Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The final week- Week 4!

Monday, June 2
Breakfast- 2 eggs over easy in lettuce boats with bacon. Like an egg sandwich!

Snack- coffee and nuts

Lunch- Puerto Rican beef (oldie but goodie recipe) 

Dinner- spinach salad with chicken, egg, guac, bacon.
Side of plantain chips
Homemade vinaigrette - fabulous!

Fruit- pineapple and mango with coconut shreds

Tuesday, June 3

Breakfast- smoothie- almond milk, vanilla protein, strawberries, blueberries, almond butter, coconut oil
Iced coffee

Lunch- butternut squash chili
Pineapple and mango slices
Apple with AB

Dinner- buffalo chicken drummies
Sweet potato fries
Dijon mustard 

Wednesday, June 4
Breakfast- 2 eggs, bacon, lettuce boats 
Almonds - snack

Lunch - tuna steak, salad with mushrooms and snap peas, plantain chips, avocado

Snack- banana with AB

Dinner- apple (shared with Liam)
Burger boats (patent pending) with mushrooms, sweet potato fries and homemade Paleo approved Ranch

Thursday, June 5
Breakfast- egg, spinach, sausage frittata with acorn squash and hot sauce over all
Iced coffee

Snack- almonds

Lunch- pecan crusted chicken
Carmelized plantains
Banana with AB

Dinner - chicken stir fry (peppers, chicken, mushrooms, bok choy, onion, garlic) in lettuce boats

**we started slowly reintroducing things this weekend. In Nathan's words, "I'm done."

Friday, June 6- just so happens to be National Donut Day and yes I had a half of the cake batter one. Did I feel good after? No. Do I eat donuts every day or even 2-3 times a month? No. Was it delicious? Yes. Did I need it? No.  For me, it's hearing my own voice and the power to say no. 

Breakfast- smoothie - almond milk, almonds, kale, strawberries, chocolate protein powder 

Snack- almonds and Larabar

Lunch- kale salad with avocado, chicken, mushrooms, green onion, hazelnuts, homemade vinaigrette 

Dinner- deer steaks, grilled asparagus, sweet potato crisps
I also shared a beer with Nathan this night

Saturday, June 7
Breakfast- smoothie and almond meal pancakes 
Half of brownie donut
Iced coffee

Lunch- Crazy Bowls and Wraps- spicy chicken fajita 
Yes, this had qunoia and no I didn't eat all or most of it and a side of chips. I ate them and felt "heavy"

Dinner- sesame seed salmon with cashews and bok choy 
Snap peas with olive oil on side 

And....half a red velvet cupcake 

I feel I need to be honest about eating not so great foods the last 3 days. I ate them and I felt icky after and fine the next day. People keep asking if we'll do this again. We probably won't set aside 30 days to do exactly this (or maybe we will, who knows?!) but this WILL become a majority of how we eat forever. Will we occasionally eat out? Yes. Will we drink alcohol? For sure. Will I eat a cupcake every day? No. (For the record they were from a birthday party). 
What will change is our flexibility. We won't pack an entire cooler for a day trip to my brother's because we can't eat their food. We'll pack snacks and choose the best we can when we're out. That's all anyone can do. In control when we have it and smart when we don't. 

Sunday, June 8
Breakfast- 2 eggs on lettuce boats, turkey slices with half avocado and hot sauce. A few bites of almond meal pancakes 

Lunch- seafood enchilada (recipe:Every Day Paleo book)

Apple, pecan Brussel sprout salad (recipe:

Dinner- sweet potato with pico 

Salad with hard boiled egg, broccoli, hazelnuts 

My Whole 30 takeaway:
1. I am the skinniest I have ever been in my adult life. I fit into a size 2 dress at Old Navy yesterday (it ran big though). So if you're looking to really drop serious weight: skip the grains, sugar and alcohol. I hope I stay around this weight or 3-5lbs heavier, but I'm pleased with the results.

2. Sweet potatoes are my favorite staple- mashed, cubed, under an egg in the morning, oven baked as fries. The possibilities are endless and for $2 a bag at Aldi, they last forever.

3. I love experimenting with new food. Bok choy, fish oil, acorn squash.  I'm thankful to say we have found some true staples that I can make once a week and not get bored with.

4.  New favorite cookbooks/sites - Everyday Paleo, Paleomg (website).  Looking to get The Paleo Kitchen book which came out yesterday.  I also follow a lot of Paleo people on Instagram and get ideas that way.

5.Flexibility - you've got to be flexible in life and there was zero on this plan.  For 30 days.  But it taught me a lot about planning ahead and prepping and making sure Liam was taken care of as well. **Some have asked if he "had" to do it too.  He mostly eats what we eat with a few exceptions: he eats gluten free banana/pumpkin pancakes for breakfast and often gets crackers or organic cheddar bunnies to munch on.  But he also favors salmon, ribs, broccoli, acorn squash, eggs, spinach and sweet potatoes.

So.....was it worth it?  - Well, that depends on what you're putting worth in.  For me, yes it was. It brought back the reality of the control I always had over what I ate.  I just lost it somehow amidst Easter candy, gin, and puppy chow (now there's a combo =)  I will say this, however: I've had a lot of (I would call it negative) feedback from people who think I'm "too skinny" or not eating enough.  First of all, this is untrue.  I ate so much on this plan.  It just happened to be things that my body processed better than grains and beer.  And it's interesting to me that I always wanted to be the thin girl growing up.  Then it turned into wanting to be the strong girl.  And now that I feel like I'm both, it's not good enough for some people.  I thought I would only be self conscious at a higher weight.  Turns out, the insecurities stay with you no matter what size.  That is, until you conquer the fear that's really going on inside of you.   

Let's talk $$$$ - I spent a ton on this plan.  It's hard to know exactly how much b/c many of my over $100 trips to Trader Joe's or Walmart were for tons of meat, almond meal, almond butter and other items we haven't burned entirely through.  It's always been hard for me to differentiate budget based on weekly vs monthly vs pantry, etc.  Plus, we get a bi-weekly shipment of organic and locally grown produce which is about $45 each time.  At one point, I was going to the store every 2 days.  This was too much.  But now I feel like I know what our staples are and what we need to get us through a week.  Here's my suggestions on quality/price/organic/not organic:

Buy at Aldi
Unsweetened Almond Milk ($2.39)
Organic Spinach or kale ($2.49 a package)
Uncured bacon $3 (something)
Nitrate free lunch meat
Organic apples ($4 something)
Organic cherry tomatoes
Wild caught frozen salmon fillets ($7 about?)
**make sure seafood/fish is Wild caught and not farm raised.
Frozen fruit - they have organic but I skip organic usually on frozen fruit

Not Organic stuff to buy at Aldi:
Sweet potatoes ($2 a package)
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Nuts - pistachios, natural almonds (no salt)
Pineapple (as low as .99 and btw, I bought it for less than a dollar and then went to Schnucks and they were very proud to advertise it for $3.99...not a deal!)
Mangos, Avocados, bananas, lemon, limes, asparagus, cauliflower - these are all the clean 15 so buy them at Aldi!  It does not matter!!!!!

**Aldi will occasionally have "special buys" so I'm always checking the center freezer section and meat section.  About once in a blue moon, they have grass fed beef for $4.94 a pound!  This is better than TJ's and I buy all of them when it's in.  They also have duck and lamb which are usually minimally processed and not grain fed, so you don't have to worry about buying organic/free-range whatever.

**Aldi is also stocking many "gluten free" items like crackers, chips, cake mix, brownie mix, etc.  Be VERY CAUTIOUS  with things like this.   A lot of people think "gluten free" means healthy and not grains.  Well, really it's like a faux grain masking as something else.  I have bought gluten free crackers for Liam and pretzels, but buying a cake mix just feels wrong.  If I'm having cake, I'm doing it for reals!

Harvestland chicken - they have fillets, drumsticks, thighs, frozen breasts - all free range, grass fed, antibiotic/hormone free
**btw - all chicken has to be "hormone free" so double check your labels that it is free range, antibiotic free.  Perdue chicken did me in with this one time.
Butternut squash, acorn squash, other specialty produce - sometimes I needed cilantro or bok choy or leeks and this just isn't at Aldi so I would get them at Schnucks or Walmart

Trader Joe's
Ghee - separated butter - about $3.99
Himalayan pink salt
Eggs - free range/brown (or get at Walmart)
Almond butter - make the label reads "Almonds" for the ingredients and that's it!
Almond meal/Cashew meal - this replaces breading in dishes but I've used it to make pancakes, cookies, bars, etc.  It's tasty.  A little pricey but cheaper than buying the amount of almonds it would take to grind into the meal.

It does get pricey over time.  Here's what we have found works for us on a "real" budget.  (PS, I get very frustrated with people posting things on Pinterest about how to feed a family of 7 for $25 a week.  Ok, that's exaggerating, but yes, I suppose it can be done.  However, usually, it is with things like white potatoes, mac and cheese, beans, etc.  That's fine for some, but we have gluten issues, dairy issues, and can't/won't eat that stuff)  So back to reality, we prioritize grass fed beef and free range chicken, free range eggs, organic spinach, unsweetened almond milk and nitrate free lunch meat.  I "try" to buy most of our produce that is on the dirty dozen as organic, but if I know I've spent a lot that week, I buy conventional and wash it with fruit wash.  You have to give in some areas.   

Throughout this process and mostly near the end, I was inspired by the idea of doing something for 30 days.  If I can overhaul my diet for 30 days, what else can I change???  Maybe 30 days of exercise or more importantly, 30 days of fervent prayer.  I believe that is what I will do next.  More than the smaller pant size and more than the control over food I feel I have back, I felt empowered to actually conquer something.  In too many areas of my life, I've been afraid to try or afraid I will be bad or of failure.  Well, I didn't fail at this and had great results.  What would happen if we grabbed a hold of the very things holding us back and just attempted a change for 30 days.  1 month.  They say it takes 3 weeks to form a habit and honestly, this plan was no different.  By the third week, this was our new way of eating.  It didn't feel so contrived and foreign anymore. Go ahead and try the Whole 30 for yourself and see that it doesn't reveal other areas where you can man/woman up and conquer.  For me, this journey is just beginning.  I can't wait to see where it ends, but like I said in week 1, it starts with food.  

Cheers and thanks for following my journey!



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