Saturday, May 16, 2015

Whole30 Cabbage Rolls


Ingredients:
1 head cabbage
1 onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups grated cauliflower (cauliflower rice)
2 pounds good quality ground beef
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Oil (coconut, avocado or olive oil) to sautee cauliflower, onions, etc.

Sauce:
2 cans (14.5 oz) crushed tomato
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen in Red/Black can)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prep Cabbage Leaves:
Boil whole cabbage in large pot for about 10 minutes. Put lid on pot for last 5 minutes. Drain water and let cabbage sit to cool off.

Filling:
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Sautee onion and minced garlic until onion is soft and just starting to turn golden.
Add riced cauliflower and stir fry for 4-5 minutes.  Cauliflower should be soft.
Put all into a mixing bowl and allow ingredients to cool.
Brown ground beef and spices, drain fat.  Allow meat to cool while you prepare the sauce. 

Sauce:
Add more oil to skillet and add crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Add onion/garlic mix that you prepared earlier and combine well.
Spoon a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of a large baking dish.

Assemble the Cabbage Rolls:
Carefully remove the cabbage leaves one leaf at a time. Try to be careful not to tear the leaves. You want them to be as whole as possible. Trim of any part of stem that is super thick. Pat dry any remaining moisture from leaves with a paper towel. The leaves should be able to lay open kind of like a bowl. Spoon about a quarter of a cup of filling into the leaf. Start at the bottom edge of the leaf and roll the meat up into the leaf, like a burrito/eggroll. Tuck in edges half way half-way to prevent your filling from falling out and continue rolling.
Lay each roll, seam side down, in the baking dish.
Pour remaining sauce over cabbage rolls and cook in oven for about 40 minutes.

Enjoy!

Not as pretty, but this was lunch the next day. They heat up very well and can even be prepared ahead of time and frozen to heat up a quick meal on a busy evening!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My First WOD

The very first time I did a Crossfit WOD (workout of the day) was October 24, 2014.  It was the day before my amazing cousin Erin's wedding.  She is the owner of Crossfit Center City in Philadelphia. They had a Wedding WOD.  I don't remember what I did, but I do know that it was hard and I lived. I was so very sore the next day (and the day after) and I liked it!

The awesome people and Maddox (fur person) that were there when I did my first WOD

This was the actual prescribed WOD taken from the archives of their site:

MOVEMENT PREP: Foam roll/lax ball any tight spots for 2-3 minutes, Lax ball calves 1 minute/side, 30ft Spiderman Lunge + OH Reach, 30ft over the fence/under the fence, 30ft Lateral Lunge, 30ft Crab Walk Forward
STRENGTH:
A1. Weighted Step Ups x 6-8 reps/leg (20/16″), x 3 sets, Rest 60 seconds
A2. Ring Rows x 8-10 reps @ 2111, x 3 sets, Rest 60 seconds
A3. Side Plank x 30 seconds/side, x 3 sets, Rest 60 seconds
CONDITIONING:
3 Rounds
60ft SA Front Rack DB Walking Lunges (45/20lb)
10 Alternating DB Power Snatch (45/20lb)
30 Sit Ups
Of course, I did a VERY modified version of this with mostly instruction from a great coach named Emily, but I did something!!
Since that time, I've been dying to get into a Crossfit gym.  It's taken us a while, but in addition to changing our eating habits, I knew we had to do more physically than what we were doing (hardly doing) at Planet Fitness.  I'm not knocking the place, but let's face it. Most people walk around gyms like that and have no idea what they are doing.  Seriously. Or maybe it was just me???...
Anyway, after much debate, we decided we would make some adjustments to our already over-stretched budget and make a way to go to Crossfit. 
Since then - April 27th - we've been going faithfully and I love/hate it.  I love it because I feel strong and I know that I am pushing myself.  I love that you get a sense of community there. Even though I don't know everybody there, I am starting to see the same people and meeting them. They have all been so encouraging.
A huge part of this is keeping track of your WODs and trying to improve your scores as you progress. I thought I might as well keep it all here in one spot!  So this is mostly for me - as a way to keep record of what I've done and what I want to do.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ghee! It Really Is Terrific!

Ghee.  Many of you have been messaging me and asking me about GHEE, so I thought that I should share a quick post about it.  Before doing Whole 30, I had not ever heard of the product either.  I started seeing posts about it and noticed that certain recipes called for it.

So what is it?

One easy description is : Clarified Butter or as I call it: LIQUID GOLD

Dictionary dot com says: A kind of liquid butter, used especially in the cooking of India, made from the milk of cows or buffaloes and clarified by boiling.

Since dairy is not considered acceptable for paleo eating, I am glad that ghee can offer that great goodness and flavor of butter without the dairy.

Ghee has a high smoke point (482*F) so it is ideal for frying and cooking.  It's rich in vitamins, source of healthy fat, and just tastes like the best butter you ever had.

