Whole30 Wrap Up

Well it’s done… our Whole30 (which actually lasted for 55 days) is over. WE DID IT!

Accomplished doesn’t even begin to describe how I am feeling. But I will say, that I am more motivated than ever to continue this lifestyle. My health is something that I have taken for granted the past 23 years and as I sit here preparing to tell you about the transformation I have made in the past two months, I realize that I never want to be at the place that I was again. Now, don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed my time of eating with no abandon and drinking like it was going out of style. Let’s be serious, I more than enjoyed myself – I had the time of my life. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade those memories (or sometimes, lack there of) for anything – but I think I have come to a point where that is not what I want my life to be about. I don’t need to eat an entire bag of chips because… HELLO, there will always be another day when I can have a few. I don’t need to see how many beers I can throw back at a tailgate because I HATE being hung over. Will I indulge myself in a bowl of queso and a basket of chips every now and then? OF COURSE! (I am already planning a visit to my favorite Mexican Restaurant for when I am back in DSM in October.) Will I go out with friends and enjoy one too many drinks? OF COURSE! But the question becomes now – do I need to do that EVERY weekend? No, I don’t.

For the past two months, I can honestly say that I did not cheat on our meal plans once. That is something I have NEVER been able to say for any diet I have ever tried in the past. I think the reason I bought into this lifestyle so much was because I could actually feel that I was fueling my body with what it needed. I wasn’t depriving myself of food in general, like I had so many times before. I was eating until I was full and I was eating DELICIOUS food – yet I was still seeing the results.

I am proud to say that I have lost a total of 20 pounds since August 1st. This was a number that I had hoped for, but did not know if it was truly possible. Being active while focusing on our new eating plan was, I believe, a huge part of my success. But I want to stress again that I was not doing any crazy workouts – I was doing at least an hour of physical activity 5-6 days a week, but this included walking, running, work out classes…basically whatever I felt like doing besides just sitting on the couch. I will tell you though, there were days when I just wanted to sit on the couch – and you know what, once in a while that is exactly what I did. I don’t want to be a person who is neuoritc about going to the gym or what food they are eating. I want to enjoy my life and the includes the things I am doing AND the things I am eating. Food is just way too big a part of my life for me to act as though it doesn’t matter. Any person who has ever spent time with me knows I LOVE FOOD. That’s it. That’s the end of it. But now I see that loving food isn’t the enemy like I used to think – it’s loving food that DOES NOT HELP YOUR BODY FEEL BETTER OR WORK TO ITS POTENTIAL. I have so many things I want to do in my life and the thought of not being able to do them because of my health is something that I am not willing to accept.

Last year I came to the tough realization that my weight had gotten borderline out of control. What was once a few pounds here and there had added up and I was not the same person I had been a few years back. Now I don’t mean to sound melodramatic with that – but the fact is, there was never one year for me where I gained a bunch of weight. It was a gradual increase and that was something that was easy to overlook. Buy some looser shirts here, stock up on leggings there…it never truly effected me. I avoided a scale because I knew that seeing a number would make it too real. Then in January, I finally stepped on a scale (I curse and thank my roommate for buying one) and I was distraught by what I saw. I had never seen a number that high and I knew at that moment something had to be done. The first week of February I started working out at Kosama – a kickboxing/body transformation gym. I made a lot of progress with the help of their coaches and changed my diet to very limited complex carbs and focused on fruits/veggies and chicken. By June when I moved out to Portland I had lost 20 pounds. The move to Portland and then our trip to NJ set me back a bit and I ended up gaining back 5 of those 20 lbs, but I knew that was likely to happen and I was ready to get back on my game.

My goal was to hit 155 lbs by the time we went back home in October and I am so happy to say that I hit that goal 3 weeks early! (Making my total weight loss 35 lbs since February) Here is a picture of me a year ago when I first moved out to Arizona and a picture of me from today. I never in a million years thought I would be at the place where I was confident enough to post a picture like this – but this isn’t about me, this is about seeing that changes like this are able to happen. I know I needed some motivation before I started the Whole30 and I hope, if nothing else that this blog is able to do that for someone reading it. It takes work and I am not sitting here saying that it was always easy, because it wasn’t. But what makes continuing easy is knowing that I have made a huge impact on my future by bettering my health.

photo 1-6Don’t worry though, our journey isn’t over – R and I both are still working hard to get to our final goals. I plan on using the blog, as I mentioned previously, to continue sharing our recipes, successes and struggles. Even if no one reads this, the blog has helped me stay honest and that is something that I want to keep up.

So here’s to better health and knowing that if you want to make a change you can. Start with small steps and I PROMISE you will see the difference.

Fried Rice, Pork Chops and Lettuce Wraps

What happens when I get too caught up in other things to post our weekly recipes? You get stuck with a compilation of recipes in one post! But, that means lots of ideas if you are looking for something new to try this week! I think my plan is going to be to try at LEAST 1 new recipe each week – that way I will have something to share with you all AND R and I don’t have to get bored of the same ol’ same ol’.

Today is the jackpot… THREE new recipes!

Chicken Fried “Rice”

photo 2-5I didn’t follow an exact recipe, but after looking over a couple the one from Paleo & Wine is the closest one I found. I was a little frustrated when making this because we had gone to Kohl’s earlier that day and I purchased a food processor – finally! My plan was to use my new toy to make the cauliflower rice (remember that mess I made last time with the cheese grater??) HOWEVER, per usual, I picked a cheap one and it did not work the way that I was hoping it would – I think it was the amount of cauliflower I was trying to stuff in it. Needless to say, I ended up reverting back to my old ways and finished preparing the cauliflower rice with the cheese grater. R did most of the other cooking for this one – the chicken, veggies and the eggs. We mixed it all together with coconut aminos and enjoyed!

The ingredients we used:

  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • Head of cauliflower
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped green onion
  • 4-5 T coconut aminos

While we didn’t follow a recipe, I know sometimes people like to use one – so feel free to click the link above the picture!

Another meal we tried this weekend was a pork loin w/ blueberry sauce. I told R he could pick whatever he wanted for dinner on Sunday after the tri and he decided he wanted to use the pork loin we had in the freezer. I had seen a recipe recently for a blueberry sauce that looked SO good (and truth be told I was looking for a reason to buy the big bag of frozen blueberries from Costco). So that’s what we made Sunday night – paired it with steamed broccoli and mashed sweet potatoes. Filling AND yummy.

Pork Loin w/ Blueberry Sauce

photo 1-5I pretty much followed this recipe to the T – except for cooking the pork. We found a recipe that had you slow roast it, so we tried that…however, we ended up over cooking it. It still tasted good, but I will definitely be doing it for less time the next go-round. (We cooked it for 3 hours at 250 degrees and 1 hour at 275 degrees – the goal is to get the meat to an internal temp of 155, take it out of the oven and then cover with foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes) I also didn’t read closely enough that the blueberries were supposed to be thawed prior to adding them to the sauce – didn’t seem to make a huge difference, but I did use the potato masher to deconstruct them a little after they were cooking for about 5 minutes.

I really loved this recipe and I think I will be making the blueberry sauce again soon – except maybe over pork chops this time, as they are a little easier to cook!

Last but not least… Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps!!

Have you figured out yet that anything we can put into a lettuce leaf we like? I think it just adds a little more to the meal and you can squeeze some more veggies onto your plate easily! This is another recipe from Paleo Plan (where I got the pork loin w/ blueberry recipe from as well) – I really like how this site separates their recipes into categories, makes it easy for me to find what I am looking for!

photo 2-6I used the recipe as a guideline for this one and then did my own thing… so decide how you want to make yours and go for it!

  • 1 bag broccoli slaw
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 can pineapple chunks

The sauce I made was exactly the same as the recipe; however, I added the ingredients to the broccoli slaw after sautéing it for about 3-4 minutes. I also added about 1/2 the juice from the pineapple can to the slaw as well, drained the rest of the liquid from the can and threw the pineapple in with the mix. After the chicken was cooked, I added that to the pan as well and then served it up in lettuce leaves. We will DEFINITELY be having this again.

Our meals for the rest of this week are pretty standard: fajitas, chili and chicken apple sausage. Guess I better be on the look out for what our next new recipe will be! Enjoy your Tuesday!

TRI-DAY

So I am a big, huge liar. I said I was going to post on Sunday, but we just had way too big of a day for me to even THINK about getting a post worthy of your reading together. Instead, I will give you a play by play now. Well, a shortened version – don’t worry.

Sunday morning started with a 4:30 AM alarm, juicing and getting dressed into some warm clothes. R had prepared all of his tri things on Saturday night, so we packed it into the car and headed out. The vibe was great right when we got there, quite chilly but a lot of a people, a lot of bikes and a lot of good energy. Before I knew it, R was with his age group getting ready to jump in the Willamette River. The next three hours flew by and you better believe I indulged in a pumpkin pie latte while i hung around! I was able to get pictures and videos of most of the transitions and OBVIOUSLY caught a couple of shots of R crossing the finish line.

Total time: 2 hours 56 minutes and 57 seconds!!!!!!!!!!! He did amazing. I was/am so proud of him for training so hard and making it within his goal. It was a great day (minus a little bit of drizzle). I am SO glad I got to be there!

After the race, we went home, made some salads and juice, and watched football. Perfect little Sunday 🙂

Check out the video and the pics!!!

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Italian Night

Some of you may know that my mom’s family is Italian – and when I say Italian I mean all things great that come along with that word. Loud and vivacious gatherings, food for days cooked from scratch that smells amazing, and more love than you could every imagine. I could go on for days about all of this, but for the sake of this blog (and your time) I am focusing on the food aspect. Ever since I can remember I have LOVED italian food. Baked ziti, meatballs, chicken parm, lasagna, PIZZA…I mean the list goes on. Through the years though, I have had to come to the realization that while I may be able to eat Italian all day and night but I SHOULDN’T be doing that. I found ways to make the recipes I grew up with healthier and still delicious, but when we started Paleo one of my staple ingredients was cut out – CHEESE. So I was on a mission to make us good, quality meals minus basically all the ingredients we were used to haha.

Enough rambling about my love for food… we decided to make homemade meat sauce and serve it with spaghetti squash. My recipe for sauce is derived from my mom’s – I will admit, she makes it better…but I’m learning.

photo 2-4Meat Sauce w/ Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 lb ground turkey (we bought one that was italian seasoned)
  • 1/2 large white onion – chopped (could also use a bag of frozen chopped onion)
  • 3 T garlic
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 large can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 small can of tomato paste
  • 3 zucchinis (these were the leftover parts from our zucchini noodles with the shrimp scampi)
  • 1 large spaghetti squash

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half length wise, scoop out the seeds and guts and place cut side up on a baking sheet – let cook for 50-60 minutes. Bring olive oil and garlic to med-high heat in a large saucepan, add onions and cook until translucent. In a separate pan, brown the ground turkey. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste to the saucepan with the onions. Add the zucchini to the pan with the ground turkey. Once zucchini is tender, combine all ingredients in one of the pans (whichever is bigger). Remove spaghetti squash from the over and shred with a fork (be careful though – they are HOT!). Serve and enjoy! (Oh also, I always throw a bunch of spices in everything I am making – I used a little bit of crushed red pepper, oregano, italian seasoning and a dash of garlic powder)

I could have eaten the sauce by itself it was so good. And it’s just vegetables and meat! This would be great over zucchini noodles as well!

We also did another night of kebabs – just chicken, peppers, onions and sweet potatoes on the side. So easy but so filling.

photo 1-4R has today off (he gets every other Friday off with his work schedule, so lucky him he gets to always hang out with me since I rarely work on Friday’s either!) so we are going to the Adidas store in Portland – we have 50%…helllllllo new Fall work out wardrobe!

