Friday, August 30

Spicy Sweet Potatoes and Apples

The lovely Casey Poe brought this delicious dish to our Whole30 potluck. It was a perfect addition to the plethora of meat dishes we had. 

Prep and Cook Time: 3-6 hours
Tools: Slow cooker
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients: 
- 4 cups of sweet potatoes, slices medium thin (approximately 6 smallish potatoes)
- 4 gala apples. Peeled, cored, and sliced medium
- 2 tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil
- 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Pinch of sea salt

Instructions: 
1. Peel and slice your sweet potatoes into medium thin slices. 
2. Peel and core your apples, and slice the same thickness.
3. Layer your apples and potatoes in your slow cooker, mixing the apples among the potatoes.
4. Add spices and mix well either by hand or with a spoon. Make sure everything is evenly coated.
4. Add coconut oil or ghee to the top so it melts down during cooking.
6. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6.
7. Enjoy!

Adapted from: paleopot.com

Whole30 Part VI: What Now?

I'll be completely honest, I've been thinking about what to write in this post since mid-June. Even before publishing the first installment in the Whole30 series I was contemplating this exact article and the messages I wanted to convey. I don't want to come across as too dramatic, but I'd consider the concepts of "Life After a Whole30" just as important as the basic fundamentals of the program itself. After all (as It Starts With Food points out), "it's much harder to make Good Food choices out there in the 'real world'."

It's true though, isn't it? For the past 29 days for us August Whole30'ers we've had to abide by a set of strict parameters. And for all intents and purposes, I dare say, the rules were simple and straightforward: Eat this, not that. Everything was clearly laid out. For the past four weeks we've had default answers for why no booze, desserts or pizza. Automatic "No, thank you's" were like clockwork. But the second midnight hits on Day 30, what happens? You've finished a Whole30... what now?

I'm going to do my absolute best to answer this question, but I can almost guarantee you I'll fall short. That's not to say this is a cop-out-blog-post, but as you'll come to realize, it's the honest fact of the matter: There's no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all for life after Whole30. What works for you might not work for someone else. That's the amazing thing about food, diet and overall health. It's so intertwined throughout individual lives and circumstances that there isn't a single plan that works well for everyone. And therein lies the journey. This is where you begin to unravel your own plan that works best for you. While the Whole30 may be over, hear this truth loud and clear: 


You're just getting started.

Wednesday, August 28

Featured Whole30'er: Sean

This edition of Featured Whole30'er is a special one. Not because the featured person was brave enough to send me a shameless selfie, but because he's my best friend. I've seen this guy change more than I would have ever imagined. In fact, one week into our August Whole30 I tweeted this...


Sean has certainly been an inspiration, not only to his friends and family, but to Jessie and me! Sean is a perfect example of someone who decides they want change, and furthermore having the discipline and drive to make that change a reality.

OK, enough rambling from me...

This is your first Whole30, why did you decide to do one?

June 21st. That date will stick in my head for a long time.  That’s the day I met with my nutritional spirit guide (Brian) because I had finally decided to make a change in my lifestyle.  I was already exercising regularly again, having taken up boxing for the past few months, but I knew to see and feel full results I was going to need to adjust my diet.  And it was from that day till now that I have fully seen what eating the right things can do for your body.  It was only a few weeks after meeting with Brian when the idea of doing a Whole30 was brought up and I instantly decided to challenge myself and go all in on it.

Did it seem daunting?


If you had asked me six months ago, I would’ve definitely said yes.  The idea of giving up certain foods and (gasp!) alcohol for 30 days?  No way.  But since I had already begun to significantly change what I put in my body, I was more excited than anything to do this program.  And any thought that this was going to be hard quickly escaped my mind after reading a line from the Whole30 website: “Quitting heroin is hard.  Beating cancer is hard.  Drinking your coffee black isn’t.”

What's been the hardest part?


