Friday, March 29, 2013

April Whole30: Week 1 Meal Plan

It's Friday, thank goodness!  I am so excited to run away to Cape May for the weekend.  But before I go, here's my meal plan for the first week!

My breakfasts will consist of a mix of hard boiled eggs, Lara Bars (check the ingredients, some are compliant, some aren't), fruit, tea, and coffee (only when I'm dragging, not every day).  I'm not a huge breakfast eater, so I will only be eating when I'm hungry.  Hard boiled eggs and fruit may turn into snacks later in the day or sides with lunch.  Additional snacks will be dried fruit, nuts, pickles, garlic stuffed olives, raw carrots, or sometimes a whole avocado to the face :)

  • Lunch: Salad with shrimp, hard boiled eggs, romaine, spinach, red onions, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, tomatoes, dressed with a mixture of balsamic vinegar, EVOO, and greek spices
  • Dinner: Buffalo chicken boats (cook some chicken in the crockpot all day, shred and combine with some Franks Red Hot, serve in romaine lettuce boats, top with avocado and tomato) with Roasted Cauliflower and Asparagus

  • Lunch: Avocado chicken salad (using chicken from the crockpot) with frozen vegetables (that I will microwave at work)
  • Dinner: I'll be at my parents' house so I'm not sure, I may be able to eat some or all of the meal (especially now that my mom is checking out the Paleo diet!!!!), but if not my back up plan is eggs!

  • Lunch: Buffalo chicken leftovers and frozen vegetables
  • Dinner: Burgers topped with fried onions and mushrooms, plus lettuce, tomato, and pickles, with some grilled asparagus and a sweet potato

  • Lunch: Leftover burgers, asparagus, and sweet potato
  • Dinner: Coconut curry soup (Melt coconut oil in a large pot, lightly saute onions, peppers, mushrooms, add in 1 can coconut milk, 1 can fire roasted tomatoes, 1 cup chicken broth, protein of choice, we'll be using leftover chicken and maybe even some shrimp, add curry powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, etc to taste, simmer!)

  • Lunch: Leftover soup
  • Dinner: Meatballs (combine ground beef with 1 egg, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, minced garlic, finely chopped onions, maybe some spinach, form into meatballs, bake in oven at 375 for 20-30 minutes, check inside of one for no pink, so easy!) served with mom's sauce (from my freezer, no sugar in that batch!) over spaghetti squash with a side salad

  • Brunch: Veggie omelet (whatever veggies move me at the time)
  • Dinner: Out with my parents at The Local (thinking I should be able to get a compliant meal at this amazing restaurant with a focus on local ingredients)

  • Lunch: Southwestern Frittata (leftovers for bfasts next week)
  • Dinner: Not sure yet (something in the crockpot to have leftovers for lunches next week)

Are you sensing a theme?  I will be eating leftovers for all of my lunches!  To me... that just makes sense, make extra at dinner, lunch is already taken care of, boom!  I'm also a big fan of simple recipes.  I know I will be utilizing my cookbooks, but for the first week I thougth I'd keep it straightfoward and then bust out the books in week 2 to give me something to look forward to.

Are you ready for some homework?  If you're participating in the April Whole30, you need to gather your before data on Sunday!  Take pictures, measurements, and weigh yourself so you have something to compare to at the end.  You may even want to write a little summary describing your goals and how you feel.  I know Sarah told me she wished she'd written down some daily notes to have something to look back on.  I would LOVE to feature your success stories so if you're interested, feel free to shoot me an emailMaybe I can even convince Dave to write a guest post ;)

Well, I'm out of here!  Happy Passover, Easter, or whatever you celebrate.  It's also my mom's bday on Sunday, Happy Birthday Mama!  Have a wonderful weekend.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Learning From My Whole21

Coming into the April Whole30, I want to look back and reflect on my Whole21.  Although I had success, I want to do even better this time around.  I know I can improve my experience and results using the knowledge I have now. Here are a few things that I didn't do the first time, that I'm definitely doing in April:

Make a meal plan: I didn't do this last time and I think it would've made my life much easier, plus I'm hoping it will help other people.

Read It Starts With Food: I think it really helps to understand the whys!  Websites and blogs are great, but ISWF is just so clear cut!  I highly recommend it.

Order some items off the internet: I couldn't find some things in my local grocery stores, so amazon was my friend.  I stocked up on shredded coconut flakes (no added sugar) and ghee.  I may also be ordering some Whole30 approved salad dressing.

