What I Learned During the Reintroduction Phase of My Whole30

After my first Whole30 in October 2016, I attempted to do the Slow Roll introduction and I didn’t really learn that much about what does and does not agree with my body. This time, I planned to follow the Fast Track reintroduction and make a point to evaluate how each food group made me feel before deciding if I would add that food back to my diet and how often I would do so. I did really well on day one, but then life happened and I fell off the reintroduction wagon…

Day 1 – Legumes

  • What I ate: For breakfast, I had a banana with peanut butter and raisins. I had cauliflower fried rice with ground beef and veggies (made with soy sauce) and some strawberries and a homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cup (made with a recipe I found on Pinch of Yum). I had a blueberry Larabar as a snack around 3:30, and then had baked salmon marinated in a soy sauce based marinade and steamed broccoli.

Days 2 and 3 were supposed to be back to Whole30 eating while I evaluated how legumes worked in my diet, and I did well with that during breakfast and lunch, but when I got home Jeff wanted to go out for sushi, and it sounded wonderful, so that’s what we did even though that was off the plan. I still feel really good about the choices I made when we went and I didn’t overeat, which is a major improvement for me.

The same thing happened on Saturday (what should have been day 3 of my reintro and another Whole30 day). I did pretty good with eating Whole30 for most of the day, then my mom called and invited me to go to the Mexican Kitchen, which is my favorite Mexican place in Columbus, MS, and I drove over there to meet her for dinner. I learned last time I did the Whole30 that corn in any form is not the best for me (it makes me so bloated), but I decided it was worth it to be a little bloated for some Mexican Kitchen tacos.

One thing I have already noticed is that something I reintroduced has made my skin break out. Because I did not follow the reintro plan correctly, I have no way to pinpoint what food group caused my skin to react that way. This is why you should follow the rules, I guess.

While I have not followed the reintroduction plan correctly, I am still trying to make good choices and be mindful about what and how much I am eating. I think February is going to be all about finding a good balance and figuring out what works best for me. I’m planning to eat mostly Whole30 meals during the week and then give myself a little more freedom on the weekends. I’ll see how that goes and report back at the end of the month.



Hello, February!

January felt like the longest month ever. Jeff was out of town for two weeks for work, Jack had the stomach virus and an ear infection, I caught strep throat last week, Jeff caught the stomach virus from Jack, we had so many bad weather days and missed a ton of days of school due to ice, which threw our schedule completely out of whack…it was a crazy month!

Needless to say, I am ready to welcome this new month. Hopefully, we will all be able to get and stay well.

Here are some of the things we’ve got going on this month:

  • Valentine’s Day date (look for some fun at-home date night dinner recipes this month)
  • Jeff’s birthday (and his favorite chocolate cake)
  • My little brother’s birthday (and his favorite chocolate tall cake recipe)

I’m currently going through my Whole30 Reintroduction and figuring out my personal Food Freedom plan, and I am hoping to be able to share that with you soon! I’m still focusing on my One Little Word for this year and am trying to savor the little moments of our day-to-day lives.

Here are a few of my goals for this month:

  • Make the bed every day – This is a discipline that I think will help me begin the day on a positive note by checking off a task first thing. I also love coming home to a neatly made bed.
  • Read more – I didn’t finish a single book in January. I sat down to read a few times, but it was just such a crazy month that I didn’t finish anything I started. This month, I want to finish the two books I started in January.
  • Drink more water – I struggled with drinking enough water even on the Whole30, and I am trying to make drinking water into a habit so it doesn’t feel like a chore.
  • Workout more consistently – I feel like I got a pretty good grip on my eating habits in January. Now I need to focus on exercise and finding a workout plan that works for me.
  • No spending – This month, I want to cut down on spending and will be doing that by not buying any new clothes, makeup, books, toys for Jack, home decor items, or things for my classroom.

What are your plans for February? Let me know in the comments!

January Whole30 Results and Reflections

The January Whole30 is officially over, and it’s time to start my reintroduction plan and look at my results from the 30 day program.



I forgot to take my measurements when the program started, and now I’m kicking myself because I really wish I knew how many inches I’ve lost over the last 30 days. I started the month in size 14 jeans that I could barely button, and now those same jeans are loose enough that I can pull them off without unbuttoning them, which is a great feeling.

The Whole30 encourages you to celebrate Non Scale Victories instead of just weight loss, but I always weigh before and after the program. I lost 11 pounds this month, which is a great jump-start to my goal of losing 45 pounds this year, but my list of Non Scale Victories is so much longer and more important than the number on the scale.

