My Whole 30 – Week 1 Recap

I’m happy to say I made it through my first week of The Whole 30 with shining success! No grain, no pain!

I’ve had sustained energy and an extremely steady mood. I’ve known for some time how gluten and wheat caused me to have mood swings, but in the past week, in addition to being quite chipper for no reason, my chronic back pain has dissipated and my skin is perfectly clear and evenly toned – radiant! It’s crazy to think that the foods we eat release hormones that can cause our bodies to act against us. As described in the book I reviewed last week, everything we eat sends messages through our body and when we eat things like dairy, sugar, grains, and alcohol especially, our bodies struggle to balance it out, releasing insulin and leptin and a whole bunch of other hormones just in order to not get sick.

All our bodies want to do is feel good, naturally. With the way I’ve been eating the past week, I intrinsically feel like my body is not at war with food and it’s thanking me for taking better care of it by being way more alert, steady, and ridiculously happy for no reason! Like earlier today, I had a Michael Jackson dance party in my kitchen for no particular reason! I mean, well it IS Michael – care to join me for another?

Now THAT is good cooking music!
And I have been cooking a LOT – I have turned on the burner for almost every meal over the past 6 days. I’ve been trying out some new recipes (with some epic wins and some semi fails) but mostly have been making “hot bowls” – a mishmash of sauteed veggies with a generous serving of protein mixed in. I also started a new exciting full-time job with a very fun company this past week and have been pretty busy with that, so I’m happy that “hot bowls” are so easy to make.

Day 1 breakfast: 3 pastured eggs cooked with organic red onion, broccoli and spices in coconut oil, topped with guacamole and fresh diced roma tomato. Black coffee on the side.whole30-Day1bf

Day 2 lunch: Organic spinach salad with chicken breast, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, pepitas & my savory herb vinaigrette.Whole30-Day2lunch

Day 3 lunch: Curried onions and red peppers with chicken and cashews on a bed of coconut sauteed kale.Whole30-Day3lunch

Day 4 dinner: Big winner! Onion, garlic, lamb burger topped with grilled red peppers and guacamole on a bed of spinach surrounded by steamed broccoli and carrots. YUM! Then again, in case you didn’t know, I LOVE lamb.Whole30-Day4dinner

Day 5 breakfast – I scrambled 2 pastured eggs with onions, peppers, and spinach, then topped it off with fresh plum tomatoes and guacamole. I also made home brewed coconut cream chai and savored a medley of blueberries and macadamia nuts. Easy and delicious.Whole30-Day5bf

Today, Day 6, I went grocery shopping to stock up for the next week. I bought a wide variety of organic produce and sustainable organic meats and spent around $100 for what I’m hoping will last me the next week and a half. Following the advice in the Well Fed Paleo Cookbook, I prepped a bunch of stuff this evening to help make meal prep easy and seamless throughout my upcoming busy week.Whole30-Day6mealprepThe fun included baking 2 pounds of organic chicken breast tenders that I can use in salads or toss into stir fry or other hot bowls throughout the week. I shredded cabbage and beets and steamed a large yam. I made cauliflower rice (a recipe from Well Fed) and added cashews. I made more of my savory herb vinaigrette (sans the tamari since no soy) and whipped up a jar of spicy salsa fresca. I did all this prep in under an hour! I feel like I’m ready to rock out another week!

I’m not gonna lie – over the past week, though I’ve been fully satisfied and never hungry between meals – I’ve had subtle cravings, specifically for wine and chocolate.
I’m a single woman in my 30’s, go figure.
However, I’ve resisted the temptation and leaned on ginger tea and blueberries in my times of need.

Feel free to follow my daily activity on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. And I’m happy to explain any of my technique or go into more depth for any of the dishes above. Please leave your questions in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading and have fun cooking!

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Austin was fun and now begins my Whole 30

eating and drinking in Austin

I just returned from spending a long weekend in Austin, Texas where I ate and drank and ate and drank and danced and sang around campfires and drank some more. It was a glorious, gluttonous time…

But that’s over now.

it-starts-with-food-cover

On the plane, I read a book titled It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I give it two thumbs way up.

