Paleo Clean-up: Day 1

Whole30 post

And so it begins! Day 1 of any endeavor is always an exciting time, I think. You don’t really know what to expect, but you can sense that change is on the horizon. You know that there will be challenging times, but for now they remain a mystery. And you can see yourself overcoming anything, sailing through full of enthusiasm and conviction. It does get hard at times, I know, but on Day 1 it’s all about the anticipation of an end result to be proud of.

Here’s what I ate today.

4:30am – Black coffee

7:30am – 2 eggs in 1/2 tsp. coconut oil, kale salad, 1/4 avocado, blueberries, vinaigrette

11:30am – Roasted broccoli, Cherries

1:30pm – Cauliflower salad with salmon, Cherries, Coffee

5:00pm – Snap peas

6:00pm – Grilled pork chop, Spicy Cauliflower Salad, Cherries

7:30pm – Hard boiled egg, Snap peas

A few notes…I didn’t intentionally eat cauliflower salad at both meals, and it wasn’t the same cauliflower salad either. I had a different plan to go with dinner but didn’t have all the ingredients so I had to switch on the fly. Turns out that it was one of those easy and tasty recipes that I’ll have to post as soon as I can.

The other thing is that I love cherries and right now they are so good and on sale and I can’t get enough of them. I like the gorgeous Rainier ones that are plump and not quite as sweet and I like the dark Bing cherries that are super sweet. It really doesn’t matter much and I try not to eat more than a handful at a time, but don’t judge me; they’ll come up a lot. I ate a little more fruit than I do typically, but it’s summertime so I can hardly resist.

I felt really hungry after dinner and realized that I didn’t have anything to eat after my workout this afternoon. There wasn’t any fat to speak of in my dinner either and when I drop my carbs, my body still needs fuel. I prefer to give it in the form of good fats like avocados and olive oil and nuts. I have to be careful with nuts though because I have a tendency to go a little crazy with them. If I don’t need them then I try to pass. I went for an egg and another handful of veggies, which worked out great.

Something to keep in mind when eating for your healthiest self is that it isn’t about starvation. This isn’t a diet. It’s about finding the right food for you, the best way to fuel your body in a sustainable, delicious, give-your-body-what-it-needs kind of way. The early days can have some cravings that might be difficult to decipher, but once you’re past those, it’s all about tuning in. In the beginning it can be a bit of an experiment to figure out how much you need to eat and when. And all that might change as your body adapts. So stick to your Paleo choices, do the best you can to eat for true, physical hunger rather than emotional/head hunger, and make a plan for the next day.

And remember to love your journey. It’s important!

Plan, Prep, Play

planHaving a plan is one of the most important things you can do to be successful during a Whole30. I would even argue that having a weekly plan for your eating, no matter what you choose to eat, can help you stay on track with your goals and keep you moving towards success.

Imagine coming home after work or running errands or however you spend your time and being hungry. You open the fridge and find…nothing. You start trying to find something to eat, and you really want to stick with your Paleo eating, but after a handful of carrots, you’re still hungry. And there isn’t anything that will really satisfy you.

Now imagine what happens under those same circumstances when you open the fridge and find carrots and guacamole, a few meatballs, and some roasted cauliflower. Suddenly you have a meal or snack that is delicious and that makes you feel cared for and strong. You eat well and feel healthy and ready to tackle anything else that your day holds.

The work on the front end is definitely more than just winging it, but truly it’s not that difficult either. It’s more about having a plan.

The Plan

I like to start my week with a few minutes and a pen and piece of paper. I also like to surround myself with cookbooks and ideas and anything that might inspire me. I will either consider what’s in the fridge and build a menu around that or, especially if the fridge is pretty empty, I simply go with what is seasonal and what looks good.

Then I make two lists: What am I cooking? And what do I need to purchase?

It’s important to consider all your meals because when doing a Whole30, you cook real food. A lot. If it comes from a box, it probably isn’t going to fit the plan. There are a few exceptions, and in fact more and more Paleo products are appearing on grocery shelves, but for simplicity, think fresh and whole.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks all need to be considered. Don’t get overwhelmed, though. Consider the same breakfast for a week and then change it up the next week. For dinner, make more than you can imagine eating – then you have leftovers! They will save you from extreme hunger and can make the entire process easier. It’s time to love your leftovers.

