Life after the Whole30

If you checked out the last post here, you will have seen that we successfully completed our first Whole30!  I managed to loose 11 pounds, and my husband lost 14.  I personally never stepped foot into a gym, I didn’t alter my routine at all, I just changed what I ate.  Focusing on whole foods, fresh produce, and little to no ingredients clearly made a huge difference.  But it also wasn’t super easy.  Here is a list of some of our Pros, Cons and tips for anything thinking about starting their first Whole30!

NNtwIvOx

Our Personal Pros:

  • Opened our eyes to sneaky ingredients in processed food
  • Reading lables taught us to look for ingredients rather than just number of calories or amount of protein.
  • Better eating habits, including making time to have 3 well rounded meals a day
  • Branching out and trying new foods (and surprisingly liking them!)
  • Cut down on mindless snacking
  • Threw out less “forgotten” food in the refrigerator
  • Almost completely eliminated the expenses we were spending eating out or grabbing take-out.
  • Gained a new appreciation for high quality food and being healthy
  • We felt “healthier”
  • Having a meal plan and sticking to it saved us time and $$.  I didn’t have to worry about whether or not we had the right ingredients.  After a long day at work I didn’t have to wonder what I could possibly throw together for a meal.  It eliminated the need to make multiple trips to the grocery store, again saving us time and $$.
  • Time spent together.  We spent more time shopping and cooking together, and generally had dinner together each night.
  • Weight loss

Our Personal Cons:

  • Expensive Grocery Bill – organic produce, free range and grass fed..$$$
  • Food prep is time consuming!  After a 12 hour work day and an hour commute home thinking about being in the kitchen for another extended period of time was hard.
  • Feeling restricted when visiting family (a family cookout and birthday party were harder and full of temptations)
  • Some meals got boring after a while, you can only have eggs so many days in a row for breakfast!
  • Brian felt the lack of carbs when he would workout and then spend a full day at a very physically demanding job.  Meals were not as filling for him.
  • I was disappointed not to see the most common benefits such as more energy and better sleep at night.
Whole30 Lunch
Our plates were colorful and our meals were delicious!

Our Tips:

If you’re thinking about giving the Whole30 a try, or if you’ve done one before and you’re looking to mix things up we found a lot of these helpful:

  • Check out the website!  There is a really useful shopping list, restaurant guide, substitutions and recipe suggestions.
  • Follow Whole30 on Instagram and/or facebook.  They often have guests posting, who are regular people just like us, who offer great recipe suggestions, motivation and real life stories.  Having a network is especially helpful if you are trying to Whole30 alone!
  • Make a meal plan.  I can’t say this enough.  It saved us so many trips to the grocery store which wastes time and $$
  • Prepare as much ahead of time as possible.  Cook a big batch of something that can be used in multiple meals.  Cut all your veggies so salad assembly is easy.  Pack your lunch the night before.  Seriously, it makes a BIG difference.
  • Keep yourself busy so you’re not always focused on food.  If you have a quiet weekend at home, get up and go for a walk or make plans.  Sitting in the house thinking about snacking can be a huge let down.
  • Have the willpower to be around food you cannot have and still be able to turn it down.  Instead focus on what you CAN have.  It will help you stay on track while being around family and friends without the same restrictions.  If you can’t resist your urges, avoid those situations as much as possible.
  • Get people to join you!  There is a force in numbers, the more support you have, the easier you will find it.  You can swap recipe suggestions and get together for meals knowing that you are not alone.

Whole30 Days 20-26

As we rounded the home stretch to our first Whole30 I made my biggest mistake.  No weekly meal plan.  It resulted in last minute trips to various grocery stores, repeat meals and panicking at the last minute trying to throw something compliant together for a meal.  I learned my lesson!  In order to really follow the Whole30 you have to have a plan in place, it saves so much time, so much money, and really helps mentally prepare yourself for the coming week.

Here are some of our meals:

7.22 Whole30 Breakfast
Breakfast of fried eggs, fresh fruit and a tall glass of water

My newest favorite kitchen gadget is the mandolin I received for my birthday.  It makes perfect french fries, my most favorite food ever!  I could have eaten just a plate of french fries alone for a meal!

Whole30 French Fries
The mandolin makes the perfect french fries, we baked them in the oven to make them Whole30 compliant!
Whole30 French Fries
Potatoes sliced by the mandolin and tossed in light olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, basil, salt, pepper and a little bit of paprika. Baked to perfection in the oven
Whole30 Brunch
We re-fried left over potato medley and topped them with 2 poached eggs and complaint “faux” hollandaise sauce. A side of compliant bacon made the perfect Brunch.
Whole30 DInner
Turkey burgers topped with pineapple, mango salsa, avocado oil chips and broccoli
Whole30 Breakfast
Smoked Salmon was the perfect breakfast addition when I needed a break from eggs. I had this with a side of fresh fruit and was good to go!
Whole30 Dinner
Back to the oven baked French Fries, because they were that good! More broccoli and a perfectly grilled steak.
Whole30 Restaurant Dinner
One of the rare times we’ve braved going to a restaurant…ice burg lettuce, grilled chicken, apples and dried cranberries. Dressing on the side.
Whole30 Dinner zoodles
Back to the zoodles! We have had so so so much zucchini on this diet
Whole30 lunch
Quick stop at Whole Foods, well balanced salad with avocado dressing and a cold pressed grapefruit juice. Perfection.

