Whole 30 paleo network-min

Time for a New Whole 30

With the month of May rapidly approaching, I feel it’s the ideal time for another “Whole 30”.

What is a Whole 30?

The Whole30 is another word for “strict Paleo” for a month. This is a popular approach recommended across the Paleosphere as a way to initially get into Paleo, to identify any food intolerances you may have, or just as a means to refocus. A Whole30 means eating lots of good quality meat, eggs, vegetables a little fruit, nuts and seeds. Grains, legumes, dairy and alcohol have no place on the Whole30!

Why am I Doing Another Whole 30?

Whilst I have been following Paleo for a couple of years now, I’ve found I’ve recently got a bit lazy with my nutrition and have been having lots of the same meals over and over. Whilst there’s nothing specifically wrong with this, it’s not the most interesting approach, and probably isn’t meeting all of my micronutrient requirements. I’ve also been having dried fruit more often than I should (why did I have to discover medjool dates?)

I’ve been keen to try an auto-immune protocol for a while, so incorporating this into my Whole30 will work well. I often forget to my supplements, especially Vitamin D, so for this month I'm going to be religious about it – good timing on the Vitamin D as we’re seeing a lot less sun, as we approach winter here in Australia.

With an auto-immune protocol I will also be omitting Nightshades (tomatoes, capsicum and peppers – since I don’t have potatoes they won’t be a new omission for me) and nuts and seeds. Some people skip eggs too on an autoimmune protocol, but I think that’s a step too far for me. I don’t have any particular health issues I’m looking to clear up since Paleo took care of my Asthma, but I have suspicious I'd fare a lot better without Nightshades. All will become clear!

How to do a Whole30

The Whole30 is so easy to do, but it does require some organisation. If it’s your introduction into Paleo, it’s a good idea to clean out your cupboards and fridge before you start – get rid of anything that reminiscent from a SAD diet and make sure you have all of the herbs, spices and ingredients on hand for the coming month. There’s a fantastic step by step guide in the Whole30 ebook explaining how to go about this for success.

I use the Whole30 as a culinary challenge – I use it as an excuse to try lots of difference recipes. In fact, the last Whole30 was such an enjoyable experience last time as we ate a different meal every single day – something I’m very far from at the moment!

My Whole30 approach is to spend some time on Sundays working out what’s happening during the coming week. When I know what I'm doing each day, I flick through my Paleo Cookbooks and assign a meal to each day. I then go out and buy all of the ingredients I’ll need for that week (taking a lot of care to ensure everything will be as fresh as possible on the day I have planned to eat it!) and prep anything I can in advance. This time I’m going to quadruple everything I cook, to stock the freezer up with lots of different lunch options to take into work.

Strict Paleo Whole 30 Days

I'm going to track my Whole30 using Cronometer, so I can get a good assessment of where my macro and micro nutrient ratios sit over the month. This month should give me some good tools (and recipes!) to tweak my diet after the Whole30.

Fortunately my house mate is also very keen to do another Whole30 – sharing the shopping, cooking and culinary inspiration certainly makes it a lot easier!

Have you done a Whole30 yet? How did you find it? Care to join me for a Whole30 May?

How to start paleo guide for beginners diet healthy eating plan-min

How to do Paleo – a Beginners Guide

After listening to me talk about Paleo and seeing the positive changes, a few of my friends have been interested enough to actually try Paleo for 30 days, a whole30 approach, to see how it works for them.

I got a text message from one of my friends last week, which read:

“Hey, I want to try Paleo starting today for a month, that’s the whole30 right?  Where do you shop for your stuff?  What should I eat?”

How to start paleo guide for beginners diet healthy eating plan-min

I started to reply, but it quickly became far too long for an SMS, so I sent the email below instead.

OK, it was too long to text!

I would start by working out what you're going to eat for the next week.  Where you'll be each day; how many meals you'll have at home and how many meals you’ll eat out.  Write it down!

For the meals at home, go through the cookbook I gave you and pick out a few meals.  Also look on Chowstalker and filter on “Whole30” to find some great Paleo recipes.

Do a big shop for all of the ingredients for the recipes you picked out – the first shop may be quite expensive if you don’t have many herbs and spices (which make such a difference to the recipes) – it’s a good investment though as they’ll last a long time.

The basics you need are: –

Meat.  Where you can, get organic, at the very least free range (i.e. chicken) – and if possible grass fed meat.  I have a great organic butcher near me, but Woolies and Coles have a few organic ranges

Eggs.  I eat a lot of eggs.  Pastured & organic are best, Omega 3 enriched are great – at the very least make sure they are free range.  They usually last for a while and are great for quick food – so buy lots!

