May 9, 2017

Why I Did Whole30 and Would I Do It Again?

Good morning, friends! I really meant to have this post finished a lot sooner but I'm actually pretty glad it took some time. I learned a bit more over the months after completing the Whole30 Challenge than I realized I would and had I made this post earlier, it would not be the same as it is today. That said, a lot of you have had questions for me and I promised I'd try to answer as many as possible so let's get started.

You can read each week's recap on my previous posts: WEEK 1, WEEK 2, WEEK 3 & WEEK 4.

Number 1 question I got asked was, "Why are you doing Whole30?"

I posted about it here but in short:
  • we were eating out too much as a family 
  • it was a personal challenge - I wanted to prove to myself I could do it
  • I wanted to get better at eating breakfast & I thought it would probably force me to


That looks so hard, how could you give up dairy?

Honestly, I thought this would be the hardest part of the 30 days. No cheese, no yogurt, no milk - I mean, I ate cheese with every meal so I knew this would be the worst. But it wasn't. I did miss it though, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't as hard as I made it out to be in my mind. So that was a nice surprise.

Then what was the hardest part of doing Whole30?

That depends. Hardest food wise? As in what was the thing I missed or craved the most?
Sugar.
And that was a shocker to me. I've always considered myself a salty over sweets person. I prefer biscuits and gravy to pancakes or waffles. I'd rather have a chips and salsa than a bowl of ice cream. And we just don't have a lot of sweets around so I didn't even consider sugar being hard.
I'm not sure if it was the fact that I couldn't have it that made me want it so badly (hi, I'm 5 or something) or the realization of how much sugar is in things and how it was added without me even knowing so I was actually eating more than I thought, thus making the lack of it what I craved. You guys, there is sugar in everything! Food I'd never expect! Like bacon, deli meat, some seasonings like garlic salt (what?!) and salsa. So that was an eye opener for sure.

But the hardest part of Whole30 in general?

All. The. Cooking.
Chopping.
Prepping.
Cleaning.
Y'all, I felt like I lived in the kitchen. Apparently it's easier if you spend a day prepping food for the week but I didn't do that. We did make use of leftovers, A LOT, but I just cooked how I normally would during the week, meal by meal.

Once all the prepping and cooking was complete, then it was time to wash all the dishes used. And then it was like I could go to the bathroom and then go right back to the kitchen for the next meal. haha. Maybe not that bad but I did miss the ease of ordering a pizza and using paper plates.

Did your cravings pass?

Yes and no. Initially I didn't crave much, other than sugar as mentioned earlier. Having all the fruit for breakfast was nice and since I never really ate breakfast regularly, I didn't crave much at breakfast.

Lunch wasn't too bad either. I definitely missed cheese on my salads or a bun with my hotdog but I wouldn't say I craved it. I just didn't think of it as an option so I kind of pushed it out of my head.

Dinner, however, I craved eating out. I missed someone cooking for me and the family. Eating whatever we chose from the menu, thus making everyone happy. And then not cleaning afterwards. I craved that the most. Especially by Friday.

My cravings came and went with the week. I would be super on track and have a great attitude Monday-Thursday. By Friday I wanted to give up and eat some pizza or a cheese enchilada. But willpower.



How many times did you think of food you couldn't eat?

Hmm, how many seconds are there in a day? Partially kidding on this one, I did sleep ;) But man, I thought about it a lot. My kids love oatmeal and since we bought the Instant Pot, I make it a lot more. Every time I would make them oats, or toast or pull out the cheese so they could put it on their salad or ketchup for their fries, putting jelly on their pj&j, watching the Taco Bueno commercial or any food commercial for that matter, driving down the street and passing all the restaurants, all the time. Food is everywhere! So yeah, I thought about it a lot but honestly tried not to.

Oh, and there may have been a few times I sniffed the bag of doritos just to get the essence of it. Shame.

Did you ever feel full?

No. Haha. Seriously though, no.
There would be times we'd finish a meal and I'd turn to my husband and say, "I'm still hungry, you?" It's amazing what some croutons can do to a salad or a slice of toast with eggs.

On that note, I think that's also a reason we started getting tired halfway through. I just don't think we were getting enough to sustain our energy, especially with working out every day. And y'all, I ate all the time so it's not like I felt like I should be eating more but I do think there are health benefits to wheat bread and grains or yogurt if you have no allergy or adverse side effects..

How much weight did you lose?

