I absolutely loved everything about being pregnant except for one thing - gaining weight. I took it a little hard, and looking back, really should have been more grateful and amazed by the wondrous thing my body was doing - growing a BABY!
Now on the other side and in 2018, my husband and I sat down and determined to be more healthy - mentally, emotionally and physically. We came across the Whole30 diet and really liked everything it stood for - seeing food as a source of nutrition, filling your body with whole, real foods, moving beyond an addiction to sugar, processed carbohydrates and (in my case) too much focus on diary (read: CHEESE), and most importantly for me, learning to love your body and not rely just on the scale as a sense of self-definition.
If you' haven't heard of Whole30, some quick facts to catch you up:
- The 30-day challenge recommends 2 meals a day with a snack only if you need it (and preferably not fruit or anything that is like junk food (i.e., paleo cookies, cakes, etc)) or if you do HITT workouts
-The meals should include a palm sized protein, the rest of your plate full of salad and a fat (either a closed hand-full of nuts/olive or 1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil). A meal template is here
-The goal is to move past emotional connections to food and to realize how energized you become by real food (which means no wine for a month, ahhh)
We resolved to do 2 months of it and are on day 26 today. If you're looking for a lifestyle change, I HIGHLY recommend trying it. So much has changed for us (including dropping around 20-ish pounds for my hubs and 30-ish for me each so far) and I realize that in order to make this a lifestyle change after these 60 days, we need to plan for how to balance Tyler being in school, Adelaide's care, and me working.
We've learned so many things...
1. Find someone to hold you accountable - we have been doign this with my sister and brother-in-law and being making it into a fun challenge; it means we can all cook together for our Sunday family days. I also asked my friends to support me, so instead of going out for drinks, we go on walks, get coffee, and spend time in other ways
2. Store your groceries right - look into how to store food correctly; learn what is acidic and makes other veggies go bad (like tomatoes) or what to put on a counter, in the fridge or in the pantry. A quick guide we have been using is here:
3. Organize your pantry - we completely re-organized our pantry, put all "off-limits" food in the back and got cylinders, containers, bowls, and storage bins to display our coconut flours, fruit, fresh herbs and veggies (it makes it fun and a pretty experience to cook well!) We're finishing it up this week and I'm looking forward to sharing more pictures soon. What we've done so far is below!
4. Just pay for the Whole30 Mayo, Ranch and Nutpods from Amazon - they taste weird and take forever to make if you follow the recipe from the books (whoops!!)
...and we've made some great resolutions built off this lifestyle change...
- I've resolved to better love my body for the major recovery it is making right now and to rejoice in each step towards my healthiest version of myself, even if I'm not all the way to where I want to be yet
- We've made a new family tradition, to eat family breakfast and dinners together and say grace and talk about what we want to learn/what we learned during the day
- We're determined to meal prep better (see some of our favorite Whole30 recipes @ bottom) for quick make-ahead breakfasts to take on the go and dinners together...and to save costs from better food planning
Chicken Cutlets & Caramelized Pears
Ahi Tuna & Mango Salsa
So in order to keep going we're going to keep up our meal prep because between school, work and childcare, its REALLY hard to make three healthy meals EVERY DAY...especially when its 8pm and you're just tired from a long day; SO if you're looking for healthy meal prep ideas, some great tips we've implemented are...
1. Get new tupperware or at least enough to be able to freeze meals and/or put them in the fridge. I recommend these for meals and these for storage of fruits/veggies
2. Double your dinner recipes on nights you have extra time for a meal for the next day, or to freeze
When you have a few hours....
3. Make a list of your Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for 1-2 weeks and buy your groceries in bulk (Costco, Sams, Amazon) to save on costs
4. Set aside a few hours to cook. We recommended not trying to make more than 3 different recipes at once for a 5-10 day time period; sheet pan meals (baking a protein with veggies around it) are the fastest way to go! Check out the Whole30 Fast & Easy Cookbook for some good ideas
TIP: To get more cooking done faster with the babe awake, we like to put her in her BabyBjorn so she can bounce and play and watch us cook. We work through the meal planning preparation (making grocery list) when she is sleeping so we can concentrate
5. We like to make 5-10 days of freezer meals at a time
6. Put 1 serving in each tupperware and wrap with foil to keep fresh. Put the date and what's included + re-heating intrustions with a sharpie on the front to avoid freezer burn
7. Pull out your meals the night before so they can defrost before you take them to work, school, or before eating in your PJs with your tea that's been microwaved for the fifth time, while your babe happily jumps around in her jumperoo....
We plan to keep up these traditions and to continue to meal prep and much as we can. I'll be sharing some of my meal prep recipes in future posts, perhaps even the Whole30 Potatoe Skins we are making for the Superbowl today!
OUR FAVORITE WHOLE30 RECIPES TO DATE
Tex Mex Egg Frittatas (Serves 4; 3 muffins per serving)
1 cup diced chicken - cook up 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless thighs
1 cup packed baby spinach, finely chopped
1/4 cup Whole30 approved salsa
8 large eggs
1 1/2 Tbsp. coconut flour
1 Tbsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
coconut oil or ghee, melted to grease pan
Pre-heat oven to 375, line or grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Combine the chicken, chicken, spinach, and salsa in a medium bowl- mix well, and divide among prepared pan (about 2 Tbsp in each)
In large bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut flour, chili flour, and salt. Make sure there aren't any clumps in the batter. Pour evenly among the muffins cups- leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top of each. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, rotating the pan 1/2 way through. Bake until the tops bring back to the touch, or until a toothpick comes out clean when interested. Cool the muffins in the pan on for 5 minutes before removing. Store for 4-5 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
Egg & Avocado Breakfast Bowl (Serves 1)
2 hard boiled or fried eggs (with ghee)
1 cup spinach
1/2 medium avocado
salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar to taste
Cut avocado, slide egg and mix spinach and spices/dressing together for a delicious, light, yet filling breakfast!
Ahi Tuna with Avocado Mango Salsa (Serves 2)
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c finely chopped red bell pepper
3 cans while salmon, drained
1/4 c Whole30-compliant mayo
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp minced yellow onion
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 cup diced fresh mango
1 cup diced avocado
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring until tender 2-3 min. In a large bowl, combine the bell pepper, salmon, mayo, cumin, onion, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne and salt/pepper. Stir until combined. Shape the mixture into 9 1/4 in patties 1/4 cup per patty.
Add the remaining 3 tsp oil to the same skillet and heat over medium heat. Cook the patties, four or five at a time, in the hot oil, turning once, until browned on both sides 7-9 min. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the mango, avocado, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice. Serve the patties topped with some of the relish.
Chicken Cutlets with Caramelized Pears (Serves 2)
For the pears:
2 Pears, peeled, cored and got lengthwise into 8 wedges
1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degree F. Place pears in baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 min, turning once, until tender and beginning to caramelize. Take out, let cool.
For the chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6-8oz)
1/4 c coconut flour
1/4 c almond flour
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried lemon peel
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 tbsp water
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
While pears are baking, place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and use the flat side of a meat mallet to flatten them to 1/4 inch thickness. In a shallow dish, combine all the flours, seasonings, and lemon. In another shallow dish, whisk together the egg and water. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, then into the seasoned flour to coat both sides.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side, adding more oil if needed.
For the salad:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp chopped shallot
1 tsp Whole30-compliant Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 small radicchio, torn into bite sized pieces
1/2 small head escarole, torn into bite sizes pieces
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, salt and pepper. Place the radicchio and escarole in a large bowl; drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and toss to mix. Serve the roasted pears on top of the salad and sprinkle with walnuts. If desired, drizzle with more. Serve the chicken with the salad.