Since I was still relatively new to this way of eating, it was difficult at first to find new things to cook and eat.  The month or so prior to the start of myWhole30, I was eating very basic foods.  But now that I was limited even further, I had to start finding new foods I’d never even thought of before.  There was definitely a time or two that my meals haven’t come out exactly as planned.  But through the power of Google and some awesome recipes Brian and Jessie have been posting on their site, I’ve been discovering new meals to cook daily.

What's been the best part?


Energy, energy, energy.  I’ve honestly never felt as good as I do now, I wake up refreshed and ready to go every day.  I can especially tell a difference while boxing and running.  I’ve been able to push myself harder and further than I’ve been able to in the past since being on the Whole30.  Having a few extra muscles start to poke out from becoming leaner has also been a plus! 

Sean in May 2013
Sean in August 2013

Tuesday, August 27

Featured Whole30'er: Annie

This is your first Whole30, why did you decide to do one?

I honestly needed a "reset button" and as I read more and more about the Whole30, I decided it was the closest thing to what I needed. After going on multiple vacations over the summer with too much food and zero time for exercise, I was completely out of sync with just about everything. I was so upset with myself that I was counting down the days to start and actually looking forward to it. 

Did it seem daunting?

This is an obvious question. The Whole30 terrified me and I truly didn't think I'd have enough will power to complete it. I am a sweet food junky and my boyfriend loves fatty foods, so convenience ended up winning most of the time instead of putting in the effort to make two separate meals or compromising on something healthy as opposed to something easy. However, just by educating myself on the program, I knew it was going to change my outlook on food and health significantly, so I decided it was worth a try. Luckily, I've had a pretty secure support system throughout so I've managed to be successful. 

What's been the hardest part?

There have been a lot of ups and downs, but I think the hardest part has been doing this on my own. As I mentioned above, I've had a great outer support system that I could reach out to any time I needed, but I didn't have someone I lived with helping with the planning, cooking and cleaning. It got incredibly stressful at times, but once I figured out my routine and learned more recipes, it became easier to seamlessly fall into healthy habits. 

What's been the best part?

The best part, by far, is how I feel. I can tell my face and waist are leaner and my overall mental health has strengthened and cleared. I can tell I'm in a happier mood, especially as of late. I'm willing to do more things instead of vegging on the couch and I'm significantly more productive at work avoiding that 2:00p slump. 

With only a few days left of this August Whole30, I know this is coming to a close, but I have no desire to stop feeling the way I do or resort back to before. Yes, I'll have a drink every so often and maybe a bite of dessert if it is shared amongst the dinner table, but I don't plan on going crazy on sweets at midnight on Day 30. It's just not worth it anymore. I'd rather look good and feel great than indulge on something that will only satisfy a craving temporarily. Overall, I'm so happy I stuck it out and look forward to doing another one in the near future.

To view other Featured Whole30'ers click the "Featured Whole30'er" tag below this post.

Sunday, August 25

Kai Zen: A Day in the Life of a Moderate Extremist

Today's post is written by a guest-blogger named Aaron Patel. I met Aaron a few years ago through group triathlon training. He actually conducted my first-ever 'performance test,' where they put me on a treadmill, had me run at different efforts over time and pricked my finger to measure blood lactate levels. (This is an effective method of determining your proper training 'zones'; I briefly touched on this in my first Whole30 post but will expand in the future.) Since then, I’ve come to know Aaron as an amazing coach, but an even better friend. He is unrelenting at wanting to learn; consistently researching and always trying new ideas. He’s also a freak-athlete. Read a more in-depth bio on him here.


Kai Zen: A Day in the Life of a Moderate Extremist
by Aaron Patel

About a year ago I introduced Brian to the Whole30 program.  After falling short of qualifying for Boston a 2nd time, I could look at what he was doing and see that the issues he was having were not a matter of how hard he was training or how much natural talent he had.  It was his nutrition where he needed the most help.  The concept of the Whole30 program was solid and their mission is fantastic.  A program that is designed to educate and motivate people to make changes to their lives that will have dramatic effects on their health, their well-being and becoming examples to those around them.

