grain free

Summer Snack Challenge: Fun Fruit Sliders

Hey there, readers! Today marked the last day of my first semester of MBA school, and I can’t believe how quickly the time flew by. Juggling two graduate-level business classes with a full-time job was no joke, so I’m definitely looking forward to having a nice little break from school between semesters. July may be nearly over, but it feels like my summer is just getting started! 🙂

Every good summer requires a trip to the beach, time spent outdoors, and at least one cookout with family and friends. I love creating fun little side dishes to bring out to social gatherings, so when I heard that Nuts.com was holding a recipe contest to create a summer snack using specific ingredients,  I knew I had to participate! 🙂

From there, these fruit sliders were born. Sprinkled with super foods like goji berries, which are filled with antioxidants, and chia seeds, which are rich in Omega-3, this snack is the perfect combination of healthy and delicious. These fruit sliders are so easy to make that they barely require a recipe, and the best part is, you can swap out the fruit depending on what you are in the mood for. I chose bananas, but apple slices would also go great with these ingredients!

This recipe serves one person as an individual snack, so adjust your quantities accordingly.

Healthy Fruit Sliders

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Peel and slice banana.
  2. Spread each slice with cacao butter as desired.
  3. Top with cacao nibs and goji berries (about one goji berry per banana slice should suffice, depending on how big your slices are).
  4. Sprinkle with chia seeds.
  5. Serve. (It’s really that easy!)

*

For more fun summer recipes and other cool food products from a family owned business, visit Nuts.com. 🙂

 

Sautéed Green Beans & Diced Tomatoes

In many circles, I am known as a picky eater. This is sort of a silly thing to be known for, and I hate when family members bring it up, but since childhood, allergies and food sensitivities have made me hesitant to try new foods. (I’m also half convinced that I am a super taster!) However, several rounds of Whole30 have opened me up to a lot of new foods, especially vegetables, that I never really bothered to eat in the past. Green beans are a veggie that – when prepared the right way – I have grown to love!

Sautéed Green Beans with Diced Tomatoes

For those of you who still are skeptics when it comes to green beans, test out this recipe as soon as you can! Green beans are a great source of nutrition that can take on a variety of flavors, and this recipe is a great way to incorporate a few different veggies into your diet. I love sneaking extra vegetables into my side dishes! This dish serves one — adjust your quantities accordingly!

Sautéed Green Beans with Diced Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup green beans, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp petite diced tomatoes (for convenience, I used the canned kind)
  • 1 tbsp diced water chestnuts
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • Salt and garlic to taste

Instructions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil and add in your green beans. Cook on medium for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and strain. Pat green beans to dry.
  3. Over medium low heat, melt ghee on a skillet.
  4. Add green beans, tomatoes, water chestnuts, garlic and salt.
  5. Cook on medium low for 20 minutes or until desired consistency.
  6. Remove from heat and serve!

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! Please share and subscribe to my blog for more recipes, Whole30 resources and other goodies!

Easy Whole30 Sweet Potato Recipe – Perfect for Thanksgiving!

Get excited, friends – Thanksgiving is almost here! You might not have realized that, with all of your neighbors’ Christmas decorations already up, but it’s time to break out your favorite stretch pants and start fighting fellow shoppers for the best turkey in the store. (At least I think that’s how people celebrate?) 🙂

In all seriousness, Thanksgiving is a time to remember all of the wonderful things you are thankful for, and in my case, I’m thankful for being able to spend the holiday with my family. I’m also thankful for this easy and fabulous sweet potato dish I’m about to share with you today!

I’ve always loved sweet potatoes, but I’ve never really understood why people were so quick to add sweeteners and marshmallows to theirs. Aren’t sweet potatoes sweet enough on their own? My method takes very little time to make, includes no added sugars, and is so simple that I almost feel guilty calling it a recipe. I love to make these sweet potatoes when the weather starts cooling down – it’s a great way to warm up for breakfast, lunch or dinner! They are also paleo and Whole30 compliant. How much better can life get?

My recipe serves one, so adjust your quantities accordingly!

Whole30 Sweet Potatoes - No sugar added!

