A major shift this week. Last week’s post was all about tea party treats and indulgence. This week’s post is about depriving myself. Even though it goes against pretty much everything I stand for, I have decided to try Whole30.
I do not agree with a “fad diet” of any kind. I believe in trying to eat everything, from every type of food category, in moderation. But, as I age I find I can’t eat how I always have if I want to be my best self. So, I am embarking on this ridiculous, painful journey as a reset.
For those of you who are familiar with Whole30, please feel very bad for me. For those of you who are not, you take almost everything out of your diet for 30 days. Think of it essentially as absolutely no processed food (good) plus more (hard):
No sugars of any kind even if it is natural (honey, maple syrup, etc).
Nothing that contains an ingredient you cannot pronounce.
No alcohol: drinking or in cooking.
No bread or gluten.
No grains (no oats, corn or rice).
No beans or legumes, including peanuts (this is the one I have the most trouble with because beans are good for you).
What you can eat:
Vegetables (snow peas and green beans are allowed even though “no legumes”)
Potatoes (even baking potatoes! Phew!)
Healthy cooking fats (olive oil, coconut oil, ghee)
Some nuts (cashews, hazelnuts & macadamia nuts are best)
Olives (praise be I can eat all the olives I want)
For a quick shopping list guide click here.
Also, one of their big things is No Weighing or Measuring Yourself for the entire 30 days! You can weigh yourself the first day to get a baseline but after that, forget it. You are supposed to cut these things out of your diet and see how you feel. How is your energy level? Are you tired? How are you sleeping? How is your metabolism? Do you still have heartburn? How does your skin look? Etc.
Now, to be completely honest I am not doing Whole30… I’m doing Whole27. I had the tea party and then very next day were The Oscars and Easter is at the end of the month. Aunt Sheryl’s Easter brunch is my favorite meal of the year and I am NOT going to miss it! So, Whole27 for me.
Just thinking about it I thought it would be ok. Eggs for breakfast, great. Meat and two veggies for dinner, great. Lunch I knew would be tricky for me because I don’t really love salad (especially with just oil and vinegar and no cheese). I mean, sometimes yes. But everyday for 27 days, no. I do like soup. Maybe that could be a solution? But, just thinking through it all in my head I was going to survive.
Let me tell you the first 3 days were the worst! I LOVE bread, and pasta, and rice, and anything made with flour. I really didn’t know if I could do it. On the 3rd night, I literally dreamt about cake and bread all night long. But, on the fourth day I was able to tolerate it a little better. As I am writing this (on day nine) it is still difficult but I’m handling it. Did I think I might jump over the counter, break through the glass and grab a soft pretzel at my kids’ soccer game? Yes, yes I did. But, I didn’t do that. I kept on walking. Staring at the pretzel… but walking.
Even though I could stick with pretty basic meal plans I have been experimenting a bit in this first week. Here are some things I think are going to help:
1. Buy Ghee: I wasn’t going to buy it because it is expensive. Plus, I use olive oil in most of my cooking anyway so what was the big deal. Well, I also use a lot of butter. I want a buttery egg in the morning, not an olive oil egg. I made a mistake and bought Ghee at my local grocery store; 9oz for $12.50. Unless I read the sign wrong they had it at Trader Joe’s; 8oz for $3.99.
2. Bacon: I found an uncured, sugar free bacon at Whole Foods. It is more expensive than the bacon I usually buy (b/c I usually buy it in bulk at Sam’s) but it was worth it to have a treat!
3. Riced Cauliflower: I don’t like cauliflower at all! But, I bought a package of Riced Cauliflower at Trader Joe’s and I think it really is going to help me through this. I really liked it when I sautéed it with mushrooms! Or, under a bed of sautéed spinach topped with salmon.
4. Thick tomato sauces: I tried to make spaghetti squash and use those as noodles. Maybe I made it wrong but it wasn’t for me. I make zucchini noodles from time to time. Although I love zucchini, it just isn’t a noodle. Or maybe I just had too many “zoodles” and I tasted the zucchini more than the sauce. Solution- I added short ribs to my regular sauce and made it really thick. Basically going to eat it like stew or add just a few zucchini noodles.
5. Coconut Milk: I find that I am missing flour but I am really missing creamy things. I love tea without cream or sugar so I can drink that like I always do. But I basically make any coffee into a latte, a sweetened and/or flavored latte at that. I love hot chocolate and chai tea lattes. I am really missing a warm cozy in the morning. So, I bought coconut milk. It is not the same but it is helping. I also added some cinnamon to my coconut milk latte in the morning since I can’t add sugar. Again, not the same but it is helping.
6. Chicken Stock: You can always make your own chicken stock (see below) but I am pretty sure that the Trader Joe’s Organic Chicken Stock is Whole30 compliant. I made my roasted carrot soup with Trader Joe’s stock. It is thick and creamy and nice to have on hand.
Through all of this torture, I must admit. I feel better. I don’t think I look any different (it has only been 9 days) but my stomach feels better. It feels flatter (still real flabby) but less bloated or something. And I cheated and stepped on the scale. Lost a few pounds already. So, I am sticking with it. Wish me luck! Full disclosure, we do have a countdown on the chalkboard. Technically it is a countdown to Easter but for me, it is a countdown to scones and hashbrown casserole.
I feel I’ll be most successful by eating things I normally eat. So, I’m just trying to make my “regular” meals Whole30 compliant. I went through the blog and added a Whole30 tag to things that are already Whole30 compliant. Some might have a small tweak (like making sure you are using compliant chicken stock) but if it had even more than one tweak I left it off (the only reason Frittata isn’t on there). Admittedly, there aren’t a ton but there are more than I thought. It is nice to know that some things already make the grade. You can click on the Whole30 tag at the bottom of this post if you are interested to see what they are.
Today, I’m sharing my compliant version of Chicken Soup. Did I miss the noodles or rice, absolutely! But chicken soup is always comforting and it still tasted delicious. I’m sorry the pics aren’t great but I had to get dinner on the table!
This recipe can double as a recipe for homemade chicken stock. All you would have to do is pour it through a strainer and you would have chicken stock. But I ate it like soup. Either way, it really is very simple to make. Just cover some skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts with water. Add veggies and spices. I add the carrots whole. If you add chopped carrots I think they get too mushy too fast. By keeping them whole they cook a little slower. Bring everything to a boil then reduce it to a simmer. Simmer for an hour. Shred the chicken when it’s cool enough to handle. Chop the carrots.
Put it all together, let the chicken warm through, then eat it. Pretty simple!
Whole30 Chicken Soup
2 Bone-in, skin-on Chicken Breasts (about 2–2½ lbs)
Water (just enough to cover)
1 small Onion, chopped
2 ribs Celery, chopped
3 large Carrots, peeled but left whole
1 T Kosher Salt
1 tsp Granulated Garlic Powder
¾ tsp Pepper
1/3 c Chopped Parsley
Rinse the chicken breasts thoroughly and place in a small to medium sized stock pot.
Add cold water to the pot just until the chicken is covered.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pot.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
Simmer for 1 hour then remove the chicken breasts; set aside to cool.
Let the pot continue simmering for another 30 minutes*.
When the chicken has cooled, remove it from the bone; discard the bone and skin.
Use 2 forks to shred the chicken.
Carefully remove the carrots from the pot and dice into bite-sized pieces.
Add the shredded chicken and diced carrots back to the pot.
Give it a stir and let it simmer for another minute or two to warm the chicken through.
Ladle into bowls and enjoy!
*Strain the entire pot and you have chicken stock!