Vegetables.  If you can, get organic.  Try to get what's in season, rather than imported vegetables.  In the first week or two I'd recommend sweet potatoes and squash.  It's possible you'll find it really hard cutting out refined carbs, so that is what the sweet potatoes and squash will help with.  Other than that, get a good variety of vegetables.  Most recipes call for the basics like onions, carrots, garlic,  green leafy vegetables etc.  Ignore starchy tubers like potatoes (besides, you can substitute sweet potatoes any time you'd usually have regular potatoes).  I also tend to use a lot of zucchini, capsicum and mushrooms.

Fruit.  I don't have much fruit, as essentially it is sugar, but it might be quite good for you whilst you’re transitioning to this new way of eating.  Berries are great and other good choices include kiwi, pineapple & melon.  Eat fruit whole; don't make juices with it (this removed the fibre from the fruit which increases the insulin response – also it encourages you to consume a lot more than you'd eat whole)

Fats.  You'll need to not be scared of fats!  Only cook in coconut oil (coconut oil is only found in health food shops, choose unrefined virgin coconut oil) and animal fats.  Olive oil (and other nut oils such as avocado oil) are good for salad dressings, but shouldn't be heated.  Remember – no dairy (i.e. butter) for the 30-days.  Coconut milk is another great fat source.  Get this from the Asian section in any supermarket.  I'd only recommend Ayam as it has the purest ingredients of any brand I've seen.  Make sure you get the normal version NOT the light version.  Use this as a basis for meals (i.e. a curry) or even with berries to make a berry smoothie.  Avocados are another great fat source to go with a meal.

Nuts.  Occasional nuts are great, but don't go overboard (which is hard!).  Macadamias & Almonds are good.  Almond butter is also good (used sparingly) and can be found in the macro range at Woolworths.

Drinks.  With no dairy, think now about what you'll be drinking.  Most drinks should be water, but you can add a slice of lemon/ lime and the water can be hot or cold.  You can use carbonated water.  I get lots of different types of tea (but check the ingredients carefully; you should recognise all of the ingredients – nothing artificial).  Redbush, gunpowder, chai and green tea are some that I enjoy.  You can also have tea with coconut milk.

If you're going out and options are likely to be un-paleo my top tip is not to go out hungry.  If you eat before you go out you probably won't need to eat – and if you do it will be easier to look for better options without the distraction of immense hunger.  Most places offer meat and fish – I ask for it as plain as possible and check how it's cooked.  Avoid anything that is marinated or fried.  Ask for no sauces or dressings on your meal.  I usually substitute things like fries and mash for more veg or salad.

Breakfast is something people often find hardest.  It’s easiest to get over the fact breakfast “has” to be a certain type of meal and realise breakfast is just fuel, like any other meal.  Have good food; be it last night’s leftovers or cook something up.  I find eggs a great breakfast option and often have omelette or scrambled egg with avocado and bacon.   Noatmeal is another good option for an occasional breakfast, but not every day.  I think it's really important to try to consume breakfast as soon as possible after waking up, within 30 minutes if possible.

You can get the basics from Woolworths or Coles.  The “Macro” range at Woolworths, or the “Natural Health” range at Coles have a lot of good Paleo ingredients.  Butchers (especially organic) will be a better source of meat.  Farmers markets (if you have any locally) are a great source for most things.  Health food shops are the only places I've found for coconut oil and Himalayan or Celtic sea salt.

Take a photo of yourself before you start and let me know if you can't find anything or want ideas!

Top tip – be organised and plan before you start.



So how did I do?  I'm sure there are lots of things I should have mentioned that I forgot…  I think it’s going to be helpful to have a list to give to anyone who asks me this in the future.  What advice and tips do you give to people who turn to you for advice on starting Paleo?

What Happens When a sceptic Goes Paleo for 30 Days-min

What Happens When a Skeptic Goes Paleo for 30 Days?

Article Mission:  Trial whole 30 and discuss your experience.

Article Author:  Suz's housemate (Kevin Bees).

