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Recent Eats: Vacation After The Whole30

When I completed Whole30, I had about three and a half weeks before we left for our yoga retreat/vacation to Zoetry Agua Punta Cana and AlSol Tiara Cap Cana. My goal was to have most foods re-introduced by the time we left so that I didn’t have to deal with it on the trip.

Before we left I was comfortably eating non-gluten grains like rice and quinoa and also some added sugars but not dessert-type stuff. I did a couple very small gluten and dairy tests but was for the most part still avoiding them, primarily because I experienced such a massive clearing of acne from my face AFTER Whole30. I had been in bad flair for 3-4 months where I was never without some sort of cystic breakout somewhere on my cheeks or chin. I heard from many of you that dairy and gluten are breakout triggers so I have been cautious about adding them back in.

I have received many questions about how and what I ate on vacation “after the Whole30” so today’s recent eats is going to show examples of what I ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner while I was away. I didn’t go into the trip with the mindset that I “couldn’t” have certain foods but I tried to lean the way of moderation.

Just like my previous Whole30 “recent eats” recaps, I’ll share a lot of final thoughts with you at the end of the post.



Fruit plates and coffee every day.


Along with eggs! I ate eggs for breakfast every day of this trip. It helped because we usually didn’t eat until around 9:30 or 10 so by then I was in the mood for eggs. Every morning we were at Zoetry I did scrambled eggs with herbs. They served egg whites but I asked for the whole egg. I skipped the hashbrown and sausage but ate most of the bacon.


I never got tired of the abundance of fresh fruit.


Once we switched over the AlSol Tiara, I became good friends with the omelet man. Two eggs, jalepenos, spinach and mushrooms was my order of choice along with fresh fruit and smoked salmon. On this day he mistakenly put cheese in my omelet and rather than freak about about it and make him re-cook it, I rolled with it. (By this point in the vacation, it didn’t even matter.)


Two egg omelet, a poached egg, smoked salmon, plantains and fruit.



We ordered lunch on the beach most days at Zoetry. This is a shrimp ceviche.


Fried sweet potatoes and plantains, tuna and avocado salad with chicken and fish ceviche served in a coconut.


Shrimp caesar salad.


Tuna tartar.


Seared tuna and a salad with tomatoes and avocado. I asked for the tuna on top of a salad but instead they gave me the tuna entree with a side salad. You just can’t complain though when you’re eating said tuna from a beach chair and looking at the ocean.


For the first day’s lunch at AlSol, we split a big plate of stuff from the beach grill they had set up. Chicken, ribs and fish and veggie kebabs and went back for doubles on that.


And the last day of the trip I said “screw it” and ordered a grilled mahi sandwich at the cutest little beachside restaurant that we visited (more on that later!). By this point I had already fallen pretty far off the wagon and fish sandwiches while I’m in tropical places are my favorite.



Octopus carppacio at Zoetry. This was phenomenal and we ordered it two different nights.


Beef carpaccio.


Filet of beef with mushrooms and asparagus.


Duck breast with mashed potatoes and veggies.


Roasted red pepper and mushroom risotto (to die for) and lamb chops for our last dinner at Zoetry.


Chicken and beef fajitas at AlSol Tiara.


Chips and guacamole.


Stir fry with rice.


Sushi and edamame apps.


We were treated to an amazing chef’s tasting dinner at AlSol Tiara on our second night there (I will do a separate post showcasing that dinner) and when they brought dessert, it was pistachio ice cream with tropical fruits and chocolate sauce. How could I not? It was my first ice cream in 2+ months and so, so good!


Naturally, I had to do it again the last night. 🙂



On the way to Punta Cana, I packed tons of snacks and a lunch for us with leftovers from the night before. On the way back to Charlotte, we were out of snacks save this last pack of cashew butter and the options at the airport were Wendy’s, Nathan’s Hot Dogs and a pizza place. I just can’t do it with fast food so I made do with an apple and cashew butter. I was starving when we got back to Charlotte.


  • Breakfast was the easiest meal of the day to stick to a clean, healthy diet. It got progressively harder as the day went on. Dinner was really tough because of all the sauces and garnishes that you don’t know about until you receive the plate.
  • The language barrier was REALLY tough. Most of the time when I asked for certain things to be left off, substituted or put on the side, they were not. It was also hard to order food in ways any different than listed on the menu.
  • Both resorts listed gluten-free selections on their menus but I’m not 100% sold that all of them were actually gluten-free. For example, those fajitas were listed as gluten-free but served with flour tortillas (yes, you could not eat the tortillas but you get my point.)
  • I tried to go the route of splurges here and there and not go completely crazy. For the first 5 days of the trip I did a good job and felt really great. For the last three days I got a little lax and felt the side effects of that (but the ice cream and sandwich was still worth it). 🙂
  • Zoetry is a wellness-focused resort so I felt it was easier there to make healthy (and still really delicious) choices.
  • It was just a week of my life and I tried NOT to focus on food but instead on soaking up the incredible experience. We’re doing a “mini Whole30” now that we’re home. One of the things I love about the program is that they say you can do a quick reset at any time for any amount of time you want to do it, whether that’s 3 days or the full 30 days.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Do you have any favorite vacation foods? 