The Prep

Once you have a plan, it’s time to get the prep taken care of. I’ll just touch on it briefly here because there are so many different ways to get yourself ready for the week. Here’s the thing – don’t let it make you crazy. I didn’t have a lot of time because today was a holiday and the whole weekend has been quite busy, but I took a few moments to do this:

  • Store: Cherries, berries, melon, canned tuna, eggs, salad, slaw mix, celery, giant pot roast
  • Cook: Hardboiled 8 eggs and peeled them, cut up melon, washed celery and stood it up in a container with water, cooked pot roast

There’s no great secret here. I bought and cooked whatever looked easy. It’s a busy week and I just need to eat right. So it’s not pot roast season, but it was on sale and I could put it in the oven while I was doing other things. Now there’s a couple pounds of meat that can be turned into any number of concoctions, from salads to omelets to snacks to stuffing for other veggies…all sorts of things.

Play

The idea is to get the job done without too much stress. It’s just food! This is easy, really. Hungry? Grab some beef, cook it briefly in a pan and add some chili powder and garlic and cumin, toss it with some slaw, add some bell pepper slices, tomatoes, and avocado. Splash on vinegar or olive oil or add in whatever veggies suit you. Have fun with it!

That goes for this whole journey. This isn’t a sentence to misery around food. Actually, I find that whenever I tighten things up, I usually end up feeling more engaged and energized in the kitchen. Something tasty comes out of it because I have to get creative. Just go with the flow and try new things and embrace the experience.

Eating the right things for your body is empowering so go after that feeling of radiant energy and enjoy!

 

To Feel Amazing

love life

Every once in a while, I feel the need to really clean up my eating habits and get a little more strict with my Paleo rules. I have, on a few occasions, completed a Whole30 and blogged about it on here for people to follow along. This time, however, I only have 10 days before I leave on a trip to CA. That’s not to say that I couldn’t complete the challenge despite my travels, I know that it is absolutely possible to do so, but over the years I think I have actually gotten better at balance in my life and this vacation will have some indulgences and some wine and a few other things…and I want it to. It’s not a falling off the wagon sort of thing, it’s about living my life to the fullest and experiencing the joy and pleasure that I get from sharing delicious food and wine with friends.

There are times when I’m feeling uncomfortable in my skin and I need to do a Whole30. There are times when I’m feeling out of control and I need to do a Whole30. There are times when people I care about, even total strangers, seem to need a Whole30 and so I do it then. All of these are good, valid reasons in my mind to do a Whole30. This time, though, the decision to do one was a little more subtle.

It’s true that I’m not all the way at my goal weight or as lean as I’d like to be and my eating isn’t as consistent as I want. I’ve probably had a few too many evenings where I was having a glass of wine because it was summertime. And Tuesday. Or Thursday. Or raining. I’m sure you get what I mean. But I don’t feel horrible about my choices or where I am in my life. I actually feel pretty good. Not perfect, mind you. Not by a long shot. But what is perfect anyway? One of my sisters reminded me once that she really doesn’t even like the word “perfect”. Nothing really is. Although I think sometimes everything is. Perfect in its very own existence. But that is a topic for another day.

I was thinking the other day about motivation and dreams and reaching goals, or maybe amending goals as life unfolds, and it just came to me. I feel pretty good…but I want to feel amazing! I have learned in the past three or four years that I feel amazing when I’m eating Paleo all the time, or very nearly all the time, and exercising in a variety of ways every day. My activity is pretty rock solid right now so I’m going to keep going with that, but I’d like to get a little closer to that feeling of amazing and that has to do with what I feed my body.

Strict Paleo gives me all day energy and an upbeat mood that is difficult to sway, regardless of what’s happening around me. I love it! The energy is clearly related to the food – nothing that hurts my stomach, no sugar to give me a headache, no alcohol to change my mind. Every single one of my cells loves it when I’m strict Paleo. My brain feels clearer, my body almost vibrates with all the energy, I don’t feel hungry or have any cravings. It seems easy.

