My mantra this week has been, “I woke up like this.” I say this whenever someone asks me how I’m feeling during the final stretch of Whole30 (which is quite often). I said it when I schooled my friend Tara at her new time-killing obsession, Kolor. I said it to my son when he marveled at how I fixed his sunglasses. It’s a take-charge kind of week. I woke up like this.
That’s how I feel about Whole30 right now. I feel empowered because of how successful we’ve been at it. If you’ll recall, Whole30 is the 30-day restrictive diet that prohibits consuming processed grains (and most carbs), dairy, alcohol, refined sugar and legumes. We’ll be done with our grand experiment on Sunday, and I’m seriously amazed at how easy it has been, now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, to adapt our favorite recipes to fit into the restrictions of Whole30 and still make other, interesting dishes. Take, for example, this Whole30 watermelon cucumber salad that I made the other day as a refreshing side dish to a roast chicken. The kids had a school carnival around dinnertime, and I’d been in a tizzy about how we’d manage to stay on track with our Whole30 diet and still enjoy ourselves at a carnival certain to be chock full of fun food. Finally, the hubby and I decided that I’d roast a chicken, and I’d pack it up along with a side dish that didn’t have to stay hot that we’d eat at the carnival. While we ate like kings, we also didn’t get to chat much with the other parents. People looked at us kind of weird, which is fair because I was an Asian lady carrying a whole, lukewarm chicken in her tote bag. (It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last.)
For me, the social aspect is the hardest part of Whole30. After the carb/dairy/sugar withdrawal wore off, I’ve found myself less eager to socialize because of the heartburn it causes me to explain Whole30 and having to resist the foods I love to have at parties. We’ve put off dinners with friends until after this crazy experiment is over, so much so that the next two weeks are jam-packed with social events because we keep saying, “When Whole30 is over …”
Parts of the social aspects of Whole30 are well-covered on their website, especially when it comes to getting support and co-participation. However, the Whole30 website doesn’t really cover, and I didn’t anticipate, the lengths to which I’d have to reach to accommodate our regular social lives. Every weekend brings play dates, birthday parties and (more rarely) kidless nights out with friends. We haven’t outright canceled an RSVP, but I’ve had to let friends and family know before we make plans about our dietary restrictions. I feel bad for imposing on them, because they always try to accommodate us. We even brought an entire stock of Whole30 compliant food when we went to visit family last weekend in New Jersey. For anyone who’s considering Whole30, I would definitely advise taking a hard look at your schedule for the month you are planning on doing it and ask yourself if you’re okay with bending over backwards to make sure you don’t cheat on your diet during social events scheduled for the month. It’s inevitable that there will be at least one occasion where you’ll end up in a silent death stare with a brownie while happy kids and parents swirl around you. It is an exercise in resistance, endurance, and futility all wrapped up in one gooey, chocolate-y bite.
Back to my Whole30 watermelon cucumber salad — I bet you’re wondering how my watermelon looks so square and pretty, so today I’ve included a simple graphic to show you the process of how to get nice, perfect little watermelon squares. The Type A cooks out there will totally feel me when I say that cutting my watermelon this way just MAKES ME SO HAPPY. This Whole30 watermelon cucumber salad is a fresh, crunchy bite that’s accented with fresh mint and lime. I love how colorful and summery it is, both on the table and in my mouth.
Remember, I woke up like this.
- 4 cups watermelon, cubed (see diagram above)
- 1 seedless English cucumbers, cubed
- 2 limes
- 1 cup fresh mint, minced
- Toss together watermelon and cucumber in a large bowl.
- Zest limes and add zest to watermelon and cucumber. Cut limes in half and squeeze juice into bow.
- Add fresh mint and mix gently with a rubber spatula until well-combined. Serve immediately.
- If not serving immediately, be sure to cover it tightly and refrigerate immediately. Before serving, then drain any liquid that collects at the bottom of the bowl and top with more fresh mint.