Here are a few of my Non Scale Victories:

  • Clearer skin
  • Healthier hair
  • Better sleep (when Jack allows it)
  • No longer addicted to caffeine
  • More energy
  • A few coworkers have mentioned that they noticed a change in my weight
  • Looser pants!!!
  • Whiter teeth
  • Better short-term memory
  • More focus at work

I feel like this was a good round of Whole30 for me, but I still need to work on eating more veggies and less fruit and not relying so much on “emergency” snacks like Larabars. I also need to start working out on a consistent basis, which is one of my goals for February.

I’m excited to start my reintroduction and learn what foods work best for my body and create my own personal Food Freedom plan. Check back soon to see how my reintro goes!

If you did the Whole30 in January, what were some of your NSVs? Are you excited about the reintroduction, or nervous? Let me know in the comments!

What’s In My Bag – January 2018

When I was a teenager, I used to love reading Seventeen. One of my favorite articles each month was the celebrity interview where they would show what a popular celebrity had in her purse. I loved getting a glimpse into their personal lives and seeing what products they liked enough to carry around with them.

I’m definitely not a celebrity, but I thought it would be fun to do a “What’s in my Bag” post and share what I’m carrying around on a daily basis. I hope you enjoy getting to peek inside my bag!

inmybag JAN

  1. Vera Bradley Tote
  2. Honest Company Baby Wipes – Since I had Jack, I never go anywhere without baby wipes in my bag.
  3. Snacks – I always have a few emergency snacks on hand just in case. The Larabars pictured are the Blueberry Muffin and Cashew Cookie flavors, which are both Whole30 compliant. I also keep raisins and the Emerald 100 calorie packs of walnuts and almonds.
  4. Vera Bradley ID case keychain – My mom got me this adorable ID case for Christmas. I’ve been in love with foxes since I started decorating Jack’s nursery last year, and the blue color of the background fabric is my favorite.
  5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie – I am teaching this book in my 10th grade English class in a few weeks, so I am re-reading it now. It is one of my favorite mysteries!
  6. Hair ties and bobby pins – I always have extras of these on hand to help control my crazy, curly hair. Goody’s Ouchless Elastics and Goody’s Ouchless Bobby Pins are my favorites.
  7. Bath and Body Works Stress Relief Essential Oil Roller – This thing is my best friend during work. It smells so good and really does help to relieve some of the tension I get in my neck and shoulders when I get stressed.
  8. All the lip stuff – My lips get so chapped in the winter, so I carry around a lot of lip balms with me. The Clinique lipstick pictured is my go-to neutral color and it is really moistruizing. The Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm has a subtle hint of color and intense moisture. I’ve always used Blistex products, and I especially love this Blistex Flip.
  9. Paper Mate InkJoy Pens – I am somewhat of a pen snob, and these are my absolute favorites! I have them at home, in my bag, and in my desk at work. They write really smooth and they come in lots of bright colors, which is perfect for when I need to grade papers.

My Whole30 Reintroduction Meal Plan

The end of this month’s Whole30 is drawing near, and that means it’s time to begin planning for the reintroduction phase! With my first Whole30, I tried what is called the “Slow Roll” introduction, where you keep eating a mostly Whole30 diet and add foods back as they seem “worth it” to you. For example, you continue with clean eating, but when you go over to your mom’s house and she has your favorite chocolate cake, you indulge, then you go back to eating mostly Whole30. I didn’t do very well with that type of reintroduction, so this time I am going to do the “Fast Track” reintroduction. In this reintroduction, you reintroduce a different food group that was eliminated during the Whole30 for one day, then go back to Whole30 eating for two days while you evaluate how the new food group affects you and decide if you want to add that food group back to your diet and how often you want to do so.

Reintroduction is kind of scary. You don’t want to wreck all the progress you made during your Whole30, after all. But it is a vitally important part of the Whole30 program because it is what helps you learn most about your body, your relationship with food, and achieve your Food Freedom (I am currently reading Melissa Hartwig’s book, Food Freedom Forever, and will have a review up soon!).

Here’s my Whole30 Reintroduction Meal Plan, which I will begin on February 1st:

