Whole30 Meal Planning and Prep


In my previous post, I gave my Whole30 story and the positive effects from reading the book and following the program strictly for 30 days. The next 30 days, I hope to continue as closely as I can with the program. I’ve gotten a few emails asking for Whole30 meal planning tips and some of my favorite recipes. There are a million blogs out there devoted to Whole30 and Paleo and I get everything from these amazing bloggers. Everyone has their own plans and favorite foods but I’ll give you my routine as an example.

My top 5 must-haves in the kitchen:


1. Cuisinart Food Processor – We have a 14-Cup but any size will do. You’ll need this for everything from making homemade mayonnaise to plantain tostadas.

2. Vegetable Spiralizer – This is an amazing little tool for only $20-35. You can make zucchini noodles (zoodles, as the bloggers say) or sweet potato noodles or even apple chips.

3. Avocado Slicer – Who else hates ruining the only ripe avocado you can find? This bad boy gives you a perfectly cut avo every time. It’s only $10 and worth it.

4. Potato French Fry Cutter – So, let’s be honest, this thing is kind of annoying because when I try to use it with sweet potatoes it gets all jammed up. However, I think it’s very useful for regular potatoes and if you can get some smaller sweets, it should work fine too.

5. Egg Poacher – Eggs eggs eggs. You will be eating so many eggs that you’ll need to get creative. This is when the poacher comes in handy. Try something new! It’s only $20.

Weekly Meal Planning

I picked up this awesome Meal Planning Notepad and the best part is, that it has a magnet! So I can stick it to the fridge to keep the “What are we having for…?” questions to a minimum.

On Saturday, I spend about 1-hour looking through recipes online and writing all of the meals that we have planned for the week. I use the first line on the sheet for breakfast and the second line for dinner. Lunches are usually just leftovers, salads or lettuce wraps so I don’t usually write what we’ll have for all of those. Then I look through the recipes, write a list of ingredients needed for each recipe and nothing else and then I hit the grocery store. Since there is no snacking or off-course meals, it is usually a quick grocery trip and a little pricey. (But remember, you’re not going out boozing so you’re actually saving money!)

My weekly meal plan usually looks something like this:

Meal Prep

Now that all of the groceries are put away and my weekly list is made, I enjoy my Saturday. On Sunday, I spend about two hours doing meal prep for the week. That will usually include the following:

  1. Make Homemade Mayo – I love this mayonnaise and will continue to make it instead of store-bought mayo, any day!
  2. Make Sunshine Sauce – This will be used for the Paleo Pad Thai but it’s also nice to have on hand as a meat/seafood dip.
  3. Roast 4-6 sweet potatoes – Pop them in the over at 400F for an hour and then stick in fridge for quick and easy breakfasts.
  4. Boil Chicken – Stick in pot of boiling water for 10 min or so and then dice and put in a container for easy chicken salad or top on a salad for lunch through the week
  5. Pork Roast in a Crockpot – This is awesome to have on hand through the week for a quick dinner with sides or to throw on top of the sweet potato in the morning
  6. Chocolate Chili – Another delicious recipe to make on Sunday and then have as an easy lunch or dinner through the week

After a few hours in the kitchen on the weekend, your weekday meals will take much less time.

If you decide to hop on the Whole30 train, let me know! I’m always up for swapping recipes.

Happy Prepping!
Janine Renee

Whole30 Complete!


Near the end of last year, I knew I had to make a change. With the wedding, honeymoon and holidays, I had my fair share of indulging. I was always interested in trying Whole30 because of how extreme the program is (no grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol, sugar, at all, for 30 days) and I sure love a good challenge. I’m lucky because my husband wanted to join me on this journey so we got to do it together, which is always more fun than solo.

Today, I finished Whole30!

I feel awesome! Seriously. You know what’s funny? When I first started, I was annoyed by the things I couldn’t eat because it felt like I was playing by someone else’s rules. I don’t like someone telling me what I can and cannot eat and I really don’t like when people tell me that things I thought were healthy, are actually bad for me. After I got past some of that initial stubbornness, I read the book that goes with the program, It Starts With Food. I think it really helped me to understand why certain foods make me feel bad and others make me feel good. You see, I workout all the time. I have set routines that were designed by a personal trainer, I go to Barre3, I do yoga, I lift, I run and it seems like no matter what, I was missing something. I remember my trainer telling me once

“Fitness starts in the kitchen”.