Stay tuned for our last 4 days, and what our final results end up being!

Whole30 Days 7-12

If you would like to read about the beginning of our Whole30 journey check out days 1-6 HERE.

Currently we are almost wrapping up week 2, which means we are almost half way done!  I still don’t feel any major differences, but my headaches are pretty much gone.  It must have just been from detoxing my body off of sugar and caffeine.  You are allowed caffeine on the Whole30, but without cream and sugar in my coffee I have virtually stopped drinking it.  My husband did notice that by Friday afternoon he was seriously dragging.  He gets up and does early morning workouts and then is pretty active all day long outside in the heat, so we are thinking we need to up his caloric intake.

I do think that clean eating has started to become a habit for us.  The extra time it takes to meal prep can be frustrating.  I have definitely had more than one occasion where after a marathon day at work I would so much rather stop for take out rather than coming home and preparing a whole meal.  And the dishes….SO MANY dishes.  But so far we have resisted, 12 days down without a single cheat.  We did go out to dinner once, I got grilled Salmon and broccoli and my husband got lettuce wraps…so impressed with us!

I downloaded a free app this week called “Meal Planner Pal” and it has been great!  You can add in Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks for a whole week.

meal plan1
Meal Planner Pal from the App Store

Then, you can choose who to email it to.  So I was able to share the whole week’s worth of meals with my husband.  It has definitely helped us stay organized and stay on plan.  Here is what it looks like when you receive an email:

meal plan 2
Meal Planner Pal free email…sharing our weekly menu with the hubs just became that much easier!

I also made a big pitcher of green tea to last us through the week.  I just brewed mandarine green tea and then added frozen peaches and fresh mint from the garden.  It was a great morning replacement for my normal cup of coffee.

peach tea
Mandarine Green tea with frozen peaches and fresh mint

Now onto some of our meals!

Breakfast:

breakfast 1
Sweet potato, onion and compliant sausage hash. It was nearly impossible to find a compliant sausage, but it was well worth the hunt! We added a fried egg on top a couple times this week for a breakfast choice.
breakfast 3
Any tupperware fans out there have the egg cooker? This has been a saving grace for us with on the run breakfasts! It will cook your scrambled or poached eggs in under 2 minutes in the microwave. That’s why so many of my omelets have this shape
breakfast 2
Banana and a Larabar. Larabar’s were our best find this week. They are all natural fruit and nut bars, perfect for a meal addition or snack on the go and totally compliant.
Breakfast 4
Two fried eggs and a fruit salad
Breakfast 5
2 friend eggs and a trail mix (dried apricots, raisins, almonds and cashews)

I think we are starting to get a little bit sick of eggs, and I’ve been trying to limit our fruit intake and replace with more vegetables.  So I need to really do some research on breakfast ideas for this week!

Lunch:

lunch 1
Home made chicken salad (left over roasted chicken, compliant mayo, red onions, red grapes and celery) avocado and strawberries
lunch 2
Spinach salad topped with grilled chicken and a light italian dressing
lunch 3
Black olives, banana, smoothie, larabar, sweets and beats and guac. A snacky meal but surprisingly really filling!
lunch 4
Sweet romaine lettuce, tomatoes and broccoli topped with grilled steak tips and light italian dressing
lunch 5
Cobb Salad…sweet romaine lettuce, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, avocado, bacon and left over grilled steak tips.
Lunch 6
Turkey burgers topped with pineapple mango salsa, avocado oil chips and guac

Dinners:

Dinner 1
Beef and bacon stuffed orange peppers, black olives, home made kale chips
Dinner 2
Sweet potato and zucchini latkes and baked white fish
Dinner 3
Home made guacamole on taco meat
Dinner 4
Oven roasted potatoes, steamed broccoli and grilled chicken
Dinner 5
zucchini noodles with homemade marinara sauce and meatballs
Dinner 6
Grilled salmon with steamed broccoli

Overall our meals have been time consuming but pretty filling and delicious.  One of my favorites were the sweet potato and zucchini latkes.  I shredded 2 zucchinis and 2 sweet potatoes and added one egg.  I sprinkled in some almond flour, onion flakes, and a few spices to taste.  Formed them into pancakes and fried in light olive oil.

zucchini latkes
sweet potato and zucchini latkes

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a huge sweet potato or zucchini fan, but these were delicious!  I have also really enjoyed the zucchini noodles we have made.  Maybe my tastes are changing after all…

And for a sweet treat on a night when I needed dessert we cut up a granny smith apple and added almond butter.  Yum!

Dessert
Granny Smith apple and almond butter

2 more weeks to go!

Whole 30 – Days 1-6

My husband and I started our Whole30 journey on Tuesday July 5th.  We made it through the Holiday weekend enjoying all of our favorite meals before tackling a month of health eating!  If you would like to learn more about the program, check out their website.  There is all kinds of free information and downloads, including shopping lists!

