The Whole30: The Good, The Bad, & Tips

The Whole30

This past August I decided to take on Whole30. It had always been something that I had heard about and wanted to give my relationship with food a makeover. I was curious about food sensitivities and curious to see if a drastic change in diet would actually affect my weight and how I approach eating. I’ve made it past the 30 days and the reintro period and I wanted to share what I learned from the experience.

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Burger in Lettuce Wrap from roam burger + movie night – living the Whole30 dream

The Good.

Water intake. I’ve always known I’ve had issues with water intake – I don’t drink enough. Not that I’m a soda drinker either – I just wasn’t drinking much of anything unless I was working out. Increased water intake wasn’t the original effects that I was hoping for, but one of the first I quickly realized. When I wanted to snack, I reached for water and waited 15mins – normally, the hunger passed. I felt like I went from zero to drinking an ocean’s worth in just two days. Took my body a bit to adapt (hello multiple bathroom trips through the night) but the benefits were noticed pretty quickly – I felt much more energetic and my habits quickly changed to reaching for water, not a snack.

Better understanding my hunger. I know I’m a snacker. And the office I work in has a lot of free snacks. I had to rethink picking up a snack while walking around the office – beside the fruit and some nuts, none were compliant anyways! I had to pack my own and since I had the Whole30 goal in mind, which helped me be more mindful of what I ate and when. As I expected, the first few days were a struggle (definitely warned my coworkers about the hangry), but once that hump was over, I felt much more in-tune with understanding eating (and drinking water) when I was hungry, not just to eat when I was bored.

Reinforced my love of cooking. I’ve been meal prepping for several years now, so I went in feeling pretty comfortable with this part of Whole30. It was fun to approach some favorite recipes and turning them into compliant options. My boyfriend loves to cook as well and he was so supportive on cooking compliant meals with me, even though he wasn’t doing Whole30. I get meal-prep happy and I’ll admit that I was ecstatic to have a reason to really hone in on that skillset. I bought TheWhole30 book and found that the lessons and recipes in there were suffice for me to get through and be inspired with my food the entire 30 days.

Results are real. Scale and non-scale victories are real with this program. I went in wanting to better understand my relationship with food and I can definitely say that I’m much more aware of what I put into my body and I understand the importance of good, healthy food – not just low calorie food. I was curious about food sensitivity, and I was pleased to find during my re-intro nothing too jarring, but made me realize I need to watch my dairy and gluten intake to make sure that I don’t go overboard. I feel more energetic and motivated to keep making healthy choices. The weight loss was particularly motivating! I just really liked how I felt on the program and I’ve already planned to do a round of Whole30 each year – if not more frequent!

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Salmon Cakes! With mashed avocados – a Whole30 Date Night meal!

The Bad.

It wasn’t hard. I’ve struggled with wording this section because based on what I heard this program was supposed to life changing, revolutionary, and really damn hard. I will be the first to say that it has completely changed my relationship with food, but it was no where near as hard I thought it would be. I wasn’t having manic desires to make my own Whole30-approved mayo or missing out on milestones because I was worried about finding appropriate things to eat out. There were hard moments of course, but overall, I felt like it went rather smoothly. I recognize that some of privileges may have affected my experience and I may take some heat for it. However, I wanted a record of my experience so I can compare results when ever I decide to do it again, so here’s the reasons what I didn’t find the program to be as outrageously difficult or life-altering as I had thought it would be.

My privileges included: lifestyle, support, location.

I live with a great roommate, have no kids, have a job that pays well, have the flexibility to cook as I need, live in a great neighborhood with lots of grocery options, and have a super supportive network who encouraged my Whole30 exploration. I clearly know that so many others who choose to do Whole30 may have a completely different set up (need to cook for an entire family, live far from an affordable grocery store, whatever it may be) and it makes feel like I cheated the system somehow. But it’s what it is and I know I was in a great place in my life to go for the lifestyle change. I know that in the future when I try Whole30 again it may not be the case, but I’m glad I had this positive experience to lean back on.

I had a strong in-person and personal network that helped me get through Whole30. In my office, there were others who had done Whole30 and we were able to share recipe ideas. We also had others on food journeys testing (cutting out gluten was a big one). My friends, boyfriend and roommate were also on board and really sensitive to my comfort when cooking and eating out. I assured them that I didn’t mind eating before meeting up and they were flexible on meeting places that I could find something to eat or had great tap water. I also was incredibly grateful that they understood my tolerance for bar-hopping was cut down and reassured it was fine for me slip out of gatherings as needed.

