The Whole30 Experience + Roast Chicken (Lechon Manok) recipe

Happy New Year everyone! 🙂 I hope you and your family had a wonderful time celebrating the new year! My husband and I have just finished the Whole30 programme and will be celebrating the Chinese New Year in a few hours. Kung Hei Fat Choi!!!

This post will contain answers to the following questions, please feel free to scroll to the part you’re most interested in. Happy reading! I am glad to be back blogging! 🙂

What is the Whole30 Programme?
It’s a stricter Paleo diet, a 30-day programme where you eat real food that could help “reset” how your body processes food, minimise or eliminate some unexplained pains you have been experiencing by not eating certain food groups. Mainly, here are the no-nos:

  • No added sugar/artificial sweetener
  • no grains
  • no gluten
  • no legumes
  • no dairy
  • no soy
  • no alcohol
  • no white potatoes
  • no carrageenan, MSG or sulfites
  • no Paleo-fying “treats”.

To read more, here is the official Whole30 website. I also read the book “It Starts With Food” before my husband and I started. This book along with countless Whole30 sites and participants helped me understand what is happening to my body, what to expect during the programme and more.

Why did I do it?
I’ve been having some mild pain in the pelvic area which started about 18-24 months ago and this worsen after my D&C procedure a couple of months ago. Both my OB/GYN and gastroenterologist were baffled! I went to get a second opinion and found a doctor who says it could be dairy or gluten that may be irritating my bowel which then causes the spasm kind of feeling, so when I told him about the Whole30 programme, he was on-board! He called it the elimination diet. Also…I really wanted to lose weight! Haha!

This is the programme I am willing to participate in because it is NOT too restrictive — no, not really. You still get to eat food — real food. Unlike the juicing diet (Blech!), all veggie diet (Ugh!), white meat + veggies only, I am sure I’ll go hungry within minutes! But what really drew me in was the book and the Whole30 website, Melissa and Dallas asks you to have no slip ups for 30 days and after that, it is OK to have ice cream and that it is not a Whole365 programme.

Sum up the Whole30 experience in one word
Awareness. It helped me realise the lack of vegetables in our lives and the big amount of canola oil in our monthly diet. I’ve never eaten this much vegetables in my life!!! During the programme, we’d have vegetables 3x a day and have a maximum of 1Tbsp oil/fat per serving. Also, have you checked the ingredients of store-bought stuff? Oh my goodness, how much sugar is in there?!

What were the most important realisations?

  • I can go without rice for 30 days! Hahaha! 🙂
  • The Paleo diet is not all about meat. It’s actually a tasty diet!
  • If you really sit down, plan your meals and prepare ingredients earlier (night before — if they are for breakfast!), you will be able to feed your family healthier dishes. No more eating out — no more take away!

Will I continue the Paleo diet?
No, but I will continue to eat more vegetables and meat — less rice and pasta. I have bought 3 Paleo books (Well Fed 1 and 2 and Paleo Snacks) . I’m sorry, I do not see our future without rice, pasta and bread. I am planning to eat just one cup of rice per day (so that 1/3 cup per meal!). My husband on the other hand, who has no problem with his digestive system at all, will continue to devour my pasta dishes created for him. 🙂 I did not feel any pelvic pain in the past 30 days (but my lower abdomen feels bloated and weird in the last week), so I really have to discover what’s causing the pain by reintroducing the food groups.

Also, I will continue to make homemade sauces because God knows what’s in those store-bought sauces, mayonnaise, etc.

What did you like the most during the Whole30 programme?
I like the feeling that we are eating healthier food and the feeling that my clothes fit better now! 🙂

*Update* I lost 7.6lbs and my husband lost 10.2lbs!!! We don’t exercise…we just went hiking up Mount Parker twice!

And the least?
Defrosted cauliflower “rice”! Oh my! We don’t even have this every day and we are so sick of it! I’d blitz a cauliflower head and then place it in bags (1 cup each) then freeze it. So when we needed something “extra”, I’d defrost at least 1 cup then nuke it for 2 minutes. I did, however, enjoy this recipe for cauliflower rice pilaf! 🙂

Honestly, I felt isolated. I can’t have lunch with friends and officemates. During the month of January, I’ve had a lot of temptations, cupcakes from Sift because a colleague was promoted, buffet during the 2-day HR conference and celebrations to end the year of the snake. I promise to eat healthier but I cannot keep saying “No” to people, especially if there is a valid reason to celebrate.

