly happy.  I’ll admit I did sniff the cake though.

In going back on Whole30 I am hoping to regain a grasp on eating less processed food.  I’m also hoping to get back to better snack control.  I know that snacking is discouraged and while I don’t always follow that to the letter I find that snacks and mindless eating are greatly reduced just because of what’s available to eat.

To ensure I am fairly prepared for eating I have made mayonnaise, Mel Joulwan’s Magical Tahini Dressing and a knock off of Chipotle’s tomatillo salsa.  Later today I am whipping up a batch of the Domestic Man’s Perkedel and some grilled chicken drumsticks coated in ghee and hot sauce.  As with previous rounds I am 100% certain the being well prepared is one of the greatest factors in making it through the 30 days.

If you’re starting out on a Whole30 be sure to check out my 25 Tips for Surviving Whole30 for info and advice on making it to the end.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week, both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends!

Want to see more Whole30 posts? Check these out!

Disclaimer: This post chronicles my personal experience while working through the Whole30. This is not a recommendation or suggestion for you to do the same, nor is it an endorsement of the Whole30 program. Before you begin this or any diet or exercise program you should discuss it with your doctor or qualified health care provider to determine whether it is safe for you. This post is based on my personal situation and is for information purposes only. Anything contained herein should not be treated as guidance or advice.

Another Whole30 in the Books

   

Another Whole30

       

Another Whole30 is in the books and boy am I glad it’s over.  These rounds were my 3rd and 4th through the Whole30 program.  To recap, I started this journey on January 1st and finished on January 30th, took a one day break and then started again on February 1st, finishing yesterday, March 1st.  The second round I completed with my hubby.  This was the first time we ever tried this together and it was both good and sometimes bad to have a partner.

This morning I ate candy for breakfast and I’m not sorry.  I know that seems super counterproductive to what you are supposed to learn from doing the Whole30, but by the end of 60 days I had simply had enough of the whole thing.  Actually I had already had enough days or even weeks ago, but I just couldn’t quit.

whole30 progressHaving done the Whole30 twice before I was well prepared in some ways and not so much in other ways.  On January first I stuck a piece of gum in my mouth and then realized what I had done after the fact.  A force of habit can be very hard to break.  I had some other tiny hiccups here and there.  We ate out and potentially had some less than desirable oils.  I accidentally put a couple splashes of smoked chipotle Tabasco on my salad bowl at Chipotle and later realized it had sugar in it.  I would say things were pretty good in the compliance area otherwise.  I prepped lots of food and condiments and kept our kitchen stocked with compliant options to help alleviate food boredom.

Going into this Whole30 I was hoping to shed a bit of extra bulk that had accumulated over the past year or so.  My pants had gotten pretty tight and I was feeling a bit sluggish.  We don’t keep a scale in our house so my measure of success in that area was going to be how my pants fit.  For the first time ever I also took before and after pics.  Even before taking the 60 day picture I knew that things  had moved in a positive direction.  By the end of the rounds my pants were back to fitting just fine.  My frequent digestive issues were tamed to almost non-existent and my sleep was greatly improved.  I did not change anything about my exercise routine while doing the Whole30.  I followed my same old routine 5 days per week and did not add anything extra.  This tells me that my changes were definitely related to my diet alone.  From the pictures the changes don’t necessarily seem that dramatic, but for just 60 days of solidly healthy eating, never being hungry and not doing any additional exercise beyond my norm it’s actually pretty impressive.

Having a partner during while doing another Whole30 was a new experience.  I did my first round alone and then I jumped back on the bandwagon for a second round because my hubby committed to doing it.  I thought having a partner would make it an easy breezy experience, but it actually didn’t work out that way all the time.  It was super fantastic to not have to cook non-compliant food like I’ve done before.  Temptations were reduced to almost none in our house.  We drank and ate the same things and grocery shopping was streamlined.  On the other hand when cravings or grouchiness popped up it was amplified by two.  Social activities were severely curtailed by our lack of being able to eat out.  This wasn’t such an issue for me as I had experienced it before, but it was a shocker and a major source of contention for my hubby and then for us as a couple.

another whole30Yesterday if you would have asked me how I felt about Whole30 I would have told you I completely hated it and would never do it again and I was sorry I did it because it was awful and that I was doubly sorry I even suggested that anyone else do it.  Clearly, yesterday was a tough day.  Today if you asked me I would be much less harsh.   After reviewing my progress it’s quite evident to me that even though it’s not an easy program (for various reasons) it’s definitely one that gets results.   I probably would not suggest doing it back to back though as I think that is where a lot of my difficulties started.  Doing it for 30 days provides a great reset and gives you a fairly short window to get through the program and then implement changes in your regular routine.  Doing it for longer really forces you to live on the edge of normal.  It’s hard to go out and be social when food is involved, it forces you to cook creatively (not necessarily a bad thing, but a challenge nonetheless), it can be a little pricey depending on what you choose to eat and it can be annoying to talk about if people are constantly asking about it (the degree of annoyance depends on the question for me).  If I were to undertake another round (and I am sure I will), I would definitely stick to 30 days in order to help keep my sanity.

Want to see more Whole30 posts? Check these out!

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week, both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends!

Disclaimer: This post chronicles my personal experience while working through the Whole30. This is not a recommendation or suggestion for you to do the same, nor is it an endorsement of the Whole30 program. Before you begin this or any diet or exercise program you should discuss it with your doctor or qualified health care provider to determine whether it is safe for you. This post is based on my personal situation and is for information purposes only. Anything contained herein should not be treated as guidance or advice.