Expand my cookbook collection: I never understood the point of purchasing a cookbook when there's unlimited resources online, but now I'm a changed woman.  Heather gave me a copy of Practical Paleo in October, and while I was excited to receive it, I didn't really utilize it until January when it became a boredom buster during my Whole21! The recipes are so simple and straightforward.  Today I purchased Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat and I'm very excited to add some new recipes into the mix.

Hide my scale: The program clearly states that you are not allowed to step on the scale (since the Whole30 is about way more than just weight loss) but I completely disregarded this and weighed myself almost every day.  Fail!  This time I'm going to put the scale away.  Out of sight, out of mind!


Follow the Reintroduction Protocol: ISWF recommends a strict reintroduction protocol where you add one thing, then eat compliant for two days, then try another thing, and so on.  This is done to determine exactly how dairy, gluten, legumes, etc. make you feel.  I did not do this at all.  I stuffed my face with everything and anything.  Not only did I feel terrible, but I robbed myself of learning how each food affects me!  It also put me into a spiral of bad food choices.  This time I will do better.

Rally the troops: I'm SO excited that Dave is joining me this time!  Last time I had some support since Holly was doing a Whole30 on her blog (which is really the whole reason I even decided to do one in the first place), but I didn't have someone to fully commiserate with.  This time I'll have Dave, Sarah, and some more people that have told me that they were interested in joining on Facebook.  Hey Facebook friends, I'd looooove to see an official commitment in the comment section below... come on people, humor me with some comments :)  If you're thinking about it, debating joining in, JUST DO IT.  It may be tough, but it's only thirty days and it's so worth it!

I have no affiliations with any of the products in this post, I'm just sharing what I've found to be helpful.

Are you in?!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Succeed During Your Whole30!

Aw snap, we're starting the Whole30 on Monday!  Are you ready?  Have you been prepping?  I started stocking up and thinking about my meal plan for the first week, which I will post as soon as I finish it!  In the meantime, let's talk more about how you can have a successful Whole30!
After Sarah finished her Whole30 and wrote her results post, she immediately asked if she could write a success guide.  I told her I already had bunch of things swirling through my head, but that I would love to include her thoughts.  So here are some tips to achieve success during your Whole30 courtesy of Sarah:
Find accountability and support:  Even just one amazing friend is all you need.  That was Amber for me.  She supported me with my every question, my every struggle, my every temptation, and helped me brainstorm whenever I got stuck with meal ideas.  Seriously, support is key.  I could not have done my Whole30 without you, Amber.  THANK YOU. Love you, girl. Find yourself an Amber.
Prepare Prepare Prepare:  Did I mention prepare? How about preparation?  And by this I mean both mentally and physically.
  • Do your research.  Understand what you are committing to, and why you’re committing to it.  30 days is a long time to commit to something that you don’t understand or are not passionate about. 
  • Get your house ready.  Reorganize your pantry.  Throw stuff out.  Whatever it will take for you to manage temptations and cravings and stay on track.  I’m not a big fan of just throwing perfectly good food away, so I reorganized my pantry, put temptations in boxes that were so far out of reach, they weren’t worth the energy to get to them.  Seriously.  Do what it takes.  Know yourself.
  • Find your recipes ahead of time – print them out – organize them – and SHOP for them.
Introduce “treats” gradually throughout the 30 days:  For example, Larabars = Godsend.  I didn’t discover these until the second half of my Whole30, which was great timing, as I was getting bored with the things I was eating. Pure fruit juice? Dynamite!  Waited until my 3rd week to try that out.  It was just the boost/ treat I needed to get me through a few more days.

Plan to go to the grocery store often and spend a LOT of time reading labels:  That is all.

Thank you Sarah!  I am so proud of you and I can't wait to see your success in the April Whole30!

And here are a few of my own:

Similar to what Sarah said... meal plan:  Set yourself up for success by planning everything that will go into your mouth.  I suggest planning a week at a time, which should also help you avoid additional grocery store trips throughout the week.

