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Recent Eats: My First Whole30 Days 21-25

A recap of days 21-25 of my first Whole30 including what I've been eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and how I've been feeling.

The end of Whole30 is so close! Today is Day 27 and in this post I’ll be sharing a recap of days 21-25 with you. Just one more recap and my final thoughts post left to go.

I spent most of days 21-25 in Florida with my family. Luckily, they keep a very stocked fridge and pantry so minus a few things like coconut milk and almond butter, I had what I needed to continue following the program. I mentioned this in a previous post but I am so thankful that my parents were really supportive and understanding of my Whole30. Just wait until you read about trying to find lunch on day 24!

Let’s get into the recap and I’ll follow it up with how I’m feeling. My last two recaps (21-25 and 26-30) will cover 5 days instead of the 4 I was doing in previous posts so that we can get this wrapped up!

DAY 21


Chia pudding for breakfast. I know that no one is surprised but hang with me because I did decide to switch up breakfast on days 25-30 so you’ll see some different breakfast options.


Lunch was scrambled eggs with half and avocado, sauteed spinach and tomatoes and salsa. Apple on the side.

Unpictured snack was banana chips dipped in almond butter.


Dinner was pork tenderloin, roasted acorn squash and sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli.

DAY 22


Chia pudding. We stocked up on fresh berries at Sam’s Club and I enjoyed them my whole trip.


Salad with leftover pork tenderloin and roasted squash. Also apples, pecans and roasted tomatoes. Olive oil and balsamic to dress.


Dinner featured more leftover pork tenderloin. Their was a social potluck hosted by the condo association but there was NOTHING there that was Whole30 friendly so I made dinner when I got home. This bowl may not look pretty but it was amazing! I sauteed potatoes with yellow pepper, onion and spinach and then topped it with pork tenderloin and half an avocado mashed with salsa. This combo was so good!


I ate this for an evening snack on days 22-24. Half of an apple chopped and microwaved with raisins and cinnamon for about 90 seconds. Topped with almond butter.

DAY 23


Chia pudding, berries and almond butter.


Another salad but this one with spinach, hard boiled egg, pecans, avocado and sweet potatoes with olive oil and balsamic to dress. Kombucha on the side.


We went out for dinner. I started with a half dozen steamed oysters.


And then had blackened grouper with steamed broccoli and boiled potatoes. Tip: most seafood places have clarified butter so I asked for some on the side and put it on my broccoli with a squeeze of lemon and on my potatoes once I cut them up.

DAY 24


The last chia pudding bowl you will see of my Whole30! (The crowd roars!)


Okay, this is the day of the lunch fiasco. My mom and I went out to go shopping and went in Panera and Zoe’s Kitchen and had to leave both restaurants because they were extremely non-friendly for Whole30. Get this…Panera doesn’t even have an option for oil and vinegar as a salad dressing and their chicken has sugar in it so a plain salad with no chicken and no dressing was pretty much my only option. Every single one of their soups either had sugar, grains or dairy in it. Zoe’s Kitchen wasn’t much better. Their custom “spice of life” seasoning that’s in almost everything had several ingredients off plan including corn starch and sugar. We ended up at a locally owned Italian place where I ordered a salad with romaine, strawberries, mandarin oranges and grilled chicken. They DID have olive oil and balsamic.


I was hungry shortly after eating because I usually load my salads up with avocados and nuts so I grabbed a Larabar while shopping for that night’s dinner. This was my first Larabar of Whole30. Technically, they’re allowed but not encouraged. The thinking is that they’re a substitute for a candy bar/sweet treat and they’re pretty calorie dense. I was out of the house and having a hunger emergency so I didn’t care! 🙂


Dinner was awesome. My mom and I picked up some pretty cod fillets. My dad grilled them and I made a mango/pineapple/avocado salsa to go with them. Baked sweet potato and roasted cauliflower on the side.

