Family Dinner Plan: Whole30 Challenge days 1-6

Oh, I am feeling so trendy this week! DH and I have decided to embark on a Whole30 Challenge, an eating movement made popular by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig (among others), who encourage participants to eat a diet which closely resembles that of our long-ago ancestors. Often called Paleo, or Primal, or Caveman, this diet eliminates processed foods, refined sugars, dairy, wheat, legumes, and unhealthy oils. Instead, followers focus on high-quality lean meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

As with many trendy hip things, there are loads of websites and people talking about all the details. There are different factions and levels of involvement, and different results. Our youngest child asked why we would do a challenge like this; giving up ice cream is a big deal in her life. I told her that every once in a while, challenging yourself to break out of your normal food routine is a good thing. DH and I like challenges, we are sort of competitive that way. And I am finding that when I reduce the amount of sugar in my diet, my emotions are more on an even keel and I sleep better. Wheat has probably been a problem for a while, but I have never faced up to the fact that I don’t always feel awesome after consuming a plate of pasta or a couple slices of pizza. Dairy is going to be the hardest, since there is not one thing in that family of foods I don’t love. By eliminating these foods for a month, I will be curious to see if there are noticeable changes that are worth the effort.

Fortunately, our veggie box from Mariquita Farms supports this kind of eating, and I feel as though I have a leg up on the competition. Our fruit box from Frog Hollow Farms, a trip to the Farmer’s Market this morning, and recent purchases of grass-fed beef from Markegard Farms and lamb from Sierra Farms, has me looking forward to the challenge.

In our box from Mariquita, we received Cherry Tomatoes, Red Beets, Swiss Chard, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Eggplant, Yellow Potatoes. The yellow potatoes will be put aside until after the challenge, or fed to the children. I already roasted the beets and eggplant, and will serve the beets as a salad and make a Baba Ganoush with the eggplant. And the Early Girl tomatoes were made into tomato sauce and tucked in the freezer for later.

Here is my menu plan for the week of September 9:

Sunday: Dinner with friends, bringing a salad with lettuce, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and maybe a little smattering of roasted beets

Monday (first day of Whole 30): Beef Chili (no beans), steamed summer squash, salad with cucumbers and beets, grapes (probably while we play cards after dinner)

Tuesday: Grilled lamb chops, grilled green beans and padron peppers, chard souffle, fresh peaches and pluots

Wednesday: Eat out after soccer (eating out is tricky, but I did see this great salad from Jeffrey’s with steak that might do the trick!)

Thursday: Roasted salmon, kale chips, salad, applesauce from a stash of apples my neighbor brought over

Friday: Back-to-School party night (this will be challenging, might have to snack beforehand and focus on things wrapped in bacon)

Saturday: Another Back-to-School party!

What is on your menu plan this week? Wanna join me for the Whole30? 


  1. It’ll be interesting following your journey on this. I know very little about this, and have a question – why do you eliminate legumes? I can understand the rest – but I thought legumes were a good source of fiber and protein.
    Cyndi recently posted…Jumping into Freezer MealsMy Profile

  2. Woohoo Gudrun!! I’m going for about 7 days of Whole30 (I know, I know, I should commit fully…) in preparation for a two month Paleo challenge at the gym. The goal is, if I’m going strong, I’ll keep going into the challenge itself. The great part is that this doesn’t really impact the way I eat, because the major refined and processed food I was eating was junk anyway. 4 pints of ice cream in the freezer? Mhmm, that was me. I do wish I had a Maraquita box to get me through things though! Produce hunting in Boston is less fun. But, we just got our first pastured meat butcher, so there is hope!
    Sam @ The Second Lun recently posted…Melissa Clark’s Wild Salmon with Brown Butter CucumbersMy Profile

  3. Kitchen Gadget Girl

    Thanks for following Cyndi – here is the Whole30 rational for dropping legumes from the diet:

    Basically has to do with lectins and immune response.

    I was raised on beans, and love to cook beans for taco night dinners, so taking them out for 30 days will have an impact. But one of the main goals for eating this way for 30 days is to see if I end up feeling better, have more energy, sleep better. At the end, there is a re-entry period, where eliminated foods will be added back in and close inspection can take place. It will be interesting to see what impact legumes have on my diet and health.

  4. Kitchen Gadget Girl

    Sam, I like the idea of going for a mini-challenge. Back in May, I removed refined sugars and stupid carbs (that is what I called them, those white-flour carbs) from my diet and added in exercise every day. That was the right amount for me. According to the local Whole30 group I belong too, the first 7 days are hard, mostly around sugar, and the next 7 you get closer into a routine and start seeing interesting changes.

    Let me know what you decide, I will be curious to hear about your results!

  5. Seven days down, and things are going well! My biggest worry is Rosh Hashana, but now that our Paleo challenge at the gym has started, I think sticking with the Whole30 for 30 actually seems more doable. I had to get over the hump! I’m enjoying your posts, and looking forward to more!
    Sam @ TheSecondLunch recently posted…New ChallengesMy Profile

    1. Kitchen Gadget Girl

      oh, yes, holidays! That will be tricky. I think in cases like this you need to hold true to your traditions and enjoy the challah and honey as important parts of your ceremony. Or are there new, gluten-free alternatives?

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