Weekend Recap: Staying Sane while Vacationing on Whole30

FRIDAY, March 3rd

DISCLAIMER:

If you haven't already read my disclaimer, please click the link HERE from Day 1 of our challenge. As with any lifestyle or dietary change, if you have any questions or concerns, be sure to discuss them with your physician. Also check out the Whole30 website for specifics and additional info.

PRE-SCRIPT: (SETTING THE STAGE)

Being the organized person I am, I started the trip adding to my continuous running log of blog notes on my iPhone Notes app where I keep ALL of my important Blog info, including but not limited to: my list of things to add to my blog, future ideas, recipes, jokes/funny commentary, travel tips, travel recommendations organized by city (including fav restaurants, bars, nightlife, activities, things to do, etc. from ALL over the U.S., gathered from the last 5 years of traveling and talking with locals), and as of late, my detailed and almost Blog ready, Weekend Recap. Also being the type of person that Murphy’s Law is attracted to like a magnet multiplied by my propensity to repel technology, I have a terrible and painstaking admission to make before you read any further...

On the drive back home, I opened up my Notes app to add one more thought from the trip, and, to my HORRID DISMAY, my all-encompassing Blog notes vanished out of thin air... I am not even kidding (but wish I was). My husband can attest to the fact that all of this is true, and I’m not just saying this to get out of writing a lengthy recap. I already had it basically done on my iPhone, but for some reason, fate wanted to test me during a vulnerable no-sugar/no-wine time, and make me reinvent the wheel all over again... along with all of my other ideas/thoughts/additions for the blog...

GIF compliments of GIPHY.com

This is not the time to mess with me Mr. iPhone!!! This was about the time I almost threw my iPhone out the car window, but given the fact that we were just leaving the beach and knowing my Murphy’s Law luck, I probably would have accidentally beaned a small child and ended up in jail...so I gave my best efforts to keep my cool. This is the second time this has happened where my go-to MOST important Notes have just disappeared, with no rhyme or reason.

GIF compliments of GIPHY.com

After saying a few (or many) choice words and giving my best attempts at semi-calming down, I decided to try and stay positive and call the iPhone help desk to see if they could help me retrieve these files. After about an hour of phone support, they left me hanging only to say, that because my Notes weren’t backed up, they were gone! Backed up?! Isn’t that what that darn elusive “cloud” is for?!? (FYI for those who also struggle with technology mishaps and Murphy's Law like I do... Apparently I had my Notes set to back up only on my iPhone and not the darn cloud, which is another mystery in itself...and apparently when your storage gets too full, your iPhone spontaneously starts corrupting and files go missing...Thank you iPhone support team, this is NOT the answer I wanted to hear!) This baffles my mind that my notes can’t somehow be found in internet space as I'm sure they're there just dancing around laughing at me in my hopeless predicament. But no matter how persistent and creative my inquiries were of asking the same question, (“Are you SURE there isn’t any other possible way you can somehow retrieve my extremely important Notes?!?") in about 10 different ways, the answer was still the same...

If that doesn’t spike your cortisol levels and make you crave anything sugary washed down by a strong drink, I don’t know what will. Luckily, I obstained, for the sake of this blog... Instead, I crushed my La Croix can to keep me from throwing my phone out the window.

GIF compliments of GIPHY.com

So, now that you're up-to-date with that awesome news, I hope I have properly lowered your expectations for this weekend recap. And now that I've thoroughly vented my frustration through one-too-many GIFs, I'm ready to start reinventing the wheel... I said a quick prayer to help me find my brain (since I've given up on finding the Notes). I also reached out to St. Anthony since he has a pretty good track record of helping me find everything I lose (except for the aforementioned Notes, but I'll let that one slide since iPhones clearly weren't around in his era). I’ll do my best efforts to remember all of the details I wanted you to know about traveling while on the whole30, but having a memory like a sieve most days, plan on having a little grace on me. Luckily I took many pictures, so I’ll start jogging my memory with those.

I am currently working on a (now new) guide called, “On the Road with Whole30” which will include tips and tricks for staying compliant while on the road, but being that this was also mysteriously lost off of my iPhone, I will be recreating the wheel for this one too. Stay tuned!

ROAD TRIP SNACKS:

When I normally take a road trip, I take the snacking up a few more notches, so I knew I had to be extra careful and on my guard, hence all the healthy snack options I carefully packed. Since we had a bounty from which to choose, we started munching on the baby carrots and sugar snap peas. I started blogging (on my Notes) and before I knew it, my hubby finished off the bag of carrots. We then moved onto some almonds and pistachios but were more mindful of eating these... We did our best to stay hydrated with waters and La Croix, but we also didn’t want to extend this trip even longer by making countless bathroom breaks since we were already running a “touch” late...

Starting to think about bathroom breaks, it was about that time my bladder started screaming at me. I found a cute peach farm along the way, which was just starting to bloom, so that became our first stop, thinking we could avoid standard gas-station temptations while enjoying a little peach tree paradise. Turns out it was a peach stand/convenience store where 1 temptation after the next was waiting to test my will power... First, I was greeted by the cutest and friendliest of girl scouts asking me if I would buy some cookies... Now normally I would have thought I hit the gold mine… “Road trip and the fortuitous encounter with girl scouts selling my favorite cookies ever?!? It’s my lucky day!!” Ehh…Not so much this time.