That said, I've never done the Whole30 program and generally speaking I think it's a bad idea.

Okay, hear me out.  I have an addictive personality.  I tend to be an extremist in that when I find something I'm interested in, I get all the way in.  To a fault.  I've gone through periods where I measured and weighed every gram of nutrition, or I go off the rails and pay no attention to anything I eat.  I've followed my training plan to a T, at the cost of ignoring what was important in my personal and work life.  I've worked so many hours in a week that I put myself into extreme adrenal fatigue which took months to recover from.

Saturday, August 24

Whole30 Potluck Party!

To celebrate reaching the half-way point of our August Whole30, Jessie and I hosted a potluck dinner last Saturday at my parents' home in Carrollton, TX. My folks had graciously offered up their house as the venue since my condo wouldn't accommodate everyone. There were about 15 people that came, and everyone brought a Whole30-approved dish. Most people were on the Whole30, but a few weren't.

People started coming over around 7:00p to heat up their food and set everything up. It looked like Thanksgiving there was so much food! We had to give everyone notecards to use as labels to identify their dish. After tasting a little bit of everything, people sat around chatting as they let their food digest. The conversations continued through the tedious clean-up and most everyone left around midnight. A five hour party with no alcohol? I'd call that a success!

As I was driving home, full as I've ever been on a Whole30, I started thinking back on the night: the conversations, the food, health and all things related. A few things stuck out to me that night... and here they are: some observations from a Whole30 Potluck Party.

Alcohol isn't essential to have fun

This may seem obvious, but it wasn't to me. After all, I can't remember the last time I'd been to a social gathering where alcohol wasn't served. Throughout the day leading up to the potluck some were joking around about the lack of booze that was going to be at the party. One tweeted: "I know tonight is going to get crazy, so you can all crash at my place!" Hours before the party I posted a picture of a stocked fridge... full of La Croix waters of course. 

But it didn't matter that there wasn't alcohol. We still had fun. The conversations were arguably better without the booze and the next morning was certainly better. Sure, letting loose with some tequila or brewskis leads to great nights, but for the first time in a long time I truly realized that alcohol isn't a necessity in social situations. It's become a default, however. A habit. An indisputable automatic. That's why it was also incredibly refreshing to know that good times can be had on Saturday nights with friends that don't involve a buzz with a subsequent headache.

Whole30 not required

There are two points I want to make here. The first, is that just because we labeled the party a "Whole30 Potluck" didn't mean people couldn't come who weren't doing the program. There were a hand-full of people there that night who weren't doing it and they all thoroughly enjoyed the food, and the party overall. Initially we had thought invitations would only be extended to the August Whole30 participants, but we quickly nixed that idea. Why isolate folks who aren't doing it? That doesn't sound like the greatest way to spread the "Good Food" word. My only regret about that evening (outside of eating three too many chicken tenders) was not including more friends that weren't on the Whole30.

Secondly, is that there doesn't have to be an official Whole30 in place to have healthier get togethers. I understand it's a cultural norm to have parties that contain beer, chips and cookies, but we need to start making it more of a norm to have Paleo Potlucks. It doesn't have to be weekly, or even monthly. But every now and again people who truly believe in the impact of good food need to step up and host such occasions, including myself. Bridging the wide gap of modern day society with healthier lifestyles isn't going to come from any program or company, it's going to start at the grass roots. It's going to start with people who have already felt the benefits of clean-eating.


Community is critical

While it is more than feasible to do a Whole30 on your own, Saturday night made me believe that having a group to do it with adds so much value. That value comes in many forms, including accountability, knowledge-sharing and a hell of a lot of fun. The Dallas Whole30 crew has established relationships and common bonds that would have never happened had it not been for this August journey. Sitting around in the living room after dinner was a blast. We shared stories of our first-week side-effects, second-week benefits and everything in between. 

Here's to many more of these in the future!


