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!


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