I know I’m catching up three days at once here, so bear with me. There’s good stuff in here! 

Let’s start with Saturday. My food was so unremarkable that I’ve already forgotten it. Seriously, I don’t really remember it until I got to the Currency Exchange Cafe where my incredible friend Kelly Hurst was hosting the Doing the Work Awards for her nonprofit, Being Black at School.

I knew there would be wine and probably hor d’oeuvres, and resigned myself to the fact that I would not be able to partake. So when I arrived and spotted the tea menu, I didn’t hesitate. The barista noted that it wasn’t included, and I didn’t care about that at all. I was happy to pay for a pot of ruby red ginger orange tea. There were also fruit and veggie trays, so I was able to fix myself a small plate of fresh fruit. I skipped the veggies since raw isn’t my thing and I couldn’t have the dip.

It was a nice event, it was great to see Kelly doing her thing and positively glowing.

On Sunday, I trekked over to Andersonville to look for a birthday present for one of my nieces and came home with a copy of Michael Chabon’s latest book, Moonglow and the nagging feeling that I really should go back for the little white bookshelf that I spotted on the sidewalk outside one of the antique stores. I thought about the bookshelf on the walk home, and stopped at PetSmart on the way. Kitties gotta eat! Chipotle was just next door, and I was struck with an idea: Could I build a Whole30-friendly bowl at Chipotle?

The answer is YES! I ended up with a salad bowl of romaine, steak, pico de gallo, tomatillo salsa verde, and guacamole. Now, if you’re reading this while plotting your own Whole30 adventure, do not get the steak. This was an error on my part. I assumed it would be compliant but discovered later that it’s cooked with rice bran oil. HOWEVER, of all things, the chorizo is compliant!

I’m not beating myself up about the rice bran oil slip. It wasn’t intentional, I’m so close to the end, the exposure was likely minimal, and I’m reasonably sure that rice isn’t a problem for me anyway.

I went back for the shelf. And then I came home and made a spectacular Moroccan-inspired shepherd’s pie. The filling included lamb, bison, garlic, onions, carrots, mild green olives, goji berries, simmered in mushroom broth and lots of my favorite Moroccan spice rub, topped with mashed sweet potatoes. It may look a bit of a mess in the bowl below, but let me tell you, this was a winner. I’ll totally be making this one again.

My plan was to write up the Saturday and Sunday entry while watching the Cardinals play the Cubs in their season opener, but I ended up having to watch it on my laptop. You know, the thing I use to write these. So the laptop was otherwise engaged and my Cards’ home opener definitely takes priority.

And then there’s today, Monday, a/k/a Day 30. Let’s call this one the Final Boss.

I was pretty excited for shepherd’s pie leftovers, and so I packed myself a beautiful lunch along with some fresh pineapple and a mix of cashews and pistachios to snack on. And then I put on my coat, fired up the podcasts, and left without it.

By the time I realized what I had done, I was nearly to my stop downtown. Immediately I began to panic. I was seeing the dermatologist over my lunch hour and was counting on lunch at my desk to minimize my time out of the office. That plan was now out the window, and I would be forced to forage a lunch on the fly after the appointment. To make matters worse, the dermatologist was a few blocks west of my office, while my most viable, trustworthy food sources, Whole Foods and Chipotle, were both several blocks east.

I ended up power walking through the rain to the Whole Foods hot bar for some spicy chicken wings and grilled pineapple. Later, after eating the wings, and after having washed my hands, I touched my eye and holy crap was that a bad idea.

Let’s just say I am totally feeling the “NOPE” t-shirt I wore today.

But I made it home alive, whipped up some fantastic curried chicken salad for dinner, and then there’s this:


I’ve completed the initial 30 days! I had one very minor, unintentional slip in the last few days, threw out the rule that would have banned potato chips, and ignored the rule about never weighing yourself. I didn’t count calories. I drank a swimming pool full of tea. And I came out the other side alive.

I’m planning to debrief more fully tomorrow – results, cost, my thoughts, where I go from here. Today, I’m just glad to be caught up, and that I get to make flour tortillas for some dairy-free tacos tomorrow.

Whole30 Menu: Day 28

It’s already faded from memory, alas. I assure you it was entirely unremarkable. Fruit and egg breakfast, because that’s just how it goes. I’m pretty sure that I pulled some random odds and ends out of the fridge and threw it into a skillet with some prosciutto and it was edible but forgettable and not worth preserving for posterity. At the Doing the Work Awards event, I munched on fresh fruit and some lovely ginger-orange tea.

Whole30 Menu: Day 29


  • Fried egg
  • Sliced kiwi, I think?


  • Steak salad bowl at Chipotle (lettuce, steak*, pico de gallo, salsa verde, and guacamole)
  • A cup of black coffee from Chicago Grind

* I discovered too late that the steak is made with rice bran oil. Oops. But several of the meat options don’t, and next time I’ll order the Whole30-friendly chorizo instead.


  • Banana


  • Moroccan-inspired sweet potato-topped shepherd’s pie

Whole30 Menu: Day 30


  • Fried egg
  • Mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)


  • Whole Foods Paleo Spicy Chicken Wings
  • Whole Foods grilled pineapple


  • Potato Chips


  • Curried chicken salad over romaine hearts + a handful of radish slices

How do I feel?

Physically, the answer is the same. I feel good. Frankly, it’s been working out well for me. I lost nearly 7 lbs over the last 30 days (6.8 lbs to be precise), which is pretty remarkable when you consider that I haven’t been counting calories at all, or exercising any more than I was before. I feel motivated to keep things up now, and after I get the celebratory pizza and chocolate cake out of the way, I’m taking a serious look at committing to mostly paleo diet moving forward. And now I’m ready to start watching the calories, and with the weather warming up I’ll be getting more exercise, walking and biking by the lake. If I can lose nearly 7 lbs. only by changing the type and quality of the food that I eat, then I’m excited to see what happens next.