You can find ghee at most health/organic food stores.  I buy mine at Trader Joe's, but I've also purchased it at a local Indian Market, and also at Wal Mart in the International Foods aisle.  Ghee can be pretty pricey.  I believe the 8 oz jar at Trader Joe's is about $3.50.  That 8 oz jar does not last long in my house!

Another way to get ghee is to just make it yourself! It's more cost effective and you can make sure that you are starting with a good quality butter for optimal results in your ghee.  I love Kerrygold butter.  Made from the milk of grass-fed cows - it is so creamy and tasty.  Like cheese I tell ya!

I use the crockpot method since I think it's the easiest way to do it.

You need:
3 or 4 -  8 oz packages of grass fed butter
Crockpot
Cheesecloth
Jar with lid

You can follow the directions and pictures here at Grass Fed Girl.  She has taken pictures of the process and it's really simple to follow.

But basically you put your butter in the crockpot on low, uncovered, for about 3 hours.  Different types of crockpots may make a difference in cook time, but you should be able to tell by the color when it is really done.

You put your cheese cloth in the jar and pour your melted butter right in.  I put a rubber band around the mouth of the jar over the cheesecloth just to hold it in place.  The cheesecloth should catch all the solids.

That's it! Keep the lid on your jar and use as needed.  Does not need to be refrigerated.  I keep mine right on the counter next to my coconut oil, salts and most used spices.

Here's mine right after I poured it n the jar:

I use it to cook eggs, vegetables, meat and more.  I add it to veggies that have been steamed as an added flavor or healthy fat.  I also like to make mashed cauliflower with it.  

Have you or do you use ghee?  What's your favorite way to use it?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Whole 30 Round 2 Days 5 - 7

M1:Amazing Poached eggs, side of meat marinara sauce on a bed of baby greens with a side of red beets.
M2/3:Bacon wrapped chicken tenderloin, mashed potatoes (seasoned and ghee added), side of steamed veggies.

I had a Bridal Shower to attend and it was about an hour away. I ended up eating a late Meal 1 and late Meal 2 - just one of those days.
I got to the shower and of course there was NOTHING compliant, so I just went without and it was too late for me to eat when I got home.  Not too bad. Was more tired than hungry so it worked out. Not ideal - but it worked.
M1:

Egg and bacon cups with fresh basil and red/yellow peppers, mashed potato fritter on a bed of sautéed kale. Bulletproof coffee. 
Soccer game for my little guy this a.m. Spring cleaning all weekend. I need all the energy I can get!!

M2:

So. I finally did it. I tried #sardines I know that may not sound like a big deal, but I'm not a huge fan of fish that tastes "fishy".know what I mean? However, I've heard so much about it being such a good source of protein on the go that I thought I should at least try it. 
Well, I opened the can (I used boneless skinless in olive oil) and when I smelled them and looked at them, I knew I needed to do something to them. So here you have sardines mixed with wholly guacamole, dash of mustard and seasonings on a bed of roasted kale with a deconstructed bacon egg cup. Dish garnished with mini heirloom tomato slices. 
My verdict: it was tasty enough. I ate it, but I didn't love it. The texture and taste was not making me a fan. So there you go!

M3:

Cold and rainy day and night here in Riverside, CA so I made some homemade chicken soup with kale, potatoes, rainbow carrots, celery, parsley and herbs/spices. Topped with a little olive oil and chicken Cracklin. Was so good. Plenty left over for Meal 1 tomorrow.


M1:
Not pictured, but I had the chicken soup from the night before. It was more broth than soup, but I had to take it to go as I left the house early and in a hurry.
M2:

grilled mushrooms, eggs over medium and side salad with lemon 

M3:

Grilled pork steak, cauliflower mash, sautéed green beans/mini heirloom tomatoes/sweet peppers and roasted brussel sprouts.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Whole 30 Round 2 Day 4


M1: 

Plain egg omelet topped with salsa, 1/4 sweet potato, Aidell's mini chicken apple sausages and sautéed baby greens. Could not finish this. So filling.

M2:

Shredded chicken salad made with easy peezy homemade mayo, green onions and chopped apple, side of micro greens and beets. Fresh cantaloupe and a few blackberries. Very satisfying!

M3:

Cracklin' Chicken thigh, roasted baby broccoli and cantaloupe.


I still have a slight headache and am just thinking it's some sort of detox my body is going through. Other than that, I am feeling really good. My energy level is up - but I do need more sleep.  
If only I could get my schedule figured out.  I am really going to try and do some massive prepping.  Did a little today, but I know that once I get the hang of it, it will all be so much easier.

Tomorrow is Friday.  I am attending a bridal shower and am not planning on eating anything there because I doubt there will be anything compliant.  However, I am going to be leaving my house at 4 p.m.  It's about an hour away with perfect traffic. I may just have to bring my food with me! I've done it before and I don't feel weird or guilty one bit.  I HAVE to do this for me.  No excuses. The rest of the weekend will be busy, but I don't expect any problems or challenges regarding food.

My husband and I are excited about checking out and choosing a new place to get our workouts on... 
I'll keep you posted on that! 

