Whole30 Week 1

Disclaimer: Despite being motivated, I failed my Whole30 on Day 6 and have not regained my momentum since. More on why I think I failed later in this post.

Three years ago I successfully completed a Whole30. It was wonderful and I felt great! I did not, however, follow a proper reintroduction and despite eating well-ish some of the times. I backslid into a typical SAD diet, got pregnant, let cravings run rampant, ate a ton of fast food, had complications breastfeeding, multiple surgeries, got pregnant again, committed to cooking healthy meals at home, had a healthy pregnancy and complication-free delivery, successful breastfeeding, and lost all of my second-baby weight in two months without dieting or exercising. I by no means feel like a failure and am very proud of my progress overall. I knew that this was an incredibly difficult time to attempt a Whole30, but I was feeling so frustrated and like a victim to my hormones and my obsession with food. Here’s how my week went:

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I made myself a nice batch of egg muffins with sweet-potato bottoms (starches are supposed to help keep milk supply up) and had three for breakfast. Lunch was Cuban pork wraps, mustard-mayo sauce and a lime slaw and dinner was meatballs I found at Costco with zoodles and a spinach-walnut pesto. I drank my coffee black and found it difficult to finish. My milk tanked… like 7oz for the day instead of my usual 11-12oz and I was a little upset that I had to throw in extra pumping sessions to make up for it. Other than that I felt pretty good all day long. No serious lethargy and I never got crazy hungry. (If you are familiar with breastfeeding needs you know why my milk tanked but at this point I wasn’t really sure and needed to experiment).

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Day 2 I drank significantly more water and managed to get my milk back to 9oz, but still not what I needed. Breakfast was the same three egg muffins, lunch was a buffalo chicken salad with a hard boiled egg and homemade avocado ranch and dinner was THE BEST THING I’VE EVER MADE! I had a jumbo spaghetti squash from my csa and my husband hates spaghetti squash (it’s a texture thing). I’ve tried them as pad thai, stuffed them, put them in casseroles, etc. and he’s hated it all. I finally tried these spaghetti squash fritters from Real Food with Dana (omitted the bacon and made my own sauce) and they were a hit! We used them as buns for a shredded chicken sandwich. Mine had homemade russian dressing, spinach, shredded chicken, and sauerkraut and his had bacon and spinach. He ate four fritters (in the form of two sandwiches) and my toddler ate an entire fritter himself plus a few extra bites. What a major win for mom!D86398DA-37BA-4E40-AB2A-F86A73D86143By Day 3 I was beginning to suspect a lack of calories was the reason for my milk supply issues and I added in a fourth meal plus some extra fat with my breakfast (half an avocado). When nursing I need about 2,000+ calories per day without exercising to keep up my supply (I generally log daily with MyFitnessPal) but logging on the Whole30 is a no-no and I was trying to stay within the guidelines. Breakfast was three muffins again, lunch was chicken shawarma with a cauliflower tabouleh and a tahini dipping sauce, and dinner was my husband’s favorite combination: tapioca-starch coated meat fried in avocado oil, steamed veggies, roasted cauli-rice, and whatever sauce I feel like making. This meal-type is a regular rotation in our house with things like sesame chicken, bang-bang shrimp, orange beef, teriyaki chicken, etc. This one was a combination of coconut aminos, sesame oil, red chili flakes, and rice wine vinegar. My fourth meal was one can of tuna, a scoop of homemade mayo, Cholula, and lime.

If you’re trying to stay sane on the Whole30 then you repeat a lot of meals. Days 4 and 5 get a little repetitive in that sense. On Day 4 we had family over for our weekly dinner and my husband smoked dry-rub ribs, roasted asparagus and I made a ranch mashed potato with coconut cream and mayo. With family around I often forget to take a snap of my food (plus it’s kinda a weird thing to do at a table full of people) so I’m using the picture of my leftovers-taken-for-fourth meal instead. Lunch both days was more buffalo chicken salads and breakfast was more egg muffins with avocado except I also added some spicy kraut to make it more interesting for my tastebuds. Friday is usually pizza night, but we opted for some oven roasted wings instead and I ate sooooo many because they were delicious. Pizza and wings are my all-time-hands-down favorite food.

