5-ish Things About Whole30

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The end is near.  If you’re tired of Whole30 posts, not to worry.  The end is at hand.  A week remains.  But I’m feeling a bit retrospective this morning at the whole Whole30 thing.  So let’s take a walk through my last 23 days of Whole30.

  1. Whole30 is not hard.  It is a change & change can be difficult.  But it’s not hard.  It’s not like your moving around the world-hard or fighting for your life-hard.  It’s taking the time to look at what you’re eating & drinking and making shifts to fuel your body better in order to maximize your health.  There are days, especially early on, when my body hated me for this.  I was bloated & gassy & irritable & cranky & sluggish & frankly ready to throw in the towel. {ask my hubby & lil’ weeds – I was ugly to live with}  But I learned some tricks {chamomile tea} & stuck to it because I knew it had to get better. They did promise me tiger blood after all.
  2. That being said Whole30 is a taker of time.  If you’re used to buzzing through the drive thru or grabbing a little something-something at the convenience store or the pantry, Whole30 will require more time than you’re used to devoting to food.  It will require some planning & shopping {with label reading} & preparation.  I found getting the shopping & prepping all done in one day {Sunday for me} made it completely doable to live the weekdays without as much thought to food.  But it still took time.
  3. Whole30 is an eye-opener as to what is going in.  I do not have much of a sweet tooth.  I’d prefer to belly up to a huge mountain of fried onion rings with a side of tartar sauce rather than a chocolate bar any day.  But now I’ve come to realized that I was eating a TON of added sugar {maybe not literally a ton…but…}  My morning coffee alone had at least 10 grams of it!  And I’d usually have 2 cups of coffee.  TWENTY grams before 8 am!!!!  Since the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar daily for women…all I can say is YIKES!!
  4. And since we’re talking about ingredients we’re eating, Whole30 unveils all kinds of questionable ingredients.    Let’s head back to my coffee creamer for a minute. Because Whole30 makes you an expert label reader, let’s take a gander at the ingredients in my beloved {& now despised!] coffee creamer.  Ingredients:: water, sugar, vegetable oil (soybean or canola), sodium caseinate {a sneaky name for MSG!}, natural & artificial flavors, mono and diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, cellulose gel, cellulose gum & carrageenan.  That’s a heck of a list. Looks like my old cup of Joe came complete with inflammation, gastrointestinal disease, mucus membrane irritation, flatulence, diarrhea, cramping and a whole host of other awfulness.  Double Yikes!
  5. Whole30 will definitely change how you look & feel.  I do not have adequate words to describe how good I feel after twenty-three days of clean eating.  It is simply amazing.  Truly!  And to be honest, I didn’t know I wasn’t feeling great until I started feeling great…if that makes any sense.  I wasn’t suffering from any adverse effects to my food.  Or so I thought.  Now that I have cleaned it all out, I can see what it was really doing to me.  And I can see the effects in my skin as well.  My face has never been so blemish free & hydrated.  And my normally awful winter dry skin is not as dry and itchy.  While I chalked it up to coincidence for a while, I have to think that Whole30 has something {if not everything} to do with it.  The Whole30 no scale rule {which I loathe} has not allowed me to determine if I was able to shed those pesky few pounds I gained after I turned 40, but I can definitely see more muscle than before, so I’m thinking it’s helped at least make my workouts more beneficial.  My brain seems clearer, I’m well rested & more energetic. {which may or may not equate to getting more chores done…}

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Whole 30 :: Tiger Blood

Day 22

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Eight days remain.  According to the Whole30 folks, I have entered the Tiger Blood phase.

Tiger Blood

Goodbye cravings, hello Tiger Blood! This must be what everyone is talking about! You’ve hit the downhill slope of your Whole30 and life is beautiful. Your energy is through the roof, you’ve kicked the cravings, you’re experimenting with new, delicious food, and you’ve finally got the time to notice that your clothes fit better, your workouts are stronger, and you are generally more awesome. There’s not much more to say about this phase – go and enjoy it!