Pressed for time?  Prep ahead!
  • Cook in bulk so you have leftovers for lunch or a night when you don't feel like cooking.
  • Spend a Sunday afternoon doing some prep for the rest of the week.  Chop some veggies and fruit for easy access.  Cook up some staples (baked chicken, sweet potatoes, roasted veggies), so you have no excuses later in the week.
Avoid temptations (aka restaurants and parties):  If you know you can't control yourself, you may want to just avoid putting yourself into tempting situations for the month of April.  However, that might not be a possibility for you.
  • Eat beforehand.  You will be less tempted to graze the snack table at a party if you've had a fulfilling meal before you go.
  • Bring something to share.  You can show your friends that eating Paleo is delicious and you know you'll have something compliant to eat.
  • Get involved in picking the restaurant and check out the menu ahead of time.  You can usually find a compliant salad (hold the cheese, croutons, and crappy dressings please), or a steak with some veggies on the side.  Don't be afraid to ask your waiter what something is cooked in.
Eat!!!!!!!  The Whole30 isn't a "diet" and you most definitely should not feel like you're hungry because you didn't eat enough during it.  Make sure you're taking in enough calories, especially from protein and fat, to keep you full throughout the day.  Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full.

Focus on what you can have, instead of what you can't:  Don't sit in your kitchen feeling sorry for yourself while dreaming of bagels and pasta!  Think about all of the delicious, nutritious food you CAN have!  If you're feeling deprived have a "treat."  Eat some guacamole, enjoy some fruit (fresh or dried), grab a handful of nuts, or stuff your face with some garlic stuffed olives!

This is good to read ahead of time, but it will be even more valuable when you're actually in the trenches.  And don't forget to utilize the internet: google whatever questions you have, search the Whole30 forums, read blogs, etc.

Do you have any tips to avoid temptation?  Any tips for Whole30 success?

Don't forget to like Busy, Bold, Blessed on Facebook   :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Paleo on a Budget: 10 Ways to Avoid Breaking the Bank

One of the first things people say when I discuss Paleo is but isn't that expensive?!  Well, yes... when you take cheap boxes of pasta and rice and replace them with fresh produce and quality meat, it is more expensive but it's also more nutritious!  It can definitely be a little overwhelming at first, but there are ways to avoid breaking the bank!

1.  Buy whatever is on sale.  Go into the grocery store with an open mind and take advantage of sales!

2.  Purchase in bulk.  We shop at BJ's Wholesale (similar to Costco and Sam's Club), which offers great deals on things in large quantities.  Utilize your freezer!  I'm a huge fan of their giant bags of frozen veggie blends, you just need to make sure you have some space in your freezer!  Speaking of which...

3.  Utilize frozen produce.  It's cheap and may be even better than some fresh produce since it is processed at the time of peak ripeness (whereas "fresh" produce may be harvested before it is fully ripe and it also loses some of it's nutritional value in the time it takes to travel to your grocery store due to heat and light exposure).  Frozen produce is also great because you can use it at your own pace without stressing about it going bad.

4.  Venture outside of your comfort zone.  Try new-to-you cuts of meat that may be cheaper.  Chicken with bones in it is always cheaper than boneless and you can even use the bones to make bone broth afterwards!  Organ meats are cheap and incredibly nutrient dense (I need to put my big girl panties on and start adding some to my cooking repertoire)!

5.  Eat seasonally.  To get the most bang for your buck, purchase in season produce!  Of course strawberries are more expensive in the winter when they are shipped 2,000 miles or more!  For some easy ways to ensure you're eating in season try hitting up your local farmers market, joining a CSA, or even consider growing your own!

6.  Don't eat out!  When you're purchasing quality meats and produce at the grocery store instead of rice, cereal, and bread, you will inevitably spend more money at the store.  However, how often do you go out to eat?  I remember when Sarah was doing her Whole30, she mentioned her growing grocery bill but then she realized that she actually saved money overall by not going out to eat!

7.  Eat some eggs.  What a cheap source of protein!  Have breakfast for dinner.  Eat some hard boiled eggs as a snack.  Make a fabulous frittata to enjoy throughout the week.

8.  Think outside of the box.  Check out small ethnic food markets (Asian, Indian, etc.) for cheap produce or specialty items.

9.  Use everything you purchase!  Whether you make a meal plan and figure out how you're going to use each purchase ahead of time (recommended!) or you are googling cabbage recipes at dinnertime because you have a whole head that's about to hit the trash and you have no idea how to use it, make sure you aren't wasting your money by throwing food out!  Eat what you already paid for!

10.  Do what you can, don't stress the rest.  I know a lot of Paleo resources on the web stress things like organic produce and grass fed beef.  Personally I'd love to eat all the best quality food but it's not quite realistic for my budget yet.  So I'm doing the best I can!  I buy organic when it makes sense (check out the dirty dozen!) and when I can afford it and I know I'm still doing my body right by trying my best.