This is a funny one for me to answer because I didn't do the challenge to lose weight. Sure, I thought it would be nice to lose a couple pounds after all those holiday treats but that wasn't the goal so it weirds me out when people assume that's the only reason someone would do the challenge. Not only that, but I also worked out during the challenge. I try to stay active and in goodish shape but I joined a friend in this 12 week fitness challenge and it is intense! It puts my Jillian videos to shame! Anyway, all that to say, I lost 5 pounds in those 30 days.



How much weight did you gain back?

It's been a few months since doing Whole30 and I haven't gained any back.

What were the best/cheapest places to shop?

There were four stores I hit up each week during Whole30: Aldi, Trader Joe's, Sprouts and Reasors.
  • Aldi: good prices on produce, guacamole, nuts, oils and nut butters.
  • Trader Joe's: they have a some random little treats that really added ease or flavor to ordinary meals like, riced cauliflower, saurkraut, seasoning blends, plantain chips and shrimp stir-fry.
  • Sprouts: not the best for normal grocery shopping but I'd check their weekly ad for sales and their produce prices were tough to beat and the quality is super.
  • Reasors: our local grocery store, they have their own farms so I like buying our meats here.


You mentioned you felt a lot better, are there any other benefits you noticed?

Yes!
  • Definitely sleep. I've never slept so soundly.
  • I also noticed a more sustained energy level throughout the day.
  • I honestly feel happier too. Working out everyday, eating healthier, it just feels better.
  • I am now a "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" believer! It only took me 35 years to learn that one but Food is Fuel y'all.


What's the first thing you'll eat when it's over?

Chips and salsa. Plantain chips are good for Whole30 but they don't stand a chance next to restaurant chips and hot salsa. I eat chips and salsa as a snack nearly every day. 30 days without my favorite snack had me ready to dive head first into a vat of salsa and swim in a sea of salty chips. I can eat an embarrassing amount of chips and salsa and that is just what I did when we ended Whole30. Apparently there's a easing back into normal life plan after Whole30 but I did not follow that. 30 days was good.




Is there anything you'll continue now that's Whole30 is over?

  • Yes, breakfast every day. 
  • Less sugar. Having been off sugar for 30 days and then reintroducing it, perhaps a little too aggressively,  I quickly learned that sugar affects me the most. It honestly makes me feel like crap. A little bowl of ice cream, not big deal. But a little bowl of ice cream and a brownie - almost makes me feel like I'm getting the flu. No lie.
  • And with that, yep, I still drink my coffee black. I know, ew, gross bean juice, but it's not so bad. I do put a little milk or almond milk in it from time to time but no sugar. It just doesn't take good enough to make me feel sick.
  • More sweet potatoes. I never realized how much I like them! Roasted sweet potato fries, baked sweet potatoes, leftover sweet potatoes with eggs for breakfast. They're good.
  • Finding all those produce deals! I love getting my weekly ads to see what we'll be eating the next week. 
  • Less eating out. It's expensive. It's funny when you finally get to go back out to eat at a restaurant and nothing tastes good. Sad. But seriously. My enchilada was bland, the pizza was disappointing, the sandwich was lacking. Simple, real food is so full of flavor. However, the bread I got at Panera was what dreams are made of. And restaurant chips and salsa, I could eat it every day so when I do go out I will be looking for healthier options on the menu.


Will you do Whole30 again?

No. I am so glad I did it. In fact, I would recommend it to anyone. Spending 30 days eating real, unprocessed food will teach you so much about your body and willpower. For me, Whole30 was all about getting healthier and not about losing weight. You don't have to want to lose weight to do Whole30, just like you don't have to want to lose weight to work out so I'd encourage anyone to do it. But don't do it for 5 days and say it was easy and then quit. That's not going to teach you anything. I know because I did it before.

What won't you continue from Whole30?

No dairy, no grains, no legumes.
I am not lactose intolerant and I love cheese and I like yogurt for breakfast so I will enjoy eating those. I also feel more energetic when I have some whole grains in my diet. Like granola with my yogurt and fruit for breakfast. Or an egg with my toast. Theses foods don't impact me in a negative way so I'm fine keeping them in the rotation.



WHEW!

So that's that. More info than you probably cared to know but I tried to answer all the questions. And thank you to all of you that left me encouraging comments throughout the month - they meant a lot and helped me make it through, you guys rock!

Feb 27, 2017

Whole30 Recap, Not Today

Hey guys, I know I said I would have the recap up of my January Whole30 experience today but another kiddo is sick again and I didn't get around to finishing it this weekend. I'll have it up soon but until then, I'll be dreaming of days of everyone being healthy and well and frolicking outside.


And praying this little girl gets over it quickly!