DAY 25


And so starts the final streak of no chia pudding. I was listening to my Whole30 book in the car (it helps keep me focused on the plan and the goals…haha) and was reminded that chia seeds are not their favorite choice for everyday eating and neither is starting the day off with a heavy dose of fruit. I don’t regret all of the chia pudding breakfasts that I’ve eaten on Whole30 because it’s what worked for me but I did decide to mix it up for the last few days. This was two scrambled eggs with avocado and sauteed spinach and tomatoes. Mixed fruit on the side.


I didn’t eat breakfast until about 10 a.m. and lunch was late at 3 p.m. when I got home from the airport. I just mashed a sweet potato with some banana and topped it with almond butter. It was perfect.


And dinner was sweet potato chili with a massaged kale salad. My fiance actually did all the shopping and prep for this chili and he stayed on Whole30 while I was gone!


He kept me updated with a steady stream of iPhone photos. Here are a few of his creations…lamb burgers with avocado, salsa and apples, eggplant and seared scallops with roasted parsnips and carrots, veal picatta with roasted potatoes and sunny side up eggs with roasted brussels and potatoes. I joked that he had been holding out on me to which he replied, “I offer to cook but you get a panicked look in your eyes.” Haha…I may or may not be a slight control freak in the kitchen. I come by it honestly.


Speaking of coming by things honestly, today is my dad’s birthday! As I’ve said about a million times before, my dad is to thank for my love of cooking! He continues to inspire me in the kitchen and he’s still my #1 resource even above google for all cooking-related questions.


  • I slept like a rock star while I was home. I went to bed most nights around 11 and slept through the night and woke up around 7. Getting out of bed was so easy and I didn’t feel tired or groggy at all.
  • Making Whole30 food choices is becoming second nature. I don’t really have to overthink anything and it feels easy to prepare food.
  • Eating out and watching others enjoy hush puppies (I think a tear rolled down my cheek) and dessert is still a little painful.
  • Even more lonely…and then there were three. We started with 23 and I think we’ve dwindled down to three finishers. Hearing my friends talk about cheating on the Whole30 and giving up does kind of mess with me but I have make it way too far to give up now!
  • My energy for workouts is good and I also feel relaxed about workouts. I usually run almost every day when I’m home visiting my parents but it was cold and windy so I did yoga, took a rest day and did only one gym workout instead. I have been lifting consistently and that feels awesome.
  • Skin update…still having hormonal breakouts but eyes are 100% clear with no itching.
  • Digestion is quick and easy.
  • Ready for a glass of wine! 😛

Those of you who follow special diets, how do you make good choices when eating out? I feel so guilty asking a million questions!

Fellow Whole30ers, how’s it going? On or off the wagon? What day are you on? 

Does your significant other cook when you’re out of town? 

More Whole30: 

I’m Doing My First Whoel30
Recent Eats: My First Whole30 Days 1-4
Recent Eats: My First Whole30 Days 5-8
Recent Eats: My First Whole30 Days 9-12
Recent Eats: My First Whole30 Days 13-16 and Thoughts on a “Perfect” Whole30
Recent Eats: My First Whole30 Days 17-20


{ 42 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Linda January 28, 2016, 11:31 am

    Great job, Jen! I have had to make some dietary changes the past few weeks for some throat issues I have, so I’ve given up tomatoes, onion, and garlic…the holy grail of cooking! Coffee, wine, citrus, pepper, and some more staples of my life. At first it was hard cooking without the top 3, but it’s forced us to get out of our comfort zone and have new creations. What I miss the most? Coffee, the smell of it in the morning, the first sip.
    Like you, everything has been literally whole food and my newest snack is a banana with sunflower seed butter and cinnamon heated up in the microwave! So good!

    • 2
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 7:36 am

      I don’t think I could have done whole30 if I had to give up coffee! I hope this helps with your throat at least!

  • 3
    sarah January 28, 2016, 11:53 am

    how do you saute your potatoes? blanch first?

