Whole30 Journey

On Again, Off Again, On Again

I think the success of any diet depends on how well you can adapt it to different situations: dining out, parties, traveling, etc. This weekend was a huge test of that. And, well, I made a choice to go a little off plan, in the name of hanging out with some of the best friends a gal can have. So technically, I’m starting over on my Whole30, but I’m not bumming. I never really looked at this as something I was only going to do for 30 days, but rather a way of eating *most* of the time. Back in the day, before Biff and I got married, we had a lot of success doing a certain “life-style change” that let’s just say rhymes with Beight Batchers. We would track our points diligently, but every other Sunday, we’d go out to eat and indulge a little for just that one meal. We both have discussed approaching our new eating habits the same way.

Friday, I met up with some of my favorite friends from childhood. I chose a steak with asparagus for my dinner, which was probably pretty close to compliant (I didn’t ask about the cooking oil for the steak, that’s probably the only thing that might have been on the banned list) but as we were getting into some juicy gossip, I had a gluten-free cider. Or two. Then Saturday, one of our bestie couple friends came over to see our new house.  Let’s just say, we had some snacks. And then Sunday, my mom came over and we had brunch out. Though aside from cheese, that meal was pretty compliant. Oh and a cider. Or two. D’oh!

So here we are! You know, it’s kind of nice having the knowledge to make the decision to indulge. And it’s especially nice to understand that a few “off” meals doesn’t mean I have to totally throw in the towel completely. It’s so much more meaningful to enjoy good food with good people on a special occasion. I think that’s called maturity? I can’t be sure.

No noodles, no problem

I did make some yummy compliant dishes in that time too, though! One of my easiest go-to meals is a meat marinara sauce with zoodles. I don’t really have a recipe I follow, I just cook up some ground beef with garlic and onions, add some canned tomatoes and tomato paste, and then toss in some pre-spiralized zucchini noodles toward the end. Tonight I followed just the portion of this recipe which pertains to making brisket in the Instant Pot. It came out really good! Just beware of the ingredients in the beef stock, it can be really hard to find one that doesn’t include sugar. I roasted some asparagus and added some pre-riced veggies and then poured some of the leftover liquid from the Instant Pot over everything. Boom!

Brisket in the Instant Pot. Say what?!

I was feeling kind of crummy today, I think it may have been a mini-detox from the weekend festivities. So I skipped my workout but I’ll go tomorrow instead to make up for it. Unless the workout is 1000 burpees. Then I will not go. Later this week, I have a physical with my new doctor. I’m hoping she’s blown away by my low blood pressure and shiny, silky hair. We’ll see!

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My First Compliment

We’re on Day 10 of this Whole30 and things are still chugging right along smoothly. Maybe even better than smooth– I went to see my esthetician today and when she came out to greet me she immediately asked if I’d lost weight. Ooooooo girl. I last saw her in mid-December so since before we started this round. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t just saying it to get a good tip. She’s also does my hair removal and I’m half Greek, so she understands I need her more than she needs me. One of the rules in the Whole30 is not to weigh yourself during the 30 days. You can weigh before, and after, but the idea is you don’t want to get discouraged by normal fluctuations. I actually didn’t weigh myself at the start of this round, so I’ll be going off of how clothes fit to figure out if I’ve lost weight. And so far, I think things are starting to feel a little looser. When I went for my appointment today, I was wearing leggings as pants (normally I reserve that for the privacy of my own home, or when I’m ensconced in a giant winter coat) which could have been what my gal was reacting to. It is quite a sight to behold.

Chicken Thigh Stir Fry. Taste the Rainbow!                                                         

Cooking has been going well too. I’ve enjoyed finding some new ways to use things like chicken thighs and pork loin. This week, I made the pork in my InstantPot and treated it like pulled pork. I used this recipe but adapted it to the InstantPot by adding a half cup of water and cooking on manual for 90 minutes. It came out great and it makes at least 6 servings. Last night, I cooked up the rest of the chicken thighs. First I marinated the chicken in Coconut Aminos (which is often used as a sub for soy sauce on the Whole30 because soy is not allowed) and some minced garlic. Then I sliced it up and cooked it on the stove top. I added in a Kale/Brussels sprout stir-fry mix and some riced veggies. I added some more coconut aminos during the cooking and a dash of rice vinegar. It looked great and tasted good too. Winner winner, chicken dinner indeed.