Fellow Whole30ers…do you ever do mini resets? (I need my sugar dragon to stay tame…haha)

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt March 4, 2016, 8:41 am

    That looks like some pretty awesome resort food! I’m impressed!

    • 2
      Jen DeCurtins March 5, 2016, 8:48 am

      All of the Zoetry’s that we’ve stayed at have had amazing food!

  • 3
    Mary Ann March 4, 2016, 8:54 am

    Your timing is perfect. I leave next week for a trip to Mexico and just completed Whole 30 as well. I can honestly say this doesn’t feel like a diet at all….just a new mindset to only eating ‘whole’ foods. Thanks for your ideas and encouragement and all of your food posts. They have been so helpful in keeping a variety during all of this. I’m looking forward to all of the fresh fish and veggies and the maybe the occasional ice cream!

    • 4
      Jen DeCurtins March 5, 2016, 8:49 am

      Thanks! Enjoy your trip and just eat what makes you feel good on vacation! <3

  • 5
    Hilary March 4, 2016, 9:11 am

    I am currently in my reintroduction phase, but I can totally see myself doing a reset here and there especially after the holiday season!

    • 6
      Jen DeCurtins March 5, 2016, 8:50 am

      How’s it going for you?

      I have seen where a lot of people do it every January after the holidays as a “whole foods/mindful” start to the year.

  • 7
    Chelsea@RunningWithaWhisk March 4, 2016, 9:13 am

    I love that you didn’t just finish your Whole30 and completely go back to old habits. I eat mostly whole, fresh foods but have been toying with the idea of a whole30. You have given me some great ideas!

    • 8
      Jen DeCurtins March 5, 2016, 8:51 am

      It’s been a learning experience. I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface on learning about how various foods impact my body.

  • 9
    tara March 4, 2016, 9:56 am

    wow…that is incredibly sad that the one place listed gluten free the fajitas then served with flour tortillas ! anyone with celiac or even basic GF restrictions needs the foods to be totally GF and not cross contaminated with gluten items. the absolute hardest thing for me as a celiac is travel. its almost impossible at a place like this that doesnt take it seriously and there is a language barrier. Also surprise sauces, etc cause big problems because who knows whats in them !!! i understand its hard to “cater” to people with food problems but it would be nice if more places did. sadly i can tell you for me, once i went GF my acne did not get better but mine is more hormonal vs. food related. i think you have a good attitude about not being to crazy about food on your vaca. enjoying the experience is what is all about !!! thanks for the recap here. it highlights how hard and stressful traveling can be on any kind of restricted diet.

    • 10
      Jen DeCurtins March 5, 2016, 8:53 am

      I cannot even imagine how difficult it must be to be celiac and make sure that the food you are serving is 100% gf when traveling or just eating out. I will say that I think both resorts would have been super accommodating if you reached out to them ahead of time about dietary needs.

      • 11
        tara March 7, 2016, 4:47 pm

        yea..sucks is pretty much the best word. i get creative though and its easier in a city where there are more options. i am so scared of a resort where you are more “stuck” with what they have. I’ve been to 2 sandals resorts and those were decent for celiac though i was incredibly careful. I’m traveling for work next week to Buffalo (not downtown) and will be going to a grocery store since our hotel has mini kitchen thank god ! the worst part of this trip will be traveling with work peeps with 1 car to share and they just dont understand my issues the way family does. good to know that you think the resorts would be accommodating if contacted.

        • 12
          Jen DeCurtins March 8, 2016, 11:11 am

          I love being able to have some staples/groceries in hotel rooms. It’s nice not to have to eat every meal out, especially breakfast. Have safe travels!

  • 13
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine March 4, 2016, 10:41 am

    That sandwich looks more than worth it! And loving all the plantains! <3

    • 14
      Jen DeCurtins March 5, 2016, 8:53 am

      We are on a huge plantain kick right now!