    • 4
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 8:34 am

      i should have! i had to stick these in the microwave for about a minute at the end of cooking because they were still a little hard and were getting too brown. if i cut them small enough i can usually just cover the pan with a lid and “steam” them in the pan though without having to blanche.

  • 5
    Kira January 28, 2016, 12:18 pm

    Day 28 today! I also am very ready for a glass of wine. A friend of mine asked me on Tuesday if I was glad to be so close to finished, and I kind of shrugged. I’ve hit my stride, and I feel great. My clothes are loose, my skin is clear, and my teeth are really white. I’m sleeping well, and I’ve really enjoyed eating healthy meals at home with my husband.

    • 6
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 7:40 am

      That’s so good to hear! I’m just ready for a glass of wine! 🙂

  • 7
    Shannon January 28, 2016, 1:11 pm

    Day 25 for me! I haven’t noticed significant changes with itching on my legs which is kind of a bummer, but I know I have a few more days and it may not be food related so who knows. I’ve definitely realized how I’m an emotional eater when it comes to school stress (I’m in medical school and we have exams coming up) so I’ve been doing some banana/raisin/nut butter snacks a little more often than I should, but I’ve stayed true to Whole30 otherwise.
    I went out to eat for the first time this past week and it went well! Although hard to see other people eating bread-related things (my weakness—so I thought!)
    Are you going to do a reintroduction recap too?

    • 8
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 8:35 am

      i’m so sorry to hear you haven’t had an improvement with your itching. i feel you on the nut butter/fruit snacking but oh well! i will do a reintroduction recap for sure!

  • 9
    meredith @ Cookie ChRUNicles January 28, 2016, 1:29 pm

    Happy bday to your dad! Of everything you said, I am stuck on the sugar in Panera’s chicken. As much as I enjoy their coffee, I struggle eating there because the options for vegetarians are limited for me. I end up ordering salads without chicken and leave hungry.

    • 10
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 8:36 am

      gosh, i just feel like panera seems to be healthy but it’s just not!

  • 11
    Lauren January 28, 2016, 1:55 pm

    I’ve been really intrigued by the Whole 30 plan, but have to say it’s incredibly intimidating – both because I don’t know how I’d do it with two really little kids and because I really love bread and peanut butter. 🙂 Your posts have been great to follow on this though and are really inspiring! Seeing all of the different combinations you’ve come up with for meals, and all of the great health benefits you’ve described are making me think I might want to try it. Thanks for sharing this journey with us!

    • 12
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 8:37 am

      hey lauren – i do see where it could be challenging with two small children, especially if you’re feeding them off-plan stuff. as far as the bread and peanut butter, i swear it’s easier than you think!

  • 13
    Annie B January 28, 2016, 2:20 pm

    I’m still on the Whole30 train, but feeling a bit frustrated with my results. My digestion has been way off for the past two weeks, and my husband is urging me to quit early. I’m going to stick with it through Saturday, and am praying that my body figures things out! All in all, I’ve loved this way of eating and want to continue!

    • 14
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 8:38 am

      hey annie – did you read the book? they say that digestion issues are SUPER common as your gut works to heal itself and can last 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the person. don’t be frustrated. hang in there!

  • 15
    Tera January 28, 2016, 2:36 pm

    That surprises me about Panera! I keep seeing commercials for their new “clean pairings” menu – so I would naturally then assume they would have options without added sugar, gluten, dairy, etc on that menu. It probably just means lower in calories :/

    • 16
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 8:39 am

      yeah, i know! panera always seems to be so healthy but it just really isn’t. they definitely are making good steps to clean up their offerings so hopefully they’ll continue to improve.

  • 17
    Alyssa @ afitmess.com January 28, 2016, 3:05 pm

    You are doing an awesome job! Your meals are very inspiring. That really bothers me about Panera’s menu items. I wouldn’t have thought they put sugar in their chicken. I have completed the W30 twice now and I only ate out twice during those periods because I worried about not having many choices available.