8 (of the many) Dallas-based August Whole30'ers
Below are some pictures from the evening, and below the pictures are a list of all of the dishes we had. Jessie and I will be hyperlinking to the recipes of each dish in the future if you'd like to try one!


Kale chips
Paleo chicken tenders
Jessie preparing the green beans 
Esther, Denise and Jessie's mom Cat
Green beans with almonds and garlic 
Bacon & guacamole sandwiches
Food's about ready!
Guacamole deviled eggs
My mom Pam, and sister Kylie
Kale chips
Scoping out the food!
Waldorf kale salad 
Spiced sweet potatoes and apples
Jackson and Sadie (who ate grain-free dog food!)
Kylie & Annie
Whole30 Potluck Menu:

Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers
Paleo Meatballs (onions, mushroom & parsley) 
Spiced Sweet Potatoes & Apples
Guacamole Deviled Eggs
Bacon & Guacamole Sandwiches
Eshther's Southwest Meatloaf
Sauteed Onions, Bell Peppers and Italian Sausage
Kale Chips
Jalapeno Turkey Burgers
Taco Lettuce Wraps
Green Beans w/ Almonds & Garlic
Waldorf Kale Salad
Bacon Wrapped Meatballs
Doug's Shrimp Stir Fry

Hawaiian Paleo Cereal


I was in the mood for some type of "cereal" to go with my almond milk this morning. I love macadamia nuts and coconut for a little Hawaiian flare, so I mixed up this bowl of deliciousness!

Prep time: 5 min
Serves: 1

Ingredients: 
Macadamia Nuts
Coconut Flakes
Strawberries/Berries
Almond Milk (I used homemade almond milk!)

Instructions:
1. Chop up the strawberries. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Pour a little almond milk over it. 
2. Enjoy! 

Homemade Almond Milk

Homemade almond milk is delicious! Better than anything you can buy. To me, it doesn't have that after taste of false sweetener or fakeness that store bought almond milk can leave you with sometimes. You can use homemade almond milk in your coffee, smoothies, oatless oatmeal, for a paleo cereal or to just drink a refreshing glassful. 

Prep Time: Overnight soak of almonds
Make Time: 10-30 min
Yields: 2-3 cups of milk
Tools: Blender (Vitamix preferable), milk bag or cheese cloth (I used a cheese cloth this time, but  a milk bag is easiest to use)

Ingredients: 
1 cup raw almonds
water for soaking nuts
3 cups of water
2 dates (optional)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
A pinch of nutmeg (optional)


Instructions: 
1. Soak the almonds overnight in water or for at least 6 hours.
2. Drain the water from the almonds and discard. Pour 3 cups of water into your blender and add the almonds, dates and spices. Blend until smooth like a milkshake.
3. Using a milk bag or cheese cloth, strain the blended mixture through it and into a glass or pitcher. You will need to gently squeeze the milk out of the milk bag or cheese cloth to separate it from the almond pulp. Depending on how much the milk bag or cheese cloth can hold, this may need to be done in stages.  
4. Save the almond pulp for making paleo muffins or breads. Recipe coming soon!
5. Store the milk in the refrigerator. Homemade almond milk will keep well in the refrigerator for three or four days. If separates just stir it up. 
6. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 22

On the Road: Tips for Traveling on a Whole30

This week I traveled to Atlanta which was the second time during the August Whole30 I have been out of town. Luckily I didn't have a bunch of cake and cocktails in front of me like Jessie did when she was gone, but I certainly had the temptations and logistical hurdles to overcome.

While on the road I learned some valuable lessons; so here you have it, my top five most important tips for traveling on a Whole30.

Prepare

OK, you knew this one was coming. It's pretty obvious, but will make life so much easier when you're hungry and in need of a Whole30-approved food or snack. I leveraged some of Jessie's same travel kit ideas but added in my own "Brian flare." I brought: raw cashews, raw macadamia nuts, Justin's Almond Butter packets, Thunderbird bars, and a home-made mix of: dried mangos, banana chips and coconut flakes (all un-sweetened, of course).


