So, What Can You Eat During Whole 30?

So, as I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am a BIG fan of The Whole30 Program. My last round left me feeling GREAT and I’m currently gearing up for my second. Like any dietary plan, there are a lot of rules and restrictions, which ultimately aim to make you the best you possible. Today I’m going to share with you a little bit more about those rules (and their loopholes!).


  • Although dairy is strictly prohibited from the program because of the milk proteins found therein, clarified butter (or ghee) is totally OK! Not only is this a great way to add some fats to your diet, it’s also a crucial piece in a lot of curry dishes. Here’s one recipe that I recently made and instantly fell in love with.


  • So, by and large, sugars, artificial sweeteners, and pretty much any other type of sucrose-like substance that you can think of is off the table. Fortunately, fruit juice is used as a sweetener in products or recipes is totally fine. Guess who’s going to be making a lot of hand-squeezed orange juice?


  • Some legumes are permitted: green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas. Basically, these legumes contain a lot more green than they do bean. Not only is this great news for salad lovers, it also permits some great stir-fry combinations. Just make sure that you make it at home and skip out on any preservatives you might find in restaurants.


  • As far as vinegar goes, feel free to use it to your heart’s content! Well, with the exception of vinegars with added sugar and malt vinegar which often contains gluten. White, balsamic, red wine, apple cider, and rice vinegars are all fair game. I can’t recommend this apple cider dressing recipe enough.


  • You might not know this, but iodized table salt actually contains sugar! Who would have thought? It turns out that sugar (in the form of dextrose) is used to keep the salt from iodizing and basically disappearing into thin air. We often think of foods as sweet or salty, but it turns out that even when they’re salty, they’re kind of sweet. Fortunately, salt (and the sugar that sneakily hides in it) are fair game for the program.


Now you might look at The Whole30 Program and think something like “this is crazy,” “Rachel, you are crazy for doing this crazy program,” “it’s too strict/tough/limiting/demanding, etc.”

Having done one round myself, I can assure that it’s not that bad at all.

In fact, it’s pretty easy!

And more than that, it’s only for 30 days. Think about it: 30 days. Not a year, or a decade or an eternity, but 30 days. For me, it was really helpful to stop looking at it as 30 days of limitations but as 30 days of opportunity. I think that’s one of the most appealing things about the program. You get to try something, experience a new way of eating and then see where the cards lie at the end of the month. And for me, I felt pretty freaking good.

Alright. I’m starting to feel like I’m getting way too enthusiastic about this.

Whether you think this is crazy or a fun idea, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Check out my Twitter at for more Whole30 thoughts.

Steps to Starting Whole30 (Part 1)

If you’ve been following my blog monthly, you’ll know that I’ve been doing Whole30. It’s changed my life for the better, and I can’t recommended it enough to my friends and family. I wanted to take some time to explain the steps you should take before officially committing to Whole30. This will be the first of a few posts that walk through the route that I took to start my first Whole30 journey.

whole 30 calendar


1 . Get Familiar With the Whole30 Program

The first step for any Whole30 beginner is to really understand what the program entails There are three rules:

  • The main takeaway is, yes, you can eat real food. In fact, that’s the whole point of this change in diet. There’s no skipping meals or replacing meals with powders and energy bars. You will have a specific list of goods that you can eat.
  • The most important rule is to avoid weighing yourself or measuring any aspect of your body for the full 30 days.

2. Make a True Commitment to the Whole30 Program

There is more preparation that you’d think when starting this program; it’s not wise to just read through the rules and jump right into it. The key to success is to fully plan your Whole30 journey. Your planning process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks; don’t feel pressure to match anyone else’s story — do what works for you.

  • Choose Your Start Date (And stick to it!)
    • Try to pick a date that is as soon as possible within the timeline of your preparation period
    • But, wait until after any major life event – it’ll be hard to stick to your new eating regimen at a five course wedding
  • Make Your Start Date Public
    • It’ll be easier to stick to your start date once you make your intentions known to the world
    • Whole30 provides some really great ways to declare that you’re starting. There’s a facebook banner that you can use, and an instagram image you can post to make it known.
    • You can also start posting to the Whole30 forum and and introduce yourself to everyone else to establish accountibility.whole30 public start date


Thanks for reading!

