why whole 30?

whole 30 is everywhere these days. everyone is doing a whole 30 challenge, people who started out primal, paleo, gluten-free, just plain ‘ol clean eaters… everyone from everywhere! just surf the blogs and you’ll see an endless supply of people challenging themselves. i think it is a great trend! i’m proud i was a part of the challenge.

why, though, the sudden popularity? after all, the “quest” has been around for sometime. i can’t even speculate why now. i have no idea why. i do, however, like to look at how people are applying it to their lives, and if they stick with it. also, what kind of changes are they making in their kitchen AFTER the 30 days are up?

personally, as i publicized on my blog, my journey was pretty typical. i didn’t paleofy foods. i didn’t make paleo cereals and granola for myself. i didn’t make exceptions. i didn’t plan on slip-ups. i did need some extra carbs because i am nursing, so i had some homemade tapioca flat bread every once in a while. also, i allowed myself coffee, but never used a drop of dairy.

this was all part of the challenge. i was far too dependant on sweet fruits, dairy, and other primal, but not so healthy treats. -gluten free & fruit sweetened protein muffins, grain free, date sweetened granola, a piece of fruit after every meal for a sweet ending, cheese on my burgers, eggs, salads, and just plain cheese chunks to chow on…

why? my body doesn’t need these things (treats) i began to depend on. it was time to simplify my diet. time to eat earth foods, and not in excess. no paleofying. the whole point of my whole 30 was to cleanse my body of the habits of treats. that is why grain-free granola was a no-no for me. yes, all of the ingredients were whole 30 approved, but put all of those ingredients together and it becomes a treat. the idea of depending on a “treat”, regardless of the ingredients, was training myself to depend on treats! this is why i was very strict with myself on sweets, even fruits. yeah, tapioca flat bread is pushing it, but i’ll stand by it. mommies who breastfeed need carbs.

this is my reasoning for whole 30. everyone has their own reason, everyone has something to cleanse from their plate. something that they have become dependent on, even if we don’t want to admit it. maybe we’ve never said it out loud. maybe you are just thinking, “this food doesn’t seem like real food..” .. if that sounds like something you have pondered before, consider a change. remove it. replace it with something real. something that came from the earth, and doesn’t come in a package.

whole 30 is a SELF INFLICTED CHALLENGE. if i diverted from the plan, i was cheating myself. there were no diet police who would catch me. i could sneak a piece of cheese any time i was left alone in the kitchen. i never even considered it, though. honest to goodness!

cheating comes in many forms, though. maybe all of the ingredients are real: nuts, dates, coconut.. mix it all together, and it is cereal. but the end product is an idea of the standard american diet. cereal is cereal is cereal. a muffin is a muffin is a muffin. treats are just that. and yes, vegetarians would have a difficult time on whole 30. the only thing i can think of for protein, aside from just eating meat, is nuts and seeds. but hey, have you ever read the ingredients for “meatless ground”? what the hell is all that stuff? is it even food? no offense, veggies, but i wouldn’t even feed that stuff to my chickens! be careful! read labels! consider a whole 30 challenge, and figure out a way to make it work for you!

read about whole 30 by clicking this link: WHOLE 30

read more about cheating on WHOLE 30 here: swpo

to make things easier for you, there is a free meal planning template on the site. you have almost a full month until the next whole 30 starts, so you can start planning now and get moving on your self-challenge!

here are a few habits i have changed since my whole 30 ended:

i drink coffee slowly, with only 2/3 the caffine that i used to have.

i drink coffee with coconut milk, not dairy.

i eat carbs in moderation.

i eat a small bit of rice now, i did realize that my body does better with a little rice in my diet.

i eat cheese on cheeseburgers, not on everything that i eat.

i don’t use fruit as a reward, or any food for that matter. i stick with a “food is fuel” policy, though at special occasion will have a healthy treat. -anyone try yonanas yet?! holy toledo!!

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lost after Whole 30?

no way.

banging my way around in the dark, figuring out which room to enter next?

yes.

yes.

yes.

now that i’ve completed my challenge successfully, i don’t want to mess too much with a good thing. i have developed wonderful eating and snacking habits. now, if the only snack around at work is an old jar of sweetened almond butter, i just don’t snack. i have learned to dismiss light acts of hunger and wait for a real wave of it before i eat mindlessly. i wish to grow that habit.

but i missed some things.

i missed gf pretzels. so what did i eat tonight with my big salad for dinner? some gf pretzels.

i missed out on grain free brownies yesterday made for me by my coworker. so what did i snack on at work all day? grain free brownies. ok, i may have overdone the brownies.

my point is, i’m still figuring out how tightly i wish to incorporate my new self-knowledge into my lifestyle.