Feb 24, 2017

Whole30 - Week 4 Meals



For those that have been asking and waiting for me to finish up our Whole30 experience from January, this post has been a while coming but life happens, kids get sick and blog posts get pushed to the next day's to do list (and repeat) but it's finally here!

I planned on doing week 4's meals with my Whole30 experience recap (including answering a lot of your questions) in the same post but it got long so I'm posting the recap on Monday. If you are just joining, you can see what we ate during Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3 by clicking on the links.

After surviving the weekend of week 3, we woke up to week 4 with determination and a little pride that we'd made it so far and how close we were to finishing!  

So here's what we ate to finish it off.


DAY 22



Breakfast: fresh bananas, strawberries, blackberries and orange wedges with a 2 egg omelette topped with a bit of bacon, cilantro and avocado.
Lunch: broccoli salad with a hard boiled egg (again, Instant Pot to the rescue), apple slices and almond butter.
Dinner: grilled beef patty topped with grilled jalapenos, onions and guacamole with grilled broccoli and roasted sweet potato and roasted potato fries.



DAY 23



Breakfast: fresh pineapple, strawberries and bananas with a fried egg over TJ's cruciferous crunch mix.
Lunch: all beef dog topped with onions, cayenne and Siegi's mustard with sliced radishes and broccoli salad.
Dinner: taco potato - baked potato with taco meat, onions, guacomole, salsa and "dump ranch".



DAY 24



Breakfast: hard boiled egg with a chopped fruit salad of apples, bananas, blueberries and strawberries.
Lunch: broccoli salad, plantain chips and salsa, sliced avocado and 2 hard boiled eggs.
Dinner: @paleolithicfoodie's chicken cauliflower coconut soup.



DAY 25



Breakfast: hard boiled egg with a chopped fruit salad of bananas, blueberries, strawberries and orange wedges.
Lunch: spinach salad with chopped radishes, cucumber, onion and homemade chicken salad.
Dinner:  all beef dog with Siegi's mustard, chicken salad and apples slices with almond butter (there was no energy or care to make anything else :))



DAY 26



Breakfast: orange wedges with blueberries, hard boiled eggs, cucumber and mixed nuts.
Lunch: broccoli salad, hard boiled egg and a grilled chicken thigh.
Dinner: pan seared steak and eggs.


DAY 27



Breakfast: spinach, blueberry, almond butter, banana smoothie with chia seeds.
Lunch: taco potato.
Dinner: grilled steak, grilled artichoke and cauliflower and a baked sweet potato.



DAY 28



Breakfast: bananas, blueberries and strawberries and 2 hard boiled eggs.
Lunch: chopped salad with radishes, avocado, onion and grilled pork tenderloin and plantain chips.
Dinner: pot roast with green beans, potatoes and carrots.



DAY 29



Breakfast: kiwis and blueberries with a 2 egg omelette topped with leftover grilled steak.
Lunch: chicken cauliflower coconut soup.
Dinner: leftover grilled steak, baked sweet potato and sauteed cabbage.



DAY 30



Breakfast: oranges, blueberries and a soft boiled egg. My girls call them "gooey eggs" and love them. You guys, I bought a Rosle Egg Cracker/Topper online a couple of years ago and LOVE it. It makes getting the tops off a cinch!
Lunch: chopped salad with cucumber, blueberries, radishes, bacon and a hard boiled egg. Topped with balsamic vinegar and evoo.
Dinner: Here's the thing. We started Whole30 on January 1 with breakfast and lunch and accidentally had a non-whole30-approved item so we decided to go through until the 31, making it whole31. So the evening of the 31st we started trying to figure out if we had to make another dinner or if we had met our goal of eating whole for 30 days. Since we technically ate more than 30 days of whole30 meals so we decided we had met our goal and ended the night by going out and getting some chips and salsa and margaritas. Did we fail because of that? I think not. Do I care if you think we did? Heck no.

There you have it. Everything we ate the last 9 days of Whole30. Am I glad I did it? Heck yes! More on why I loved and hated it on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Jan 31, 2017

40% off Skillshare Premium Membership Ends Today!



You know I love Skillshare, right?! I mean, it is the reason I got started in lettering and I love it so much that I am teaching an introductory lettering class for absolute beginners.

I have taken classes on making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, lifestyle photography tips, and my kids have even enjoyed the drawing classes for kids. So clearly this is a family love affair and I wanted to let you all know they are offering a discounted premium membership today only and it will give you total access to thousands of online classes for an entire year!

Click here and then look for the blue bar up top. Click that link and you'll get the 40% off discount code.