Now if you know me, I can put down a box of caramel delights and peanut butter patties within a day, so this was my first trip temptation. I pretty much look forward to girl scout cookie time of year right after they stop selling the previous year. Somehow, I managed to stay strong and stay focused on the task at hand. I rewarded myself with a Pecan Pie Lara Bar.

Just to note, I also perused on by the candy aisle and made an unfortunate wrong turn at the home-made ice cream counter but still accomplished the end result of emptying my bladder without letting the gas station array of goodies win me over. Success.

ARRIVAL/DINNER:

We pulled up to the hotel where I immediately heard the local flavor of jams coming from the neighboring nightlife venue. The sounds of the saxophone mingling with the unexpected melody of the xylophone made me happy as I smiled remembering why I loved this city so much.

Since “someone” doesn’t have the best time-management skills (and by someone, I may mean me...), we did not make it to Charleston for sunset, or even for a socially acceptable time to eat dinner...

Arriving around 9:45PM, we were greeted at the hotel with smiles and warm, just-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies. My favorite! Oh wait, I can't even have a nibble... They at least made for a good photo op. I made a mental note to give these to some homeless person who needed the sugar more than me. (Update: We kept them in the car for the the next day, but never running into any homeless people, we ended up throwing them away to avoid any more temptations. It was the thought that counts people. ;)

By the time we got everything unloaded (I'll blame the need for a luggage cart for a short 3-day trip on Miya... the 3 hats on top of the luggage rack are hers too...), it was well past 10:30PM. Knowing that most restaurants would not be serving dinner at this time except for the occasional bar food and that they would definitely not be a fan of 2 latecomers with extremely picky requests, we cut our losses and decided to make use of the back-up food I had thoughtfully packed. By this time, my stomach was beyond the growling stage. As hubby went to grab some dinnerware from the hotel, I took it upon myself to devour the extra bison meat we brought as a back up. Without utensils, I had no choice but to be resourceful which led me to discover that our mini dressing containers made great scoops.

After he returned with normal utensils, I cut up a few veggies and made a newer, updated version of our salmon salad, complete with eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, orange bell peppers, avocados, carrots, and our home-made salad dressing served over power greens. I let my husband take the reins on his salad, and quickly realized he clearly doesn’t value presentation... I’m sure you have no idea which salad was his...

I was craving a little something sweet, so I had my usual banana with almond butter for my extra late-night snack (possibly around 1AM). This is why you go to bed early folks...to avoid these late-night snacking habits!

Saturday, March 4th

Breakfast:

Equipped with my Nurtibullet in hand, I set out to make our first Whole30 compliant smoothie. In our breakfast smoothie, I included the following:

Whole30 Shelby Smoothie

INGREDIENTS:

- 1 cup of strawberries

- 1 kiwi

- 1/2 banana

- 1/2 orange

- 1/2 avocado (this makes it smooth and creamy)

- 1 cup of power greens

- 1 tablespoon almond butter

- 1/2 cup ice

- 3/4 cup water (to help it mix better)

OTHER VARIATIONS TO ADD:

- blueberries (or any berries)

- apple

- pineapple

- other fruit

- broccoli (fresh)

- other veggies

- chia seeds

- goji berries

- cinnamon

Note: We didn’t actually bring measuring cups, so this is just an estimate. The good thing with smoothies though, you never have to be exactly right. Just throw in what you like and voila! Instant healthy smoothie!

TASTE TEST: It turned out delicious! For those of you that have never tried one of these smoothies, try it before you knock it. I was once a doubter many years ago too until I had my first smoothie and realized how delicious it was (you can’t even taste the greens!)

We enjoyed our smoothie with 2 hard-boiled eggs and a few sugar snap peas, then off we went, black coffee in hand, to explore the sights and sounds of Charleston. On our way out, we noticed a festival going on downtown. Loving any type of festival, I decided we should embrace the spontaneity of this serendipitous moment and stop and enrich ourselves in the local scene. As my eyes started searching for any available parking nearby, my hubs caught sight of a festival sign which quickly became the bearer of bad news...Charleston Wine & Food Festival... Seriously?!? This is my jam and of all weekends, we wouldn't be able to eat or drink anything at the festival....?!? Deciding not to even tempt ourselves with the local fare, we decided to continue with our initial plan. Our first official stop was back to the Magnolia Plantation, where we tied the knot almost 6 months ago. It was exactly how I remembered it a year ago when we booked the Magnolia, perfectly in bloom and beaming in sunshine. See more pictures on the Souly Travel: Wanderlust page as well as travel recommendations including Things to Do, Places to See & Restaurants/Nightlife recommendations on my Souly Travel: Eat/See/Do page.