I’d agree with them on this phase.  I feel exactly like this…Tiger Blood.

I’m not sure what pumps through a tiger, but if they feel like this, they have it figured out. Sluggishness – gone.  Tired – gone.  Insides feeling slightly icky all the time – gone.  I feel great.

So what’s been the hardest part of getting to tiger blood?  Well, for me I thought  it would be the lack of grains or dairy.  Or perhaps giving up my occasional glass of red wine.  But I think the roughest was the coffee issue.  I knew it would be tough.  I mean I have always had the stand that I love coffee so long as it doesn’t taste like coffee.  Giving up the wonderful sugary concoction that made my coffee taste less like coffee, I knew was going to be rough.  And it was…but it quickly morphed into something completely unexpected.  After I got rid of the non-dairy, sugar laden, artificially flavored addition and turned to coconut milk, I could taste the actual coffee.  It wasn’t great.  But something happened.  I began to like it.  I purchased a better quality coffee bean {goodbye Folgers, hello Starbucks} and I began loving every single sip.  I even would crave it after lunch.  As  a matter of fact, I am sitting here right this very second with a delicious cup of Pike Place…black {gasp!}  and i’m loving it!  Who knew?

The two conclusions I’ve drawn about this coffee phenomenon are either (1) Whole30 has taught me to enjoy the flavors of foods without a bunch of sugary-sweetness or (2) I’m getting older and old people like their coffee black.  I will believe it’s #1 and promise I’m not ready to order a cup of coffee with my 4:00 dinner at Denny’s.

So, the million dollar question, do I keep eating like this?  I think I will partially keep this up.  I mean, hello, Tiger’s Blood.  Why would I go back to Sloth Blood?  I want to slowly go back to “normal” eating and figure out what makes my sloth blood return & eliminate those things.  But I plan to enjoy a really great cheeseburger with fries again very, very soon!  {even though I’m sure it will make me feel less tiger more sloth}  But I see it’s juicy patty on a buttered bun with real honest to goodness mayonnaise & ketchup in my very near future.  But for now…

Here’s to eight more days!  Raising my black Pike Place filled mug of wonder to a great last few days of Whole30!  Hooray!

Whole 30 :: the halfway

Fourteen days down.  Sixteen to go.  Can it be?  doing-the-w30-IG

I will admit, I was extremely reluctant to start this whole thing & pretty sure it was going to be completely pointless.  Skeptical?  Exactly.

But two weeks in, I absolutely think that this is doing something & I am pretty much sure that everyone needs to do this at least once in their lifetime.  I cannot believe how great I feel!  I cannot begin to explain how much energy I have, how well I’m sleeping and how clean my insides feel.  {too much?  sorry, but not really}  Reset is working!

Whole30 is simply amazing!

Do this.  Do this!

For this upcoming week, I’ve mapped out my meals and have my shopping list all set to go.  Thought I’d share, just in case I’ve made my case that you need to DO THIS but you aren’t sure where to start.  Start with these meals.  No excuses.

Here goes:

If you’re interested here is the shopping list for all the meals listed.  2:15 Shopping List – Plan to Eat.  The only thing not included are salt & pepper.  Get everything on the list, print out the recipes & you’ll be set for the week {for dinner anyway.}   Make sure and add lots of fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts and snacking veggies.  Also some full on fat coconut milk for your coffee *smirky smile*  Believe me you want that!  And take the time to prep everything so it’s ready to go…ready to eat when you need a little snack.  Plan and prep are at least 50% of this whole thing, likely more.  Oh and get yourself some delicious Bubbies Sauerkraut.  Just do it, you’ll thank me after your first forkful.  Promise.

Let me know if you’re jumping in.  I’ll talk you off the ledge on days 5-7 and remind you that you’ll feel like sunshine come day 14!  Promise!