And finally, following the Paleo Diet may seem expensive, but you know what's really expensive?  Medical bills.  Paying more for food may seem excessive, but it might be time to rethink your grocery budget.  I know I personally spend money on frivolous items at Target (gets me every time), happy hours (I always seem to want a beer that isn't on special), a very expensive cable package (dang you Comcast!), etc.  If I can afford those things, then surely I can invest in my health!

How do you save money on your groceries?!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekend of Gluttony

This weekend revolved around food and friends.  Friday night was a potluck with some of my coworkers with a comfort food theme.  We chowed down on fried chicken, mac and cheese, pulled pork, green bean casserole, apple crisp, and more.  We also played games, watched some basketball, and had a dance party.  I feel so fortunate that I have coworkers that I get along with so well and like enough to hang out with them outside of the 40 hours we're already together.  The festivities took place in Manayunk, the land of parking nightmares.  Have you ever driven on a road that's only wide enough for one car to fit through... but it's a two way street, with parallel parking on both sides, on a giant hill?  No thank you.

Saturday night the feasting continued at the firehouse with seafood night!  We tried some of everything including clams, mussels, fried fish, shrimp, Maryland crab soup, and some lobster bisque.  I'm looking forward to the encore next weekend in Cape May.

And the weekend concluded with a double date with our neighbors at Wegmans Pub.  If you don't know, Wegmans is a grocery store that has an amazing produce section, a huge drool worthy hot bar, and sells booze... which, in the fine state of Pennsylvania, is a big deal!  They also have a sit down restaurant to which we had a gift card.  Sushi, some cream of crab soup (apparently Saturday wasn't enough seafood for me), and some bruschetta chicken made up my final feast of the weekend.

And now there's only a week until the April Whole30 starts and it's time to clean things up!  My goal is to eat as compliant as possible without stressing all of the details, aka I'm definitely drinking margaritas next weekend at the beach.  I know the way I eat before I start the Whole30 will have a significant impact on my carb flu/sugar withdrawal in the first few days of the challenge, so I'm going to do a lot of cooking this week with a huge focus on veggies!

What did you do this weekend?  Did you eat anything epic?  Are you prepping for the Whole30?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My First CrossFit Class

What is CrossFit: CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive.  The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts.

I had been dreaming of trying CrossFit for quite some time, but the expensive price tag ($119 per month for 2 classes a week, eek!) had kept me from taking the plunge until one day I saw a LivingSocial deal for our local box (aka CrossFit gym).  We had just joined the Y, I had a yoga deal to utilize, and my schedule was rounded out with coaching cheer and playing volleyball so I was slightly hesitant.  But in the end, I decided I had nothing to lose, I would either love CrossFit or I would use the techniques I learned from the classes back at the Y.

The deal I purchased was for the 4 session On Ramp Course you take to learn all the basics before you get thrown into the regular group workouts.  I got the deal a while ago, but we were sort of dragging our feet to get to the classes.  The On Ramp session times didn't really seem to jive with our already stacked schedule.  So we waited until the last possible time to start before the deal expired.  Better late than never!  Determined to get my money's worth, I emailed the gym and asked them if we could schedule a special session since we couldn't make the regular class.  The coach was flexible and we scheduled our first session for Monday night at 7:30!

We showed up early as the group from the previous workout was stretching.  As soon as we walked in the door, multiple people got up to greet us and introduce themselves.  One of the biggest things I've heard about CrossFit is the amazing community and it was demonstrated to us immediately.  We filled out some waivers, the crowd cleared out, and we started our session!

We did a quick warm up of easy cardio and dynamic stretching.  Then the first thing we worked on was proper squatting technique.  I thought I'd be great at the squats but I learned that I'd never squatted low enough!  I was quickly humbled and found myself falling over.  We spent some time getting more comfortable squatting low and I could already feeling my hip flexors getting a workout.  And if you're thinking, ERMEHGERD that's bad for your knees, read this or this!

Next we went over push up technique.  Adjusting my arms from wide 90 degree bends to keeping my elbows as close to my body as possible and putting my chest all the way to the ground gave me another reality check.  After push ups, we did some simple sit ups.  No big surprises here except that CrossFit lets you use your arms to help you up.  We finished out our technique review getting some experience on the rowing machine.

