The Month of Articles

Friday, June 7, 2013

How is it June already?! And better yet, how is it June 7th already? We're a week into June, and I still feel like it's early-mid May. In a little more than two weeks, T.J. and I will leave for our summer vacation, and when we return it will be July, so June already feels like it's slipping away all too rapidly. I've declared June the "Month of Articles" because I have three article projects that must be completed before month's end, which really means I have two weeks to finish three articles. Yikes.

Part of the reason for my absence on the blog as of late is due to said articles. I'm working on them full-time like it's my job, which it sort of is, only one where you don't get paid and and have little hope that all your hard work will amount to anything of substance, like a full-time teaching gig. Bummer. I'm enjoying the work I'm doing to a degree, but it also means the dissertation has been on the back-burner for quite a while, and I haven't worked on my fiction in so long I would cry if I allowed myself to think about it for more than a few seconds at a time. Some days (like today) I'm so itchy to get back to the novel that I find myself daydreaming scenes from it while I'm reading obscure eighteenth-century travel narratives. (The one I'm reading today, The History of Autonous, takes place on an island, so it isn't much of a stretch.) I guess that it's good that even my scholarly research feeds my creative work, even though it does make it a bit more frustrating that I can't allow myself to work on it right now.

In our "free" time, T.J. and I have been working on the house and taking advantage of the fact we now live in a place where there are things to do. Working hard and playing hard, in other words. As of this weekend, we will have been in the house for three months, and its been an endless parade of repairs, purchases, and upgrades since we moved in. We spent two full weekends in May painting the second guest bedroom, dining room, and half bath, and there is still so much painting to do. Up next will be the foyer and my study, but eventually we plan to repaint the whole house (which is a dull, flat tan), so I'm sure there will be many more weekends spent painting over the next few months.

A lot of our walls look like they were attacked by paintbrush-wielding two-year-olds, as we try to settle on a final color scheme for the house. These are the walls in my study and the foyer, respectively. Needless to say, we aren't having company over anytime soon.
When we're not painting, trimming hedges (so. many. hedges.), mowing the lawn, installing a new water softener, picking out a new dishwasher, hanging pictures, organizing the garage, cleaning, and the hundred other things home ownership apparently requires, we've been going to festivals and farmer's markets, hiking in preparation for our trip out West, trying new restaurants, and seeing movies. When we first started looking at places to move after Pennsylvania, my only real condition was that we be within an easy drive of nice stadium-seating movie theaters. No joke, all of the movie theaters near us in PA (and they were still half an hour away) were those crappy old one-level theaters, with sticky floors, way too little elbow room, and usually an aisle right down the middle of the theater. We rarely went to the movies because it just wasn't worth the annoyances, and when we did go we usually drove all the way to Pittsburgh (two hours) to see them in a "real" theater. So we are pretty happy now that we have the Monaco and not only have stadium seating and spacious aisles but can also reserve our seats online ahead of time, so we never have to worry about getting there early on opening weekends.

We've also been enjoying all the festivals nearby, such as Alabama Jubilee, the hot air balloon festival in Decatur:

For the next couple of weeks, though, until we leave for Montana, it will be less festival-ing and more hiking. This weekend, weather permitting, we'll be headed up to Monte Sano to do several miles. And with any luck, there will be time for article writing (lots and lots of article writing) as well.


A Way Too Long Post about Our Crazy-Busy Week. With Food Pictures. Of Course.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's been a crazy busy (but great) last week, which is why I've neglected the blog here a bit. I've been meaning to post some updates, to tell you all how we've been doing in the world after Whole30, but the world has just kept us going too much! Today is the first real day I've had at home to just sit at the computer and work, and I have two articles with swiftly approaching deadlines that have prevented me from doing much online.

Last Wednesday was our first day-after-Whole30, and we introduced dairy back into our diet (with the delicious strawberry yogurt posted in the previous entry, now a regular breakfast item). That evening I made a vegetable tian and chipotle sweet potato skins for dinner. They aren't dishes that I would normally pair, but I was trying to make almost-paleo foods that contained cheese and to make sure we had enough protein and veggies for dinner.

Vegetable Tian. I made it without the white potatoes.

Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Skins. Yummy, but I think they would be best as an appetizer. I really didn't want to eat more than one at a time, and in order for it to be an entree, you'd either need to eat two or eat a lot of veggies on the side.
We didn't really have time to stop and savor our food, though, because we were going to a screening of the documentary deepsouth hosted by AIDS Action Coalition. We were strong and avoided all the free booze and delicious-looking sweets and stuck to water while we made small talk and watched the film. I'm still not sure what I think of the documentary itself, but the Q&A afterward was enlightening. The film's director and two of it's "stars" were there for the discussion, and I definitely learned a lot. I have to confess that I was one of those people who sort of thought that AIDS wasn't really an issue anymore; I didn't realize how much poverty affects the disease, how there are more than a hundred people in my area alone who are on a waiting list just to get the medication they need, how the funds have dried up, how the South is hit harder by this disease than other places in the country. (Alabama has the 13th highest HIV infection rate in the nation and the 8th highest AIDS-related death rate.)

If you have time, money, or the inclination, check out the great work Mary Elizabeth Marr and the AIDS Action Coalition does and see if you can help. T.J. and I will both be getting involved in the near future. He actually worked a lot with the organization way back when he was in high school.

Thursday was another busy day and late night. It was "grains" day, so we had toast for breakfast.

I topped the organic toast with raw honey and strawberries. I thought it was delicious, but T.J. thought it tasted like cardboard and felt sick afterward.

After work, T.J. and I met up and went to the Greene Street Farmer's Market to load up on organic local strawberries, sweet potatoes, green onions, and eggs. We had a nice time looking at all the booths, and the weather was gorgeous.

Afterward, we went out for our first dinner out in more than a month! I chose Outback because I thought it would be easier to make good choices there. I ordered a 6 oz. sirloin, sweet potato fries, and grilled asparagus. I thought this would be healthier than getting my usual salad (cheese, dressing, croutons) and baked sweet potato (brown sugar and honey butter), but the fries were coated in something sweet (honey maybe) and were...well fried. I've been eating baked sweet potatoes fries for so long now that I kind of forgot the point of fries was to fry them. lol I did splurge and get the horseradish crumb crust for my steak (I figured I deserved it after 32 days of healthy eating), but my stomach was NOT happy with me afterward, and neither was T.J.'s. I don't think we'll be going back there anytime soon.

After dinner we went to the gym for our first work-out in who knows how long! I'm really happy that we'll be adding fitness into our new healthy routines. While we were there, we set up appointments with the trainer for Saturday morning, which went really well.

Friday I was craving the sweet and spiciness of Moroccan Beef Skillet, so I made that before we went to see The Great Gatsby. I enjoyed it but I'm reserving full judgement until after I reread the book. I read it in high school and then again my first year of graduate school (both times for fun, never as part of a class), so it's been six or seven years since I last read it. I'm going to reread it this week, though, to see if it now produces the same emotions it did when I watched the film. (I actually felt sorry for Daisy in the film, which I've never felt reading the book.) The movie is flashy and over-the-top and more than a little silly at times, but that's Luhrmann's style and what I was expecting to some degree. I am curious to see what affect (if any) his visuals have on my rereading. Might have to see the movie again after I finish the book! (And in 3D this time. This might be the only movie I've sat through in recent memory where I thought, "Wow. I bet that looks cool in 3D.")

Saturday morning was spent at the gym. It was rainy, so I was so thankful I could run on our gym's indoor track while T.J. met with the trainer. (I met with him first and ran/walked afterward.) Then once the rain subsided we worked in the front flower beds trimming hedges and pulling up the God-awful weedy ground cover before showering and heading to BrewFest to meet up with friends. BrewFest is this really cool (albeit overpriced) event in downtown Huntsville that brings together live music, local food, and loads of craft beers from all over the South. Thankfully, for people like me, there are also plenty of ciders to try.

I was so sore and tired by the time we got to BrewFest, I was quite happy that the evening required nothing more than eating, drinking, and chatting. Here's where we really fell off the paleo wagon, though. I tried at least half a dozen cidars (Kopparberg Pear, Scrumpy's, and Wood Chuck Reserve Pink were my favorites), and T.J. exchanged $20 for what he thought was 20 food tokens. Turns out we got 25 tokens, so we ended up eating a bit more than planned. (As you do.) We split Moe's nachos (a Billy Barou basically) for seven tokens, then had so many left we had to each get a pretzel from Schnitzel Ranch and each get a double scoop of homemade ice cream. I know, I know. You wouldn't think beer and ice cream mix, but apparently people make beer floats? I just ate my scoops of strawberry and vanilla bean alone, and they were so uber-delicious. Pretty much the only craving I had during Whole30 was for a strawberry milkshake, so my little Crave Monster was sooooo happy with me that night. I never felt bad from consuming all that junk, but the scale sure hasn't been happy with me ever since. :-(

Sunday was spent painting the twin guest room. We finally found the perfect shade of gray (only took three tries!), and we needed to get the room painted before my family comes to visit next week. We spent most of the day painting and then had to quickly prepare veggies and dessert to take to T.J.'s mom's for dinner.

We made this amazing, gorgeous, delicious, decadent, sinfully good fruit pizza:

It has fruit and it's gluten-free (used coconut flour instead of wheat), but I wouldn't exactly call it healthy. Here's the recipe we followed exactly. We doubled everything to make it big enough for the whole family.

It might have been one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. (And I really want a piece right now looking at the pictures.) I was so stuffed afterward I felt miserable all night, but in this case it was worth it. I highly recommend the recipe if you're ever in the mood for something delicious and decadent to bring to a gathering or are planning a dessert night.

Sunday, Monday, and today I've had to eat lunch out (Subway Sunday, Zoe's yesterday, and Zaxby's today), and I've made good choices each time (6 in. chicken teriyaki on wheat without chips or drink, chicken salad and fresh fruit platter, and grilled chicken "Zalad" with lite vinaigrette), but nothing I've eaten is entirely paleo or Whole30 compliant and I'm kind of eager to eat "good food" again. Yesterday I finally had time to make our meal plan for the week and go grocery shopping, so I'm looking forward to eating at home and eating healthier options the rest of the week!


The Top Five Reasons I Love Whole30--And Unexpected Consequences of the Journey

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

This morning, for the first time in 31 days, I had dairy for breakfast--plain Greek yogurt to be exact.

This is our more healthful version of breakfast yogurt: plain 2% FAGE, fresh strawberries, slivered almonds, and light agave nectar for some sweetness. It was really good. (So good T.J. said he felt like he was "dancing with the devil." Haha!)

Since I ate this less than half an hour ago, it remains to be seen how my stomach responds to dairy after avoiding it for a month (my stomach even turned a little when I first smelled the plain yogurt), but here's to hoping this can become a breakfast staple. There's tons of protein and calcium in the yogurt, and making this yogurt is so much easier than scrambling eggs every morning.

But now for the real reason for this post--the Whole30 recap results! Or, the Top 5 Reasons I Love Whole30.

5) I lost weight.

On January 1, I, like millions of people around the world, stepped on the scales, and I weighed the most I've ever weighed: 140 pounds. I know 140 isn't that high, but it's almost thirty pounds heavier than I was in college, less than a decade ago. (Granted, at that time, I was desperate to gain weight.) I made a resolution that day that by the end of the year, I would be down to 125. But like so many people who make New Year's Resolutions, I did absolutely nothing to accomplish that goal: I didn't diet or exercise.

On April 8, the first day of Whole30, I weighed 138.2 pounds. Last night, at the end of Whole30, weighing in at the exact same time and wearing the same clothes, I weighed 129.8. In thirty days, I lost 8.4 pounds, or 6% of my total weight. Nothing changed in the past month other than my diet. (I still haven't gone to the gym, although I did join one.) And I didn't starve myself, drink my meals, or count calories. I ate real food. Good food.

T.J. did even better than I. He lost 19.4 pounds.

4) It improved my health.

"You are what you eat."

"If you eat crap, you'll feel like crap."

There are a million different ways to express this adage--possibly because it's true--but I don't know if I ever really believed it until now.

In the past year and a half, I have been to the doctor more often than in the previous twenty-eight years combined. I have struggled with fatigue, with blood sugar issues, with back pain/spasms, with digestive issues, with a B12 deficiency, with headaches, with acne. Whole30 didn't help with the back pain or acne (unfortunately--my acne is not food related; it just really hates Alabama), but it helped with all those other things.

While I lived in Pennsylvania, my B12 consistently stayed in the 100s, despite receiving injections and daily supplements for nearly a year. (Normal is somewhere between 200-900, although they prefer it be at least in the 400s.)

According to my doctor, my B12 is now "perfect."

The reason I discovered the B12 deficiency in the first place was because I had such extreme fatigue, I was convinced that I had problems with my thyroid. After my doctor ran a bunch of tests, the only one that came back problematic was my B12. I started injections, and they would give me energy for about three hours afterward, but nothing sustainable. I suffered from terrible "brain fog," claimed to feel "brain dead" every afternoon, all afternoon, and got very little scholarly work accomplished unless I worked early in the morning.

For the past month, I have had energy and mental focus like I haven't had in years, if I ever had them.

Last year my blood sugar was routinely too high and rarely fell below 100, even when fasting: pre-diabetic numbers. I spent months feeling weak and sick, charting my numbers. Since I'm not actually diabetic, all my doctor could recommend is that I get more exercise and change my diet. At the time, I did neither of those things.

I have had no problems with my blood sugar for the past month.

I suffered from several digestive issues during the past year that I'd never really had before, and at one point or another I was convinced that I had one of any number of gastrointestinal diseases, including Celiac and Crohn's. (Seriously, people. WebMD is not your friend.) I even blamed a medication I was taking for the problems, and my doctor put it on my "allergy" list.

I haven't had any digestive issues for the past month. My new doctor started me on the same medication about three weeks ago, and I've had no issues.

I used to have headaches fairly often, usually in the late afternoon. Sometimes I would have them for several days in a row, and no amount of Advil would get rid of them.

In the past month, I've only had one headache. (It was three days ago. So close to a perfect record!)

I don't know if these results are typical. I don't know if they will continue even if we keep eating a Whole30 diet. But I've been so thankful to have four weeks of feeling great, it was worth whatever little food sacrifices I had to make.

3) It made my marriage stronger.

Before Whole30, T.J. and I never cooked together. To be honest, I felt so incompetent in the kitchen I hated anyone else in there with me. I could barely peel a potato or chop an onion, so I felt like I was being judged every time he suggested I hold the knife a certain way or use this peeler instead of that one. I know he was only trying to help (and trust me--I've reluctantly learned a lot from him), but I just had so little confidence in my cooking skills that I preferred to wing it on my own.

So we took turns cooking. We ate dinner together (in front of the television), but I was usually still in bed when he left for work in the morning, so dinner was our only meal together.

Now, we cook together almost every night. We share duties, although I will often start before he gets home from work, knowing that dinner will take awhile to make. We still eat dinner in front of the TV (it's usually after seven and our shows are on by the time we sit down to eat), but we have breakfast together every morning. I get up early and make breakfast while he's getting ready for work, and we eat breakfast at the breakfast table. Before Whole30, we had not eaten at the table in the whole 15+ months of our marriage.

Cooking together and eating together has definitely made our marriage stronger, I think. And now breakfast is one of my favorite times of day.

2) It made me more aware of what I put in my body.

Before Whole30, I rarely read ingredients lists and only occasionally glanced at the number of calories in a dish. And I never investigated what went into the food I prepared at home, much less what I ate at restaurants. My favorite restaurant food? (And the only one I've craved in the past month?) The Honey Chipotle Chicken Crispers at Chili's. (I know, I know; I have a five-year-old's taste in food.) Tomorrow night we are going out to eat for the first time in a month, and I was all ready to head to Chili's to indulge in that amazing, gooey honey-chipotle sauce. I decided I would try to  make the meal slightly more healthful by changing out the fries and ear of corn for something greener, so I went on the Chili's website to look at their other sides. I wasn't intending to look at the "nutrition" facts for the Crispers themselves, but that's what I found. And I discovered that my beloved Crispers alone have 1700 CALORIES. And that's not including the corn (220 calories) and fries (410 calories)! No wonder I gained seven pounds last year! I must have eaten those Crispers two dozen times!

So needless to say, we are not going to Chili's for dinner tomorrow night. But this is just an example of how terrible my eating habits were before Whole30. I used to eat take-out pizza and Chinese honey chicken and fried rice more often than I cooked in my own kitchen. Eating my vegetables meant ordering sweet potato fries instead of regular ones at Burger King, and keeping the lettuce and onions on my burger, instead of picking them off like I used to. (And I still asked for it without tomatoes.) It meant ordering the Garden Fresh pizza at Papa John's instead of pepperoni. It meant heating up a prepackaged container of broccoli and cheese in the microwave to go with whatever steak-and-potato combination I made at home. It meant adding canned tomatoes to my homemade chili instead of just tomato sauce.

In just one month, I've gone from someone who would eat anything put in front of her as long as it required no effort and was relatively cheap, to someone who will pay top dollar for organic, grass-fed meats, who is willing to pay a little extra for organic fruits and veggies in the "Dirty Dozen," who reads every label carefully, who rejects anything that contains ingredients I can't pronounce or immediately identify, or that contains what I believe are unnecessary ingredients (such as sugar in lemon juice, chicken broth, and just about any other staple item you can think of). I'm also more aware of the human and environmental cost of my food choices. I'm more likely to buy local and to seek out items that are fair-trade.

1) It taught me to cook and made my palate/diet more adventurous.

Ask anyone who knows me even slightly: prior to Whole30, my official stance on cooking was that I hated it. I was a lazy eater and an even lazier cook. I basically just ate because that's a requirement of being alive, and I wasn't very happy about it (eating, not the being alive apart--very happy about that), unless of course what I was eating was doughy or coated in sugar, preferably both. And as long as someone else made it. No matter how much I love sweet treats, I wasn't about to make them myself when Publix is just across the street from my subdivision.

I've since discovered that the main reasons I hated cooking were A) because I had no energy and resented time and energy spent in the kitchen, and B) because I had so little confidence in my cooking skills, and I hate doing things at which I feel incompetent. I never cooked with vegetables (unless they were canned) because I didn't know what to do with them. Cleaning and peeling and cutting them was so much work, and so time consuming! It still is, but now I enjoy the process. And I know what I'm doing, to some degree. I'm not ready for Top Chef yet, but I feel much more competent in the kitchen.

In the past 30 days, I cooked or prepared the following vegetables, most for the first time: zucchini, squash, regular carrots (not the baby kind I always used to use in dishes), whole head cauliflower and broccoli (used to only buy the pre-cut, bagged kind), celery, Roma tomatoes, sweet peppers, bell peppers, poblano peppers, eggplant, kale, spinach (used to only eat it raw in salads), green onions (used to claim I hated them), brussel sprouts (always claimed they were my least favorite thing in the world), shallots, garlic, fresh green beans (only used canned before), cucumber, yellow onions, sweet onions, red onions, and sweet potatoes (soooo many sweet potatoes, but they are my favorite).

Now I skin and chop onions and sweet potatoes almost daily (used to only microwave or bake them whole). I have grated ginger and chopped cilantro and parsley. I wash and slice mushrooms routinely. I eat black olives (used to hate them). I use so much spice that I've started running out of some that previously sat on the shelves for years untouched, and I've purchased several new ones, including arrowroot and chipotle pepper.  I actually eat the fruit we buy (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, pears, fuji apples, honeycrisp apples, green apples, plums, mango, papaya, pineapple, grapes, melon, lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, and cherimoya, just in the last month), instead of letting it rot in the crisper, neglected. When I see something like this... the supermarket, I don't automatically turn away. Now I wonder, what is it, and what can I do with it?
This. I can do this with it. Just thought I'd remind you all of how awesome the cherimoya is.
Thanks to It Starts with Food, I know all the basic ways to cook vegetables, how long to roast them (my preferred style), basic ways to cook chicken and beef, including how to spice them, what kinds of oils to use, and how long to cook chicken on each side to ensure it's done but not overcooked, without slicing it open or using a meat thermometer. I know that a good spice rub on a roast, steak, or Boston butt can be every bit as tasty as a sugary marinade, and I know how different spices work together and can experiment with them to some degree. My cabinets are now stocked with things I'd never heard of or at least never considered using before, such as coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut aminos, coconut vinegar, ghee, tahini, and almond butter. I've made homemade mayonnaise, ranch dressing, strawberry vinaigrette, and barbecue sauce.

I used the broiler for the first time (no lie), and I scrambled eggs dozens of times even though I'd never made them before. I'm not kidding; before Whole30, I'd never even scrambled eggs before. (Remember? If it were up to me, breakfast would just be a NutriGrain bar or bowl of Special K Vanilla Almond cereal. Scrambled eggs were reserved for special occasions, like Sunday brunch at Cracker Barrel.)

There were some unexpected consequences of Whole30, though. Whether these consequences are positive or negative is open to interpretation. (I lean toward positive.)

Unexpected Consequence I: Unnatural things affect you a lot more. 
I used to be able to pop a muscle relaxer for my neck or back and never get sleepy. Now I'm dead weight within an hour. Even Advil makes me sleepy. Everything just seems a lot more potent now than it used to (which means I can pop one pill and achieve roughly the same effect I used to receive with two). T.J. took Benadryl after he had an allergy test, and it knocked him out for almost twelve hours. He was still really groggy the next day.

Unexpected Consequence II: My night owl tendencies are long gone.
I've always been a night owl, wide awake at night and sleeping in whenever I get the chance. I loved sleep, I just didn't love it before midnight. Now, I'm on more of a "normal person" schedule. I'm ready to head up to bed at 10:00 (although it's usually closer to 11:00 before I finally go to bed), and I wake around 7:00. I also need more sleep and sleep deeper. My schedule is more regulated throughout the week, though; at the most I sleep until 8:00 on weekends.

Unexpected Consequence III: We produce far less garbage.
Okay, this is obviously a positive. Last week on garbage day T.J. noted that we only accumulated one and a half bags of trash in the past week. Obviously, it isn't that way every week, but it's amazing how much less you contribute to landfills when you aren't eating prepackaged food. Most of our garbage is kitchen scraps (sweet potato peels, apple cores, and the like), and when we start our garden next spring and start composting, we won't even have that to throw away!


So there you have it. I was skeptical at first, and I was resistant to the idea of giving up all the foods I thought I loved best when T.J. suggested this challenge to me, but I now sincerely believe it's one of the best things I've ever done.

I know I had it easier than most. I never had headaches from sugar or caffeine withdrawal, I never turned into a raging monster that first week like the book warned. I was fortunate to be sharing the experience with my partner, who is even more committed to this diet than I am, and I'm fortunate that I live in an area where I can find organic foods and meat pretty easily and that we can afford to pay for it. But I would recommend this diet to anyone concerned about their health, their weight, or just looking to be more conscious of what they are eating. It definitely changed our lives for the better, and we're never going back to the way it was before.


The (Whole30) End Is Here

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's day 30! That means T.J. and I have officially survived thirty days of clean eating: no grains, no dairy, no sugar, no legumes, no alcohol. And no corn, no canola oil, no vegetable oil, and minimal preservatives (no MSG, sulfites, or carrageenan). I'm actually kind of dreading tomorrow, when we add dairy back into our diets.

Coming off of Whole30, you're supposed to stagger your reintroduction of contraband food groups so you can see how they each affect you. We thought dairy would be the easiest to reintroduce alone, so tomorrow our breakfast and dinner will involve plain Greek yogurt and fresh parmesan cheese, respectively. Baby steps. You're supposed to reintroduce groups about three days apart, but because of our weekend plans (Brewfest! Yay!), we will probably have to rush the timeline a bit: grains on Thursday, sugar Friday, alcohol Saturday. Basically, this is just a test so we can narrow down which foods make us feel the worst and cut those from our diet (as much as possible) from now on.

I feel a hundred times better than I did a month ago, but part of me wonders if my feeling better doesn't have more to do with the fact I eat three well-balanced meals a day (protein and veggies at every meal), instead of the diet of meat, carbs, dairy, beans, and sugar I used to subsist on. I guess we will find out in the coming days! We will still be eating three well-balanced meals a day, so we will really be able to tell the effects of these other food groups. I have a feeling we will learn he has issues with dairy and gluten, while my issue is with legumes and sugar. Especially sugar. :-( Surprisingly, as much as my mouth salivates every time I skirt past the bakery section of Publix, I haven't had any serious sugar withdrawals. But who would, when you are eating food like this:

Dinner last Friday: Dijon Pork Tenderloin, mashed cauli, roasted broccoli
Dinner Saturday night (and Sunday night, and Monday for lunch) started with T.J.'s meatloaf. It doesn't look like much here, but trust. This is the greatest meatloaf I've ever put in my mouth. It is a wondrous thing. I will post the recipe when I can get it from him.
The meatloaf was paired with French-style green beans, cooked my favorite way: two cans of beans (try to find BPA-free cans), drained, and spread out in an 8x8 glass dish. Sprinkle the top with sea salt, pepper, and a generous amount of Italian seasoning. (Make sure your seasoning is just herbs and spices, and avoid the Good Seasons Italian Seasoning packs. They taste the best--and that's what I used to use--but they're mostly just preservatives and sugar. If you can't find a purely herbal Italian seasoning, make your own.) Cover the seasoned beans with melted ghee (about two tbsp.), and put in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes. This will make about four servings. Easy and delicious!
And meatloaf wouldn't be meatloaf without potatoes, and since we'd already had enough mashed cauli for the week, this meal demanded sweet potato casserole! I might have been more excited about this dish than I've been about anything in a long, long time. I might have bounced around the kitchen singing about how ready I was to eat it. I'm still tweaking the recipe, so I'm not ready to publish it yet (it's coming; I promise!), but you guys. Those pecans are coated in chocolate. (Unsweetened cocoa powder is my new best friend.)
Dinner last night (Day 29!): Creamy Roasted Chicken Breast, roasted broccoli, and sauteed cinnamon carrots. (Carrots were cooked on the stove top in melted ghee, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and they were delicious.) Simple and healthful.

And for the grand finale last night:


I know, I know. It's crazy-looking, right? Like a dinosaur egg. It doesn't look like it could be one of the greatest fruits you've ever put in your mouth. But it is. It so is.

We saw these when we were produce shopping at Kroger on Sunday, and I'd never seen or heard of a cherimoya before, so I wasn't about to waste $7.99 a lb. on one. (And a single cherimoya was a little over a pound.) But I was intrigued, so I went home and Googled cherimoya on Monday and read this blog post about them and promptly called T.J. and asked him to stop by Kroger on his way home from work to pick one up for dessert last night. I checked at Publix yesterday, too, and they didn't have them, so I feel pretty fortunate that we were able to discover this rare, succulent little treat right at the end of their season.

We decided to follow the bloggers suggestion and just eat the cherimoya plain. I sliced it in half.

And then we spooned out the delicious, soft white flesh, spitting out the large seeds.

Yeah, we kind of liked it a lot.

The flavor is difficult to describe, only I would say it is tropical. I could taste hints of coconut, pineapple, and pear, and the texture was kind of like an apple/pear if it were soft, not crunchy. In some parts of the world, it's referred to as the custard apple, and I think that's a really appropriate description.

T.J. thought it tasted like the juice in fruit cocktail, but in a good way. I could definitely taste that too, after he said it.

If you ever see these in your local grocery, do yourself a favor and get one! You will not be disappointed. (Unless you don't like fruit, and in that case...I really don't have much to say to you.)

The sugar dragon has mostly left me alone the past thirty days, and I can only imagine it's because of delectable treats like this one. When there is so much natural sweetness in fruit, sweet potatoes, and the like, it makes you wonder why we ever thought we needed refined sugars? (Don't answer that.)

Tomorrow, our first day post-Whole30, I will post a wrap-up, including health (and weight!) results. We're excited to weigh in tonight. Until then, happy eating!


Whole 30: Six More Days

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

We have less than a week left of Whole30, so you might imagine that I'm jumping up and down, so ready to dig into a Snickers bar or pile of cupcakes. I love sugar and pastries--that will never change--but I'm less ready for this challenge to be over than you might think. I love how my body feels right now, how much better my powers of concentration are when I'm eating good foods and keeping the junk out. I can now actually work/write/research/read all day without losing focus, and I used to be really unproductive in the afternoons and claim I felt "brain dead." Who knew Whole30 was nature's version of Adderall?! I now have energy and brain power to last all day, and I don't want that to change just because Whole30 ends. I will definitely continue eating this way as much as is possible and only treat myself to sweets when the negative side effects are absolutely worth it.

We tried a couple new recipes the last couple of days, and I continue to be impressed with the dishes paleo food bloggers come up with. Whether you are doing Whole30 or just want to start eating a little healthier, click on the links in any of my Whole30 blog posts and you'll be amazed at the variety of interesting recipes out there. No matter what kind of food is your favorite, I'm sure there is a paleo equivalent.

Here's how we've been dining:

Monday, Day 22
Breakfast: leftover Coconut Milk and Curry Frittata, baby carrots
Lunch: leftover Smoky Pot Roast, carrots and onions, and roasted brussel sprouts (see previous post for pictures and links to this day's recipes)
Dinner: Moroccan Beef Skillet and a bowl of fresh pineapple for dessert

The Moroccan Beef was delicious but had a lot of spices, so if you aren't such a fan of heavily spiced dishes, you might want to cut the spice amount in half. Also, regardless of whether you like raisins or not, add them, and lots of them! I don't really like raisins, but I put two boxes of the golden ones in, and I wished I'd put double that! The sweet makes such a lovely contrast to the spice, and you won't notice the texture.
After nearly a month without sugar, my palate has really changed, and this fresh pineapple seemed like the sweetest, most delicious thing I'd ever tasted.  I'm absolutely in love and will be adding this to our fruit rotation, although next time maybe we will split a bowl instead of each eating a whole one. (This was just a bit too much, and I felt overfull for the first time since we began Whole30.)
Tuesday, Day 23
Breakfast: Banana and Cream "Oatmeal" (recipe and pic in last post--this is quickly becoming a breakfast favorite), scrambled eggs
Lunch: leftover Moroccan Beef
Dinner: strawberry spinach salad (spinach, grape tomatoes, slivered almonds, walnuts, chopped carrots, chopped cucumber, red onion, fresh strawberries, dried cranberries, grilled chicken, and homemade Strawberry  Balsamic Vinaigrette)

All of our salads this past month were a bit boring as we weren't fans of the homemade ranch and opted to use just oil and balsamic vinegar. I don't think I could have convinced T.J. to eat another salad if I hadn't made this strawberry vinaigrette to go with it. It was downright delightful, the perfect combination of sweet and tangy, and not hard to make. I'm glad we can finally eat salads again and not feel that we are sacrificing anything.
Wednesday, Day 24
Breakfast: sweet potato hash and an organic honeycrisp apple (one of my favorite things on this earth)
Lunch: leftover strawberry spinach salad

And tonight...grilled sirloin marinated in Dallas and Melissa's Mocha Steak Rub (so amazing--trust), baked sweet potato w/ ghee and cinnamon (why did I ever think I had to have brown sugar?), and roasted broccoli. A quick and easy dinner. We are getting better at this!


Whole30: Three Weeks Down, One to Go

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Day 22 of Whole30, which means we have finished three full weeks of clean eating! We are both feeling great and have vowed to continue this lifestyle as much as possible after the month is over, although we are going to switch to a less strict paleo diet. (Meaning we can have honey, pure maple syrup, and bacon, even though it's cured in sugar. And we can SWYPO all we want. Can't wait to start paleo baking!)

We're still varying our menu as much as possible, trying new dishes, and cooking with foods we never would have purchased in the past. I love that, with the exception of a few cans of coconut milk and tomato sauce/paste, we purchase all of our food from the outer edges of the grocery stores and never really venture into those inner aisles. Our refrigerator almost always looks like this:

So much green! I'm just glad we have such a big fridge to hold it all. We go through almost everything you see in a single week. (With the exception of mayo on back shelf, which hasn't been touched since Whole30 began, and the Naked green machine juice, which was also purchased prior to Whole30.)
Our freezer only contains meat (and a bag of frozen pineapple):

And, for whatever reason, grocery shopping is more of a pleasure than a chore. I used to hate and dread grocery shopping, and even though I still find it takes way more time than I'd like (especially now that shopping for the week involves going to at least three and sometimes five different places), I actually enjoy walking through the produce, getting my meat straight from the butcher's counter, and browsing in the health food stores, learning about all these natural products that I never knew existed but am now excited to try. I'm actually excited about food, which to be honest, had only ever happened in high-end restaurants or mom-and-pop places I discovered when traveling. I'm happy that now I can be excited about what I'm making in my own kitchen.

In the past few days, we've been trying out more paleo versions of favorite dishes, with mostly fantastic results.

Wednesday, Day 17
Breakfast: Banana and Cream "Oatmeal", apple chicken sausage
Lunch: leftover steak, sweet potato, and broccoli
Dinner: "taco salad"

Wednesday was a day of definite highs and lows, food-wise. We tried this banana and cream "oatmeal," which didn't taste much like oatmeal to me, but was really tasty and quick and easy to make. Plus it gave me a way to use the coconut butter that I picked up the week before. We will definitely keep this breakfast dish in the rotation even after Whole30 is over.

The leftover steak was just as delicious for lunch as it was for dinner the night before, but by dinner Wednesday I was feeling burned out on cooking again and wanted something simple. We decided to make a version of taco salad since that is our go-to quick and easy meal. Before Whole30, we probably had our taco salad once a week or at least every other week. It consists of Tostitos Fire-Roasted Chipotle tortilla chips, ground beef w/ taco seasoning, corn, black beans, prepackaged cheese-Mexican blend, sour cream, and Newman's Own Pineapple Salsa. It is delicious. It takes fifteen minutes to make. But it is also completely contraband now. We figured we could make a paleo-friendly version of taco salad just as easily, but although it didn't take long to make, it wasn't nearly as edible.

It doesn't look bad in this picture, but I would consider this dish to be the only true fail of our Whole30 thus far. We made our own taco seasoning for the beef (the prepackaged stuff was off limits because food companies think there should be sugar and corn in everything), and we added in a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and some sauteed onions. Then we put our mixture on a bed of organic lettuce and topped it with store-bought salsa and guacamole (both all-natural, organic, and Whole30 compliant).

It was...boring. And the texture of the lettuce just did not work well with the beef mixture. We both ended up picking the lettuce out and we didn't use it with our leftovers the next day.

Thursday, Day 18
Breakfast: Banana and Cream "Oatmeal", scrambled eggs
Lunch: leftover "taco salad"
Dinner: barbecue pork, Indian-spiced sweet potatoes, French-style green beans w/ roasted pecans, paleo coleslaw

Thursday was much better food-wise, but I spent most of the day in the kitchen and sliced my finger pretty deep when the knife slipped when I was cutting sweet potatoes. It still hurts and I have to keep it wrapped so I don't bump it into anything.

I suppose the meal that night was worth almost losing my fingertip, though. We had T.J.'s parents over for dinner, so it was our first time forcing our diet on others entertaining on Whole30. I figured we couldn't go wrong with barbecue pork, and that morning I prepared Everyday Paleo's "Beyond Easy Pulled Pork" in the crock pot. My first Whole30 crock pot meal! The pork was fantastic. It's so good it can be eaten with or without sauce, and it fed us for days. Also, we used the Kitchenaid mixer to shred the pork for the first time, and it was so simple I wondered why we hadn't been doing that every time we make barbecue!

I also made homemade barbecue sauce from the recipe in It Starts with Food (really good); coleslaw, which involved making homemade mayo again; the Indian-spiced sweet potatoes from a couple of weeks ago (which continue to be one of my favorite recipes ever); and T.J. made green beans with roasted pecans after he got home from work.

Basically, I spent the entire day in the kitchen.

My pictures keep flipping, and I do not know why!!! This is a pic of the leftovers I had for lunch the next day because I forgot to take a picture the night before when the in-laws were over. I wish I were eating this right now!
Friday, Day 19
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, carrots, fruit
Lunch: leftover barbecue pork, Indian-spiced sweet potatoes, green beans
Dinner: baba ganoush w/ cucumber slices, baby carrots, and black olives, raw almonds, leftover barbecue pork

Friday we decided to make breakfast simple and just scramble some eggs and eat whatever fresh fruit we had in the fridge (blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries, I think), lunch was delicious leftovers, and for dinner we had our first "to-go" dinner.

We finally found a dining room set on Craigslist after two months of searching, but we had to drive to Nashville to get it--a two-hour drive. We went after T.J. got off from work, and knowing we wouldn't get back until late and wouldn't be able to pick up dinner anywhere on the way, I made a "to-go" meal of baba ganoush and various dippers.

The perfect road trip food.
I've been craving hummus for a while now (I love how my cravings are so much healthier than they used to be), but since we can't have chickpeas on Whole30, baba ganoush was the perfect answer and definitely satisfied my craving. However, this was basically a veggie meal, so when we got home we had some leftover pulled pork too. Had to get that protein in!

Saturday, Day 20
Breakfast: Coconut Milk and Curry Frittata
Lunch: leftover barbecue pork, sweet potato fries
Dinner: hamburger pattie w/ sauteed onions, sweet potato chips, tomato slices with fresh garlic and olive oil, cucumber spears, pecan pie Larabar

Saturday started with a frittata that never got quite dry enough, even after doubling the time under the broiler. The flavor was good, but no matter how long it cooked, (or how much the top burned), the bottom stayed soupy.

For lunch we had leftover barbecue again and made some sweet potato fries to go with it.

It was T.J.'s three-year-old nephew's birthday, so we had dinner at the in-laws, and T.J.'s mom was so sweet to accommodate us. (And it was such a relief not to have to cook for the first time in THREE. WEEKS.) They were having hamburgers, so she made us plain hamburger patties and even got us organic beef! She made homemade chips and made us sweet potato ones, and she had fresh veggies on the side with only olive oil and garlic, which she knew we could eat. Of course, we couldn't eat any of the delicious-looking Mickey cake T.J.'s sister made (I kept staring at his chocolate ears), so in preparation we picked up a couple of Larabars to have for dessert while everyone else had cake. It actually wasn't too torturous.

I did make two mistakes at dinner, though! When we picked up the Larabars, we also bought a bag of pre-made Kale chips in case there weren't enough sides for us to eat at the house. (There were.) I thought I'd checked the ingredients list carefully, but after we'd each eaten a couple, I discovered that one of the ingredients was "organic chickpea miso"! We can't have chickpeas on Whole30, so we stopped eating them right away. Then at dinner, I was snacking from the chip bowl and didn't realize that the bowl of plain chips (made from white potatoes) was the one in front of me until after I'd already eaten three chips! So two small, accidental cheats marring my basically perfect record. I'm not going to beat myself up about it too much, though.

Sunday, Day 21
Breakfast: leftover frittata, raw baby carrots
Lunch: leftover barbecue pork, sweet potato fries
Dinner: Smoky Pot Roast, crock pot carrots and onions, roasted brussel sprouts

Oh, my gosh, this blog is never-ending! Kudos if you're still reading. We've reached the final day, though, I promise. Breakfast leftovers, lunch leftovers, and then for our grand finale, a delicious pot roast!

Sunday morning I prepared the roast using Everyday Paleo's "Smoky Pot Roast" recipe, only I added carrots to the bottom of the crock pot. I just can't fathom roast without carrots! The roast cooked all day while we picked out paint colors, ran errands, and grocery shopped, and when we got home we made some roasted brussel sprouts to go with it.

Confession: Brussel sprouts are one of the two veggies I hate the most. (The other is cauliflower.) I have always found them repugnant. But these sprouts were delicious! I though they tasted a lot like broccoli. So now, thanks to Whole30, I enjoy the two veggies I used to loathe!

Speaking of which, it's lunch time, so I'm going to go heat up my leftover roast and sprouts.

Tonight: Moroccan beef! Stay tuned!


Whole30 Day 16: Back on Board

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Last night the nausea was gone and I was able to enjoy (and help make) some delicious lettuce wraps. Originally, we had intended to make chicken fajitas without the tortillas...which basically just leaves chicken, onions and bell peppers, and guacamole. Then T.J. said, "Why don't we wrap them in lettuce?" and I immediately started fantasizing about the lettuce wrap appetizer from Cheesecake Factory. So, after finding this list of recipes and picking up some missing ingredients, we quickly shifted from making chicken fajitas to Cheesecake Factory-style lettuce wraps.

If you're unfamiliar with the Cheesecake Factory lettuce wraps, here's a picture of them I found online. I'll give you a moment just to take in all the yummy goodness.

Picture from
This lettuce platter includes Thai chicken satays, Thai bean sprouts, Thai coconut noodles, Thai marinated cucumbers, julienne carrots, lettuce (obviously), and three dipping sauces: tamarind cashew, peanut sauce, and sweet chili sauce. Obviously, we couldn't make the noodles, and there were so many contraband ingredients that we couldn't make all the dips, BUT we did make ONE dip, and we made everything else.

This meal was So. Good.

Our delicious wrap ingredients. Not arranged as prettily as at Cheesecake Factory, but perhaps more practically.
We broke out the mandolin slicer and grated some julienne carrots and washed some big, leafy organic lettuce for the wrap base. 

For the chicken, we followed the recipe in the above link pretty faithfully, although we just grilled the chicken on the stove instead of on skewers, and we substituted coconut aminos for the soy sauce. 

For the bean sprouts (which ARE allowed on Whole30; we checked), we followed the recipe but again traded the soy sauce for coconut aminos, and we didn't have sesame seeds, so we left those off. They were just as delicious without them. 

For the Thai marinated cucumbers, I had to get a little more creative since the recipe calls for rice vinegar (not allowed) and sugar (definitely not allowed). I used white vinegar instead and a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar and sesame oil. I also added a dash of red pepper flakes. 

Then the tough part came. What sauce to make? At first I was going to try to adapt the tamarind cashew sauce, but almost every ingredient had to be substituted. Instead, I decided to make the peanut sauce and substitute almond butter for peanut butter. I also substituted coconut aminos for soy sauce and sesame oil for chili oil. The sauce turned out a little more solid than saucy, but it was so good and and really complemented the rest of the ingredients. 

Tada! Delicious final product.
We also had some fresh mango for dessert.

Dinner was delicious, but after eating it last night and again for lunch today, I was starting to feel like I was subsisting on rabbit food. Probably because I didn't have much to eat yesterday, I've spent a lot of today hungry. Eventually I caved and ate half a lemon Larabar for a late afternoon snack. (T.J. ate the other half because he too was starving.) I also decided dinner needed to be a bit more substantial, so I went out and bought steaks!

Amazingly, it took until day 16 for us to make steaks. We love steaks, but we got rid of our grill when we moved south, and we've kind of been waiting until we got a new one before we made steaks, I think. We needed "real" food tonight, though, so decided to give stove-top grilling a shot. So glad we did! This was one of the quickest and easiest dinners we've made. We used the mocha steak rub recipe from It Starts with Food, and it was really amazing. Much better than we imagined. We were also amazed at how different these basic organic sirloins tasted from the regular ones we used to buy. Although we've been impressed by the quality of the organic, grass-fed meats we've been trying on Whole30, this was the first time we could taste a profound difference between the quality of organic meat and the regular supermarket variety we used to buy. 