 

Whole30 :: Tip #3

Day 12.  They say that this is the point in which you’re most likely to give up.  I can see that.  The newness & excitement of the challenge have worn thin and the end is really not yet in sight.  But I think with the way I’m feeling right now, giving up is not an option.  I haven’t slept this great in a very long time & I haven’t had this much energy in forever.  I just have an overall feeling of clarity, if that makes any sense.  Life is clear & fresh.  I like it.  I think I’ll keep at this Whole3o thing a bit longer.

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It’s definitely not all roses though.  I miss grains.  Who knew how much I’d long for a nice plate of pasta.  Or a baguette.  Or a scoop of rice.  Grains.  I very much thought dairy would be the hardest, but no.  Grains.

One thing I’ve tried very hard to follow is the programs ‘rule’ about not making substitutes for your favorite foods.  They discourage you from making say, paleo muffins out of all approved ingredients, but that trick your mind into thinking you’re eating a muffin.  At first I couldn’t understand what the big deal would be in doing such a thing.  I can see it now though.  I have discovered that I rely heavily on salty snacks to fill my boredom.  Nothing going on, sitting idly?  I should grab some salt chips and enjoy!  And since I haven’t had access to chips or anything resembling those salty wonderful spheres for 12 days now, I have found better alternatives to mindless eating in front of the tube.  If I’m actually hungry I get myself a plate of something nutrient-rich {hello avocados!} or I realize I’m just bored and move away from the pantry. So my tip for today would be

Tip #3 – Follow The Guidelines

That being said, we had spaghetti the other night.  I used a spaghetti squash as my noodle. Delicious!!!  That, I do believe, is different than making muffins without grain, dairy, sugar, etc.  {what would that even taste like??}

I still highly, highly, highly recommend this program.  If for no other reason than to heighten awareness to what is in the food we are putting in our bodies.  It’s shocking!  And the benefits of  feeling great, clearer skin, less illness and way more energy are awesome bi-products.

 

 

Whole30 :: Tip #2

Day 8 ::  Feeling great!

I dreamt the other night about shredded cheddar cheese.  What’s that about?  Other than that, I think Whole30 is treating me pretty well.  Enjoying good proteins, excellent fats & more veggies than I have ever eaten before.  I’ve survived going out to dinner & the SuperBowl.  I think I deserve a trophy for not cheating.

I won’t lie, it’s not super easy.  When the battered chicken wings and cheese-cheesey dip & crackers and cupcakes are all laid out for the world to eat, it’s not the easiest to just head for the Whole30 approved snack section.  But, friends, it is doable.  You can do it!

One thing that definitely increases your odds of not being a Whole30 failure, brings me to today’s tip.

Tip 2 :: BE PREPAREDhow not to be a whole30 failure 2

GET IT READY :: If you’re anything like me, grab foods are a life line.  Chips, crackers, pretzels, kettle corn…mmmmmm…I’m making me hungry now.  When I get a hankering for a little something-something I go for whatever is easy.  Something already prepared, something already to pop into my mouth, something fast with little work to get it ready.

Enter Whole30.  Yeah, grabbing a little something on the fly? That can be a bit tougher.  Unless you’ve prepped.  Don’t just purchased the veggies & the friuts and throw them into the produce drawers of your fridge.  Actually wash them, chop them, dice ’em & slice ’em!  Throw them into tupperware and zippy bags.

The other day I stood in the pantry staring down a bag of BBQ Lay’s.  We had a little debate in that pantry.  Me & the Lay’s bag.  We fought!  It was rough & tumble.  I picked up the bag.  I put it down.  I picked it up.  I put it down.  really.  But then I remembered I wanted to not be a Whole30 failure.  I remembered all the delicious fruits and veggies in the refrigerator.  I also remembered the huge pyrex of soup from Tuesday & found my way back on the Whole30 path.  But only because it as all ready to go.  The Lay’s went down & something wonderful took it’s filthy place.

