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!

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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 27-30!

The last horrah!  We made it to the end…more on that later.  I again only took pictures of new or interesting meals, but take a look at what our last 4 days consisted of:

Day 27:

7.31 Whole30 breakfast
Fruit Salad and scrambled eggs with Pesto. Got the green eggs…just missing the ham!
7.31 Whole30 Dinner
Salisbury Steak, Green Beans with Balsamic Vinegar and Mashed Potatoes with Ghee

Day 28:

8.1 Whole30 Snack
First day of August and my office A/C is so frigid that I broke down and needed a mid-day hot coffee. Still struggling to drink it black, but I’m getting used to the taste.
8.1 Whole30 Dinner
Homemade taco seasoning simmered with beef, topped with salsa and guacamole inside a lettuce wrap

Day 29:

8.2 Breakfast
Breakfast on the go…banana, cashew larabar and ice water.
8.2 Whole30 Dinner2
Perusing the natural aisle we found a new brand to try, frozen spinach cakes. Brian loved them, I thought they were only ok.
8.2 Whole30 Dinner
Spinach cakes, compliant bacon, turkey meat sautéed with green peppers and sweet onions.

Day 30:

8.3 Whole30 Breakfast
Almond Butter, Banana and coconut milk smoothie with a side of fresh strawberries
8.3 Whole 30 Dinner
Stir fry with peppers, onion, broccoli, beef with a Tahini sauce dressing. Organic sweets and beats on the side.

We did it!  We made it!  We survived!  30 days was hard work…but it paid off.  First thing I splurged on was an iced coffee with cream and sugar…boy did I miss that!

Overall I lost 11 pounds and my husband lost 14.  I never once stepped foot into a gym…I didn’t do anything differently other than change my diet.  I think that is pretty impressive!  

Come back later this week for our overall impression and tips.  And if you’re participating we would love to hear your best practices as well!

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 13-19

This week marked the halfway point of our Whole30 journey!  We are feeling good and I’m proud that we haven’t slipped up so far.  Here are our thoughts so far:

Pros:

  • Well Rounded Meals
  • Sitting Down to Breakfast starts the day off right
  • Making Healthy Choices
  • Becoming more aware of the hidden sugars and ingredients lurking in processed foods
  • No more headaches
  • Less Craving
  • Fewer trips to the grocery store with a solid meal plan
  • Discovered foods we didn’t know we would like

Cons:

  • Lot’s of meal prep
  • Expensive grocery bills – organic foods are killer!
  • Turning on the oven in 90 degree weather…
  • Lack of motivation to create a full meal after a long day (this is when we used to fall into the takeout habit)
  • So. Many. Dishes

Honestly we haven’t noticed any of the main things we were looking for, ie: more energy, better sleep at night, clearer skin, etc.  And we obviously won’t know whether there was any weight loss until the end.  Overall the pros outweigh the cons, but there certainly haven’t been any life changing moments.

On to the meal plan!

Whole30 Meal Plan
Weekly Meal prep for Whole30 Days 13-19
Whole30 Meal Plan
Whole30 Meal Plan for Days 13-19

We are continuing to use our meal planning app, which is a great way to keep us on target and share meals for the week.  This is not endorsed, but we are using the free version of “Meal Planner” from the apple store.  I give it 2 thumbs up.  You will see meals being repeated, we are falling back into comfort zones, easy meals, and ones we have found we really enjoy.  I don’t have photos for every meal, just the new or really great ones!

Without further delay… da photos:

Whole30 Breakfast
Sunday Breakfast, 2 scrambled eggs and trail mix. Dried fruit and nuts, lots of healthy fats.
Whole30 Lunch
Sunday Lunch: Zoodles with a cold heirloom tomato sauce and pesto
Whole30 Dinner
Sunday Dinner: Compliant Hotdogs, avacado oil chips and broccoli slaw with compliant ranch

We have received some skepticism regarding how there could possible be a “whole” hotdog, aren’t they super processed food?  The best brand we have found is Applegate.  Again, NOT endorsed, we just love them.  Applegate creates natural and organic meats.  Here is their label, which shows that the hotdogs are made from grass fed beef and other simple ingredients.  No preservatives, no antibiotics, no added sugar, no nitrates.  We highly recommend them, not the easiest brand to find, but we found them at Wegmans.

Applegate Hotdog, Whole30 approved
Applegate Hotdog Label, Whole30 approved
Whole30 Lunch
Monday Lunch, Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Mango Salsa, Avocado Oil Chips and Guacamole
Whole30  Dinner
Monday Dinner: Garlic Shrimp on a bed of Zoodles
Whole30 Breakfast
Tuesday Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs and chicken sausage (Also Applegate brand!)
Whole30 Dinner
Tuesday Dinner: Crockpot Pot Roast and potatoes. Seasoned with pineapple juice not from concentrate, coconut aminos, garlic and onion
Whole30 Dinner
Wednesday Dinner: Pan fried polish sausage, carrots and oven roasted sweet potatoes. We tried the sweet potatoes with cinnamon, not bad!
Whole30 Lunch
Thursday Lunch: Pico de gallo, avocado, bacon and hard boiled eggs wrapped in lettuce.
Whole30 Dinner
Thursday Dinner: Onion burgers topped with guacamole and a oven roasted potato medley
Whole30 Dinner
Friday Dinner: More Zoodles topped with Applegate Hotdogs. This was one of the hottest days this summer…I had to adjust our meal plan to avoid turning on the oven!
Whole30 Lunch
Saturday Lunch: Bed of arugula and spinach topped with cherry tomatoes, blueberries, red peppers and smoked salmon. Odd combination, but it was really very good.

We had a lot of really good meals this week, and a lot of repeated meals.  But I think that is ok.  I am finally getting comfortable with the ingredients I can use that I’ve been able to branch out from just strictly following recipes, which has felt pretty good.  Would you like to see some recipes on a later post?  Let me know if you do, I would be happy to share!

Fall Themed Snacks – Healthy and Delicious!

Nobody loves a theme more than me!  I think a great way to introduce healthy foods to some of our children is to make it fun.  So I decided to round up some of my favorite Fall Themed snacks for children, or grownups!  Some of them are easy and take no time, other’s take more prep time.  But they look so fun!
We provide two snacks a day for our children, and create a snack menu based on healthy choices.  We no longer allow families to bring in cupcakes or other sweets for birthdays, so we like to provide a “Birthday Alternatives” list.  I think some of these healthy options would be awesome for making snack fun and special, while still keeping it healthy.
It would be even better if you can get the little ones to help you prepare these snacks.  You can turn a cooking lesson into discussions on healthy foods, turn taking, measuring, cause and effect, and so much more.  Plus, children of all ages like to help out in the kitchen!  Take a look at some of my favorites below.

Candy Corn Popsicles – Delicious and Nutritious! By Girl Inspired

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Girl. Inspired created these delicious looking homemade popsicles.  She lets each layer freeze for at least 5 minutes before pouring in the next layer.  This does require a popsicle mold, but I can think of so many other combinations that would be just as delicious.  This is a fantastic alternative to real Candy Corn, and all of the high sugar candies that start to come out this time of year.  Kids will feel like they are getting a special treat, since we don’t do popsicles very often, when in fact they are getting a healthy alternative to candy or treats.

Microwave Sweet Potato Chips by Baked by an Introvert

Sweet-Potato-Chips-in-the-Microwave

We generally don’t offer potato chips as a snack for our children, but these all natural sweet potato chips would be awesome.  And since all you need is a microwave kids could definitely help make them!  How easy are these, you literally slice, rinse, microwave for 3 minutes on each side, sprinkle with salt…and enjoy.  Anyone could do it!  I can’t wait to try!

Fried Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas by Mondo

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While on the topic of chips, look at these delicious looking friend cinnamon sugar looking tortillas.  With fall themed shapes, like these leaves, you can make something extra special for the kiddos.  Children can definitely help cut the tortillas with cookies cutters to make fun fall shapes.  But then you will need a separate space to safely fry them in oil.  Sprinkle them with a cinnamon sugar mix and serve immediately.  These look so tasty!

Baked Apple Chips by The Beach Body Blog

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Now this recipe will definitely take more preparation and time, it takes over 2 hours to bake.  But you could always prepare them the day before.  During this time of year the majority of my students have recently gone apple picking.   They come in after a weekend excited to tell all about their time at the orchard, and many of them bring in bags of apples to share.  This is a really great way to use some of those apples!  These Baked Apple Chips are extremely easy, just time consuming.  Slice the apples, sprinkle with cinnamon, and bake.  Ta-da!  I think children will be excited about a new way to enjoy their apples!

Other great apple recipes are apple bran muffins or home made applesauce.  We do this with the crockpot in my classes almost every year.  The children love being able to measure ingredients, check throughout the day to see how the apples change, smell the smells, and then get to enjoy the finished product.  This is a wonderful science experiment for them as well.  How do apples go from solid to liquid?  And the classroom smells unbelievably delicious All. Day. Long.

Very simple pumpkin snack by Surviving A Teacher’s Salary

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So simple, but this brings new life to boring snacks!  How adorable is a peeled clementine or small orange and a stick of celery?!  I love how easy this is, but will excite children for a fun Healthy Pumpkin Snack.

Fall tree with Carrots, pretzels, and raisins

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Fall tree with Pretzels and Tomatoes

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These last two I found while looking around but don’t have a source to send you to.  I love how both of these snacks incorporate vegetables for a healthy snack.  There is no way that they would stay looking this nice and neat, but they sure do make a statement!  I think that children would also enjoy making their own food art, and changing up the pictures as they eat parts of the snack.

Do you have any go to snacks for the fall time?  How do you make eating healthy fun?