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Day 6 is my sad day (Saturday). We had back-to-back birthday parties and I thought I was prepared. I ate a huge breakfast with potatoes, sugar-free bacon from Pederson Farms, spinach eggs and avocado. I also packed a Larabar “just in case” and I think that’s what caused my crash and burn. At the first party there was a taco bar so I helped myself to loads of marinated carnitas and chicken, scoops of homemade salsa, tomatoes, and lettuce for wraps. We managed to get our toddler down for a nap between parties but time was a crunch so I quickly ate Cashew Cookie (a beautiful combination of nuts and dates) and the sugar rush triggered massive cravings. When I got to the second party (a police academy graduation) there was a cake made from a mountain of donuts and I just couldn’t get it off my mind. Oddly enough I cheated on everything but the donuts. I had two jalapeno poppers, a taquito, (not cheat-worthy) boiled shrimp and raw veggies. The problem? Not what I ate, but what I felt. After this I spiraled into all my favorite things that I was avoiding (worth-it gourmet donuts, pizza, etc) and lost all the good feelings from the first week. Now I need to regroup, recommit, and plan a better time to try Whole30 again while making smart decisions (like lots of calories and more starches) that will support my milk production.

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Whole30 Shopping and Week 1 Meal Prep

I’m sure there are some people who can succeed on the Whole30 without meal planning or meal prepping, but not me. Unless I spent $$$ at Whole Foods every day? Despite wanting to clean up my diet I’m still on an extremely tight budget (about $125 per week for everything for my family of three) and just can’t afford not to cook at home and buy all the things. Wouldn’t it be great if organic/additive free/sugar free food was the norm and the conventional extra processed stuff was the exception? Yes, yes it would!

That’s not to say I didn’t buy anything for my Whole30, I need bacon after all! So here’s what I’ve got stocked up:

  1. My organic csa basket: this baby has netted me a lot of produce to get through. I’ve got two bunches of asparagus, two bags of spinach, two bags of grape tomatoes, 2lbs of yellow onions, two spaghetti squashes, one butternut squash, two heads of cauliflower, 1lb of broccoli, three green peppers, 1lb Brussels sprouts, two sweet potatoes, avocados, and 1lb of snow peas. (Yes, we can and will eat ALL the veggies)IMG_3050
  2. Costco: I get my non-perishables at Costco as much as possible so that includes coconut flour, almond flour, avocado oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and canned tuna (nothing added in there). I also buy canned chicken but this will be out for Whole30 since they add “Food Starch” which can be from anything. Eggs in my house are practically non-perishable since we can easily go through three dozen in a week which means those are a Costco food as well. Since nut butters, nuts, and dried fruit are out for emergency food I needed meat. Thankfully Costco has some great options with 0 junk that I stocked up on included Aidells chicken and apple sausages, smoked pulled pork, and chicken basil meatballs. Once home, I repacked all of these into smaller servings so that I could stash the extras in the freezer for later.IMG_3065
  3. Sprouts: Sprouts is the store where I fill in the gaps… and shop like I don’t know what I’m doing. This time around I picked up sugar-free Pederson’s bacon, a bag of kraut, some cashews, lemons, green onions, cilantro, and shallots. I usually buy my coconut milk, coconut aminos, tapioca starch, and arrowroot powder here too but I’m all stocked up on these essentials already so I didn’t need more.

Now to the meal prep! I can’t follow a strict meal plan because on Saturday I have no idea what I want to eat each day for the entire week. Instead, I make a checklist of meals I have the ingredients for and am interested in and then as I cook them I check them off the list. Often, I add things to the list that weren’t already there (for example there is nothing Mexican/Latin on my checklist this week and I already can tell I want some taco-meat in my near future so that’ll have to be corrected)

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This meal plan really should be called a “dinner plan”. When prepping only for myself I generally make a jar salad to take to work for lunch and egg muffins to take for breakfast. However, I’ve been meal prepping for family and friends the past month and got way fancier. My lunches this week were made on Sunday (when I made 96 meals in total) and include:

  1. Cuban pork lettuce wraps with mustard dipping sauce and cilantro-lime slaw
  2. Buffalo chicken cobb salad with avocado ranch
  3. Chicken shawarma with cauliflower tabouleh and tahini dipping sauceIMG_3066I’m about as prepared as I can be… now let’s just hope I can survive the ups and downs during the first two weeks and stay strong.

My Whole30 Plan

I vented in my last post about the struggle I’ve been having with the slippery slope of poor eating decisions. It’s time to lay down my plan, map out my calendar, and prepare myself for the struggles ahead. I recently read Melissa Hartwig’s Food Freedom Forever and I noticed in the alternative resets some suggestions for cravings and decided to add those rules to my own personal Whole30 Guidelines:

Whole30 Yes No List

In addition to all of the normal Whole30 Rules, I’m also not going to be snacking or “emergency food” planning with crave-worthy binge-starting foods like Larabars or handfuls of cashews or spoonfuls of sunflower seed butter. I find that when I create these emergency snacks for myself (like my mason jars full of cashews) they became everyday snacks. That’s not necessarily bad (nothing wrong with a daily handful of cashews) but for me it’s just another way to let food rule my mind and it’s got to go.

My husband doesn’t want to do a complete Whole30 and we decided for my success and for our two babies it’s probably better if we don’t both hit the tired/cranky stages at the same time. In fact, my husband gets HANGRY when he doesn’t eat enough and when we do a Whole30 he often feels like he doesn’t know what’s “ok” for him to eat or not so he just won’t eat. To make sure my house isn’t filled with tempting noncompliant foods he and the toddler will be following a modified yes/no list:

Modified Yes No

My son loves fresh corn and white rice so those will be his “occasional grains”. I also like him to get his probiotics in with yogurt/yogurt pops and some days the only protein I can get him to eat is cheese. Instead of eliminating those items, I’m going to find better quality sources and pay attention to the additives.

Finall, nothing is worse than doing a Whole30 and hitting the rough patches when you need to be on your A-game so I created myself a calendar. Like I said in my last post, this is probably the worst time to do a Whole30 but I just can’t wait any longer. In the next 30 days…

  1. I will turn 27
  2. My son will turn 2
  3. There will be three birthday parties, including the one I host for my son
  4. My dad and his family will visit for a week
  5. My uncle, his 7 kids and my grandfather will visit for a week

I won’t lie and say I’m not worried, but I’m sure I can navigate these events with mindful choices and pre-eating (where you eat before you go to a party/dinner/etc). To see where the Whole30 Calendar lines up with my days I needed a visual:

Whole30 CalendarLooks pretty good right? I’ve got this, and I’m going to feel so good when it’s done.

Up next: Prepping for the Whole30 and Whole30 Day 1 Reflection

 

 

One Day or Day One?

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I’ve been seeing this phrase all over instagram the past few weeks and kept telling myself, “it’s not the right time for me” and “just do the best you can right now” and “progress, not perfection” but my reality is not pretty. As a teacher my new year is in June. I complete my Whole30s in June; I get shit done in June. I let myself slide under the surface during the school year because my job takes so much out of my energy and willpower and my family takes whatever is left.

I am not somebody who is successful with moderation. I can’t just have “one soda on occasion” because occasions start to happen weekly and then next it’s daily and before I know it I’m buying a pallet of Diet Coke from Costco to reload my work fridge with that chemical-loaded caffeinated bubbly nectar. I can’t “treat yo-self” with “worth it” foods because I live with my sugar dragon on my shoulder whispering sweet nothings in my ear and converting all sugar to worth-it sugar. And yet, I tell myself I can do those things and be those things because it works so well for people who have their shit together. People who have followed a wholesome lifestyle for years and know themselves well. That’s not me. I have an unhealthy relationship with food. I obsess, I crave, I binge, I suffer (headaches, sluggishness, etc) although thankfully I don’t regret- I’ve had too many struggles that have taught me to love myself to let a pint of Ben & Jerry’s put me down.

But it’s funny because I also love to cook. In fact, despite the lack of “What We Ate” posts I’ve still been cooking great meals for my family. When I cook I love to cook dairy free, grain free, gluten free, sweetener free, veggie and protein packed meals that are delicious! I cook 3-4 nights per week and I meal prep breakfast and lunch 5 days per week. That means out of approximately 21 meals per week 14 are on point. Unfortunately, moderation does not work. The other 7 meals are Little Caesars, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Donuts or whatever is fast easy and cheap. I need a reset. Not in June when it’s easiest, but now. And it’s not just me. My husband needs a reset and my son (almost two) needs a reset. In fact, I’m convinced that all of the issues we have been facing with our moods and our energy levels can be sourced to the refined sugars and refined grains that have weaseled into our daily lives.

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So for now, instead of posting after the fact (which obviously didn’t work) I think I need to post my weekly plan for meals and meal prep and an in-the-moment diary of what really went down and how it made me/my husband/my son feel and act.

Hope you’re ready because I sure as hell am.

What We Ate 3

This post has been in my drafts forever (almost a week) because I need to sit down at a desktop and insert all of the links to the recipes but I haven’t done that. I refuse to wait any longer so the links will just be added later!

1: chicken basil meatballs with sweet potato fries and Brussels. This was an important freezer-Friday for me because I was so close to getting fast food when I remembered I had these meatballs and fries ready to go in my freezer. Being prepared saved me some regret and some money.

2. I think this was going to be Chicken pad Thai? But it ended up being a tossed together chicken, butternut noodle, Ming bean, broccoli, carrot and sunbutter sauce bowl-thing. And it was delicious.

3. My husband’s hands-down favorite meal this week. Sweet potatoes, Brussels and a ranch pork chop all roasted on one sheet pan plus cauliflower mash reheated in the microwave.

4. (Not pictured) Chili! We had about a dozen people over (aka my husbands mother and siblings) so we made a double batch of chipotle chili and I whipped up some cornbread muffins and white rice since they aren’t grain free although we usually are.

5. Can The Husband have two favorites? Tacos are on repeat at our house but this was my first time making fish tacos. I topped these babies with mango salsa and chipotle mayo slaw and did multiple happy dances the flavor was so good. Plus I got to use the leftover slaw and salsa on some shredded chicken later this week for an easy snack.

6. Another roasting night and it’s really ugly (Husband cooked, plates, and pictured this one for me because the baby was being particularly fussy). This is a paprika garlic drumstick, with leftover roasted sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels.

7. BEST FOOD EVER! Oh my goodness tapioca starch has fixed all of my crispy Chinese food needs for life. Crispy orange beef with broccoli, green beans, and roasted cauliflower rice. This recipe was so amazing my mom made it for her family the next day.

CSA Pickup and Meal Prep 1/27/17

It’s another beautiful week and my last basket of January. I’m so excited for next month because the seasonal produce will be shifting to include asparagus! Not that this month wasn’t great, but who doesn’t love asparagus?

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This week we got cauliflower, 2lbs of apples, spinach, cilantro, 1lb broccoli, tomatoes on the vine, three jalapeños, three limes, 3 avocados, 1lb of Brussels sprouts and a butternut squash.

I’m calling this week’s bag the “salsa pack” because it included almost everything my husband uses to make his favorite green-but-not-green salsa. He gets the tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime plus one of the jumbo onions from last week. The trick to his salsa is so much cilantro that it looks more green than red and blending it until super smooth.

What are my plans for the rest? Glad you asked! That cauliflower gets to be a cauli mash side dish, the broccoli is going in crispy orange beef, the butternut will be both noodles and a butternut Lasagna for the toddlers, the Brussels will get roasted and served as a side, the avocados go in my lunch and possible with some tacos if they make it that far and last but not least the spinach and some of the apples go in my salad.

Here’s what prep looked like this weekend:

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I’ve got Spanish rice and sliced grapes for the toddlers in the bottom left. Diced mangos, sliced Brussels sprouts, cauliflower mash and butternut noodles for dinners in the bottom middle. Along the right side is a chicken teriyaki bowl (sauce separate) for the Husband. In the middle are my jar salads, chorizo egg muffins, and plain egg muffins as well as the orange sauce for dinner later in the week. Top is a huge butternut Lasagna for the toddlers (and probably the husband) to devour this week.