The almond butter packets were clutch. I smeared them on the Thunderbird bars, or over a banana if I needed a snack. The nuts were filling and the dried fruit/coconut provided for a sweeter taste.

Don't be shy

I mentioned this in our Whole30 Journal on Day 10, but I want to expand on it here. At one point during my Atlanta trip I went out to eat for brunch. Here's how the conversation with the server went...

Me: "What do you cook your eggs in?"
Waitress: "What do you mean?"
Me: "Like, what do you put the eggs in when you cook them?"
Waitress: "A pan." 
Me: "Fair enough. But do you cook them in any type of oil?"
Waitress: "Ah, yes... vegetable oil."
Me: "OK, bummer, I'm allergic, so can you just poach them?"

A few themes in this conversation. First, I am a liar. I am not allergic to vegetable oil. (Although I might as well be considering how horrible that stuff is for you. The high concentration of omega-6 fatty acids scorched in high-heat is like dumping oxidative damage into your body. Not cool.) Liar may be a little much, but a small fib seemed to cut to the chase. In this occasion, I probably didn't have to fib, but there may be times when it's your best option to avoid a long dissertation on why you choose to eat a certain way.

Another theme: don't be afraid to ask! You have a right to know how your food is prepared. I realize it may seem like you're putting the server out, but just apologize in advance, be polite and everything is fine. It truly doesn't take much more effort to ask and the pay-off of eating healthier makes it worth it.

Lastly, and I'll make this short, but isn't it a telling tale of our society that the very people who are selling and serving your food don't know what's in it? Yikes.

Embrace the suck

Eating while on the go sucks even if your'e not on a diet or trying to eat healthy. I can't remember the last time I went out of town and had a healthy, satisfying meal at the airport or at a hotel. Sometimes unhealthy eating while away from home is perfectly acceptable and OK. I've heard it said before: "You don't go on vacation to lose weight or save money." True, and ultimately you get to decide what's worth it and what's not. But for those who have deemed the Terminal A pizza with mystery meat 'not worth it', this post is more for you.

Between the up's and down's of actually flying on the plane to the food I grab on the go, my stomach never feels that great. I knew this Atlanta trip wouldn't be any different, even though I was eating Whole30-compliant. Mentally preparing myself for a weird stomach vibe helped me get through it. Embrace the suck, know that it's not permanent, really not that bad, and that a nice home-cooked meal awaits you upon your return.

If there's a will, there's a way

There might be a time where it will simply come down to just making it work. The effort might seem ridiculous in the moment, but will pay dividends in hindsight. Whether that's calling a cab to take you to a grocery store, or ordering delivery to your location that suits your needs, the bottom line here is that if there's a will, there's a way.

I ran into a situation in Atlanta where I was stuck in a meeting I couldn't leave. I started to get hungry and didn't have my snacks handy. I ended up having to wait it out for much longer than I would have liked to.

Luckily, the Whole30 helps your metabolism to start burning fat for energy as opposed to carbohydrate. And as I've mentioned before, we all have virtually an endless supply of fat cells to invest in that energy, no matter how lean you are. You see, your body was designed to make it long periods of time with no food, whether it's in the form of famine or a stomach virus that prohibits eating, if we couldn't burn our own fat stores, we wouldn't make it very long.

I remembered this fact, sucked it up, and made it through... only to find out that the catered meal that evening was an Asian cuisine: rice, stir-fried vegetables (soy), sweet and sour chicken and egg rolls -- none of which were Whole30-approved. I forced a smile, embraced the suck, and sketched off to the hotel restaurant where I had salmon, green beans and cherry tomatoes. 

If there's a will, I'm telling you... there's a way!

Utilize existing resources

Finally, utilize existing resources. Whole9 has a great document on preparing for out of town Whole30 eating. They've also got tons of forums where you can chat with people who have been-there-done-that. Tap into friends and family who have done a Whole30 before, or if you really want to, send me an e-mail! I'd be happy to help.

