food

Whole30: Week 1

The idea that I can’t do something usually immediately results in my desire to do that thing. I’m not sure why I wasn’t a more rebellious child/teenager. I looked at the Whole30 and assumed it would be too hard, too restrictive, too lonely. If you’re not familiar with the program it’s based eating three healthy meals, limiting snacks, and eliminating soy, sugar, grains, dairy, and alcohol. I read everything they offer on their website Whole30.com, including the very helpful “But can I have…” FAQ page. I decided what I agreed with and what I wanted to amend (yes to the occasional glass of wine and fresh corn, no to strictly keeping to three meals) and declared the pizza I was eating while reading to be my last for THIRTY WHOLE DAYS.

I’m not going to lie, it’s not really fun or easy. I got the “carb flu” – look it up it’s a real thing. I had to BYO snacks and drink to the movies (the new Xmen was SUPER good) and my coffee has coconut milk or nothing in it. My delicious ice cream is just chilling in the freezer and cinnamon toast crunch boxes sit unopened in the pantry. BUT I am glad that I’m doing it. It’s only been a week but I can see positive changes in my body and sleep. (You’re not supposed to weigh yourself but I needed the extra motivation.) It’s not a diet – it’s a challenge that will hopefully create healthy habits. Here’s a few tips and tricks I’ve learned so far:

1. Get a buddy. Either have your spouse commit to eating compliantly when with you or convince a friend that they should do it with you. I’m the primary when it comes to making dinner (he’s the primary for dishes ūüėČ) so that part wasn’t hard. He can eat whatever he wants at work, but when we’re together he’s eating what I eat. Notable exception was the movies, but he made sure I was happy with what I had to eat too! I also have a good friend who just started and my sister starts in June. This also helps you to discuss the program in a constructive manner instead of complaining all. The. Time. Which you will probably do anyways because you want carbs and sugar and milk in your coffee.

2. Follow Whole30 and Whole30Recipes and other healthy food bloggers/bakers/cooks on Instagram. The added motivation and inspiration is so helpful. So many of them post the recipes right there and you’ll quickly find yourself saying “I have all those ingredients!” Also get a Pinterest board up and running. Here’s mine!

3. Prep your kitchen. DON’T throw non-compliant food away. Give it away, put it in a box, do whatever, just don’t throw it away. I HATE how many paleo/Whole30/healthy eating blogs said STEP ONE GET OUT THE GARBAGE CAN. What I mean is stock your fridge with fresh fruits and veggies, tons of avocados, interesting proteins, coconut milk, and almond butter. LARABARS ARE ON SALE AT TARGET RIGHT NOW

4. Figure out how to handle social situations with food. Check menus before making plans, call and ask what the ingredients are, suggest Whole30 friendly restaurants. Be prepared to eat a lot of eggs and salads and to take the buns and cheese off everything. I brought a can of seltzer and apple and plantain chips with me to the movies. Technically that’s compliant, but not in the true spirit of Whole30. ¬†But I’m a spirited person so it’s fine.

5. When cooking and prepping double recipes/amounts so you’ll have extra food and ingredients for tomorrow’s lunch or to be frozen and used later. This makes everything easier and you’re less likely to give up because you don’t have time to pack a lunch or cook dinner. Whenever I adopted an “eff this, it’s too hard” attitude, I was a mean combination of hungry, tired, and lazy. Making a PBJ is easier than making a whole compliant meal, but more difficult than just heating up leftovers. MAKE IT EASY.

And here’s some photos of what I’ve been eating:

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#WifeTestedHusbandApproved: Lazy Chicken Pot Pie

It’s raining. ¬†It’s been going on for days that feel like weeks. ¬†*just started hailing actually. fun times.* ¬†And Hank and I are both over it in the worst way. ¬†I felt so bad for him that I ordered two new toys from Amazon in order to give him a treat – literally. ¬†The toys, when played with and manipulated properly, dispense treats. ¬†To make my husband feel better, I made him his fave: lazy chicken pot pie.