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 cup applesauce, unsweetened (read your labels!)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Directions

  • Peel your sweet potato and roughly chop into a few medium-sized pieces.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil and add in your sweet potato pieces. Cook on medium for 5 minutes.
  • Drain, then add the sweet potato pieces to your food processor.
  • Pulse for a few seconds until it starts to reach a desired consistency.
  • Add in 1 cup of applesauce, and pulse again.
  • Add in cinnamon, then pulse one more time.
  • Transfer to bowl, add a little more cinnamon for garnish (optional), and serve.

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! Please share and subscribe to my blog for more recipes, Whole30 resources and other goodies!

Whole30 Beauty Bowl

When you’re following a program like the Whole30, it can be easy to overcomplicate things. After all, there are few things more satisfying than mastering a difficult recipe and sharing it in all its glory on your Instagram! 🙂 However, sometimes when you’re in the middle of big lifestyle changes, you need to simplify your meals once in a while. That’s what my Whole30 Beauty Bowl is all about.

BeautyBowl09

Why a Beauty Bowl? Believe it or not, I did not call it a “beauty bowl” because of its vibrant colors (although they are definitely beautiful in their own right). Rather, the meal is packed with vitamins that promote beautiful skin, good vision and a healthy immune system. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to make and is filled with flavor. You’ll want to add this one into your rotation!

BeautyBowl06

Some would call this an “ingredient meal” because it barely requires a recipe, just ingredients! However, today I’ll share my method for a flawless (and delicious!) beauty bowl. This recipe feeds one person, so you’ll want to make sure you adjust your ingredient quantities accordingly!

Whole30BeautyBowl

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • A few handfuls of broccoli slaw (mixed package of broccoli, carrots and cabbage)
  • Cooking fat of choice
  • Rosemary (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • Handful of blueberries

Instructions

  1. Heat up your oil of choice over medium heat. (I used extra virgin olive oil.)
  2. Add in chopped sweet potato and broccoli slaw.
  3. Drizzle on a little extra cooking fat, and sprinkle on rosemary and salt to taste.
  4. Let cook on medium for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. When finished, add in blueberries and hard boiled egg.
  6. Enjoy!

Let me know what you guys think! Please share and subscribe to my blog for more recipes, Whole30 resources and other goodies! 🙂

Curry Coconut Crusted Chicken Bites

Do you ever create a full meal plan for the week, only to find that you’re just not in the mood to eat what you planned for that day? I was completely guilty of that last Monday. My chicken was defrosted and my veggies were all set to go under the knife, but I was craving my favorite curried cauliflower and potato recipe and couldn’t get those flavors off of my mind. Ultimately, my cravings won out (hey – at least they’re healthy, right?), and I needed a protein to balance out the meal.

Thus, my curry coconut crusted chicken bites recipe was born!

Curry Coconut Crusted Chicken Bites

Those who have known me for a while know that I do not have a cooking background. Before college, I didn’t know how to boil water. For the first year after college, I didn’t know how to do much else. Thankfully, several rounds of Whole30 have forced me to learn the basics, and after trying out several recipes on the web, I’m finally starting to gain my own creativity in the kitchen.

These chicken bites are easy to make, are completely gluten-free/dairy-free/soy-free/sugar-free (perfect for Whole30), and have a kick-ass flavor profile. They paired amazingly with my aloo gobi, so much so that I repeated the recipe a few days later!

I live alone and generally only cook for one person, so this recipe is written with one serving in mind. If you eat larger portions or are serving multiple people, you’ll want to modify the recipe accordingly. 🙂

Curry Coconut Crusted Chicken Bites

Ingredients:

  • One chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (check your labels!)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • Salt and garlic to taste
  • 1 egg

Instructions

1-     Preheat oven to 400°F.

2-     Mix egg in one bowl and dry ingredients in separate bowl.

3-     Coat each chicken piece in egg, then in coconut mixture.

4-     Bake for 10 minutes.

5-     With a spoon, flip each chicken piece on the baking sheet, and bake for another 5 minutes.

6-     Remove from oven, let cool and enjoy!

Let me know what you guys think! 🙂 Please share and subscribe to my blog for more recipes, Whole30 resources and other goodies. Enjoy!