Although the title of this post says otherwise, I truly believe these lessons aren't exclusively reserved for folks on stricter eating regimens or Whole30 programs. These principles can be applied to healthy eating in general while on the road.

Hope this helps!

Sleep

A 2009 study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) reported that ~35% of American adults had unintentionally fallen asleep during the day at least once in the past month. 

The number of adults aged 20 to 44 using sleeping pills doubled from 2000 to 2004.




Wednesday, August 21

Zesty Lime Sweet Potato Fries

This is our favorite sweet potato fry recipe. Hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Prep and cook time: 35 min
Tools: Sharp knife, baking sheet
Serves: 2

Ingredients:  
1 large sweet potato
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 - 1 tsp sea salt (depending on preference)
zest of 1 lime
freshly ground black pepper

Instructions: 
1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Zest the lime, cover with cellophane and set aside (this keeps it from drying out). 
2. Peel the sweet potatoes and trim the ends. Cut the potatoes in half crosswise and then cut those halves lengthwise and into match sticks (be careful!). Or, you can just slice the peeled sweet potato into medallions. 
3. Transfer the sweet potatoes into a large bowl (or onto the baking sheet) and toss with oil and salt until well coated. 
4. Arrange the sweet potato fries in a single layer on the baking sheet (this will help make the crispier instead of steamed). The oil should prevent the potatoes from sticking to the pan. Put the potatoes in the oven for about 20-25 min., until tender. Stir half-way through for even baking. 
4. Remove the cooked potatoes and toss until well combined with the lime zest. Season with salt and pepper as needed and serve hot.
5. Enjoy!

Featured Whole30'er: Esther

This is your first Whole30, why did you decide to do one?

When my friends did a Whole30 earlier this year, I vividly remember saying “I could never do that in my lifetime!” I am the biggest fan of rice, cheese and everything Whataburger. A few months ago I had my routine medical check-up. Everything came back too high or too low and my doctor was so confused as to how a 24-year-old girl was so unhealthy. I knew it was all the crap I was choosing to put in my body. I decided to do Whole30 to better my life with the simple choice of eating good food.

Did it seem daunting?

Absolutely! As much as I wanted to actively change my eating habits, I worried that the reality of habitually eating poorly for 20+ years was going to be stronger than my desire for change. I am extremely determined and can honestly say I would never have given up on Whole30 once I started, but I was worried I would be miserable for 30 straight days.
What's been the hardest part?

The hardest part about doing a Whole30 is going out to eat. Most restaurants are not convenient for the Whole30’er. Once you get passed the temptation of the glorious bread basket, you have to ask the waiter, “Is there sugar in that dressing? Is this steak grass-fed? Is it cooked in butter?” I was that girl. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of delicious, Whole30-approved choices at many places, but the inconvenience of not being able to order exactly what I want has been super annoying.

Although it’s been tough, the silver lining is that this process has proven that I can go to a restaurant and be full and satisfied with a healthy option. Another big step toward a healthier lifestyle!

What's been the best part?

The best part of Whole30 is the drastic improvement in my physical and mental health! I’ve noticed a lot of changes to my body inside and out that have affected me only for the better.  Another wonderful part of participating in Whole30 is simply the satisfaction in accomplishing it. I don’t judge people who choose not do Whole30, but I can feel proud that I’m choosing to do it. It’s also been so encouraging to have a great group of people to share this with!

I don’t promise that I will strictly eat like this forever, but I can say that Whole30 has been a wonderful kick start to a new way of viewing and eating food! It’s exciting to think that the these 30 days truly will have an impact on the rest of my life!


To view other Featured Whole30'ers click the "Featured Whole30'er" tag below this post.

Cashew Apple Bites

Adding this collection to my Banana Almond Coconut Bites! They're great for snack time and close to the Lara Bar Apple Pie flavor.

