Recipes

Is there chocolate after whole30? Duh.

Let’s talk about chocolate.

I think my feelings can best be expressed through this lovely quote found on Pinterest:


via

I was willing to give it up for Whole30.  I fought my sugar demons (and won).   But good chocolate?  Dark chocolate?  Smooth, creamy, delicious chocolate?  That’s not something I’m willing to give up forever.  Because life without chocolate is not life, my friends.  End of story.

That being said, I do have some thoughts about what qualifies as good chocolate now.   I could care less about a Hersey’s bar.  I wouldn’t give a Nestle’s chocolate chip a second glance.  Don’t even try to tempt me with a Hershey’s kiss.  I guess you could say I’m a chocolate snob.  And I’m ok with that.

Which is how I ended up in my kitchen making my own chocolate.

homemade_chocolate

Picking my own ingredients, tweaking the recipe until I got just the right consistency and just the right flavor.  (I know, who am I?)    I even did blind taste-tests with unsuspecting guests which served two purposes (1) validate my efforts to solidify the best recipe and (2) rid the house of the abundance of chocolate.  I may have fought my sugar demons and won…but they are still there just waiting to be awoken.

I know I have to be careful about how much to indulge.  I’ve made so much progress on Whole30 that the last thing I want to do is revert back to old habits because it’s a slippery slope.  The good news is that since making this I’ve been able to be quite reasonable about eating it.  I’m satisfied after a piece and don’t feel the need for “just one more bite.”   I don’t indulge everyday.   I feel all grown up and what not.

So let’s talk about this chocolate.  It’s full of good-for-you stuff.  Like raw honey, coconut oil and cocoa butter.  The combination of which give it a smooth, creamy almost chewy texture.    That’s actually what surprised me the most about this homemade version…there’s a noticeable difference in texture that’s literally a little softer and chewier than a store-bought bar.  And it’s divine.

homemade_chocolate2

The cocoa powder gives it that decadent chocolate flavor and a touch of vanilla balances out the flavors and sweetens it up just a titch.

You definitely don’t need any sort of fancy mold to make chocolate (just pour it out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper), but I thought it would be fun to have bite-sized pieces that you could just grab.  Plus it might help me from over-indulging (who me?).

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I personally am a fan of salted chocolate, so I finished these with a sprinkle of sea salt.  If you don’t care for the salty/sweet combo just omit that.  The chocolate will still be delicious.  Promise.

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Homemade Salted Chocolate

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredientshomemade_chocolate6

Directions

  1. Melt cocoa butter, coconut oil and raw honey in a double boiler, stirring continuously (if you don’t have raw honey that needs to be melted, add it during step 2).
  2. Once all ingredients have melted, remove from heat and stir in cocoa powder and vanilla extract until well combined.
  3. Carefully pour chocolate into molds, or schmear across a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  4. While still hot, sprinkle the chocolate with sea salt (I like a lot, you may not)
  5. Put molds (or cookie sheet) in the refrigerator to set the chocolate (around 30 minutes)
  6. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Due to the coconut oil, it’s best to store the chocolate in the fridge.  It should last a bit longer in there too (because maybe you’ll forget that you have it???  Doubtful.)
  • I haven’t experimented with this much, but it would be fun to add different flavor extracts (almond, mint?) or toppings (roasted almonds, coconut, bacon.  Yes.  Bacon).

 

*recipe adapted from wellnessmama

 

whole30 wrap-up (with my ten tips for success and top five recipes)

I’m just over a week in to “life after whole30.”  I’ve reintroduced eggs with no repercussions….but my almonds?  My almond butter?  We might have a problem.  I’ve had a minor headache each day since eating them, and I’m not sure if it’s the almonds, or the extreme lack of sleep due to a sick kiddo (read:  I pretty much pulled an all-nighter this weekend and not in a good way).

So, I’m going to give almonds another try at reintroduction.  Because life is just so much better when you can schmear almond butter all over everything.  Right?

Anyhoo.  I’ve been updating ya’ll throughout this whole process (see week 1, week 2, week 3, and week 4 here), but I wanted to do one final recap to put my  all of my thoughts together.   Because looking back it’s really quite amazing just how far I’ve come in 30 days.   Remember when I was dreading it?  Certain I couldn’t live without cheese?

I’m not even kidding when I say I don’t even care about cheese anymore.  Seriously.  I really don’t even want it.  Chocolate?  That’s a different story.

I started Whole30 for two main reasons.  First, to try and identify (and/or confirm) any potential food allergies or sensitivities.  Second, to address some other unpleasantries occurring much too often for my liking (headaches, stomach aches after eating, general feistiness and irritability, and insomnia).    I’m still working towards identifying my food allergies/sensitivities through reintroduction (a process that will take awhile) but I’m confident that I’ll know pretty quickly if I have any.   My results otherwise have been amazing.  No more headaches.  Not one stomach ache since Day 1.  My irritability has vastly improved (this one’s harder to gauge since I’ll obviously still get mad or annoyed sometimes or have bad days.  But I definitely don’t have the crazy “swings” anymore).   Unfortunately my insomnia hasn’t gotten much better.  I still have terrible sleep most nights.  However Abby still wakes up most nights.  So part of me wonders if my body is just staying “on alert” waiting for the inevitable “momma!!”

In the end, I’ll take the “wins” I’ve gained over the sleepless nights.  And even though I’m not sleeping very well my energy is still incredible during the day.  My skin seems brighter and clearer.  I feel stronger.  I feel more confident.  And I lost 6 pounds so my body feels leaner and healthier.   I do have before and after pics but I’m terrified to post them on the Internet.  ha.  I can spill my guts out here in written form, but in the literal form?  Ummm…..not ready for that.

What’s been unexpectedly awesome during this past month are the people that are inspired by what I’ve done and are considering whole30 themselves.  So I thought I’d put together my top ten tips.  I’ll try to stay succinct.  But no promises.

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1.  Read the plan.  Like really.  Read it.

The whole30.com website has a ton of information to get you started.  There are downloads available, forums and FAQ’s.  I studied this site for a good two weeks before starting.  But I also highly, highly recommend reading the book, It Starts With Food before you start.  It answered so many questions, explains the science behind why foods are off-limits, and even has recipes to get you started if you need them.  The $10 it took was money well spent (I bought the Kindle version).

2.  Plan your meals.  Like a boss.

This is my #1 piece of advice.  I would have been lost without meal planning.  Then again, planning comes naturally to me and I generally feel lost without one.  I would literally scour recipes (and my pantry to see what I already had), then write out what I was going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner each week (allotting for leftovers in there as well).  Once that was done it only took a few minutes to make my shopping list.

3.  Say hello to a new kind of Sunday Funday (aka meal prep).

I chose to dedicate part of my weekend to meal prep.  Either making my breakfasts (so they could easily be reheated), making a batch of soup (to use as a side), or even pre-making a dinner if I knew I’d be short on time one evening.  Not everyone may want to do this, but it was so helpful on days where I just needed to grab something and go, or got home late from work.  Well worth the time spent.  Also, be prepared to spend a lot of time in the kitchen either cooking, cleaning up from cooking, or eating.

4.  Support at home is nice, but not necessary.

While the Hubs was very supportive of whole30, he wasn’t officially doing it with me.  Therefore I didn’t raid our pantry/fridge and eliminate non-compliant foods.  I thought this might be hard having temptation at my fingertips, but my will power was surprisingly strong.  I think just knowing that one slip-up meant starting over at Day 1 was enough to keep me on track.  Although, I will admit it was harder to turn an eye to the beer, chocolate, chips and cheese during the first few weeks.    Also, I was still cooking all sorts of other food for Abby too and I think what I noticed most about continuing to do that….is that I did a lot of mindless “bites” or “snacking” before when I would cook her dinner.  I’m really conscious of doing that now, which is a good thing.

5.  You won’t miss alcohol as much as you think. 

Weird, but true.  I mean there were definitely times when we were out and it would have been nice to have a beer.  Or wine.  But for the majority of the time?  It was ok.   It really only stung a little when we were out in a social setting.

6.  “The sugar demon is strong with this one.”  

I knew giving up sugar would be hard.  But I wasn’t prepared for just how hard it would be.  Sugar is in virtually everything so you either have to find an alternative, make your own version of it, or just forget about it.  I think I missed it more than I thought I would, and I definitely wasn’t mentally ready for fighting those demons.  In fact, I’m even more scared to wake them up; which is why I still haven’t had any.

7.  Not all Whole30’s are created equal. 

I found out pretty quickly that not everyone approaches Whole30 the same way.  Simply searching “#whole30” on Instagram or Pinterest doesn’t necessarily yield good results.  Oftentimes recipes deemed compliant were far from it.   Some of the meals pictured were in no way following the meal plan guidelines for servings of meat vs. veggies vs. fruit.  Not everyone follows the meal plan to a “T” and that can be hard if you’re trying to.  It’s easy to avoid these errors if you’ve read the book and studied the guide, and I was glad I had.

8.  Document it.

I kept a daily journal of how I was feeling, what was going well, what wasn’t, and what my favorite foods were.  I also reported here on a weekly basis to recap everything.  Looking back I actually think that both of those exercises were really helpful.  I could see progress being made, and when I hit low points (um, week 2!) I could look back and remind myself that “this too shall pass.”   It also reminded me that despite the hard things, good things were happening too.

9.  If you need more support, get it!

I was so lucky to have a girlfriend doing this with me.  Granted, she was in a different state…but just to even bounce a question off of her, complain about a hard day/craving or swap recipes with was so nice.  I’m so grateful for that.  But if you don’t have someone doing it with you?  The Whole30 forum is awesome.  I often found myself looking for answers there.  From the looks of it there are people starting everyday and talking about it on the forum, so you can buddy up with a virtual group of people that started around the same time as you.  It’s a great support mechanism.