And feel free to enroll in my class and learn some basics of lettering ;)

Happy Tuesday! Now go start something new!

Jan 24, 2017

Broccoli Bacon Salad Recipe - Whole30 Approved



Good monrning!

Several people have asked me for the broccoli salad recipe I posted on instagram so I'm sharing it here today.

I wrote the recipe down years ago when I wondered down a rabbit hole on instagram, looking at "insert random hashtag I was looking for at the time" then seeing a picture that led to me to this person that led me to another person and then I saw a picture of the recipe and went to the blog. The problem is I didn't write the blogger's name or website down at the time so I can't attribute this recipe to them.

I'm sorry blogger person. I have tried finding you. I have searched instagram, hashtags, google searches and image searches but I have come up empty. If you're reading this, let me know and I'll give you all the credit or if you're reading this and remember me saying something about who made this recipe, let me know so I can give credit.

Until then, a whole30 approved broccoli salad that's good even if you're not doing whole30!

Seriously, I made this salad for potlucks or summer parties all the time.

IINGREDIENTS:

2-3 heads fresh broccoli, roughly chopped
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup red onion, diced (I have used green onion, garden onion and they're all good)
1 cup cashews, chopped (I sometimes use whatever nut mix I've made sometimes including roasted almonds, pistachios, or sunflower seeds and it's great that way too)
1/2 cup golden raisins (cranberries are a nice change too)

Add all these ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.

FOR THE DRESSING:

1 cup homemade mayo (to be whole30 compliant)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 soaked dates

Put the dressing ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blend until the dates are chopped and thoroughly combined.

Pour dressing over salad and stir. Refrigerate 2 hours or more to marinate.

Serve to all your party people and enjoy!

Jan 23, 2017

Whole30 - Week 3 Meals



Whoa. We have officially completed 3 entire weeks of Whole30! I kind of did not think it was possible but also thought I could totally do it, if that makes any sense at all. If you're new, Week 1 meals are here and Week 2 are here.

I will confess, this weekend was the hardest. The beginning of the week started strong. We were continuing to have amazing sleep, lots of energy and few cravings. Meals were enjoyable although the constant dish cleaning was not so much.

Then Friday happened. Here's the thing, Friday's have always been the night I don't cook which means we either go out for pizza or Mexican food. So by Friday I was pretty much over the whole30 idea. We had conquered eating at home for every meal and only went out 1 time in 17 days. And since our main goal of doing whole30 was to eat out less, I'd say we achieved that goal. Plus, I really didn't want to cook, clean dishes and just really, really wanted some chips, salsa and queso. Throw in a margarita and I wouldn't object. But, we stayed strong. Made a dinner omelette and called it a night. #lame.

And then Saturday happened. It was the perfect day for prepping the garden beds for planting in the coming weeks. We were outside all day. Raking. Pulling weeds. Gathering leaves. Getting dirty. Before we knew it the sun was going down and it was time for dinner. Only, we'd been outside all day so nothing had been prepared. My husband and were half talking each other into quitting and half talking into each other to sticking with it. We were weak. But in the end we said, "hey, we've made it 20 days, what's another 10? Let's do this."



So hot dogs for dinner it was! And now we're in the home stretch and I'm really proud of us sticking with it and staying home of taking the easy way out and giving up and going out to eat. That chips and salsa will taste so much better in 10 days! hahaha

So how did we survive week 3? Quick and easy meals, a lot of eggs, fruit and salads. There were ZERO recipes this week. Meaning, we pretty much bought proteins and fruits and veggies that were on sale (hello, Sprouts, my new favorite place for produce sales!) and threw them together. Nothing fancy or glamorous but it got us through.

DAY 15



Breakfast: fresh blackberries, sliced strawberries and bananas with a 2 egg omelette with green onions (cooked in TJ's ghee)
Lunch: green leaf lettuce with leftover sardine salad with TJ's plantain chips (not my best, y'all)
Dinner: oven roasted chicken thighs with root veggies (carrots, beets and parsnips)

DAY 16


Breakfast: strawberries and blackberries, 2 fried eggs and a sausage patty
Lunch: salad with TJ's cruciferous crunch mix and green leaf lettuce topped with sliced cucumber, carrots, green onion, a hard boiled egg (made in the instant pot) and sliced chicken thigh (leftover from night before) with "dump ranch"
Dinner: "rostisserie chicken" made in the Instant Pot, smashed baby potatoes with green onion and bacon and peas

DAY 17


Breakfast: sliced bananas, kiwi and blackberries with 2 soft boiled eggs and leftover smashed potatoes
Lunch: lettuce wrapped beef slider topped with guacamole, onion, sauteed mushrooms and Louisiana Gold red sauce with TJ's plantain chips and carrots
Dinner: 1st time eating out on whole30, we went to Ruby Tuesday and had the salad bar (glorious) and the triple prime burger without the bun (glorious)

DAY 18


Breakfast: oranges and some sauteed TJ's cruciferous greens mix topped with 2 fried eggs and a slice of prosciutto
Lunch: mixed greens topped with sliced apple, green onion, shaved chicken breast, a medium boiled egg and chopped pecans with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
Dinner: grilled steak and chicken kabobs with green bell pepper, onion and mushrooms, mashed potatoes (used the instant pot) and oranges and pineapple

DAY 19


Breakfast: oranges, pineapple and blackberries with a 2 egg omelette with green onion
Lunch: mixed green salad topped with sliced cucumber, carrots, green onion, prosciutto, shaved chicken bresat and a medium boiled egg topped with "dump ranch"
Dinner: omelette filled with leftover kabob meat and veggies and topped with TJ's salsa verde with grapes, pineapple and bananas with a little chia seed sprinkled on top

DAY 20


Breakfast: strawberries, bananas and kiwi with chia seed and potato pancakes topped with TJ's unsweetened applesauce
Lunch: mixed green salad topped with sliced apple, cucumber, green onion, prosciutto, chopped pecans and a medium boiled egg topped with "dump ranch"
Dinner: all beef franks topped with TJ's sauerkraut, onions, Siegi's mustard and Louisiana Gold red sauce and homemade dried jalapeno flakes from the garden with a sliced avocado

DAY 21


Breakfast: fruit salad with kiwi, oranges, strawberry and apples with chia seeds and cinnamon, a pan cooked pork chop and scrambled eggs
Lunch: leftover grilled chicken thigh, hard boiled egg (yay Instant Pot) and my favorite broccoli salad
Dinner: grilled hamburger patty with grilled jalapenos, onions and guacamole with grilled broccoli and oven roasted potato and sweet potato fries


In keeping with weeks 1 and 2, here are some thoughts on the whole Whole30 thing:
  • my husband and I are weird. That whole timeline thing is opposite for us. This past week we were supposed to have crazy energy but instead we both had random headaches and were tired even though I have been getting the best sleep I've had in 6 years. Weird.
  • we also decided there is nothing wrong with cheese or sugar. They are good. They make us happy. I think our marriage needs them.
  • also, let's add chips to things our marriage benefits from
  • while whole30 meals are undoubtedly healthy, there are only so many ways you can cook a "compliant" egg without it tasting like, well, an egg
  • these may sound like complaints and I'm sorry, I try my best to stay positive during the week but this is where I get honest and do you know how hard it is to make homemade chocolate chip banana bread and not eat ANY of it?! Let me tell you. It's hard.

But it's not all bad. There's a lot of good too. Which is why I guess a lot of people do this #whole30 thing
  • for example, I've mentioned sleeping better. I used to average like 20+ restless moments during sleep and now it's more like 10 or less (thank you Fitbit for that info)
  • I have more sustained energy throughout the day instead of waves of sugar induced energy so that's probably good too
  • we have only eaten out 1 time in 21 days so that's HUGE
  • I'm a lot better at finding produce deals and making sure we have plenty of fresh fruit and veggies on hand
  • I feel better. Seriously. I feel great when I wake up. Great throughout the day and great when I go to bed.  
  • my clothes are fitting a bit looser so that's not bad either
  • oh, and Trader Joe's and Sprouts are still places of beauty
So we're taking the good with the bad and have 9 days left.

Jan 16, 2017

Whole30 - Week 2 Meals



Happy Monday!

Well, we survived week 2 of Whole30. For me, this week was much more difficult than WEEK 1. I think maybe the lack of daily vanilla latte (all that sugar) may have taken a toll this week. I had a couple of killer headaches and a couple of moments of bad attitudes where I just really wanted a chunk of bread and a piece of chocolate. Which is weird for me because I've always been more of a salty person that sweets person. I'm blaming my lack of lattes again.

Anyway, that said, the end of the week was much better. My energy was up, my attitude was much better and no more headaches. Oh, and my sleep has drastically improved! All good things.

So on to the food. This week was full of leftovers and trying to find tasty ways to use them.