Sounds easy right?  It was... until the Workout of the Day (WOD).  CrossFit classes typically start with reviewing techniques and then you do the WOD, which features the techniques you just went over.

Our WOD was as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 8 minutes and consisted of:
  • 5 squats
  • 5 push ups
  • 5 sit ups
  • 200m row
Our coach pumped up the music, set the timer, and asked us who was going to be the winner?!  Dave and I busted our butts for 8 minutes with our coach yelling form corrections and encouragement!  We completed 4 full rounds and a 5th round of the squats, push ups, and sit ups and boy was I winded!  My arms were feeling the burn between the push ups (that I was struggling through) and the rowing.

I left thinking... 8 minutes kicked my ass!  Nobody can say they don't have time to workout.  Our next session is Saturday morning at 10:15 and I think it's safe to say that I won't be drinking at the party I'm attending Friday night, attending CrossFit hungover would be quite a mistake.  I'm pretty sore today but I think some of it is from some conditioning at cheerleading last night.  I'll keep you posted on how the next class goes but so far so good!

Have you ever tried a new fitness class that was bit out of your comfort zone?  Have you ever tried CrossFit?!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Let's Talk about Breakfast!

"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day."

Bet you've heard that one before.  You're trying to eat healthy so you think, I'm going to start my day off right!  You know donuts aren't the best choice, so instead you start your day off with a big bowl of cereal, it even says heart healthy on the box!  Or maybe you have some whole grain toast.  What about some oatmeal, that's healthy right?  How about a big glass of OJ on the side?  Don't have time in the morning?  Just grab a granola bar.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  Do you also feel hungry around 10 am?  Do you experience a burst of energy (sugar rush) right after breakfast, but then feel like you're dragging again soon after?  Maybe it's time to rethink your breakfast!

But my box of cereal says it's "heart healthy!"  Cereal is a processed food!  Even "healthy, natural" cereals like Kashi have long ingredient lists.  Cereal is loaded with sugar (and so is your tall glass of OJ).  Any sugar that isn't used as energy is stored as fat.  Got 3 minutes?  Watch this:

If you can't get over the fact that something with "heart healthy" on the box could be bad for you, maybe you should take a moment to consider that the point of food advertising is to make money off you, so they are going to tell you just what you want to hear.  You may also consider that there are a ton of politics involved.

So what should you eat?  How about some eggs!  I know what you're thinking, what about cholesterol?! 
Heart disease took off in the early part of the twentieth century, and doctors frantically searched for the cause throughout the next several decades. Tests in the fifties initially showed an association between early death by heart disease and fat deposits and lesions along artery walls. Because cholesterol was found to be present in those deposits (of course it would!) and because researchers had previously associated familial hypercholesterolaemia (hereditary high blood cholesterol) with heart disease, they concluded that cholesterol must be the culprit. In fact, what happens is that in response to an inflammatory situation, the body uses cholesterol as a “band-aid” to temporarily cover any lesions in the arterial wall. In the event the inflammation is resolved, the band-aid goes away and repair takes place. No harm, no foul. Unfortunately, in most cases, the inflammation proceeds, the cholesterol plaque is eventually acted on by macrophages and is oxidized to a point at which it takes up more space in the artery, slows arterial flow and eventually can break loose to form a clot. And all this time the cholesterol was just trying to be the good guy! Blaming cholesterol for all this is like blaming a cut finger on all the band-aids you have lying around your house.
So it all boils down to inflammation and what causes inflammation?  Sugars, grains, legumes, and processed oils.  Want to know more about cholesterol?  Click here!

Eggs are an excellent source of protein that will keep you full throughout the morning.  They are a whole food, no weird hidden ingredients!  Egg yolks are extremely nutrient dense containing magnesium, B12, omega-3's, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin E, and much more!  Add some veggies to your omelet and you'll start your day off with a wealth of nutrients!

Eggs every day might be a bit much for some people, so what else can you eat for breakfast?  Make a green smoothie, grab a Lara bar in a pinch, or start thinking outside of the box!

And one last thought, are you actually hungry in the morning?  I know we've been conditioned to think breakfast is required, but you don't need to force yourself to eat breakfast.  If you're not hungry, don't eat.  It's that simple.

Again, please click on all the links!  There's a ton of information and research to support the points I've presented.  I know I'm asking you to reconsider a lot of things that we've been conditioned to know as truths.  But since more than one-third of all US adults are obese, it might be time to rethink what we know!