    • 18
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 8:45 am

      here are the ingredients in the chicken. it’s crazy.

      Citrus & Pepper Chicken (Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets With Rib Meat, Water, Seasoning [Lemon, Mangosteen, Natural Smoke Flavor], Sea Salt, Dehydrated Garlic, Dehydrated Onion, Sugar, Dry Lemon Peel, Spices, Dehydrated Rosemary, Dehydrated Basil, Citric Acid, Malic Acid And Paprika For Flavor, Vinegar, Rice Starch)

      Why does chicken need that many ingredients?

      I hear you on not eating out on Whole30. It’s SO hard to know what’s acceptable and what’s not…especially at chains!

  • 19
    Summer Hendrix January 28, 2016, 3:25 pm

    All of your meals look delicious! You have me HOOKED on chia pudding for breakfast! SO glad to hear that your eyes have cleared up. Congrats on making it so far and enjoying the adventure! Being plant based can be a pain in the tush when it came to eating out, but now I am sure to look at the menu before going (if I have time), order random side items to create my own plate, keep it as simple as possible with a salad or if worse comes to worst, I’ll order vegetables raw.

    • 20
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 8:46 am

      Thanks Summer and YAY for chia pudding. So glad you like it!

  • 21
    Melissa January 28, 2016, 4:15 pm

    Why does Whole 30 discourage chia seeds?

    • 22
      Jen DeCurtins January 28, 2016, 4:20 pm

      They encourage you to eat ALL nuts and seeds in limited quantities.

      Here’s the official word on chia from Whole30.

      Chia: Yes

      These “seeds” aren’t the same botanical family of seeds that we eliminate with grains and legumes, so that makes them fine to eat during your Whole30.

      Tip: Chia isn’t likely to cause you any serious trouble, but it’s not the omega-3 super-food it’s made out to be, either. We explain why in It Starts With Food, but in summary, chia should be treated like any other nut and consumed in limited quantities.

  • 23
    Julie January 28, 2016, 4:39 pm

    Your fiancé’s comment that you “get a panicked look in your eyes” when he offers to cook cracked me up b/c I’m sure I get that same look! I can feel my whole body freeze up. The kitchen is my territory. 😛
    Happy b-day to your dad!

    • 24
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 8:46 am

      haha – i totally agree! 🙂

  • 25
    Erin January 28, 2016, 5:03 pm

    Thank you so much for going so in-depth with your Whole 30 journey! I read “It Starts With Food” a few months ago and am still deciding how I would tackle my own Whole 30. I have a few skin issues and wonder if they might be helped by going on the program. I want to give it a shot, but I was a vegetarian for almost 11 years and now only eat chicken and turkey. Couple that with the fact that I just don’t like sweet potatoes…and I think I would have a rough go of it! 🙂

    • 26
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 8:47 am

      you are so welcome! this is the biggest “food and body” experiment that i’ve ever done so i’m happy to share it with others. just remember that everyone is different and this is just how it’s going for me!

      i think you could get creative with you food options and make it work. do you eat fish or any seafood?

      • 27
        Erin January 29, 2016, 10:46 am

        I’ve tried it a few times since I reintroduced meat last year…but I just can’t stomach it. I think I may be more open to trying out humanely raised/organic beef; which I know could open more doors in Whole 30!

  • 28
    Amy January 28, 2016, 11:43 pm

    So many good things! You make the best salads!

    • 29
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 8:48 am

      Aw! Thank you!

  • 30
    Brittany January 29, 2016, 7:45 am

    I can’t wait to hear about your experience with the reintroduction phase. I just ordered the Whole 30 on Amazon yesterday and can’t wait for it to get here. Seeing all of your whole30 meals has definitely made this program look doable. I never would have tried it otherwise. Thank you for sharing!