On the note of new wardrobe, I am so excited that I am seeing such progress in my body as we come to a close on this month and a half journey (final weigh in will be coming up on Sunday!) – but it is expensive trying to recreate a wardrobe into things that fit! I will still be wearing most of my clothes, since they just fit better now – but my work out pants don’t stay up when I’m running…and let me tell you, I am an un-attractive runner BEFORE you add in me grabbing my pants every 5 seconds. So I think the purchases today are warranted 🙂

Cheers to DAY 52! I didn’t know if we could make it, but we certainly did!

 

TRI WEEK

The week is finally here! The triathlon is 5 days away – meaning we have FIVE DAYS LEFT OF THE WHOLE30!!!! (Or in our case, the whole16532876). I know I have been lacking on posts lately (sorry) but we have been sticking to pretty basic meals. But I have been thinking a lot about what our diet is going to consist of after this weekend. R and I have both made a LOT of progress over the past two months and we both want to keep working towards better physical fitness. In order to do that I know we cannot just drop paleo and go back to our old diets. I do, however, want us to be realistic in our expectations so that we don’t end up beating ourselves up down the line. For example, we are going back to Iowa in a few weeks for a wedding – neither of us plan on picking around meals at the wedding or not enjoying cocktails (emphasis on the multiple) with our friends that we haven’t seen in months! But the fact is that a weekend of “bingeing” is going to need to be counteracted by some SERIOUS meal planning before and after. Looking into the next couple of months, having plans during the weekends here and there, I think that will be our main goal – be SERIOUS about sticking to paleo (whole30 even) during the week and then allowing ourselves a little break on the weekend, when necessary. My hope is that this will allow us to be a little more social while still maintaining the results that we are seeing right now. We both have told each other that we are NOT letting our bodies go back to how they were two months ago – so we are in this together. (Thank goodness, because I don’t know that I could do this on my own.)

With that all being said, I will still be blogging because (as you may know already) I get bored fairly easily with food and recipes. I plan on continuing to try new paleo dishes and flavors to see what things we like and work the best for us!

This past week, I tried one of my favorite seafood dishes – which I have actually never even cooked myself previously, Shrimp Scampi! I thought it was an A+, but maybe I’m biased…. 🙂 This was definitely a splurge meal though, it has 1/2 cup of olive oil and if you are familiar with the nutritional facts of the lovely EVOO, while it is a good fat it definitely can tack on the calories. We served it with zucchini noodles … low carb perfection. (Am I getting annoying yet?)

Shrimp Scampi

  • photo 1-33 large zucchini
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 T garlic
  • 1 lb shrimp (peeled and deveined – I would also suggest removing the tails prior to cooking)
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 3 T parsley
  • salt/pepper

Heat large skillet on med-high with olive oil and garlic. Once heated, add shrimp, lemon, parsley and salt/pepper to taste. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side (until the shrimp is fully pink). Make zucchini noodles – peel skin off with regular peeler and peel remaining zucchini up to the seeds with a julienne peeler. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add zucchini noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes – drain water and add zucchini noodles to the pan with shrimp and sauce.

Next time I think I would add some steamed broccoli too, just to bulk it up a little! I guess another way would be to make some more zucchini noodles. Either way, it was plenty of food – just saying!

We had another night of brats too – god I love them. We basically made sausage and peppers and paired it with…big surprise here…CARROT FRIES!!!! Note to self – no need to purchase a 10 lb bag of them from Costco, we will just stick to the regular sized bag haha.

photo 4 photo 5I hope you all have an AMAZING week! Keep your fingers crossed that the weather cooperates this weekend for the tri!

Also, we made a BOMB meat sauce last night, recipe tomorrow!

