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Archive for the category “Whole30”

Is This Dieting? No, It’s Paleo . . .

I like baseball. I like movies. I love baseball movies. Whether The Natural with Robert Redford or Kevin Costner’s classics, Bull Durham (which also launched Tim Robbins’ career) and Field of Dreams, there’s just something iconic and all-American feel-good about them. The other thing about memorable movies is their great lines. Field of Dreams has one of the best:

That’s what I thought of this week as I got to the 20-day mark with 10 days left to go on the Whole30. I take a look at some of my meals over the last week, most of which come from Melissa Joulwan’s “Well Fed” book, available here. And, although I’ve heard that the Whole30 is just an amped-up version of Paleo eating, I sometimes find myself having a hard time believing I’m on a diet. And then I remember, I’M NOT!

This is a new way of life, not a short-term diet that I’ll yo-yo back to again and again. Or, worse, bounce to the next-best-thing diet six months from now. I know this because of the way it makes me feel and the fact that I know the food choices I’m making are healthier, but more importantly, can be maintained long-term. If I didn’t, do you think I’d be writing about it in this blog right now??? Well, hopefully not.

That’s why, with 10 days to go, I don’t look at it the end of the 30 days as a countdown. In fact, it’s barely even a milestone, since I’ve already planned to extend my Whole30 another 15 days and then maintain Paleo long-term. In the meantime, here are several pics of some of the delicious foods that have kept me very satisfied and maintained along the way (and again, the hus’ is loving this food too!). Enjoy.


P.S. A word of caution — clicking on the photos to enlarge may make you hungry. 🙂

Chipotle Carnitas Bowl: In a pinch, I was able to grab a quick lunch out at Chipotle. I ordered the Carnitas Bowl with extra meat and no beans or rice, pico de gallo, lettuce and guacamole. Divine!

Whole Roasted Chicken and Gravy: From Nom Nom Paleo, this is a whole roasted chicken made in the crock pot, with its own gravy that’s unreal. I served it with steamed green beans and mashed sweet potatoes.

Shepherd’s Pie: This is the Italian Pie version with ground beef from “Well Fed”. I can’t even tell you how good it was. I sent some leftovers to work with hubby today and had some myself. Even better the second time around!

The Versatile Frittata: Got eggs and some leftovers? Make one of these! A little coconut oil melted in the pan, scramble the eggs and add a bit of S&P. Pour in the pan and add a little leftovers. This one has some roasted chicken and onion. One day I used ground beef and served it with salsa and avocado. Just cook on the stove until it’s mostly set then pop in the oven under a low broiler until it browns on top. Slide out of the pan and enjoy. (Remember to use a high-heat safe pan).


Flat Iron Steak: Pan sear the steak in a very hot pan that has melted coconut oil. For about an inch think steak, cook 4 minutes on one side, turn and 3 minutes on the second (use a meat thermometer to check doneness to your liking). Remove meat from pan and let rest. Lower heat to medium and deglaze pan with just a touch of organic beef broth (check label for additives) then add mushrooms and saute until done. Pour mushroom sauce over steak and serve with another steamed veggie (I served asparagus), a salad or both!





Food Too Good Not to Share (and a first time for everything)

I grew up eating spaghetti and chili. What? For the uninitiated, the closest I can come to explaining is Skyline Chili, which I actually didn’t experience until fairly recently. Skyline does a fairly good job of imitating the legendary Fred & Red’s “Spaghetti Red” of my youth, although none will come close to the original.

The now-defunct, yet iconic diner formerly located in Joplin, Mo., will always hold fond memories for me and my family, oddly enough all of whom (except me) grew up in and around the area. I just visited there all my life. And with each stopover, I insisted on reliving that glorious dish, never straying from the same order each time.

Skyline 3-Way Chili

When we couldn’t make it to Joplin, my mom would make it at home and it was a family favorite, naturally. Years later, I served it to my Chicago-born-and-bred husband and he came to enjoy it as well (although admittedly maybe not as much as the rest of us). And, eventually, I discovered Skyline. Sadly, Skyline has no restaurants anywhere near Chicago and Fred & Red’s closed earlier this year after 89 years in business. Now I can’t even visit there when I go to see my dad in Joplin. Steak & Shake is a desperation substitute.