10.  It will get easier.

I know at the beginning it’s overwhelming.  It’s stressful.  It’s scary.  You should have seen me leading up to that first week.  I had lists stuffed in every pocket, recipes pinned up the wazzoo (want my board?  click here), charts and lists printed off to study.  It was a whole30 command center up in here.  But I promise you.  It will get easier.  You’ll get comfortable with the food lists.  You’ll find recipes that you love.  And pretty soon it won’t seem like a chore…it will be exciting and easy.

That’s a lot of words.  So much for being succinct.

Let’s move on to my top five recipes (with pictures!) that I’m keeping in my rotation (remember that some ingredients might need to be omitted to be whole30-compliant).

Cinnamon “Greek” Beef Stew.  This is the most flavorful, yummy, delicious stew I think I’ve ever had.  It’s not like traditional stew…it reminds me of an Indian dish in a way.  No wonder I like it.

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theclothesmakethegirl.com

 

Artichoke Lemon Pesto Chicken Squash.   You had me at artichoke pesto.  Seriously.  DELISH.

PaleOMG – Paleo Recipes – Artichoke Lemon Pesto Chicken Pasta
paleomg.com

 

Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Skins.  My love for sweet potatoes has only grown during these past 37 days.  Partially due to these guys.

Healthy Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Skins-4
www.halfbakedharvest.com

 

Larb.  Why-oh-why must you look so unappetizing?  P.S.  your name doesn’t help either.  But man, Larb.  I think I love you.

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foodnetwork.com

 

Mustard Garlic Brussels Sprouts.  Just make these.

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Seriously though?  Almost everything I made/ate was really good this past month.  You can look at my weekly recaps for more recipe ideas, or hop over to my Pinterest board.

My final thougthts on whole30?   I am so thankful I pushed through my fears and worries and just did it.    It really has changed my life.   So much that I plan to continue to try and eat this way (at least when I’m in control of making my meals).  It really has changed my relationship with food and I have a better sense of how certain foods make me feel, and how that age-old saying of “you are what you eat” is so, so true.

I think everyone should give whole30 a try.   It might just change your life too.

xoxo,

done-talking-about-whole30-for-awhile (and still-missing-almond-butter) Janna

whole30; week 4

Twenty NINE days ya’ll.

Just two more days of Whole30, can you believe it?  Or is it kind of like that weird phenomenon where everyone else’s pregnancy seems like a blink of an eye and yours seems like a decade?  Perhaps this flew by for you.  That must be nice.  Sooooo……yeah.  Just two more days.  And I have to admit I’m not quite sure how I feel about this all coming to an end.  But more on that later.   First I want to update you on what’s happened this past week, days 23-29.

This fourth week has been pretty smooth sailing.  By now I am comfortable planning my meals, buying compliant ingredients without having to scrutinize every single label, eating outside of my house, and working my second job in the kitchen.   It feels comfortable.  It feels good.  And it feels (gasp) easy.  I also feel pretty damn amazing too; my energy is insane, my headaches are gone and I haven’t had a stomach ache since starting this whole program.   Oh and bonus…I’m pretty sure I’ve lost some weight.  I’m not supposed to weigh myself until day 30 but most if not all of my clothes fit differently now (in a good way), so I’m not complaining.

I had the appointment with my naturopath last week and it went really well.  In fact she said, and I quote, “You are one of those patients that’s young, motivated and basically curing yourself on your own without me really having to do anything.”

Um….can I get a refund then?

No, really.  Can I?

Anyhoo…she’s right.  I feel like I’m on the right track.  Slowly but surely my symptoms are all but disappearing and it feels really good.  In fact, my Dr. even gave me kudos for bringing Whole30 to her attention and said that it’s one of the better elimination diets that she’s researched.  She’s even asked a few other patients to do it (I mean really, she should be paying me, amiright?).

All kidding aside, it’s been nice to have her guidance through this whole process and I never would have known about my Vitamin D deficiency without the blood work.  So I don’t look at that as time wasted or money ill-spent.   If anything it just makes me believe that sometimes the answers are a little more common sense than we want to admit.

Anyways…this week also brought some struggles.  Minor ones compared to weeks 1, 2 and 3…but struggles nonetheless (and shocker….the Hub’s birthday cheesecake wasn’t the issue).  What got me this week was being ok with bending the rules of Whole30 a little bit.  So far I’ve been fairly strict about what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat.  But there was one day that we didn’t eat dinner until 9:00 p.m……which put me 8 hours in between meals.  Whole30 says to only go 4-5 hours and to definitely, definitely NOT eat close to bedtime.  But duuuuuude.  By 9:00 I was starrrrrrving.  I had to eat.  It also caused me to snack on an apple and a Larabar in between meals.  Which I don’t feel terrible about, but is just one of those things that I wish I could’ve changed.   P.S. Bianca came close to coming out that day.