  • 15
    Brittany Holtz March 4, 2016, 10:56 am

    I totally get the balancing act between staying healthy on vacation and splurging a little. The last time we went to a resort I went all out on everything and felt horrible by the end. My husband and I agreed that on our next vacation we don’t want to throw it all away and come home feeling like crap again. We agreed we’d enjoy our vacation more if we at least stuck to some of our regular eating/exercising routines. I feel like once you eat healthy for so long its so hard for the body to handle splurging for days at a time. The food at both resorts looks amazing!

    • 16
      Erica March 4, 2016, 12:55 pm

      My husband and I are the same way( me probably more). I am happier and more relaxed on vacation if I stick to my regular healthy diet( with some treats thrown in) and exercise. It makes coming home that less dreadful!

      • 17
        Jen DeCurtins March 5, 2016, 8:55 am

        I agree with you both! Anytime that I travel and go super off the path of my normal eating (whatever it is at that time), it’s never worth it. I much prefer “pretty normal” with cocktails and some splurges thrown in here and there.

  • 18
    Emily March 4, 2016, 7:35 pm

    Hi Jen, I’m a long time reader and you have always talked about an 80/20 lifestyle and not following the new diets/restricting food groups. I was curious if you plan to go back to that or if the whole 30 has changed your opinion that? I just made your oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and it made me realize how long it’s been since you have shared recipes like that! (they were amazing by the way).

    • 19
      Jen DeCurtins March 5, 2016, 8:59 am

      Hi Emily – thanks for reading.

      The answer to your question is, I don’t know right now. I haven’t shared this in a post yet but as soon as I started reintroduction, my skin issues not only came back but spread to new places. It’s incredibly frustrating. I am going to be working with a naturopath as well as my normal doctor. We agreed it was best to wait until after vacation to start so I’m kind of back at square one now. The naturopath is hopeful that it’s something that we can clear and that I’ll be back to normal once we address the underlying issue.

      I’ll also say that I have no plans to live a life without pizza and cupcakes! 🙂

      • 20
        Emily March 5, 2016, 10:19 am

        Thanks for answering and sharing your experiences. It has been interesting to watch your journey. I hope you figure out your skin issues, that does sound frustrating. And yes, what is life without cupcakes? 🙂

  • 21
    Michelle March 4, 2016, 11:43 pm

    I’m a bit confused by this Whole 30 thing. I thought that you were done and trying to reintroduce foods in order to determine if any caused your ailments but you seemed to have been sticking to W30 on vacation and, by your last comment re. 3 day sessions, seem to be embracing this as a lifestyle. I know little about the program except for what you shared but it looked to be an exclusion diet. Are you looking to add in and see if you can find your triggers? Does the reintroduction state to reintroduce and then do mini-30s?

    • 22
      Jen DeCurtins March 5, 2016, 9:05 am

      Hi Michelle –

      Thanks for your comment. As I shared with Emily in the comment above, since I started re-introduction, my skin issues have come back and spread to new places. Before I left on the trip I met with a naturopath who is going to to help me try to get to the root of it. He feels strongly that it’s directly related to my overall gut flora and is very hopeful that it’s something that can be healed and that I’ll be back to normal. When I told him that it cleared during Whole30 he said, “well then you should go back to Whole30” but he totally understood that it wasn’t realistic for vacation or as a forever lifestyle. I’ll be working with my regular doctor as well. It’s incredibly frustrating.

      And yes, re-introduction is typically introduce and then back to Whole30 for three days so that you can truly get a read on how things make you feel.

      I highly recommend reading It Starts with Food if you have questions about Whole30. It may look like a restriction program from the outside but the #1 goal is actually to promote healthy psychological responses to food. That being said, it’s not for everyone!

      • 23
        Michelle March 5, 2016, 4:05 pm

        Thanks for your reply Jenn & I’m sorry to hear that you are still having skin issues. I get dry skin but it’s mostly due to weather and lack of consistent use of moisturizer. I can’t imagine having food trigger it. Good luck and I hope that you find the trigger – as long as it’s not PB!!

  • 24
    Laura March 5, 2016, 1:35 am

    The two previous commenters have hit on some things I’ve noticed. I’ve enjoyed your blog for years because I could always find good recipes and fun workouts! Whole 30 sounds like an interesting program but it seems your philosophy towards food has really changed. (Or at least how you write about it has.) I know you don’t share everything you eat but, as a loyal reader, it’s hard to miss the hints at (and outright admission) to restriction.

    • 25
      Jen DeCurtins March 5, 2016, 9:11 am

      Hi Laura,

      Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. Please see my comments back to Emily and Michelle above.

      Whole30 was a wonderful experiment for me and a great exercise in learning how great my body could feel. It was not and still isn’t my intention to live “Whole-rest of my life.”

