Christmas in July

I’m going to make a pretty bold statement and I invite you to agree or disagree: It feels harder to eat healthy in the summer than it does over the holidays. This sounds sort of counterintuitive I realize, but hear me out for a minute.

Yes, Thanksgiving is a food centered holiday and the month between that day and Christmas are often filled with excessive foodie/boozie opportunities to party with friends. I definitely see treats around my cubicle filled office, and everyone seems to want to show their love for each other with baked goods and See’s Candy. The season is stressful, and I get it. At times we want to “reward ourselves” with a delicious taste of something. We want to “let loose and celebrate” with the people we love. And I do agree that this can pose some challenges. I am not made of wood, people — the holidays are certainly a temptation. But let’s talk a little bit about summer.


First of all summer is THREE MONTHS LONG. I’m not talking four or five weeks of forced decadence, I’m talking an entire quarter of the year where deliciousness abounds and everyone acts like “Oh Hey — No big whoop!” You’ve got 12 weeks of BBQs, Birthday Parties, Weekends Away, and Legitimate Long Vacations where you feel determined to Treat Yo Self! It is the reason that Cobbler and Fresh Whipped Cream were invented. And all of this goes on all summer long! And don’t even get me started about the appropriate ratio of summer nights to summer cocktails. OY! I can’t even go there or I will want to pour myself a drink.
Summer afternoons make the Sunday Night Blues even MORE prevalent, I think. You guys, let's all buy a lotto ticket, eh?

Oh wait, I just did. You see what I’m saying?

While fall and winter lend themselves to cabbage-dense soups and roasted vegetables, summer is filled with ALL OF THE BEST FRUIT IMAGINABLE. I realize this is not a complete tragedy, but as someone who tries to keep the sugar they eat low (usually I have *maybe* 1 serving of fruit per day), I am definitely struggling right now to not eat ALL OF THE PEACHES DAILY. There is an entire box on my counter top and it basically sings to me all day long.

I know you think Christmas parties are bad, but seriously I can only eat so many cheese filled appetizers or iterations of white chocolate desserts. But if you left me alone with this box of peaches right now, you would come back only to find me covered in a puddle of sticky fruit juice, laying on my kitchen floor in a diabetic coma. Luckily summer also has lots of amazing vegetables and great weather that leaves no excuse not to get outside and be active, but I’m sticking to my hypothesis here. Summer is nuts. Right now I am freely admitting that I am roaming around being a poster child for this movement:

Speaking of that 20%, last night there was a Food Truck Festival in the Whole Foods parking lot behind my house. Please don’t get Portland PTSD on my behalf, we made it out alive! I had actually totally forgotten about it and then I opened up our windows and heard the DJ in the parking lot. Hello, siren song. Sing to me…

We headed out just to see what they had to offer, and hopefully find a few mostly-Paleo options.

Instead, the first truck we saw was a Belgian Waffle Truck, which of course instantly made us nostalgic for our Portland Appetizer Waffle and we needed to recreate that experience by splitting one immediately. Nice rationalizing right? So the night started off with a Nutella and Whip Cream covered BANG! (OHMYGOD)

We waited in line at the slider truck hoping to score some burgers on a bed of lettuce to kind of make up for bathing in Nutella, but as we were in line THEY SOLD OUT OF FOOD. The Universe was clearly not on our side. So we headed over to Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen where they were serving…SANDWICHES.

And that’s where this night sort of went of the rails. We ordered The Mustang with some Sweet Potato Fries (doing what we can here! Sweet potatoes! ha!) and let me tell you, it was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Korean Braised BBQ Beef shredded to tender perfection, Kimchi with a touch of spice (Hey look! I’m eating fermented food! Points, right?), Shredded Daikon, SRIRACHA-WASABI AIOLI, and aged Havarti all served grilled cheese style.

Oh you guys…I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

Since we had split everything, we decided it was only right to get a tiny little mix of Vanilla Bean + Nutella gelato to wash it all down. Ok that is a bold face lie. I wanted the gelato, Garrett said “Holly this is a terrible idea and you will regret it.”