Since I mentioned it, let’s talk about THE IMPORTANCE OF SOUP!  It is times like this that I am thankful that it is still a bit cool outdoors.  {Heck it’s February in the upper-midwest!  We are under a blizzard warning today.  It’s just plain cold!}   Anyway.  Cold weather=soup.  Soups are a Whole30 must for me.  I can make up a big huge pot & have it ready to go in the refrigerator for whenever I need it.  I have found several delicious, filling, wonderful soups.  These recipes will likely take me right out of Whole30 & into life.  They are that good.  Here’s a list of my favorites thus far:

“But what about those times when you’re hungry but don’t want soup?  What about when you need something crunchy, like a chip or sweet like a big ol’ piece of cake?”  I’m glad you asked.  Crunchy has been a rough thing for me this past week.  I enjoy chips & crackers.  A lot!  Nothing about a piece of celery comes close to making me think I’m eating a chip.  Nothing.  I’ve not found the PERFECT SUBSTITUTION, but I can admit that these little gems are doing a good job of settling down that craving:

FullSizeRender 68Both from Costco, their ingredients are the important part {because not all dried fruits are equal}  The ingredients are simply the fruit.  No sulfites, no preservative & NO ADDED SUGAR!  Those companies are so, so sneaky.  But these are clean.  And the apples are crunchy enough to trick me, sort of.  Now I have thought how delicious they’d be drenched in caramel sauce, not gonna lie, but that will have to wait.

 

 

How Not to be a Whole30 Failure

Failure is a big word.  So perhaps I should have titled this “How To Be a Whole30 Success”.  But really…same coin, different sides.  And there are no participation trophies here.  So how not to be a Whole30 failure it is.

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I can see already, as I sip my delicious morning coffee with coconut milk & cinnamon, that Whole30 is not easy.  Change is always hard.  Breaking old habits is tough.  And Whole30, like Nothing New Month before it, is about making conscience changes & breaking bad habits.  Sometimes enthusiasm runs low & giving up seems better.  Easier.  And it would be easier.  Easier to just grab a cracker, a slice of cheese and a glass of wine & call it a day.   But I’m committed to this thing.  So how exactly can the transition be made less awful?  Announcing Tips to Not Be a Whole30 Failure:

Tip #1 – Drop The Gourmet Chef Act

Once I read the book, It Starts With Food {you must read this!} and decided to go for it, I immediately turned to Pinterest.  Because, hello, Pinterest.  She literally knows everything about anything. {Pinterest is a girl.  99% certain of that fact}  She did not disappoint!  Recipes galore!  Glorious, glorious recipes.  With pictures that were delicious.  No, really, I could’ve eaten the pictures!  Delish!  I pinned, & pinned & pinned. I added to my Plan-to-Eat recipe collection.  Such divine, delightful dishes.

Such complicated, strange, time-consuming, expensive ingredient recipes.  Ugh!  I have never in all my life seen recipes with such long lists of unusual ingredients and so many complicated steps. For all you out there with a personal chef, have at it!  However, I do have other things to do besides prepare meals all day.  I figured out quick that this could get way out of hand, time-sucking & discouraging in quick order.  And failure is just one “I don’t feel like doing this anymore” away.

I decided to Drop The Gourmet Chef Act.  I love to cook.  I love to try new recipes & ingredients.  But I could see burnout around the corner if I started out this way.  Time to rethink the Whole30 meals.  You know what I discovered?  Many of my regular rotation recipes will work just fine.  For example, last night we had salmon with an avocado salsa.  This is something that we eat regularly because everyone likes it.  And you know what?  It’s Whole30 compliant.  I made rice for the kids & the hubs.  I also made a vegetable medley with all kinds of goodness.  I had a little roasted sweet potatoes for me {since no rice was on my plate}  We all enjoyed it, left feeling very full & satisfied.  It was easy.  And easy is good when change is so hard.