    • 31
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 8:49 am

      I will definitely share with you guys! I can’t recommend reading the book enough. Understanding the science behind it all is game changing and takes the program to another level.

  • 32
    Emily @ My Healthyish Life January 29, 2016, 12:31 pm

    I can’t get over the sugar in the chicken! There should be one ingredient: chicken. My mom and I both read the book before we started the program and found it helpful. We keep referring back to it and realizing that our symptoms/feelings are normal and par for the course. We are on day 19!

  • 33
    tara January 29, 2016, 2:06 pm

    having celiac means i asked 400 questions every time i go out and actually rarely go out. if i do sometimes i just bring my own food. you would be shocked where i have brought a tupperware of salad to ! its just not worth the risk. i get a lot of questions and it is a bit annoying. its hard because you have to strike a balance of asking the right questions but you need to not piss off the server cuz they control your meal. i just try to smile while i do it and say thank you a lot. and i think to myself…..i care more about not being sick than offending the server! i guess you get used to it. you should never feel bad about asking what is in your food !

  • 34
    Arthi January 29, 2016, 2:36 pm

    I am so impressed by your dedication to this! I think I would have caved after a day. Wine and dessert are just too critical in my life!

    Do you think you’ll stick with it even after the challenge is over?

    • 35
      Jen DeCurtins January 29, 2016, 3:27 pm

      I think it’ll definitely have an impact in shifting my back towards cleaner eating overall. I will go through the re-introduction process over the next month or so and test the different foods I’ve eliminated to see if anything makes my eyes flair up again or just doesn’t feel great. I love wine and dessert too and those are things I’ll never go 100% without!

  • 36
    erin February 22, 2016, 7:13 pm

    Thanks for the tip about clarified butter at restaurants.

  • 37
    Erin April 4, 2016, 5:38 pm

    Any updates on night sweats? I get them too and have been wondering if you had any other clues as to the cause. And congrats on finishing the Whole 30 🙂

  • 38
    Robyne April 28, 2016, 11:23 am

    Hey, great pictures and good options for changing it up!! This is my 2nd whole30 & I was under the impression kombucha was not on the list?!

    • 39
      Jen DeCurtins April 28, 2016, 11:35 am

      Thanks Robyne. Here’s the official word from the Whole30 crew on kombucha: Kombucha: Read your labels

      We like the probiotic benefits of ‘booch, and we think it makes a fine addition to your Whole30 menu. Just read your labels carefully—sugar listed in the ingredients generally means that it was added after fermentation, and that’s a no-go. Some varieties, like GT Dave’s Enlightened flavors, have fruits and fruit juices added, which are just fine.

      – See more at: http://whole30.com/2013/06/the-official-can-i-have-guide-to-the-whole30/#sthash.dvLJwJP0.dpuf.

  • 40
    Dana September 1, 2016, 12:43 am

    I must try the chia seed pudding! It looks delicious. I am in week three of whole30 and all is great but I do have to say I’m a bit tired of egg this and egg that for breakfast so I’m really hoping I like the chia pudding lol. Eating this way does make you feel so much better and I love that fruit is encouraged. It’s a lifesaver because unlike paleo and many other low carb plans, fruit is typically a no no. Having fruit has saved me because I get to have my “sweet fix” with fruit and not just sit around dreaming of something sweet. Your taste buds change too. Even sweet potatoes taste really sweet to me now. I love the whole30! Great job by the way! :)) 👏🏻

  • 41
    Dana September 1, 2016, 12:51 am

    I must try the chia pudding! It looks delicious! I’m in my third week of whole39 and I’m feeling great. This plan is so much better that most of the other low carb plans because fruit is encouraged. I believe that is what has made this so easy for me. I can have my sweet fix and still eat healthy. My taste buds have changed. Now a sweet potato tastes really sweet just by itself. I love whole 30. I feel great and I’m looking forward to continued improved health. Great job by the way! 👏🏻😊

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