The other issue I had was snacking.  There were a couple of days that I found myself snacking before or after a meal if I didn’t feel quite satisfied.  A handful of nuts, or half of an apple or something.  Nothing non-compliant but definitely not what I should be doing.  That’s messed with me a little mentally because I thought I wouldn’t have any issues with that after the first week.   Especially because I didn’t let myself snack then, so why did I do it now?   So….that’s been hard.  In some ways I feel like I haven’t quite mastered the mental side of this yet.

I just don’t want to mess up after having made it so far.  Ya know?

In the end I consider those minor struggles.  Especially after everything I’ve already gone through to get here.  So if the worst thing I’m doing is eating some extra nuts during the day?  I think I’m doing pretty well.

Food-wise I did a lot of repeat meals this week (some of my favorites from the previous weeks), so I only have a few pictures to show for it.

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I did make a few new things that were pretty dang good.

  • The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat.  I have to admit I was a little skeptical of this recipe given the title.  But….man.  It was pretty dang good.  And it probably should be after requiring a 2-hour brining, then a spice rub, then actually baking it….and making a dipping sauce.   (you must make the dipping sauce!  It makes this recipe!)
  • Cocoa-Toasted Cauliflower.  If you’re eating lots of veggies…it’s nice to spice them up every now and then!
  • Chicken Adobo.  Do you like vinegar?  Then you’ll like this.  I’ve made this a few times during Whole30 (thanks Erin!), but just had a hard copy of a recipe that was straight from a cookbook.  I found one online that is pretty much the same.

So what’s next?  Well on Day 31 I can reintroduce a food.  Then wait 3 days and pay close attention to how I’m feeling.  If I feel ok (i.e. no reoccurrence of my initial symptoms), I can continue to eat that food.  If I start to see old symptoms coming back in those 3 days then I know I could be sensitive to it.  My plan at this point is to reintroduce items in this order:

  1. eggs
  2. almonds
  3. wine or beer   (stop judging me….you’re lucky I didn’t put it first)

After that I guess I’ll just try different food groups (dairy, gluten, beans, etc.)  But it’s going to be a long process, I mean it will take over two weeks just to get through those first three things!   At first I thought I’d just skip reintroducing a few things all-together (if I wasn’t particularly missing it, etc.) ….but then I realized I definitely SHOULD try each group at least once….just to know if it bothers me.  I basically have a clean slate right now and it’d be a shame not to use it and start to identify some of these things.

Which brings me back full circle to why I’m a little nervous to be done with the program.  I feel the best I have in months (or longer) right now.  I’m a little nervous about what “ending” this means.  I want to continue to feel good but I know eating like this long-term isn’t sustainable.   And I know I can’t go back to eating the way I was before (which in my opinion wasn’t terrible!).  So I guess I’m just nervous about where I’m going to end up.  Because right now I really have no idea.  Eating Whole30 isn’t sustainable long-term.  I know that.  But I hope I can do it most of the time, reintroduce a few things to broaden my options, and then just be ok with a few “extras” here and there (I’m looking at you chocolate cake).  So…..yeah.  I’m just nervous about the whole thing all together.

Isn’t that ironic.  I’m probably more scared to STOP Whole30 than I was to START.   Funny how that works.

So that’s where I’m at.  I’m planning on doing one more Whole30 recap just to sum up my whole experience with it, and then I may do one or two more posts as I reintroduce foods because I think it could be interesting (what was that first taste of sugar like?  Was it disgusting (impossible), what it all I was am dreaming of? (likely).

Thirty, flirty and thriving,  (ok fine, thirty-four),

Janna

whole30; week 3

Heyo!   Well, I’ve got one more week of whole30 under my belt and I’m so, so, SO excited to report that week 3 was much better than week 2.  And thank goodness because I’m no sure I would have made it through another one of those.

Just to be clear though,  I would still eat a piece of chocolate if I could.  That desire hasn’t gone away completely.  I just don’t feel like I’m going to poke my eyeballs out if I don’t have some.  So I’m considering it a win.

Overall, week three has been pretty uneventful.  The biggest challenges I faced were (1) a girls night out (2) a work lunch and (3) an impromptu overnight trip.   All of these events included eating out away from the comfort of my own cooking (and ingredient scrutinizing).  Some of them also included turning my head to copious amounts of alcohol, french fries, chocolate dessert and maybe some nachos (uh hem, you know who you are).   All in all I faired pretty well.  My biggest complaint is that I found I just couldn’t eat enough at a restaurant and I usually hungry before my next meal (or went to bed hungry).  So looking back, here are my biggest tips for eating out and traveling on Whole30:

Restaurants:

  • Research the menu.  Look up the menu online and research your options.   Note a few entrées that you think could work and list any questions you have (are the nuts on the salad raw?  What oil is the chicken cooked in? etc.).  Plus, you’ll feel better having scoured the menu and knowing what options there really are for you.
  • Contact the Restaurant.  I found it easiest to email the restaurant with those questions.  That way you usually get an owner responding that will actually take the time to find out.  I worry about waiters just trying to hurry you along in the moment and not really knowing the answer to your question.  This worked really well for our girls night out.  We were going to a small local tapas place and I actually got a response from the owner who consulted the chef.  Since tapas are usually made to order it was fairly simple to find quite a few options here.  And she even offered up a few I had overlooked on the menu.  I tried the same approach for my work lunch and never heard back – and I think it’s because it was more of a chain restaurant.  I ended up having to ask all of my questions to the waiter on-the-spot.
  • Make a list.  As nerdy as this sounds – I actually wrote everything down (my entre’ choices, items that had to be omitted, and any outstanding questions I had) and brought it with me.  I felt like a complete idiot.  But hey….it’s not worth screwing up my whole 30 days for 1 stupid meal.  So it’s worth it.
  • Questionable Ingredients.  If you are in doubt of an ingredient, just ask them to leave it off or remove it yourself.  Again, not worth it!
  • Go-To’s.  Salads are usually a safe bet if you omit what you can’t have, and ask them to cook the protein (chicken or whatever) in plain olive oil on the side.  You can bring your own compliant dressing or just use oil and vinegar.
  • Bring extra food.  I brought a Larabar to eat afterwards to get some extra fat if I didn’t feel full.  I ended up eating it both times after my meal and I think it helped.  Even though I was still hungry a few hours later.

Traveling

  • Pack Meals.  Even though I was traveling to my parents house for the night and they eat even better than I do (no joke)….I still cooked my own dinner and breakfast and packed it along.   I figured if I could eat what was there, I would.  And if I couldn’t at least I knew I had enough compliant food to eat otherwise.   I did end up eating most of my food, so I was glad I brought it.  It really just took the stress out of having to try and figure it out.

And what to do when your travel destination is a concert at a Brewery?  Well…you bottle up all of that feel-good energy you now have and dance your arse off.   Plus get your friends home safe.  PLUS you wake up feeling like a million bucks.  It’s a win-win-win then, right?

About those late-night nachos though (and if I told you what time time I’m calling late-night you would laugh in my face)….I don’t really have any recommendations there.  Although I can honestly say that it really wasn’t too much torture….I hadn’t been drinking so I wasn’t really hungry anyways…and my cravings are more for sweets than savory.  So yeah.  It all just kind of works itself out.

Bottom line:  You CAN eat out on Whole30.  You CAN travel.  You CAN go to breweries and concerts and still have fun.   I mean, look at how excited we all are in that pic?  hahaha.   All it takes is a little fore-thought and planning.   I will say this though:  I’m not sure I would have been as successful if all of this happened during week 1 (or 2 good lord), but week 3 was the perfect time for me to branch out and test myself.

Anywho….

Let’s talk about my symptom update.

  • Headaches:  No headaches.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada.
  • Sleep:  Sleep was…..fine.  No tossing and turning.  No waking up and not being able to go back to sleep (unless of course Abby wakes up.  Then it’s game over).   I was able to get back into my workout routine this week and I think that’s helped make me tired at night.  Now I’m back to going to bed between 9 and 10.  Thank goodness.
  • Bianca (aka irritability) :  Nope.  Nothing here.  In fact I found myself laughing a few times with Abby in instances where I know I would have been frustrated before.  (Oh, you want to take your pants off while I’m driving the car?  Ok.   Oh, you’re going to slap momma in the face while I try and get your shoes on and p.s. we are sooooooo late right now?)
  • Energy:  My energy throughout this ordeal has been through the roof.  No afternoon spikes and dips.  I just feel “ON” all.  day.  long.
  • Tummy troubles:  Still no stomach issues.

I had some really good meals this week.  Including a few surprise ones (I’m talking to you middle picture!  You didn’t sound OR look good) that turned out (queue Oprah voice) ahhhhhhhhhhhh-mayyyyyy-ziiiiiiiing.

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Here are my fav’s:

  • Turkey Larb – (thanks Erin!).  Say hello to my new favorite breakfast.  I can hardly believe I’m saying that.  But dude….I made this with elk and eat it in lettuce wraps and pair it with some zucchini soup.  So good.  I still think the name sounds gross, but this is so good.
  • Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Skins – these were delicious.   I made a bunch of them ahead of time to just reheat for a quick lunch or dinner.   I couldn’t find chipotle in adobo sauce without to sugar to save my life, so I just used dried peppers.
  • Pesto Spaghetti Squash – (thanks Judi!).  This was surprisingly really really good.   I’m so glad I tried it.  I had to make my own compliant pesto, but that was easy and this was the perfect side.
  • Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa.   This was the perfect mix of sweet and spicy.   And so nice to get some fish in the rotation!