But, what am I thinking?! I adopted a PALEO lifestyle of eating. I wouldn’t dig into a plate full of spaghetti Imagetopped with greasy chili and mounds of cheddar cheese anyway!! Right? Right. So, you can imagine my delight when I purchased the wonderful “Well Fed” book by Melissa Joulwan and found not only a Chocolate Chili recipe that is to die for, and which is also available on her blog here, but the version in the book recommends it with spaghetti squash for a slice of heaven that brings me back home . . .

It marked THREE firsts for this paleo newbie:

  1. My first “followed-to-the-t” paleo recipe (I’d been winging it before now)
  2. My first meal sampled from the “Well Fed” book
  3. My first experience with spaghetti squash

Finished dish with fresh avocado and green onions

I’ll sum up what I discovered in two words. Home run. Seriously delicious. The leftovers? Even better. And the hus’ loved it too. Here is a pic of my own concoction. Needless to say, I thoroughly recommend it. This Whole30 thing is a snap! 🙂

P.S. Would love to hear from you if you like your spaghetti 3-way, 4-way, 5-way or otherwise! And doubly so if you’ve had this paleo version that I think outscores them all!

Week One on the Whole30 . . . Check! (Three things I learned)

Happy 10-11-12! Having now officially completed my first full week on the Whole30, I thought I’d provide an update. As you may recall, Day 1 began on Oct. 2 with excitement, if not curiosity, as to exactly how I would adapt to this new lifestyle.

Did I mention that my household includes my hubby who is doing a pseudo-paleo with me, which means that he’s eating all of the healthy dinners I’m preparing and cutting out junk food, but he’s hesitant to take the plunge because he doesn’t need to lose weight. He’s actually trying to gain after a recent hospital stay during which his gallbladder was removed — hello red flag! I also am blessed to have my 19-year-old son living at home during his freshman year. Enough said. Dinner typically includes at least two different versions, but it’s been fine so far and I’ve not been tempted one bit, even with my son’s birthday this week! I was totally satisfied forgoing the cake and ice cream, which happened to be Culver’s Pumpkin Pie, one of my favorites!

So, what are the three things I learned in my first week?

New Foods and Flavors! Things I’d never heard of in some cases and just never tried in others. Now I can’t imagine cooking certain dishes Ghee - Clarified Butterwithout Ghee (clarified butter), which is heavenly, or coconut oil, a paleo staple. I also discovered coconut aminos, a substitute for soy sauce in Asian-type dishes, but also works when Worcestershire sauce is normally used. And one of my new favorites? Almond butter. Where have you been all my life? Whole Foods even has a station — much like you see for coffee grinding — where you can make your own almond butter. Fresh almonds go in and the butter comes out. Nothing else added. Delicious. I have about a tablespoon once or twice a day on apple or pear slices or even celery!

And, I’m drinking black coffee in the morning. This is huge for a gal who always ordered a Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks and then added two Splenda! I could opt for a little coconut milk but it doesn’t agree with me, as I shared in a previous post. I then thought almond milk was the ticket but found out it’s almost impossible to find a pre-packaged brand without additives that are not Whole30-friendly. So, I tried it black and it’s growing on me. Proves that my taste buds are being retrained so that I really appreciate the good and natural flavors in healthier food!

Healthy Food is Expensive. Now, this is probably a big “duh”, but I underestimated how much the initial cost of switching to organic fruits and veggies (as much as possible) and getting healthier cuts of meat would impact my budget. Not to mention planning nearly every meal at home, which is more economical but means that many more groceries. Luckily, I received my three “Paleo Bibles” that I ordered and there’s tons of great recipes that will help going forward. “It Starts With Food,” “Well Fed“, and “Practical Paleo” have already proven to be invaluable resources. Plus, I’m learning to navigate between which stores will offer me the best deals — more on that in a future post. The bottom line is that it’s worth it! A healthy lifestyle will only save me money in the long run and, combined with the other benefits, I’m all in. Why? Because . . .

It’s Working! After a few days of detox in the first week, I am starting to feel the benefits of a radical diet change. My mood is generally improved, I “feel” lighter (not bloated and never over-stuffed) and I can visualize my goal of completing the Whole30 and maintaining a paleo lifestyle for the long-term. I still have a headache here and there, but I’ve long suffered from that, and I think overall my headaches have improved. The only downside is occasional trouble sleeping, which I understand can be a result of the lack of carbs and my body still adjusting. I’m working on it, so I hope that it improves in short order.

