Whole30 on a Budget?


On Sunday evening we started our Whole30 that I talked briefly about here. In summary, it's a 30 day program of no sugar or processed food. Which means three meals a day consisting of a palm sized portion of protein, filling the rest of my plate with vegetables, adding in some healthy fats (avocados, nuts, coconut oil, etc.), and if I'm still hungry, a small portion of fruit to top it all off.

Kelsey has agreed to join this adventure with me, and I'm happy to have the company. We're already battling the sugar cravings and headaches as we attempt to slay the sugar dragon. Mine started on day 2 but have subsided since, and Kelsey's are kicking in as of days 3 and 4 in the form of cookie dough fantasies, and longing for a bag of conversation hearts.

My hope in terms of results is far beyond outward visible changes. I'm not looking to lose weight, but my goals in completing the Whole30 are as follows:

  • Better, more restful sleep
  • More natural energy throughout the day
  • Clear mental focus
  • Increased productivity
  • Establish "better than before" eating habits
  • More family time in the kitchen and at the dinner table

I started this journey in a weird way. Kelsey bought the book "It Starts With Food", and one evening I happened to pick it up, and couldn't put it down. Most of the book is filled with the science behind the program, how our bodies react to certain foods, why we crave sugar, and what it does to our  minds and bodies.

On the one hand, I wanted to skip over most of the book and get to the Whole30 program (the rules, guidelines, and recipes), but on the other hand, the why behind it all was fascinating. I wore out my highlighter reading the book!


So that's the back story. But, when it comes to eating healthy and living on a budget, it can seem like two worlds that can't co-exist.

We're having to rethink how we spend our food money and plan appropriately. It's been challenging for sure, and to be completely honest, a few days into the month and I think we're poised to blow our food budget out of the water this month.

We budgeted $600 for food for the month, and have spent well over half already. The good thing is that protein costs the most when you're buying grass fed, wild caught, organic everything, so hopefully the spending rate will slow drastically as we fill out our plates with vegetables, fats and fruits. We're committed to the program, so we'll see what happens this month and what kind of budget adjustments we'll make as we figure it all out.

Here's how we've spent our money so far...

Wallace Farms: $268

  • Ground Italian Sausage (2)
  • Boneless Pork Chops (2)
  • (75/25) Ground Beef - (4) 1 lb. packages
  • Original Nick's Sticks/Beef Sticks, 2 sticks per package (32)
  • Original Nick's Sticks/Turkey Sticks, 2 sticks per package (8)
  • Top Sirloin Steak (6)
  • Chuck Roast (1)
  • Turkey Sausage, Roasted Red Pepper & Garlic (8)

Hy-Vee (regional midwest chain) $105

  • Organic Chicken Breasts (6)
  • Organic Baby Spinach
  • Baby Carrots
  • Organic Red Bell Peppers (4)
  • Organic Green Bell Pepper
  • Sweet Potatoes (6)
  • Sweet Onion
  • Green Beans
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Bananas
  • Clementines
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Rasberries
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Organic Honey Crisp Apples
  • Organic Celery Hearts
  • Cherry Tomatoes

Trader Joe's $35

  • Black Olives
  • Cashew Lara Bars
  • Frozen Asparagus
  • Frozen Fajita peppers and onions
  • Frozen Peas
  • Chili Lime Chicken Patties (2)

Whole Foods $5

  • Tessamae's Zesty Ranch Salad Dressing

Costco $52

  • Wild Planet Albacore Tuna
  • Organic Eggs - 2 dozen (3)
  • Avocados
  • Wholly Guacamole - 20 individual packs


One of the biggest surprises so far in our Whole30 is this: Cooking isn't that hard when you're using whole food. It's just simpler when you break it down to a protein, vegetables, fats, and fruit.

I spent Sunday grilling up a dozen or so chicken breasts and roasting diced sweet potatoes. From there, we've simply been heating up our protein of choice, and filling out our plates with veggies. We're slowly adding in varieties, but it's gone quite well for me this first week.

Here's my favorite meal from the week.

Supper Day 3: Trader Joe's chili lime chicken burgers covered in roasted peppers and onions, topped with black olives and guacamole. All on a bed of baby spinach. #whole30 #teamwilliamswhole30

A photo posted by Eric Williams (@wordsofwilliams) on Feb 4, 2015 at 4:18pm PST

You can follow along with Kelsey and I on Instagram at #teamwilliamswhole30

I'm really excited to see how this all shakes out. My only fear in going through this is never wanting to eat ice cream again...

Have you done a Whole30? (I'd love any recommendations for meals, how to survive, etc.)What questions or details would you want to see as we work our way through process?