Per usual – all of these recipes need adapting to be Whole30 compliant…but it’s usually fairly straight forward.  And even ingredients that you think you’ll miss (like fish sauce in the larb, or cheese in the squash) you don’t even notice.  These dishes hold their own!

And with that I’m in the home-stretch folks.  One more week of Whole30 before I start re-introducing foods.  Mama Mia…..buy me some eggs and almonds.  Those are for sure the first two things I’m going to try.  I need almond butter in my life.   NEEEEEEEED IT.   After that?  I really don’t know.  I definitely can’t  reintroduce everything….I mean….then what’s the point of doing this?  I feel good and I want to continue to feel good.  So I really don’t know what my diet will look like 4 weeks from now.  I’d like to think I’m doing a more relaxed version of Whole30 (you know, being ok with sugar in my fish sauce or bacon and having some beer).  But I really don’t know.  I have an appointment with my natruralpath this week so I’m sure she’ll have some advice and guidance for me.

For now, I’m just going to focus on making it through this last week which just happens to include the Hub’s birthday.   I can totally handle that, right?  Resisting the wood-fired pizza at the ski hill.   Drinking water instead of beer during apres ski.   Turning down the huckleberry cheesecake that I make from scratch (ok a piece of that might need to go in the freezer for me).

whole30; week 2 (alternative title: where my demons hide)

Wow.  The kumbaya of week 1 got a harsh slap in the face by week 2.   Specifically Days 9 and 10.

Here I was, going about my day…la la la…and BAM.  All I could think about was chocolate cake.  And I couldn’t stop.   How sweet, moist and spongy it is.  How the chocolate frosting would be so creamy, rich and decadent when I sliced my fork through it to get a giant bite.  I could almost taste it.  I was probably drooling.

Seriously.  The drool is what probably alerted me to the fact that I was sitting at work staring off into space.  I shake my head and tell myself to pull it together.  This is crazy thinking!

So I’d get myself together, and I’d be good for a little while.  Maybe 20 minutes.  Then BAM.

Cookies.  So chewy and sugary and mmmmm…. I could smell the sugar.

BAM.

Pancakes.  Fluffy and buttery and syrupy.

BAM.

Collllllld, carmely, delicious frothy beer.  MMMMMM.

Oh what’s that?  A brownie?  You want in on this too brownie?  Ok.

Seriously.  This was the cycle I went through ALL DAY for TWO days.   Let me just repeat that.

Two days.  All day long.

I’d be fine…doing my thang….and then BAM.  An obsession with a food would hit.  Any old food, really.  As long as it was sweet and I couldn’t eat it.

It was torture my friends.  Pure torture.  And the scary thing is that most of the time when I was fantasizing about these things, I wasn’t hungry at all.  I was just craving them.   Sometimes even scrolling through Pinterest or my Instagram feed was too much.  Damn lucky bitches eating cake.  Drinking mochas!  Licking ice cream!  How dare they.

I even dreamt about chocolate cake one night.  No joke!  And I’m one of those people who rarely remembers their dreams (perhaps because I never get into a deep enough sleep to dream in the first place!  HA).

I believe this is what they call “Fighting the Sugar Demons” people.

And I got it baaaaad.

To top things off, Bianca made an appearance or two.  Super cranky.  Super frustrated.  Super snappy.  Case in point:  my dogs panting was driving me up the wall to the point that I wanted to kick her out of my bedroom at night.    Poor Summit.   She’s just old and fluffy and panty.  But that night every pant was like a little tap, tap, tap with a dull knife into my eyeball (a knife that would much better be suited for slicing chocolate cake).   I was dying.  And probably twitching a little bit too.

I tell you, I was a roller coaster of emotions this week.

But I stuck with it.  I didn’t slip.  And I’m damn proud of that.

I do need to fess up to one thing though.  I did make some banana ice cream.  You know, “ice cream” that is nothing more than a frozen banana, some coconut milk, and some cinnamon blended into a cold frothy treat.  And I’ll say this:  it was delicious.  It was no ice cream.  But it was delicious.  And technically not off-plan because I used all approved ingredients….however….this is what Whole30-ites call SWYPO (sex with your pants on).  I’ll give you a minute to just laugh at that…but basically the idea is you’re supposed to eliminate your cravings, not just replace them with a paleo-fied version of it.  So, I won’t make a habit of it.  Although I did think afterwards how maybe a little touch of unsweetened cocoa powder might really take it to the next level.  Ha.

As for my other symptoms, here’s an update – just to keep some consistency in these weekly updates:

  • Headaches:  No headaches (just an itty-bitty one on Tuesday; piece of cake!)  Ha.  Wow….didn’t even mean to use that pun there.  I’m even thinking about cake subconsciously now.
  • Sleep:  Sleep was terrible.  I usually had so much energy at night that I could often be found cleaning at 11:00 p.m.  I wouldn’t get tired until 11 or later each night and then draaaaaag my butt out of bed at 6:30 each morning.
  • Bianca (aka irritability) :  Clearly I had some irritability this week.
  • Energy:  Despite my terrible sleeping, once I woke up my energy was good.  And lasted all day (and much too long into the night for my liking).
  • Tummy troubles:  Still no stomach issues (yay!)

