About Me,  Family Life,  Life in Italy,  motherhood

Whole Family Whole30

Oh hey, is that a bandwagon? Let me just (huff…grunt…oooop, there we go.)

So breaking news: I’m kind of fat. Not in an obese kind of way, mind you, but in more of a had-2-kids-really-close-together-and-now-drinks-accordingly fashion.

I’ve always struggled with my weight, from the chubbiest days of 4th grade through the hellish wasteland of middle school and straight on via 4 varsity sports and an aggressive eating disorder in high school and a very, very devoted beer pong habit in college. And then there were those strange and magical 3 years of grad school + my first ‘real world’ job where I ran 5 half marathons … and now there’s motherhood.

I’ve been everywhere from a size 4 to a size 14, and while I look okaaaaay right now, I definitely look like the only American mom at the playground. Which is weird because…actually, never mind. But the point is this: I’m too fluffy for my own good. And Dave is in the same boat. Not the motherhood part, but the fluffy part.

And here’s the other thing; we’re not tourists here, but we sometimes act like it. Actually, we often act like it. We live just outside Vatican City, and Dave actually walks across St. Peter’s Square every morning for his commute. It’s beautiful. And it’s packed with tourists and pilgrims from 9 am to 7 pm on any given day. And guess what they’re doing? I mean besides stopping dead in their tracks on a crowded city sidewalk and getting bodyslammed by a double stroller. They’re eating. And they’re drinking. Gelato, cappuchinos, panini, biscotti, pizza, Peroni, vino…all manner of tasty food and beverage are being thrown back. And so we’re all like, ‘yeah, let’s have a gelato!’ or ‘it’s 2 pm and we live in Italy…time for some alcohol!’

But it turns out you can’t live like a tourist. Because tourists eventually go home and start acting like normal, responsible grownups after their 2 weeks are up. And their regular lives probably don’t include daily happy hours on the piazza with gelato nightcaps. And while we’re not that bad about it, we definitely have room for massive improvement. Because oh my gosh, if we’re going to be logging 2-3 miles on foot on a normal day and doing these ridiculous crossfit workouts, we may as well look like it.

Enter the Whole30. I was introduced to the concept of a whole foods ‘cleanse’ via my sweet friend Lucy, who is an amazingly talented photographer (and my best friend’s little sister) who actually shot our wedding in her early professional days, and did a million dollar job for the price of a couch and a plane ticket.

Keep looking back there Jenny…it will never look the same.

Love this girl. She’s also a new mama to sweet baby Edith and was struggling with some of the same body image issues, so last month she and her husband rocked out a Whole30 and look.at.this. I mean what?!! WHAT??!

It looks like she undid childbearing. Not that I’m looking to erase the evidence of my little cuties (and thanks to many, many stretchmark souvenirs, there’s zero chance of that ever happening.)

So color me inspired, we’re going for it. Plus, Dave is lactose intolerant and Joey is gluten intolerant, so why the hell not put the whole family on the same weird menu and cut my shopping down to 4 food groups?

So day 1. I’m putting it out there so you can virtually hold my hand and ask me in 5 days if I’ve caved and eaten an entire bag of ‘santa fe taco flavor’ chips from the local grocery store. (What? They taste like home. MSG tastes like home.) And you can see some of the recipes we’re playing around with. This is not going to turn into a food and lifestyle blog or anything of the sort, because my photog skills are just not that good, let’s be honest. And my design abilities are even more absent.

I’m not putting up ‘before’ pictures because, um, hello I still look like this. And it’s embarrassing.
 *(okay, fine, here’s a ‘before’ picture…but not the super embarassing wearing spandex-for-maxium-before-and-after-shock-value. That will come later, my friends.)

Behold: A WIWS reject featuring dreamy mom arms and double chin, tourist gut and shapely American thighs. Satisfied?

But maybe look forward to some side-by-sides if this works and I drop like, 7 or 30 lbs in a month. Kidding. Sort of.

This morning found us bright and early buying out the entire market of produce, and then led to hours of chopping, rinsing, cooking and simmering in la cucina. Now I do not relish being in front of the stove, not by a long shot. But … it felt pretty good to be cooking stuff that is really, really good for my family. And to be making everything from scratch. Because, remember, no Super Target. Just le old agricultural market. So I had to make my own chicken broth. Which was both disgusting and oddly empowering.

On today’s menu:

Breakfast: Eggs, sliced fresh coconut and coffee with coconut milk creamer. (And no, I did not make it. It came out of a can from Thailand.)

Lunch: Whole30 chicken salad lettuce wraps, raw green beans, and a handful of cashews

Chicken Salad recipe:

2 grilled chicken breasts, seasoned with pepper and lemon and shredded
2 tbs whole30 approved mayo
1 tsp chopped basil
1 diced crispy pear (translation: not ripe.)
2 stalks celery, chopped
half a small cucumber, diced
2 tbs raisins
3 tbs chopped cashews (any nut will do, but no peanuts. They’re (sob) illegal)
1 tbs fresh lemon juice. (am I the last to know that there is no lemon juice in the squeezy yellow lemon bottles? Mind blown.)
sea salt and pepper to taste
Lettuce leaves for wrapping
Dump, mix, fill, enjoy

Dinner: Probably we’ll all just stare at eachother and wonder what the hell we were thinking.

Stay tuned….


  • Bonnie

    I love your dinner plan! lol
    Good luck to you both with this! I hope you start feeling and looking better and are happy with the results. (I say in a non-insulting way.)

  • Ana

    You’re a hot mama, Jenny. I am proud of you for doing this, I really could never and I know it. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  • Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    Your dress is stunning! I must see the front. I will be stalking the bog hoping for pictures. The left side is just beautiful. Best of luck! This post cracked me up but I’m hoping the results blow me away!

  • Tim

    I’m cowering in embarrassment reading this, as I ate a whole2 donuts yesterday pre-lunch. But truly, you are amazing for doing this! Someone I know posts her Whole30 meal picts on FB and they always look so good. I’m excited to hear more about it!

  • Melissa

    Ok that wedding photo could be in a magazine. I’ve been debating in my head over and over and over about whether or not I can handle whole 30 (because right now I’m pregnant and mostly eating anything I can get my hands on and craving weird things like cheese sandwiches??!!) So I am really looking forward to following along with you! I’m sure you guys will do great!

  • Laura Christine

    Best of luck to you! My husband and I have been doing a similar diet for months now (falling off the wagon numerous times) but haven’t gotten the kids on it b/c they’re so picky. And then the chicken nuggets and mac and cheese I cook for them become my downfall . . . . P.S. Your dinner plan is to funny!

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