Essentially you are cutting out Dairy, Grains, unhealthy fats, sugar, artificial ingredients, alcohol, and legumes.  You are adding in meats, eggs, healthy fats, lots of vegetables and some fruits.  3 well rounded main meals a day, no snacking unless necessary or right after a work out.  And you can only weigh yourself on Day 1 and Day 30.

We are on day 6, and feel pretty good.  Aside from two pretty terrible migraines and headaches the first few days, I haven’t noticed any changes or side effects.  One of the biggest adjustments for me is getting up and preparing a breakfast.  I hardly ever ate breakfast, and if I did it was something quick I could grab and eat on the run.  I think that is one of the best changes that will stick with me even after the 30 days are over.  We are also constantly having to read labels, who knew that almost every salad dressing out there has hidden sugar!

The diet is hard, but not impossible.  I think we have both agreed that the hardest thing has been giving up cheese…and not being able to put cream/sugar in coffee for me.   We had two different birthday parties/family events yesterday and definitely felt tempted, but not enough to give in.  Self control at its finest.

We have found that it takes an incredible amount of prep time, and so so so many dishes to wash!  Our grocery bill is definitely higher, but we haven’t gone out to eat at all, so we are saving on that end.  Here are a couple of meals from our first week:

Breakfasts:

Whole30 Breakfast
2 scrambled eggs with watermelon and blueberries
Whole30 Breakfast Omlet
2 scrambled eggs with green pepper, onion, and ham
Whole30 Breakfast
2 Fried Eggs and Fruit Salad
Whole30 Breakfast
Fruit Salad, Scrambled eggs with green pepper, onion and ham, and an orange smoothie

I’m finding it really difficult to enjoy coffee black, which I think may have added to some of my headaches.  I’ve substituted this with tea occasionally, or on a day I’m really dragging I just suck it up and sip on the black coffee.

Whole30 Iced Tea
Iced Tea with breakfast in place of my usual coffee loaded with cream and sugar

Lunch:

Whole30 Chicken Salad lunch
Chicken Salad made with left over Chicken, grapes, celery, red onion and vegan mayo
Whole30 Lunch
Red Smoothie and green Salad

I didn’t take pictures of all of my lunches, but there were a lot of salads involved.  One of our favorites was a spinach and arugula salad with Strawberries and Ham topped with an oil and vinegar dressing.

Dinners:

Whole30 Chicken Crockpot
Used the crockpot to roast a seasoned chicken on top of sweet onions, russet potatoes and carrots
Whole30 Crockpot Chicken
Finished Chicken Dinner
Whole30 Sausage, peppers and onions
Spicy Sausage fried in Olive Oil with Green Peppers and Onions
Whole30 Marinara with Turkey Meatballs and Zucchini Noodles
Another Crockpot Meal: Homemade marinara with Turkey meatballs on top of Zucchini noodles
Whole30 Paleo Meatloaf dinner
Paleo Meatloaf, oven roasted potatoes, broccoli and avocado drizzled with balsamic vinegar
Whole30 Burger
Beef/Chicken burger topped with guacamole, green salad with compliant dressing, cherries and fruit.

My sweet tooth is definitely hurting, we tried a simple dessert to satisfy it:

Whole30 Bananas and almond butter
Slightly frozen bananas topped with almond butter

We are off to plan our menu for this coming week and hit the grocery store.  I think we are on a roll!

Lunch prep for the week

don’t know about you, but I am not a morning person.  It really doesn’t matter how early I go to bed, or how much sleep I’ve had, mornings are still always tough. Especially now that it’s not just me trying to scoot out the door.  There’s a puppy that needs to be walked, fed, and given attention.
One of the things that suffers for me, is having the time left to pack a lunch.  When I don’t pack a lunch I end up grabbing something quick and unhealthy on my short lunch break.  Not only is it unhealthy, but I also end up spending more than I would have if I had just packed a lunch.
Every week when I grocery shop I’m good about picking out fresh produce and healthy snacks. But I’m just as guilty at throwing them out at the end of the week, untouched and limp.  I can’t stand what a waste it is!
The best way I’ve found to solve this problem is to prep my healthy choices at the beginning of the week.  I usually make a veggie and a fruit choice and have them all ready to go in the fridge.
This week I have my five containers of red, yellow, and green peppers with carrots ready to go.  How colorful are they!  I grab a side of hummus and I have a healthy, and delicious snack for the day.
I also try to have a fruit option ready for the week.  This week watermelon and raspberries were on sale, so I stuck to the color theme.

I pack everything up in one of the crisper drawers, and each morning I just grab a fruit, and veggie container and I’m halfway done!

For the rest of my lunch I tend to vary between making a sandwich the night before or packing leftovers from dinner.  This has made life so much easier, and now I don’t have to worry about leaving time in the morning.  And since I rarely leave the time…now I don’t have to worry about spending the extra money for an unhealthy meal that I end up eating on the run.

What do you do to help make your morning routine smoother?