I did not, in the moment. Shortly thereafter my tummy was telling another story. I hate it when Garrett is right.

In conclusion, Summer is haaaaaaaaard. But this is probably as good of a time as any to mention the following:

On August 1st Garrett and I are starting our first Whole 30!

Hey — how crazy do I sound juxtaposing pictures of me eating a sandwich with basically the strictest 30 day Paleo challenge ever? HA! Probably pretty crazy. But we are actually really excited about it and have been contemplating it since May. June and July weren’t really going to work since we were traveling so much, but we have decided to get back to our Happy Place during the month of August and embark on probably our biggest nutritional challenge together since we started exploring Paleo. We’re knee deep into planning, prepping and strategizing for a really eye-opening month. I can’t wait!

As usual, I am happy to document my food exploits for your benefit so riddle me this, folks:

*What elements would you like to see surrounding this Whole 30? Recipes? Pictures of Food? Our reasoning behind doing it? Strategies? Resources? Nothing at all, shut up about what you are eating already, Holly?

and then tell me this…

*YOU would have opted for post sandwich gelato too, wouldn’t you?

I knew I liked you. :)

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49 comments to Christmas in July

  • jenn
    July 18, 2012 at 6:34 am

    Food trucks are my downfall and I personally think you didn’t eat enough non-Paleo food that day. :) I went to a music festival a few weeks ago and pretty much parked myself in front of the trucks and gorged. OMG so good. Good luck on the Whole30! I want to try it as well, but I’m waiting until September I think. As for what I want to see and read? Any and everything about it! :)

    • Holly
      July 18, 2012 at 7:33 am

      I feel like there needs to be some sort of food safe zone where food trucks are considered. Like perhaps maybe we could just all agree that the calories (and nutritional affects) just don’t count there. It would sure make my life a whole lot easier! :)

  • Steph
    July 18, 2012 at 7:08 am

    I cannot wait to read all about your Whole 30! I am contemplating doing it in September or October. (Lots of vacation time being taken in August & I am not that crazy!)

    And yes, sandwich + gelato, obviously! That sandwich sounds AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!

    • Holly
      July 18, 2012 at 7:34 am

      Yeah, you gotta set yourself up for success in these situations, which is exactly why we threw June and July out! So far August seems pretty manageable. Not completely without it’s challenges, but hey — that’s life right? At least we aren’t out of town every weekend, so it’s a start.

  • andrea.
    July 18, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Mmm, gelato! Hey, sometimes you just gotta live in the moment right?

    I know you mentioned you’d been reading It Starts With Food — is that what inspired the Whole30? I also recently read the book (LOVED IT!) and am now on day 24 of my Whole30. :) It’s been awesome. Challenging, but awesome. Even though my physical benefits haven’t been like some of the staggering testimonials you read (I don’t actually think I have a physical issue with dairy or wheat), the mental benefits have been SPECTACULAR. I would recommend a Whole30 to anyone, at least as something to do ‘once in your life’, you know?

    Anyway, good luck! I look forward to reading about your experience with it. :)

    • Holly
      July 18, 2012 at 7:38 am

      You know, I’m really getting through It Starts With Food slowly since I’m reading so many books at once, so that hasn’t really been the genesis. For a long time even, I sort of (arrogantly) thought the Whole 30 was sort of unnecessary — if you’re eating Paleo, just stick to it right? Who needs a 30 day challenge. HAAAAAAAAAAAAA, my stupid, stubborn self. Two years into Paleo eating I’ll tell you why it’s necessary — because HELLO, we all go through peaks and valleys with nutrition and health and our priorities and sometimes it is nice to commit to doing something awesome for yourself, right? I’m such an ass sometimes, always needing to learn the hard way.