What do you have going on this weekend?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Whole 30 Round 2 Day 3


M1: two egg omelet, smoked pulled pork, red beets and avocado
M2:  chicken cacciatore, mashed sweet potato, steamed veggie medley drizzled with ghee and berries. 
M3: seasoned ground beef, grilled purple and white cabbage, grilled sweet peppers, avocado, Trader Joe's salsa and a variety of olives. 

So I am 3 days into round 2 of my Whole 30. I can already say that the "bloated" feeling I picked up during my "Rumspringa" is gone completely. Yay!!
On the other hand, I feel like I'm getting a slight headache tonight and I have no idea why. 
It may be the lack of sugar? Maybe all of the tomatoes and peppers I've been having? I think I read something about nightshades. Are those even nightshades? 
I guess I still have a lot to learn, but one thing I know is that I can listen to my body. I can be aware of all these feelings now. You can't pinpoint the pain, the fog, or the bloat if you feel that way all the time - if you're just used to being uncomfortable in your own skin.  
So I will ride this out. I will keep eating clean. I will exercise and move more, I will laugh and sing and I will find out what works for me - I will find out what makes me more healthy and more happy. 

Zoodles and Whatnot...


So up until now, whenever I have a hankering for some pasta or Italian flavored goodness, I have turned to the faithful spaghetti squash or the classic zucchini boat. Although it was good, I knew in the back of my mind that I wanted more.  I wanted something more "noodle-ish".  
Well, my wish has been granted. I was given a gift card to Sur La Table at CHRISTMAS. I had been saving it for something special.  The day arrived and I was not disappointed.  As I walked into that little bit of heaven (seriously - it's like a foodie's or chef's playground), I spied the item that I had been holding out for: A Spiralizer and IT WAS ON SALE!!  Oh yes. Come to mama!
[Photo Source]
It's got three different blades and worked like a charm!
This is about three large zucchinis, I did a total of 7 zukes for the whole family.
Patted them dry then tossed/sauteed them in my cast iron skillet with some olive oil and sea salt/cracked pepper. Let the zoodles sit for a couple minutes after it's done in a colander so that the natural liquid will drain from it.
For the sauce, I used the Trader Joe's brand of marinara.  It's in a green can.  There is no sugar added and only contains: Tomatoes, Tomato puree, garlic, onion, herbs and salt.  I added some quality ground beef, roasted mini heirloom tomatoes and Italian Herbs.  The kids got a bit of shredded cheese sprinkled on top.
Everybody from my four kids to my hubby loved it.  It was very filling and satisfying for all!
I am going to try sweet potatoes with my spiralizer next!
Do you have any ideas for me and my spiralizer?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Whole30 Round 2 Day 2

M1: two fried eggs and ham (TJ's smoked pulled pork), red beets, roasted heirloom tomatoes and sweet peppers.
M2: chicken thighs, boiled sweet potato and steamed veggies with a drizzle of ghee. 
M3: zoodles, meat sauce made with TJ's marinara sauce and roasted mini heirloom tomatoes. 

A Splash of Color! Eat With Your Eyes...

They say you eat with your eyes first - so why not make your food as visually pleasing as possible?
I know that many of you will say it's because you don't have time for all that. 
Well, I am here to challenge you to make a little time for it and really - it takes more thought then it does time.
My water - just a bit of lemon to make it more appealing.  You could add any fruit really. How about sliced oranges or berries?
 I was at Trader Joe's and wanted to pick up some plum or grape tomatoes and then saw these Mini Heirloom Tomatoes.  Of course I had to pick these!
 Not only is color important, but size and texture can make your food even tastier.  Yes, it's true!
 Berries of different color, size and texture are perfect to add to your water, salad or as a side dish.
My mom is Korean and has always been very picky about the presentation of food.  She would often say that she didn't like a food if it was ugly.  It used to make me laugh, but now I know what she means.  We went out to a Mexican restaurant once and she received her plate and it was all browns and white and neutral in color due to the beans, white cheese and rice, etc.  It was all melted into one form on the plate.  She was like "What is THIS? Yuck!" and we were all so embarrassed.  We had the same thing and it TASTED great.  But she never ate any of it.  Said it made her lose her appetite.  

Well, that may have been a bit extreme on her part - but I now know that it only takes a little more effort to make a nice presentation. 

I am learning on Whole30 that I have to change the way I look at food.  It is a fuel for my body.  It will either make me MORE HEALTHY or LESS HEALTHY - but this does not mean that I can't enjoy it.  It doesn't mean that I can't have a healthy passion for what I cook and how I prepare my meals.  I am fighting some serious EMOTIONAL TIES to food.  But I don't want to break up with food.  It's a necessity.  I might as well enjoy it.  I think part of it is that I am a very visual person.  There are some people that could eat some chicken breast, side of cauliflower and mashed potatoes and be totally okay with it.  Personally, I felt like crying just typing that out. So bland and monochromatic. Okay, too far? Ha! Not for me! Throw some broccoli and red peppers on that plate!

