I’m guessing that most of you have heard of a little something called Whole30? If not, all you need to do is a tiny little Google search, and you’ll immediately have SCADS of detailed summaries, explanations, and recipes at your eyeball-tips (weird mental image). In other words, it’s kind of a big deal right  now.

Basically, it’s an eating plan that involves consuming only “clean” foods, with an emphasis on unprocessed ingredients and avoiding wheat, gluten, dairy, and sugar for 30 days (if you’re a Whole30 aficionado, and this explanation sounds too simplistic, I apologize; I’m hardly an expert).

But even with all of that info readily available, I’ve always balked at trying it, simply because the mere thought of attempting to conjure something creative and clean and yummy every single day on top of all the usual stuff I have on my–ahem–plate was a little overwhelming. And conversely, assuming a total lack of creativity, the thought of eating scrambled eggs and salad for a whole month made me want to take a nosedive into the nearest gallon of Rocky Road.

So, when I decided to try even a 10 day cleanse, my #1 apprehension was not that I wouldn’t be able to cut it going cold turkey with no sugar (I’ve done it before and was fine) but that I would get bored and frustrated and feel deprived.

Turns out, I was waaaaay off on that one.

I mean, sure, within the first 24 hours, I felt pretty much like, “Duuuuuuh. Okay, I’ve eaten about 3 dozen eggs. Now what?”

But after that, everything started to feel a bit more organic (even if it wasn’t actually; more on that in a second), and it started to feel almost like a fun game to come up with different delicious combos of easy, healthy foods that I had on hand.

So, what did I eat? Well, lots of this.cleanse food

My main staples for this cleanse were: eggs, ground turkey, chicken, black beans, corn, strawberries, apples, bananas, salad greens, kale, quinoa, avocados, tomatoes, onions, steel cut oats, raw almonds, and peanut or almond butter.

Almost every single meal I ate had one or more of these elements in it. But the combinations are pretty much endless, so other than one sad Sunday lunch when I felt like anything BUT a salad with hummus and rotisserie chicken, every meal felt like a great big party in my mouth. And because I made sure to keep things flavorful and fresh, I never even missed my normal sprinkling of cheese or croutons or side of crusty bread.

My husband didn’t participate, strictly speaking, but if there was extra of what I was having, he always ate it, and loved every bit of it. He literally spoke the words, “Man, you always make good stuff, but you’re hitting it out of the PARK ever since you started this cleanse!” So, if you’re worried about doing this and how it will affect the rest of your family…I wouldn’t.

The particular cleanse that I participated in was supposed to focus on foods with a very low glycemic index, so technically, bananas, sweet potatoes, corn, and several other fine-for-you but naturally sweet/starchy things weren’t allowed.

However, I made a conscious choice to deviate from the plan in cases when it would have been more difficult to find a replacement food rather than just eat the good thing that was already in my kitchen.

Which brings me to another point: I didn’t go out of my way to be super hardcore about this cleanse.

My black beans came from a can. I didn’t make my own taco seasoning. I used a tablespoon of white flour in my sweet potato and zucchini latkes. My peanut butter was organic but only because it was the only kind I could find without added sugar. I ate a cookie–gasp!– one night when we had company.

I wanted to be true to the challenge, but mostly, I wanted to focus on making better choices. Because the truth is that I didn’t eat so very terribly before. I just knew I could make improvements. And this cleanse definitely represented that.

So, for all who have asked for exact, detailed, cleanse guidelines, I actually am not allowed to share them with you because it was created by an ItWorks! distributor and would require several of their supplementary products to be followed to the letter. I, myself, only had a few of them at my disposal and certainly did not adhere strictly to that aspect of the plan. (If you’re serious about doing this particular cleanse, including the ItWorks resources, you can shoot me an email at blogabbie{at}gmail{dot}com, and I can get you more info). I’m sure I would have gotten even better results with the supplements, but I was okay with just seeing what the clean eating produced.

If you’re interested in doing what I did, well, then avoid sugar, processed foods (this means: cereal, fast food, canned soups, TV dinners, chips, etc. etc. etc.) dairy, gluten, and simple carbs (white rice, bread, traditional oatmeal, etc.), and load up on veggies, meat, fruit, and water, and you’ll just about have it.

More specifically, here are some of my favorite recipes that I used.

My Black Bean Salsa

My Taco Soup

My Chicken Tortilla Soup

Apple Pie Steel Cut Oatmeal

Mandy’s Restaurant Style Salsa

Whole30 Chicken Lettuce Wraps (I used soy sauce and minced chicken breast because I’m not a huge fan of ground chicken)

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Latkes (Oh. my. word. HEAVEN)

Paleo Banana Pancakes

Cilantro Lime Quinoa (recipe below)

Saute 1 small onion + 2 cloves of garlic + 1 cup of quinoa in a TBS of olive oil for several minutes over medium heat (don’t burn the garlic). Add 1 can of low sodium chicken broth, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid has cooked off. Add juice of half a lime, and a large handful of chopped cilantro.

Stir to combine and serve warm. SOOOOOOOO GOOOD.