Rachel Bouman

So, I’m Doing Whole30 : What is that?

Image Courtesy of Jessica Quirk (whatiwore)

If you follow me on other social media you’ll know that , “Eat Good Food” is the motto of Whole30 created by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig . An intense 30 days of clean eating, Whole30 is not a diet.  The program restricts legumes, grains, and sugars. It requires saying “no” to a lot of traditionally delicious foods.  But, it also says no to stepping on the scale or taking any body measurements for the full thirty days of the program.  The goal of Whole30 is to push the “reset” button to clear your body of hormone-unbalancing and gut-disrupting foods to improve your overall body composition.  The point isn’t to lose weight, but to impact your health and change your emotional relationship with food for the rest of your life.

Here are the general rules to stick by:

  • No added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. (maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc)
  • No alcohol in any form, not even for cooking
  • No grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa.
  • No legumes.
  • No beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts.
  • No soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • No dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt, and sour cream.
  • No carrageenan, MSG or sulfites.
  • No use of “approved ingredients” to recreate baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients. So no pancakes, cookies, or clever vegan milkshake recipes found on Pinterest.

So what do you eat?   Well, if you think of how much of what we eat is crammed between thick slices of bread, you can come up with many alternative sandwich creations.  For example, big leaves of lettuce can “sandwich” just about anything.  I personally love to stuff them with avocado, tomato, and chicken.  Another clever technique is using portobello mushroom caps as a bun option.  There are some fabulous ideas on Whole30’s website.


I have to admit that getting through the first week was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done (and I’ve gone to law school).  I was hungry.  I craved my daily greek yogurt like nobody’s business.  Couldn’t I crumble just a tiny bit of bleu cheese on my greens?  This phase, however, reminded me of why I decided to take on the Whole30 challenge in the first place.  Plus, my body’s reaction to the changes proved how drastically I needed to change my relationship with what I was eating.  I had such a wonderful experience with my first round of “Whole30”, that I’m preparing for another round. I’ve learned so much about my personal nutrition philosophy in my first 30 days that I have a ton of inspiration to implement in this new month.

Image courtesy of whatiwore.

Fit and Frugal: Free Classes & Health Hacks Everyone Should Know

yoga-774243_1280These days, there’s always some new hip way to stay fit. One month it’s SoulCycle, another month it’s bikram yoga, and another it’s The Bar Method. These classes can be wildly expensive though, and the average person may feel left out of all these new exercise trends. Thankfully, there are free, wacky fitness classes popping up in major cities all over the United States. If you’re not located in these cities, don’t fret; there are great, cheap alternatives to the standard exercise routines as well.

Fun & Free In DC

1. North Face Mountain Training (DC)Offered by the athletic-wear company North Face, this free training program takes place in the District of Columbia. The classes aims to prep you for your own climbing, skiing, or running trips. Each class is taught by trainers from the North Face company.

2. Nike Training ClubGet clad in your finest Nike workout clothes and join the party. This class feels more like going to the club than going to the gym, so if that appeals to you, this is the free class for you.

3. Yogalates and Pilates in the Park – Stretch and get that good aching feeling in your muscles twice a week at The Golden Triangle’s classes in Farragut Square. Held on Tuesdays and Thursdays right after work (5:30pm), they’re the perfect way to get a little workout in before heading home.


Health Hacks (Alternatives to the Exercise “Norms”)

1. Take Quarterly Private Yoga Classes Instead of Regular Classes – Instead of paying the average $19 a class, invest in quarterly private sessions that run for about $120 a session. These private sessions give you personalized instruction and a take home kit tailored specifically to you.

2. Use Online Personal Training Instead of In-Person Trainers – Online companies offer exercise and nutrition packages that can be designed expressly for you. They are available for any fitness level and gives you access to an entire online community.

3. Buy Resistance Bands Instead of Free Weights – The bands are a great, portable alternative to free weights. They usually retail for an average of $40 for three different resistances vs the hundreds of dollars that a set of free weights usually cost.


For a list of more free classes in DC and other fitness-on-a-budget tips, click here and here.


4 Female Youtubers in Fitness

runner-rachel boumanYoutube has become a platform for viewers to learn almost anything. Many people also use it as a source to follow for exercise. One can find weight lifting tips as well as full yoga and pilates routines. Learn more about several female Youtubers dedicated to fitness!