So.  Add some color to your plates. Think about how you are going to plate your food and see if you can take a simple meal and make it look super special, just by adding a pretty plate or a handful of colorful mixed greens or by slicing the meat a certain way.

Are you a visual person? Does what the appearance of your food matter to you?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Whole 30|Round 2|Day1



M1: scrambled eggs, Aidell's mini chicken apple sausages and beets. 
M2: my "chicken cacciatore" made with chicken breast, sweet yellow and orange peppers, olives, fresh basil and Trader Joe's Marinara sauce. Served with beets and baby greens and sweet potato. 
M3: trader Joe's smoked pulled pork, sweet potato, beets, baby greens with baby heirloom tomatoes. EVOO and balsamic vinegar as dressing.  

Dietary Rumspringa...


Yeah. So I wanted my next post to be about movement and strength and exercise and... and...

Well, instead I have to need to stop and confess chat with you about something.

I was so confident, after such a bee-you-tee-ful Whole30, that I had kicked all of my food issues to the curb.  I mean I completed the program, with not one desire to cheat, nary a craving in sight.  I knew all the right words and ways to think about food and the vice that it can have on a person.  I had purposed in my heart that I would never again eat this or drink that and well, for some part, I've stayed true to that.

However, for one thing, I did not do the reintroduction that is designed to help you figure out to which foods you may be intolerant.  I decided I would just jump in and have some Pho and you know about that experience, but since then I've had other things like RICE (of course) and maybe some dairy and foods at a buffet that were "outwardly compliant", but only the good lord knows what they were marinated in or what they actually contained.  And there may have been a very yummy cookie that my mother-in-law brought us from Costco.  I refrained. At first.  But I only had one.  And then there was the taco guy at the retirement party. I could have totally skipped the tortillas and beans.  I could have said no to the ice cream cake... but I didn't.

Okay, I may not even be making sense and my grammar is probably out of control right now, but I am spilling my guts here.  Have mercy.  I know that most people would not think that I have any reason to feel guilty, 'cause hey - I'm not curently on Whole30.  But somehow, these bad CHOICES have made me feel like an Amish teenager on Rumspringa.

I knew that I would feel crappy after consuming some of these items and for over-indulging even on foods that may have been okay, and I ate it anyway.  I guess I'm writing this post to OWN my choices.  To kind of just say it out loud.  "I messed up.  I let the food control me."

So am I going to just throw in the towel? No. Am I going to wait until the 1st of the month to start over? No.  I am starting today. I know I have some special events coming up and sure, it would be easy to wait until those celebrations have passed, but I can't.  I don't want to.  I know that I need to take the control back.  Like Rumspringa - I have to make a decision.  Do I want to beat these bad life habits? Do I want to cut the negative emotional ties I have with food? YES!! I want to remind myself that the food I put in my body will either make me more healthy or less healthy.  It's that simple.  The work I do in my head and heart regarding how I feel about it all - that's something I will continue to work on.

So - I am going to post a photo from my first round of Whole 30.  I did not include this before and have not posted it publicly, except to a closed group of Whole30 peeps.  But I want to go ahead and post it because it reminds me of how hard I worked for my first round.  I posted about all of my "non-scale" victories, but now I am posting this.  It may not seem like a huge change, but it's a change and I want to keep going. I don't want to stall this and I don't want to go backwards.

It is my hope that I can be transparent to help motivate YOU and to also remind ME that I am capable of doing this!



Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bone Broth and Whatnot...

I have read many that many people go in to a slight 'panic' as they near the end of their Whole 30. For the last 30 days, they have been following a strict regimen with very black and white rules. There are many reasons I love Whole30, but this was one of the MAIN reasons.  I like rules and need rules especially in this area of my life.  I've mentioned this before, but it's true.  
So as I read these comments of fear and worry from people nearing their completion of the program, I wondered what in the world they were worried about.  I thought they should be happy and excited - and they were, don't get me wrong - but they were a little apprehensive about what was ahead for them.
On Day 28 it hit me.  Oh no.  What will I do on Day 31?  Do I follow the Reintroduction program?  Do I go in order?  Do I go hog wild? Reward myself for my hard work?  Oh no.  It was happening to me.  Stress and anxiety over what I was going to do next.  I was not supposed to feel this way!  This was supposed to help me.  It was supposed to be a lifestyle change - RIGHT??
Well, welcome to gray area.  Day 31 came and I had a breakfast that was still compliant, lunch rolled around at work and I had a compliant lunch.  You see, my husband and I decided we would celebrate the end of Whole30 by having some Vietnamese Pho noodle soup from one of our favorite local spots. That should have been a red flag right there.  I don't need to CELEBRATE something with food.  Duh.  But hey, a special meal out is not crazy and I thought this was a safe start and might have been if things went right.  I thought I could start with gluten-free grains instead of legumes.  Pho is usually made of rice noodles.  
I was really looking forward to this meal and knew that it really wasn't going to be too bad, because although it's high in carbs, I knew that it was relatively healthy.  Well, the one thing that I can not have in my Pho or anything else is raw white onion.  I developed an allergy to onion about 7 years ago and get really bad headaches and general crud feeling when I consume them or am exposed to a lot of them (in the cut form of course).  
I was half way through my soup and it was SO good.  But then - I felt it.  A stiffness in the lower back part of my neck.  Ugh.  What is happening?  I had not really had any kind of a headache or feeling like this the entire Whole 30. I started looking closer at my soup and sure enough, there was onion in it!  Good thing my allergy isn't super serious like peanut or seafood allergy.  This could have been so much worse.  Normally I can see or taste them, but the taste blended in with the flavor and they were cut so thin that they were hidden among the noodles.  Now that I look at the picture, I can actually see some! Long story short, I was miserable. The headache grew worse as the night wore on. I did not sleep well and woke up feeling plain icky.  I even wondered if perhaps the noodles contained gluten - but maybe it really was all from the onion. 
I guess what I learned from that experience was that I need to always be aware of what I am eating.  I know that for some, it would take away from the eating out experience if you had to scrutinize every little thing, but for something like an allergy - it is so important.  On Whole30 you question every single thing going into your mouth.  Even things like what type of oil the chef used will come into play.


