Whole30 Reflections

It’s done, I’ve finished my first (maybe not my last) Whole30! If you aren’t familiar with the Whole30, it is a program designed to reset your nutrition, stop unhealthy cravings, restore a healthy metabolism, promote healing of your digestive tract, and a slew of other things – in short, it’s designed to change your life. The program works by eliminating certain foods and food groups for 30 days. After this time you can then begin adding foods back into you diet slowly to learn how certain foods may have been affecting you.

I had heard about Whole30 a little over a year ago from my aunt and thought “no grains for a month, with the running I do…no way!” I continued to hear about the program from my clients, friends, or on social media and became more and more curious. As a registered dietitian, I find it helpful to try certain diets so that I am better able to speak to their benefits/drawbacks with my clients – and also share some personal tips that worked for me! So now that my 30 days is said and done (Day 30 was 2/1) here are a few things that worked for me:

  • Prepare meals ahead of time: It definitely pays to be prepared. My go-to breakfast were mini egg quiches prepared in muffin tins. I often made a dozen of these on Sunday or Monday and had them throughout the week. My typical breakfast was 2 of the egg quiches with an apple and almond butter. I had fun experimenting with different mix-ins and my favorite combination was peppers, onions, and bacon. I also made a few crock pot meals in advance so I was sure to have compliant foods for lunch and dinner during the week. It is easy to stay on the program when you have meals/snacks prepared.
  • Sparkling water: One of the hardest parts of this program was remaining compliant in social settings. Social gatherings are almost always centered around eating or drinking, and it can be tough to resist joining the group. I stuck to fun-flavored LaCroix and Sprindrift sparkling waters (and willpower) when there was alcohol around. It helps when you’re friends are supportive too!
  • Have a buddy: With that being said, it is very helpful if you can recruit a friend or family member to join you on this 30 day journey. A couple of friends did the program at the same time as me and it was helpful to be able to text them and share experiences, temptations, or successes. There were some times I was really tempted to cheat, but a quick text to Holly (my no. 1) kept me on track! Thanks girl.
  • Larabars and RXBARs: These bars came in handy when I was in a bind! I often kept a stash in my office, car, or gym bag in case of an “emergency”. There are few bars on the market that comply with the program, and these were my favorite. I typically had them before or after a workout, or sometimes for breakfast on the go.


Whole30: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! Even though it was challenging, I am really happy  that I decided to do the Whole30 and proud that I completed it successfully. Over the past 30 days I felt like I had more energy, definitely slept better (so many dreams!), and although it’s not the point of the program, lost a few pounds! My intention for doing the Whole30 was to clean up my eating/drinking habits and start the year off fresh – I can confidently say that this program helped me do that. I am motivated to continue eating this way, but now that I’m a few days out from day 30, I’ve started to add some things back into my diet and am really paying attention to how they make me feel. More on that later…along with a recipe for gluten-free chex mix. Have you tried Whole30? What was your experience like?

Roasted Black Radishes

Have you ever tried a black radish? I didn’t know black radishes existed until the other day when I spotted them in the produce section. I’m used to brightly colored red radishes and was surprised to see these dark, dirty looking vegetables among the other colorful selections. With a little help from Google, I learned that black radishes can be roasted in the oven and decided to give them a try with that night’s dinner.

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Roasted Black Radishes with Snap Peas:

  • 4 black radishes
  • 1 lb snap peas
  • 1/4 c green onions, sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Wash the radishes, ( I wanted to scrub off that black-ness so badly, to no avail) and chop them into large pieces. I halved the radishes, halved them again and then once more to get bite-sized pieces. Trim the snap peas, toss them with the radishes in a bowl, and drizzle the vegetables with olive oil. Spread the vegetables onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Top the vegetables with the sliced green onions and serve.

Black Radishes: Tara Tested, Tara and family approved! When I first bit into the roasted radish, I couldn’t quite put my finger on the flavor. After another bite or two, my parents and I determined that they tasted a little like brussels sprouts – a favorite of ours! Radishes are a great source of vitamin C and are also high in potassium, iron, and magnesium. Try adding these radishes to your next dish – they can be served raw in a salad, roasted, sautéed, or prepared like turnips.

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Sunday Night Salmon…featuring Roasted Black Radishes and Snap Peas with Quinoa

Training Bites

The Philadelphia Marathon is less than 2 months away and my training is in full swing! Over the past few months I have completed a few 20+ mi runs and got to experiment with some different options for mid-run fuel. It has been fun to try new things and figure out what I will use come race day.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Gu – A classic pick-me-up I like to use around mile 16-18 of a long run. If I’m running a shorter distance (maybe 10-15 miles), one Gu is all that I will take with me. Chocolate is my default flavor choice – hello, it’s like eating brownie batter – although I have also tried Chocolate Peanut Butter and Vanilla which were good too!
  • Sports Beans by Jelly Belly – This summer was the first time I have tried these little beans and I love them! They come in a little re-sealable pouch that you can carry with you along your run, or you can just toss a few in your pocket and leave the package at home. I like to have these around mile 6-7 of a long run to give me a little boost – the fruit punch flavor is great!
  • PB&J – Peanut butter and jelly on a hot dog bun has become a marathon training staple, I know it sounds a little odd, but it works for me. During a 25k trail race in Memphis I had a quarter of a PB&J at the turn around spot and I swear it gave me new life. I used a hot dog bun for my first 20 miler because that was the only bread we had in the house on that given day – turns out it’s the perfect size to get nice and squished in my fuel belt. I make it a little heavy on the J and light on the PB so that my body isn’t overwhelmed with the task of digesting fat and protein. I love having half of this snack around mile 10 and then (maybe) finishing it around mile 14 depending on how I feel.
  • Oranges – My dad came through big time this past weekend when he met my mom and I around mile 10 of our long run with orange slices. The simple sugars from oranges provide a great burst of energy mid-run. They can get a little sticky but are easy to carry with you in a small snack bag.

Mid-run Fuel: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! Snacking periodically during long runs and races is very important to provide your body with consistent energy to ensure that you can go the distance. Most of all, it is important to experiment with different kinds of food, brands, and flavors so that you find what works best for you. Keep track of what you like so that you can be prepared for your upcoming training runs and races (after a Gu-less weekend last weekend I was sure to stock up)! What is your favorite mid-run fuel?