Don’t reinvent the wheel.  Yes, many things you normally eat will not work even with tweeks {like lasagna} but there are many things that will work.  It just takes a little looking.  And if you’re a prepackaged, drive-thru, open-a-can kind of dinner chef, look for easy Whole30 recipes on Pinterest.  She won’t let you down.  Promise, she’s that good. Happy eating!

Print Recipe

grilled salmon with avocado salsa

Source: www.thecookierookie.com

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs salmon cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tbs olive oil (I used light extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 12 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • for the Avocado salsa:
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 12 small red onion sliced
  • 2 limes Juice from
  • 2 tbs finely chopped cilantro (depending on how big of a cilantro lover you are)
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Mix the salt, chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion and black pepper together, rub the salmon fillets with olive oil and this seasoning mix
  2. refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat the grill.
  4. Combine the avocado, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a bowl and mix well, chill until ready to use.
  5. Grill the salmon to desired doneness. (I grilled for about 5 minutes)
  6. Top with avocado salsa and enjoy!

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New Month :: New Challenge

January was Nothing New Month.

February is Whole30 Month.doing-the-w30-IG

I know.  I know.  I have said I will NEVER do Whole30.  I have said that.  Many, many times.  I may have even been a little bit hostile about the whole thing.  But here’s the deal.   Anyone who’s ever dealt with or dabbled in any eating disorder & come out on the other side {the healthy side} will generally be adamant about their desire to never play games with food rules.  Food rules can be dangerous.

So, why the change in heart?  Well, it all started last year when I ran my first full marathon.  I had always been hesitant against doing a full marathon for a similar reason.  As dangerous as food rules can be, exercise requirements can be just as slippery of a slope.    But I really wanted to complete a full & with a lot of intentionality, I was able to do the training & didn’t slip into any unhealthy habits.  And then I got to thinking…if I can do this, maybe I can try Whole30.  So here goes nothing.

What is Whole30?  I’d first recommend this book & this one too.  All questions answered.  And if anything remains unanswered, the website is very informative.  But in a nutshell :: No Sugar, No Grains, No Legumes, No Dairy, No Alcohol, No Carrageenan, MSG or Sulfites.  But everything else is totally ok *sarcastic smile* Fruit, Veggies, Meat, Coffee, Tea, Sparkling Water.  It’s all good!

For me, I’m doing Whole30 as a reset. The holidays were whimsical. They were frivolous.  They were very…filling.  I have never in all my life indulged in so much food & drink.  Some were good choices, some were not so much.  And all that has left me feeling bloated, uncomfortable, tired with itchy skin & blemishes.  Really.  And I’m certain much is related to the food & drink that has been thrown in my mouth.  Time to reset the system!

What is most difficult about Whole30?  Well, I’m at day 1, so I don’t have a lot of experience, but I can say that I was terrified about coffee creamer.  Yes.  Coffee Creamer.  It’s a no.no.  And cream is also off limits.  And sugar too.  How is one to enjoy a cup of Joe without anything that can make it taste less like coffee & more like yum?  I almost decided against the whole program on account of this conundrum.   Truth be told though, my alternative plan was the Daniel Fast and that has zero coffee…so never mind that.  I spent yesterday reading up on coffee on Whole30.  This morning…black coffee and a smidgen of full on fat coconut milk.  Different than my chemical laden coffee creamers of old, but still good.  Delicious.  Really.  I speak truth here.  After my first cup this morning…I can totally do this.  Whole30 – you’re mine!

So, here it goes.  Day #1 down.  I will not take pictures of everything we’re eating.  Promise.  But I’ll share how it’s going, how I’m feeling, what’s hard, what’s not so awful.  And if a recipe makes me smile, I’ll share it.  If you’re interested, check out my Pinterest Board “Get In My Belly! – Whole30”.  There’s a lot there.  Good luck!  happy eating.