for sure, i will be WAY less reliant on dairy. no cheese on salads. cheese is for cheese burgers. no more 3 days a week of yogurt for lunch. more like if i’m in a pinch. i will make ice cream from coconut milk instead of dairy, unless it is a special occasion. i will not be eating pancakes every weekend, maybe just stick to a monthly routine.

i will still eat copious amounts of sweet potatoes.

i will still fry eggs in ghee.

i will make plantains more often instead of tortillas.

i will not make gluten-free pasta any more. seriously.

i will not eat chebe every day. maybe i’ll make it every 2 weeks or so, but i don’t need to make a weekly batch (even though i love it so much).

this change could not have come at a better time. we are moving this weekend. this calls for a pantry clean-out. big stuff! should i throw away my collection of rice noodles, or finish them off ceremoniously? should i throw away my gf pretzels and grain-free cheesy crackers, or enjoy them till the bottom of the bag? what am i supposed to do with this stuff? snuggle it until it’s time to let go, or get it out now, cold turkey?

this reminds me of when i decided to quit smoking.

that is sad, and means i need to make a change, and i need to make decisions quick so i keep my momentum going strong!

any advice on what to do with the vices that are already in the pantry?

Whole 30, day 30!

last day.

i just finished my last meal.

it was a successful journey, unless, that is, i give up at 11pm and have a G&T. no, i’m not going to, but funny to think how something so tiny and screwball would negate my whole month! today was my going away party at work, they made grain-free brownies for me, and almost ruined my 30 day challenge. i will eat some tomorrow at lunch!

anyhow, i wish i could be more speechy about the whole thing, but i’ll give it all to you in a matter of short detail.

i missed gluten-free pretzels, which are my one and only non-primal treat that i ever eat. i plan on finishing the half-bag in the pantry, then being done with it. now i know i can get rid of them. now i know that i don’t need snacks that aren’t real food. i love them, i do. crunchy, snappy, salty, filling…  they do digest very well for me, but it is time to get rid of this unnecessary carbohydrate.

i missed gin, and i missed it fierce. alcohol, in general, i missed. but really, gin is so sweet in my soul, i am thrilled to have one soon. what a delight, the bright, piney flavor, crystal clear in a glass with sparkly tonic. citrus wedge off to the side for palate cleanse, and to sweeten the deal. relaxing after a hard work day, refreshing on a hot summer day. what a mild crutch i have.
GIN!

i love lean meats now. i used to really dislike them, but as much steak, pork loin, and chicken we’ve had was a great reminder of how well it can come out when cooked properly. also, lean meats digest better, it turns out!

i miss pancake breakfasts sundays. maybe this should be more of a monthly thing for our family, i really don’t think i need all that maple syrup. i can’t believe i’m saying that.

i don’t need yogurt any more. i like it, but in perspective, it is what i missed the least, along with dairy cream.

i need to eat cheese now, though. sharp, stinky cheddar at warm temperature on a hot burger.. need soon.

i am loving coconut milk/cream in my coffee. i may keep this tradition. we’ll see.

breakfast: sweet potato hash, 2 eggs, 2 bacons. coffee with coconut milk.

snack: banana with macadamia nuts.

lunch: salad with a chicken breast, a peach, dressed with leftover MOJO.

dinner: steak stir-fry and kelp noodles.

snack: fist of sunnyseeds (brian was eating brownies in front of me, so something in my brain triggered an “eat” signal.. it was strange)

results: i didn’t eat brownies, ok.. that’s a great day. they were in front of me. they were chocolatey. they were loaded with almonds.. i was so close to calling it the 29 day challenge, but what the heck would that be? uncool.

other than the fist of sunnyseeds, it was a proud day. and so far as the BIG PICTURE goes, i have completed my challenge. amazing. i never thought i could do it until i spontaneously decided to do it!

special thanks to matt for lighting the fire with a passing comment a month or so ago! i now know that i can do this, easy.

another special thanks to brian, my husband. although he refused (REFUSED) to do whole 30 (even though i know he could do it), he supported me. he asked questions and kept me interested, and kept my on track that one time we went to the wine bar. he didn’t allow me one peck at a glass. -and it’s hard to keep me away from wine!

thanks to all who put up with my pouting, sighing, eye-rolling, and bad attitude whilst in presence of you eating ice cream. why you did that in front of me? i have no idea. but thanks for not telling me to shut up when i talked about how sweet nuts taste to me now, and how “fruit is too sugary, just imagine how sugary and bad for you ICE CREAM is”. i was jealous.