(One of my favorite meals was a Chipotle style bowl with this cilantro lime quinoa as its base, plus black bean salsa, chicken, tomatoes, and guacamole. My mouth is watering just thinking about it).

Guacamole (recipe below)

2 mashed avocados

Juice of half a lime

Generous sprinkle of salt

Smaller sprinkles of garlic powder, cayenne, and cumin (sorry about the fuzzy quantity descriptions; I always just do it to taste)

1/2 small onion, chopped

1 Roma tomato, chopped

1 small handful of cilantro, minced

Stir it all together and go to town!

My snacks consisted of:

Sugar snap peas, cucumbers, celery, and any other kind of crunchy, fresh veggie I could come up with

Apples with almond or peanut butter (no sugar added)

Smoothies (I used unsweetened almond milk + frozen fruit + 1 banana + kale + chia seeds, and it was divine!)

Dried fruit (apricots, cherries, apples, etc.)

Raw almonds

Fresh fruit

Oh, and in case you need more inspiration, I’ve started a clean eating Pinterest board.


As far as how I felt, I was surprised at how full/satisfied I was pretty much all the time. I kept loose mental calculations of my caloric intake most days, and sometimes, it added up to less than my normal numbers, even with all of the avocado and nuts. But I rarely felt hungry, which is a huge deal for a girl who’s been in the throes of pregnancy + nursing induced “hanger” for almost 10 years.

Obviously, the fact that I wasn’t eating empty calories made a huge difference.

I didn’t notice any decrease in my milk supply, mostly due, I’m sure, to all the protein + good fats + water that I was consuming.

And apparently, this Texas girl has a high tolerance for gassy foods, and so do her children because I never noticed any particular digestive issues for either me or Theo, even after days of beans and onions and salad and garlic and broccoli even.

So…what now?

Well, mostly, I’m going to continue with more of the same. My goal is to eat 90% clean. A great example of that would be yesterday, which consisted of: eggs with veggies, homemade salsa, and avocado for breakfast, dried fruit + almonds for snacks, taco soup, guacamole and (literally) 4 corn chips for lunch, and then Chick-fil-a for dinner. I got a salad, but I didn’t take the cheese off, and I used a tiny drizzle of the packaged salad dressing. I even had a bite of one of the twin’s sandwich and a spoonful of her ice cream when she didn’t finish it all. And I’m totally fine with that.

Again, the goal is not absolute strict adherence, but…better. I’m going to actually start using the dehydrator my husband got me for Mother’s Day (a year ago) and making my own granola and bread. But I plan to move slowly at a sure and steady pace towards cleaner eating, rather than attempting to dive in all at once, which is a surefire way for me to fail.

So, what about you guys? Is this something that you’ve always wanted to try? What do you feel like are your biggest hang-ups to getting started?

Any questions for me that I didn’t answer? I’m no expert, but I’ll certainly do my best to answer anything you ask.


  1. I just had my 5th child in January and I haven’t been able to lose this last bit of baby weight

  2. Ok, so how are you using a dehydrator for granola and bread? I’ve made both of those (although the bread never super successfully) and own a dehydrator for things like apples, venison jerky, etc…would love to use it more though!

    1. Sorry, that sentence probably wasn’t typed in the clearest fashion. I was just saying that I’d like to make my own granola and bread IN ADDITION to using my dehydrator. 🙂

  3. I did the whole30 last summer, curious as to how it would affect my lupus/rheumatoid, and only lasted 3 weeks, mainly because of what you talked about – boredom. I would look up recipes and never had the ingredients. It was basically a lack of planning on my part, but I thought if I ate another egg I would vomit! About 2 months ago, I started Paleo. It is much like the whole30, with a few tiny differences and I’m finding it much easier. I’m doing it 70-80% of the time and feeling better. My few pounds of unwanted leftover pregnancy weight is disappearing, too. I’m a sweets fanatic, and the crazy thing is that I find myself not even wanting them after eating healthy. Good luck with your diet!

    1. Yeah, I don’t really miss sweets too much either once I haven’t had them and have been eating clean for a while.

  4. super curious how this worked with feeding 5 children and your hsb all you have to do preparing separate meals could not have been easy.

    1. I did not exclude Theo in the 5 children since he is taken care of with the milk station. did not want to slight him

      1. I don’t think he felt excluded. 🙂 And, usually, everybody was eating at least a version of what I was eating, so I didn’t have to prepare myself completely different meals. It wasn’t hard at all, actually, which was a pleasant surprise.

  5. Thanks for all of the info! You look awesome…before AND after the cleanse! It is great just the fact of feeling better! I am dying to try the cilantro lime quinoa! My question, is I am vegan. I eat healthy pretty much, but I eat a LOT of starches and carbs. I would love to try to give this detox a shot. Would you recommend just swapping tofu and tempeh for the meat and eggs? Thanks!

    1. Hmmm…I honestly don’t even know what tempeh is, Debbie, so I’m probably not the best person to ask. I would look up the protein ratios and see if they’re comparable and if so, then yeah, go for it. I think that would work fine. Of course, a huge part of this cleanse IS good protein, so you wouldn’t want to skimp on that because I’m guessing you’d feel hungry a whole lot.

I love hearing from you guys!