Prep time: 10 min
Makes: 12 bites
Appliances: Food Processor

Ingredients: 
1 c apple chips *(I used Nature's All Freeze-Dried Apples)
1 c coconut flakes
3/4 c raisins
1/2 c all natural coconut butter (more if needed)
1 c soft medjool dates (remove seeds)

Instructions:
Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor. Place the mixed ingredients in a bowl. Make 1 inch balls/bites by needing the mixture together by hand. Place on a plate and they're ready to eat! So easy! They're slightly better if they've been in the refrigerator for an hour or longer.

Enjoy!

Monday, August 19

Featured Whole30'er: Denise

Denise (right) with her friend Esther
You've already done a Whole30, so why do another?

I think as a young adult, I tend to get carried away with the social aspects of my life. Until you do a Whole30 challenge, you have no idea how much your life revolves around eating and drinking and how one bad choice leads to another. After my first Whole30, my headaches from a long day at the office were nonexistent, my face cleared up and I slept soundly throughout the night. I saved money; I established new hobbies and my Saturdays and Sundays weren't spent sleeping until 2pm. It’s easy to fall back into bad habits; Whole30 teaches you how to create new, healthier habits.

I’m doing another Whole30 to challenge myself to take what I've learned into the future months thereafter.  The first time I did a Whole30, I couldn't wait to eat a bowl of queso on Day 31. This time, I’m teaching myself moderation.  I’m learning how to continue doing the social things I love in a healthier way.

What's been the hardest part so far?

That’s a tough one; there are a lot of hard parts. No one said the Whole30 challenge is easy - trust me -I’ve experienced every negative side effect on the Whole30 timeline. I think one of the hardest parts for me is being patient. From my previous challenge, I know I’ll experience: boundless energy, weight loss, and an incredible sense of well-being. What I tend to forget is that these things don’t happen overnight.

Like you have read in Brian’s previous posts, it takes time for your body to adjust to receiving the proper nutrition it deserves. Brian made a point in our text message thread with the Dallas Whole30-crew that “you can’t undo 20+ years of eating a certain way in 11.5 days”. He’s right. This time, the hardest part has been the waiting game.

What's been the best part?

The best part is taking what I have learned from my previous Whole30 experience and feeling at ease my second time around.  I love when my friends call me for advice while they are cooking or shopping at the grocery store. I love that I can come home after a long day at the office and there is a cooked crock pot meal and a fully stocked fridge. I love that I can go to a restaurant and figure out how to order something healthy yet tasty. Thanks to Whole30, I have been able to train my mind to think in a healthy way and I have gained knowledge that will stick with me forever.  Now that’s truly “living better forever”. ;-)

To view other Featured Whole30'ers click the "Featured Whole30'er" tag below this post.

Saturday, August 17

Better Food of the Week: Coconut Aminos


Brian and I love Asian food. Sushi, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, we love it all. Unfortunately, American-Asian is highly processed and can contain many harmful additives. In particular, soybeans when commercially processed and unfermented can be very harmful. Did you read about this guy who downed a quart of soy sauce on a dare and nearly died? Obviously we would never consume soy sauce in this much excess, but still... yikes!

As a soy sauce replacement, we like to use coconut aminos. You can find it at Whole Foods or Asian markets, and it's a surprisingly delicious, soy-free seasoning sauce. It is made from coconut "sap" and offers 17 naturally occurring amino acids.

I'm anxious to try Nom Nom Paleo's Asian Ground Beef! Her Asian dishes are usually made with red boat fish sauce, coconut aminos and apple cider vinegar. Delicious! Looking to hit some of this up for Whole30

Here is our coconut aminos product of choice!

Thursday, August 15

Cutting Through the Clutter

Over the past year, I've had several conversations with folks about exercise and diet. Friends, family and acquaintances alike all tend to ask me for health-related advice. I take it as a huge compliment; it's flattering to have someone specifically seek you out for your opinion. But why me? I suppose there's a wide variety of reasons we have certain go-to people on different subjects in life.

