Recipe Roundup: 5 Healthy Green Dishes in Honor of St. Patrick’s Day

Recipe Roundup: 5 Healthy Green Dishes in Honor of St. Patrick's DayHappy St. Patrick’s Day, readers! Are you doing anything fun for the holiday today?

For some, holidays like today can be a big deterrent from a strict diet program. From heavily dyed foods to competitive drink specials, parties and restaurants tend to serve unhealthy but festive treats we can’t help but crave. Luckily, today’s post covers a few more nutritious options for flavorful green meals. Make one of these easy meals to bring to your friend’s St. Paddy’s Day shindig and become the life of the party!

1. Popcorn Broccoli.
Roast your broccoli with a little parmesan and get ready for the magic to happen. This recipe is one of my all-time favorites and will be loved even by your veggie hating friends. Dani from Clean and Delicious shares the recipe here.

Recipe Roundup: 5 Healthy Green Dishes in Honor of St. Patrick’s Day2. Cucumber Pasta Salad.
Grab those spiralizers and get to work! I love this Cucumber Pasta Salad because it’s Whole30 compliant (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free, etc.), the dressing is delicious, and the salad is easy to pack for work or events. As a picky eater, I sub out a few of the ingredients to meet my restrictions. Feel free to add in some halved green grapes for a little extra oomph! Check it out at Holistically Engineered.

3. Zoodles.
Still have that spiralizer at the ready? Whip up some zucchini noodles by spiralizing your zucchini and softening on the stove. Top with Monte Bene Garlic Marinara sauce (which is Whole30 compliant and made from real ingredients, no sugar added) or try out this cauliflower “alfredo” sauce by J Is For Judy. The sauce is dairy free and perfect for those following a paleo lifestyle.

Recipe Roundup: 5 Healthy Green Dishes in Honor of St. Patrick’s Day4. Coconut Lime Chicken Bites.
Okay, so these aren’t primarily green (at least not the way I last photographed them!), but the lime zest adds a pop of color and flavor that you can’t help but love. These chicken bites are gluten free, dairy free, and Whole30 friendly. With only a few ingredients, the recipe is simple but will quickly become a household staple. Check it out at Daily Bites blog!

5. Power Salad.
When in doubt, why not make a salad? With unlimited combinations, the world is your oyster! Grab your choice of greens, mix in your favorite fruits or veggies, chop up a protein (I believe that no salad is complete without a hard-boiled egg), and drizzle on a healthy dressing. My favorite homemade dressing comes from Max Pankow at Max Pankow Fitness, combining equal parts olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar. Salads are a fantastic way to pack in a lot of nutrients without spending your whole day in the kitchen.

Bonus Treat: Who needs the pot of gold when your rainbow looks so good? These fruit skewers form a beautiful and easy-to-make rainbow that will be a big hit at parties.

What are your favorite healthy green recipes? Share a few of your go-to meals in the comments section below. May the luck of the Irish be with you! :)

Your Health in Action: A Beginner’s Guide to Paleo Kitchen Staples

A Beginner's Guide to Paleo Kitchen Staples
A lot can change in a year.
 Since my first round of Whole30 in February 2014, I have transformed from a pasta-and-frozen-dinner connoisseur with minimal cooking skills into an amateur paleo foodie with slightly better cooking skills. I use words like “zest” and “poach” in conversation, make my own salad dressings, own a spiralizer and occasionally turn cauliflower into rice. I’m nowhere near perfect – I still succumb to processed foods on occasion and I’m no stranger to a burnt dinner. However, I’m amazed to see how far I’ve come in my journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Of course, nothing happens overnight, and I’ve undergone a lot of trial and error and last-second trips to the grocery store for that one final ingredient. Over time, I’ve learned to stock my pantry for more seamless meal prep, and I am excited to share my list of kitchen necessities with you!

Paleo-FunnyThis list is a must-have for anyone transitioning to a paleo lifestyle or beginning a program like the Whole30. For those who are unfamiliar, the Whole30 is a 30-day elimination program that cuts out grains (including gluten-free grains like quinoa and millet), legumes, soy, dairy, sugar/sweeteners, alcohol and a few other ingredients. I began my third round of the program in January and documented it here, for those interested in learning more.