What's your favorite way to eat eggs?
I love them scrambled up with onions, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and some cheese.  I like them a bit wet, so they are sorta gooey... I hate overcooked eggs, no browned eggs for me!

Monday, March 11, 2013

How to Prep for Your Whole30!

Wow!  I've had an overwhelming response to my last post, apparently you're interested in The Whole30 Program.  It seems like we should have quite a group for the April Whole30!  I plan on doing a lot of support for the program through the Busy Bold Blessed Facebook page, so please go like it if you haven't yet!

I am such a planner, sometimes I may even go a bit overboard... but when it comes to the Whole30, planning ahead is the key to success!  Here's a list of some things you can do now to prep for April 1st:

Get inspired:  When I was first considering doing a Whole30, I started reading a ton of success stories that really got me excited about the concept.
Do your research:  If you understand the whys of the Whole30, it will be much easier to follow!
  • I just purchased It Starts With Food, a book by the creators of the Whole30 which summarizes the science behind the program.  You don't need the book to do the Whole30, but if you click on the link and scroll down, you can see all the raving reviews for the book!
  • The Whole9 website also has an awesome list of resources!
  • Mark's Daily Apple also covers a ton of topics!  (Note, the Primal Blueprint is the program promoted on MDA, it's not as strict as the Whole30, but Mark thoroughly covers the science behind avoiding grainswhy sugar is evil, being picky about which oils you consume, and much more!
  • Browse the Whole30 forums, they are full of information from real people who have done the program.
  • Google any additonal questions you may have!
Reach out for support:  I hope to help you all throughout your 30 day journey, please feel free to message me on Facebook or email me at, but some additional support will only make it easier!
  • Tell your family and friends that you will be doing the program, ask them to support you!  It will be much easier to avoid off program foods if your loved ones aren't shoving them in your face.  If you're the cook for your family, decide if you'll be making delicious compliant meals for everyone and that's it or if you'll be preparing non compliant foods for other people.  I cooked what I cooked and sometimes Dave added cheese or a non compliant condiment to his plate if he wanted, but there was no way I was making him a separate dish when the dinner I prepared was both healthy and tasty, and he didn't complain!
  • Share the Whole30 Timeline with your family, so they know how you're feeling!
Plan ahead:
  • Start to evaluate your diet now!  During the first few days of the Whole30, your body will be in carb withdrawal and you may even feel ill.  As the timeline states:  "it is definitely true that the amount of suck you experience in this phase is directly proportional to the amount of crap you consumed before you began the program." If you start making small changes now, you can avoid the dreaded carb flu!
  • Start looking at food labels, take a glance at the long list of undesirable ingredients in every salad dressing in your fridge (HFCS, soybean or canola oil, etc.), notice that there's sugar in most kinds of packaged sausages or hams, aim to eat items that don't have ingredient lists.
  • Check out the shopping list and start evaluating your freezer, pantry, and fridge.  There are certain things you may want to stock up on beforehand.  I would recommend purchasing some coconut oil (I cook everything in it!).  Maybe you'll be interested in grabbing some new spices (I know I bought a few during mine).  In the grocery store, items like bacon and beef jerky often contain added sugar, but compliant versions can be found online!  Also, work on finishing some non compliant foods hanging out in your pantry or consider giving them away to friends or donating them.
  • Start thinking about what you're going to cook!  Here's 30 days of Whole30 compliant dinners!  Maybe you want to look into a cookbook, I did a lot of cooking from Practical Paleo!  Another great cookbook is Well Fed.  Google "whole30 compliant recipe with whatever meal you're craving."
Ok, I think that's probably enough of an information overload for now!  Be sure to check out all the links in this post, there's so much helpful info.  I will definitely do another post containing more tips for while you're actually doing the program, but for now get planning!

Note:  I have no association with The Whole30 Program.  I just think it's such an enlightening program, I couldn't help but share it!

Are you in?!  What questions do you have?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Call Me Crazy…

I’ve decided to do another Whole30 in April!  I’m going to do all 30 days and Dave is doing it with me!  And so is Sarah!  I’m slipping back into bad eating habits (which makes my stomach hate me), I want clean eating to become a habit, and I want to see if I can obtain even better results.  My skin has always been less than amazing and although it improved during my Whole21, I think it could still improve with more time.  I’d also like to see if I can continue to lean out and find my abs for the summer!

