Fruits and veggies, oh my! Officially halfway through the Whole 30 Challenge and, scheeew….my goodness! This. Is. Tough. I mean, I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and I’ve already had to talk myself off the ledge from entering my wine fridge several times, BUT….I’ve somehow magically survived life without booze and sugar for the past 15 days. Yay me!
If you are reading this thinking, “what in the holy hell is Whole 30?”, read up here–I can tell you it will be worth the five minutes of your time. If not, here’s a super quick breakdown fo’ ya. Ready? Here goes. <It’s not just a temporary elimination diet–it’s the removal of food groups that could be having a negative impact on your body. Foods that could be causing specific ailments–and those that can be pin-pointed once they’ve been removed from your diet. It’s a reset on your relationship with food, cravings, bad eating habits. > The end.
Now, one would think the most challenging part of this entire program is the removal of all dairy/grains/sugar/alcohol and processed foods. Sounds intense right? Well, I certainly can’t say its not intense or hard–I’d be lying! But seriously, the most challenging part for me has been meal planning and prep. It has kind of consumed my life, and mostly because I’m terrible at meal planning. It’s been slightly more difficult for me because I am making every. single. meal. for me and my husband–and also needing to pack his lunches for 12 hour shifts and a long drill weekend away. On top of cooking for two kiddos. I’ve literally been living in three places for the past 15 days 1.) pinterest for recipe inspiration, 2.) at five different grocery stores to find all the ingredients that are compliant, and 3.) in my kitchen cooking and cleaning–nonstop. Now, I actually do enjoy cooking, and its even been a bit much for me. So if you are not a fan of cooking–this diet is probably not for you unless can eat really simple meals for 30 days straight. I could not hang with that.
You’re all probably thinking I’m a nut-job for sticking to this, but for me, it’s more than the diet. Truth is, I’ve failed at a lot of things in my life, but I was D.E.T.E.R.M.I.N.E.D to DO THIS. My husband has been on board from the beginning as well and has been a huge support…not so much in the kitchen–but that’s okay. 😉 He’s pushed me through week moments when I wanted to quit and has been the encouragement I’ve needed along this journey. If you’d like to try Whole 30, I most definitely recommend having a partner!
To help keep us accountable, I also created a countdown calendar in our kitchen so it’s always front and center. It’s been a good daily reminder and has felt amazing to check each day off!
*Note- our last day is actually February 1st! Apparently I struggle counting to 30. 😉
So, how are we feeling halfway through? Really good! Our energy levels are up, not feeling as groggy or sluggish as before. Sleep quality has improved, especially for my husband who rotates day and night 12 hour shifts. We’ve both dropped a few LB’s which is exciting! Per the Whole 30 guidelines, it specifically says not to weigh yourself during the 30 days. But I like to live on the edge and kinda said screw that. You are taking my cheese and my wine, let a girl have her small scale victories as motivation! I’ve also been doing the 21 Day Fix workouts so I’m super anxious to see where we are on day 30.
Good news in all this diet craziness is I’ve actually discovered quite a few amazingly delicious and Whole 30 approved recipes! Like, ones that I will actually continue to make after all this is said and done and I’m back to drinking my wine and eating my chocolate in pure guiltless bliss.
I wanted to share in case you are skeptical (like I was) about the food tasting good. Don’t get me wrong, there have been a few duds, and many many that I’ve had to season the sh*t out of in order for it to be edible—but these here are tried and true and very tasty!
We’ve eaten a ton of eggs! And while that’s a-okay with Aaron 365 days a year, it’s not for me. I cannot eat eggs every single day. Needless to say I was so happy to find this yummy Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole, and even happier that it tasted delish! It reminded me of a french toast casserole, which is a texture I was really craving after all the eggs! Aaron even approved and he dislikes sweet potatoes with a passion.
Now back to the eggs. A crust-less quiche is a recipe I’ve made for quite some time now and honestly don’t even follow a recipe. I love quiche because it is so versatile. We’ve eaten quiche for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s one of those “everything but the kitchen sink” type recipes because I will literally put in whatever I have on hand. Ingredients: meats- sausage or bacon, but will do meatless a lot, greens- typically spinach or kale, veggies- peppers/onions/mushrooms/tomatoes/jalapenos/roasted red pepper/etc./etc., about 6-8 eggs whisked well with some s&p/crushed red pepper and a couple dashes of hot sauce. Bake for 30-40 mins @ 350 F and viola!
Non-Whole 30 I will sometimes use an actual pie crust, add some milk to my eggs to make them a little fluffier, and a handful (or two!) of cheese- cheddar/mozzarella/feta are my favs.
A typical lunch for us has been leftovers, grilled chicken over salad, or turkey and cucumber roll ups. Though, I recently found an ingredient that has been a total game changer for me. Drum rollllll please…plantain chips!! Omgee they are so good! They have that crunch that I’ve been missing which gives texture to salads like this taco beauty I whipped up with some ground beef, taco seasoning, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cilantro, and a lime/cilantro/avocado/evoo vinaigrette. Yum-Yum.
Plantain chips are also good for dipping into some guacamole. Whole 30 or not, you have GOT to try them as a healthy alternative to tortilla chips.
This next one is my absolute favorite so far. The hubs and I love Chinese food and will order take out frequently from our favorite local spot for sushi and a hot entree to share. I was so excited to stumble upon this site Food, Faith, Fitness. Not only are a lot of her recipes whole 30/Paleo friendly, they are literally on point delicious. She’s also pretty hilarious so check it out.
This Mango Habanero Chicken with Coconut Cauliflower Rice is the front runner in the dinner department so far. It is spicy and sweet and might just become my new take out alternative. This one is a for real winner winner chicken dinner!
I don’t have a photo of this next recipe, (apparently I was too busy shoving its deliciousness in my mouth) but it was good, good, good. One Pan Pork Chops with Apples and Onions. Check it.
Another one I don’t have a photo of is this Chicken Pesto Spaghetti Squash. I made it after my kids were in bed and was so starved by 8:30pm when I finally sat down to eat that I literally devoured it. I’ve used spaghetti squash in several recipes and it’s quickly become a staple in our house. The Paleo Running Momma is another who has a ton of clean and yummy recipes.
Last, but certainly not least, is the burger and fries. Now I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m not missing the bun, cheese, and ketchup here–I just can’t do it! BUT…I can say that if you have delicious toppings (here we did caramelized onions, mushrooms, and a fried egg) you truly don’t miss those classic ingredients as much. We made the burgers inside on our grill pan and used the Whole 30 Perfect Burger recipe, found in the book. I also used this recipe for the extra crispy oven baked french fries, minus the seasoning and the soaking process. They were hot and crispy with just enough salt and french fried potatoey goodness. Totally felt like a cheat meal, which I loved every second of. 🙂
I have a few other recipes to share, but I’ll save those for my final Whole 30 recap post.
So what do you think…will you give Whole 30 a try?