The steaks were big enough that we cut them in two so we will have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. We paired the steak with baked sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli, both easy fixes. So for once dinner was done a little after seven, the kitchen was clean almost immediately, and we can spend the night relaxing and watching TV! 

Oh, wait. I can do that. T.J. had to go into work to help with the "Midnight Breakfast" they are hosting for students. (It's finals week.) Guess it's time for me to catch up on Bates Motel, then!

Until tomorrow...


The Last Few Days

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's Day 15 of Whole30, which means I've made it to the half-way point, and also means that I haven't blogged in five days. Yikes! The last few days have been some of our hardest, which is probably why I haven't been running to share our experience with the outside world. The main issue, I think, is that I'm getting a little burned out on cooking (and cleaning) all the time. Sometimes you just want something quick, simple, and convenient, you know? And generally I spend between one and two hours on every Whole30 dinner I make. (Usually closer to two. Plus cleanup.) Breakfast usually takes another 15 minutes to an hour, depending on what we have, and thankfully lunch is just leftovers, so those just have to be rewarmed. But when you consider that prior to Whole30 I'd never cooked more than two or three times in a week, and that most of those meals required thirty minutes or less of prep time, you can see where preparing meals everyday for two weeks straight might get old after awhile. Especially when the first week I had T.J. there to cook with me, which made it a lot more fun, and last week he had four different night events at the university, so I ended up cooking and eating alone most of the week.

Then this weekend, we just had so many projects going on around the house, and once again we found ourselves not starting dinner (Sunday night) until nearly 8 p.m. It would have been a great night to grab a some take-out, but instead we had to start preparing a meal from scratch. We actually ended up having breakfast for dinner (scrambled eggs, turkey kielbasa w/ sauteed onions, banana "pancakes") just because it was the fastest thing we could whip up and we were starving and tired. Nothing we ate was made of non-compliant ingredients, but I know the Whole30 community takes strong issue with creating things like "pancakes," even if they aren't made from wheat flour. I understand the reasons for avoiding pancakes, even of the fake variety, but in this case I also didn't care because it meant one less meal I had to spend two hours making. And that I could then sit down and watch Game of Thrones at 8:45 instead of 10:00.

Today I woke up feeling ill, too, so I've actually not followed Whole30 at all today. I haven't eaten anything contraband, but I haven't been eating what I need to either. For breakfast I had a handful of carrots, and for lunch I had a pina colada smoothie (just frozen pineapple and unsweetened coconut milk). T.J. kept offering to make me something else or run out and get me something, but nothing he mentioned even sounded remotely appealing. As generally happens when I'm feeling nauseated, the only things I could even think of eating were raw, cold fruits and veggies, and unfortunately most of them don't even seem appealing today. T.J. is going to make lettuce wraps tonight, so I'm hoping I can eat those. I started two new medications yesterday, which I think is why I'm feeling poorly, so I just have to hope my body adjusts to them.

Despite our struggles the last couple of days, we definitely are going to see Whole30 through, and we are even going to try to eat this way during the week after our month is over. On the weekends, though, we are going to enjoy ourselves--in moderation. We love to eat out, to try different restaurants and kinds of foods, so I think that's part of what's taking it's toll on us. (Or at least on me.) After Whole30, we will be able to eat out on weekends, but we will make better choices and be more conscious of what we're putting in our bodies. But we'll also be able to enjoy having someone else do the cooking and cleaning AND we won't have to eat dinner after eight p.m. ever again! (Unless we're in Spain. Then maybe.)

So here's how we've been eating the last few days:

Day 11, Thursday, 4/18
Breakfast: leftover banana nut porridge, scrambled eggs, raw baby carrots
Lunch: leftover shepherd's pie
Dinner: apple mustard pork chops, roasted asparagus, half a baked sweet potato, and fruit (strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries)

Not posting a recipe for this one because it was my least favorite thing I've made these whole two weeks. I had to substitute several of the ingredients that were non-Whole30, which was probably part of the problem. Mostly I just found it to be a little bland and boring.

Day 12, Friday, 4/19
Breakfast: pumpkin pudding, chicken sausage, carrots
Lunch: leftovers from dinner night before
Dinner: deconstructed burger w/ sauteed onions and mushrooms, sweet potato fries, kale chips

This is our version of a pumpkin pudding recipe T.J. found. We ended up adding a whole lot more cinnamon and nutmeg than called for because we didn't have any pumpkin pie spice. It was quite good, but I can't speak for how it's supposed to turn out, because the recipe said to wait until the top browned, and ours never did. 
Day 13, Saturday, 4/20
Breakfast: sweet potato egg cups
Lunch: spinach salad w/ grilled chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, red onion
Dinner: mahi-mahi w/ gingered carrots, roasted broccoli

T.J. adapted this recipe to make these sweet potato egg cups. They were very yummy, especially the second day.  If you look at the recipe, though, you'll see he made them quite differently, mainly because I only like scrambled eggs.
I've never been a fan of fish, but I figured we should at least make the attempt since we have to eat so much protein and it isn't healthy to eat red meat every meal. We found this recipe for the mahi-mahi and gingered carrots, and the carrots were delicious. The mahi-mahi was a little more flavorless, but that could be because a) we aren't fish fans, and b) we didn't have coconut aminos at the time so had to leave that out of our recipe (and substitute in a little balsamic vinegar). We finally found it yesterday at the Vitamin Shoppe, of all places.
Day 14, Sunday, 4/21
Breakfast: leftover egg cupcakes and pumpkin soup
Lunch: spinach salad w/ grilled chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, red onion
Dinner: scrambled eggs, turkey kielbasa w/ sauteed onions, banana "pancakes"

Kids, unless you want to be ostrasized by the entire Whole30 community, don't try this at home! (Not during Whole30 at least.) Wish we had the time to prepare something else, but sometimes life gets in the way. 
Day 15, Monday, 4/22
Breakfast: sweet potato hash w/ ground turkey (T.J.), carrots (Lacy)
Lunch: leftovers (T.J.), pina colada smoothie (Lacy)
Dinner: lettuce wraps TBD

Delicious pineapple and coconut milk smoothie. About the only thing I could stomach earlier today.
I'm feeling somewhat better now, so I'm looking forward to eating "real food" tonight. In the next blog, I'll let you all know how the lettuce wraps turn out. Until then, happy eating!


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