DAY 8



Breakfast: fruit salad with pineapple, grapes, apple and a little sprinkle of pumpkin spice and chia seeds and a breakfast scramble with eggs, sausage, kalua pork (leftover from last week), cilantro and green onion and my trusty side kick, Louisiana gold red sauce
Lunch: baked sweet potato with ground beef taco meat, salsa, cilantro, onion and "dump ranch"
Dinner: leftover lunch because it was huge but I fried an egg on top to change it up

DAY 9



Breakfast: 1/2 banana and handful of blueberries with a two-egg omelette topped with pan seared filet from last week's dinner & a little green onion
Lunch: shredded salad with greens, onion, carrots, radishes, 1/2 a sliced avocado and a sliced grilled chicken thigh with a lime squeeze and balsamic vinegar for dressing
Dinner: pecan crusted mahi mahi topped with pineapple salsa (fresh pineapple, cilantro, jalapeno and onion) over cauliflower rice and steamed broccoli

DAY 10



Breakfast: 2 soft boiled eggs, blueberries and a sliced of leftover brisket
Lunch: packed my lunch for a trip to the zoo, plantain chips, blueberries and carrots, an avocado hard boiled eggs in my favorite lunchbox from PlanetBox
Dinner: over baked hashbrowns topped with sausage and kalua pork and eggs with a little salsa, fresh broccoli and celery with almond butter (worst meal to date and my mood was in the dumps because I wanted Mexican food)

DAY 11



Breakfast: hard boiled egg (Instant Pot) with bananas, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries
Lunch: green leaf lettuce salad topped with strawberries, cucumber, onion, hard boiled egg and sliced natural deli chicken breast
Dinner: bunless burger wraps with green leaf lettuce, 2 sliders, tomato, onion, radishes and a fried egg with oven roasted potato fries

DAY 12



Breakfast: bananas, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries with pan fried leftover roasted potatoes topped with a fried egg with green onion and sprinkle of dried jalapeno powder and salt & pepper
Lunch: oven roasted potato fries, Classen pickle spear and an Applegate turkey dog topped with TJ's sauerkraut, onions and Siegi's mustard (love this lunch)
Dinner: chopped green leaf salad topped with strawberries, carrots, onions, deli chicken breast, blueberries and a hard boiled egg with "dump ranch"

DAY 13



Breakfast: bananas, strawberries, blackberries and tangelo wedges, sugar-free bacon and waffled TJ's hashbrowns topped with 2 poached eggs
Lunch: shredded lettuce topped with sardine salad (eww, I know but it's supposed to be super healthy and I figured it couldn't be worse than kipper snacks), carrots and TJ's plantain chips
Dinner: oven roasted spiralized sweet potatoes mixed with potato fries, topped with kalua pork (seriously, it made so much and we still have more in the freezer), guacamole, leftover pineapple salsa (from Tuesday's dinner) and a little salsa

DAY 14



Breakfast: leftover roasted sweet potato and potato fries topped wtih 2 fried eggs and green onion
Lunch: at my parent's, my dad made pot roast with carrots, potatoes and green beans and a side of fruit salad! All things I could eat. My dad rocks.
Dinner: small salad with carrots, cucumbers, onion, 1/2 a hard boiled egg and a little deli chicken breast with 1/2 baked sweet potato topped with kalua pork, onion and guacamole

So there's that. Whew.

  • In keeping with week 1, here are some things I learned from week 2
  • leftovers are time and sanity savers and even better when you can change them up
  • I wish I had our chickens still because eggs, eggs and more eggs
  • not being able to have something makes me want it even more - hi, I'm 5 or something
  • green onions are good with just about anything
  • so is cilantro
  • and quite possibly dump ranch
  • black coffee is working on me and I can really taste the difference between bad coffee and good coffee, my favorite coffee right now is Jamaican Blue from Sprouts. So smooth.
  • watching the local grocery ads means I can find the best deal on fruits and veggies and stock up for the week making meals so much easier and affordable (hence all the strawberries, blackberries and blueberries - yay sales!)
  • since I can't really snack anymore, I've noticed my coffee consumption going up, I might need to work on that in week 3 and work more water in!
  • I am sleeping like a ROCK. Every night. My sleep has never been so good.
  • the halfway mark feels REALLY good.
  • attitude is still everything. I had a pity party about not being able to go out anymore. And not that we can't, I'm sure there are things we could order, but the main reason to do Whole30 was to keep us home more so we're killing it there - zero restaurants in 2 weeks. Whoop. But man, it sure would be nice to sit and eat chips and salsa and queso, drink a margarita and let someone else take care of the cooking and dishes! haha Trying not to focus on that.
  • lastly, my workouts are better. I feel more energy to do them, better endurance and stamina. Oh, and I got a Foam Roller and it's everything. Thank you, sister, for talking me into that purchase!