Cassey Ho, a certified fitness instructor shares pilates based workouts on her Youtube channel. Her music is uptempo and her exercises are known to be high intensity. She even has short five minute videos designed to target certain areas such as the abs or arms. Cassey’s channel has over 2 million subscribers.


A pair of fitness industry instructors from Oklahoma came together to create dance workout videos for Youtube. Their content includes footage from actual classes taught in their area. One of their most watched videos was a choreographed routine to a Lil Jon song.

Yoga with Adriene

Adriene Mishler comes from a background in acting and movement teaching. She hails from Austin, Texas and gives a variety of instructional videos for different circumstances. Mishler shows her audience of over 700,000 subscribers how to do yoga at their desks and how to do yoga for headaches. For a month of yoga, she has a 30 day series of various techniques available on her channel.

Sarah Fit

As both a lifestyle blogger and fitness instructor, Sarah exhibits a passion for helping others live healthier. In addition to exercise videos, she shares recipes and eating suggestions on her channel. Her routines don’t require the purchase of any equipment to follow along. Sarah has over 200,000 subscribers.

To learn about other fitness Youtubers, visit Business Insider online here.

Fitness As Religion | One Family’s Story

Fitness replaces religion in one particular family. A background in Catholicism has morphed into a devotion to nutrition and exercise. Among the family, one married couple is vegan and another cousin is a health coach and Paleo chef. This is the lifestyle of Lauren Napolitano’s family. She is a licensed psychologists and fitness writer who takes her physical activity seriously.

The family members consistently work to hold each other accountable in terms of overall health. Gatherings are a source of many of these conversations because a suitable food selection needs to be made for everyone. Often, several people disagree on what to eat. One may eat meat but refuses pasta, while another must have kale, as long as there is no butter in it. Additionally, making the decision to eat dessert may result in a group run come morning time.

Like on CNN’s “Crossfire”, this family will tend to debate health and fitness issues instead of religion. Instead of celebrating Hannukah like some families, they prefer to use the holidays as a time to talk safe deadlifts and the components of dairy. It begins nicely and progresses into an intense and assertive discussion. They challenge each other’s opinions and sometimes end up over-talking the other.

Religion is a set of beliefs that are accompanied by ritual practices. A belief in God may be essential to some family members but the overarching theme for this family includes finding comfort in the world. Important aspects of life include safe exercise and healthy foods such as organic kale. Whether there is room for dessert in this type of lifestyle is also up for debate.

To learn more about the fitness as religion lifestyle, visit here.

FBI Agents to Take Fitness Test

seal-rachel boumanFBI agents are now required to take a fitness test. This will be the first time in 16 years. In order to protect the country appropriately, physical ability is key. Threats are present all over including those both criminal and terrorist related.

The requirement dates back to the days of J. Edgar Hoover. He implemented fitness requirements to combat obesity and other concerns related to being overweight or out of shape. More recently, the FBI director, James B. Comey, released a memo stating that the lives of others may rely on the physical agility of the agent. He went on to say that the most special agents will be able to run, shoot, and fight regardless of the role they hold. This information was first reported by the New York Times. In the times before September 11, 2001, FBI agents were much more active out in the field. However, that date in time created a shift. A greater need for defenses against terrorism became present after that significant date in history. Counterterrorism consists of more office based tasks. Nonetheless, sitting for extended periods of time leads to greater health risks. Today, many FBI agents are overweight and suffering from depression.

Beginning in October, the 13,500 FBI agents working all over the world must take the fitness test. Some feel prepared to take it now while others are looking to utilize the next few months to train. The scores of the fitness exam will make an appearance on each agent’s annual performance review.

The elements of the test include completing continuous sit-ups and pushups in addition to sprints and a 1.5 mile run. The time between these challenges will only be five minutes. The exact requirements will be dependent upon age and gender.

5 Ways to Make Fitness Fun!

Exercise can be fun! However, people have different views on working out. Some may feel like it’s dreary while others thoroughly enjoy it. However you may feel about exercising, there are a few tips you can follow to make it a fun part of your routine.

girl-rachel boumanGet Outdoors

You don’t have to be running to get some fitness into your day. Yard work outside of the house can be a great workout. Shoveling snow and mowing the lawn are a few activities that fall into this category. Just be mindful of operating equipment and lifting objects, as you want to avoid injury.