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!

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!

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!

Whole30 Recap: Week 4

For those who began Whole30 on New Year’s Day, can you believe the month is almost over? For me, Week 4 was the week when the program became almost second nature. I still had a lot of temptation (here’s looking at you, free pizza and Chipotle), but I came out of the week strong. My pre-Whole30 ailments still aren’t completely eradicated – you’ll read more about that in a bit – but nevertheless, I know I’ve come a long way since we rang in the New Year.

Because I am planning a Whole60 through the month of February, I will still post an entire Week 5 recap next week, featuring Days 29-35. After Week 5, the recaps will get shorter. Instead of a day-by-day list of what I ate and how I felt, I will simply post my weekly takeaways/general feelings and a list of new recipes I tried and would recommend. (A full list of meals is going to get repetitive after a while because I’ve found some favorites that I will be making regularly!)

Enjoy this week’s batch of recipes and daily observations! I had a major attitude adjustment in Week 4 and started to get excited about cooking again. I hope you find some fun meal inspiration that excites you, too. If you’re new to this blog, be sure to check out my introductory post, as well as my recaps for Week 1Week 2 and Week 3.

Some disclaimers before you get started:

  • I am not a medical professional of any kind and I will not claim that what has worked for me will work for you. If you have any medical questions, please consult a professional.
  • This is not a full meal-plan for everyone following the Whole30. There are some days where I just can’t handle a large meal, so I might just stick to roasted veggies or something light. There are other days when I might eat a small (compliant) snack in between meals, and those snacks are not necessarily reported on my blog. Please listen to your body. We are all different!
  • I repeat meals that I enjoy. You will not be getting a list of 90 different dishes, mainly because I am a creature of habit and when something tastes good, I want to have it again! 🙂 However, I will still be testing out new recipes every week, while rotating in some of the old favorites.
  • You can follow along on my Instagram page, where I post meals and recipe ideas daily!

Whole 30 Weekly Recap | So It Must Be True

Day 22 (Jan. 22)

Feelings: When I looked in the mirror this morning, all I could think was, Wow, I look really pale. Then I realized that I wasn’t looking any paler than usual – my skin just isn’t as red and irritated as it used to be. I’ve battled with eczema my whole life, but it’s reassuring to see how significantly my healthier eating habits have improved my skin.

Whole30 Week 4 Recap

Breakfast: A bowl of strawberries and blueberries. (I was staying at my sister’s place and didn’t have the same food access as I do at home, but the night before, we picked up a few staples for me to keep there.)

Lunch: Moroccan Carrot Salad (inspired by @bloemingfabulous’s guest post on @whole30recipes Instagram feed, packed ahead of time) and applesauce. At that time, I was at a workshop where free pizza was served… and oh, did it smell delicious.

Dinner: Market Salad from a local salad/sandwich restaurant, with raisins, apple slices, oranges and grilled chicken.

Day 23 (Jan. 23)

Feelings: I had an early morning event, but still felt energized throughout the day. I was a little hungry, probably because of the lack of protein at breakfast, but overall I was in a good mood and felt productive. My willpower game was strong. We sponsored an event that catered from Chipotle, and it took every fiber of my being not to grab a bowl of rice and beans with cheese melted on top. Mmmmmm, melted cheese… where was I?

Breakfast: A bowl of strawberries and blueberries.

Lunch: Salad with mixed greens, red bell pepper, cucumber, grapes and hard-boiled egg. Thank goodness for the salad bar.

Dinner: Curry Roasted Cauliflower (inspired by @danikabrysha’s guest post on @whole30recipes Instagram feed) and a hard-boiled egg.

Day 24 (Jan. 24)

Feelings: Boundless energy! I don’t know where it’s coming from… I still don’t get enough sleep, but I definitely have way more energy at all times of the day than I did prior to this Whole30.

Breakfast: Apple with almond butter and cinnamon.

Lunch: Two hard-boiled eggs and a bowl of raspberries.

Dinner: Spinach salad with grilled chicken, oranges, cabbage, and carrots.