I live in San Francisco. If I had to pick a city to do Whole30, this would be the top of my list. Chain options like sweetgreen and local favorites like roam burger offer so many options for eating out and staying compliant. I also know I’m super fortunate to live within a 10min walk from both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. There’s a lot of people doing their own version of food exploration journeys here so I found it easy and comfortable to talk to the servers and chefs about my limitations. I know this is not the case for many others and I really recognize that this is a huge part of the reason I succeed in completing my 30 days.

Tips

After reviewing all of my personal notes while on the program, here’s a collection of my best pieces of advice for those looking to do Whole30:

Meal plans. Write down your meal plans for the week/next few days/whatever time frame makes sense for you. Meal prepping is not one size fits all – I personally prefer to meal prep about 3 days worth of food at a time, and leave some of my meals “unassembled” meaning that I can still have some flexibility and not eat the same thing for dinner for three nights. Don’t forget to meal plan your snacks!

Budget. I’ll be the first to admit I went overboard on buying food the first week (hello Whole Foods), spending more in those first 5 days in groceries that I normally spend in two weeks! I knew I had to change that. Keep your receipts or write down the cost of each meal you eat so you can have a true sense of the cost of food on this program and what’s worth the splurge and what you can live without.

Support. Be it virtual, in person, or something in between, you’re going to want to talk to someone about your experiences as they happen. Make sure you have that outlet!

Bars, bars, bars. We’re not talking the shot kind – we’re talking Whole30 approved kind. Stash some in your bags, desk, pockets, where ever to push you through. I kept a few in my work bag and they saved me – like when spontaneous gatherings happened after work and I need a bit of a boost to get to the event and mingle a bit before running home for my approved dinner. I really liked Lara Bars and Epic Bars.

Storage, storage, storage. Speaking of those bars, grab a few of them and some nuts and store them at your desk, in your car, in your bag, where ever you spend time. Sometimes you just need a quick nibble and don’t want drama to ensue to get your something compliant to eat. I had some almonds and bars at my work desk – perfect for those unexpected hangry moments. Truth – I’m still finding Lara bars that I’ve hidden enough I’m done with the program – oops!

You are in control. YOU made the decision to do Whole30 so YOU dictate what that means for you. You can read advice, suggestions, blogs, whatever, but ultimately you have to have your heart in it for yourself. No one is gonna stop or keep you on the program with your permission. Find your reason for trying it out and stick with it!

Let me know your Whole30 experience. Always happy to chat if you’re thinking of doing your own Whole30 experience.

Ultimate Sunday-Funday: East Austin (ish) Edition

The Ultimate Sunday-Funday

Last year I hosted the first “Ultimate Sunday Funday” and it was a relative success, if I do say so myself. So this year, I had to host another over our first three day weekend of the summer – Memorial Day Weekend. Nothing is better than spending time with good friends and then, BONUS, having a Monday off!

While we did this on a Sunday, this path is completely do-able for a Saturday of fun or any day that you have free in Austin. The route gives you a great chance to explore the East Side, which is really coming to life and get a bit off the beaten path, but still has you ending up on a local favorite (even though it’s not technically the east side) – Rainey Street.  I planned the outing to be sensitive of the uncertainty of the ride-sharing situation in Austin at the time. I wanted to make sure that we could safely walk between a majority of our destinations.

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Stop one: Hops and Grain

We kicked off our afternoon at Hops and Gain, an award winning sustainable craft brewery, which is a favorite of our group. We went on one of the last weekends where they had the buy a glass, get a set of tokens for beer system – the great news is now you can go and buy by the pint! Their taproom is super spacious, filled with lots of communal tables for sitting, playing board games, or chowing down on food from the food truck outside. Grab a pint, sit outside or in, and be sure to try and make one their free tours. What I love about their tours is the focus on sustainability. It adds a unique spin to the tour and their staff is clearly so passionate about the brew and the environment.

Brew recs: The One They Call Zoe is a great intro into the brewery and an easy lager to drink. I’m a big fan of their A Pale Mosaic (love those Mosaic hops) and the Greenhouse IPA. Check the boards for their small batches – the brewers love to test out different versions of their classics!

