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

Hobo Dinner - Whole 30 Compliant

I'm basically in love with the colors in these photos. That's really the only reason I'm even posting this! Ha. Just kidding. It's a yummy, easy meal that the whole family will like, but still. Very colorful!
Peel and cut up all your root veggies and chop up any other veggies you want to add. I added bell pepper, golden potatoes and celery too.
I used Rainbow Carrots.  I'm obsessed with these!
Cook up some ground beef or turkey and drain any fat.  Season liberally. 
Add all veggies and cook until veggies are soft, but not soggy.  
I added a bit of arrowroot powder (mixed with water) 'cause I thought it might make a gravy, but I didn't really care for it and it didn't need it - so just ignore that I even brought that up!!  
Side of avocado for some extra healthy fats!
Serve just like that! No need for rice or pasta or anything else.  
Heats up really nice for leftovers too!

Easy Slow-Cooker Roast Beef - Whole 30 Style

Slow cooker recipes don't have to have a can of fake mushroom soup or cream of chicken soup added to them! This recipe is a classic, but I used to add a can of mushroom soup to it and an envelope of fake onion soup as well.  Yuck! No more of that!!
Chop up veggies. I used carrots, celery, onion, and bell pepper.
Sprinkle herbs and spices on top.
Dump some of your favorite marinara sauce on top. 
I used Trader Joe's Marinara  28 oz. can (Whole 30 compliant)
I used about half of that.
Put on low and cook for 6 hours.
SO good. Served here with Cauliflower Mash.
Could also add a lot more root vegetables if you have them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Whole 30 | NSV | Day 9

Of course I have some awesome food shots to share with you, but I also wanted to share some NSVs with you. NSV=Non Scale Victory

You are not to weigh or measure yourself during your Whole 30 challenge.  This helps you to get over the mindset that you're doing this just for weight-loss. Have you ever been dieting or working out a lot and your scale tips up instead of down one morning or two? 
For some people, that may motivate them to push harder, but for me, it would discourage me and make me feel like I was suffering for nothing and I'd give up. 

So, let's focus on the NSV: 

  • bloated feeling completely gone
  • full after each meal - hardly any cravings for non-compliant foods
  • almost no headaches (used to get a few a week) now I've had one in 9 days and it was very mild. 
  • my face was really drying out and now it feels so much better and looks better too! More clear!
  • sleeping better-waking up feeling rested
  • energy throughout the day
These things totally mean more to me than numbers on a scale.

Almond Crusted Herbed Salmon with a Super Green Roasted Veggie Mix 
1+ lb. Wild Caught Salmon Filets (I used 4 filets)
1/2 cup crushed almonds (I used dry roasted almonds and popped them in the food processor)
1+ Tbs. Italian Seasoning
1 Tbs. Dry Dill
Sea Salt
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Ghee (Clarified Butter is fine)

Heat oven to 400*
I used a glass baking dish. Coated it first with a bit of melted ghee or EVOO. 
Lay filets skin side down in dish and squeeze 1/2 lemon over all of them. Remove seeds 'cause you forgot to pick them out when you first cut the lemon.
Season each filet with the Italian, Dill and Sea Salt and then maybe more Italian.  *see what brand I use in the recipe below*
Coat each filet with the crushed almonds.  You could also use Almond Flour/Meal if you wanna. 
Drizzle melted Ghee over each filet.
Bake in oven for about 15 minutes
If crust does not look golden, you could pop it under the broiler for about 5 minutes which is what I did.  You want that nice crust without over-cooking the fish.

Super Greens:
3 cups chopped Kale (try to avoid having any tough stems in the mix)
4 small zucchini
2 cups fresh Brussels sprouts
Crushed Red Pepper
1 Tbsp Finely Chopped Garlic
Course Sea Salt
*water or chicken broth

Chop all vegetables into bite-sized pieces.  Be sure to remove some of the thick stems from your kale. I had a few that snuck in.  They're just annoying and difficult to chew - so ditch them.
I cut my brussels sprouts in half and if they are large, I even quarter them.  This helps them to cook up a little faster and you also get some loose leaves that get a nice roast on them, which I really like.

