February 3, 2016

Whole30 Week 4: Final Thoughts

Its done. 30 days without dairy, legumes, sugars, grains, or alcohol. As a huge baker and overall desert junkie, I never thought this was going to work. Remember,  this is the same woman who threw up her breakfast the first week because she didn’t like eggs that much.

But here I sit, 30 days later, feeling awesome. My skin is glowing, I feel strong and lean, and I don’t feel like my diet is super restricted. I’ve loved incorporating more fresh produce into our diet and have enjoyed 7-9 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables each day this month. Post-Whole30, I think I am much more likely to go to dinner and skip the dessert and wine because I just don’t need it.

If you want to see my weekly meals and reflections:

Weight Loss: I didn’t do this for weight loss. I’m usually very happy with my body and my weight stays pretty consistent. But I know lots of people do Whole30 for weight loss. I only lost a few pounds, but I think that is because I made sure to keep my calories up and started with a very clean diet.

I did lose an inch and a half off my waist and my hips. Even my legs got an inch smaller, which is crazy to me. I will acknowledge that I worked out more this month than the month previous, so that may have had an impact. AR and I started running more in January, and I upped my strength training game.

Feelings: I feel good. I don’t feel bloated, and my energy levels are consistent. I do think I am sleeping more and I feel more exhausted at the end of the day. I think that isn’t due to Whole30, but rather, my hectic school schedule right now. It will be interesting to see if this changes after I finish Whole30.

Future Plans: I plan to do a full reintroduction, per the Whole30 program. I started with legumes Monday, and will introduce gluten free grains on Thursday. I will not complete a full reintroduction until I return from New York. I may try to introduce gluten grains while I am there, but I may just eat Whole30 that week and wait until I return. We will see.

I do want to continue to limit the grains we eat at home. Grains were a huge part of our diet. Oatmeal, grits, toast, rice, quinoa. Not to mention the biscuits I make every weekend. We eat a lot of grains. I think giving up those grains forced me to eat more healthy fats and produce, which I want to keep up. I may stay gluten free at home, based on how I feel after reintroduction, or maybe I will just limit grains to one meal a day.

I also want to limit my sugar intake – even natural sugars. There is no reason for me to reach for a chocolate chip granola bar at 11am. I want to save sweets for special occasions and treats, and not make them an everyday thing. This means I will seek to keep sugar in my cookies, and not in my bread, tomato sauce, or smoothies. Sugars don’t make me feel good, and I know that now.

More importantly, I want to eat more meals and less snacks. I am the queen of snack-meals. They may be healthy, but they don’t always fill me up, and I end up in the kitchen a few hours later, digging for a snack. On Whole30 I only had one snack a day, at most. Even then, it was usually fresh fruits or veggies with almond butter. I want to focus on eating real, balanced meals, that leave me full.

Finally, I plan to greatly limit my soy consumption. Unprocessed soy, like edamame, is fine. Soy milk is not so good for me, and there is no need to reintroduce it. Sure, most coffee shops only have soy milk (thank you, Starbucks), but I have learned to enjoy a black americano this month. I can stick with that.

Thanks for following on my Whole30 journey and feel free to reach out with any questions. I know I was worried when I first started the program, and now it doesn’t seem like a big deal at all. If you are on the fence, I completely recommend it!

January 27, 2016

Whole30: Week 3

My first Whole30 is almost done! If you would have asked me 30 days ago about my relationship with food, my answer would have been so much different than it is today. I can’t wait to share final reflections and thoughts.

For week 1 and week 2, I shared a play by play of each meal and snack I consumed. I hope this was helpful for those considering a Whole30. I know in preparing, I have looked at so many blog posts with meal ideas! Journaling my meals has been extremely helpful for me in that it reminds me that I have options in what I eat and keeps me from eating the same meal each day.

That said, I stopped recording each meal this week and am just sharing some general meals I enjoyed.