We strolled along on our lengthy photo/nature walk as we relived our favorite day and walked down memory lane. Extra props to my sidekick for carrying my heavy camera/Miya bag (complete with seatbelt cushion strap) while I became an impromptu flower papparazi. #dadduties #noshame

We then took a detour to visit an over 500 year old tree named Angel Oak where its branches are so large that they grow back into the ground and crutches are needed to help support its weight. It’s a sight to see, and the pictures don't even begin to do it justice. Sensing my husband was on the brim of turning hangry rather quickly, I suggested we go back and get some grub for a late lunch. About 5 minutes down the road, I realized I left my favorite sunglasses on the ground, somewhere near the huge tree. Within seconds, Mr. Grouchy Pants McGee made another cameo appearance as I'm pretty sure he wanted to throw me out of the car to fend for myself at this point. I tried to keep things light and upbeat by letting him know this was a blessing being only 5 minutes away instead of 30... Needless to say, I found the sunglasses and also located an Earthfare for a pit stop so we could buy anything Whole30 compliant to tie my hubby over and tame the hunger beast.

LUNCH:

Hunting for quick-and-easy, ready-to-eat, Whole30 compliant food, even at a all-natural grocery store, proved to still be difficult. After examining all of the labels, I settled for grilled chicken breast, herb-roasted sweet potato salad, home-made guac, and more strawberries. We topped the chicken with guac and a little of Frank's hot sauce and devoured the meal within minutes. A satisfied hubby had returned! Now that I had my hubs back, we were ready to find a good place to watch the sunset, since we missed the one last night.

Ravenel Bridge it is! We jumped in the car and headed toward Charleston’s most famous and picturesque bridge. After realizing the spot we wanted to be at to watch/photograph the sunset was 20 minutes away and sunset was in 10 minutes, we came up with a new plan. If you were driving over the bridge around 6:15 on Saturday night and saw a random girl taking pictures out of the sunroof, this may or may not have been me...

Note: Bring hair tie for next time.

DINNER:

Relationships are all about compromise and since most of the day was a Shelby-activity type of day, it was a Hubs-type-of-evening. This entailed watching the Duke/Carolina rivalry game. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t drink to drown away his sorrows of his team losing...

We met our friend Lane at Bay Street Biergarten, which was a trendy spot with live music, outdoor seating, cafe lighting, and plenty of TVs. Win-win for both of us. Bonus, they were also very accommodating to our dinner requests.

We opted for the all-beef hamburger, dry and with no seasoning, wrapped in a lettuce “bun” and garnished with onions, pickles, and tomatoes. I also smuggled in a La Croix as back-up which came in handy since they didn’t have sparkling water on hand. We considered our first Whole30 restaurant experience a success.

Sunday, March 5th

Breakfast:

We made use of our veggies and fruit by making another Whole30 compliant smoothie for breakfast along with 2 hard-boiled eggs.

LUNCH:

We met some friends/our amazing wedding photographers for lunch. We let them choose the restaurant but didn’t give them the heads up that we were doing the Whole 30. We looked at the menu ahead of time and thought we had a safe option of steak and poached eggs, but after placing our order with the steak dry (no seasoning, oil, or butter) with the exception of olive oil, the server came back and let us know the chef wouldn’t be able to do this without ruining his pan so we had to either A.) find something else or B.) buy the pan. We chose to B.) buy the pan, but the chef changed his mind and rescinded his offer on the pan... Looking over the menu and seeing all of our (normal) favorite options like shrimp and grits, waffles, pancakes, etc., we decided not to be any more of a nuisance and order a side salad (hold the croutons, cheese, dressing, bacon and biscuits) with a poached egg. Sacrifice is the name of the game. I reminded myself of my own personal Whole30 mantra, "I never said it would be easy, but it'll be worth it." We made sure to let our server know we appreciated her accommodating our crazy requests and of course tipped her well.

We spent the afternoon catching up with our dear friends and then headed to Folly Beach. We then headed to one last spot to take a walk/photo op at a beautiful neighborhood of Charleston, fashioned after the old historic homes. Thanks Lane for the recommendation!

DINNER:

Thank God for CHIPOTLE!! We were both starving at this point so we were very thankful to find a Chipotle on the way out of Charleston. Lucky for everyone committed to Whole30, Chipotle offers a few choices that are Whole30-compliant. We both had a salad with only carnitas meat, guac, pico de gallo, and salsa verde. It was delish!

FYI: From our research online, the only Whole30 compliant options at Chipotle are listed below:

- carnitas meat

- chorizo meat

- lettuce

- guac

- all of the salsas (except the corn salsa)

IN SUMMARY:

Even though my husband initially gave me the look of shock when he first saw what all I had packed, I would like to note that we went through almost all of this food (minus 3 pieces of fruit, the remaining almond butter and nuts) and even added to the collection, so you’re welcome for being over-prepared. :)

Even though it’s not ideal to vacation while on the Whole30, we managed to stay strong (and sane)! While traveling can present different challenges, there’s nothing that can’t be overcome with a little pre-planning and healthy decision making. Stay tuned for the guide, “On the Road with Whole30” that I’ll be creating soon, complete with packing lists, travel tips, and restaurant recommendations.

Looks like God and St. Anthony came through in helping me find my brain after all. Maybe my memory is better than I thought...or maybe it's partially because of the healthy foods I'm putting into my body instead of garbage...who knows, verdict is still out!

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