 

NOMNOMNOM This is delicious but not really pretty.

NOMNOMNOM This is delicious but not really pretty.*

One of my best go-to meals is a lazy chicken pot pie. ¬†And I meany lllllaaaazzyyyyyyy. ¬†It takes awhile to cook, but the prep is so fast you won’t care. ¬†My husband asks for this meal all the time and will eat the whole pan if I let him.

 

*Disclaimer: ¬†Going through the photos (all iPhone, so fancy) I realized that this is not a pretty meal. ¬†I don’t know why I never noticed this before… maybe because it smells so good? ¬†Do not serve this to anyone fancy. ¬†Just enjoy the tastiness. ¬†And the amount of happy exclamation points your husband uses in texts when you tell him this is for dinner. ¬†End disclaimer.

 

Step One: Assemble ingredients and preheat oven to 375 degrees

– Bag of frozen stew veggies (shallots, potatoes, celery, carrots)

– Bag of mixed veggies (carrots, green beans, peas, no lima beans because they’re disgusting.)

– Protein: use what you’ve got. ¬†Left over chicken, ground turkey, stew beef, etc. ¬†I really can’t give you a proper measurement, but usually two large chicken breasts or 2-3lbs of ground turkey is usually enough. ¬†This is supposed to be easy so don’t over think it.

– “Sauce” ¬†I don’t know what else to call this. I make chicken and beef broth all the time so there’s always some frozen in my freezer. ¬†If you are throwing away the bones from your Costco roasted chicken, you are throwing away money. ¬†But them in the crock pot with water, left over veggies, and a dash of vinegar on low over night or 12-18 hours. ¬†You’ll thank me later. ¬† Or use half broth and half cream of whatever: chicken, mushroom, etc.

– Biscuit topping of choice: ¬†Make your own (easy) or use a mix (bisquick, jiffy’s, etc)

I toss everything into a 9×13 brownie pan or two of those pans you use for making banana bread. ¬†What are they called?

Pot Pie Ingredients

Pot Pie Ingredients

Step Two: Brown/mostly cook the meat of your choice.  Easy.

 

ground turkey.  does any one else think it smells weird?

ground turkey. does any one else think it smells weird?

Step Three: Fill your pan(s) about 3/4 of the way full with the protein and frozen veggies and mix them up. ¬†I usually put the whole bag of stew veggies in and then fill it out with the mixed veggies. ¬†(I keep a HUGE bag of the mixed veggies in the freezer and just pull them out to use what I need. ¬†They’re good for fulling up soups and things.) ¬†Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper if you want to.

Veggies.  I forgot to add the meat for the photo

Veggies. I forgot to add the meat for the photo

 

Step Four: ¬†Add your sauce. ¬†Either use a can of broth and a can of creamed whatever or make your own. ¬†Take out the premade broth from the freezer and heat it in a sauce pan until it’s simmering then add a pat of butter (2ish tbs) and whisk in tablespoons of flour one by one until it seems almost thick enough. ¬†Sometimes I sprinkle in cornstarch it isn’t thickening like I want it to. ¬†Again, not rocket science. ¬†Just pour it over the veggies and protein so they’re covered.

 

This looks good.  maybe.  BUT IT IS I PROMISE

This looks good. maybe. BUT IT IS I PROMISE

Step Five: Biscuit topping. ¬†Mix according to box, pour over top. ¬†Use a spoon or spatula to help evenly distribute it. ¬†If you forgot to get this at the store, use this one. ¬†It doesn’t call for shortening so you should have most of the ingredients.

ready for the oven.

ready for the oven.

 

Step Six: Put the pan in the over until the biscuit topping is done, usually about 45 minutes.  It should be golden brown on top and pass the toothpick test.

 

It looks a little better in the oven.

It looks a little better in the oven.

Step Seven: Serve this stuff hot and delicious. ¬†If you made two pans, freeze the second one. ¬†Just defrost and reheat it in the oven with tin foil over the top until the last few minutes. ¬†That way you maintain a crisp “crust” without burning anything.