I thought that meal prep seemed extreme and only something that body builders did. I mean, I figured that I was eating fine: I never overeat, I don’t grab a bagel or muffin in the morning, I hate fast food and my splurges were usually once a week for tacos and margaritas. As I continued the Whole30 program, I learned that I had A LOT to learn. One thing that stuck with me in the book is probably the most popular quote:

“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”

Dealing with Boredom

There were a few days where I was just bored. Bored of eating eggs in the morning, bored of cooking, bored of doing dishes and bored of the same thing. Every. Single. Day. John and I tried to fill our time on the weekends with things we’d never done before, which was actually pretty fun. We went ice skating the first Friday night. Yeah, like, skate party, ice skating with all of the non-drinking teeny-boppers on a Friday night. We laughed at the beginning about being older than some of the parents that dropped their kids off to skate but when we got out on the ice, we had a great time circling around and trying not to fall down.

Another weekend, we had a date night at a fancy steakhouse and ordered filet mignon with roasted carrots and steamed broccoli, cooked with olive oil only. I was being a big baby about not having a glass of red to enjoy with it and not being able to order a cup of bisque to start but when I took my first bite, I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious my plain healthy meal really was. For some reason, I felt the need to keep up with the same stubborn attitude through the last bite, although I really did enjoy our date night dinner. (sorry John)

One major thing I noticed during Whole30 is how slow time passes. I’m telling you, you think your life is whizzing by, try Whole30 for a month and see how slow those weeks go. Sure there are days of boredom and complete annoyance, but overall, the positive effects far outweigh the negative.

The Final Days and Positive Effects

By the last week, you know how I felt? Excited. Relieved. Energized. But not for the reasons you might think. I’m not excited to eat pancakes or relieved that it’s over. I’m actually excited to continue with this lifestyle. I’m relieved that my stomach doesn’t hurt every night. I now understand what I’m putting in my body and why. I’m energized! I’m focused, my mind is clear. I feel great. No highs and lows, no cravings, no crashes. I’m content, all the time. My workouts are meaningful. I’m sleeping soundly. I used to wake up several times in the middle of the night but now? I sleep straight through for nine or more hours… it’s crazy! My body is happy about my new healthy food choices, and even after all the griping about food prep on the weekends, I actually enjoyed learning so many new recipes and cooking meals with John. I can taste everything! Fruit is crazy sweet, vegetables are so savory. Alcohol is not even on my mind. Ever. If I want to relax, splurge and go all out, I bake sweet potato fries in coconut oil, crack open a Kombucha and lay on the couch watching Netflix. Whoa! Slow down there party animal…


So now you might be thinking “Thanks Janine for bragging about all of your great habits, while I’m over here with three kids, two jobs and no time to read a book about health, let alone spend a couple hours a day cooking and cleaning.” I’m sorry. I’m not trying to make you feel like crap. I know you’re busy. We all are if we want to be. So, it’s up to you.

If you want to make a change and take massive action to change your perspective on healthy eating, give it a shot. You don’t have anything to lose but some lbs, baby! Going forward, I’ve decided that this is going to be my standard. I will make healthy choices when it comes to eating out and you better believe I’ll be adopting these recipes into my weekly dinner cycle. I’ll continue weekly meal planning (future post with more details about this), Sunday meal prep (and this), Paleo-style eating and limited liquid calories. Because I have actually enjoyed life without them. And you know what? Life is what you make it.

Be present and enjoy today!




Tips and Recipes from Bloggers:

Yoga + Meditation Videos

Everyone faces stress and anxiety in their own way. I have always been one to take a holistic approach and in doing so, I’ve learned a lot about my personality, my mind and my emotions. Yoga and meditation have been a huge help in this discovery. Here are a few videos that I have included in my weekly routine of becoming free.

Morning Yoga: 15 minutes to wake up for a beautiful day

This is a great to start your morning. It only takes 15 minutes and it will warm up your muscles and your mind in preparation for a wonderful day.

Yoga Flow: 50 Minutes

Since this video is a bit longer, I enjoy using it for evening yoga sessions at home or if I need a break in the middle of a long work day.

Yoga Cardio Burn Workout with Denise Austin

Sometimes you need to work your yoga in with a little cardio. In this case, Denise Austin offers a great way to include both yoga and full cardio burn.
Jillian Michaels finds a way to push you to the edge in her videos. In this yoga meltdown video, she incorporates very difficult moves with cardio to keep you sweating to the end.

Guided Meditation: Blissful Deep Relaxation 

When I have trouble getting to sleep, I like to use a guided meditation video such as this to help calm my mind and thoughts.

Relief from Anxiety: A Guided Visualization 

In this guided visualization, they find a way to melt your worries and take you on a journey to peaceful relaxation.

Operation: Simplify

As a visual person, I often turn to Pinterest when I’m conjuring up a plan for an upcoming vacation, a project at home or even business ideas. So when I first began Operation: Simplify, I did the same. “Simplifying my life”, and here’s what I got:


Oh the irony…. Pages and pages of boards in which people pinned ideas for de-cluttering, organizing their belongings, finances, decisions, etc.

There are articles like this one by Paul Stamatio that made me want to take on this task to simplify my online life. And even Gretchen Rubin begins The Happiness Project with eliminating unnecessary clutter in your house. But I think it was this article in the New York Times last spring, which really resonated with me and helped me appreciate that having less, can make you feel more. So after thinking about this for a while, I turned off my computer, grabbed my notebook and pencil and found a cozy spot outside to get creative the old fashioned way. Here’s what I came up with.


  1. Email: Clean up your inbox with Unroll.me. This service helps you regain control of your subscription emails by rolling them into a single daily digest.
  2. Bookmark Bar: I add all of my most visited sites to my bookmark bar using only the favicon as a guide. This saves me time and decision energy by not sifting through a long bookmark folder or typing each address into Google search.
  3. Online Privacy: Every six months I go through what I call a “personal reputation search” in which I will request personal data to be deleted from the public record databases. This is quite a task so consider paying $129 to have DeleteMe take care of it for you. Or follow their guide to opting-out of these sites yourself. I’ve also installed DoNotTrackMe Chrome app to block spammers and identity thieves from tracking my internet browsing.
  4. Blogs and Social: It took me a while to organize all of my favorite blogs but now I have the perfect formula. I use Feedly for RSS and Buffer to post to my social networks. The Awesome Plan is only $10/month and everything I could ask for in managing my social media accounts.
  5. FOCUS: As an entrepreneur, sometimes it is very tricky to manage your time wisely but one way to simplify your focus time is to eliminate distractions. If you use a Mac, consider downloading the application, SelfControl as a way to block sites that could tempt you into losing focus.


  1. Eliminate Clutter: Buy organizers for your junk drawers, get rid of old magazines and papers laying around. When you can say sayonara to useless clutter, you immediately begin to feel lighter.
  2. Beauty Products: On a quest to use non-toxic, all natural beauty products, I trashed all of my old makeup and began investing in beauty supplies that will keep me healthy and vibrant for years to come. This is something that will take a little time and money but it’ll be well worth it in the long run. Here are some great natural beauty tips from my friends at Considering You.  
  3. Clothing:  Although selling your clothes can take even more time than it’s worth, there are a few apps that could help you get the job done without much hassle. Try posting pictures of your clothes to Threadflip or PoshMark to allow people to shop your closet. If you want to choose a quicker route, donate.
  4. Cleaning: Something I did a couple years ago was hiring a cleaner. She charges $100 with tip to clean everything from the bathroom to my balcony and totally worth it.
  5. Life & Business Documents: Go paperless. Who needs folders of bills from your first car? Get real. Scan or trash all of them.


  1. Eliminate decisions: The reason President Obama only has blue and gray suits is so that he doesn’t have to suffer decision fatigue when deciding what to wear in the morning. Fewer options you have to make a decision on, the better.
  2. Schedules: I plan my workout schedule on Sundays and include physical activity every single day of the week. This holds me accountable and reminds me that fitness is part of my life just like working and eating. I also plan a basic dinner schedule for the week. Thus, eliminating decisions and costs associated with dining out. It’s not a strict schedule but rather a suggestion or guide so that I don’t have to make decisions. Another great part of my daily routine is to make sure juice replaces one of my meals. This cuts out bad eating habits and helps with decision fatigue.
  3. Amazon: I order everything on Amazon: dog food, notebooks, paper towels, everything. This eliminates a trip to the black hole that is Target.
  4. Groceries: The things that I can’t buy on Amazon, I get at my local market. I create one grocery shopping list and alter it each week to only the important items that I need.
  5. Transit: If you live a big city with great public transit, consider getting rid of your car all together. This could save boat loads of money that you would spend on insurance and car payments, as well as time that you could be doing work or reading on the bus rather than waiting in traffic during your commute. Columbus just got CoGo bike share which is a great alternative to driving.

Now that I have extra time…

Since Operation: Simplify, I’ve had a lot more time to myself not worrying about the things I need to de-clutter or organize. I now have time to focus on meaningful things.

  • Learning a new language with Duolingo
  • Treehouse lessons to keep coding in my life
  • Working smarter on NextChapter
  • Practicing Yoga & Meditation
  • Cooking healthy meals at home
  • Reading and listening to audio books

Did you take some time this summer to simplify? What was your experience like? I’d love to hear any tips or hacks in the comments.

Finding Zen

Over the past couple months, I’ve had to learn a lot and learn quickly. One thing I’ve been focusing on this year is truly making an effort to reduce my stress and stabilize my emotions through this time of uncertainty.

I’ve also come to realize that current events make me very nervous, worrisome and effect my productivity in a big way. During the election last year, I could barely sleep, wondering what the polls would show on election day and what that meant for our country. During the Sandy Hook, Aurora and Boston tragedies, I found myself spending time as a sleuth on nights and weekends digging as deep as possible to find answers. I’m not sure if this is just how my generation deals with crisises or if it’s because of my legal researching nature or perhaps just my strong curiosity in this time of personal growth.

After recognizing my lack of productivity and increase in anxiety during a troubling time, I realized I have to find another way to cope with stress and anxiety.

Here are a few of the techniques I find to be most helpful when stress takes over.

1) Meditate

It seems hard to start meditating at first if you never have but there are a few simple ways to get started.

Kevin Rose, Partner at Google Venture, suggests trying a 100 breath meditation, 30 day challenge. The gist of  this challenge is to eliminate all distractions and follow your breath to a count of 100. It stabilizes your heart rate and keeps you concentrating on breathing to escape all thoughts.

Joe Gascoigne, CEO of Buffer, describes how developing a daily habit of meditation has given him a profound effect on his life and his ability to succeed as a CEO. In his post he gives insight on the best reasons to meditate and tips on best practices.

2) Yoga

I’ve just started practicing yoga these past couple months and have simply fallen in love with it. Of course there are many different types of yoga, yoga studios in every city and several videos and articles about yoga but I just find that doing a little 15-20 minute yoga session first thing in the morning or in the evening before bed is a great way to get started.

This is my favorite morning yoga video and great for beginners: morning yoga – 15 minutes to wake up for a beautiful day

3) Journal

Something I try to do every day is write in a journal. It’s hard to keep up but if you can, you’ll be much more in control of your emotions. If you are unsure what to write or how to break into writing, here’s a good tip:

Try to focus on one of these topics and write everything you can about it.

  • all of the things for which you are grateful
  • all of the places you wish to explore and why
  • the times in which you were most happy
  • the people that you feel most yourself around and why
  • the little things that make you smile
  • something good about yourself, your business, your life

As you move through your day, focus on what you have written. It’ll help bring sanity to a stressful time.

4) Reflect

Marc and Angel have an amazing blog. When I am in need of inspiration or small stories to help me reflect on life, I take a look at some of their most popular posts. 60 Quotes That Will Change The Way You Think and 30 Things To Start Doing For Yourself are two of my favorite.

Zenhabits is also a great blog to find articles about finding zen in your life. Browsing through the archives, I always find articles that resonate with me.

If you make these a habit or routine, your life will get used to having those few little moments with yourself and you’ll be much more at peace. For even more inspiration to find zen in your life and business, take a minute to read this beautifully written post by Danielle Morrill.