What is The Whole30 ProgramThis link will give you all the details, but here are the basics:

  • Eat real food:
    • Meat
    • Seafood
    • Eggs
    • Tons of vegetables
    • Some fruit
    • Plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds
  • Avoid:
    • Sugar of any kind, real or artificial
    • Alcohol or tobacco products
    • Grains
    • Legumes
    • Dairy
    • Carrageenan, MSG, or sulfates
    • White potatoes

So, I know what you’re thinking… why the heck would anyone do this?  From the website:

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?

Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health. The most important reason to keep reading?

This will change your life.

Whole21 - Front

My thoughts about it:

Do you suffer from a food coma after a big feast?  Maybe after lunch, you just want to take a nap?  Do you get headaches or feel starved if you miss a meal?  Do you get hangry?  Does your tummy feel bloated?  Does it make weird noses?  Are you gassy?  Do you realize that the food you eat impacts everything in your body?  If you’re getting a majority of your fuel from processed food you may be surviving, but are you thriving?

The Whole30 is not for everyone, maybe baby steps are more your style.  It’s intense and it involves a lot of cooking, planning, and willpower.  But it’s only 30 days… you can live without bread for 30 days (I promise!), it will be there when you’re done!  As the website says:  “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles”. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.”

If you like immediate results, this is for you!  You will see changes within days.  You might sleep better, you might lose weight, you may even rethink everything conventional wisdom has told you.  Or you may finish 30 days and realize Paleo just isn’t for you… but what do you have to lose?

Are you thinking about joining us for the April Whole30?  A few people have already told me they’re in!  It’s much easier to do with a support group and I will be posting lots of helpful links before April!  Let me know if you’re interested!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Guest Post: Sarah’s Whole30 Results!

When my friend Sarah told me she was thinking about doing the Whole30, I was so excited for her!  I knew how hard it was going to be and also how rewarding and I wanted to be her support system!  I went on amazon and ordered her some books, sent her tons of links and googled her every question.  There were numerous texts and calls back and forth.  Well, yesterday was day 30 and I am so proud of her!  Congratulations Sarah!

It’s official. I completed my first Whole30, and what a journey it’s been (yes – I did say first, which means there are more to come in my future). Pre-Whole30, I was a two-a-day bagel, fast-food-when-I-don’t-feel-like-cooking, snacking queen who felt controlled by food cravings and addictions. My life revolved around my 10-month-old son and my husband’s crazy residency schedule, leaving little time to care for myself, and boy did it show.

When I started the Whole30, I was 2lbs heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight, and just couldn’t get that weight off. I am proud to say that I blew those 2lbs out of the water, and lost a total of 16.5lbs; a whole 14.5lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight. BOOYAH. Not only did I lose weight, but I lost a total of 13 inches off my body – 1 in off my neck, 1 in off each arm, 2 in off my bust, 2.5 in off my muffin top, and the rest off various other places of my body. In addition to all the weight loss, there were a number of other benefits I got out of this cleanse –
(1) Skin improvement – I never struggled with acne, per se, but I never had clear, radiant skin. And now I do! Of course an occasional spot comes up here and there, but guess who doesn’t need foundation anymore? THIS GIRL!
(2) Sleep improvement – at one point in my life I had clinical insomnia, and I swear to God, there is nothing worse than that. I had been doing much better, and then all of a sudden I started having trouble with it again over the past few months. Whole30 started… I Almost immediately. No medication needed. Some of the best sleep I’ve had in my life.
(3) Medical reasons – being overweight comes with other issues. I recently found out that my fasting insulin level was TRIPLE what it should be. What does that mean you ask? That means I’m heading down the road to diabetes. Uhh, at 26 years old? You bet. That was the kick in the pants I needed to get my eating straight. I was hoping for follow up blood work to share with you, but unfortunately my doc didn’t pull through on that one. Once I have it though, I will share! I can’t imagine that my insulin level has done anything BUT improve.