Place all chopped veggies, except Kale, in a bowl and drizzle with Olive Oil.  Add your seasonings.  I love the McCormick Grinders and use the Italian and Crushed Red Pepper ones all the time!
Then I use my hands to toss them all together, making sure every piece is evenly coated in goodness.
Once you get these in the pan, you will do the same with the kale - it just goes in later.
**This cooks up pretty quick, so it's best if you put  the more dense vegetables in first.
Heat pan or skillet (I use a huge cast-iron skillet that I LOVE) and keep at a medium heat.
Throw the brussels sprouts and zucchini in there and let it cook. Do not cover at all.  You don't want them getting mushy, but if you feel like you need to hurry the process - splash some water or chicken broth in there and it will give them a real good steam treatment.
Cook and maybe move them every 7 minutes or so.  I like the number 7. When they look like they can be pierced with a fork - or maybe just try that - then you can add the kale.  
Just pile it all on there.  Let the pan over-flow if you want 'cause it will all cook down.  
Just keep tossing it all around in there until it's the consistency you want.  Add a bit of Ghee for flavor if you want. I put it on errthang.

Gobble it up!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Whole 30 | New Habits | Day 8

Learning to LOVE some new habits...

This is the BEFORE and AFTER of my desk drawer at work.
I tried - for a very short few weeks - to do a low-calorie diet and count and track all of my calories. This may be very good and well for some people, but it was horrible for me.  I was buying frozen diet meals and snacks that I had never eaten before.  They were not filling or satisfying in taste.  I also felt like it really took all of the thought process of eating out of the picture.  
So in the first picture I've got my flavored coffees and low-calorie snacks and in the second picture, a bit of salt for my hard-boiled eggs, a paring knife for my fruit, plain black coffee, teas and vitamin supplements called Damage Control.  These are Whole 30 compliant.

I love coffee. Love it.  But I got to where I could hardly ever drink it anymore unless it was sweetened with flavored creamer.  When I started calorie counting or eating "low-carb", I'd buy the same fakey creamer, but I'd get the Sugar-Free version.  Ugh.

On Whole30, you are not to have ANY added sugars or sweeteners of any form. This includes honey, stevia, Splenda, aspartame, etc. I saw on the support forum that a lot of people doing Whole 30 or Paleo like to add a bit of Coconut cream/milk to their teas and coffees.  I tried this the first week, but could only handle a few sips before I lost interest.  The cream looked like it had curdled and would separate and I felt like the black coffee was tasting like I imagine an ashtray would.  Strange, I know! haha!  Then I read that people actually pop their coffee into the blender or in a shaker to really get the cream blended into the coffee.  Eureka!! Back in the game!  Comes out like a LATTE and I love it. Sticking to just one cup a day, but it's a cup I enjoy and can finish.
Kombucha.  If you've never had this - you should at least give it a try.  First time I tried it, I gagged. It is basically fermented tea.  I tried a new flavor and guess what??  La la LOVE it.  Seriously. Addicted.  It's great for your gut, it's refreshing and it is compliant.  WINNING all around!
This is the only other drink I've really had other than plain water and coffee these last 8 days.
Farmer's Markets. Okay, it is no shocker that I love Farmer's Markets and better quality foods grocery stores like Trader Joe's and Sprouts, but when it comes to a lot of it - let's just say that I admired it from afar.  Hey.  It's not easy trying to keep a tight budget when you are feeding 6 people of all ages and sizes with crazy, busy schedules.  Don't even get me started on how CHEAP the cr*p food is and in comparison to whole, organic or natural foods.  Watch the documentary FOOD Inc and you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about.
Well, after talking to Marco, we both agreed that it would be better for us to start buying meats and produce that are more natural and less processed, hormoned to death and covered in chemicals.  Is it going to be tough? Maybe.  Will the portions be smaller? Most likely. We won't have NUCLEAR chicken anymore which is what we buy at our regular grocers.  That's the chicken that is just so huge it could pass for a turkey.  Yeah, it goes a long way, but we just don't feel good about that now that we know just how bad it really is.  These are all personal choices and I don't blame anybody that has to try and make the dollar stretch, but we know that for us - we have to at least try.  It may be just a little decision here, a little change there, but we're doing it!