What was our best meal?
Definitely the Lechon Manok with Coleslaw. The recipe was adapted from Sweetbites by Bang, we couldn’t have sugar, so that was omitted, I added garlic because I know my mom puts garlic and Andok’s seem to have some garlic taste and we used Coconut Aminos instead of soy sauce. You know, if this alternative to soy sauce was not 8x more expensive (HK$10 vs HK$82), I’d use it forever, it tastes like Japanese soy sauce! 🙂

Lechon Manok


  • 1/4 cup Coconut Aminos (or you can use soy sauce)
  • 10 tsp Calamansi juice (or you can use lemon)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed


  • 1-1.5 kilos Whole organic chicken (I bought it here)
  • 10 stalks lemongrass, bruised by hitting the lower end with the blunt side of the knife
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 big yellow onion. quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  1. Wash and clean chicken then pat dry.
  2. Prepare marinade, combine everything in a bowl.
  3. Fold stalks into 2 or 3 then insert all 10 stalks of lemongrass in the cavity.
  4. Place chicken in a big zipper storage bag or a big food bag.
  5. Pour marinade in bag then seal.
  6. Marinate chicken for at least 2 hours, turning the bag over every 30 minutes (if marinating for just 2 hours) or every time you remember *wink*.
  7. After marinating, remove chicken from bag, insert all garlic pieces inside the cavity.
  8. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. I used the rotisserie function and I cannot set the temperature.
  9. Prepare your oven tray, cover with aluminum foil. This tray will be used to catch the drippings of the roasting chicken.
  10. Setup chicken for rotisserie.
  11. In the tray prepared in #8, pour marinade and place the onion and garlic in the middle of the tray. If you don’t have a rotisserie, you can place the chicken on top of the quartered onion and halved garlic head.
  12. Let it cook for about 60-65 minutes (if using the rotisserie) or 60-75 minutes if not using the rotisserie. (I cooked it for about 70 minutes and I would have taken it out of the oven sooner, if I wasn’t taking a shower! Yikes!).

We had gravy to go with the chicken but I do not remember the measurements of the ingredients . All I know is that you need to use the drippings from the roast chicken! 🙂 I used tapioca flour, coconut aminos, salt and pepper. Make sure that you mix it in the pan before heating it and that you’ll continue to mix with a whisk until done.

What did we eat in the past 30 days? After cleaning up the kitchen and removing all non-compliant Whole30 ingredients, here’s our food log from Jan 1 – 30. I’ve included the link to recipes; not all recipes are Whole30 compliant, I either omit the non-compliant ingredients or I substitute it with Whole30 approved ingredients. Click here to see most of the photos I posted on my Instagram account.

Week 1

  • Day 1: Meal 1: Torta, Tomatoes, Bok choy Meal 2: Baked cod coated with egg and shredded coconut, Roasted carrots Meal 3: Steak and Citrus sautéed beets
  • Day 2: Meal 1: Sweet potato hash and fried egg Meal 2: Steak on cauliflower rice pilaf Meal 3: Tinola
  • Day 3: Meal 1: Salad dressed in balsamic herb dressing Meal 2: Tinola (leftover) Meal 3: Salad dressed in garlic mayo
  • Day 4: Meal 1: Beef sausage pattie, fried egg, Sautéed spinach, Sweet potato hash Meal 2: Stir-fried chili prawns on zoodles Meal 3: Tinola (leftover)
  • Day 5: Meal 1: Scrambled eggs, paprika onion & yellow bell peppers, Boiled bok choy, Cherry tomatoes Meal 2: Beef Bulalo Meal 3: (Skipped, not hungry)
  • Day 6: Meal 1: Scrambled eggs with paprika onion & yellow bell peppers, Boiled bok choy, Cherry tomatoes Meal 2:  Beef nilaga (leftover) Meal 3: Beef with broccoli and cauliflower rice
  • Day 7: Meal 1: Sardines with cherry tomatoes and zoodles Meal 2: Beef with broccoli and cauliflower rice (leftover) Meal 3: Fried salmon topped with mango avocado salsa