There are a few other things that I’ve learned in addition to those mentioned above.
(1) Craving vs. hunger – Pre Whole30, 75% of my eating was driven by cravings. I can only say that with hindsight now. Had you asked me before, I would have said 25%. This journey has forced me to recognize the difference between those cravings and TRUE hunger, essentially by cutting out ALL the foods I was craving before – sugar, carbs and fast food. Sure, do I still want those foods? Absolutely. Will I still eat those foods? Sometimes. Do I still need those foods? No. Do you still need those foods? No.
(2) I eat a lot of what I feed my child. What do you call this? Mindless eating. Oh, I mushed a graham cracker too much; I’ll eat it instead of throwing it out. Whoops, put too many goldfish on your tray; I’ll eat some so you don’t put too many in your mouth. Honest to God, I had NO sense of how much I was eating when I fed my child until I intentionally stopped.
(3) Cooking shows did more for me than teach me how to cook – they made me CRAVE what I was seeing. As a new mom, I knew there were a lot of adult shows that I used to watch that I didn’t want to have on in front of my baby. So what other adult TV shows could I watch that would be fine to have on when Caleb was around? COOKING. OF COURSE. Sure, they’re fine for Caleb, but little did I know, they weren’t fine for me. I look back now and realize that a good portion of my snacking was mindless (ohh there’s that term again) eating that was catalyzed by looking at all the delicious food on the TV. OH! And just a little rant. Next time you watch TV, pay attention to HOW MANY food related commercials there are. SO MANY. No wonder this nation is obese…
(4) You can cook outside your comfort zone. I am as guilty as anyone else in the department of cooking the same crap night after night, week after week. It was what I was comfortable with. And clearly it wasn’t working for me. As evidenced by my weight, my inability to even run a mile, or still wearing some pregnancy clothes NINE MONTHS after being pregnant (wow that’s embarrassing to admit out loud) – take your pick. Clearly what I was doing wasn’t working, even though it was comfortable. The Whole30 forced me to embrace new fats, new proteins, new vegetables, new spices and seasonings – a WHOLE new thought process behind how to prepare a meal. I ALWAYS prepared your typical “protein, starch, vegetable” for dinner. And why not? I’ve been eating that my whole life. The Whole30 challenged me by saying “Why not skip the starch, and add another veggie?” “Why not make the protein or the vegetable the star of your meal?” So I did. And it was awesome. And I wasn’t hungry. WHAT!?! I wasn’t hungry??? Nope.
(5) You don’t need carbs to stay full. Or processed carbs at all for that matter. Take it from the carb queen of ALL carb queens, I was PISSED to give up carbs. Believe me, I fought it. I was cranky about it. I thought Amber was insane for even suggesting it. But you know what? and I wasn’t hungry. Sure, I dreamt about cupcakes and pizza, but I didn’t eat them, and my body feels AMAZING. If I can go 30 days without processed carbs, ANYONE can. Trust me on this one.
(6) You can eat bacon every day and lose weight. A lot of weight. You think I’m crazy, right? I am living, breathing testimony to this. I ate bacon EVERY DAY of the Whole30. I ate between 2 and 6 eggs EVERY DAY of the Whole30. And I lost 16.5lbs. It happened. Believe it. Oh, and did I mention that I BARELY exercised (maybe 1x/week) during this whole thing? Imagine the possibilities if I had!

All-in-all, the Whole30 was a good experience and definitely worth doing again when I’m feeling lethargic and crummy from what I’ve been eating. Or when I’m wanting to lose weight. Or when I want my skin to improve. Or my sleep to improve. Or hosts of other awesome benefits from the Whole30. Was it hard? Yes. Was it really hard? YES. Was it worth it? Absolutely. There are a lot of things I would suggest in order to succeed during the Whole30, but we’ll save that for another post.

‘Til next time, folks!

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

What’s Happening

What we did yesterday: Stuffed our faces at the Reading Terminal Market and saw the Flyers win!  If you live in the Philly area and you haven’t been to the Reading Terminal Market, shame on you!  Everything is so delicious that it’s impossible to decide where you’re going to eat.  We split a few things and then splurged on dessert!





What we watched last night:  Restrepo, an intense eye opening documentary about a group of men stationed in Afghanistan.  I was skeptical when I opened our latest Netflix delivery, but it was so well done and now I want to watch a million documentaries!

What we’re having for dinner:  Caramelized Italian Pork Chops with Sweet Onion Jam, nom nom!

What I’m reading:  Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected, a memoir by one of my favorite bloggers about how having a child with Down syndrome changed her life.  Having a brother with Down syndrome has definitely changed my life and I’m loving this book and her perspective.


And now I’m trying to enjoy the last few hours of my weekend with a quick workout, some cooking, and relaxing.  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

How about you?

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • What are you watching?
  • What’s for dinner?
  • What are you reading?
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