Besides, it's hard to resist the natural colors and tastes that come from unaltered foods.

Along with these changes, I've also:

  • stopped chewing gum and eating mints/candy - can't have the sweeteners and it just sends crazy mixed messages to your brain making you think you want something sweet or that more food is coming
  • stopped eating fast food - for one, it's too difficult to find compliant foods (see the Carnitas post about Chipotle) and two - it is an easy way out.  I need to be thoughtful and this pushes me to plan ahead.
  • stopped drinking soda/diet soda/sweet tea - not allowed and I'm glad.  I don't mind the water one bit.
  • stopped having a late night snack or dessert - I wasn't a big snacker before, but I loved a bowl of ice cream or even a bowl of cereal late at night.
  • stopped weighing myself - it's not allowed during Whole30 and I don't want to obsess over it anyway
  • started making a conscientious effort to move more - I have a desk job. I sit almost all day. So I make myself get up and walk, bend, reach as much as I can. 
  • started paying attention to how I feel when I wake up, after I eat, during/after exercise - just being more aware of my body has really helped me clear my mind
  • started reading every.single.label that I can - I used to make the price a priority. Now it's the ingredients that I care about most.
So what do you think?  What changes have you made or would you like to make?

Whole 30 | Yummy Eats | Day 4 - 7

One thing I decided at the beginning of this was that I was not going to obsess over this blog and the way that I chose to record my progress.  Those of you that know me in real life probably know why I have to give myself that permission!
If I miss a post or get a post out of order, it would normally keep me from going forward on the blog. OCD issue, I guess, but I don't want it to be a stumbling block in my sharing or recording - so we get what we get.  Life is busy and sometimes you can't stop to post a photo or thought!

I thought I'd share some of what I have been eating lately.  We are a family of 6.  My husband and I and four kids ages 19, 15, 9 and 7.  
My husband is not currently doing the Whole30 with me, but Hannah, my 19 year old is on Day 8 with me. 
Marco has been doing very well though with what I would call a low-carb way of eating.  He has cut out all bread and has not had one soda in 8 days!!
Taryn is very active with swim and hasn't really changed up her eating habits and his happy with anything I make for dinner.
The two youngers are a different story.  They have been doing alright with what I've been serving and I am not the type that will stop and make another meal for a picky eater - so they make do!

Oven-roasted chicken wings, fresh green beans and sweet potato
Roast Chicken, Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, canned green beans (only gb and water), sweet potato
Lunch: Grilled chicken tenderloin salad with veggies and strawberries - topped with salsa
Left-over sweet potato with ghee
Stewed chicken and vegetables with avocado
Breakfast at work: Hard-boiled eggs, Aidells chicken and apple mini sausage (compliant), avocado and sweet pepper for color and crunch. 
Coffee with a bit of Coconut Cream.  No sweetener or sugars added.  Shaken.

Whole 30 has a suggested Meal Template that I try to follow.  On Whole30, you are encouraged to eat 3 meals a day without snacking.  I was never much of a snacker, but found that I began to look forward to regular "snack times" at work because that's what everyone was doing. ha! I also was not eating a very filling or nutritious breakfast or lunch and so that led to me being hungry just a couple hours after I had eaten.