Week 2

  • Day 8: Meal 1: Scrambled egg, cherry tomatoes + cucumber, 1 beef burger pattie Meal 2: Spinach & Onion omelette, fried salmon, tartare sauce and 1 burger pattie Meal 3: Pochero
  • Day 9: Meal 1: Chicken with sautéed mushroom and rosemary, Half an avocado Meal 2: Pochero (leftover) Meal 3: Rogan josh with cauliflower rice pilaf
  • Day 10: Meal 1: Meal 2: Rogan josh (leftover) with cauliflower rice pilaf Meal 3: Rogan josh (leftover), Portobello mushroom, Garlic asparagus
  • Day 11: Meal 1: Poached egg, Portobello mushroom with garlic and onion Meal 2: Steak, Garlic green beans Meal 3: Roast chicken and coleslaw
  • Day 12: Meal 1: Canned tuna, Scrambled egg, Coleslaw Meal 2: Roast chicken (leftover) and Coleslaw Meal 3: Shrimp sinigang with taro and mustard leaves
  • Day 13: Meal 1: Fried egg, Pork sausage, Sautéed spinach and onion Meal 2: Some romaine lettuce and lots of fruits (Buffet in the office was not Whole30 compliant, had no choice!) Meal 3: Shrimp sinigang with taro and mustard leaves (leftover)
  • Day 14: Meal 1: Sweet potato hash and fried egg Meal 2: Sweet potato hash (leftover), Garlic asparagus, Cauliflower rice and Baked cod Meal 3: Rellenong crab, Sautéed mushroom and bok choy

Week 3

  • Day 15: Meal 1: Pork sausage and eggplant omelette (Tortang talong) Meal 2: Baked porkchop, Oven-grilled spiced cauliflower Meal 3: Baked porkchop, Oven-grilled spiced cauliflower
  • Day 16: Meal 1: (Can’t remember) Meal 2: (Can’t remember) Meal 3: Butter chicken with romanesco broccoli
  • Day 17: Meal 1: Scrambled eggs with onion, cherry tomatoes + English cucumber, Half an avocado Meal 2: Butter chicken with romanesco broccoli (leftover) Meal 3: Butter chicken with romanesco broccoli (leftover)
  • Day 18: Meal 1&2 (brunch): Caesar salad  Meal 3: Grilled fish, garlic sugar snap peas, mango avocado salsa
  • Day 19: Meal 1: Salad with avocado and poached egg Meal 2: Meat sauce on spiralized noodles: butternut squash and zucchini Meal 3: Baked calamari (coated with tapioca flour, egg and shredded coconut), Baked sweet potato fried
  • Day 20: Meal 1: Sautéed squid with sugar snap peas Meal 2: Meat sauce on spiralized noodles: butternut squash and zucchini (leftover) Meal 3: Batchoy
  • Day 21: Meal 1: Scrambled egg, pork sausage, spinach & mushroom sautéed in onion Meal 2: Batchoy Meal 3: Beef ampalaya

Week 4 + 2 Days

  • Day 22: Meal 1: Cauli-fried rice Meal 2: Beef ampalaya Meal 3: Caulifried rice (leftover)
  • Day 23: Meal 1: Cauli-fried rice (leftover), fried egg Meal 2: Pork tenderloin with apples and onion, spinach & mushroom sautéed in onion Meal 3: Chicken caesar salad
  • Day 24: Meal 1: Sweet potato hash, fried egg Meal 2: Chicken caesar salad Meal 3: Steak and salad
  • Day 25: Meal 1: Chicken caesar salad Meal 2: Beef Bulalo [Boiled beef, bone marrow and vegeratbles) Meal 3: Beef Bulalo (leftover)
  • Day 26: Meal 1& 2 (brunch): Fried egg, Garlic mushrooms,  Sautéed brussel sprouts with onion and grilled chicken (leftover) Meal 3: Spicy Thai squid with cashew and cilantro, Sautéed Chinese chives in garlic
  • Day 27: Meal 1: Canned tuna, Sweet potato hash, Sautéed brussel sprouts with onion and grilled chicken (leftover)  Tuna Meal 2: Pakbet Meal 3: Pakbet (left over)
  • Day 28: Meal 1: Scrambled eggs with onion, cherry tomatoes + English cucumber, Canned tuna, Half an avocado Meal 2: A very small serving of pakbet (left over), Chinese tomato egg, Boiled choi sum Meal 3: Baked chicken and boiled choi sum
  • Day 29: Meal 1: Baked chicken (leftover), Scrambled egg, Sautéed spinach in garlic Meal 2: Baked chicken, Boil broccoli Meal 3: Crispy baked porkchop, boiled broccoli
  • Day 30: Meal 1: Poached egg, Sautéed brussel sprouts with onion Meal 2: Crispy baked porkchop, boiled broccoli Meal 3: Pan-fried mackerel, Mango-avocado salsa

What about you? Will you try the Whole30 programme? Start now! 🙂


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