Male, 31, and a ‘Whole 30’ / Paleo sceptic for the following reasons:

  • No carbs?  Are you crazy?  I have lived my whole life on carbs – I am always healthy (I refuse to do ‘sick’) and amongst a hectic work life, I find all the energy I need to rock climb, play football (soccer) and run challenging marathons.  I have a marathon to run in week 3 of starting this trial… and a marathon without carbs to burn concerns me greatly.
  • Weight loss – many people find Paleo is fantastic to assist with weight loss.  I am already slight – I do not want to lose weight.
  • What?  Tea without milk??  You are having a laugh!
  • No chocolate for 30 days???  Shudder the thought.

That all sounds a bit hard.  So, why even bother with the whole30 trial at all?

What Happens When a sceptic Goes Paleo for 30 Days-min


1.       Support my housemate and best friend Suz in her weight loss and lifestyle improvement goal.  If I was so passionate about something like this, I would want the person I shared a refrigerator and mealtimes with to be on board.

2.       Understand if the claims of additional energy are true.  (Who wants to feel sleepy after lunch when they have work to do!?)

3.       Cancer.   Understand more about what we put into our bodies in the SAD diet.  Has this been the cause of cancer in two of my friends?  Could leading a Paleo lifestyle reduce the risks of this?

These reasons alone were enough to get me started, and to tuck into the Main Course of 30 days trial, but did I like what I found as the main course was delivered?

Main Course

Like all good dishes, there are a range of ingredients that have made up my experience over the 30 days and we experience those dishes with all our senses…

What did I See over the 30 days?

Trying on the new lifestyle for 30 days was like putting on a new pair of glasses.  At first things didn't quite focus and before long, my eyes adjusted and I started seeing things I hadn’t before:

  • Nasty ingredients.  What actually are these chemicals I have been putting into my body? It’s the only body I’ll ever own and I like to think of my body as a Ferrari.  And if it was a Ferrari, fueling it with chemical waste rather than top grade petrol would cause a break down, right?  (OK, ok, I am probably more of a mini cooper than a Ferrari – but you get the gist, right?)  The realisation that even MILK might not be as good for me as I previously thought is shocking news to me.  How can I have gone 31 years without this knowledge?
  • More variety in my food.   Usually a ‘diet’ restricts choice.  I have found the opposite here.  My new lenses have actually allowed me to see things on the menu that I would have previously filtered out.  And, at home, rather than cooking up the same old, I have found new recipes that taste so great.  The coconut crusted chicken on a bed of curry flavoured veg was a treat.  Yummy.  And NoOatmeal beats milk saturated cornflakes hands down.
  • My abs.  Welcome back – it’s great to see you again!  I thought my good friends deserted me half a lifetime ago when I stopped doing sit ups at age 16.  Now my tort buddies are back in town, I want them to hang out for longer, so I’ll be doing all I can to keep them happy.
  • The sun rising.  My sleep pattern means I mostly awake naturally before the alarm clock.  A much more natural and enjoyable way to live.
  • The Bathroom and not in a good way.  I saw too much of this place in the first two weeks.  As my body adjusted to the new fuel routine… it decided it would have a bit of a clear out.  Everything is back to normal now though.  Thanks for your concern.

What did I feel over the 30 day?

Ignoring the blip just mentioned… actually very good… especially when doing exercise.

Rock Climbing –  I have felt stronger and been able to last longer on tougher walls, much to the dismay of my competitive climbing partner.

Running – endurance and recovery has meant that I could do more training in a shorter space of time.  In fact, I went out for a 30KM training run… and I felt so good I kept going and I accidentally ran 42km. (A big bonus since I had to give up at 22km two weeks earlier when I was on non Paleo fuel source).

I feel confident for the Marathon coming up now, which I was not at the start of the 30 days.

More importantly, there were some things I didn't feel over the 30 days:

1.       Carb-flu.  Is this a myth?  As a carb-junkie and cutting out most carbs (something I term ‘going carb-turkey’), I should have suffered this, right?  Something I clearly sidestepped by refusing to believe it was true.

2.       Insulin Spike.  So many times before, I became sleepy after lunch, due to the insulin spike caused when my body was digesting the carbs I had eaten.  I have not felt this in the whole 30 days.  Imagine my productivity improvement.

What did I hear over the 30 days?

I listened to an aunt trying to ‘treat’ the nephews or nieces … she offers them crisps or fizzy pop.

Previously I would heard the aunty being kind to her little loved ones, although, what I heard was – ‘anyone for a dose of chemicals that your body is not designed to handle?’  Chemicals of course that will build in faults to their Ferrari before it even leaves the assembly line?

What did I smell?

The winds of change, maybe??  Let’s have a dessert and find out.