Breakfasts:

Still lots of eggs and warm chia pudding. I ate chia pudding 2 days this week, and the rest were all eggs. Heavy dependence on a baked frittata (made on Sunday), which I reheated 2 more days. I added lots of veggies to our eggs, like: mushrooms, spinach, kale, and peppers. I’ve also been topping the eggs with avocado and salsa most mornings.

Lunches:

Lots of soups. Making specific meals on prep day that will be used for lunches is such a game changer for me. I used to depend on leftovers, but I am getting into a rhythm of preparing meals to reheat just for lunches. Favorite lunches include:

  • salad topped with guacamole, boiled egg, deli turkey, or homemade turkey patties.
  • soup: veggie, chili, or a chicken & veggies
  • leftovers
  • grilled chicken sausage and roasted vegetables

Dinners:

Snacks

  • Larabars – apple pie and pecan pie are my favorite
  • Fruit and almond butter
  • Sliced veggies (peppers, carrots, cucumber, celery) and guacamole
  • Hot tea with a spoonful of coconut cream

Thoughts

This style of eating has become so much easier. I find making meals isn’t as challenging and I am feeling more creative. I don’t miss much (except cheese!) and my sugar craving is so much better. I don’t feel as though I am missing out as much, and AR & I are able to go out to eat with less stress. 

I also feel awesome. Nothing magical or life changing, but I feel better. I can tell I’ve lost a little weight, but even more than that, I don’t feel bloated at all. I also feel my workouts are stronger and my energy levels are more consistent. My skin hasn’t had a miracle breakthrough, but oh well. You can’t win them all. 

Are you considering trying a Whole30? 

 

January 19, 2016

Whole30: Week Two

I made it through week two! In fact, I am past the halfway point and still chugging! I can’t believe how much easier things are coming, nor can I believe how much more I am enjoying my meals. I really think all this time making new recipes and meals has been so good for me. 

Day 8 (January 9, 2016)

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, roasted peppers, sliced orange, and roasted sweet potato wedges.

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Lunch: sliced veggies and apples with LOTS of almond butter. Kept this meal small because we had a very late breakfast 😉

Dinner: Almond meal-crusted “fried” chicken tenders and large spinach salad with homemade vinaigrette. After dinner, I made coconut milk tea “lattes” – I simply brewed the tea in mugs of part water, part coconut milk. It was a nice, warm end to the evening.

Day 9 (January 10, 2016)

Breakfast: This breakfast casserole with Whole Foods 365 brand italian chicken sausage, a sliced orange, and fresh blackberries. Coffee. AR has a “faux mimosa” – mineral water with a splash of orange juice!

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Workout: 5 mile run in the cold, cold weather. We waited until afternoon and it was still freezing.

Lunch: Apple and almond butter, chicken apple sausage, kale chips.

Dinner: Paleo Chicken Stew and steamed broccoli. This recipe was so so flavorful, though it did require some Whole30 adjustments.

Thoughts: Y’all, this was the first day Whole30 felt okay. I liked all my meals today. My workout felt strong. I had a great night sleep and didn’t wake up starving. I felt good

Day 10 (January 11, 2016)

Workout: 60 minute barre class before breakfast.

Breakfast: Egg casserole with fresh berries and coffee.

Lunch: Butternut squash and pumpkin soup, sliced apple, large turkey burger (patty only), and sliced celery & bell peppers. I had an apple pie Larabar in the afternoon.

Dinner: Chicken apple sausage, slow-cooked potatoes and carrots, salad.

ThoughtsAgain, today felt good. I liked my meals and didn’t feel like I was “missing” anything. Sure, my insta feed held some tempting treats, but I didn’t immediately start wanting treats. This is supposedly the day most people quit, but I feel surprisingly strong. 

Day 11 (January 12, 2016)

Breakfast: Warm chia pudding. It was so nice to have a break from eggs. 😉

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Lunch: Large kale salad with olive oil and lemon juice. Bowl of leftover chicken stew.

Dinner: Stuffed bell peppers with ground turkey and cauliflower “rice”.

Day 12 (January 13, 2016)

Workout: 45 minute cardio class that was intense before breakfast.