Pin this article, save it to your favorites, or print it up and stick it to your refrigerator. Having these items on-hand ahead before you start cooking will save you a lot of time and extra grocery runs. :) Be sure to check your ingredients before making any final purchases!

  • Almond Butter. Because I’m allergic to peanuts, I’ve always been a fan of almond butter! Peanuts are a legume, so for many paleo and Whole30 followers, peanuts and peanut butter are sorely missed. But fear not – almond butter is a fantastic substitute. Use it to top your favorite fruit for an extra protein/fat boost.
  • Almond Flour. Made from crushed almonds, almond flour can be used in a lot of recipes. In my case, I use it as a “breading” for chicken! I buy Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Accurate.

    Accurate.

    Broth. I don’t make my own bone broths from scratch, so I buy Imagine’s Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. Most store bought broths have added sweeteners like cane sugar, but not this one!

  • Coconut Aminos. You’ll be seeing a lot of coconut products when browsing paleo and Whole30 recipes, so you’d better get used to that now. Coconut aminos are a great substitute for soy sauce! I use this ingredient in my stir fry dishes and don’t taste a difference. I buy them at my local Earth Origins outlet, but they are also available at Whole Foods.
  • Coconut Flour. I use coconut flour for a similar purpose to almond flour, like with coconut crusted chicken. I buy Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Coconut Oil. Coconut oil is a great choice of healthy cooking fat, and it adds a little extra oomph to your dish without being overpowering. I use Spectrum’s coconut oil. Scramble your eggs in coconut oil for a fun mix of flavors.
  • m-meme-regret-donutsCompliant Sauces. Most store-bought sauces are filled with sugar or unnatural sweeteners, but if you can find something with healthy ingredients, it will be a huge time-saver when you need a topping for your zucchini noodles. I love Monte Bene’s Garlic Marinara sauce!
  • Dijon Mustard. I use Dijon all the time in my creamier salad dressings. Check the ingredients to make sure you’re compliant! I use Annie’s.
  • Emergency Foods. For me, Larabars are a perfect grab-and-go food. I have a very event-driven job that sometimes requires me to work during mealtimes, often with very tempting free foods nearby. Having my emergency foods on hand helps me stay honest and avoid breaking a promise to myself in the name of convenience. I also love That’s It Fruit Bars and the fruit bars sold at Trader Joe’s. (Of course, as always, check your ingredients – some bars may not be compliant with your program!)
  • Extra Light Olive Oil. Sometimes a recipe calls for olive oil and it’s not the taste you’re going for. I use extra light olive oil for lighter recipes, like Moroccan Carrot Salad. The Whole30 team also suggests this variety for homemade mayo.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This is another delicious cooking fat that you can find easily at your local grocery store. Use it for roasting veggies, pan-frying poultry or pouring all over your enemies before making a quick escape. (Okay, maybe skip that last one.)
  • Food Processor. This will save you a lot of time in the kitchen. I don’t have a preferred brand, but make sure you dust yours off before embarking on a Whole30!
  • kitchen staplesGhee. Ghee is completely magical and the only form of dairy allowed during the Whole30. Ghee is produced when butter is heated and the milk proteins (which a lot of folks are sensitive to) are separated. Ghee tastes just like butter and can be used as a cooking fat as well.
  • Shredded Coconut. Oh, hey, would you look at that? More coconut! Make sure you buy the unsweetened variety. This tastes delicious with chicken or even as a fruit topping for something a little decadent. This is what I buy.
  • Spices. Make sure you have a nice assortment of spices in your cabinets for delicious and natural seasoning. A few staples to keep around include salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, chili powder, cayenne, and Italian seasoning. Think about what flavors your taste buds enjoy, and add it to the list!
  • healthy kitchen staplesSpiralizer. I can’t believe I didn’t get one of these until recently. My spiralizer is fantastic for making “noodles” out of veggies, like cucumbers, sweet potatoes and zucchini. I have a very basic Veggetti spiralizer, but it does the trick!
  • Vinegar. Vinegar is great for homemade dressings and relishes, and many varieties are compliant as long as you check the ingredients. A few goodies to keep in your cupboard include apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar and rice wine vinegar.

While this is not an exhaustive list, I hope these tools, condiments and other staples are helpful to you as you embark on your healthy new journey!

Paleo pros: What do you think is important for everyone to stock in their kitchen? Share in the comments below!

We Need to Stop Talking About “Real” Women

slide_333724_3333279_freeNo matter what social media platform I turn to, I am inundated with articles about “real” women. From anti-thigh gap petitions to reimagined portraits of popular celebrities or fictional characters (possible headline: “Artist Depicted Disney Princesses as Real Women – and What She Found Was STUNNING”), the subject of Real Women is a popular and often viral one. On the surface, these articles provide a sense of belonging and empowerment for those who feel otherwise underrepresented in the media. However, at their core, these articles quietly promote a culture of exclusion and bullying that no one is willing to address.

Advertisements and articles that talk about “real women” with “real bodies” don’t often look at both ends of the spectrum. While the measurements of a “real body” aren’t clearly defined, these ads and articles generally focus on women who are overweight or obese. At their core, they disregard those women who are thin or underweight, dismissing them as “fake” or too concerned with how society perceives them. They claim to celebrate all body types, when in truth, they only celebrate the bodies of the women they deem real.

enhanced-32549-1393886616-29Some women are naturally thinner or fuller-figured than others. Some women struggle to gain weight, while others focus all of their energy on weight loss and still face challenges. Some women have hormonal imbalances or other health issues that lend themselves to unwanted weight loss or weight gain. Some women have eating disorders that cause them to be overweight or underweight. Some women eat whatever they want and are perfectly happy with their bodies, regardless of the size. Some women (of all sizes) are unhappy with their bodies. Who are we to judge which of these women are real?

Last year, J. Crew introduced the size 000 to its lineup, and the whole Internet lost it. Instead of considering the fact that this size 000 could satisfy customers’ demands, critics were quick to accuse the label of vanity sizing and contributing to the negative self-esteem of young girls. They ignore the fact that the smaller size allows J. Crew to expand its market and become more inclusive, particularly for smaller women who previously couldn’t shop at J. Crew.

vintage-sexist-womens-ads-18If you met someone on the street who was overweight, you wouldn’t tell her how unhealthy she looks (and if you would, you’re a horrible person and should reconsider your life choices). But for friends of mine who are on the thinner side, hearing comments about their body, health or their need to “eat a cheeseburger” is a common occurrence. Our bodies are our own – should we really have to accept commentary about them from anyone? Is it our business to speak negatively about other women’s bodies?

offending_pearIn a world where feminism is the hot button issue we all cling to, I am especially appalled by the way we speak about women’s bodies on such a regular basis. I have never once read an article that discussed Real Men and delved into their body types or the extent of their grooming practices. We devalue women who place an emphasis on maintaining a  certain standard of beauty that they perceive to be important, because it doesn’t line up with the more “natural” look that many have grown to prefer. We insult an entire group of women whose appearances don’t match a certain nebulous definition of “real” because, in a way, we feel that this places a greater value on the group we deem most worthy.

I absolutely believe in the importance of inclusion, and believe that women of all body types should feel beautiful and admired. In order to achieve that, however, we need to stop talking about real women and disregarding those who don’t match those ideals. Instead of focusing on women’s bodies, let’s talk about what those women have to say. Let’s talk about their accomplishments. Let’s be a little nicer.

Link Love THURSDAY: From A to Zinc

big dillBon jour and happy March! I hope everyone is having a great week and enjoying this beautiful new month. I had the opportunity to take a few days off from work to see family from overseas and spend time in my hometown. I can’t deny it: there’s no place like home. :)

How has everyone else been spending the new month? Any vacations planned in the near future?

As always, enjoy this round of link love and be sure to share your own favorites in the comments section below!

What are your favorite links from the week? Sound off in the comments section below!

Your Health in Action: Eating Healthy While Maintaining Your Social Life

Tips for Eating Healthy While Maintaining Your Social Life

Whether you’re a seasoned paleo foodie, a chronic dieter or a newcomer to the world of clean eating, there’s a good chance that you’ve struggled at one point or another with how to stick to your program in social situations. Going out to a restaurant or a party can be pure torture (read: relatively inconvenient) for those enduring any kind of elimination diet or simply trying to eat healthier, especially when the people you go out with are ordering all the unhealthy foods you still crave.

Luckily, there are ways to make your social life a whole lot easier to maintain while still making your health a priority. Here are a few tips to get you started!

"But what will I eat at Tiffany's?" Holly asked herself, wondering if she could find a menu online.

“But what will I eat at Tiffany’s?” Holly asked herself, wondering if she could find a menu of their breakfast options  online.

Research the menus ahead of time.
Your friend calls you up and says, “We’re going to that trendy new restaurant downtown tonight. They serve cupcakes in champagne glasses for dessert so bring your appetite.” You immediately jump into a panic because: (a) Cupcakes sound amazing right now but you’re trying to kick your sugar habit. (b) You aren’t really sure what you’ll be able to eat because you’ve never been there. (c) Parking is horrible downtown, especially on a Saturday night.

Luckily, there’s an easy solution to problems A and B: go online and look up the restaurant’s menu online! As both a picky eater and someone who has completed a few rounds of Whole30, I do this all the time before going to a new restaurant. If I can make a decision before I leave the house, I am less likely to order a bucket of tater tots in a fit of hunger and panic. Knowing what you’re going to order beforehand takes away most of the pressure you may be feeling, so that instead you can focus your energy on finding the right parking garage. Planning ahead is key to your success!

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Know your staples and substitutions.
Most of the time, I know I am safest ordering a salad or some combination of grilled chicken and veggies, and I am totally fine with it! Have an idea of what works for you before perusing the menu, and don’t be afraid to make substitutions. I am constantly replacing rice with veggies or asking for the sauce/dressing on the side, and most places are ok with these changes to an extent. I even keep a running list of my favorite healthy options and substitutions at local chain restaurants that allow me to stick to my program if I go out for the night.

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Sabrina didn't have the heart to tell Linus that alcohol wasn't permitted on the Whole30.

Sabrina didn’t have the heart to tell Linus that alcohol wasn’t permitted on the Whole30.

Speak up.
If you decide to go out with friends, pick the restaurant. No more of this back-and-forth “I don’t know, where do you want to eat?” that seems to land you at the Olive Garden every time. (Mmmmm, endless breadsticks.) I have a few friends who are kind enough to ask me if I’m on Whole30 before we go out, but there are plenty of times I’ll take charge on a restaurant choice because I already know there won’t be anything compliant for me at other restaurants. Don’t be afraid to speak up and make the decision yourself!

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Bring food to the party.
I’m guilty of snacking at parties. No matter how many people are present, there always seems to be more than enough food to nosh on between conversations and awkward one-armed hugs. I have never been to a single party where healthy food outnumbered the junk food (although one can only dream of a secret paleo society that hosts monthly parties featuring sweet potato gnocchi and cauliflower poppers). To keep yourself from gravitating toward the Cheetos, bring a healthy snack that people will enjoy and fits your own program. There are about a million ways to make a fun fruit salad, or if you are on a less restrictive program, you can always opt for healthier versions of your favorite junk food (Skinny Pop Popcorn and The Better Chip spinach/kale chips are two of my favorites). Besides, bringing food to a party is the proper thing to do!

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Ann didn't want to spend her entire Roman holiday focused on food, so she and Joe hopped on a Vespa to cruise around the city instead.

Ann didn’t want to spend her entire Roman holiday focused on food, so she and Joe hopped on a Vespa to cruise around the city instead.

Focus your activities on something other than food.
Fun fact: Not every social activity needs to involve a meal. If you find it difficult to stick to your program while out in a restaurant (because, let’s face it, this is no easy feat), stop going out to restaurants. Invite your friends to go bowling or visit an art festival. Watch a movie in the park. Find a museum in the area that you’ve never been to before. Have fun without bonding over how much you’ll hate yourselves for ordering the mozzarella sticks.

Avoid the scale.
In general, a lot of experts suggest avoiding the scale (or cutting back on its use) regardless of your social life, but my tip in particular focuses on restaurant visits. Most restaurants will pack your food with tons of salt, so if you’re planning a weigh-in any time soon, you may want to wait.

"Do I look like I care what you think?" Jo asked, posing fabulously with the Nike of Samothrace.

“Do I look like I care what you think?” Jo asked, posing fabulously with the Nike of Samothrace.

Stop caring about what others think.
When you change your lifestyle, especially when that leads to dietary restrictions, there will be naysayers. Don’t listen to them. Remember that different food groups and chemicals affect everyone differently. I would love to lose weight while eating endless bowls of pasta and laughing in the faces of my enemies, who have gained weight eating that same pasta, I know this is not possible for me. I know how gluten affects my skin, mood and stomach, so when people comment that I should be eating “whole grains” and “in moderation,” I’ll smile, thank them for their suggestions, and keep doing what I’ve been doing. You know what works for you better than anyone else does (except your doctor, of course), so if your friends start giving you unwarranted dietary advice, ignore them or change the subject.

What are your tips for maintaining a social life while still eating healthy? Sound off in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Post Valentine’s Day Bliss

Link LoveHope everyone who celebrated had a wonderful Valentine’s Day or, for many of us, Day-To-Eat-All-The-Things! I’ll admit that my Whole60 went off the rails around the holiday, with a few nights out to dinner and more chocolate temptation than I knew what to do with. Thankfully, my junk food honeymoon period is reaching its end, and I’m ready to start trying new healthy recipes again. How did everyone else celebrate the holiday?

As you recover from your own sugar comas, take a look at the latest and greatest in Link Love! :)

What are some of your favorite links throughout the week?

The Weekend Five: Ways to “Treat Yo Self”

Five Ways to "Treat Yo Self" | So It Must Be TrueHappy Valentine’s Day, readers! ‘Tis the season for beautiful flower arrangements, complaints about the commercialization of the holiday, and more trips to Godiva than usual. Whether you’ve decked out your home in reds and pinks or you have your doubts about a flying baby with a magical arrow, Valentine’s Day can serve a greater purpose than merely sending us into a panic over dinner reservations. Instead, Valentine’s Day can remind us of the most important relationship we have: the relationship we have with ourselves.

Let’s face it – while this relationship is incredibly vital to all aspects of our lives, we don’t always give it the love and attention it deserves. We speak negatively to ourselves and place undue blame for things that happened years ago. We sacrifice the quality of the relationship – sleep, nutrition, personal relaxation – in order to fulfill our obligations to others. We put less time into ourselves than necessary because we don’t believe that time to be important.

Five Ways to "Treat Yo Self" | So It Must Be TrueNot long ago, I recognized a need for improvement in this area of my life, so as one of my New Year’s Resolutions, I promised to do at least one nice thing for myself (or, as my friends on Parks and Recreation might say, “treat yo self”) every week. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but it requires me to make myself a priority from time to time and to think about what I want.

Moving forward, how do you plan to make yourself a priority? Check out five ideas for ways to “treat yo self,” and sound off in the comments section below with your own personal favorites!

The Weekend Five: Ways to “Treat Yo Self”

1. Take a night to yourself.
Turn off your phone, log off of social media, and relax. From time to time, we all need a night away from the craziness of our daily lives. Instead of fishing for the latest friend drama on Facebook, stay at home and do something you enjoy. Binge-watch your favorite series on Netflix. Read that book you were dying to read that has been gathering dust on your shelf. Take a bath. Do something non-stressful and appreciate the time you have alone. For introverts like myself who have very social careers, it is extremely important to do this in order to feel refreshed and fully functional after a week of networking.

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Five Ways to "Treat Yo Self" | So It Must Be True2. Buy yourself a fun non-essential.
By this, I don’t mean “max out all your credit cards while buying things you don’t really need in the first place.” (Somehow, I feel that Blu Cantrell’s song Hit Em Up Style is applicable here.) I do mean that occasionally it can be nice to get yourself something within your means for no reason other than the fact that it will bring you joy. Recently, I stumbled into an antiques store with the intention of buying a gift for a friend, but I ended up walking out with a cute necklace for myself as well. Stay within the confines of your budget, of course, but allow yourself to splurge (within reason) and treat yourself to that product or service you really want: an accessory, a manicure, a video game, flowers, etc. (Keep in mind that if your happiness is too closely tied to the things you purchase, you may have a shopping problem.)

3. Go outside.
I’m a firm believer in the importance of soaking up the sun… even for just a few minutes. I love eating lunch outdoors when the weather permits, going for walks on my local nature trail (maybe not as often after encountering my first bear back in November), and bringing a book to the pool while I attempt to become slightly less pale. :) Even when it is raining, I have been known to read outside on the porch behind my screen enclosure. Of course, I am fortunate to live in Florida, where winter is usually pleasant and most of the above activities are possible year-round. However, when the weather is tolerable for you in whichever state you live, I urge you to get outside and enjoy the surrounding nature.

Five Ways to "Treat Yo Self" | So It Must Be True4. Visit a local landmark or free community event.
While I live just north of a very touristy city, run by a certain Mouse, I love to travel slightly off the beaten path to those nearby hidden gems. From historic towns to art museums to local festivals, I enjoy looking for (cheap) adventures that don’t require a boarding pass or precious vacation time. Visit your city’s convention and visitor bureau website for ideas on upcoming events or exhibits, or simply google “free/cheap things to do in ____.” You will be amazed at the cool things you find without breaking the bank.

5. Take on a new project.
Try out one of those DIY creations you have been eyeing on Pinterest. Attempt a recipe for something you’ve never made before. Teach yourself a new song on your instrument of choice. Start a blog! Whatever it is that you want to do, make time for it and have fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously – just enjoy yourself!

What are some ways you like to treat yourself? Share your favorites in the comments!

Your Health in Action: A Guide to Effortless Meal Planning

Courtesy of Spud Comics

Courtesy of Spud Comics

Embarking on a new diet or wellness program can often be challenging. As you attempt to eliminate those “problem foods” or to introduce new super foods to your lifestyle, you may not know where to begin! Those regular staples you once fell back on are now out of the picture, and you might find yourself struggling to figure out what to eat or how best to stock your kitchen.

Meal planning can be a simple and effective answer to the overwhelming questions, “What groceries should I buy and what should I make for dinner tonight?” No matter what your dietary preferences or limitations may be, a meal plan is a great way to prepare yourself for the week ahead and to avoid wasting food!

I’ve created a meal planning template of my own that I use regularly, and I find it extremely useful to incorporate into my busy schedule. Click here to download my meal plan template as a Microsoft Excel file that you can edit, or click here to download the PDF version to print.

Weekly Meal Plan Template & Tips from So It Must Be True

Having a meal plan keeps me on track and helps me avoid going to Publix four times in one week (as much as I love grocery shopping). It also allows me to turn my “hey-I-saw-this-on-Pinterest-and-I-want-to-make-it” dreams into a reality because I know which ingredients to purchase ahead of time.

Here are a few tips for creating your own weekly meal plan that works for you:

  • Think about what you will be doing that week. In my event-driven job, I am constantly working during meal times and often exposed to delicious but unhealthy free foods. (I’m thinking of you, pizza!) When I think about my schedule when meal planning, I can determine when I will need to pack a lunch that will keep me away from the pizza box, or (if I know I’ll be working late), I can decide ahead of time to pack a snack to tide me over until I get home. On my personal downloadable meal plan, you can actually fill in your daily activities and add notes for these days.
  • Think critically about meal prep. On my meal plan, I like to include certain tasks, such as “defrost chicken” or “hard-boil eggs,” to ensure that these foods are ready by the time I am ready for them. I may also incorporate my weekly schedule by adding the reminder to “pack lunch for tomorrow.” These “meal prep tasks for the next day” are the perfect way to make sure your ingredients are ready to go.
  • Consider packaging and portion sizes. Buying a fresh head of broccoli? Think about how many servings you will make with that, and implement those into your plan. For example, if a package of cauliflower florets yields two individual recipes with cauliflower, you should include two cauliflower meals on your meal plan so that your produce doesn’t go bad.
  • Keep staples on hand. If you know that you regularly use a certain ingredient, such as almond flour or coconut oil, always make sure you are fully stocked. It’s always disappointing when you are dying to try a new recipe but have to run to the store at the last minute to pick up a basic ingredient. Always check your cupboards before shopping.