 30 Day summary – The dessert

So, it’s been an interesting entrée and main course… will I continue to a Paleo Dessert now the 30 days are up?  Or tuck into the chocolate I have been so missing – and wash it down with a warm cup of milky tea?  And I have missed chocolate badly.  (It has been a daily habit forever).

Even still, that choice is too easy.

The sceptic has been converted and as I type these last words, I am tucking into some home-made Paleo ice cream (made with coconut milk and plenty of fruity goodness).  Thanks SUZ!

Rather than asking myself now if I will continue with Paleo, I am actually asking why would I ever go back to the SAD lifestyle?

Seriously, why would I give up the improved productivity, improved sleep pattern, increased strength and stamina?  Oh, and the Abs.  Don’t forget the abs.

It’s been a life changing 30 days for me.    And I wonder where another 30 days will take me?

And what will a 30 day trial do for you, I wonder?


The Easiest Strawberry & Coconut Ice Cream Ever!

It’s been a lovely sunny weekend – and what better way to end a Sunday than with ice cream?


5.0 from 1 reviews
The Easiest Strawberry & Coconut Ice Cream Ever!
Recipe type: Desserts
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  1. It takes just a couple of minutes to prepare this ice cream.
  2. Throw a couple of handfuls of frozen strawberries into the blender and add a whole tin of coconut cream.
  3. Blend the mixture, leaving a few small pieces of strawberries intact.
  4. Pour the mixture into a dish, sprinkle with shredded coconut and put in the freezer for a couple of hours.
  5. How easy is that?


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I don’t think this needs any extra sweetness, as the strawberries are sweet enough.  This ice cream has the same texture as a shop-bought ice cream, yet it won’t cause the same spike in blood sugar levels.


Whole 30 paleo network sq-min

Whole 30 – Halfway Through

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have seen that I'm currently in the middle (day 18, to be precise) of a Whole30.

Whole 30 paleo network-min

So, what is a Whole30?

The Whole 30 is a strict 30 day Paleo program, which is designed to remove all inflammation causing foods for a 30 day period.  This is very much in line with the 30-day trial Robb Wolf suggests.  At the end of the 30-days the idea is to evaluate how you look, feel and perform – compared to how you looked, felt and performed on day -1.  You can then slowly start to reintroduce other foods, if you wish to do so, to gain a better understanding of how your body reacts to specific foods.  In the 30-day program you eat good quality, lean meat, fish, eggs, seasonal fruit & vegetables as well as fat sources such as coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.  Strictly off limits are dairy, grains, legumes – and of course all processed foods and alcohol.

How to go about it?

The weekend before I started my 30-days, I got organised.  I went through hundreds of recipes and gave them the Whole30 treatment.  There are differing degrees of Paleoness, meaning some recipes have dairy and sweeteners which aren’t allowed for this period.  Once I had a collection of recipes for meals and snacks selected, I then went through the ingredients, one by one and compiled a huge shopping list – right down to the herbs and spices I didn’t already have.  I assigned meals for the week ahead and bought everything I’d need.  I can’t stress enough how much easier this made it!

What is a typical day’s menu?

Take today for example.  Breakfast was (organic) bacon & (omega 3 enriched organic) eggs cooked in coconut oil.  Lunch was a small bowl of leftover chicken curry cooked in coconut milk – and dinner today will be the slow cooked lamb that I hope is currently cooking itself in my slow cooker at home!  Probably under 20 minutes of cooking & preparation time required today for three completely different meals.

The verdict so far?

I’d been about 90% Paleo before this recent Whole30 for a long time, so the biggest change for me has been cutting out dairy.  Not having to make huge dietary changes has meant I haven’t had “carb flu” which a lot of people seem to go through.  It has made me realise I just don’t need the dairy!  Before starting, I’d been convinced I’d go back onto dairy once the 30-days were up.  Now however, I just can’t see why I’d do that.  Dairy gave me no nutritional benefit that I don’t get elsewhere in my diet, and I’m become increasingly convinced that dairy and I might not be so compatible.  I’m always in a happy mood, but this has definitely been turned up a notch in the last 18 days.  I’m also feeling a lot less tired – and for the first time since I can remember I’ve started to wake up before my alarm clock!  This seems to have kick started my sleeping patterns too, as I’m now actually tired at bedtime.  Win win!  I’ll report back on my progress at the end of the 30 days, but more interestingly my housemate who has been doing this Whole30 with me, from a completely different way of eating!

Are you doing a Whole30 too?  I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences below