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The Unofficial Official Last Day

It’s January 30th and that means I made it to day 30 of this Whole30. Well, technically I did cheat one day, so it’s not an official Whole30, but since this is my third(ish) time through, I think it counts. So in the words of Vicki Gunvalsen, Wooooohooooo!

I haven’t updated here for awhile because, well, things have been pretty routine. Cook, sweat, shop, sleep, repeat. We’ve been using our dehydrator a lot for fruit, which I think has saved us some grocery money. However, I’ve yet to find a good shopping routine. We plan to stick with this Whole30 way of eating for the foreseeable future (while allowing a cheat meal or drink once every two weeks) so I’m still eager to fine tune the shopping and spending. I was spoiled in California. Within 5 miles of our house we had several big chain supermarkets, two Trader Joe’s, two Whole Foods, a Sprouts and, my personal favorite, Whole365. I even went to Whole365 when we visited last November, for old time’s sake. Here, I have to drive about 20 minutes for Trader Joe’s and a little longer for Whole Foods. I can certainly find enough of what we like at the in-town supermarkets and the couple small, natural food stores. But the mark-up is all over the place. And don’t get me started on how hard it is to find a good avocado.

Sad lil guys

The good news is that’s forced me to try a few new recipes. On Monday I made this beanless chili recipe in the InstantPot and it came out great. On reheating, the sweet potatoes fell apart, but that didn’t affect the taste. I used ground beef instead of turkey and I doubled the Rotel. I also didn’t measure the spices because I like to live dangerously. I’ll definitely be making it again!

Pretty much the only thing I need to go to Whole Foods for is compliant dressings and mayo (yet somehow I always seem to spend $140 there…) so I think I finally have the kick in the pants I need to start making my own. Biff has been kicking around the idea of making another batch of Kombucha, but I’m ok with not having a living yeast culture on our counter.

So I’m off to workout and then to the grocery store today! Tomorrow I’ll weigh myself and maybe I’ll have a gluten-free cider to celebrate. And then, it’s right back into another Whole30!

 

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Uncategorized, Whole30 Journey

I’m Probably Not Dying

Holy moly- day 20 already? Time is flying and things have been busy- as evidenced by my little delay in posting! We got some snow overnight; it’s the first significant snowfall we’ve had since we moved here so I used my free time making mildly panicked grocery runs this week. And wouldn’t ya know it, I still didn’t have enough ghee and we’re already down to two kombuchas?!

On Thursday, I had a physical with my new doctor here in town. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but during a round of the Whole30, you’re not supposed to weigh yourself. But since I didn’t weigh myself to start with, I rationalized that I wouldn’t get discouraged by learning my weight at this juncture. So I weighed myself before I went and it was about what I thought. But somehow, just an hour later with nothing additional to eat, and the lightest clothing I could get away with, I was 7 pounds heavier on that damn doctor’s office scale. Never fails. What is that? Maybe it’s time to stop using the stupid sliding thingy. I was also a good inch shorter than what my driver’s license says. Rigged. Otherwise, the check-up went pretty well. I have to do some bloodwork still so I’m not 100% sure I’m not dying, but it’s looking that way.

Five Tiers of Fun!

We also got a new, Whole30-related kitchen gadget this week: a dehydrator. One of the few “treats” we allow ourselves is dried fruit. It’s really hard to find without added sugar, and it’s stupidly expensive for what it is. So we took matters into our own hands! We dried out some pears, bananas, mangoes and apples so far. They all turned out great except we should have pealed the mangoes first because the skin was a little tough.

And then today, I’ve just been fighting the temptation to hunker down with some wine while watching the Patriot’s game. Does Tom Brady drink wine? I peg him as a Chablis kind of guy. I was also tempted to finish my son’s hot chocolate (he ate the whipped cream off and then declared he was full) while watching the neighbor’s snow-blow, but ultimately, I stayed strong!

I added a few new dishes to the rotation this week, too. I got a suspiciously good deal on some pork chops, so I cooked those in a pan on the stove top and then deglazed the pan with the leftover marinade, some garlic and onions. I poured that over the chops, mashed potatoes and asparagus. Now I think I’m an expert in deglazing. I did a similar technique with steak tips the next night. Who knows what I will deglaze next!

So just ten days to go on this round (not counting my transgressions last weekend). Right now, we’re planning to take a day or two off and then probably get back on another round. Or, at least, do two weeks on, have one day off, and then two weeks on, one day off, and so on. I think we could really do that for a long time. Feeling good feels good!

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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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Uncategorized, Whole30 Journey

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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Uncategorized, Whole30 Journey

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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I Dream of Jeans

Exercise: CrossFit, Full Body Convulsions After a Bird Flew into My Window and Died
Food: Same ol’ Breakfast Scramble, Bunless Turkey Burger, Egg Roll in a Bowl, Lara Bars

I like clothes. And I like shopping. As my weight and fitness have fluctuated, it’s been hard to break out of a wardrobe rut. I mentioned in my last post that I just bought some new yoga pants. And I have, indeed, already worn them way too much. So yesterday, I resisted the urge to put them on again, and instead wore jeans. We had a little bit of a busy day, but at some point, we’d been home for awhile and I was taking out the trash and it occurred to me: I hadn’t changed out of my jeans yet! Pre-Whole30, I would have probably changed as soon as I got home. It feels great to be more comfortable in my clothes again, so much so that I’m not thinking about them. I’m really looking forward to doing some serious shopping in a few months if I keep this progress up (which I fully intend to do. Duh.) Just don’t remind me about the boxes of smaller clothes I’m hoarding somewhere.

So this recent clothing epiphany did lead to one “cheat” on the Whole30. I weighed myself. You’re not supposed to weigh yourself while on a round (a round just refers to the 30 days. So technically I’m on round 2 right now since we’re being 100% compliant this month). The reason is because weight can fluctuate so much, depending on so many things and a “bad” number could be discouraging. But I knew my tummy felt a little smaller. And sure enough, I’m down 2.5lbs since February 1. So that’s 9.5 since the start of January. Soooooo close to 10! It just confirmed to me that I’m still on track. I’m going to try my hardest not to weigh again until the end of this round.

Otherwise, I’m just an Olympics-watching fool! It’s great timing; seeing all these tight bodies in sleek suits is hella motivating (as they’d say out here on the West Coast). I may be 37, but I think I could still qualify in the luge. Or maybe short track speed skating which is mostly just pushing other bitches out of the way, right? Maybe this time next month I’ll get me one of those body suits.

So…takeaways from these days: rock those Mom jeans like no one is watching; this Whole30 shit really does work; find an excuse to buy a body-suit

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Slow n’ Steady Progress

Food: Scrambled Eggs and Sweet Potatoes, Green Salad with Veggies and Tunafish, Tri-Tip with Potatoes and Asparagus
Exercise: Barbell Club and Crossfit

eggplant

My first foray into Eggplant on the Whole30! I served it over some mixed-squash noodles.

Our second(ish) round of the Whole30 is moving right along. Today puts us at day 7, and though we haven’t had most of the withdrawal symptoms as the first round, both Biff and I feel a little hungover today. I swear, we each only had one Kombucha last night! I’m sure there’s a little bit of detox going on. I’ve also been really hungry today in between meals, which had subsided pretty early in round 1. Hm!

But we’re still seeing lots of progress. Yesterday, I bought myself a sassy pair of mom yoga pants (very tasteful ones- no sheerness and no camel toe!) and I comfortably fit into a size smaller than before. I will now wear them everyday. The gym is where I tend to see the most progress, mostly because we have measurable results daily. Both last night at Barbell Club and today at CrossFit I PR’ed some lifts. And our workout today had lots of running. While I was still pokey, I was proud that I didn’t need to stop and walk while running 1200m and then 800m (with pull-ups, push-ups and squats in between). I actually felt lighter while running. Is that a thing? My pull-ups felt easier too. I use a resistance band to “help” and a few weeks ago I was able to reduce the strength of the band (so I needed less help). Today I used that same, new band and I felt like I could even go down another step. Whoop whoop! Less body weight and increased strength make Melissa a happy gal!

So…takeaways from today: try pull-ups again soon; don’t impulse buy yoga pants, take the time to try them on and then find out the ones you like the most are the most expensive; you can be hungover without drinking! Fun.

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Super Bowl30

Exercise: Folding laundry
Food: Over-easy Eggs with Bacon and Sauteed Spinach, Tri-tip Steak with Potatoes and Mixed Veggies, Air Fryer Wings and Sweet Potato Fries

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, featuring my beloved Pats. Ok, I’m more of a fair-weather fan, but a lot of people I love love the Pats and that’s good enough for me. Being married to a wonderful cook, Super Bowl Sunday is usually filled with a lot of snacks. In year’s past, we would have small parties and serve dishes that represent the cities in the game. But this year we decided to lay low and keep it Whole30.

I’ve become so used to NOT snacking, that I really didn’t miss chips and dips and all of that. It’s like I’ve been reprogrammed. Ah! But we did make our meals a little festive: Biff smoked some Tri-tip (which I got on sale so I bought a ton of it. Tri-tip for days!) which we had as a late lunch, just as the game was starting. And then I made some wings in the air fryer for dinner. Wings aren’t always my favorite thing to eat, physically. There is simply no way to eat one without looking like a caveman. And I can never gauge how much I’ve eaten. But it was fun to have a “traditional” game day food and they turned out pretty decent. I also bought a bunch of those so we will be certainly eating wings again soon.

Tomorrow it’s back to the gym, finally! Looks like we’re working on overhead squats which we haven’t done for awhile so I’m looking forward to seeing some progress there. My thighs are ready.

So…takeaways from today: all you need is an air fryer and some kombucha to be festive; it’s ok to look like a caveman in the privacy of your own home; the surest way to get a kid to stop watching his iPad is to sit down to watch something YOU actually want to watch on TV.

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