Whole 30, Days 29 & 30 – It’s a Wrap (but hardly over)

Hard to believe, but we’re at Day 30 of the Whole 30 Challenge. Was it challenging? Oh yeah. Rewarding? Absolutely. And honestly, now that it’s over not much will change. We’ll probably turn down a glass of red wine, I’m definitely having a coconut bliss bar and Dave will likely tear into a bag of rice chips, but then really, we’ll be back to Whole 30 eating.

This whole experience was really an introduction to eating primal for us – and we love it. Neither of us have any intention to reverting back to old ways of eating. We’ve learned a lot about our cravings and what they mean. We’ve organized our food shopping and prep to minimize time in the kitchen. We’ve come up with a gaggle on new most-loved recipes and we feel better than ever physically. Will we never indulge again? Of course not. We’re human and we love food. But our attitudes have definitely changed.

I knew this for certain when I moved the stove out the other day to sweep behind it. I’m a bit embarrassed to tell you what I found – a Christmas cookie. And not a home-baked, so good your eyes roll back in your head, to-die-for cookie. Just some store bought processed piece of white flour and sugar junk. It made me realize that while there may be cookies in my future, they won’t be this kind. If I am going to put something in my mouth I know full well won’t support my health and fitness goals, it damn well better be the most delicious, decadent, divine version of whatever it is. It better nourish my soul and my senses if it’s not going to nourish my health. And for me, I think that’s the biggest reward of all, coming to this new place of thinking about my diet.

Now where’s my corkscrew…?

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Whole 30, Day 20 – Shopping & Menu Planning Made Easy!

Produce section of grocery store

It’s Saturday, so that means grocery shopping at our house. Before embarking on this Whole 30 Challenge, we often found ourselves stopping by the grocery store 4 or 5 times per week. Sometimes more. Thanks to some necessary planning head however, we’ve now got it down to one big shop per week, plus a trip to the butcher.

Before we left the house today, I used my white board to create a list of what I want to cook for the next week, looked at what I needed, compared it to what we already had on hand and made my list accordingly. Here’s what it looked like:

Day Item to Make Ingredients I have Ingredients I need
Sunday Stew Beef, venison, onions, garlic, rutabaga, carrots, yams, broth, spices Turnips, parsnips
Salsa Tomatoes, green peppers, onions, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste Jalapeno pepper
Salads Grapefruit, peppers, carrots Lettuce, fennel, peas, cabbage
Egg Casserole Eggs, portobello mushrooms, spinach, turkey sausage, ground turkey
Dressing Apple cider vinegar, walnut oil, Dijon, spices Apples, avocado
Kale chips Olive oil Kale
Monday n/a
Tuesday Chicken fingers Chicken breast, coconut, coconut milk, spices
Cucumber salad Cucumbers, ACV Light olive oil (to make fresh batch of mayo)
Wednesday Sheppard’s pie Carrots, broth, coconut flour, spices Cauliflower, *ground beef, beans, peas
Egg Casserole *ground beef
Thursday n/a
Friday Fish *fish
Saturday n/a

there you go, the last column became our grocery list for today and the table itself goes on the fridge for easy refernce when cooking. Handy, since I rarely follow recipes.

The beef I’ll get at the butcher on Tuesdays (when it’s freshest) and the fish I’ll buy fresh on the way home that night, but otherwise we’ve managed to pare our shopping trips from shopping 4 – 5 times per week, with cooking and cleaning every night, to shopping once a week, cooking 4 and having a full 3 nights out of the kitchen, while still having a fridge full of tasty Whole 30 approved meals whenever we’re hungry. We think it’s brilliant. You can use the framework of our plan. Fill in your favorite dishes and customize  your own menu plan and grocery list.

Do you have time-saving tips to help make eating healthy easier? We’d love to hear them!

Whole 30, Day 15 – What’s In & On Our Fridge

Fridge full of prepared food

If a picture is worth a thousand words, have a gander at our packed fridge. We spent most of Sunday afternoon and evening in the kitchen preparing food for the days ahead.

Last week we were in the kitchen every night.Not this week, man! We’re going to have a few batch cook nights and rely on high volume dishes like sheppard’s pie and stew, but we’re planning one three nights per week without kitchen duties! To help make that happen, I decided to rearrange the whiteboard on the fridge to track not only what we wanted to cook for the rest of week, but the groceries we’d need to do so and the resulting leftovers we need to eat.

Here’s what we netted for our Sunday efforts: a week’s supply of layered green salads, an apple avocado salad dressing, six portions of a hearty egg casserole with lean beef and turkey sausage, a double batch of chunky tomato salsa, a thick stew made with grass-fed beef and local organic root vegetables and a batch of jerky waiting to go into the dehydrator. It took a little longer than we thought it would, but it feels good to start the week with a fridge full of nourishing food.

Whole 30, Day 8 – A Kitchen Marathon

Today we celebrated day 7 of the Whole 30 in the kitchen batch-cooking. Even before the Whole 30 it was a practice we got into and really one of the major KEYS to success when it comes to healthy eating. It’s just WAY to easy to grab something less than healthy when you’re starving and the fridge is empty. So what did our hard work get us today?

Dave’s the salad king in our house and ended up making 17 servings of salad. Yup, count ’em, 17! We eat A LOT of salads and we like to make them in individual containers so they’re easy to grab’n’go.

I started with making a batch of my Lean Green Super Soup (you can see the video I made last summer on our youtube channel. I’ll also share the recipe here in another post).

Then I made a double batch of mayonnaise. Now, we’ve never been big mayo eaters, but let me tell you, if you’ve never tried making your own home made mayo, are you in for a treat! I was licking the bowl like it was cake batter and Dave said “Why would anyone buy miracle whip?” Actually, he also said “Too bad you can’t taste a picture!” hee hee  Here’s the kick-ass recipe from Mel at www.theclothesmakethegirl.com. The key to success with homemade mayo: everything MUST start at room temperature and you gotta drizzle the oil –s–l–o–w–l–y–… Get your feet wide, your hands supported, tuck your elbows into your sides (trust me on this one!) and get ready for the long haul. With my double batch, I drizzled for a full 15 minutes! Yup, my shoulders were burning but it was worth every second! 🙂

Next, I moved on to an egg casserole, which we love for breakfast. I made today’s with grass-fed ground beef, portobello mushrooms, spinach, a dozen eggs and a glug of egg whites. I don’t measure – just enough to cover the casserole. Maybe I’ll take a snap of tomorrow’s breakfast.

To go with the casserole, I also made another batch of sweet potatoe hash browns, using Caribbean sweet potatoes, which have become one of our new favourite things. Ridiculously good. Seriously, they taste like candy! I also baked a few extra to eat post-workout.

Next was a lamb and beef stew, which is still happily bubbling in the slow cooker on the counter. I added turnips, carrots, parsnips and rutabaga (which I’ve had a strange love for since I was a kid). The meat is from my beloved butcher and all grass-fed goodness. Can’t wait to get into it!

Finally, I made some good old fashioned meat balls. I love meat balls. I find it so strange that so many paleo meatball recipes on the internet use almond flour. I find you don’t need any kind of flour to make a good meatball. I started with Mel’s Paleo Czech Meatball recipe, which her hubby says should be called “Czech Out My Balls” (hee hee)  but instead of caraway seeds, I used the spices from Caveman Strong’s “Not your typical grandma’s Paleo Meatballs“. Dyno-mite!

Anyhow, now that all is said and done, it’s time to go enjoy some of the fruits of our labors…Bon Apetite everyone!