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Stop two: Blue Owl Brewing

Less than a 10 minute walk away is a fairly new brewery on the Austin scene – Blue Owl Brewing. If you’re as obsessed with sours as I am or looking to dive head first into the sour scene, this is your spot. They sour-mash their beers, which they explain exactly what they means pretty well during their tours (sign up in advance online or in person) and on their tasting cards. At Blue Owl, you pay for a glass, which you get to keep, and then 4 generous pours. Their taproom set up is one of my favorites – it’s a bit whimsical with all of the art and owl statues above, and there’s a far amount of seating and standing tables. They also offer an outside patio area with even more seating.

Brew recs: This is sours only spot, so be sure your crew knows that before rolling up. My drink right now is their Little Boss, a Sour Session Wheat, which is a great intro to their sours AND if you love it as much as I do, they can their beers so the party doesn’t have to stop in the taproom! Stouts and sours pretty much sum of my favorite kind of beers, so their Professor Black, a Sour Cherry Stout, is a can’t miss. They also offer limited edition pours for the more adventurous types.

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Stop three: Craftsman

Keeping heading down on East Cesar Chavez and you’ll across a group of bars that make for great day or evening drinking. Our group opted to head into Craftsman on our particular day excursion and enjoy the cool, wooden interior and the wrap around patio. Next door is Stay Gold, which offers a great lounge and stage inside and lots of outdoor seating. Across from those is Drinks Lounge. A bit rough around the corners, but plenty of fun. Pool tables and photo booth in the corner that our group has definitely utilized to capture the memories.

Drink recs: Craftsman offers Prosecco on tap. They have a good craft beer and cocktail offerings. If you’re out to explore, definitely grab some craft cocktails and food from the Toaster food truck at Stay Gold.

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Stop four: Rainey street – Craft Pride

So now we opted to call a ride share and make our way down the Rainey Street. Rainey Street is lined with a great selection of bars and restaurants, and most of them are in converted houses. While it’s not technically the East Side, it flowed pretty well with our general direction and flow of the day. Everywhere you look is a great patio, great selection of drinks, DJs and live music, and its all walking distance from spot to spot. It’s about a mile from the bars on Cesar Chavez so if you’ve got an active crew and the weather’s nice, it could be walked, but that wasn’t in the cards for us. We headed straight for Craft Pride. Craft Pride was on the first places I visited in Austin and it’s been a favorite ever since. It’s a beer drinkers paradise – the impressive collection of taps feature only Texas beers and it rotates frequently. There’s a bottle shop built right in and I love popping in to pick up some treasures to bring home. Take a peek at their website, linked above, to get a sense of selection you’ll come face. The staff is friendly and helpful and down to help everyone pick their perfect brew. Another gem shares the space – Via 313 Pizza. Order from the trailer in the backyard patio, sit down with your brew and some live music and you’ll see why we all keep coming back.

Brew Recs: If you’re at Craft Pride, strap in for a craft beer adventure. The tap list is nicely divided out into categories so you can zone in for the style you crave and also consider new brews. Cozy up inside or camp out at a table outside. Just be sure you order some of that Detroit style pizza. Seriously.

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Craft Pride was the last stop for a lot of our Sunday Funday Crew. Some of the more adventurous types (and the ones who joined in later in the day) kept exploring Rainey Street,  but I know I definitely called it a night! Our journey from start to finish was about 7 hours and it was well worth every minute!

If you are interested in learning more about what East Cesar Chavez has to offer, check out this great blog post from Do512 – a personal favorite of mine for a guide on what to do in Austin!

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From our Sunday Sunday crew to yours! Cheers to a great way to spend the weekend!

Day Trip: Waco, TX

Waco, TX-2 Magnolia
I’m nuts about the HGTV show Fixer Upper. I mean, who isn’t at this point?

Between Jo and Chip’s adorable banter and the magic they work on those fixer uppers, I knew I had to make the trip out to Magnolia Market at the Silos.

Magnolia Market at the Silos has plenty to do for visitors to fill up an afternoon. There’s a warehouse-like shop, garden, lawn games, food trucks, and soon there will be a garden shop and bakery. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely appreciate that every aspect has that irresistible charm and attention to detail that the Gaines are know for.

When my friend Erin and I realized that we were both free during the same weekend in Austin, we knew it was time for a day-trip to Waco and all things shiplap.

Waco lies a cool 1.5 hours-ish north of Austin so it made for an easy trip to fill up up your day. If you’re thinking of coming from Dallas and heading south, the distance is about the same.

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Once we arrived in Waco after an early morning start, we drove around the immediate area surrounding the Silos to scope out the parking situation. There were plenty of pay-to-park lots in the area, but we found that if you you’re willing to drive a bit further down, there’s plenty of free street parking.