I’m eager to start seeing some progress at CrossFit. At my gym, you pay by the number of weekly classes you attend. Right now, I’m on a 3 day/week plan so I make sure I go Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I might see if I can add a day because I often find myself wanting to go more. At my gym California, you could go as much as you wanted so I was averaging about 5 days a week. That was probably a little too much, but I saw a lot of progress on some specific skills that we did a lot. Then again, I wasn’t as busy getting facials and pretending to be intimately familiar with the KonMari technique of “Tidying Up.” I spend a lot more time these days thanking my belongings and thinking about throwing them in the trash.

Tomorrow is dinner with some gal pals and I’m really looking forward to it. Will I give in and have a glass of cider or wine? Will I go on a queso bender and resurface next week in a Western Massachusetts dumpster? Check back here this weekend! Or if you have a WordPress account, you can follow me and it will update you when I get around to making a new post. Arigatou gozaimasu! 

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Tiger Blood!!!!! (maybe?)

Today marks one week since we’ve reembarked on the Whole30 journey and both the hubs and I have noticed a little pep in our steps. He got up at like 6am and made coffee and bacon. I got some gainzzzz at CrossFit and then decided to rearrange the living room before even taking a shower. I’m currently looking around and thinking about which household objects I can lift over my head. This could actually be a bad thing…

Whole30-ers call this burst of energy following the detox hump “Tiger Blood.” It usually happens a little bit later– maybe like day 10 or 11– for most people. But we seem to be on the Whole30 express train on this round. I slept like a rock last night, despite gale-force winds. Normally, I would lay awake, waiting for the chimney to collapse or for a tree to fall on my car. But last night, I only pondered my imminent death for like 5 minutes before falling asleep. Winning.

Yesterday, we visited the winter farmer’s market in our lil’ city. We got some great root veggies which Biff roasted for dinner along with chicken thighs marinated in Primal Kitchen’s Green Goddess Dressing. We also picked up some locally made chorizo which seems to be compliant, perhaps we’ll have that tonight! Ole! The guy selling it was very helpful. When we asked if some kinds of sausage had sugar he said “Yeah, but just a little.” A little is too much for the Bouses! I think one of the greatest benefits of this diet is the awareness about how much sugar is in everything– even if it’s just “a little.” The Whole30 is strict about sugar. You can’t have anything with added sugar/sweetener at all. Even if it’s honey or maple syrup. But fruit is allowed, and using fruit juice is ok as long as it’s in a recipe or just a splash in some soda water (basically, you can’t guzzle a glass of OJ). Sour Patch Kids are out. Free-basing Stevia is a thing of the past. No more Vodka-Crans.

So it’s nearly lunch time and I’m contemplating what to make. We really enjoy these Chicken-Lime Burgers from Trader Joe’s. They cook up fast and go well with a bunch of sides. You will need a chisel to break them apart when frozen, but it’s oh-so-worth it. I usually treat it like a bun-less burger and serve it on spinach with mayo, mustard, and whatever veggies I have handy. In the timeless words of Rachel Ray, Yum-o!

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Is That Fog or Shade?

It’s Day 5 of 30 here at the ol’ Bouse House and so far…so good. This time around seems to be a little less physically taxing, though we do have a couple of the usual first week ailments. Biff has had a dull headache the last couple of days and I’ve been a little foggy. Not necessarily tired, but just not as sharp, I’d say. I got sucked into watching a Taylor Swift concert on Netflix with my son yesterday. I found myself getting annoyed at her repeating the same three dance moves (and yes, I’m counting hair scrunching as one of them) yet I was too numb to look away. Maybe it’s the sugar detoxing, maybe it’s just the power of T. Swift. The world may never know.

I wonder which diet would give me legs like these…

I did CrossFit yesterday for the second time since starting this Whole30 round. I made sure to tell the people around me that I was feeling foggy, so they wouldn’t be alarmed if they saw me staring at a pile of weights, confused. I did ok in the workout, but it called for handstand push-ups. As the name implies, you do a handstand against the wall, lower yourself so your head is touching the ground, and push yourself back up again. I can’t do them fully, (mostly due to being scared of crushing my skull) but I can usually manage 5-6 in a row if I put a couple of mats between my head and the floor. This time, it was all I could do to just get into a handstand. Plus the shirt I wore kept coming untucked. It was a scene.

The good news is, I’m already starting to feel some of the positive physical changes, too. I feel less bloated. I wore my jeggings comfortably to Target yesterday (when I die, please someone have them put “Wore Jeggings to Target” on my gravestone.) My skin is looking milky white like one of them Downton Abbey chicks. And I seem to be sleeping more soundly.

We’ve been eating much of the same for breakfast– eggs and potatoes. Lunch has been salads mostly. I made a nice meatloaf with mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts a few nights ago, and tonight I’m contemplating what to do with a package of chicken thighs. I’m thinking of using some coconut aminos to make a stir-fry, served over cauliflower rice.

Later this week, I’m having dinner with some girlfriends. Fortunately, the restaurant serves organic steaks. I’m thinking it won’t be too hard to stay on track, though I might be tempted by a gluten-free cider. These gals always bring the TEA and I don’t know if I can handle it without a little drinky-poo. Either way, you bet your crop top I’ll be bringing my own salad dressing! #HotSauceInMyBagSwag

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A Few of My Favorite Things

If I had a dime for every time I was confused with Oprah, I’d have, roughly, a couple of dimes. At the risk of furthering the confusion, I thought I’d share some of my favorite things! It looks like I have a few friends starting or contemplating the Whole30, and these are some items and tips that I think can help.

A Favorite Pan
You probably have a favorite pan already. I bet you even have a favorite burner on the stove. Who knew life could be this thrilling!? The Whole30 requires a lot of cooking, and if that’s a change for you, consider investing in a decent pan that’s super easy to clean. When we started our Whole30 last year, we got this one and this one from Target. They pretty much stay out all the time.

Instant Pot
I didn’t have an Instant Pot until recently, and I’m looking forward to using it this Whole30 round! It’s really great for making hard boiled eggs (among many other things). I don’t know what I do wrong when I make them on the stovetop, but my kitchen looks like a crime scene after I’m done trying to peel them. A dozen hard-boiled eggs will yield like one edible egg. But not with the Instant Pot! They peel super easily.

Parchment Paper/Silpat Mat
Yeppers, more cooking stuff! I roast potatoes just about every day for breakfast (for example) and it’s much easier to throw away the paper when I’m done or wash off the Silpat than scrubbing the pans. Which leads me to the next helpful hint…

A Simple Breakfast
I used to be someone who didn’t like eating the same things all the time- until I started actually making breakfast. With all the time and energy that can go into cooking daily for the Whole30, I like being able to do at least one meal on autopilot. Breakfast is generally: roasted potatoes, two eggs scrambled with onions, peppers and spinach, bacon or avocado. Sometimes I’ll use a dab of mayo as the healthy fat. I bet I made some variation of this breakfast 300 times last year.

Everything But The Bagel Seasoning
Trader Joe’s has a fun little selection of seasonings, and this one is my favorite. Add it to some sweet potatoes and it’s like the G-8 Summit of taste buds. I’m not really sure what that means. But it’s good!

Image Courtesy: PrimalKitchen.com

Primal Kitchen Dressings/Mayo
Sure. You can make your own compliant dressings and mayo. But what is this, Puritan-times New England? You can find these at Whole Foods or order online. I’ve seen a couple of their products in regular grocery stores too, sometimes they’ll put them with the “exotic” health foods. They’re not cheap, but for me, the time and effort they save is worth it. I keep saying I’ll attempt to make my own mayo, but let’s be real. That’s as likely as Kate ever getting along with her third stew on Below Deck.

GT’s Kombucha
It’s alive! Kombucha can be an acquired taste, but I think GT’s does a pretty good job of cutting the sourness with some nice flavors. Kombucha is one of the few “fun” drinks allowed on the Whole30. A lot of kombucha brands will add sugar after the fermentation, which of course, is a no no. GT’s is compliant however. I like the Cosmic Cranberry the best. Biff and I will usually each have a ‘buch in the evening while we watch murder shows on Nexflix and eat dried mango. Is this what the kids mean when they say “Netflix and chill?” Cuz it’s definitely lit.

So those are a few of my expert tips and picks. Impressed? As always, be sure to read labels! I’m seeing a lot more products this time around that are stamped with the Whole30 logo, which is very helpful. I hear there are even some microwavable meals you can get at WalMart now (I don’t have a microwave and I hate going to WalMart so don’t count on seeing a review of those products from this gal!) Now…how do I get these companies to pay me for my incredible endorsements…?

 

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Whole30 Journey

I’m Baaaaaaaack!