Heres a close up of my salad. This week I’ve got an orange vinaigrette, apples, tomatoes, bacon, chicken and spinach and I’ll be topping the whole thing with half an avocado.

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Meal prep makes me so happy! I would do it all the time if I could…

 

CSA Pickup and Meal Prep Week of 1/20/17

This is my first basket pickup since returning to work and it was significantly more difficult to fit in. Pickup is Friday night and thanks to my meal prep from the previous weekend dinner was just a reheat from frozen in the oven (Burger Balls and Fries). But then my oven failed and dinner took longer than expected like 90 minutes instead of 20 since we had to fiddle and wiggle with the stupid wire boxes… That’s a story for another post. The point is, my CSA pickup is so close to my home that I’ve always packed up the boys and walked. It’s a routine I love so much that I wasn’t going to let a wonky oven and late dinner steal from me! It didn’t. I made the end of the window with 10 minutes to spare and was rewarded with another beautiful basket of produce.

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I made a couple adjustments with this basket and added on a few items as well. We got purple potatoes, butternut squash, yams, orange bell peppers, garlic, romaine, spinach, green onion, Brussels sprouts, mini sweet peppers, and pears.

We also ran to our local grocer and picked up cauliflower to replenish our frozen cauli rice stash, cabbage for slaw, and fruit (cuties, grapes, apples, bananas) for snacking. I wanted to try something new this week so Meal Prep was super intensive. Plus at this point our oven was 100% dead and I had to travel to borrow someone else’s oven. Such a mess!

regardless, I pulled through and managed to make 3 dozen eggs worth of adult sized and mini sized spinach-ham-egg muffins for myself, my husband and my toddler. I skipped breakfast TWICE my first week back at work and knew I didn’t want to do it again. I always come home in a binge-y mood if I don’t eat enough during the day. We also riced and froze three heads of cauliflower, shredded the cabbage, and spiralized the zucchini. I made a pound of mini chicken teriyaki meatballs and white rice for the toddler’s lunches, plus Thai meatballs and chicken basil meatballs for dinners this week. I halved and roasted our Brussels sprouts (before the oven died) and washed and sliced all the grapes.

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My salads this week were quick and easy. 8 diced ALL the orange bell peppers and layered them with ranch, avocado, and rotisserie chicken that I drenched in Frank’a Redhot. Thanks to the bell peppers my jars were so full I had to bag the lettuce separately for the first time ever.

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And for the first time my husband asked me to pack him lunches instead of just leftovers… except he HATES salad. I had to get creative and we decided that a “noodle” jar (like the noodle bowls we’ve been having for dinner) would work well. So I whipped up a Teriyaki sauce, grilled some chicken, grated some carrots and topped it with a generous handful of zucchini noodles and two scoops of white rice. We’ll see if they’re successful…

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What did you prep this week? Next time I’d like to time my meal prepping so I can work on efficiency and time value.

What We Ate 2

This post took me forever to complete. Most of these dinners split across two weeks because of family birthday dinners, weekly family dinner with my mother-in-law, and back to work madness delaying me finding the time to write it all up. I’m pretty sure I already have Week 3 ready to go… whoops!

1. Cracklin’ Chicken is a favorite in our house and I always go back to it again and again. Nothing beats that extra crispy skin with the super juicy chicken underneath. We paired this protein with her garlic mashed cauliflower, buttery smashed sweet potatoes, and a zucchini gratin from ibreatheimhungry

2. (Not pictured) Maple salmon and smoked salmon are the husband’s two favorite salmon preparations (he only tolerates my other attempts). This salmon recipe from lexiscleankitchen was super simple and delicious although I left out the coconut sugar because that’s not something I have in my pantry. Served it with more garlic mashed potatoes and lemon butter green beans.

3. Whole30/Paleo Sloppy Joe’s. This is probably my all-time favorite comfort food. It hits all my sweet spots of salty and still sweet (from sweet potatoes underneath) with tomato-y notes and a savory goodness that makes me want to lick the bowl. Jaysbakingmecrazy has the best recipes and I turn to that website time and time again when I’m looking for something that warms my heart. I served on top of spiralized butternut squash noodles (from my meal prep) and roasted sweet potatoes.