Well, Day 32 had me drinking this stuff for breakfast.  Bone Broth.  I made some chicken bone broth and knew this was the time to put it into action.  I dumped some of the gelatinous goodness in a small mason jar, put my lunch together and headed off to work.  Once I got settled in at the office, I warmed it up in the microwave and then I dumped it into my awesome mug from Crossfit Center City.  It was so soothing to drink this and it's like my mind knew before my stomach knew that it was about to receive something special.  
It was definitely like drinking a healing tonic.  There are so many benefits to bone broth and I'm glad I had already made this and put it away for a day like this.  I am not quite ready to start my next Whole 30, but I do know that I will make the best choices I possibly can until then.
Once again, I am working on changing my eating habits from a SAD (Standard American Diet) to a healthy and nutritious diet.  I am undoing a lifetime of emotional eating and I know I've come so far in breaking those habits already.

Most of all, I have received so many words of encouragement from you all.  It encourages me to hear your story or to know that you struggle with the same issues.  I finally feel like there is hope for me to have a healthier future.
I am reminded of the familiar verse in Jeremiah 29:11 that says,  For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." and also these verses shared with me by someone special, 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 "Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said,“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Everything I share here comes from my heart.  It may not be eloquently put together, it may sometimes be my thoughts that tend to be scattered here, there and everywhere, but it will always be an honest account of my experience as I work on getting myself to a happier and healthier place and developing the best version of ME that I possibly can.  

My next post will be about MOVING.  No, not going anywhere - I'm talking about training, exercising - working out!! Yes, this goes hand in hand with my nutrition changes and I am thinking I need to get a challenge set up with some black and white rules for this too!  More to come later! =)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Whole 30 | 30 Things | Day 31


