Grocery Geek: Doing a Whole 30

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grocerygeek-gceAs I mentioned last week, I’m doing a Whole 30, a nutritional reset or selective fast in order to troubleshoot which foods might give you trouble. By eliminating five key potential problems (soy, sugar, dairy, grain, and alcohol) from my body, I’m in a stage of detox. Between you and me, I think I was nipping from the sugar bowl a little too much.

Understandably, this new diet dictates how I shop. While I had done a good amount of freezer cooking several weeks ago, I had not anticipated doing this right now. Unfortunately, almost every meal I made contained one or more of the forbidden foods, namely cheese or ย grain.

So, while my family can enjoy those meals — and they have — I have not. So, that means a little grocery shopping. I probably overbought a little here at the beginning since I wasn’t sure how the diet was going to play out. You can read the updates over here.

Yes, I’m daily blogging the Whole 30. Journaling has always been a good way for me to process my thoughts. Since many of you mentioned that you’ve been interested in doing this kind of diet but were curious what it really looked like…. well, you can get the low-down right here.

In a few words: ย I have an amazing return of energy.

In other news, here’s how I shopped this week:

ralphs whole 30


Over the weekend I headed to Ralphs. I had a few free coupons (for eggs and hot dogs) and then I cruised the sales as well. I had coupons for coffee; Happy (free range) Eggs were on clearance; and organic veggie trays were, too. Here’s how it broke down:

Ralphs eggs – free with coupon
gelato – free with coupon
Hebrew National hot dogs – free with coupon
organic vegetable trays $1.75 each after produce coupons
Happy Eggs – $2.29/dozen
frozen peas – $1
Starbucks coffee – $7.99 minus coupons varying $1 – $2/package
ground pork – $4
Tillamook cheddar – $9 after coupon
milk – $2.89
light olive oil – $18.99
Good Earth tea $3.89 after coupon
Pirate’s Booty – $1.74

The cheese, gelato, milk, and Booty are for my family, obviously.

Total spent at Ralphs: $75

trader joe's whole 30Trader Joe’s

On date night — because we’re wild and crazy people — we headed over to Trader Joe’s for more greens, mushrooms, avocados, nuts, bread, milk, yourt, pasta, red wine vinegar, almond meal, proscuitto, roast beef, yogurt, sparkling water.

While Trader Joe’s isn’t the cheapest game in town, it has the best guarantee for quality products. Since one of the guidelines of the diet is to avoid food additives and fake food, I know that I have a better chance to be compliant at TJ’s.

The milk, pasta, yogurt, and bread are for the fam.

Total spent at TJ’s: $55

aho whole 30Abundant Harvest Organics

Thanks to the produce box, I have lots of great produce to draw from. Except for the potatoes, all this is “legal”. Subscribing to Abundant Harvest Organics was one of the best things I ever did.

This week’s box contained shallots, watermelon radishes, turnips, apples, lettuce, broccoli di cicco, mandarin oranges, Romanesco cauliflower.

Total spent for the produce box: $37

sprouts whole 30


At Sprouts, I grabbed things that were going off sale: meats and coconut products that help this diet stay satisfying. The cream was for hubby’s coffee.

Total spent at Sprouts: $25

There’s a week left in the month. I’ve got a produce box coming. And we’re out of milk. So, obviously, I’ll be shopping a little more. Yes, I’m already over my budgeted $800/month for the 8 of us. On the other hand, we’re not eating out since it’s way easier for me to cook for myself at home than badger a waiter about how things are prepared. And I did save a lot last month on the pantry challenge, so it will all work out.

Total spent this week: $192

Total spent this month: $846

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  1. Great job on your progress! I saw your comment about cooking two meals every night. I try to mitigate that by switching out one or two ingredients for my kiddos that hubby and I won’t be eating. Tacos become taco salad, of course. I’ll make a bolognese sauce that he and I have over cooked veggies (I highly recommend zucchini noodles!) and the kids have pasta. We were just saying that the longer we go eating like this the easier it is to maintain and the less we miss the grains and sugars.

    • @Bridget, yes, that is my plan for next week. I wasn’t sure how this week would go with energy, cravings, mood, etc, so I made their meals easy (freezer meals) and then kinda cooked on the fly for myself every day.

  2. Have you noticed a difference in how you are feeling yet?

    • @Melissa, YES! I am sleeping better and it is much easier to wake up each morning. In fact, I’m waking very early without much effort at all. I still have the hip pain, but in other areas this is really working.

  3. Just after Christmas, due to a variety of health issues and concerns, I started a plant based diet. I’ve eliminated most dairy, milk, grains and sugars, although I do eat some in very small quantities. Lots of fruit, veggies and whole juices. I found that the first 3 weeks I felt terrible as my body was in detox mode. Then it all suddenly changed and my energy returned, symptoms began to clear up and I feel so much better! When I had some Valentine candy the other day my body pretty much “rejected” that idea and I felt awful for two days. I cleaned up my act and immediately felt better. Lesson learned! Hang in there. You can do this!

  4. I’ve been doing no dairy, soy or wheat for almost 5 weeks. I have a 5 month old I’m nursing and she seems to be having issues with one of the 3. It’s hard at first, but larabars and avocados are saving my life!

  5. Sounds like you are doing great! Keep it up, you are a good inspiration to us home cooks.

  6. Amanda Yoder says:

    Tropical traditions has free shipping today and some good sales–their coconut flour and coconut oil have been so helpful with grain elimination! (even tho I have decided to keep rice and some organic non GMO corn since finding it was a gluten issue)

  7. Ooh, you reminded me to dig my free coupons out from Kroger before they expire. In your readings, have you heard much on coconut being an allergen for those with nut allergies? I know there is a debate over whether coconut is a nut, seed, or drupe and that the FDA recently declared it a “nut”—-after decades of debate (not that I trust the FDA). I’ve always used coconut in certain cookies and granolas and never thought to much about it—–and one of the kiddos has tree nut allergies. He’s never had a problem but I’m reluctant to try heavy cooking with coconut oil (nut oils give him the worst problems) or flour. Just curious if you’ve read/heard anything. (We haven’t needed to see our allergist in years so not sure what he’d say)..

    • @Carla, I’ve never heard that except from maybe you? The doctor certainly never had that on the list, so I’m skeptical that they lump that in. They test for flax allergies since that is used as a replacement for egg, so I would think coconut would be specified on the list. Our doc said that he wasn’t concerned unless we saw a reaction.

  8. Hello Jessica,
    I just wanted to say that personally I’ve found a mix of oils very pleasing in homemade mayo. I really like EVOO (1/2 the amount called for) and lighter tasting olive oil as suggested in the recipe you used. In my opinion, using both oils gives the mayo a buttery flavor, but because you use the lighter olive oil, the taste isn’t overpowering.

  9. It is so helpful to read your journey! We just started an elimination diet for the whole family last week and then I saw all your posts. I’ll definitely be looking for some inspiration! On top of that, I have a huge new interest in your blog as we just found out we will probably be relocating to So Cal (from MN) in a month or so! Crazy! Good to see the grocery geek posts so I can keep stores/prices/etc in mind. Any tips are welcome!!

  10. I am going to take the 30 Challenge, but I have some concerns. My Collesteral is elevated and I was wondering having all this coconut ,eggs and nuts will make it worse. I am used to eating lean chicken and lots of veggies and fruits, drink almond milk, but not sure about the coconut……

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