  • Day 1 – Reintroduce legumes (peanut butter, beans, soy sauce, edamame, peas)
    • Breakfast: 1 small banana topped with peanut butter and chopped nuts, 1 chicken and apple sausage link, coffee or water
    • Lunch: Chalupas with mixed greens, carrots, bell pepper, cucumbers, and onion
    • Dinner: Grilled salmon (with marinade made with soy sauce) and roasted broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, onion, carrots, and edamame with soy sauce
  • Days 2 and 3 – Back to eating Whole30 while evaluating the effects of legumes on my body.
  • Day 4 – Reintroduce gluten-free grains (oats, quinoa, corn, popcorn, rice)
    • Breakfast: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats topped with a sliced banana, chopped pecans, and cinnamon
    • Lunch: Turkey lettuce wrap with popcorn on the side
    • Dinner: Fried rice with chicken and veggies (including corn), made with coconut aminos instead of soy sauce (because I want to see how only the rice and corn affect me – not the soy sauce)
  • Days 5 and 6 – Back to eating Whole30 while evaluating the effects of gluten-free grains on my body.
  • Day 7 – Reintroduce dairy (milk, cheese, butter, sour cream, frozen yogurt, coffee creamer)
    • Breakfast: Greek yogurt mixed with almond butter as a dip for sliced apples, 2 slices bacon
    • Lunch: Loaded baked potato with butter, chopped grilled chicken, green onions, and buttermilk ranch dressing
    • Dinner: Chicken and broccoli casserole (made with sour cream and cauliflower rice)
  • Days 8 and 9 – Back to eating Whole30 while evaluating the effects of dairy on my body.
  • Day 10 – Reintroduce grains containing gluten (bread, bagels, pasta, pretzels, crackers, muffins)
    • Breakfast: Blueberry muffin with 1 ground sausage patty and fruit salad
    • Lunch: Turkey and avocado sandwich on whole wheat bread with carrots, cucumber slices, and bell pepper slices on the side
    • Dinner: Spaghetti with pesto sauce and grilled chicken
  • Days 11 and 12 – Back to eating Whole30 while evaluating the effects of gluten grains on my body.
  • Day 13 – Begin my personalized Food Freedom plan.

Other things you might want to reintroduce include: Alcohol (day 12 or 13), different added sugars (honey, cane sugar, maple syrup, etc), food group combinations (like gluten grains and dairy together).

This is just a sample meal plan based on what I am planning to do for my Whole30 Reintroduction. You can find out more about the reintroduction process in the Whole30 book or on the Whole30 website.

You can find this great Whole30 reintroduction calendar on @melissasfoodfreedom Instagram page (get the calendar here).

A Day in the Life – January 2018

I love the idea of documenting a regular day to show you guys what life is really like for us. Sure, it’s fun to show pictures and highlights from special events and trips, but the real story about us is found in the normal days. I’m just like you – trying to balance being a wife and mom, working full-time, cooking and cleaning, and everything else in this crazy life of mine.

I chose to document Monday, January 22, which was a pretty normal day for us. Here’s what happens around here on a typical day…

5:45 a.m. – TIME TO GET UP

I am NOT a morning person. I wish I could tell you that I am the kind of person who gets up early, before the rest of the people in the house wake up, and spends my morning in peaceful quiet watching the sun rise while I read or workout or do something productive, but that is not me at all. This morning, when my alarm went off at 5:45, I was on the couch with a half-asleep, fussy baby on my chest. I didn’t even hit the snooze button – I asked Jeff to because he was closer to my phone than I was and I didn’t want to get up. As soon as the alarm went off, Jack wanted his bottle, so Jeff fixed it for him and handed it to me and I fed Jack on the couch while Jeff finished getting ready for work.


This little guy actually is pretty happy in the mornings (I have no idea where he gets that from because his dad and I are both zombies first thing in the morning). After I give him his bottle, he usually hangs out in his crib and plays with Mr. Fox (his favorite stuffed animal) while I get dressed. He’s the last one I get ready, and we try to be dressed and in the car by 6:50. I have alarms on my phone for every 15 minutes in the mornings to keep me on track because I tend to move at a glacial pace in the mornings until my brain finally wakes up. We were almost on time today and were in the car by 6:55.

7:30 a.m. – ARRIVE AT WORK

My morning routine at work is always the same. I write out the agenda for my classes on the board (please don’t judge how dirty this board is…I know I need to clean it, but that’s at the bottom of my to-do list right now) and make sure that I have all my copies ready for the day. I even remembered to change the date on the board today, which is a big deal for me (it said January 11 when I erased it this morning, just to let you know how often I remember to do that). I usually have about 15 minutes to myself to settle in before the kids start coming in for the morning.


I love having my planning period in the middle of the day. It gives me a nice little break from students and gives me time to put in grades, work on lesson plans, or just chill if it’s been one of those days. I usually try to eat breakfast on the way to school, but today I didn’t so I took some time during my planning period to eat a Larabar and drink a V8 while I graded some papers.

12: 40 p.m. – LUNCH

This is so NOT what I wanted for lunch today, but I’m on day 21 of my January Whole 30, so I ate my mason jar salad and daydreamed of a Chick-fil-a sandwich, waffle fries, and sweet tea. My salad was good (just not as good as waffle fries) – I mixed some pineapple juice and a little olive oil with cilantro for a dressing and put that in the bottom of the jar, then tossed in some raw almonds, raisins, pineapple chunks, sliced strawberries, broccoli florets, sliced cucumbers, and mixed greens on top (this mix is spinach, kale, and leaf lettuce). I always shake the jar up a little before I dump it out onto a plate to help spread the dressing over the salad. Then I heated up a leftover hamburger patty from last night in the microwave and put it on top.