This new mindset has really helped me a lot in just these short 8 days.  I am really starting to see how food addiction and emotional eating are really a mind thing.  Not that it doesn't exist, but that we can re-train or re-direct our minds and our stomachs WILL follow.  More in a later post about all of that!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Whole 30 | Planning | Day 3

Just sharing this 'cause it totally made me smile.  Such a sensitive issue. 

As I type this, it is actually Day 4.  I am giving myself the freedom to post whatever and whenever as long as I am consistently updating.  I just don't want to go into a panic if I don't get a chance to post each day.  My laptop has been quite sketchy lately and sometimes I can only get online via my phone.

These were my meals for DAY 3.  
Meal 1: Hard-boiled eggs and blueberries.  I put a little mustard on my eggs. Yum-o!
Meal 2: Thin pork chop (I made several of these on Monday), left-over green beans and raw sweet peppers. Totally filling.
Meal 3: Boneless Pork Loin, ROASTED brussels sprouts and a couple baby white potatoes, sauteed green beans and mushrooms.  STUFFED!!

Exercise: Had some drama with Marco's truck at the gym.  Thought we were going to have to leave without working out, but luckily he said we would do our workout and then get Hannah to pick us up. Yay!  
I am so thankful that I have a cousin that totally knows the ins and outs of fitness.  I asked her to give me some direction on what I could do at my chain gym without a trainer or anything there.  I won't mention the gym name because, honestly, I don't like it very much at all.  
Anyway, she gave me some training I could do along with tons of great links for direction.  She asked that I video anything I could so that she could look at my form and make sure I'm doing it right. After all, it needs to be beneficial AND safe, right? I'm no spring chicken!! ha!
I was very embarrassed to be doing anything that didn't seem to be the "norm" there at this gym. 
Norm being mindless treadmill/elliptical time while chatting or surfing on the phone or wandering from machine to machine doing WHO KNOWS WHAT???!
Now, I know that I shouldn't judge, but you see a lot of that.  There are people that go and totally have a plan and know what they are doing.  I never did, so I stuck to the basics.  
Oh, well. I did it anyway.  And even tougher for me was to ask my husband to video tape it.  I just avoided all eye-contact and kept going.  A lot of it yesterday was learning.  We would stop and watch the video again or stop it at a certain spot to make sure we were positioned right.  I felt good!!
Then I watched some of the clips.
The next feeling that set in - shame.  I know, I know.  I shouldn't feel that way.  I'm trying.  But I couldn't help it.  You know how you (that are aging) might think you look a certain way when you're doing something but the reality is completely different?  Like the memes of the runners or zumba dancers?  Yeah.  Saw that.  Was horrified.  Saw me doing stretches and moving not thinking about holding in my stomach or forcing a certain posture to appear NOT AS FAT, but yeah...  How did I get to this point? How'd I let it get this bad?
So there it is.  I felt short and stumpy and roly poly. 

Lucky for me, I'm not one to stay down for too long.  It's hard though, yeah?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Whole 30|Cracklin'|Day 2

I just think this cauliflower is really pretty!

So Day 2 was definitely better.  I woke up feeling a little bit "headachy", but not too bad.  It never really turned into a full-blown headache.  I planned a little better for the day and was so thankful that we got some grocery shopping done.  I picked up some really great items that were Whole30 compliant and that totally made me happy.

Meal 1: Two hard-boiled eggs and Trader Joe's Prosciutto - eaten at my desk at work.
**Okay. I love prosciutto, but I usually have it with cracker and cheese or wrapped around dates or asparagus.  I DID NOT like it by itself like this.  It really globbed up in my mouth and... *blech* 
Meal 2: Skillet Pork Chops with a small microwaved sweet potato. Also had an apple with about two tablespoons of TJ's almond butter.  SO GOOD!!
Meal 3: NomNomPaleo inspired Cracklin' Chicken, green beans, cauliflower mash and fresh avocado.
Taryn had a swim meet that I went to right after work.  As soon as she was done, I got out of there and headed home because I knew that this was what I was cooking for dinner.  You can click on the name above and it will link you to the recipe - but let me just tell you - it was a huge hit with everybody!!  I mean, who doesn't like CRACKLIN'???  If you don't - please don't even tell me.  I couldn't bear the thought!  
I used GHEE in my cooking for the first time.  I will be plunking down all sorts of cash for this from now on.  I guess I can make it myself, but why? It's basically clarified butter - and I love me some butter.  Is that clarified clear?  