 

Chipotle Fake-Out

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love mexican food. Now when I say mexican, I am referring to the more americanized versions – i.e. quesadillas, enchiladas, fajitas and all the fixings that come with! Three main ingredients in any of the mexican food I used to make was cheese, beans and corn. Can’t eat that stuff no more… so I wanted to find something else that we could paid with fajita chicken and vegetables (besides salad, which we have already done twice). I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but I have seen so many recipes for cauliflower rice floating around the internet that I had really wanted to try it. The main tool most recipes needed was a food processor, which is like the one thing we do not have, BUT I though the magic bullet would be a decent substitute. WRONNNNGGGGG – I tried it a couple of weeks ago but when I put the cauliflower in the magic bullet and turned it on…nothing happened. Like at all. SO that was the night that we had cauliflower mash instead.

I kept doing some checking on recipes to see if I could use any other tools in place of the food processor and one recipe said to use a grater – and that’s what I did! I want to say this now, it was slightly messy and took me a little while. I can certainly see why a food processor is the optimal choice, but I wasn’t about to go buy one for this recipe when I didn’t even know what it tasted like yet! (After trying it and knowing what else I could use the food processor for – it’s next on my gadget list.)

There are a TON of different ways you can prepare the “rice” – just switch up the seasonings! We went with a mexican/spicy route to match with the chicken fajitas we made. (And obliviously our guacamole and salsa!) Here is the recipe I used for the cauli-rice – it’s from Paleo Cupboard. If you are interested in finding some more recipes, her site is awesome!

photo 3-2

photo 1-2Just a few of my own changes:

  • added smoked paprika
  • added chipotle lime seasoning
  • added cilantro

We could have gone all out for a burrito bowl type thing, but this was close enough! One head of cauliflower made SO much, plenty for leftovers…our favorite!

Tonight we are trying a new pork recipe I found – wish us luck! There will be a post tomorrow 🙂

Another asian inspired dish

Stir Fry has always been my go to. In college I think I had stir fry at least 3 times a week. It is easy to make and you can mix things up – different veggies, different sauces, different sides, etc…

I have found it a little more difficult to make stir fry while on the Whole30 because my typical sauces were premade, processed and full of sugar and other additives. There are plenty of recipes online to make your own paleo version of sauces – but most of them require you to buy a lot of different ingredients and honestly, I am a little too lazy for that. SO we have settled on other options, but sometimes I just can’t kick the craving for some good ol’ stir fry. I went out on a limb and tried a new “recipe” (I use quotations because I literally just was tossing things into the pan and prayed it tasted good) – luckily it worked!

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Stir Fry w/ Asian Peanut Sauce and Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 bag of frozen stir fry veggies
  • 2 T sun butter (or other nut butter besides peanut)
  • 2 T coconut aminos
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 T ground red pepper
  • 1 T arrowroot powder (optional – thickens sauce)
  • 1 T crushed red pepper

First things first – preheat the over to 375 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half length wise and remove seeds and “guts”. Place cut side up on a baking sheet and cook for 45 – 60 minutes (or until easily shredded with a fork). While the spaghetti squash is cooking…heat the coconut and sesame oil in a large skillet on med-high heat. Add diced chicken and cook thoroughly. Add frozen veggies and cook for another 5-6 minutes (or until veggies are cooked through). Add remaining spices and sun butter and stir well – making sure that everything mixes. Cover the skillet and let simmer until the spaghetti squash is done (this let the chicken and veggies soak up some of the sauce). Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven, let cool and shred with a fork – add shredded spaghetti squash to the skillet and mix well. Place in bowls and top with crushed red pepper to serve!

This recipe made enough for 3 servings for us hungry folk – could definitely be made into 4. While the list of ingredients may be slightly longer than some of the other things we make, trust me – this is easy and a good way to great a fancier looking meal in an hour (with most of the time being spent waiting for the spaghetti squash to cook!)

I have been getting a great response from people about this blog and you have no idea how happy that makes me. I wanted to do this to record things for myself and in hopes that maybe I could pass the word about the whole30 onto a few others. I really welcome any questions that you may have and would be happy to help you start your journey! I am by no stretch of the imagination a guru – but after 40 days I am feeling pretty good!