Jan 9, 2017

Whole30 - Week 1 Meals



Good morning! For those that follow me on instagram, @lesleyzellers, you probably have realized I started Whole 30 this past week. If you're not familiar with the challenge, you can learn about it here.

So why did I do it? Good question.

There are a few reasons actually. The main one was to get myself back in the kitchen. With deadlines, holidays and just the normal pace of a life with 3 kids, we started eating out way too much. That is neither good for the finances or our health. Some nights it's easier to just go out and get some food with zero meal planning, we know there will be something everyone will like and hello, no dishes to clean up. But we are getting ready to build a house and my husband and I decided this was the kick in the booty we needed to get better at meal planning, eating healthier and getting back to eating at home for every meal and what better time to start than a new year?!

I mean, we eat pretty healthy food already so I didn't think it would be SO hard. My husband and I don't drink a lot of pop, we don't eat much fried food, we don't eat a lot of sugary things but we do eat out too much, ejoy a semi-weekly donut, a glass (or 2) of wine with dinner from time to time and I LOVE me some chips, salsa and queso and ALL the cheese. And bread isn't too shabby either.

Anyway, a lot of you have asked questions regarding my experience, like are your kids doing it too, where do you find your recipes, what's that Instant Pot thing, what's in that salad?! and a whole bunch of others so I'm going to try to address them here.

For starters, my husband and I committed to doing the Whole30 challenge and wanted our kids to do it with us as much as possible without a ton of complaining. So we feed them what we eat but I also make them a side that isn't approved or give them a cookie after dinner. So basically I was not about to make 1 meal for us and a second meal for them - that's just crazy talk.

So what would a meal look like for us versus them? One night I made spaghetti squash with meat sauce and a salad with homemade red wine vinegar dressing. I made the kids actual spaghetti because none of them love squash in any variety and they got to choose their favorite dressing for their own salads.  They were happy, we were happy, we all won. If we do burgers, they get buns but eat the same sides as us. Breakfast, they get oatmeal or toast with their eggs but they still get the fruit salad. Oh, and they get treats like the occasional cookie or chocolate piece and they drink milk every morning.

As for where I find my recipes, here and there. Haha. I tried doing Whole30 once before and was so consumed with finding recipes  and making meals interesting that it became a burden and complete time zapper. This go around I wanted to keep it simple. Grab the veggies that were on sale at the grocery store and pick up some meats to go with it.  A lot of roasted or steamed veggies because those are easy and a lot of salads because I'm a salad junkie. Oh, and the eggs. A LOT of eggs.



That said, I did find some easy recipes on pinterest and saved some to my "healthy food" and Instant Pot recipes" boards to reference this month. You can find the boards here. I do love NomNomPaleo and WholeSisters. Oh, and there is a Whole30 cookbook (The Whole30 Cookbook: 150 Delicious and Totally Compliant Recipes to Help You Succeed with the Whole30 and Beyond) and a Paleo Instant Pot cookbook (Paleo Cooking With Your Instant Pot: 80 Incredible Gluten- and Grain-Free Recipes Made Twice as Delicious in Half the Time) that I hear have fantastic recipes but I don't have either. If we keep it up another month (yes, we've talked about it) I really want to get the Paleo Instant Pot book.

Which brings me to the Instant Pot. This is where I share my new found obsession with a kitchen appliance.



What is an Instant Pot? It's an amazing little tool I can not live without now.

It's technically an electric pressure cooker but don't let that intimidate you. I have never used a pressure cooker but love my instant pot. For me it's like a super fast crock pot but better. The model I have has a sautee function so you can brown your meat in the same pot you cook it in and it takes like 1/3 or less of the time as a crock pot. And hard boiled eggs! Well, peeling shells has never been easier! We have made beef pho (not whole30 with the noodles), clam chowder (not whole30 but the best chowder I've ever eaten), eggs, oatmeal (again, not whole30 but goodness, it's so easy and the kids LOVE it), bone broth, stew, kalua pig and I'm sure there's more I can't think of right now - and I've only had it for a couple weeks!

It really has been a game changer in our kitchen and although it isn't black Friday, you can still find the model I got on Amazon by clicking on the following link: Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W.

So what's in my salad? Instead of sharing each meal on Instagram (that's a whole lot of food pics, y'all) I am going to post them all here with the details.

DAY 1

I didn't take pictures but we had bacon, eggs and fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch and grilled cod filets with grilled romaine wedges for dinner.