MOJO

this recipe goes out to my good buddy, whom we had over last night for cuban pork and plantain. he loved the meal, but i think it was the dipping sauce, MOJO, that really stood out to him! i promised i would post the recipe asap, so here it is, scott!

this tart, spicy sauce will knock the socks off of your next batch of plantains. i also think it would be amazing poured over a hamburger or baked potato. it would also make the PERFECT dressing for any steak or fine cut of grilled, smoky meat.

it is one of the best things to come out of cuba, so add it to your “awesome sauce’em” list, and pull it out for guests, or even just sunday night spice-ups. i’m having it to dress my salad for lunch this afternoon!

you can add as much or as little spice as you’d like here, but a lot is the way to go!!

this recipe makes about 8 servings for dipping, or enough to marinate a giant pork butt if you choose to use it as a marinade.

MOJO

1/3 cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced finely

2/3 cup sour orange juice, if you can’t locate this juice in your store, equal parts OJ:fresh squeezed lime juice.

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp pepper flakes

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup chopped cilantro, to serve

method: get oil warm/hot over medium heat. do not let it roll!

add garlic and let it cook for 20 seconds before stirring the juice in, along with the spices. do not let garlic brown, you only need to cook it briefly or it will turn bitter.

cook for 5 minutes or so, allowing it roll gently & keeping it stirred well. taste and add more juice or spices as you see fit.

chill.

stir cilantro into cooled MOJO and serve cold.

seriously, people. this stuff is CRAZY good!

Whole 30, day 26

take what you can, closest to what you want.

this is a general theme i have been trying to stick to this past month or so to help me deal with the fluxes and changes that come over us. no, not just in the whole 30 challenge. but in life outside of set challenges. especially with long (12 hours, at least) days at work and trying to take care of a baby, especially moving to a new city, especially with the very soon loss of my income… we are learning to accept that some small things will change here and there. i don’t deal well with that. i have high expectations of everything.

here is my typical cycle of disappointment:

i get home at 8:30pm. i want dinner to be done as soon as i walk in and i want it to be perfect. i want juniper to wake up be ready to nurse as soon as i finish dinner. i want to sleep solidly throughout the night so i can wake up refreshed after my 5 hours of sleep (HA) at 4:30am to go back to work. i want to remember to go to the bathroom before i leave, it could be my only chance all day (nope, forgot to go). i want my breakfast to be perfect so i’m not having cravings all morning, since i don’t get snack breaks until lunch at 1:00pm (burnt bacon, awesome). oh no, still haven’t gotten time to visit ladies’ room. i want to go to lunch on time (nope, emergency patient coming in, toothache. lunch is at 2 and i’m starving). i want my salad to be perfect at lunchtime (oh, someone accidentally dumped your $6 whole 30 compliant dressing last week and i don’t have anything to dress a salad with now? oooommmmggggg… i totally overreacted to this). i want to leave work on time at 7pm so i can get home before juniper is sleeping (oh good, she doesn’t want to nurse because she’s had bottles all day? this is a problem), and also maybe i can take a little walk tonight since i haven’t gotten to all week (nope, another toothache at 6:30pm turns into a late night marathon, call brian, be home at 8:45. also missed jeopardy. damn)… and finally, we fall back into our cycle of disappointment.

it is not the job i am angry with! it is me! i am angry at my lack of coping skills.

isn’t this a negative way to look at my life? it is. so i’m changing it. because i am not a good mommy when i feel disappointed 3 days a week.

in the mean time:

take what we can, closest to what we want!

i had eaten all of my salad greens without realizing it, same goes for avocado. my lunch was seeming like a disappointment, so i changed my frame of mind, and also added a bunch of stuff to my salad that i wouldn’t normally, and: voila! a good lunch it became! how beautiful!

breakfast: sweet potato hashies, 2 eggs, 2 bacons. coffee with coconut cream.

lunch: chicken, beets, baby watermelons*, pepitas, fennel fronds, lemon oil vinaigrette (1/3 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon), 1/3 cup olive oil, sprinkle of salt,sprinkle of pepper).

snack: 1/4 cup raw cashews.

dinner: huge portion of salmon, roasted veggies with basil. watermelon.

results: awesome. ok, so eating that many beets all week.. well, it changed my digestion. let’s just say that. but delicious day of foods, who can complain about running out of avocado and greens with an otherwise delicious salad and amazing dinner at mom and dad’s house?