They talk about all the “science-y stuff” around food – the hormones different foods cause, how they affect your brain and your gut, about leptin and insulin and chronic inflammation, and about so many common diseases and how they are so often – if not always – related to the food we eat. The best part is that they say it all in such a simple (and amusing) way, it’s so easy to understand and be inspired by.

And I am inspired.

The Whole 30 is the plan they created, based on their backgrounds in nutrition, anatomy, and physiology, and from their personal experiences. The Whole 30 is a thirty day “nutritional reset designed to restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food”… because heaven knows, after this past weekend (and past several months in general), I need it.

It’s based around the Paleo way of eating and starting today, I am eliminating the following things from my diet:

  • All Grains (including corn and quinoa)
  • Dairy (even the goat variety, but clarified butter is okay)
  • Legumes (except green beans and snap peas)
  • Sugar (not even stevia)
  • Alcohol (ouch)

What I will be consuming via 3 meals a day, 5-6 hours apart is:

  • Organic, grass fed, and pastured meat and eggs (about 25% of my diet)
  • Lots and lots of organic vegetables (about 45%)
  • Some fruits (about 10%)
  • Certain oils, nuts, and fats like avocado, olives, and coconut (about 20%)
  • One morning cup of coffee, black (like Jack Kerouac)

Do I sound completely bonkers?  I’m actually really excited to see what results after 30 days of this! I have a feeling it’s going to rock my world. I have a few other friends riding The Whole 30 train with me and personally know others who rave about it, so that support will be helpful… especially on Friday when I get home from work and all I want to unwind is a glass of wine… not so cheers.

Lest I get ahead of myself.

The rest of the book details meal planning and grocery lists.  I went shopping this evening and spent about $50 on what I hope will last me a week. If you’re interested in it, check out the book and their website for more detailed info.

I’m now coming to completion of day one and I feel fantastic. I’ve had sustained energy throughout my work day and no cravings between meals. For breakfast this morning, I sauteed onions and broccoli in coconut oil, scrambled in 3 pastured eggs, salt and pepper, then topped it with a dollop of guacamole and one diced roma tomato. With my coffee on the side, it was super yum!

whole30-1bf

Day one done, only 29 more to go… I’ll keep you updated as to my progress by posting here and on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’d love to hear your recipe ideas and support each other if you decide to embark on The Whole 30 for yourself.

Best of luck!

And as always, your thoughts are welcomed in the comments section below.

sweet potato frittata with goat cheese and thyme

sweet potato frittata with goat cheese and thyme
A dish I would often make when I was working in the kitchen of the guest house in Italy was frittata. It’s easy, affordable, protein filled, and can be made using a variety of ingredients.

Well, this morning when I awoke I was hungry and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make today but then it came to me in a flash (and perhaps slightly influenced by what I had in my kitchen pantry) – sweet potato frittata with goat cheese and thyme. Super fast to make and filling, it’s a great source of protein and complex carbohydrates to balance blood sugar.

eggs lemon zest thyme

Sweet Potato Frittata with Goat Cheese and Thyme

Prep time: 15 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes
Serves 4 to 6

1 medium sweet potato
4 pastured eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons of thyme leaves
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
¼ cup goat cheese crumbles

  • Peel and slice the sweet potato into ¼ inch rounds (about 1½ cups) and steam over high heat for 6 minutes until slightly tender but no where near falling apart.  Meanwhile zest the lemon, separate the thyme leaves from their stems.
  • Whisk the eggs together and add the zest, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  • Heat a heavy non stick pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil and sweet potato slices in a single layer. Fry on each side (about 2 minutes each side) then add the egg mixture and evenly sprinkle the goat cheese over it.