I didn't get to bed as early as I wanted to - I had to get an order out for my Etsy shop. However, I didn't feel too bad when I woke up today (day 3) I have a goal to get to the gym tonight and get to bed early! Possible?  I don't know.  
I also told Hannah I needed to weigh and measure myself just to have something for comparison at the end.  Other than that, there will be no waying in until day 31!

What are you doing to make healthier choices?  This is super tough for me. Share what's toughest for you!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Whole 30 | No Carnitas | Day 1, part 2

So, meal 2 was a little rough.  I had a store bought chicken Caesar salad and I just figured I'd throw out the dressing and cheese and eat the lettuce and chicken, along with a blood orange I happened to have with me.  I had eaten 3 or 4 pieces of the chicken meat when I looked at the label and see that it may have sugar, salt and water added for preservation.  UGH!! NO!!

I immediately picked out the chicken and ate a plate of lettuce and the orange.  NOT the way to start this day.

When I got home, I went straight to the kitchen and scrambled myself THREE eggs.  They were so great.  Perfect.  Who knew a person could get that excited about eggs??  Haha!

For meal 3 - I had two ground beef patties, lettuce, tomato, pickles.  It was decent.  Filling. You see, Marco and I were out grocery shopping and neither of us had eaten yet.  I started to panic as he began to suggest different places to stop for food.  I knew he meant well, but most of the time, you can not find Whole 30 compliant food when you eat out.  There's always added sugar or something's got to be cooked in soybean oil *sigh* ...

So I went on the Forum and did a search on food when eating out and one thing kept poppin' up.

Chipotle.  Carnitas. Yay!

We went to TWO of them and they both had the sign that you see above posted.  It was not meant to be.  

So Day 1 was a success, but not the way I wanted it to be.  I would say it was COMPLIANT.  Maybe not a huge success.  Oh, well - on to Day 2.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Whole 30|Black Coffee|Day 1

Today is Day 1 for me on the Whole 30 Challenge.  You can read more about it by going to the website (big clicky button in my right hand column), but basically, I am going to be challenging myself to a very strict, paleo, whole foods, clean-eating, whole living way of life for the next 30 days.

You know I've gone off and on the Paleo wagon about 27 times in my life (give or take) - but I've never really followed a set program or had a start and end goal like this is going to be.

I was away all weekend with friends and did not really get my act together and am not quite prepared in the grocery area which of course is the main thing here.  So I am going to have to make it through the work day and get straight to the grocery store after work.

I will be coming here to log a few things that are important during this time:

  • food
  • exercise
  • sleep
  • feelings (physical/emotional)
  • any other random notes for the day
What I will not be talking about until the end of the 30 days is:
  • weight gain/loss
There is NO weighing or measuring allowed until the end.



Totally woke up late for work this morning.  Naomi (my 9 year old) had a rough night and came to my bed and that woke me up at about 4:30 a.m.  I must have fallen back asleep after a while and the next thing you know it's 7 a.m.  That is what time I am supposed to be clocking in!! Oops.  Not a good start.  
Did not bring anything with me, but knew I had a chicken salad in the fridge.  Will eat that minus the dressing.  I also have an apple I can munch on with it.  That should hold me over until I get to Trader Joe's!
I tried having a cup of coffee black because you can not have any sort of sweetener.  You can have some coconut oil or coconut cream, but I didn't have any.
Couldn't do it.  Made it half way through the cup and decided that I felt like I was eating cigarette butts.  
We shall see with lunch...