So why ever eat any differently? Well…that’s life. It’s my life, anyway. I like living a little more freely and savoring different flavors and celebrating with friends in a familiar way. I’ve realized this past year that it’s fine for me to do that. I used to feel so much guilt around food choices and that piece of my puzzle is beginning to fade. I’m so glad. No more guilt around food. That is also a topic for another day.

Today is all about saying that I’m looking forward to Tuesday, excited even(!), when I will stick to my Paleo guns for 10 days so that the start of my trip has me feeling like my healthiest self. I’m sure that will also keep me making healthy choices a little more frequently while on the trip too. Maybe, just maybe, what was once a pendulum swinging like crazy for me will actually be more steady. More balanced. More me.

Excited also means that I’m in full-blown planning mode. If you’ve never done a Whole30, the one piece of advice I would give you is to get prepared. This journey is so much easier when there’s a bunch of fresh produce and cooked meat in the fridge. It almost doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s there and ready to eat. Don’t get caught out hungry with nothing to grab because that’s how we make careless choices and then are frustrated when we don’t feel successful.

All of my energy these next 10 days will be focused on giving my body, mind, and soul what it needs to feel wildly healthy. I don’t plan on thinking about something I might be missing (like wine…) but instead thinking all about what I will be getting, like bubbly water, fabulous iced teas, delicious food, constant energy, and an abundance of happy in my heart.

I hope you’ll join me on this quick little journey into health. If you have the opportunity to do all 30 days, go for it! If you make it 5 and need to start again, that’s fine too! If you’re just following along and thinking about it, that’s cool…but maybe consider just jumping on in. It’s totally worth it.

Whole30 – 2016TD30

Whole30 2014For the next 30+ days, I will be eating meat, vegetables, healthy fats, fruits and nuts. I will not be eating processed food, sugar, dairy, grains or legumes, and I won’t be consuming any alcohol.

I’ve done a few Whole30 challenges before, but this time I’m looking for something a little different. I lost touch with my Paleo choices last year and I would like to reconnect with what it means to feel healthy, vibrant, and in tune with my whole self.

If you’re doing a Whole30 or other challenge, if you are living/exploring the Paleo lifestyle, or if you are simply looking for some tasty recipes to add to your repertoire, be sure to leave a comment to let me know you’re out there! I am so glad you stopped by!

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Day 30 is done!

Quote of the Day: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas A. Edison

So there it is. The end of my 30 days. Did you make it? Did you stumble? Are you still in it? Each of us is somewhere on our own journey. I may have 30 days of blogging complete, but I have a lot more learning, loving, and eating to do. I feel at the same time both relief that I can eat without cataloging and sadness that I don’t have this piece of accountability. And more importantly, I felt connected to you out there – those who commented and even those who didn’t. I appreciate the time that you took to share a little of your day with me. I hope you are happy and well as you discover what works best for you and how you might live your life to the fullest.

The quote for today from that list I was following said, “You did it!” I happened upon the Edison quote and felt that it was a little more meaningful. So many of us stumble as we work towards leading a healthier lifestyle and we often get discouraged or think that we are failures. I can’t stress enough just how much this is not the truth. It’s a pattern I know well and sometimes I have to talk about it or blog about it to remind myself that I am not the food that I eat or the number on the scale. I am some combination of all the things I say and write and do and also all the things that are left unsaid, unwritten, and undone. We are complex, beautiful creatures and our goals and dreams are worthy of effort. So don’t give up. No matter where you are on your path, find a way to take another step forward towards that which you desire.

I’ll be back with recipes and musings in a few days, but I’d really love it if you’d like to share a piece of you in the comments.

Sending love!