The dreary May weather ended up helping – we think it frightened some of the weekend crowd we were expecting. Once parked, we were greeted by that great combo of Texas humidity, some sunshine, and lots of mud. Awesome.

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Photo Op #1 came before we even entered the area. On the wall near where it looks like they get shipments, there’s a giant logo painted. We definitely weren’t the only people stopping for photos, so don’t be shy – walk up and pose!

As you walk along the main buildings, you’ll find the entrance to the market and lawn right by the Silos. We walked straight into the market since we saw they had staff on hand to control lines. We waited about 30 seconds and then entered the market.

Inside, you can feel the excitement. There’s plenty of home goods around – all look like they’ve been hand-picked by Jo herself! They offer beautiful pieces for every part of your house, you’ve just got to be ready to fight the crowd to get to them. Erin and I weren’t there for home decor though, we were on a mission for Magnolia Farms merch.

There’s a few spots throughout the two major areas of the market to get your hands on Magnolia Farms goodies so don’t fret if you can’t find the hats or the shirt you want right away. I knew I had to get a “#demoday” shirt and was pretty narrowed in on that until I had my size in hand. Upon browsing, I also picked up a signature candle and a campfire mug. Erin also picked up some shirts, baseball caps, and beautiful wood postcards. You can check out most of their branded merch here. Once we had our goods in hand, we waited in line to check out. I really appreciate their sales staff – they confirmed every item we were purchasing and went to pick up another shirt size for Erin when we realized she grabbed the wrong size.

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Photo Op #2 is just the outdoors itself. There’s plenty of lawn to play games on, a play structure, and the Silos just photograph beautifully. We strolled around and checked out the gardens and fairy houses and awed over the fresh veggies growing in the garden. You can also see the building that looks like it’ll soon be a gardening store.

We then wandered through the food trucks and grabbed some fresh juice from Luna Juice Bar and sat down on the benches to take the entire setting in. We noticed lots of families visiting – the whole atmosphere is extremely welcoming to kids running around outside and families spending time together.

Since it wasn’t as crowded as we anticipated and opted not to have lunch there, we were able to visit everything in less than 2 hours on site. I’m sure once the garden shop and the bakery open, it’ll be easier to spend a lot more time there.

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Before we left the Silos, we stopped for Photo Op #3 – right at the entrance of the entire Market and Silos. The staff know people love this photo op – a very friendly staffer was stationed there to take group photos!

In order to make the most of our day, we walked around the corner to the Dr. Pepper Museum. It was a 4 minute walk from the Silos and for fans of the drink, it’s a fun visit. Check out Groupon before going for discounts on tickets. The museum itself is very self-guided and laid out in an, well, interesting fashion. At the end of the tour, we grabbed some Dr. Pepper and vanilla ice cream floats – highly recommended. While we were slurping those up, we noticed a continual line to get into the museum. It’s cute, air-conditioned, about a local Texas product – and walking distance from Magnolia Market. No wonder it’s so popular!

From here, we went to drive by the Harp Design Co. shop and take a peak at their house next door. We didn’t stop in since we were ready to head back to Austin, but there were plenty of cars parked along the street!

Ultimately, I recommend the trip out to Magnolia Market at the Silos for fans of the show. We were so enchanted by the charm and the community you felt. As the area gets built out, I think it’ll have more to do for even non-fans of the show. If you’re a day tripping area or even if you’re looking for an opportunity stop and stretch your legs on a drive between Dallas and Austin, definitely stop! You’ll be so inspired by shiplap, I promise.

Hey there

 

My name is Misty. I’ve always been a traveler at heart. As a kid, I had the amazing opportunity to travel abroad from a young age and take visits across the West Coast of the United States.

As I got a bit older, a bit wiser, and bit more able to front my own travel bill, my travel radius broadened greatly.

I spent a couple of years working abroad in Japan as an English teacher and began perfecting my weekender trip techniques. Living abroad ignited my interest in traveling and I quickly added longer backpacking trips through Europe under my belt.

Living stateside again, I’ve focused on ways to fill my weekends with food, friends, drinks, and adventures, regardless if I’m sticking around my current home of Austin, TX or if I’m off exploring another US city.

Since I spend so much of my time researching trips, I thought it would be fun to share what I’ve learned with everyone. My goal is to organize information based on the types of questions I usually get from friends and family when they plan trips.

I can’t wait to share this wanderlust with y’all! Be sure to let me know if you’ve got any travel tricks or must-sees!