      ANYWAY (apparently I’m leaving the longest comment ever. on my own post. GAH!) just to say I need a little intervention. One little deviation has turned into two and three and from where I stand I’ve gotten a little off course so I’m looking forward to deciding to prioritize my nutrition for a bit. And especially now that I’m reading It Starts With Food, I’m feeling even MORE determined. :)

  • Emily
    July 18, 2012 at 7:55 am

    I’m looking forward to reading about your Whole30, especially stuff like navigating social situations. I’m on day 24 of a Whole100 (i hope!). Things have been going really well, but I felt like i bombed an event earlier this week. Normally i plan in advance, eat before i go, bring food I can eat, if it’s that kind of event, eat what’s ok and eat when i get home, if necessary. I breeze through events and no one usually notices I’m being super picky (though usually notice the lack of booze… i’m sure there are rumors flying that we’re pregnant, oh well). Monday i wasn’t feeling great and didn’t eat all day. Late in the afternoon, my parents invited me to dinner to celebrate because my dad got a hole in one in a golf tournament that day and won a car (for real!!!!!). It didn’t occur to me that it was dinner included with the tournament, not going out to a restaurant. Turns out it was a sit down dinner and nothing was really whole30 ok. i did the best i could, scraped off sauce on what was ok and swapped my husband the food i was willing to eat and what i wasn’t. In total, i think i ate 2 oz of fish, 6 stalks of asparagus and 10 bites of lettuce. Normally i would have been completely ok with with this, but since i hadn’t eaten all day and my parents and husband knew i hadn’t eaten all day, it was a big distraction to our group and i felt like i was taking away from the event and the celebration. I really don’t want my diet to affect other people like that.

    Another thing that has been a bummer about being whole30 strict is I feel like i can’t have refreshing summertime treats. It’s so freaking hot this summer and sometimes i just want ice cream or a popsicle or a frozen cocktail and just can’t.

    I am right there with you on the fruit. I had to stop buying it because if it’s in the house i will eat it! Berries don’t last a day in my house and i could easily eat a whole watermelon by myself in about 2-3 days

    • Holly
      July 18, 2012 at 8:00 am

      I hear ya on the social situations. That will certainly be a challenge, so I will definitely let you know how it goes. As for popsicles — You know what I made recently that was THE BOMB? A handful of berries thrown in popsicle molds and then filled them up with coconut water. (I’m partial to the Amy & Brian’s brand WITH pulp for popsicles) Is coconut water Whole 30 compliant? I haven’t looked. I can’t see why it wouldn’t be, but I haven’t gotten all the way through the success guide yet. Anyway — girl they were AMAZING. If the coconut water is a go, make yourself some because they will hit the summertime spot and not derail your nutrition plans!

  • Ellen
    July 18, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Summer is killing me with the fracking delicious fruit. It’s everywhere and it wants me to eat it. AAAAGGGHHH…
    I’m on day 10 of my third W30 and it’s something you definitely need to do. I do it when I need a reset and a reminder of why I eat the way I do (because it makes you feel amazing, duh). So, good for you for letting loose once in a while, and even better for you for committing to a W30. After all, you said it out loud here, you can’t back out now. Can’t wait.

    • Holly
      July 18, 2012 at 8:21 am

      A Reset is exactly what I’m looking for. I think that’s why I’m so excited. No backing out now…eeep! :)

  • Zan
    July 18, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I started my first Whole30 on July 1 and it hasn’t been too difficult. I chose a month where I knew I didn’t have any travel planned (and only a few significant social events). The biggest difficulty has been abstaining from alcohol when hanging out with friends.

    I’ve been blogging every day about the foods I eat and other random thoughts. Even though I originally started blogging in Sept 2002 (on a different blog than I have now), this is definitely the first time I’ve posted every day in quite some time! It’s been a great way to get back into the blogging habit again.

    I discovered your blog a month or two ago and I enjoy reading!

    • Holly
      July 18, 2012 at 8:22 am

      Hey Zan, glad you are hanging around. I will totally stalk your archives now for strategies, ha! I love reading about others’ experiences with the Whole 30 — I find it pretty motivating, so thanks for commenting and sharing!

  • Melanie
    July 18, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I so want to try a Whole30, but it’s hard to find a month where I won’t be doing something where abstaining from deliciousness will make me completely miserable (i.e. We go to a lot of minor league baseball games in the summer, and Memorial Day, and Fourth of July, and, and, and…excuses!).