Last but not least, I have to admit I cheated. I stepped on the scale after my first week (strict Whole30 says to weigh only at the beginning and the end of the 30 days). Drum roll . . . five pounds lost in seven days! I’m happy about that, but trying to set my expectations. I had no goal weight in mind for the Whole30 (although I do overall), only to retrain my taste buds, adopt a healthier lifestyle and start a revolution. The new-found discipline has also inspired me to tackle other projects that have lacked my attention, including a complete reorganization for my walk-in closet and kitchen pantry. And, without an emotional attachment to food, I was able to truly clean out and discard those foods in my pantry that were past their prime, unhealthy, or both! Much better.

Now, as I rush headlong into Week 2, I have no regrets, very little temptation and an excitement for continued positive results. If anyone else is taking this journey, please share your comments. My next post will be back on the topic of PR.


The Joy of Detox

ImageToday I woke up and Googled: “Paleo headaches”. Luckily, one of the first search results that came up was Paleo Plan’s post for Dreaded Detox. To my surprise (and relief), dozens of Paleo newbies experienced or were going through the same feelings I have on Day 3: headache, body aches, dizziness, fatigue, and all-around flu-like symptoms.

So what was up with that, I thought? From everything I heard this diet was supposed to make me feel FANTASTIC, with more energy and a lot less of the yucky stuff I had been feeling for months! Turns out that my body is ridding itself of all the toxins that I had been loading up on for years: sugar in all of its purest form, but also sugar that’s contained in the wheat, grains and pasta that I had overindulged in. Also any negative effects of dairy, gluten and even alcohol (although my normal intake averaged a few glasses of wine per week).

At the same time, my body is being shocked — but in a good way — by all of the great things it’s now getting, like strictly organic fruits, meats and veggies, rich with vitamins and free of hormones, pesticides and other additives! Time for the HAPPY DANCE!

What a relief to not only discover that this is a normal process, but that these symptoms are a good thing and a sign that the new program is working! With this new knowledge, I ate my breakfast, consisting of coffee with almond milk (which agreed with me much better than yesterday’s coconut milk), a banana and two eggs. Within the hour I felt great.

I know that this is the right path and am so excited for the healthy results that are undoubtedly to come. If any of you have experienced similar detox symptoms on this or another diet, please chime in. And for you PR folks, thanks for your patience as I have veered into this new realm. I have a PR-related (but life lesson post) coming your way shortly . . .


She Put the Lime in the Coconut, She Drank ‘Em Both Up . . .

ImageMaybe that’s what I was supposed to do? New things can sometimes be a challenge, and I have to admit I’ve never been much of an adventurous eater. I like what I like and then repeat. That is, until I started wondering what my food choices were doing to my body. I was also unsatisfied after the 15 lb. weight loss I had a year ago, which led to a plateau and — in all honesty — no real lifestyle change. I needed a program that would transform my food cravings and that I could follow long-term.

As I’ve already shared, I embarked on the Paleo (specifically Whole30) diet this week and am on Day 2. As such, with my morning cup of ‘Joe, which thankfully is allowed on this program, I had to omit the creamer that I love, along with the Splenda, which I really only use in my coffee. Instead, I opted for my first taste of coconut milk in lieu of dairy.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like coconut. And I thought the “vanilla-flavored” version I selected from Trader Joe’s smelled delicious in the carton. At first sip, I could barely taste it in the coffee and I definitely missed the sweetness of my two Splenda packets. So I added more coconut milk to try to up the flavor and sweetness. Now, with about a half cup gone, I’m feeling incredibly nauseous. A quick Google search confirmed that this is not uncommon when first being exposed to it, since coconut milk has a lot of fat. Suggestions include trying less and then working up to more. Also drinking it on an empty stomach was probably a no-no.

However, I will not be discouraged! I loved the herbal pumpkin spice tea that I bought and tried yesterday, and it would be a good substitute if I decide to forgo coffee altogether. This diet is about retraining your taste buds and breaking addictions or cravings for the foods that may be harming us or wreaking havoc with our metabolism. If anyone reading this has had a similar experience with coconut milk, I’d love to hear from you!


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