Day 25 (Jan. 25)

#SelfieQueen

#SelfieQueen

Feelings: I experienced the first headache I’ve had in a while, but I don’t think it had to do with my food choices. My entire family is prone to headaches, and while I think that sugar consumption makes mine happen more frequently, I also understand that there could be other reasons why I experience them. I was also a little bit stressed this morning, but found that I bounced back from that stress very quickly.

Breakfast: {gasp} I had a smoothie! My boyfriend mixed up a smoothie for me with strawberries, banana and spinach. If this breakfast choice bothers anyone, I urge you to visit this Whole30 blog post on the rules vs. recommendations.

Lunch: Moroccan Carrot Salad (inspired by @bloemingfabulous’s guest post on @whole30recipes Instagram feed) and a hard-boiled egg.

Dinner: Coconut Lime Chicken Bites (from Daily Bites Blog), roasted potatoes, and a bowl of grapes.

Day 26 (Jan. 26)

Feelings: I had an easier time waking up this morning and was in a good mood when I woke up. I felt a rediscovered sense of adventure today and was ready to try something new in the kitchen!

Breakfast: Blueberries and a hard-boiled egg.

Lunch: Roasted broccoli (cooked at 400F for 20 minutes in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic) and a hard-boiled egg.

Whole30 Recap Week 4

Dinner: Cauliflower Fried Rice (from Amuse Your Bouche). This dish was off the chain – it really tasted like fried rice! (I used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce to keep this meal compliant.)

Day 27 (Jan. 27)

Whole30 Weekly Recap

Feelings: I woke up about an hour before my alarm to find that my skin was uncontrollably itchy. When I went back to sleep, I started having extremely graphic, gory nightmares. I’ve been known to have weird food dreams during the Whole30, but never something like this! Suffice to say, I didn’t sleep well. I’m thinking the breakout stemmed from a contact allergy, because it was limited to one area and the rest of my skin still looked and felt drastically improved.

Breakfast: Banana with almond butter, blueberries and a nectarine.

This was so good!

This was so good!

Lunch: Cauliflower Steak (from Brooklyn Supper) and two hard-boiled eggs. This cauliflower steak was amazing! I adjusted the relish a little to include rosemary instead of parsley and garlic instead of shallots. I highly recommend trying it!

Whole30 Weekly RecapDinner: Zesty Chicken Bites (from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen) and Sweet Potato Fries (from Life Made Full).

Day 28 (Jan. 28)

Feelings: My energy was back! My horrible skin reaction from the day before seemed to have healed somewhat and I had a much more restful night of sleep.
Breakfast: Bowl of blueberries and a hard-boiled egg.

Lunch: Moroccan Carrot Salad.

Whole30 Weekly Recap

Dinner: Mexican Cauliflower Rice (from Slender Kitchen).

Takeaways from the Week

  • As I’ve learned throughout my Whole30 journey, it is important to try new things! Last year, when I started Whole30, I was all about those sweet potato recipes… This time around, I joked that this was Cauliflower Week, as I attempted four separate cauliflower dishes throughout the week. I now know what the cauliflower rice fuss is all about!
  • Another thing I mentioned last week rang true again this week: You haveto be prepared for difficult food situations. Does it sometimes feel awkward to bring your own food to a lunchtime event? Yes. Is it difficult to turn down pizza and Chipotle in the same week? Oh, yes (at least if you’re me). But it would be even more difficult to say no to these non-compliant foods if I didn’t pack along my own meals or at least have a game plan? YES. At the beginning of the week, make a plan that will keep you accountable on the days when you know that you’re going to be tempted. Don’t face your temptations while hungry!
  • While my mood, skin and energy are all radically improved, I am no longer seeing the same body changes I remember from previous rounds of Whole30. I’m starting to feel like I’ve hit a plateau (although it’s hard to judge those changes when you see yourself every day), so I am going to start thinking more critically about if/when I’m snacking, what times I’m eating (sometimes I start dinner waylater than I should) and how much exercise I’m getting. Still, I am very proud of how far I’ve come, and have very high hopes for the rest of my Whole60!

Any Whole30ers with a favorite recipe to share? Sound off in the comments section below!