For one, it's natural to seek information from someone you consider to be a subject matter expert (SME). Whether that person actually is a SME is another issue in itself! I, for one, am continually seeking input and thoughts from others. I'll ask particular colleagues for their take on work-related projects, my mom for feedback on my tennis back-hand and my closest friends for advice on an array of life topics. I try to surround myself with a team of SME's. I have a triathlon coach, a therapist, a mentor and a small group through Church. In my book, the more SME's, the better.

Oatless Oatmeal

For a sweeter breakfast option, rather than savory egg dishes, I like to make what I call "Oatless Oatmeal."


Prep and Cook Time: 10 min                                                            
Tools: Food processor or blender                                              
Serves: 2

Ingredients: 
¼ c almonds
¼ c pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ginger
2 eggs
¼ c almond butter
1 apple, sliced
Berries for toping

Instructions:
1. Grind up the almonds, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a food processor. Set aside.
2.Whip together the eggs and coconut milk until fluffy (you can do this in the food processor or a blender works well).
3. Add the almond butter and apple slices to the egg/coconut mix and whip together until the consistency is more like oatmeal or porridge.
4. Mix in the ground nuts and spices.
5. Heat in the microwave or on the stove for a couple min.
6. Top your bowl with fresh berries and a couple almonds and pecans for an added crunch if desired.
7. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 13

Paleo Chicken Parmesan

Tonight, I was in need of a comforting dish and this Chicken Parmesan did the trick! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. 

Prep and Cook Time: 40 min
Specialty Cooking Tools: Horizontal Peeler, Meat Pounder
Serves: 4

Ingredients
Chicken: 
2 chicken breasts
2 eggs
1 1/2 c almond flour
2 tbs Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1tsp black pepper

Sauce:
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato paste
1 tbs coconut oil
1/2 white onion
1 tbs garlic
1tbs Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 c balsamic vinegar 
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c water
Fresh basil 

Zucchini Ribbons:
2 large zucchinis or 4 small

Instructions
Chicken:
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
2. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
3. Separate the breasts, slicing long ways down the middle. 
4. Wash the breasts, cover with cellophane and pound to 1/2 in. thick with the meat pounder. Wash hands, set aside. 
5. Break the eggs in a pan that will be easy to dip the chicken in and whip them up.
6. In a separate bowl, mix the almond flour and spices. 
7. "Bread" the chicken by dipping it in the eggs and then the almond flour mix and place on the prepared pan. 
8. NOTE: I missed that the eggs and flour were kept separate and mixed it all together. To not waste ingredients, I smeared the on top of the chicken and it made a nice crust and actually turned out really good. So, you can choose which way you want to make it.
9. Place in the oven and cook for 35 min.

Sauce:
1. While the chicken is cooking, dice 1/2 an onion, put the tbs of coconut oil in a sauce pan and cook the onion until translucent. 
2. Add the tbs of garlic to the onion and stir together. If fresh garlic let it cook with the onion for a min or two. 
3. Add the 15 oz can of diced tomatoes and stir together. Then, add the spices and seasoning. 
4. Add 1/4 c balsamic vinegar and 1/4 c red wine vinegar and stir together.
5. Add the tomato paste and stir together and then add a 1/4 c of water. I like a thicker sauce, so I don't add as much water, but if you want a thinner sauce just add slowly add water till you get the consistency you want. 
7. Let simmer while you prepare the zucchini ribbons.

Zucchini:
1. Take your horizontal peeler and peel the outer layer of the zucchini. Then, peel the "ribbons" on four edges of the zucchini, which will ultimately leave you with a small rectangular box, and place them in a large bowl. I stopped peeling when the strands became mostly made up of the seeds. 

Bring it all together: 
1. Add the zucchini to the sauce, mix it together and cover till the chicken's done. 
2. When the chicken's done, plate the zucchini ribbons on a plate, place the chicken on top and scoop out a little sauce to put on top of the chicken. Then, place basil leaves on top of the dish to your liking. 

ENJOY!
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