Foraging for something I can eat

My cabinets are stocked with sweet potatoes and ghee. That can only mean one thing: the Bouses are back on the Whole30! And I’m resurrecting my blog. Boom! I wish I’d kept it up longer last year, but it’s a familiar pattern: I get all gung-ho about something, people like it, I pressure myself to make it better, then I get worried I’m not keeping it fresh, then I get resentful, and next thing you know, I’m setting small fires around town just to feel alive. Oh and we moved across the country.

We actually ate pretty close to Whole30 right up through July, when we moved from California back to my home state of Massachusetts. Between the move itself, adjusting to our new surroundings, and living within walking distance of a dozen kick-ass restaurants, the last half of the year we’ve fallen off the wagon. By December my pants were tight and I was routinely getting the meat sweats. Time to get back in gear.

So here we are! Yesterday, was day one, because yes, I’m that basic that I start a new diet on New Year’s Day. Breakfast was potatoes, eggs and avocado. I had the same thing today. For lunch I made turkey burgers without the buns and for dinner we had the ol’ standby Egg Roll in a Bowl. I’m thinking the mental toll won’t be as high this time around because I’m used to cooking this way now. Physically….we’ll see! I’m hoping to drop a few lbs but mostly I want to feel better and get some mad gainzzzzzzz at CrossFit.

In case it’s not painfully obvious, I’m not a medical professional or fitness guru. So take all of my actions with a grain of salt. But for those of you who aren’t familiar, the Whole30 is basically an elimination diet. No grains, gluten, dairy, legumes, soy, sugar, friends or fun of any kind. Additionally, you’re supposed to only eat meals— dishes that consist of about 1/3 protein, 2/3 veggies and a thumb-size portion of healthy fat. So if you’re hungry in between lunch and dinner, you’re supposed to have a mini-meal that follows that template rather than, say, a handful of nuts. Sometimes I’ll fudge that rule a bit and have a Lara bar or said nuts. Snacking is definitely my weakness though, so I try to really determine if I’m really hungry or if I’m just bored by the current storyline of everyone ganging up on James on Vanderpump Rules. It’s not about the pasta, LaLa! I hope he can turn it around…

Ok so this should whet your whistle for what’s to come! I’m going be real and say I’ll try to update daily but I might not. Bravo is not gonna watch itself. Here’s to 2019: to health, fitness, and boom boom shorts this summer!

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Tostones!

Exercise: CrossFit
Food: Over-easy Eggs with Sweet Potatoes and Bacon, Turkey Burger with Tostones, Pork Sausage with Sauteed Veg and MORE Tostones

tostones

I promise there’s a burger in there somewhere. And TOSTONES!

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. This round has been a little like auto-pilot at times. I don’t have to read labels as much since I’m buying the same brands/items regularly now. And I have a few go-to recipes that I’ve memorized (and/or I feel confident about the flavors I’m trying to achieve that I’m not too worried about doing it exactly the same way each time). But, of course, the downside is that can lead to a little bit of food boredom. Enter Tostones.

I’d seen them mentioned a few times in the Whole30 Facebook group, but I didn’t really feel compelled to make them. Then, today I was at Whole Foods and I noticed some ripe plantains and thought “I should do something with those.” I searched “plantains” in the group and I was assaulted by all the raves about Tostones once again. So I fired up the air fryer, sliced up those plantains, and got down to business. The first batch turned out pretty well. I had them with a turkey burger, some guacamole, and Vanderpump Rules on the DVR. I made them again for dinner to impress my man and this batch was a little more crispy. Next time, I’ll probably experiment with some spices (this time I just salted them). Crazy!

I did CrossFit workouts Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and I succeeded in making every part of my body sore. It’s been while since I’ve felt this taxed by workouts, but it feels good too because I know it’s a result of working hard. Monday was the biggest challenge. The workout called for doing toes-to-bar in sets of 21-18-15-12-9. Toes-to-bar is when you hang from a pullup bar and, as the name suggests, you lift your toes to touch the bar. I hadn’t tried one in forever but I decided I was going to go for it. Well, it took me forrrrreevvvverrrrrr but once I realized I could do them, I was determined to do them all. I ripped a callus at some point too! It gives me street cred.

So…takeaways from these last few days: who knew a little plantain could serve up such mealtime realness?; no pain, no gain; wait- Stassi isn’t even 30 yet?

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