    I’m still only sort of Primal/Paleo (I eat a lot of veggies, swap coconut products for dairy in many of my daily eats, and limit starchy and bready products to a minimum) so I know a Whole30 will be a MAJOR challenge for me.

    We’re trying to take our first (mini-)vacation since 2010 in August, so maybe September will be my month to do a total reset!

    Good luck in August!

    • Holly
      July 18, 2012 at 9:03 am

      You know, it might take a while…I mean I’ve taken almost 2 years of being Paleo to even consider it. It sounds like we’re similar in the sense that I’m not interested in making myself miserable. I like to eat food and enjoy life, so when I think things will interfere with that, FUHGEDDABOUT IT. I’m over it before it even starts! I guess right now I am finally to the point where I am actively looking forward to spending some time really prioritizing good nutrition. Hopefully this will help me be successful at it. Who knows, maybe I will hate it. But I waited until I really WANTED to try, you know? So I say wait until you’re ready. No rush. Life is long, right?

  • Tasha
    July 18, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Good Luck on your first Whole30, it might suck for the first week or two but I promise you will start to feel amazing by week 3 or 4! My husband and I have completed 3 and we plan to start our 4th on August 1st. It is a great way to get back to your Paleo roots. We spent a week in Miami followed by a 3 day cruise to the Bahamas with 50 of our closest friends/family for our wedding and let me tell you, we got side tracked and we are still recovering! I can’t wait for the Whole30 to get us back to where we used to be before life got crazy and we made all of our poor food choices! Well Fed is the best cookbook to have by your side during Whole30, Mel keeps things interesting!

    Oh and I totally would have gone for the gelato….ice cream of any sort is my weakness(even if it makes me feel like crap)!

    • Holly
      July 18, 2012 at 9:00 am

      Yes! I love that about Well Fed. The fact that it is practically 100% Whole 30 compliant was a genius move on Mel’s part. We use many of the recipes every day around here just because they are so damn delicious. This is what is giving me hope…I’m sure it will still be tough, but I really am ready to clean up my act!

  • Brie
    July 18, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I really love It Starts with Food. I have been putting off doing a whole 30 because I thought I was good enough! But 100% paleo 80% of the time isn’t good enough in my case!!!!! I have became way to friendly with slips, cheats and just fun! However, I do not feel so fun. 4 days in and going strong! It has been hard, even though I thought I was pretty good before! I am doing a joint Whole 30 – Sugar Detox. And guess what, I have a cruise in a couple of weeks. I am sure it will be a difficult 2 weeks, but I will make much better decisions than I would have before. Hopefully, I will not crave the whole buffet all day! Good Luck Holly! Can’t wait to read about it. BTW.. I am on day 4 – the “I am going to cut somebody if they look at me wrong phase”. I really thought I would just sail through this. WRONG!!

    • Holly
      July 18, 2012 at 8:59 am

      HA! When we first went Paleo on Day 4 I literally said to Garrett “I will cut someone for a sandwich.” Aaaaah, I don’t remember that fondly. Here’s to hoping I have better coping skills this time around. Best of luck with your cruise!!!

  • sizzle
    July 18, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I’m probably going to do the Whole 30 come Sept. 1 (Aug is kind of a clusterF for me). I’d love to hear your tips and advice and recipes.

    And yes, I would have eaten the gelato.

  • Jill
    July 18, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Good luck on the Whole 30!! I have done two and they are pretty amazing. The first was while I was still crossfitting and the effect on my performance at the gym was dramatic. I will say that I was pretty miserable for the first two weeks of the first whole30. But, I also cut out all caffeine (just because I think I have a major issue there) and I think that was the problem. I have never in my life given up caffeine and I felt awful at first. But it was a huge eye opener that anything that can make me feel that sick needs to not be such a big part of my life. The second time around was great. I got all the benefits and none of the awful. I would love to hear all of your experiences!! (and recipes!!!)

    • Holly
      July 19, 2012 at 6:19 am

      Oooooh, I’m sort of tempted to give up caffeine too. God I can’t believe I just said that but there it is. I’ve had some adrenal issues (probably still do, let’s be honest) and I KNOW my caffeine consumption doesn’t make that…better, you know? I don’t know about both though. We’ll see. :)

      • Mariah B
        August 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm

        Interesting… no caffeine?! I have one little cup of coffee in the morning with coconut oil (MM, by the way!!), but I did notice I felt better when I gave up my afternoon cup.

        • Holly
          August 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm

          Yeah, I quit coffee after 12pm about a year ago. I deviate once in a blue moon if we are going out on a Friday night or something but usually all my coffee drinking is done by 10:30am. The problem is…I usually get up around 5am and I CAN DRINK A LOT OF COFFEE IN FIVE AND A HALF HOURS. :)

          For the Whole 30 I decided not to give up caffeine. At least not in the beginning (who knows what will go down over the next 30 days) but I am trying to be mindful. Actually all week I have only had two cups — and I’m usually more of a 3+ kind of gal. Maybe I will ween myself…then again maybe not. I can’t make miracles happen!

  • Home Sweet Sarah
    July 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm


    As for Whole 30, I’d like to hear all about it, naturally :-)

  • Linda Sand
    July 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Strategies! Which might include recipes but mostly how to avoid temptations. What do I do about my salty/crunchy cravings? Limiting nuts makes that hard. Olives are good for salty but not crunchy. Help! I have yet to make it a full 30 and it’s so irritating to get about 21 days in then fail.

    • Holly
      July 19, 2012 at 6:21 am

      Totally random suggestion, Linda: Have you ever eaten Bubbies pickles? They are fermented (YAY) but salty, crunchy and oddly (but in a super delicious way) taste like salami. Also, what about thinly slicing/salting and baking parsnips or carrots or beets? I am totally a salty crunchy gal too — it’s going to be hard to go a month without ANY sweet potato chips. ARGH! :)

      • Linda Sand
        July 19, 2012 at 10:14 am

        Guess I need to break down and buy a mandolin so I can slice vegetables thin enough to bake up crunchy. it hadn’t occurred to me that I could salt them to make my salty/crunchies. Thanks for the idea.

  • Serror
    July 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Ooh! Can’t wait to follow you on this journey! I am still afraid of doing a Whole 30, so I would be interested in your experiences and coping skills. I am sure if I suddenly stopped drinking wine around my friends, they would all assume I was prego.

  • AndreAnna
    July 18, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Dude, the food trucks at the CF games were all Paleo and I was like, “Bitches, where is my delicious fried oreos or something equally life threatening. Screw your cucumber, grassfed meat, and avocados!” (Although it was kind of awesome).

    Summer is WAY WAY harder to eat well than the holidays, 100% and people who say differently are Liar McLiarfaces.

    I am seriously considering doing a Whole 30 with you in August as its like the only month this summer to undo the damage I did May-July.

    I need to do more research though as I don’t really like cutting out dairy. It makes me a sad panda. They limit fruit, too, right?

    • Holly
      July 19, 2012 at 6:22 am

      Let me finish the success guide, haven’t made it all the way through but I’ll let you know. May-July damage is STROOOOOOOOOOOONG over in these parts. Clean eats for a bit will be nice!

  • Linh
    July 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Derrick told me not to eat the 3rd slider…should’ve listened to him too.

  • Carol
    July 19, 2012 at 4:32 am

    I just finished my first whole 30 this week and it was not as difficult as I had feared. Initially i thought i could never do it; that it was too hard. And then realized that the challenge of it was part of the appeal. Planning ahead helped a lot and the results make it so worthwhile. My energy has been through the roof and I got a handle on mindless snacking and cravings. I made a large frittata on weekends with veg and meat so breakfast was sorted all week. Lunch was either salad or leftovers and dinner was generally grilled protein and more veg. I am reintroducing dairy this week to see how that goes, but plan to basically eat whole 30 from now on because I feel so much better. Good luck with it and I look forward to reading about it.

    • Holly
      July 19, 2012 at 6:24 am

      Oh good! I’m kind of secretly hoping that’s the case. That sounds like the stuff we eat *normally* just along with some mindless snacking (especially on the weekends) and other lazy decisions that I make (bottled salad dressing or packaged stuff just for convenience) that are probably not doing me any favors even though they are technically paleo. Or Paleo-ish…which is sort of where my barometer is right now. A reset will be nice! :)

  • Tricia
    July 19, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Ice Cream is my kryptonite. And chocolate cake. But I’m, more likely to go out to pick up ice cream than a chocolate cake. Usually.

    I have been putting off starting another whole 30. I did my first in May. It was really more of a three-fifths 30 since I fell off course while traveling over Memorial Day. Perhaps I will join you and Garrett.

  • rachael
    July 19, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I totally agree. Where I live, there aren’t a lot og good grocery stores and so it can be difficult to eat healthy and buy fresh produce, particularly in the summer. In the winter I can make stews and all that, but in summer? Not for me. I am planning on doing a Whole30 in September, and the reason that I chose to do that was so that I could continue to gorge on stone fruits! I figure they are only in season and delicious for a few months, and so I need to enjoy it while I can. Can’t wait to hear about yours!

  • Maureen
    July 19, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I guess I’m lucky we don’t have those kind of food trucks in my neck of the woods, because all your food looked so yummy. I can’t wait to hear EVERYTHING about the Whole30 challenge. And yes, I would have had the gelato, because how many times is there a gelato truck practically in your back yard?? It would have been rude not to try it!

  • Carol
    July 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I’d like to also add that giving up alcohol was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I thought that would be my failure point, but I easily made it through 4th of July and a birthday party without caving in (I was the designated driver, everyone loved me). However, I did have a lovely glass of wine the day after the Whole30 ended. And the day after that too.

  • Beth
    July 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Good luck on your W30! I completed one in November and before that got to Day 25 earlier last year (before being taken down by chips and salsa and a margarita). Prep, prep, prep is key! Socially, I dealt with it by having friends over for dinner rather than going out. Booze was a bummer, but I drink a lot less now so I guess it worked. :) It went by more quickly then I thought it would and I felt great and had fantastic skin at the end. If only I could remember that more often when presented with “off roading” options.

  • noblepower
    July 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Good luck on your Whole30! It’s great to reset yourself as it’s so easy to drift over time from super clean eating. I would love to read about the whole monty – what you are eating, how you are feeling, and any recipes.
    PS, in case no one has mentioned this, Melissa J. of Clothes Make the Girl has a great post about dealing with parties, including a mocktail that I really like. Take sparkling water, toss a slice of lime or lemon in it and a few olives. It looks more like a cocktail with the olives added, tastes delicious and you have a wee snack to boot.

  • Denise
    July 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    My theory is that we’ve been programmed since kindergarten to think of summer as a free period, a three month long break from all of the hard work. It’s been ingrained into us to not give a shit during the summer. So really, it’s school’s fault.

    Secondly: hooray for the Whole30! I have all but stopped mine and need to reboot in a major way. Summer is just killer.

  • April
    July 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I just finished my whole30 a few days ago- you can do it! I actually cut out nuts too cuz I thought they might upset my stomach and sure enough when I reintroduced them they do :-( but I’m glad I know! For crunchy I recommend kale chips and jicama slices with lime juice and chili powder- so refreshing in summer! Also I suggest keeping a small container of salad dressing with you in case you are unexpectedly going out for lunch or whatever- eating out was hard but with my own dressing I could stay whole30 compliant! Can’t wait to hear how it goes! You’re lucky Garret is doing it too my live in boyfriend did not- but i was still able to do it! Good luck! :-)

  • July Favorites
    July 24, 2012 at 5:01 am

    […] candy. Oh my god I can’t even take myself seriously when I say use that expression. I know I already mentioned this, but it is worth repeating because OMG SO […]

  • Rakia
    July 26, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I’ve been thinking of whole 30 starting in August. I just got back from vacation and it seems fitting to do it now. Looking for some great meal ideas and hopefully inspiration!

  • July Progress + August Intentions
    August 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    […] On the days I did it, I was supah dupah clean and awesome. On the days I didn’t – well, we ate a food trucks. I wish I had the energy to be upset with myself for all of this, but oh wait — no I […]





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