      Remember that my motivation for doing Whole30 was to get relief from my eyelid dermatitis/eczema. I did find that on Whole30. They completely cleared. Unfortunately, as soon as I began reintroduction, my eye itching came back…and spread to the sides of my eyes and to my elbows. It’s INCREDIBLY frustrating.

      I’m not writing any posts about it until I get a better handle on what’s going on. I’m working with a naturopath and my regular doctor to get to the root of it but the naturopath thinks that it’s a gut health issue and is hopeful that once we treat and correct it, all will be well again and I’ll be back to my normal. We all agreed that it was best to wait until after vacation to start or I would have had a pretty un-fun vacation!

      So while my current focus is on sharing recipes and food that falls more into the Whole30-ish style of eating, it’s not forever. I’ll share more as I know more and I hope you’ll stick with.

  • 26
    Lauren March 5, 2016, 11:06 am

    Hi Jen! Forgive me if you’ve addressed this in an earlier blog post, but I was wondering if you’ve tried visiting an allergist for testing? It could help determine the culprit (gluten or dairy or both) for the eyelid dermatitis/eczema.

    • 27
      Jen DeCurtins March 5, 2016, 12:43 pm

      No, but my physician has recommended someone she likes.

  • 28
    Erin March 5, 2016, 4:34 pm

    First, you look gorgeous in your photo! Second, I would go to those resorts just for the food – the photos of everything look so fresh and delish! When traveling to a place with good fresh fish, I can NOT resist tuna tatar…it’s my all time favorite!

    • 29
      Jen DeCurtins March 8, 2016, 5:28 pm

      Thanks Erin! I really appreciate when resorts have good food. Makes such a difference in the trip experience. That tuna tatar was SO good with the avocado.

  • 30
    Jennifer March 5, 2016, 10:49 pm

    I had to google what carpaccio is and I am terrified at the thought of raw beef 🙂 I definitely want to try plantains someday. Not to be weird but if you ever go to Hooters they have any amazing fish sandwich!! (mahi) I only went there once when a coworker insisted so I doubt I’ll ever return.

    • 31
      Jen DeCurtins March 8, 2016, 5:29 pm

      Haha! It’s sliced so thinly that you can’t really tell. TRY PLANTAINS! They are so good and really easy to cook at home. Love the Hooters rec! Funny when you find good food at random places like that.

  • 32
    Jodie March 6, 2016, 6:46 am

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us.:) it would be great if you also shared your reset with us. Also I too am looking for a naturopath, any tips on how to search for a good one? I’m

    • 33
      Jen DeCurtins March 8, 2016, 5:27 pm

      Hey Jodie – you’re welcome! More trip posts coming soon. 🙂

      I won’t really share the reset because it’s not strict and I’m kind of on a holding pattern until I see the naturopath. We’re starting testing on Thursday.

  • 34
    Laura March 6, 2016, 10:20 am

    I believe that our diet and gut health are 100% the cause of all skin issues (eczema, acne, ect.). I eat mostly a clean paleo diet and if i cheat with sugar or gluten, i break out like a teenager.
    You shouldn’t have to explain yourself to readers who are somehow offended that you’ve found a cleaner way to eat. Your blog content, writing and workouts are as good today as they were when i first started reading 4 years ago. Keep doing you! I very much enjoy your blog.

    • 35
      Julie March 7, 2016, 12:48 pm

      I agree! I’ve really enjoyed reading your Whole 30 posts & really haven’t noticed that huge of a variation from recipes you’ve posted in the past – you’ve always been a healthy eater. I have found your Whole 30 journey fascinating & can tell from comments on those posts that you’ve inspired many others. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re experiencing skin problems again! That must be incredibly disappointing. At least you know that a Whole 30 diet works… and I do believe you’re that much closer to figuring out what the problem is. Sending lots of good wishes that you & your new naturopath will get it figured out soon!

      • 36
        Jen DeCurtins March 8, 2016, 5:26 pm

        Julie – thanks for the support! I agree that I’ve always skewed towards healthy eating but definitely with more splurges thrown in than as of late. I do feel much closer to figuring out the skin issues and this whole process has been an amazing lesson in a) how good my body can and should feel and b) how much power what we put in our bodies has over our overall health.

    • 37
      Jen DeCurtins March 8, 2016, 5:24 pm

      Laura – thanks for the supportive comment. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you reading for so long. I feel strongly that diet and exercise are an evolution and that our needs change and we should feel free to change as we discover better ways to be. And that’s different for every one!

  • 38
    Giana March 8, 2016, 9:08 pm

    Hi Jen!
    I have been buying plantains lately but I am struggling in the departments of how to peel them EASILY, and also what I should be looking for when buying them to make it easy to peel??!!! LOL, I’ve been a plantain hot mess over here…help please!

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