Some of my struggles from last week have tapered off, which is nice considering the struggles I encountered this week.  My snack attack cravings have all but gone away and I’m sure it’s due to increasing my meal size.  But as Mary would say:  “I feel like a beast” because we’re eating so much per meal.  Ha ha.  That girl makes me laugh.  But it’s true.

Breakfasts are getting better as I get used to eating a variety of foods in the morning.  Brussels sprouts?  Sure.  Sweet potato?  Ok.  Zucchini soup?  Why wouldn’t I?

Since I’ve been solo-parenting all week I’ve only made it to the gym twice.  But again, I think adding that back into my routine regularly will help with my crazy energy (hopefully I’ll be more tired at night) and keeping Bianca at bay.

Despite all of the demons I’ve been fighting off I’m still managing to eat really well.   Here’s a snippet of some of my meals:

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Here’s the best of what I ate this week:

  • Chocolate Chili – yes there is chocolate in it (unsweetened cocoa).  No it does not taste like chocolate.   And no it does not satisfy any sort of craving for chocolate.  Nice try though.
  • Cumin Spiced Slow Cooked Pork  – this is a super easy crockpot dealio but has to be served with this:
  • Guacamole   Sooo good.  I pretty much could eat this by the spoonful.  Not that I did…
  • Gingered Zucchini Soup – see?  I wasn’t kidding about breakfast soup.  This is delicious and good for any meal (if you can’t quite stomach the thought of it for breakfast).
  • I wanted to love this Thai Coconut Shrimp but the Roasted Sesame Green Beans stole the show that night.   Still searching for a coconut shrimp recipe to love.
  • These are my all-time favorite fish tacos, so I just modified the recipe a bit to make them compliant (and used butter lettuce for my tortilla).  Not quite as good as the original….but still tasted awesome (looooove the mango on top.  Yum).

I have made a conscious effort to cut down on fruit and nuts this week.  I think I was eating a little more than I should have been, so I’ve narrowed it down to 1-2 servings per day (not at every meal like I did last week).  But ain’t no body taking away my coconut flakes.

Final thoughts this week:  I’ve never been so happy to have a week over with.  Week 2 you can stuff it.

Week 3 will include the near-impossible task of dining out.  I’d like to apologize in advance to the unknowing waiter who will be bombarded by my questions.  Yes, I’m going to be that person.  See ya next week.

Xoxo,

Searching for the silver-lining Janna

whole30; week 1

Well…

I’m one week in to this Whole30 business and I’m feeling pretty dang good.  I had read during my research that a lot of people felt like they had a hangover on the first week but I haven’t really felt like that.  I think it’s because we ate pretty clean anyways prior to this so it’s not like I’m giving up fast food and learning how to cook – we’re just refining our palate I suppose (and heavily scrutinizing ingredient labels.  Ugh).

So here’s the skinny:

  • I’ve still had a few headaches including a real doozie of one last Tuesday (day 1).  However, I typically have a doozie of a headache on Tuesdays because it’s my first day back to work in 4 days.  Hey, wait a minute….maybe I’m allergic to work!
  • I had two of the best nights of sleep EVER during this week.  And the rest have been “meh”; meaning I can’t fall asleep and can’t stay asleep.  Pretty typical.
  • The biggest bonus is that Bianca Bitch (as my sister in law so lovingly named her) has been at bay this past week.   Granted there have been moments that I get irked or annoyed, but nowhere near the frustration and anger I was feeling before.
  • For the most part, I feel pretty dang energized.  No big slump in the afternoon or after I put Abby to bed.
  • No stomach issues.  How do you like them apples?

So, I know this is early in the game (I’m not even halfway done).   And I know things can (and will) change in the next 21 days.  But for now?  After only a week?  I’m pretty excited about some of the changes that are happening.  I hope they just continue to improve over the next 3 weeks, but I’m also aware that a lot of people have problems or setbacks (tiredness, lack of energy, etc.)  around day 16/17….so I’m just bracing myself for that.

Anyhoo…there have also been some struggles that I should probably note.

  • Snacking.  According to Whole30 you’re not supposed to snack.  They want you to eat enough at each of your 3 meals that you don’t get hungry between them.  This has definitely been an adjustment because I typically would eat 3 smaller meals and allow myself to snack in the morning and once in the afternoon.  So mentally it’s hard to load up a giant plate of food at each meal.  But if I don’t I definitely get a little hangry (that’s a word now, right?) at my normal snack times.  I’m trying to get better at this (eating more).
  • Breakfasts.  Brussels sprouts for breakfast anyone?  Yeah.  That’s been on my plate the last few days.  And strangely I don’t hate it as much as I thought….but I miss my eggs.  Big time.
  • Shopping.  SUGAR IS IN EVERYTHING.  WTF!?!  That is all.
  • Self Control.  I’m the only one in our family doing this.  So our pantry is still full of non-Whole30-foods.  So far it hasn’t been too bad to look past them….but they are there.  Just sitting there waiting for a moment of weakness.
  • Energy.  So I know I mentioned this up above as a positive note.  But it’s also been kind of a struggle to really listen to my body.  I’ve been getting tired around 9:00 at night (I KNOW) and I’m really trying to listen to that and go to bed instead of push push push push (my normal MO).  So while I wake up feeling good and throughout the day….it’s kind of a fine balance at night.
  • Working out.  So…we had a blizzard in Missoula this past weekend and it pretty much shut the whole town down.  So annoying.  We’re in Montana people…it snows here.  Anyways, the gym daycare has been closed and classes canceled so I can’t get a decent workout in.  It’s kind of been tough mentally because here I am eating these huge meals (albeit, healthy ones), but I can’t work out.  I’ll be looking forward to getting back to the gym, and let’s be honest, Oula, this week.
  • Bacon.  Yeah, weird item to have on the struggle list.  But I was super excited that bacon was Whole30 approved.  However it’s only if it doesn’t have any added sugar….can you see where this is going?  If not, see the third bullet point above.  I have searched high and low in this town and every package has honey or maple or raw sugar.  Good lord.  Even the local butcher has added sugar in the bacon.  Bacon Bacon Bacon!

And now what I’m sure you ALL are dying to know:  what am I eating?  Since it obviously ain’t bacon.

Well, I’ll say this.  I’m eating well.  Very well.  I honestly haven’t felt deprived at one single meal.  Seriously.

Proving it:

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The scary thing is that some of these were breakfasts.

And the portions still seem huge to me.  But it seems to eliminate the snack attack.  Go figure.

My final thought on Whole30 thus far is that in my opinion, it takes a lot of planning.  Which….in a way….I kind of love.  I’m a little twisted that way.  You see I need to plan out my meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for a week in order for this to work for me.  I know I can’t wake up and “figure it out” under stress (i.e. a kid pulling on my leg begging for breakfast, while I try to curl my hair, pack lunches and get everyone out the door).  So I literally write out my meals for a whole week and buy everything so it’s on hand.  I pre-made all of my breakfasts last week so I just had to reheat it.  It was perfect.  And I think this has helped me immensely in sticking to the plan.  And if I don’t feel like eating what I planned for dinner….well….that’s too bad for me.

P.S. you’ll also be doing a LOT of cooking on Whole30.  Prepare to work a second job – in your kitchen.

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Week 1 shopping

Anyhoo….without further ado….here are my favorite recipes so far (all of which I’ll make post-Whole30):

*note: there may be a few ingredients you’ll need to omit in these recipes to be Whole30 compliant…usually the sweetener (honey, etc.).  And always check your labels!  I found sugar in beef broth and fish sauce….so make sure you read!)

And then there’s these fav’s that aren’t really recipes:

  • Sweet potato with Coconut Cream Concentrate.  omg, I die.  Thanks Erin for introducing me to that little gem of a condiment.
  • Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes with sea salt and cinnamon.   It’s like the sweetest thing I’m allowed to eat.  So I do.
  • Bananas and strawberries with said coconut flakes.
  • Adding cilantro to any of my salad bases (spinach, kale, etc.)

Lastly.  And I’m just being honest.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that I miss chocolate.

Every.

Single.

Day.

{sigh}

I’ll be back next Tuesday with my week 2 wrap up!  Have a sip of wine for me, would ya?

xoxo,
thirsty janna

fancy is as fancy does

Does eating something with a fancy name therefore make one fancy? 

I think so.

Enter:  Provençal vegetable tian

To be honest, I don’t even know how to say that.  But it sure does sound fancy pants, no?

I happened to catch Martha Stewart on the Today show last week and she was showing Savannah how to make this happy dish  (sidenote:  so sad about Ann Curry!  What a crock).   For once I felt like her recipe didn’t start with the phrase “go pick the Egyptian rutabaga you planted last year in preparation for this dish…”   It all seemed pretty simple – just layer a bunch of vegetables, sprinkle with EVOO, salt, pepper and thyme….and voila!  Fancy pants. 

I knew I’d be going to the farmers market over the weekend and could pick up what I needed…and so I did.   Just some eggplant, zucchini, potato, leeks and tomato (ok, so I needed to stop at the store for kalamata olives).

Here’s a link to the recipe.

Make sure it’s not a blazing hot day outside because you’ll need to heat your oven to 450 degrees and leave it there for over an hour. 

I also picked up some locally-made wine and cheese sausage at the market to serve with my Provençal vegetable tian. 

So yes.  Fancy is as fancy does.  No one needs to know that you’re eating it in front of the TV, with a shirt that recently got spit-up on it, and drinking wine out of mason jar.   Like that’s not fancy.