Here comes the fun part, FRITTATA FLIPPING!!!  If you’re feeling bold, you can try doing it like this guy or you can try it by using a plate to flip.
sweet potato frittata with goat cheese and thyme mixture in pan
How I do it:

    • After I pour the mixture into the sizzling hot pan, I make a few breaks in the bottom of it using a spatula, in order to get as much of the egg cooked on one side as possible.
    • When the edges are golden brown and peeling away from the pan, cover the top of the pan with a large plate or lid and holding it firmly, in one fell swoop, flip the pan and plate over and slide the other side back into the hot pan.
    • Cook for another couple minutes, pushing the edges down to make sure they fully cook then transfer to a clean plate, slice, and serve.

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Buon Appetito!

As always, your thoughts are welcomed in the comments section below.

pumpkin power biscuits

Who said you can’t have your biscuit and eat it too? It sure wasn’t me and that definitely does not apply to these high protein guilt-free bites of wonder…

These power packed biscuits are perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack. They are very filling thanks to the chia seeds and their high protein content offers sustained energy.

You may be thinking, “Wait, what? Did she just say chia seeds, as in ch-ch-ch-chia Obama head sprouting green hair?” Why yes, yes I did.

Chia seeds are a total nutritional powerhouse! They have an extremely high concentration of omega-3 acids – even more than salmon. One serving size includes 18 percent of recommended daily calcium and four grams of protein, and they are a great source of fiber and potassium – plus they’re low in cholesterol and sodium.

Chia seeds come from the chia plant, which is part of the mint family. It’s native to Central America, but due to its increased popularity, you can find the seeds at many grocery stores.

So now, back to the biscuits… They are gluten and dairy free and if you follow the paleo diet, there’s an option for that too. They have a cake like texture if using gluten free flour and are more like a scone if using almond meal.

The batter freezes well so I often like to make a double batch and save half for later.

Pumpkin Power Biscuits
tweaked from a Dr. Cory’s Good Healthy Fun recipe

Prep time: 35 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes
Yield: about 2 dozen biscuits

1 ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill or Pamela’s gluten free baking mix (or almond meal for a paleo version)
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon chia seeds, soaked in ¼ cup of water for 10 minutes to make a gel
½ cup pureed pumpkin
½ cup almond butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
¼ cup honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
¼ cup pecans chopped into small pieces
¼ cup pepitas
½ cup dried cranberries (or other dried berry)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a small well in the middle and add all the wet ingredients. Using an electric mixer, mix all ingredients until they are fully combined.

Add pecans, pepitas, and dried cranberries and gently mix them in using a large spoon.

Using spoons, dollop ping pong ball size portions onto a baking sheet and flatten them down a bit. They don’t rise like other biscuits.

Bake for 12-15 minutes and let cool. They pair most excellently with a cuppa tea~ Enjoy!

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Your thoughts are welcomed in the comments section below.

the perfect hard boiled egg

Prep time: 2 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes

What constitutes a perfect hard boiled egg?
To me, it’s one that peels with ease, has a deep yellow yolk (sans any green line around it), and it tastes like heaven. A boiled egg and half an apple are often my daily breakfast.

I have discovered over my years of boiled egg making, through trials and tribulations, the true science of a perfectly boiled egg and I want to share my secret with you…

First, get a dozen pastured eggs – higher in nutritional value and much happier chickens!

Find a pot. Fill it with 4″ of water.

Next, bring the water to a rolling boil. If you need help with this part, here’s how to boil water.

Then, using a large spoon, gently place the eggs, one by one into the water. I use the inside of the pot to guide them down to the bottom. If your eggs crack even when given the utmost care, it could be because the drastic temperature change. If this is a persistent problem for you, take your eggs out of the fridge and let them sit for a bit before.

Now, set your timer to 14 minutes! (If you want soft boiled, set it for 10 minutes.)

Since we have some time, peep this awesome video while you’re eggs are a boilin’…

Since you still have a few more minutes, fill a bowl with ice then water, leaving two inches at the top.

When time’s up, turn off the burner and immediately remove the eggs from the pot using the large spoon and gently place them in the ice water.

Why ice water? This prevents the egg from overcooking (the cause of that icky green line) and it helps separate the egg from the membrane on the inside of the shell so they’re easy to peel!

Let them sit for a few minutes, and voila!

Peel and enjoy~

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You are the eggman! Coo coo ca choo!