*no, i had never eaten a baby watermelon until this past week. my mother in law picked up some rare and amazing vegetables and herbs for me at a celebrity chef event in huron, ohio, and i’m gobbling them up fast! baby watermelon taste like.. well, watermelon, but it isn’t sweet at all. i guess it could also be compared to a teeny tiny green tomato. so fun!

juniper, however, remains perfect. not only because she just IS, but also for practical reasons. she sleeps solidly throughout the night, about 12 hours or so. she always has. she doesn’t fuss throughout the day unless she has dropped her tootsie or if she sees that i have been ignoring her for house chores for longer than an hour. she nurses every 3.5 hours, almost like clockwork. she needs her diaper changed every 2 hours. she is predictable, laid back, and happy. she makes me laugh and smile when i am at my whit’s end. days when i drop a pan on my toe while cleaning up cat litter, nothing can be worse right now, look up….. there she is smiling at me, and giggles. my day changes. the sun comes out.

this beautiful baby is something i am never disappointed in. look at her. she is my buddy. when i AM home from work, we are inseparable. we are attached at the hip. when we get up in the morning, i put her in her moses basket and set her on the kitchen table while i make breakfast. i don’t leave her alone in a room yet, not only is she too little, but she’s too cute. i don’t want all of that cuteness to get wasted on an empty room. seriously.

these are a few of my favorite things!!!

What is life without dessert?

longer.

and healthier.

this is what i say.

when talking to people about my W30, or even about my grain free diet, they often ask “what is life without_____?”.. rice, sourdough, spaghetti, doughnuts… whatever you could imagine that one would think they may be addicted to.

well, i agree that these foods are a tasty, fun novelty to eat. but that doesn’t mean it is a reasonable excuse for food.

and even when we make cheater, grain free versions of such treats, it really still isn’t a great excuse for food, though it is made from real, whole ingredients instead of old syrupy corn and milled wheat.

i try to keep in mind when i’m scouting sweetie treats in the store, or online, or in my freezer…. sweetie treats are for treats.

do i deserve a treat just because i finished a meal?! heck no!

limits.

W30 has reminded me of life’s limits. separating “needs” from “wants”. this includes relying on fruit binges as a treat, just because it is “allowed”. why binge on fruit? because my body knows it is still sugar, and my tongue LOVES sugar.

i encourage all out there to look deeply at food rewarding. be honest when you think about it. if you see yourself doing this, stop it. stop it for just 5 days, break the routine, and i promise you will realize how silly it is to think that there is no life without dessert!

Whole 30, day 24

less than a week to go!

i’m missing gluten-free pretzels the most today, for some reason. i’m just craving them! at my finish, i will nominate one day per week to finish off the gluten-free snacks that remain in my pantry, then vow to never buy them again once they are finished. i will miss them, but my body will not.

breakfast: sweet potatoes, sausage, 2 eggs sunny-side-up. coffee with coconut cream.

lunch: big salad with chicken, avocado, strawberries, and sunnyseeds.

dinner: burger with onions, mushrooms, bacon. baked sweet potato fries.

results: today was what a standard day should feel like. i didn’t feel deprived of anything. i felt great all day. my energy levels are seriously sinking, but this is surely due to my work schedule. i sleep about 4 hours per night during the work week. i get up at 4am or earlier to feed juniper before i leave for work, then return home around 8-8:30pm. this is extremely unhealthy. it feels unhealthy every time i wake up, and every time i fight sleep at 9:00pm so i can get a few things done before bed… like, getting ready for work the following morning. ugh.. i can’t wait to start getting real sleep soon, after i’m done working outside of the home!

this baked chicken recipe saves us throughout the week. we bake 3 on sunday, then split them up for salads and such throughout the work week. so juicy and tasty. normally, i find chicken breast completely worthless. however, when prepared properly, i find it a delicious, inexpensive way to add some great protein do my lunches. i require tons of protein.

baked chicken breast

3 medium chicken breasts, free range and organic is preferable

1 cup orange juice, nothing added

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

method: combine all ingredients in a gallon size baggie. allow chicken to marinate for at least 3 hours, or over night.

preheat oven to 375f. drain marinade from chicken and coat in olive oil.

place in a glass baking dish and bake for 45 minutes, until chicken is browned on the outside just slightly and cooked through. you want the juice to run clear when you poke it. remove chicken from oven and allow to rest before slicing. this will keep the juices inside of the meat instead of running out and making the breast dry.

don’t over-bake. chicken is done when thermometer registers at 165f. people think that chicken is dry, and they don’t like it because they’ve always had it when the bejesus has been cooked out of it. don’t do that.

165f.

done.

big salad

your favorite greens

chicken breast, cut into strips

1/2 cup strawberries, chopped up

1/2 avocado, sliced

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/3 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

1/3 cup olive oil

sprinkle of salt

sprinkle of pepper

method: whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. set aside.

build your salad.

dress your salad with oil and juice dressing. i use about 1/3 of this recipe per salad, and save the rest for lunches later in the week.