Once again, you can download my weekly meal planner template as an Excel file here or as a PDF here. For recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest boards!

What are your weekly meal plan tips? Share yours in the comments section below!

Whole30 Recap: Week 5

Whole30 Week 5 Recap | So It Must Be TrueGood evening, Whole30-ers! For those of you who completed the program in January, your 30 days are over. Congratulations! For others, you may have started your Whole30 later in the month or are planning to embark on this journey at another point in the future. I started to feel the positive effects of the program toward the end of January, and decided to extend my Whole30 to at least 60 days.

Whole30? Whole60? For those of my readers who are unfamiliar with these terms, the Whole30 is a 30-day strict elimination program that cuts out gluten (including non-gluten “grains” like quinoa), dairy, soy, sugar/artificial sweeteners, legumes and all of the bad chemicals we find in processed foods. The program is designed to help participants discover the effects that these problem foods can have on their physical and mental health. People who complete the program report better moods, weight loss, improved skin, sound sleep, and much more. I highly recommend it!

For the first four weeks, I shared a list of meals I ate and observations I made on a day-by-day basis. However, because this has started to become repetitive after the first 28 days, I have decided to limit my weekly recaps from now on to simply include my observations, tips, and any new recipes I tried that week. (Besides, how many times can you read “Moroccan Carrot Salad” and “hard-boiled egg” in one sitting? :)) For a more detailed recap, please visit Week 1Week 2Week 3 and Week 4 to see how I felt at the beginning stages of the program and what I ate. You can also check out my introductory post here.

Feelings and Observations

Whole30 Week 5 Recap | So It Must Be TrueThe program really felt like second nature at this point. Because of my adventures in the kitchen throughout January, I already had some favorite recipes up my sleeve that made it easier for me to meal prep. Admittedly, I didn’t feel very well this week – I suffered a few headaches and stomachaches – but I’ve changed up a few habits to see if that will improve in the next few days. I would like to see some more changes in appearance (i.e. weight), but I know that will mean dragging my lazy butt to the gym and getting up earlier than I’m used to. I just need to push through and continue to form healthy habits!

New Recipes

Whole30 Week 5 Recap | So It Must Be TrueTakeaways from the Week

  • It is important to think positively and expect things to turn out for the best. I was freaking out on Tuesday when I cooked the Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers because (A) I had never poached chicken before, (B) I had never shredded chicken before, and (C) I had never baked stuffed peppers before. I was so afraid this dish wasn’t going to come out the right way, even though I followed the directions, but you know what? It was delicious – one of my favorite Whole30 recipes thus far! I spent all that time worrying that it was going to come out horribly and that I would have wasted all that time and food, when I could have focused my energy into something more productive (like cleaning up the mess I made in the kitchen!).
  • The Internet has everything you need. Seriously. Need to learn a new technique? There’s a video on YouTube for that. I am learning a lot from short how-to articles and videos I find. You don’t need to own Julia Child’s cookbook (or even have access to the Food Network) to learn how to cook.
  • Some cravings do start to go away. I’m not going to lie – I would love a bowl of penne pasta right now – but I also remember how bad gluten has made me feel in the past, and it reminds me that the initial taste isn’t worth the stomachache or skin breakout. There are still some foods that I would love to have, but my cravings are diminishing as I recognize the negative effects that certain foods have on me.

What have you learned on your Whole30 thus far? What awesome recipes have you tried? Sound off in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Everyone Loves Puppies

budweiser puppyHappy Wednesday and Happy February! I’m not sure if you knew this, but there was a pretty important football game that took place over the weekend. Did you catch it? Thankfully, as a non-Seahawks fan, the odds were ever in my favor, but as a marketing/PR professional, I was more invested in the commercials than anything else!

What was your favorite commercial? Did you do anything fun for the Super Bowl? Sound off with your Super Bowl excitement in the comments section below!

What are your favorite links? Sound off in the comments section below!

Go Patriots! :)