DAY 2


Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon and fruit salad with black coffee
Lunch: Salad: chopped romaine, sliced cucumber, carrots, radishes, avocado, onion, hard boiled eggs (using the instant pot) and crumbled bacon with oil and vinegar for dressing
Dinner: Trader Joes's shrimp stir-fry with riced cauliflower and sauteed bok choy

DAY 3


Breakfast: hard boiled egg, 1/2 avocado and fruit with black coffee
Lunch: leftover grilled romaine, all natural beef frank with Trader Joes's sauerkraut, grilled onions, mustard and Louisiana Gold red sauce and dried jalapeno flakes from the garden
Dinner: chopped romaine salad with red onion and tomato and homemade red wine vinaigrette, spaghetti squash with meat and Trader Joe's roasted garlic sauce

DAY 4


Breakfast: two fried eggs and fruit salad (banana, orange, blueberries and strawberries with toasted pecans with a little pumpkin spice sprinkled on top and chia seeds) and black coffee
Lunch: chopped salad with mixed greens (including TJ's cruciferous crunch mix), radishes, onions, cucumber, natural rostisserie chicken slices and WholeSisters "dump ranch" (make that ranch, it's AMAZING)
Dinner: leftover spaghetti squash and salad


DAY 5



Breakfast: sauteed greens (TJ's cruciferous crunch mix again) with leftover sweet potato and onion toped with 2 fried eggs and fruit salad (same as day 4) with black coffee
Lunch: taco salad - mixed chopped greens, radishes, onions, ground beef with homemade taco seasoning, homemade guacomole and sugar free salsa, with a drizzle of "dump ranch"
Dinner: grilled steak, steamed broccoli with lemon juice and baked sweet potato (in the instant pot) with crumbled bacon and green onion

DAY 6


Breakfast: egg in hash brown nest (frozen hash browns from TJ's), slice of bacon and fruit salad with black coffee
Lunch: grilled chicken salad over mixed greens with radishes, onion, chopped apple, homemade guacamole, a hard boiled egg and some "dump ranch"
Dinner: Kahlua pig and cabbage (Nom Nom Paleo recipe made in the instant pot), roasted smashed potatoes with bacon and green onion

DAY 7


Breakfast: "leftover scramble" - pretty much all leftover veggies from the week sauteed in a pan, pour beaten eggs in, cook, top with cilantro and Louisiana Gold red sauce and a fruit salad
Lunch: smoothie (I am aware Whole30ers don't encourage smoothies because you're supposed to chew your food or something but it was after church and getting late and I don't really care, we like smoothies, all whole30 ingredients went in it and we didn't eat out so shame me if you must)
Dinner: grilled burgers on lettuce topped with homemade guacamole, tomato, onion and a fried egg with zucchini noodles and a baked sweet potato with green onion

Whew. That's a lot of food.

I should also mention that I was really bad about skipping breakfast before the challenge. I'd make a latte or even worse, pick one up at Starbucks, and that would be my breakfast. I did a little investigating this week out of curiosity. Did you know there are 35 grams of sugar in a grande vanilla latte? What?! CRAZY!

So here's what I've learned in the first week:
  • preparing whole30 meals doesn't have to be difficult just meat, veggies and fruit
  • that said, I feel like I'm in the kitchen all day - either prepping, chopping, cooking or cleaning
  • attitude is EVERYTHING - if I focus on the cheese I can't have on my salad I get grumpy, if I focus on all the fruit and delicious food I CAN have, I enjoy it more
  • dairy isn't life
  • nor are donuts
  • but I'd like to have some cheese from time to time or a simple glazed donut with my coffee but honestly, it hasn't been as hard to not eat them as I thought it would be
  • that "whole30 timeline" isn't for everyone - we never experienced the "hangover" phase, or the "want to kill all the things" phase and honestly, both my husband and I have just felt really good
  • black coffee isn't SO bad. It sure beats water for breakfast
  • sugar is in EVERYTHING! Who knew? Why is it in deli meat, bacon and sausage? Crazy 
  • Trader Joe's is my friend. Saurkraut, frozen meals, veggie mix - I'm a fan
  • Louisiana Gold red sauce is my BFF. It's not the original sauce. It comes in a little bottle and I've only found it at one store but it's amazing. Great on eggs, salad, burgers and more.
  • and lastly, the Instant Pot is everything. 
There you go. A freakishly long post about food.

If you're doing Whole30 I would LOVE to hear your favorite recipes, sauces or tips to beat the occasional sugar craving.