Day 30 – The Details

5:00am – Black coffee

7:15am – 2 eggs, kale, 1/2 tsp. coconut oil, 1/4 avocado, salsa

11:15am – Pork and veggie stir-fry with kimchi, orange

2:00pm – Tuna with curried celery salad, blackberries

4:00pm – Darn nuts…such a fine line

6:30pm – Pork chops with sautéed apples, roasted butternut squash

Food: I wish I liked kimchi. I have tried it before and there are a lot of new brands coming out with their version so I got intrigued while at the healthfood store today and tried a new one. What’s not to love? It’s spicy cabbage with Asian flavors and it’s fermented for great health benefits. But it just doesn’t do it for me. It’s not that I dis-like it, I just don’t like it. If anyone has a brand they love, please share in case I’ve just tried the wrong one.

Mood: Good mood today. I felt super lucky to be able to check a bunch of to-dos off my list. It’s gloomy and sort of snowy and I got to workout and walk the dog and visit with friends and cook a bunch of stuff. Hard not to be happy.

Sleep: 6 1/2. I didn’t set the alarm. I could have slept in. But at 4:20 on the dot, my eyes popped open. It feels better when it happens naturally, but it doesn’t change the fact that it was early.

Activity: Cardio bootcamp / Dog walk

Focus – No food at the computer: Done!

Whole30 – 2016TD29

Whole30 2014For the next 30+ days, I will be eating meat, vegetables, healthy fats, fruits and nuts. I will not be eating processed food, sugar, dairy, grains or legumes, and I won’t be consuming any alcohol.

I’ve done a few Whole30 challenges before, but this time I’m looking for something a little different. I lost touch with my Paleo choices last year and I would like to reconnect with what it means to feel healthy, vibrant, and in tune with my whole self.

If you’re doing a Whole30 or other challenge, if you are living/exploring the Paleo lifestyle, or if you are simply looking for some tasty recipes to add to your repertoire, be sure to leave a comment to let me know you’re out there! I am so glad you stopped by!

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Day 29 is done!

Quote of the Day: “The most effective way to do it is to do it.” – Amelia Earhart

I like this quote because fundamentally, I’m a doer. With a few procrastinating tendencies. Generally I like to get stuff done. I think that’s why I like lists so much. I have the plan, write it down, check it off, and with that comes a sense of accomplishment. When I am procrastinating, it’s generally an uncomfortable place for me to be because I know in my head that something needs to get done. Often it wears on me until I do it.

I know that sometimes we can deliberate and think about something for so long that we talk ourselves out of achieving our goals. I think about how I could have waited until I had a month ahead that was less stressful, more stable, without a tasting in the middle, before starting my Whole30, but I’m so glad that I just did it anyway. It hasn’t been at all as I envisioned it, and I’m a little disappointed that my eating wasn’t as on point as I would have liked it to be, but really in life sometimes we just need to move forward.

As I near the final days of my Whole30, I have been thinking about what comes next. Before I give a few tips for those who are attempting their first challenge or who are interested in a little guidance, I’ll share briefly what I see happening for my transition. I have reintroduced foods before and I know that sugar gives me a headache. Dairy sometimes does too. But dairy and I can play nicely together, particularly in the forms of grass-fed yogurt and kefir, grass-fed cream and butter, and high quality, artisan cheese. Rice is fine for me, but I keep it limited because of the carb levels. That, and I’m truly happy with cauliflower rice so why trade out a veggie? Gluten is a bad idea so I try to avoid it but it makes an appearance from time to time when out or visiting friends.

There is, however, an actual process to follow and the Whole30 website does an excellent job of laying it out here. It’s really about taking your time to introduce food groups and deciding if it’s okay for your body and your life. You might try adding rice, and if it goes fine, then decide how often you’d like to incorporate it. And you get to decide. Every time. Wine is not that great for me and I notice this every time I reintroduce it. But guess what? I reintroduce it every time because the pleasure that I derive is greater than the discomfort. And the discomfort (generally a headache and a little less self-control…) is not that great when I indulge consciously rather than over-indulge.

When looking at reintroduction, I think it’s really important to understand how dairy, sugar, and gluten affect you. Funnily, before going Paleo I was a big whole grains and legumes eater. That was my staple diet and I even toyed with being vegetarian for a bit – but I didn’t feel great eating like that. Once I stopped eating them, I didn’t really miss them. And I was certain I would. I have never officially reintroduced legumes, but on occasion when I eat time, there is quite a bit of digestive distress so I generally steer clear.