4. Salmon Cake Eggs Benedict. This was an on-the-fly breakfast but I wanted to include it with What We Ate since we ate it! I mixed up my very first homemade hollandaise from StupidEasyPaleo, poached my very first eggs, and stacked it all on top of wilted spinach and salmon patties (recipe from empowered sustenance) using my leftover salmon and leftover sweet potatoes.

5. Very delicious but boring leftover dinner with the green beans and sloppy joe’s warmed up in the microwave…

6. Thai chicken stir fry from Kalyn’s Kitchen served on top of roasted cauliflower rice with sesame spiralized butternut squash noodles and a big heap of Mel Joulwan’s sunshine sauce. My son is obsessed with those noodles + that sauce and could probably eat 2-3 cups worth if it didn’t run out. Anything that gets him enjoying vegetables is a win in my book!

7. Over the weekend I marinated Juli Bauer’s Cuban Pork and will probably make a few meals of it. This night was pork tacos topped with pico, avocado, cilantro lime slaw, pickled red onions, and fresh avocado and served with a side of salty fried plantains. Definitely going to be a repeat dinner in the future!

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Snacks

I recently saw a sponsored post on my Facebook account toting oatmeal cookies as a “perfect” afterschool snack and it really irritated me… enough to write a blog post… possibly more than it should have.

IMG_2359.PNGI love cookies. I bake cookies. I share cookies with my toddler. But to me, cookies are a treat. Not something we eat every day. Certainly not something we eat every day after school and definitely not something I categorize as a “snack”. So, to rebut this post I thought I would share some of the things I snack on and my toddler snacks on as well…

  1. Curried Cashews
  2. Banana Almond Butter Muffins
  3. Carrot Pineapple Muffins
  4. Pickles
  5. Olives
  6. Cheese
  7. Yogurt Bites
  8. Cauliflower Tater Tots
  9. Snap Pea crisps
  10. Popcorn
  11. Blueberries
  12. Strawberries
  13. Apples
  14. Cuties
  15. Almond/Rice Crackers
  16. Butternut Squash Noodles
  17. Mini Meatballs
  18. Grape Tomatoes
  19. Applesauce Pouches
  20. Cheddar-Pecan Crisps

So there! Can advertisers and money-makers please stop advertising “snacks” to children that really shouldn’t be snacks at all? Let’s save yummy oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies for occasional treats rather than daily routines.

CSA Pick Up and Meal Prep Week of 1/13/17

My CSA is the best. Each Friday afternoon they post what’s in the bag for the week as well as the prices of add-on items. I get until Sunday to place my order and make any substitutions that I need (for example we don’t eat mushrooms and usually swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes instead). I also tend to add on some of our favorites that we eat every week if they aren’t included (like zucchini, green onion, or cauliflower) but for the most part I let what’s in the bag determine what we eat that week so my family gets a good variety. This week couldn’t have been better suited for us! I only subbed out the carrots because we still had some left from a 5lb bag in our fridge:

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This week’s bag included a cheddar cauliflower, celery, romaine, 1lb each of Brussels sprouts and green beans, apples, one orange, onions, a bag of spinach and yams.

That means this week we will be whole roasting cauliflower to serve with ribs, the apples, celery and romaine will go in my salads with the leftover celery heading to my mom and leftover apples for snacking green beans will be going in orange chicken bowls, Brussels will be halved and roasted to caramel-y goodness as a side, the orange will be turned into a mojo marinade, and the yams will be smashed and baked as a delicious starchy side of serve as substitute buns for burger balls. Yum!

Meal prep was a lot of fun this week and probably the most productive I’ve ever been. I made myself a planner in word and had it printed at UPS. As you can see my son was also very helpful…

The meal prep included cauliflower tots for the toddler, white sweet potato fries blanched frozen and ready to bake, sliced Brussels and green beans, salmon patties for snack, burger balls frozen and ready for dinner, five jars of chicken salad salad, and a chipotle lime mayo for everything.

Hope your three day weekend was awesome too!