Try Listening to Music

Music is a motivator for many people. It can also help you to relax during a strenuous activity. To make the exercise even more enjoyable, try adjusting your pace to match the rhythm of the music.

Add Variety

Incorporate change into your workout routine. Switch between cardio and other forms of exercise such as weight training. Go the extra mile to explore the differences between low impact and high impact combinations.

Bring Your Pet Along

Dogs are especially great workout partners and the experience will be mutually beneficial. You will be doing something positive for the health of your pet and yourself. Besides sharing a positive health benefitting experience with your pet, you can also share some amusing moments. Dogs are known to be entertaining at times and are a great at keeping you motivated.

Workout at Home

Gym memberships can be pricey. The good news is that there are many options for working out right at home. Try to get a hold of some workout DVDs that you can follow. Look to your staircase for a tool for cardio. Even make some homemade weights with water bottles or orange juice containers.

To get some more tips for keeping fitness fun, check out the original article here.

How to Balance Work and Fitness

desk rachel boumanWith a busy work schedule, it can be difficult to commit to a regular workout routine. A typical day may include juggling several obligations. So, what is the best way to become better at maintaining one’s overall health and fitness? Read the following tips for some suggestions.

Identify your goals.

This is imperative. Some examples of fitness goals may include finally running that race you’ve been dreaming of or even finding someone to teach you to appropriately lift weights. To get on track with checking these things of the to-do list, create a timeline. Since becoming more fit is a time commitment, it is important to develop a plan that you can keep. A personal trainer can even help with this area. Try using a calendar and remember that individual health should not be viewed as less important than any work obligations.

Another critical aspect of achieving success includes finalizing why this is the time to finally make a change. This will provide the grounds for assessing past failures. By taking the opportunity to see what previously went wrong, the tools to take a different direction will emerge. The idea is that success will occur this time around once you know what was holding you back in the past.

Improve overall nutrition.

Grocery shopping is an important skill that will result in fueling your body with the proper foods. You will notice that the items in the outskirts of the store are some of the healthiest. Lean meats, produce, and dairy make up about 80% of the things that should be purchased each time going shopping. Try to avoid the inner aisles as much as possible. This is where many processed foods are found. Upon returning home, it will be most helpful to prepare the week’s meals at that time. There are several simple tips that can make a huge difference. Do your best not to stress out and remember water and colorful foods are key.

Choose a positive workout environment.

Community is a vital component of wanting to go to a gym, for example, to workout. The simple difference between getting excited about the workout and dreading it can be the feeling you get from the space. Try involving co-workers in your workout plan. This is one way to benefit from added bonuses such as building trust with someone and having added encouragement to exercise.


Tips to Improve Fitness and Diet

physiotherapy-rachel boumanFollow these tips for an improved diet and better overall fitness.

Deny the sugar cravings.
Fruit is a great low calorie substitute at any time of the day or night. For example, Apple slices with peanut butter are a more healthy option compared to chocolate cake.

Designate a fitness buddy.
Someone to workout with by your side is a tremendous motivation. Be sure to select someone who is committed to exercising regularly and has a positive attitude. A friend who can keep up with you or even push your boundaries is a huge plus.

Throw vinegar, nuts, and yogurt in the cart during the next shopping trip.
Balsamic vinegar helps salads and vegetables pop with flavor. Nuts fresh from the shell also provide protein and fiber which will help to keep you feeling full. Lastly, fat-free yogurt that is plain is a good source of fiber.

Sore muscle relief is important.
Right after a workout, try sitting in a bath of cold water. By sitting in water between the temperatures of 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, sore calves and thighs will find some relief. For those training for a race, massages may also be a helpful recovery tool. Twice per month is beneficial for athletes.

Purchase comfortable footwear.
Make your way to the store in the evening after your feet have had a chance to swell all day. The right pair of sneakers will feel good and allow enough room to move your toes. After the first 20 to 40 miles, the sneakers will even begin to feel more relaxed.

Select uplifting music to energize the workout.
If you are jogging, be sure to be aware of the traffic around. However, the selection that will motivate you the most is any music that makes you feel good. Anything from Lady Gaga to classical could be the perfect choice for you.

Discover more tips here at