The reason I think it’s important to focus on dairy, sugar and gluten is because A) some people really miss dairy and knowing how it affects you can help you make a decision, B) sugar is in everything, and C) gluten can wreak a lot of havoc on our bodies. It’s worth it for me to know just how my body responds and what my limits are so that I can find the balance that works best for my life.

I hope that helps and that you find the balance that works for you. I’d love to know how it goes so please don’t hesitate to share!

Day 29 – The Details

4:30am – Black coffee

6:00am – 2 eggs, mushrooms, 1/2 tsp. ghee, 1/4 avocado

9:15am – Banana

12:30pm – Slaw, salsa, 3 chipotle meatballs, 1/4 avocado, 1/2 c. butternut squash soup, small handful of nuts

3:30pm – Truffle roasted cauliflower

6:00pm – Asian pork stir-fry, orange

Food: I felt a bit hungry today, which I’m not bothered by. Just noticed it. I ate more at dinner and am now beginning to wonder if the problem has been not enough at the actual meals, which led me to snack, and over-snack.

Mood: Pretty stable today. I can always tell I’m feeling more balanced when my kiddo argues with everything and I am able to handle it calmly.

Sleep: 7 1/2 hours – yay! Finally! Only took me nearly a month. It felt great.

Activity: Weights / Dog walk – maybe my mood is better because I finally got to work out.

Focus – No food at the computer: Still doing this one. I think it’s an important one long-term for me because I will be working out of my house even more starting in February. I need to break the snacking habit.

Whole30 – 2016TD28

Whole30 2014For the next 30+ days, I will be eating meat, vegetables, healthy fats, fruits and nuts. I will not be eating processed food, sugar, dairy, grains or legumes, and I won’t be consuming any alcohol.

I’ve done a few Whole30 challenges before, but this time I’m looking for something a little different. I lost touch with my Paleo choices last year and I would like to reconnect with what it means to feel healthy, vibrant, and in tune with my whole self.

If you’re doing a Whole30 or other challenge, if you are living/exploring the Paleo lifestyle, or if you are simply looking for some tasty recipes to add to your repertoire, be sure to leave a comment to let me know you’re out there! I am so glad you stopped by!

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Day 28 is done!

Quote of the Day: “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” – Robert Frost

Within each of us, we have all we need to survive, succeed, thrive, grow, change, and be. Sometimes we might forget or find it difficult to bring to the surface all of the strengths and qualities we hold, but over time I have come to believe this to be true. This includes those times when we are struggling and feeling lost or depressed or frustrated, and I love how Frost puts it so beautifully. Happiness lies within. Courage lies within. Resilience lies within. We are already complete.

This doesn’t mean that we have nothing to learn. We have an infinite number of things to learn about life, ourselves, and others. The ability to tap into our curiosity and explore what is new, or reexamine what is old and discover new depths, is our gift. When we stumble, we can always get back up and try again.

Day 28 – The Details

4:30am – Black coffee

6:15am – 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp. coconut oil, 1/4 avocado, cucumber, 1/2 tsp. mayo-curry sauce

10:30am – 3 chipotle meatballs, 1/4 avocado, handful of carrots

2:30pm – Celery and chicken salad with clementine and a couple walnuts

6:00pm – Beef brisket, sweet potatoes, roasted lemon-truffle cauliflower

Food: Food seemed okay. My schedule was still strange because of work, but I felt okay throughout the day.

Mood: My mood’s on the mend. 

Sleep: 7 hours. It felt great!

Activity: Squats / Yoga / Walk – and it was beautiful!

Focus – No food at the computer: Did better today.

Whole30 – 2016TD27

Whole30 2014For the next 30+ days, I will be eating meat, vegetables, healthy fats, fruits and nuts. I will not be eating processed food, sugar, dairy, grains or legumes, and I won’t be consuming any alcohol.