Breakfast: Leftover breakfast casserole and a banana. Coffee.

Lunch: Repeat from Monday. Squash soup, 2 small turkey burgers, chopped apple and celery.

Snack: Apple Pie Larabar.

Dinner: Roasted acorn squash with gee and cinnamon. Grilled turkey sausage. Okra and tomatoes (this was sooooooooo good).

Day 13 (January 14, 2016)

Breakfast: Eggs scrambled with chicken apple sausage and bell peppers. Banana and almond butter. Coffee.

Lunch: Leftover turkey stuffed bell pepper served on a few handfuls of spinach. Orange.

Snack: I was so hungry.  Whole30 has taught me that if I’m not hungry enough for real food (like a boiled egg or a piece of meat), then I’m not hungry. I had a spoonful of almond butter and waited thirty minutes. I was still hungry, so I a small bowl of turkey & cauliflower bell pepper stuffing and some tea.

Dinner: Salmon cakes – these were so easy and good, so I am going to share the recipe soon. It involved sweet potatoes, salmon, and lots of lemon and fresh parsley. Served with salad and sautéed kale.

Day 14 (January 15, 2016)

Workout: 60 minute Barre3 class.

Breakfast: Two fried eggs on top of sautéed kale and mushrooms. This will be repeated because it was so good.

Lunch: Grilled chicken sausage, salad, apple and almond butter. I had a Larabar later.

Dinner: We went out for dinner and it was so stressful to find somewhere that was compliant! We ended up at the Atlanta Fish Market, where I ordered grilled fish with lemon and olive oil. It was served with steamed veggies and a baked sweet potato. Not the most exciting menu, but it was nice to eat out a bit! We ran to Target to pick up some Whole30 yummies and came home to have tea.

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Day 15 (January 16, 2016)

Breakfast: I made Aaron some roasted potatoes and eggs in the morning. I had a few bites of the potatoes (roasted with onions and peppers – so so good). Then I met up with some girlfriends for brunch! We went to Radial cafe, where the waiter sweetly accommodated my questions and requests. I had 2 scrambled eggs and fruit. I had a Larabar on my way to the hike.

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Workout: The girls and I went hiking for several hours and it was a blast!

Lunch: When we finally got home, I had a chicken apple sausage and some squash soup, along with some celery and almond butter.

Dinner: Spicy grilled chicken tenders (made by my sweet husband, who made a steak for himself), salad, and grilled asparagus. Tea for a sweet ending.

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And there it is, the first 15 days done! To see my first week of eats, read here. I’m looking forward to trying new recipes this week and continuing to go strong. Going out to eat twice was a huge confidence booster for me – I can go out and still make it. This next week should be even easier 🙂 

January 13, 2016

Warm Chia Pudding

I admit, the first time I had chia pudding, I was grossed out.

The texture didn’t work for me. It was lumpy and…. yuck. But Whole30 has forced me to try new things and revisit old things, and one of them was chia pudding.

This recipe started out differently from the previous ones I had tried. Namely, not the night before. I need this, as I often “feel” breakfast in the morning, not at 9pm. As I am not having sugar or dairy this month, I had to get creative on my additions to the pudding, but the results were fantastic.

I mixed coconut milk and almond milk (both unsweetened) with chia seeds, almond butter, cinnamon, and half a banana. I let it sit on the stove (mostly unattended) for about 10 minutes, and viola, creamy, warm pudding!

(this recipe is Whole30 compliant. Feel free to use dairy milk or sweeteners or whatever floats your boat!)

Warm Chia Seed Pudding

 

  • 1/2 c. coconut milk
  • 1/2 c. almond milk
  • 2 T. chia seeds
  • 1 T. almond butter
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon

In a small saucepan, mix the milks, seeds, almond butter, half of the sliced bananas, and cinnamon. Let the mixture cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often. Mixture is ready when it is thick and creamy (chia seeds will be large and soft). Pour into a bowl and serve with remaining banana.

Enjoy!

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