Archives for February 2014

WIAW #12: Whole30 – Week 1

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Matt and I have been talking about doing the Whole30 challenge for a few months.  Now that the holidays and a few weddings have come and gone, we decided it’s now or never.  My friend Kate and her husband have done the Whole30 twice now, and I remember thinking they were crazy the first time they did this.

What? No wine? No sugar of any kind? #cray

Since then, I’ve been making an effort to incorporate more unprocessed and whole foods into our diet and making paleo meals at times, so the thought of cutting back just a little more didn’t seem so daunting.  We don’t even realize the negative effects that certain foods have on our bodies, sometimes because we are just used to it, so I am interested to see how I feel after 100% cutting out these foods and pressing that “reset” button.  Like they say on their website, it’s only 30 days.  Yes, it might feel like torture at times, but it will be over in 4 weeks and your body will thank you for it!

So what is the Whole30?

The Basics: It’s kind of like Paleo on crack.  Paleo is the “hunter-gatherer” diet…although I don’t like to call it a diet, more like a lifestyle.  Meat/Seafood/Poultry (natural/grass fed is preferable), vegetables, healthy fats (EVOO, avocado, coconut oil, etc.), fruit, and nuts in moderation are all a-ok.  No grains, no legumes (aka beans, peanuts), no dairy, no processed foods, no refined vegetable oils, etc.  And for the Whole30, also NO SUGAR.  This is essentially a sugar detox.  That means no honey, no maple syrup, no Stevia, nothing, nada, zip. I didn’t think it would be all that hard but seriously, you would be surprised how many things contain sugar, and food that you would even expect (bacon?).  Luckily, they provide you with a shopping list that outlines Best/Better/Good options to help you make your way through the grocery store.

I spent most of the day last Sunday stocking up on Whole30 “approved” food and prepped most of our sides and snacks for the week.

Snack Meal Prep: Hard-boiled eggs, apples, almond butter (no other ingredients except almonds and maybe sea salt), raw/dry roasted nuts, dried fruit (unsweetened/unsulfured – Trader Joe’s has a few good options and Costco had dried bananas only sweetened with fruit juice, which is ok by Whole30 standards), LaraBars in moderation

Breakfast Meal Prep: Roasted sweet potatoes/turnips/rudabega/butternut squash

Sides Meal Prep: Cauliflower rice, roasted veggies, veggies for salads, fruit

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I found this timeline on the Whole30 website and I have to say, it’s pretty spot on so far!  It actually made me feel better about the way we were reacting to this challenge.

Day 1: Piece of cake.  We’ve got this.  Eat our normal meals and cut back on the snacking, or only snack on “approved” food.

Day 2:  Panic.  Well, almost.  When I realized that we were going to run out of the food that I had spent alll that time prepping in t-minus 1 day, the thought of having to prep even more meals in the middle of the work week was certainly not ideal, and not to mention exhausting.  Matt and I both felt pretty tired, but it wasn’t from lack of sleep.  It all made sense after reading the timeline.  Maybe our Sunday all-day bender was the culprit.

DSC01989(Not Pictured: Burgers, fries and lots ‘o soda)

I also found this waiting for me when I got to work….

IMG_20140218_091602If there was a Whole30 hell, I’m pretty sure this is what it would look like.  It’s not like if it were a normal day I’d eat a dozen of these things, but not even one little bite?? (or three)

Day 4:  Near breakdown.  I was doing ok except for the lack of my usual snack options at night, which was making me very cranky. Matt on the other hand, not so much.  Unlike me, he can’t eat the same meals on repeat day after day.  After day 2 of eggs for dinner, he looked at me and said “why don’t we just order something?”.  You have no idea how tempting that was.  But we resisted and powered through. 🙂

DSC01990Example Week 1 dinner: Salmon (with smoked paprika- yum!), roasted asparagus and cauliflower rice.

DSC01994Example Week 1 lunch: Shredded chicken, roasted broccoli and avocado.

One idea I was borderline terrified of was drinking coffee without Stevia.  I have to say, it really isn’t bad! I’ve been using my usual coffee but with canned coconut milk instead of almond milk and Stevia, and I think I’ll keep doing that even after the 30 days are up.

DSC01993Now it’s Day 10 and I think we are finally getting into our groove.  I did a better job of meal planning and prepping this weekend so I think we are pretty set for the week with Whole30 approved (and delicious!) meals.  I’m excited to share some of them with you!

Overall, I think we are going to really see the benefits of completing this challenge.  I think the hardest part for me is all of the things that I “can’t” eat.  I’ve always been a big proponent of everything in moderation and I’m not usually one to deprive myself of anything. So avoiding the yummy snacks and treats like the plague has been hard for me.  Having said that, I think this challenge will show me how much willpower I really have!  Once we got through the first week and over that initial hurdle of the “detox phase”, both Matt and I feel pretty good and have seen a change in our bodies for the better.

Today, I thought I would share the recipe for Plantain Chips, one of my new favorite (and simple!) snacks.

DSC02002Ingredients:

  • 2 plantains *
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper

* If your grocery store has them, they will be next to the bananas.  They look like bananas but are larger and more green.

Directions:

Cut off the ends of the plantains and slice it longways 3 times, then carefully peel off the skin.  The skin is pretty tough, so you might have to use a knife to help get it started.  Unlike bananas, the less ripe the better.  The more ripe they get, the sweeter they get.

DSC01999Now, you can either slice the plantains with a knife, or if you have a food processor that’s what I used and it made it much easier to slice the chips thin and evenly.

Toss in the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out the chips evenly on a baking sheet that is sprayed with olive oil.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until they start to brown.  Be careful because they will go from almost done to over done quickly!

DSC02003It’s best if these are eaten within a day or two of baking because they can become chewy and I would suggest storing them in a glass container like a Pyrex dish, which might keep them crisp longer.

These are good plain and I really like them dipped in Wholly Guacamole.  Post Whole30, these will be great with hummus. 🙂  A great substitute for store bought chips!

More Whole30 recipes coming soon!

As always, checkout Peas and Crayons for more WIAW goodness!

Tush-Toning Gym Workout

Hello, my long lost friends!  I apologize for the lack of posts lately…things have been a little crazy around here.  Maybe crazy isn’t the right word, but just busier than normal.  Part of that is because Matt and I started the Whole30 challenge last Monday and I don’t think I realized how much prep is really needed to complete this the right way…more on that when I recap my meals later this week!  I’m also reeeaaalllyy trying to buckle down and study for my personal trainer certification but it’s easier said than done because life always seems to get in the way.  I’m one of those people who tends to bite off more than I can chew and then the perfectionist/over-achiever side of me stresses about getting it all done, and done RIGHT. Sometimes I need to realize that some things might have to give a little.  Maybe I don’t post as often as I did when I started blogging, maybe I don’t read and comment on my fellow bloggers’ posts as much as I would like (I still love you all!), maybe I don’t get my certification by March like I planned, maybe we eat eggs for dinner (more than once in a week) just because I don’t feel like cooking…but it’s OK.  Life is going to go on and it’s better when I learn to let go more and stress less. 🙂

Having said all of that, I just ask that you bear with me as I juggle this thing called life, like I know we all do!

Today, I’ve got a short and sweet leg workout, with more of a focus on the boot-ay. This is the workout I did before I filmed so like I said before, I was a little more tired than usual, so my form isn’t 100%…

Tush-Toning Workout

Step Up w/ Leg Lift

Elvis Squats

Stability Ball Toe Touches

Cross-Back Lunges

DB Donkey Kicks

Deck Squats (you really have to use your core and glutes/quads for this!)

 

Happy Monday!

Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats

I’m not sure if you would really call these recipes Valentine’s Day themed, per se, but they involve strawberries, strawberries are pink and VDay is all about pink….so Valentine’s treats it is. 😉

The first is a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Protein Smoothie.  Who doesn’t love chocolate covered strawberries?! And if I can blend them up and drink them out of a straw for breakfast, I’m all for that situation.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 c frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (you can eliminate this if you use chocolate protein powder)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • handful of spinach

Directions:

Blend and enjoy!

DSC01969The next treat is a new one for me.  Davida over at The Healthy Maven is hosting a linkup for health-ified Valentine’s Day baked goods. As soon as I heard the idea, I knew I had to participate.  #1 I L.O.V.E. baked goods in all shapes and sizes. #2 I also love taking those baked goods and making them in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I need to eat it while simultaneously running on the treadmill.  I stumbled across a recipe for strawberry/chocolate paleo bread from You Fresh Naturals on Instagram and knew I had to try it. I made a couple of adjustments of my own to create Strawberry Chocolate Pecan Paleo Bread!

Strawberry Paleo BreadYes, I’m aware it looks like a dog treat. The picture really doesn’t do it justice, plus I’m not good at taking fancy food blogger pics like Davida. 🙂  It was delicious and even Matt was impressed!  Wife-win. I haven’t made paleo bread before, but I’ll definitely be trying this concept again!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp canned coconut milk
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch baking soda
  • 1/4 c chopped pecans
  • 1/4 c chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 c chocolate chips (for true paleo, use a brand like Enjoy Life)

Directions:

Place all ingredients except strawberries, pecans and chocolate chips in food processor.  Blend until combined.  Fold in remaining ingredients and pour into greased bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

 

Sending virtual hugs to everyone on this Valentine’s Day!  Have a great weekend!

Snow Day Workout

Is it spring yet?! Snow, you’re pretty and all, but we all know beauty is only skin deep. It’s really not all it’s cracked up to be unless you’re 10 years old and get a day off to go sledding.

Sorry for the Instagram tease last week. I fully intended on posting this workout on Friday but my camera had other plans. I decided to video tape the exercises to go along with the workout instead of photos, or nothing at all. I figured it would be much easier to understand the moves this way. For some reason my camera and computer were not getting along and I had to resort to plan B. My husband was nice enough to tape everything again on Sunday night. God love ya, babe. 🙂

I will say one positive thing about all of this snow is that it has forced me to get a little creative and create workouts that challenge me at home, without access to my usual equipment. It’s good to switch it up!

Snow Day Tabata

I’ll apologize in advance for my awkwardness. I’ll get the hang of it eventually but for now you are left with these semi-embarrassing videos. I will preface this by saying that I filmed these after a tough leg workout, so my form isn’t perfect and you can tell my body is a little tired. 🙂

Sumo Squat Jumps (super awkward zombie face in the beginning…I swear I have a personality, must have left it at the gym today)

Lunge w/ Front Kick

180 Degree Burpees

V-Ups

Walk-Out Push-Ups

Jumping Lunges

Plank Spiderman Squats

Bicycle Crunches

Plank Jumping Jacks

Side to Side Burpees

180 Degree Squat Jumps

Plank Push-Ups

Enjoy! 

WIAW #11: Butternut Squash Chili

Time for another round of What I Ate Wednesday! I’ll apologize in advance for the lack of photos this time around…it’s all the same, right?

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Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with more roasted breakfast “potatoes”. This time, the mix included sweet potatoes and turnips….I never thought I would like turnips, but they are quite tasty!

I also grabbed a sugar-free caramel almond milk latte (that’s quite the mouthful, isn’t it?) on the way to work. I stayed pretty full until lunch, but also grabbed a small handful of trail mix mid-morning.

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Lunch

I went to lunch with some co-workers and my boss at Crazy Bowls and Wraps, where I ordered a chicken fajita bowl, sans rice…along with a few tortilla chips.  It was really good but a little heavy on the beans and cheese, which I wasn’t expecting. No pics this time. Didn’t want to freak my co-workers out. 🙂

Dinner

Dinner was the highlight of my day. I found this recipe for Paleo Butternut Squash Chili and had to give it a try, especially since we are dealing with yet another snow day around here….is it spring yet?!

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Paired with a kale salad, it was a delicious meal…oh, and a piece (ok, two) of THIS deliciousness. Ohmygoodnessgracious this stuff is no joke. Sorry for the blurred pic. I blame the chocolate.

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I only made a couple of small changes to the recipe, but here’s how I made the chili!

DSC01961Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 lb steak, cubed
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 15oz cans fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles, diced
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 15oz can beef broth
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Texas chili powder (recipe calls for Chipotle but I couldn’t find it)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt- the recipe doesn’t call for it but I added some to my bowl (I’m a salt lover and my husband, not so much ;))

Directions:

Chop all vegetables. Brown meat in a skillet for about 5 minutes, add vegetables and cook for another 5 minutes, or until veggies are cooked about halfway.  If your roasted red peppers aren’t already diced, add them to a food processor or blender and pulse until diced (do not drain). Add the remainder of ingredients and meat/veggie mixture into a pot and simmer for 1 hour, or until the squash is tender.

Again, I do not always post every single thing I eat throughout the day, just the noteworthy meals.  I don’t want to bore you too much to death… 😉

 

Make it a great day!