30 things on Whole 30:
  1. Weight loss was NOT the main goal, but it was one of my goals and I am happy to report that I lost 16.7 lbs.  I know that my clothes fit looser, but I did not measure myself so I'm not sure about inches.  
  2. Being prepared MAY be the most important requirement for a successful Whole 30. Meal planning is so important.  Do not go into this with an empty refrigerator or pantry.  Research what foods are allowed, check EVERY label - even on your spices and sauces - and then check again. You'd be surprised what all is added to seemingly healthy foods.  I found soy and sugar in almost everything that was packaged/canned.
  3. Going cold turkey is the way to go.  There is no "slowly weaning" yourself off sugar, grains, frappucinos, dairy, etc.  Starting on Day 1 there is NO MORE of that.  You can't even make paleo versions of those items like paleo "muffins" or paleo "breadsticks".  This was great for me 'cause I don't do well with moderation when it comes to food right now.  I am getting better at it, but I follow the meal template guide I've posted about before and that is it.  
  4. My blood pressure is healthy again, my joints do not hurt and I do not get my frequent headaches anymore.  Seriously.  I used to get thee worst migraine and tension headaches.  They are completely gone.  
  5. I don't ever feel hungry.  On Whole 30, you eat 3 solid meals a day.  That's it. No snacking, no grazing... If you follow the meal template as I have mentioned so many times - you will be full! The key to staying full, I learned, is having enough healthy fats.  Also, no HANGRYness (being angry because you're hungry).
  6. Roast all the things.  I haven't met a vegetable yet that doesn't taste better when roasted. This goes with meat too.  
  7. Sweet potatoes make me happy.
  8. My skin is clearer and more supple than it's been in years. I think this is due to the healthy fats and lots of water mostly.
  9. My joints don't hurt anymore.  I don't feel like I'm inflamed.
  10. You can celebrate an event and still stay compliant and eat well. Not every situation has to be a "special event" where you eat off plan.  I was able to go to Universal Studios, attend a birthday party, go to a beach, go out to eat with old friends from college and celebrate Easter all while staying on plan.  It actually wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  Again, I had to plan - I had to prepare, but it was totally do-able and I felt empowered after sticking to it!
  11. Homemade mayo is SO easy and yummy.
  12. I have more energy throughout the day.  I am still working on sleeping better.  I sleep great once I GO TO SLEEP, but I stay up too late due to my crazy schedule.  Working on that!!
  13. I was constantly cooking and thinking about food.  Now this was a part of Whole 30 that I didn't love. I love to cook, and usually cooked at least one meal a day before the life of Whole 30.  But now I was cooking enough for 3 meals a day.  This meant that if I had any spare time after my full-time outside the home job, raising 4 children, etc. I was either cooking or planning on what to cook or shopping for stuff to cook.  This also meant a lot more DISHES to wash. My two oldest usually do this as one of their "chores" but it got to the point where I'd wash most of it out of pity for them! haha.  I don't regret any of it.  Just gets old pretty quick.  I think it will be easier once I get to a schedule where I can do some larger "batch" cooking and just spend a few hours one day to prep for the week ahead.  Working on that too.
  14. Learned the difference between real hunger and boredom or eating out of habit.  Having 3 meals a day that were satisfying to my taste and also filled me kept me from really ever feeling hungry, however I did find myself once in a while wanting a snack or "something" just out of the blue.  Instead of reaching for something right away, I stopped and asked myself what it was that I really wanted and why.  It could have been something that was a "trigger" from a t.v. show or commercial or maybe somebody else was talking about it.  For this reason, I unfollowed every Pinterest board that had anything to do with non-compliant foods.  I literally went to every person's board I was following and either unfollowed them altogether or unfollowed their food/recipe boards.  If I was still truly hungry, I ate a handful of nuts.  I think it happened twice.  I also kicked the habit of chewing gum and eating mints/candy.  These contain sugar or artificial sweeteners and also make my brain think that more food is coming, therefore causing me to want more sweets or snacks.  It didn't make me healthier - so it had to go.
  15. Avocados and olives are beautiful. Like for real.  They are my favorite thing to add to any meal.  Healthy fats. That's where it's at.
  16. I'm being a good example to my family.  Not by obsessing and spending every waking hour thinking about or preparing food, but by being very conscientious about what I am putting into my system.  I know that it will all become easier and will become a normal way of life for us and I won't spend so much time on it, but I like that they can see that it takes effort in this grab n' go and convenience food society in which we live.  It is a CHOICE toward better health.  It's up to us.  Just like teaching them other good lifestyle habits.  It is so important!
  17. It's important to know why eating this way works.  READ and educate yourself.  I recommend you begin with "It Starts With Food" by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. This may seem like a "fad diet" right now because it has recently become more popular, but this way of eating has been around for a long time and I really feel that after all I've read and researched - it's the best thing for me. 
  18. Spices are the spice of life.  I've tried, and now love, so many new herbs and spices.  No more Lawry's season salt or pre-mixed whatever.  If I do use a pre-mix I always check the label. There is almost always sugar mixed in somewhere. I love the Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute.
  19. I no longer drink or even crave soda.  I drank diet soda and Mt. Dew on a regular basis.  I knew even when I drank it that it was trash.  I now drink either water, flavored seltzer water (like LaCroix) or Kombucha.  I don't miss it at all.
  20. Simple meals don't have to be boring meals.  I can do chicken breast and green beans, but then I'll throw some red beets in there or something like that just to add color.  Makes a difference.  Try it!
  21. Speaking of beets, I've learned to eat so many new and healthy things because of eating paleo and Whole 30. Just to name a few: Kombucha, red beets, golden beets, fennel, Bulletproof Coffee, Coconut milk, Curry, sardines, and the list goes on.  You can retrain your taste buds, you know.  
  22. I've recognized my emotional reliance on food.  Food has always been the center of celebrations, comfort after a hard day, reward for a job well done and so on.  Now I know that food is FUEL for my body.  It can still be something I enjoy, but I need to focus less on the food part and more on all the FEELS part.  The people. The moments.  Catch my drift?
  23. I realized that I may end up losing my Starbucks Gold Card status and I'm okay with it.  That is huge. haha.
  24. Thoughts are more clear.  Less brain fog.
  25. Good kitchen gadgets are a plus! My most used items: Cast iron pans, blender, veggie slicer/grater and immersion blender.
  26. All the info you need to do the Whole30 challenge can be found at this website.  And it is completely FREE.  
  27. You can become addicted to Farmers Markets.  That's not a bad thing!
  28. You can't eat too many eggs and there are zillion different ways to prepare them!
  29. That bloated and gassy feeling is GONE.  Don't laugh. You know what I'm talking about. It's gone!!
  30. Eating this way and seeing the results has given me hope that I can be healthy and fit once again.  Whole 30 is not meant to be something you do forever. But I will be sticking as close to it as I possibly can. It really doesn't make sense to do it any other way.  As they say, "The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options."
Sauteed Fennel, Golden Apple, Lime Juice, Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper
Beets: Red and Gold
Fingerling and Baby Potatoes tossed in Ghee and sprinkled with herbs

Dinosaur kale and Beet Stems
Look at that color!
My dinner on Day 30
Grilled boneless pork chops, red and gold beets, fingerling potatoes, sauteed kale and beet stems and sauteed sliced fennel and apple with lime juice.
So, have you ever done the Whole30?  Would you like to? You can do anything for 30 days! 
If I can, you can!

Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk

Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk

This is a recipe I found on Pinterest.  I love cooking and am very comfortable in the kitchen and mostly use recipes as a guide.  I never follow any of them exactly which is precisely why I'm not a baker. haha.  Here are the ingredients, but you can click on this LINK to her blog for the exact directions.  
INGREDIENTS:
250 gm of cleaned and cubed chicken pieces 
1 cup of sliced onions 
2 tbsp of oil (I use coconut oil) 
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder 
1 tsp of cumin powder 
2 tsp of coriander powder 
1/2 tsp of red chilli powder 
1" piece of ginger (I used powdered because I forgot this item)
2 green chillies (adjust to taste) 
2 flakes of garlic 
A few cubes of ripe tomato 
1 tbsp of poppy seeds, soaked for 15 mins (see notes) (didn't have ANY and thought I did)
2 cups of thin coconut milk (see notes)
1 cup of thick coconut milk 
A small bunch of chopped coriander leaves, for garnish (Cilantro)


This is my cauliflower rice.  I just raw cauliflower and hand grate it on my cheese grater. Then I get my pan hot with a bit of EVOO and start cooking my rice in it.  I add seasonings too of course.  Just keep moving it around until it's tender and then serve.  It will never BE rice, but it's a nice replacement. And that's coming from ME. The RICE lover.
This dish was so good that I made it three times on the Whole 30!  Quick, easy and full of flavor...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Farmer's Market and a typical day of meals

So being on Whole 30 has made me appreciate the Farmer's Market even more than I already did - if that's possible.  Lately, I have been going to a very small one that is right in my city.  However, I plan to go to the Redlands Market Night soon. It is every Thursday, rain or shine.  It's practically like going to the fair and I don't think I need all of that right now, so our little one will do for now!

My favorite thing about going is the colorful produce.  It's amazing.  Tried red beets for the first time and loved them.
Bought a purple cabbage to make slaw and some other goodies and basically just add color and crunch to other dishes.
Bought more red beets and picked up some gold beets too!
This was my haul today.  Two new to me items: Fennel and golden beets.  Also picked up kumquats 'cause my Naomi was intrigued by them. Pastured eggs are always on the list and so is dinosaur kale!

Here is a sample of what my daily food could look like:
Meal 1 (Breakfast)
Here are some zucchini fritters I made for breakfast for the first time. Not bad.  Bought these zukes at Sprouts.
Meal 2: (Lunch) Left-overs from last night's dinner.
Grass fed seasoned ground beef, lettuce, avocado, olives (Taco Salad)
Meal 3: (Dinner)
Sweet potato, green beans (canned in water), asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and piece of roast chicken.
On Whole30 there is no "dessert" so I sometimes will have fruit at the end of my meal for something sweet.  This was cold honeydew melon with a bit of Tajin. (chili powder)

It may seem like a lot of food, but find something wrong with it.  I dare you! ;)

What does your day of meals look like?

Whole 30 | Choices | Day 22

Here I am at Day 22.  Just 8 more days to go on this Whole 30 - but then what? 

Whole 30 is an elimination diet in which many people choose to participate for 30 days or longer. The idea is to assess your food sensitivities/intolerances while changing your eating habits for the better. The fact that you lose weight and inches because of it is just a bonus!

There is a meal template to follow and that has been a real eye-opener.
I love the meal template because it really makes portion control very simple.  It is SO important that you eat this amount (at least) every meal.  Some people feel like it's a lot of food, but in reality - it is a lot of NUTRITION.  It is fuel and you need it.  If you don't eat enough, chances are you will not have the results you are looking for, you will not lose weight as well, and you will be hungry before your next meal. Snacking is discouraged on this plan.

I've lasted this long without sugar, dairy, grains, legumes or processed foods. There's only a few things I miss and luckily I don't think they are food items to which I have any adverse reactions.  The things I miss are: RICE (shocker) and  some dairy like Greek yogurt and cheese.  That's it.  Oh and Korean food which may contain soy or sugar here and there, but yeah...

On Day 19, I went on an all-day trip with some of my girlfriends to Universal Studios.  I knew that I would have to really prepare in order to stay on plan.  I went on their website ahead of time and found out that you can bring your own food, but there was a size limit on your container and you couldn't bring in glass, etc.  

I ended up making a huge batch of chicken salad with homemade mayo, mustard, almond slivers and grapes - the kind you would put on a croissant.  Hannah was also going on the trip and wanted to stay compliant, so I packed for two.  I also brought carrots and little packs of Wholly Guacamole, sliced apples and almond butter.  We were able to take water bottles into the park and get refills throughout the day.  
The food was perfect and we were able to save money too!  We did get an unsweetened tea at the coffee shop when everybody took a little break.  It was refreshing and felt like a treat for me.

One cool thing that happened besides the TON of walking we did there was my good friend Vicki talked me into taking the stairs from the lower level to the top.  These are not ordinary stairs! There are escalators (4 sets) that run right along the side of the stairs.  I decided to go for it!! Oh my word, by the end of the second one I thought I was going to kill over!  My dear sweet friend all of a sudden turned into Jillian Michaels from Biggest Loser and the next thing you know she's in my face cheering me on. My friends on the escalator were cheering too.  I did make it to the top of the third flight of stiars (360 steps straight up) and decided that it was enough, but I was so proud of myself for just making that choice.  
Once I caught my breath, I really felt great! haha.  




I think you get the idea!! It's basically about making good choices.  MOVING.  Controlling your food and not letting it control you.  When I was first invited to this event, my first thought was that I couldn't do it because of Whole 30.  Then I realized that I want this way of eating to be a lifestyle.  I don't want to avoid making great memories with friends because of FOOD.  Being conscientious about what we put into our systems is what we should always be concerned about.  I don't want to wait until I've been diagnosed with some illness and then be FORCED to follow some sort of strict diet.  I mean, the high blood pressure warning was enough for me! 

If you are intrigued by this plan yet - don't hesitate! Get over to my side bar and click the Whole 30 link.  All the info is FREE.  There are also support pages and forums that will help you.  Of course you know I am always here for you too!   It's not has hard as you think.  You can do it.  You just have to make that choice!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Whole 30 | Spring Cleaning | Day 15

So here I am at DAY 15!! Half-way mark for me and for my awesome daughter Hannah!!  I'm so glad to say that we are still going strong and have stayed totally compliant and on board since Day 1.

I went to the Farmer's Market this weekend and didn't even realize it was the first day of spring until I was there and overheard someone mention it.  It really got me to thinking about spring cleaning!  I am so glad that I have been "spring cleaning" my insides, but just as nice - I got home and decided to really, REALLY clean out my fridge so I could make room for the amazing produce I picked up.  I sure did have a lot of junk in there!!  No - literally junk.  Sauces that were from WHO KNOWS WHEN OR WHAT EVENT??!! Yuck.  Out it went.  
After I got every single inch of it sparkling clean I filled it back up with all of the beautiful produce and nutritious foods that I have been learning to use.  It made me so happy!  I am now wanting to do the same to my pantry and work on a way of organizing it all so that things don't go to waste. 
I even bought BEETS for the first time. Here they are with a beautiful head of cauliflower, fresh avocados (I love California), broccoli and two different kinds of kale!!  Doesn't it look great?

I also want to continue to share a few of my meals with you just so you can see what I've been munching on!  I've been very good about taking a good breakfast with me to work. Some days I have time to scramble up some eggs, meat and veggies and other days I just grab hard-boiled eggs, Aidells mini chicken/apple sausages, a few dry roasted nuts (no peanuts!!) and fruit.  Eat a meal that is compliant and fills you so that you are not hungry until your next meal.  No snacking.  Break that habit!! I also have one cup of coffee with coconut cream that I shake up in my blender cup for a nice frothy latte feel.
If I am home for breakfast, I can take a little more time to make a breakfast, but still often use left-overs as part of my meal.  People eat breakfast for dinner all the time - but heaven forbid you eat dinner for breakfast! haha.  Pictured here is some scrambled egg, cut up leftover steak and potatoes and Super Green for fun! I also have Bulletproof Coffee which is just coffee, two spoons of coconut oil, two spoons of ghee (clarified butter) emulsified with the blender.  Yum-o!
Here's the original meal from the night before.  Grilled steak and golden potatoes that were first boiled and then placed on a cookie sheet, gave them each a smash with a fork and then drizzled them with a little olive oil and sea salt and popped them under the broiler.  Crispy! Also had some of my Super Green mix which is kale, zucchini and brussels sprouts.
For lunch the next day, I took a little ground beef, one egg and scoop of left-over Super Green and made two hamburger patties out of it and grilled it up on my cast-iron skillet. Served it up on some lettuce leaves with some pickled artichokes and mustard as condiment.  Totally filling and totally compliant.

As for how I'm feeling on this Whole30 so far...
I definitely feel like I'm experiencing lots of energy and being alert. However, I did have a couple nights recently where I was just drained, but I've been doing a lot too.
My skin feels a lot better and I think it looks better - more moisturized.  I'm not really wanting to snack - I stay full as you can see.  I am craving Korean food though - but what's new? I like RICE remember?  Sadly the thing I am craving the most is made with SOY BEAN PASTE, so I will have to wait until I am not doing Whole 30.  And here's an odd, but nice thing.  I have not had any gum, mints or candy because of course it's not compliant, but my breath and mouth usually feel pretty clean and fresh!! I'm sure there's something to that - I'm just glad it's working in my favor!

I'm drinking tons of water and learning to try new things.  Like the BEETS in the picture above.  I don't even know what I'm going to make with it yet - well BEETS obviously, but how should I prepare it??

Tell me in the comments!! Thanks for sticking around for this super-long post! xo