4:15 p.m. – TIME TO GO HOME!!!

I had to stay for about an hour after the final bell today to make some copies and plan for the rest of the week.

Leaving school and going to pick up Jack is always my favorite part of the day. He always smiles so big when I walk into daycare to get him, and it just makes my heart melt. I hope he’s always this excited to see his mama.


I came home to a starving husband, and he requested a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich ASAP. Once I cooked his food, I put in a load of laundry. Here’s a little fact about me: I am THE WORST at doing laundry. I will go put clothes in the washer and forget that I put them in there and they’ll end up sitting in the washer until they stink and I have to wash them again. Since Jeff was gone for two weeks, we are still catching up on all his laundry, so I put a load in the washer when I got home. I actually put a timer on my phone to remind me to go get them out and put them in the dryer (how sad is that?).

In the meantime, I fed Jack his supper (he tried carrots for the first time and loved them). I also made my lunch for tomorrow (a salad similar to the one I had today), cleaned up the kitchen, and rocked Jack for little bit.

8:00 p.m. – QUALITY TIME WITH JEFF AND JACK (and Pickles)

We brought ALL of Jack’s toys out to the living room so he could play while we watched some TV, but he was being clingy and just wanted to hang out on the couch with us. We watched the movie Enemy of the State and just chilled.

10:00 p.m. – BEDTIME (we wish)

We don’t have a consistent bedtime around here (does anybody have tips for sleep training a 6 month old?), so I usually just entertain Jack until he’s ready to fall asleep. He’s teething and gets really cranky around bedtime, so we always have to deal with him fighting sleep for a while before he gives up and falls asleep. While he was playing, I took some time to clean up the kitchen, lay out food for tomorrow’s dinner, and fold laundry while I watched House Hunters. He finally fell asleep around 11:30 and I went to bed right after he did.

That’s our typical day! It might seem a little boring and simple, but I wouldn’t trade all these little moments for the world.

My grandmother has a plaque in her house that says, “Thank you Lord for dirty dishes, For they have a tale to tell, While others may go hungry, We’re eating very well.” I have always loved that plaque and the meaning behind it. These little, everyday moments (including dirty dishes and laundry) are our greatest blessings, and I am so thankful for every day I have with my family.

Pork Chops with Apple, Walnut, and Raisin Compote

Anyone else out there love pork chops and applesauce? While I’m sure I could find some Whole 30 compliant applesauce at the store, I decided to just make my own apple, walnut, and raisin compote to go on top of these grilled pork chops. You could cook it a little longer and use a hand masher to make this into true applesauce, but I like it chunky. The raisins add a little extra sweetness to the apples since this recipe doesn’t have any added sugar (to make it Whole 30 compliant), and the walnuts add a nice texture. My dad even liked this, and he’s the pickiest person on the planet.

Always Perfect Pork Chops


  • Lean center-cut pork chops
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Parsley flakes
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Avocado oil


  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a glug of avocado oil to the pan.
  • Season both sides of the pork chops with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley flakes. Place the pork chops in the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • When the pork chops come off the pan easily, they are ready to flip (if they stick, give them a little more time – the crust is not ready yet). Flip the pork chops and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Stick the pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes to let the pork chops finish cooking.

Apple, Walnut, and Raisin Compote


  • 2 apples (I used red delicious for the recipe I photographed, but I have also made it with golden delicious and Granny Smith, so use whatever kind of apples you like)
  • 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water


  • Peel the apples and dice into small cubes.
  • Put the apples in a pan over medium-high heat with the water and cinnamon.
  • Stir and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until they start to soften.
  • Turn the heat down to low and add the walnuts and raisins.
  • Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. (I usually cook mine for about 15 minutes.)
  • Scoop the mixture onto the top of your pork chops.

You can also serve this as a side dish, a topping on your oatmeal, or with some granola on top for a warm breakfast or guilt-free dessert.

If you want the mixture to be more like applesauce, then leave out the walnuts and raisins and smash the apples with a hand masher once they have cooked for about 15-20 minutes.

If you are not on the Whole 30, you could definitely add some sugar to this mixture to make it sweeter. I think brown sugar would probably give it the best flavor and would start with just a tablespoon and taste test it.

If you don’t have raisins, you could also use dried cranberries. Just make sure that if you are doing Whole 30 they don’t have added sugar.