I’ve done a few Whole30 challenges before, but this time I’m looking for something a little different. I lost touch with my Paleo choices last year and I would like to reconnect with what it means to feel healthy, vibrant, and in tune with my whole self.

If you’re doing a Whole30 or other challenge, if you are living/exploring the Paleo lifestyle, or if you are simply looking for some tasty recipes to add to your repertoire, be sure to leave a comment to let me know you’re out there! I am so glad you stopped by!

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Day 27 is done!

Quote of the Day: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

What an incredible statement: “You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” Those are extremely powerful words. I think it’s hard to figure out sometimes what we actually fear and what we need to overcome. We might have a tendency to barrel through situations or close our eyes and pretend the fear doesn’t exist. I know for me, sometimes I simply don’t want to admit that I’m afraid of something. I might even say to myself that it is petty or ridiculous to fear that thing.

We don’t get to choose our fears, though. Fear is an emotion. It is ours to feel. The thing about emotions is that if we allow them to move through us, they can also move out of us. We can sometimes learn to see them for what they are – an opportunity to learn about ourselves, a situation, a path to our own courage. Like Eleanor Roosevelt said, acknowledging and facing that which we fear can give us strength, courage, and confidence in other moments of our lives.

When I’m struggling with my eating habits, I sometimes feel like I am building a protective layer around myself. I could do it with armor or closed off emotions or seclusion, but I tend to do it with food. When I’m feeling vulnerable, and sometimes not even actually vulnerable, but just potentially vulnerable, when I feel uncertain about my next steps or goals or even what I actually need or desire, I tend to start building that protection around my heart, my insides, all those parts that I want to keep hidden, in case they might get hurt.

The reality, however, is that building that protective shell inhibits me from living life fully, it keeps me from truly embracing the lessons that life has to offer, and it keeps me from looking fear in the face. And if I don’t do that, then I miss the chance to get stronger. The interesting thing about this blogging experience is that I put myself out there, while simultaneously feeling self-conscious about it. I want to find my healthiest self again, but I keep wanting my protective layers so I can avoid being exposed.

And what if what you fear, what I fear, is actually being successful? What a strange thing to fear, right? But I’ve noticed time and again in my life that I stop just short of actually being my most successful, for fear of …something. What, I can not exactly say.

I used the word embrace a few lines back. The moment that I wrote it, I remembered that embrace is my theme for the year. I had let it slip away a little bit. Perhaps it’s time to embrace those things that we fear – big, little, real, or imagined – and take them head on. Learn from them and then let them go. Let the fear move out and our true hearts shine through.

Day 27 – The Details

4:30am – Black coffee

6:15am – 2 eggs, kale, 1/2 tsp. coconut oil, cucumber, 1/4 avocado, sauerkraut

1:30pm – Pepperoncini beef, butternut squash soup, 1 clementine

2:30pm – Hardboiled egg, carrots

4:30pm – Carrots

5:30pm – Handful of nuts

6:30pm – Beef brisket, apple-macadamia nut-date salad

7:00pm – Clementine

Food: Not the timing and distribution that I’d like to see. I also ate more, and more often, than I think I really needed, but I’m all over the place and not really tuned in. This entire 30 days has been a-typical. I think I need another Whole30…

Mood: Emotional. I’m trying to pretend that I’m not, though. Not sure it’s working…

Sleep: 6 hours. I would have woken up early to workout, but I’m already too short on sleep so I’m picking what feels like the right thing for me to do right now.

Activity: If anyone thinks I’m a little emotional or testy, it’s because I haven’t worked out. I’m patient though and I will find the time. A sick kid and a traveling husband along with a short-term time crunch have made it really challenging. And the weather has been beautiful so I’m itching to get outside. Maybe tomorrow!

Focus – No food at the computer: Seriously. I got up, went to the kitchen, took out some carrots, sat down at the table and munched on them wishing I were in front of the computer because I had things to do, but stuck to my plan. The interesting thing was that I realized I probably needed the break in order to take care of the things on my list with more efficiency. It’s funny how that works. Then I took a handful of nuts to the computer because … I just did. I am a work in progress.