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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lemony kale and quinoa salad

I love winter in San Francisco and all the food that’s in season!

kale lemons parsley

I heard a knock at my door the other day and when I opened it, no one was there, but sitting on my doorstep was a gift bag of lemons. My neighbors are the best.

Shortly after that, I went to the grocery store to find that organic lacinato (dinosaur) kale was on sale – 2 bunches for $3 – such a great deal! I grabbed two of those, came home, picked some parsley which is growing like a weed (among the weeds) in my backyard and whipped up this savory salad recipe.

And for a little comic relief where lemons are involved:

Ha!

Lemony Kale and Quinoa Salad

Prep time: 15 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes
Serves 6 as a side dish

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1½ cup rinsed quinoa
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1½ teaspoon sea salt
3 cups water
1 bunch dinosaur kale, cut into chiffonade (about 4 cups)
zest of 2 lemons
juice of those 2 lemons
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon real maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
3 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
more sea salt to taste

  • Mince the garlic and put aside ¼ of it for the dressing.
  • Heat a heavy pot over medium heat for 15 seconds add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil shimmers (in 15-30 seconds), add the remaining ¾ of the minced garlic and let it “sweat” for 1 minute. Add rinsed quinoa, turmeric, and 1 teaspoon of salt, and stir to coat. Toast for 30 seconds
  • Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes — do not stir. When time’s up, remove the pot from the burner and fluff with a fork, then leave uncovered for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, “massage” the kale with ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl for a minute (kale will shrink in volume). Squeeze the kale and discard the juices that come out of it.
  • In a glass measuring cup, add ¼ cup olive oil, the lemon zest and juice, maple syrup, dijon mustard, black pepper and parsley and whisk together.
  • Add quinoa to the bowl with the kale, cover with dressing, and stir it all together. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

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lemony kale and quinoa salad 014

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

savory herb vinaigrette


I love a big salad for lunch. Don’t you?
I try to eat foods that are in season so lately my fall salad has been consisting of spinach, steamed sweet potatoes, shredded beets, chopped apples, pepitas, and a couple boiled eggs.

But what’s the secret behind every good salad? It’s a great salad dressing!

This dressing is a combination of two vinaigrettes – a Greek and a French American – that I’ve learned from recipes past. Once you get the hang of it you may not even need a measuring cup and can whip it up for individual salads. I often times will make it in the bottom of a large bowl and toss the salad fixins into it.

A convenient thing about this dressing is that as long as you are using dried herbs, it’s better left out of the refrigerator. You can keep it on the pantry shelf, assuming you will eat it within a couple weeks (and based on how tasty it is, that shouldn’t be an issue).

Savory Herb Vinaigrette

Prep time: 5 minutes
Ready in: 5 minutes
Dresses 10-15 individual salads

Using a single measuring cup, add the following:

½ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper (about 15 turns of the grinder)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 forkful of dijon mustard (about 1 tablespoon)

Whisk it all together with the fork, and there you have it – bom diggity deliciousness!

Transfer the mixture to a sealed jar for future use and shake well before dressing.

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These ingredients are in no way limited. It’s just what I’ve found I like best. Please feel free to get creative and let me know what you like in the comments section below.

Tis the season for potlucks and dinner parties, so with this dressing and some other salad like ingredients, you’re ready to roll…

Enjoy!