yikes. quite a while. my bad.
truth is, i am freaking busy trying to keep my child alive over here. david is still working out in wyoming but ava and i came home a couple weeks ago. this is our third summer in wyoming and although we do really love it out there (sometimes), i think our time there has come to an end. there is really only so much sanity you can cling on to when you're living in a hotel room in wyoming with a toddler and 20 other of your husband's coworkers. whenever i explain david's job to strangers, they are mind-blown and sometimes i forget just how bizarre it is. and then one of the guys will waltz into our hotel room at 9am while i'm in bed and david's in his underwear and ava's playing with some old balloons she found underneath the bed from the room's previous occupants and then you think, yeah...this is weird. this probably doesn't happen in a normal person's life. yolo.
so i came home and it was just as magical as i expected. i walked into my house and it smelled like heaven. i climbed into our marshmallow bed and slept like a dream. ava and i play at the pool and hang out with my inlaws and go see movies and play with our friends and wonder why the heck we ever chose to live in wyoming when summer is so good at home. the past five summers of my life have been dedicated to summer sales and i forgot how magical this season really is.
one of the things i was most excited about when i came home was getting to eat better. we did the best we could given our circumstances in wyoming, but really it was a challenge. some hotels only gave us a mini fridge and a mircowave. others gave us a stovetop. i bought a teeny little crockpot and sometimes drove 35 minutes out to costco. but those things were really good for me in retrospect because i will never take the finer things in life like costco and an oven for granted. gratitude, ya'll.
anyway, what i am really trying to say here is that i started the whole30 and i am into it. i am also really into taking pictures of my meals and sending them to anyone who might care so i can feel better about myself for giving up donuts. it's been a challenge sometimes and then other days have flown by without any issue, but i truly think this program has changed the way i eat and cook for the rest of my life. it's a real lifestyle change, not a diet, and i think that is why it's effective.
so humor me here and let me go on and on about what works for me and what doesn't and how much i love eating clean, but don't forget that i am equally as passionate about cupcakes and donuts and i am not sure how to balance both of these loves. i think that is a life-long journey, learning moderation in all things, but i have quite the all-or-nothing personality and i struggle. for now i will just eat my roasted veggies and larabars and be super happy with how my body feels. but in 16 days for now, i might feel just as happy with an ice cream cone.
what are your favorite whole30 recipes?
guacamole bacon turkey burgers on sweet potato buns
these are yum. start by peeling and slicing a sweet potato into rounds for your "bun." lightly olive oil and salt and pepper each side and roast it in the oven until it's tender and slightly crispy. you don't want it mushy, you want it to be able to hold up. i always forget to flip it halfway through roasting, but you shouldn't! and i usually roast at 375.
cook a turkey burger. i get the frozen kind from costco and just cook it on the stove and i have good luck with that.
when your sweet potato is done, let it cool so you're able to handle it. when it's cool enough, build your burger with bacon, guacamole, your turkey patty and enjoy!
spaghetti squash spaghetti with red pepper and spinach sausage
this is beyond! if you've never had spaghetti squash, you are missing out on life. start by slicing your spaghetti squash into rings, removing the seeds, and roasting the slices in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper until tender. remove and take a fork to the rings, getting out all the "spaghetti."
slice up some red pepper and spinach chicken sausage. this stuff is so good and available at certain costcos. did you know costco is super awesome at inventory checks if you call them? that will save you from going all the way down there with your unruly toddler only to find that they don't have what you're looking for. not like that's ever happened to me, but just saying. anyway, saute your sausage with your squash and some compliant marinara sauce. (mine is also from costco, yay for them.) this is also so good reheated and it tastes like comfort food magic.
apple chicken sausage, bacon and potato scramble
i eat this for breakfast every day and it never gets old! i also usually add some asparagus in there but apparently i didn't have any on the day this picture was taken.
start by slicing one adel's apple chicken sausage and saute it in a pan with olive oil and some precooked bacon. (i always cook my bacon all at once and keep it in the fridge so i can grab it when i need it.) add some pre-roasted sweet potatoes and/or potatoes. saute until everything is hot and then add 3 eggs and salt and pepper. cook until eggs are done. eat with guacamole. this will keep you full for so long and it is so good. i used to really have a weird thing against eating eggs without cheese, it was like a textural issue, but whole30 has pretty much cured me of that.
scrambles are great because i swear you could pretty much throw any veggies/meat in there and make something delicious. and one of the best things about whole30 is that it doesn't really limit how much you're eating...so if you're hungry enough for four eggs, have at it. if two is enough, that's great too. it's all great.
these are my jam! just like scrambles, you can throw any meat/veggie in a pepper and roast it in the oven and it will be delicious. here i have ground turkey, but i have also loved chicken cooked in the crock pot with salsa verde from traders joes and smoked pulled pork from costco. pair it with some guacamole (can you tell i eat a lot of guacamole?) and some veggies and you are set.
plantain and almond crusted chicken with mashed cauliflower and roasted brussel sprouts
this is my most complicated meal, but i love it. start by grinding some plantain chips from trader joes and slivered almonds in the food processor with some salt and pepper until it makes a crumble. coat some boneless, skinless chicken breast in it and bake in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes or until done.
in a sauce pan, cover a handful of cauliflower, a quarter of an onion, a clove of garlic, and if you want, a small white potato with compliant chicken broth. cook until everything is very tender. remove veggies from the pan and buzz in the food processor until it resembles mashed potatoes. you may have to add some chicken broth in there. add more salt and pepper to taste.
slice some brussel sprouts and toss in olive oil and salt and pepper. add some bacon crumbles. roast in the oven until tender.
sweet potato and pulled pork sliders with mashed cauliflower
same mashed cauliflower and sweet potato buns as above. microwave some costco pulled pork and build your sliders and enjoy!
what is the hardest part about whole30?
the hardest part of whole30 for me is giving up the social aspect of food-related gatherings. it's hard to say no when we get invitations to go out. it sucks when i'm making cookies for my friend who just had a baby and i can't eat any. it sucks to make dinner for someone else and not be able to taste the food. it just is what it is. so much of our culture is centered around food and i get it. we eat when we're happy, we eat when we're sad, and we're feeling beings. so that is hard. but i just try to remind myself how much money i'm saving by not eating at restaurants, right?
it's also hard to hear criticism. "omg why are you doing that?!" which i understand and all, but I'M DOING THIS BECAUSE I NEVER LEARNED HOW TO EAT HEALTHY AND MY BODY IS A TEMPLE AND I'M TRYING TO LEARN HOW TO TREAT IT RIGHT SO MY DAUGHTER CAN LOVE HER BODY AND HAVE A GOOD SELF ESTEEM AND BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY, OKAY?! seriously though, that's why. it's much easier when people are like, "oh good for you!" or "that's awesome! clean eating yay!" so can you all just say that to me please?
the easiest part of whole30 is that it doesn't restrict your portions. i eat a ton of food and am never hungry. it's hard to fight sugar cravings sometimes, but fighting sugar cravings is nothing comparing to fighting hunger like other diets.
the last time i did whole30 (i did 17 days), i didn't have nearly enough variety in my meals and got bored super quickly. this time around i've tried to be as creative as possible and it's helped a ton. it's also helped to have the whole30 instagrams and other whole30-ers who i stalk regularly for recipe ideas. i've learned a lot about clean eating substitutions and where i can find compliant food. costco and trader joe's are the holy grail. i seriously drove 40 minutes to a certain costco just because they had my apple chicken sausages. i've got issues. i talk more about the tips and tricks that have helped me on my instagram post here.
how do you feel halfway through the whole30?
no lies, days 9-12 i was majorly bloated. they say that's normal and it's the bacteria in your gut adjusting to your new diet, which just sounds really gross. i feel like my legs and hips are smaller, my clothes generally fit better, my skin is clearer, i'm sleeping better, but i'm not like dropping a pant size or anything...yet. i try to remind myself that this isn't the whole15, it's the whole30 and if i want full results then i have to do the full program. it's reassuring to read other peoples' accounts of going through the same issues that i am and knowing that my body's reactions are normal. it also has made me more aware of my body's reactions in general, which makes me think about what i'm putting into it and helps me make smart, conscious food choices. i think that's why the program is so successful, it's not just a quick-fix or a blind diet, you are learning so much about yourself and your body. i just ordered a probiotic and i've tried increasing my water intake and that has helped with the bloating.
what's on your whole30 shopping list?
bacon (check the labels, get the one with no sugar. i know it has nitrates in it, but i eat a lot of bacon and this by far the best deal. don't be crazy.)
boneless skinless chicken breast
adel's apple chicken sausage
roasted red pepper and spinach chicken sausage
compliant marinara sauce (i got the victoria white linen collection brand and it is super good.)
grapes (i love them frozen!)
frozen green beans
larabars (but only if you like the cashew/apple ones. i am not into the apple ones, so it's probably not worth it to buy them here.)
guacamole (i get the little individual containers.)
sweet potatoes (my costco didn't have them)
coconut cream (i love it in soups!)
the grocery store:
carrots (i like to get the kind sliced like chips.)
larabars (i love the coconut cream and blueberry muffin kind!!)
you can also find la croix (compliant flavored sparkling water) and some compliant apple gate farms meat here too, but i am not into sparkling water and haven't tried any apple gate farms yet.
fwew! that was lengthy. i really like you if you're still reading. have i converted you to join me yet? despite all the sad feelings i had today when i gave ava some costco pizza and i just watched, i really love this program and think that it's taught me so much about my body and how to love it and treat it will. i can't wait to see what the next 15 days are like. and let me tell you, there is no person on earth who loves to eat more than i do. if i can do it, you can too. my favorite little snipped from the whole30 creator melissa hartwig is this:
"It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime."