Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The challenge of eating out

The last week or so has been a little tough for me, so when Jared suggested that we go out to dinner one night this week, I jumped on the chance to not cook. Then I had an "oh crap" moment. Or three.  Oh crap, what are we going to eat? (Do your research!) Oh crap, am I actually going to have to ask a waiter how EVERYTHING is prepared? (Yes) Oh crap, is Adi going to have a melt down at dinner the way she has the last few nights? (No) Insert panic. But really, it was fine. The key to it all was planning (for the meal and Adi!). We picked Ruby Tuesday for the restaurant for a few reasons.

First, they have a salad bar. Salad bars are your best friend on W30, because you can ALWAYS find something that is compliant. We did take our own dressing (just mixed up some balsamic and EVOO before we left the house).

Second, we looked at the menu before we went and they had some fairly simply prepared dishes (grilled steak, grilled chicken, grilled fish) with simple sides (roasted summer squash, grilled zucchini, steamed broccoli, etc). We did ask to make sure everything could be prepared without butter, that the grill seasonings were just that (no added sugar), and that it was just grilled (no oils, etc). And yes, our waiter may have thought we were 'needy', but hey, we we're paying, right?

Third, we wanted a place that if Adi did have a melt down, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Seems a little silly, maybe, to all of you who don't have 22 month old children, but meltdowns right now are loud, dramatic, and not at all cute. Plus, with the salad bar, we could get food almost immediately and she could have a bunch of different things, which is also helpful for her ("No, Mama, I want THAT" is a very familiar statement in our house right now). I should have taken a photo of her plate, too (not that she was Whole30 compliant, but still, she had a good mix!).  I was very proud that we kept the biscuits on the table for her to eat, but neither Jared nor I ate any. I can't speak for him, but they didn't look that appetizing to me.

So here are usual foody photos:
Salad with balsamic vinegar/EVOO dressing, grilled steak and roasted summer squash.
This was dinner Tuesday night: Steak, mushrooms and tomatoes marinated and grilled. Super yummy and fun to eat!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Half way there

I can't believe we're half way through our Whole 30. I honestly thought when we started that there was no way we were going to be able to finish this thing. I mean, seriously, give up dairy and carbs for a whole month?? But we have done 15 days and honestly, it's going pretty well. So here's our half way sum up (well, at least mine, since Jared doesn't write on here, but occasionally emails me after I post it and says "you really need to put THIS in there"):
How I feel: I do feel better. I don't have that seriously happy all the time feeling, or the tiger blood feeling, but I do feel better. I rarely get hungry in the afternoon and I don't have that afternoon crash where I feel like I have to have a soda or coffee or something. I am sleeping better, falling asleep more easily and sleeping more deeply. I'm not sleeping any later in the morning, because, well, I have an Adi-alarm to wake me up each morning.
How I look: Better?  It's hard to tell. I am definitely less bloated, which is awesome. I don't feel like I'm losing a ton of weight, but I don't have a lot to lose, either. Jared looks great - I know he has lost some weight and is feeling pretty good about it. I do feel like my skin is clearer, no nasty breakouts this month.
So what about my goals? First, these are the goals I set for myself:

  • Nutrition: I will eat breakfast. Before coffee. Every day.
  • Fun and Play: I will turn my phone completely OFF for 4-6 hours every weekend (and not overnight. When Adi is awake. :))
  • Stress Management: I will take a lunch break every day at work. Away from my desk (!).
So how have I done?
Nutrition: Check. I've had breakfast every day and I've only had coffee one day, and it was just a little bit of black coffee.  I changed up breakfast a little bit this past week and am planning to do a little more this coming week (stay tuned for recipes!).
Fun and Play: This one was easier this weekend and throughout the week I was much more conscious of when my phone was on and why. We had lots of fun outside time this weekend (blueberry picking, beach trip, etc), so it was easy to keep the phone away unless it was for photo ops!
Stress Management: I've been enjoying my lunch time breaks with my book, although I'm still doing a lot of them at my desk. The weather has had some say in that, although I could go to a lunch room, it's pretty heavily used and wouldn't be any less stressful, I think.
Let's talk about FOOD! Some photos of what I ate this week:
Breakfast on Saturday: Three fried eggs and a tomato topped with Jared's mayo (egg, olive oil, dijon mustard, and Emeril's Essence). 

Breakfast today: Modified Sweet Potato Hash (see below for recipe), two eggs fried in coconut oil.

Lunches have mostly been leftovers and salads. This was lunch one day, though - best way to eat chicken salad: on celery. Gives it an awesome crunch!. Plus a very yummy heirloom tomato given to us by a friend and some avocado.
Found this compliant chicken sausage in the store, it has spinach, garlic, fennel and black pepper. Served with blanched green beans with lemon juice and almonds and sweet potato fries with cinnamon.
Jared made this yumminess (we've now had it twice!). It's Salmon with Dill Mustard Sauce. Served with a baked sweet potato and roasted asparagus with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
And taco salad! We made our own taco seasoning (see recipe below) to avoid MSG and other nastiness. We usually do tacos with ground turkey, not beef. I would have added avocado to mine, but my avocados were bad. Sad face. I top mine with salsa for a kick and to avoid using salad dressing.

Ok, here are the promised recipes:
Sweet Potato Apple Hash:
(Modified from here)
1 sweet potato, cubed
1/2 white onion, diced
1/3 apple, diced
1/3 lb ground pork or other meat
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 T coconut oil
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add sweet potatoes and cook 5-8 minutes until soft. Drain and let dry. Saute onions and garlic in coconut oil until onion is translucent. Add meat and saute until cooked through. Add spices, salt, sweet potato and apple. Cook until sweet potato is browned and apple is cooked through (4-5 min).
This made enough for 3 good sized servings.
Taco Seasoning
8 tbsp chili powder
4 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp salt (kosher)
Mix well. Use 3 tbsp of mixture + 2/3 cup of water per 1lb of meat. Brown meat, add spices and mix well. When spices are covering meat, add water, stir and simmer for 5 minutes on low. (This recipe will not thicken as much as the store bought because there is no cornstarch.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Stress, ugh.

This week has just been one of those weeks, where one thing after another has gone wrong or been stressful. I'm so glad it's Friday and we have a weekend full of happy things planned. Work was stressful this week with some rather expensive screw-ups on my part and then some minor things not working (which we did get figured out, today). The house hunt was stressful (thought we found one, put in an offer, then withdrew it after we found out more about the lot). I didn't get to ride this week because the road in front of the barn was closed (strange!). Home was okay, but just busy. Making whole food takes a lot of time, and even though we're getting better about it, it's still taking awhile in the evenings. This makes me feel like we don't have a lot of time in the evening and bums me out that I don't have time to read, or hang out with Jared, or catch up on work that didn't get done that day. And I haven't run in almost three weeks. eek! Working out has just NOT worked into my schedule these last few weeks because of weather, etc.

Okay, that whining is out the way now. What I wanted to say was that even in the face of all of that stress, even though I had a few afternoons where I wanted to snack on something, I made good choices. Healthy choices. I didn't turn to ice cream, or cookies, or chocolate, or alcohol, the way I would have a few weeks ago.

But, I'm also feeling a little more spacey this week. I've been frustrated by myself - I misread things, I can't focus, I forget easily, I don't think of simple answers to things. I'm not sure if this is just stress this week, or something else. My focus has not been good either, and I seriously feel like this:

So I'm taking it one day at a time, trying to slow down and focus on today. And I'm going for a run this weekend. One way or another!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Settling in

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I'm not going to say this is easy. But we're on day 11, and it really has been going pretty well. That first week was rough, but now that we have figured out easy lunches and have been doing well with dinners, things are getting easier. It's taking us much less time to prepare food ahead of time and we're becoming excellent kitchen dancers.  Breakfasts are still tough, but more on that in a bit. We even ate at a friend's house last night and both stayed on track. They were kind enough to work within our constraints, which was great. Still, saying no to kefir (even though we've never tried it) and blueberry tea cake was a little sad... BUT, I feel good about it.  So here's what else we've been eating this week:

Lunch yesterday: Leftover Lemon Garlic Crockpot chicken that we've been eating in one way or another all week (chicken salad or just plain), snow peas, tomato and a fruit salad (oh yummy fruit salad!). Outside, with my book (This is easily one of my favorite books of all time).
Dinner last night was an amazing chili (of course, made in Jared's most favorite green pot), topped with avocado and a spinach salad with homemade dressing (Tastes like a honey dijon-ish dressing, but WAY better; see below).

I also have this guy growing in my garden:
He's a golden winter squash. And there are a lot more flowers on the squash plants, so I should be golden (haha, no pun intended) this fall! I LOVE squash.
Ok, so some talk about breakfast. I have been eating it, but yesterday was hungry by 10am, after eating three hard boiled eggs and a banana. The day before I had some egg muffins, but I'm getting over those. I need to find some new ideas, with protein and veggies. So, I turned to my two favorite standbys for recipe ideas: Pinterest and PaleOMG (she has fabulous recipes, but I'm also pretty sure she's awesome in real life, because honestly, she's hilarious.) Here are some thoughts I might try this coming week:
I think what I need to do is stop thinking about it as 'breakfast' and more as the first meal of the day. Protein first, then veggies, then some fruit and fat. My goal for next week will be to have 'atypical' breakfast foods for breakfast. Jared's been good with that and has started eating chicken salad or tuna salad or whatnot with his banana.

Anyways, Jared's dressing recipe:

Jared's Awesome Not Honey Dijon Salad Dressing
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers
Blend with an immersion blender. This is pretty thick, so you may need to add some extra olive oil.

Monday, July 22, 2013

One week down!

It's Day Eight, which means that we have officially finished one entire week (haha, I originally typed 'weak' there. Freudian slip??) of the Whole 30.  The daily email has been really helpful in those small reminders and not so subtle tough love. And the Facebook group that Clara kindly added me to has also been a great source of info!  Since we're a week in, I thought it'd be good to review my goals and see how I've done so far, and what I can do to improve in week two. And I'll share some of our yummy recipes, too (all stolen from other places, so I've included the links when I can remember/find them!).
First, these are the goals I set for myself:
  • Nutrition: I will eat breakfast. Before coffee. Every day.
  • Fun and Play: I will turn my phone completely OFF for 4-6 hours every weekend (and not overnight. When Adi is awake. :))
  • Stress Management: I will take a lunch break every day at work. Away from my desk (!).

So how have I done?
Nutrition: I've had breakfast every day this week. And no coffee (!). I think I need to change up my breakfast a little bit now that it's getting easier to get down. I didn't need any fruit this morning, so I'm thinking of adding some more veggies in. Breakfast is normally egg muffins (recipe) and maybe a little fruit.
Fun and Play: I didn't turn my phone off this weekend, but I did make a conscious effort to not be checking it every 15 minutes (or playing Words with Friends).  I also had an "off" weekend - just not feeling right, tired, a little bit of depression creeping in. I will do better with this next weekend!
Stress Management: I took a true lunch break (30 min) each day, although it was not always away from my desk. It's been pretty hot here, and sitting outside wasn't an option for me most days. However, I did bring a book to work, so my lunch at my desk looks a little more like this:

(This lunch also included broccoli, but I ate it before I remembered to take the photo. That's Jared's awesome chicken salad on the left, an avocado, and a banana. And The Count of Monte Cristo. To be filed under "Educational," according to Red)
So what other yummy things did we make this week? First is curry. I've never made a curry. I've never had curry (until this week). So I have no idea if I did it right or not. I thought it was pretty tasty; Jared was not as thrilled with it (too much cabbage?). Recipe is here although we left out the fish sauce as ours was non-compliant. I've also seen this over cauliflower 'rice' (here) which I might have to try a little later, when Jared is willing to try it again. 
Last night, we made these Moroccan meatballs. They're for dinner tonight. They smelled AMAZEBALLS (like that little play on words there?) so I can't wait to eat them. They're lamb with some seasonings, in a tomato sauce (also homemade, see my rockin' PicStitch skills below). And Jared would like me to note that he really loves this green pot. Not as much as he loves me and Adi, but it's a close third. Maybe fourth after Annie, but it definitely beats Bella. Okay, it might be after Bella, too, but I don't think it's far behind. Jared would also like me to add that "That's not just "a green pot". That's a 6-qt enameled cast iron dutch oven. And it is "amazeballs" and the only thing worth cooking soup or saucy type things in..."
Tomorrow is our first attempt at doing this while eating at a friend's house... They invited us over for dinner and when they asked if we had any food restrictions, it was a little awkward. It was really the first time talking to someone who wasn't just interested in what we were doing from an outside view, but from someone who is going to be making a meal for us. Luckily, these friends are very gracious and are very accommodating. Grilled chicken and veggies, and we'll bring a fruit salad to share. Sounds like a good dinner to me!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Good morning, Day Four!

Hi. Thanks for reading. (Just getting that out there, ya know? Because I'm really bad at coming up at ways to start my blog posts. I always want to start out with "So...." and that's really bad, right? Not good english? or good writing? So (see, there I go again), I thought I'd start with saying Hi. Can't go wrong with that, right?)
Anyways, we're doing this Whole30 thing right? It's been interesting this week. The food has been pretty yummy (I mean, come on - we made bacon and apple pork burgers (from PaleOMG, I'll get the link here soon) with baked sweet potato fries sprinkled with cinnamon. How awesome is that?). Jared likes playing around and has been making his own flavored mayos, which spices up things like egg, tuna and chicken salad. And I've been choking down my breakfasts. To sum up the first few days, here are a few lists:
What's been working:
  •  The food. I mean seriously. Look at this yumminess:
  • Drinking water. I have been drinking more water in the last few days than I have in a very long time. Turns out I really like water with lemon juice.
  • Lunches. Lunches are pretty easy for me to stay on program.
  • Cooking dinner. We are doing a LOT more cooking for dinner. It has worked out so far this week, that, except for one night, Adi hasn't had any major melt downs while we've been doing so - and that night, Jared left to take the dogs to the vet and I managed to get her to "help" and everything was good. It's also about 72 bajillion degrees in our kitchen on hot summer days, so we're sweating our butts off cooking, but hey, whatevs.
What's been challenging:
  • Breakfast. I knew breakfast was going to be challenging, but dang. I have to have something sweet or I gag up my egg muffins (which are super yummy any other time of day). I've tried just hard boiled eggs, but it's not much better. I might need to look into other breakfast ideas.
  • Packing Adi's lunch. I never realized how much I snacked while I packed her lunch. It's been odd, because it hasn't been tempting as far as the food (i.e. I'm not packing her lunch thinking MUST. EAT. THE. CHEESE STICK), but it's been hard to break the habit of licking this spoon, or having a cracker while I pack her crackers, etc.
  • Snacking. I sit at my desk most of the day, and it's really hard not to snack in the afternoon. After reading today's W30 email and knowing myself, I'm pretty confident that it's just boredom/middle of the afternoon snacking, not actual hunger.
What's been fun:
  • Trying new foods!
  • Spending time with Jared cooking in the kitchen, making lunches, etc. It is time consuming, but doing it together makes it better.

My goals for the next few days are to stop the mindless afternoon snacking and to keep up the water intake. I'd like to do some running again but it has been so blessedly hot here (I know, I know, suck it up, this isn't GA/FL ;) ) that I haven't been able to do much. It's supposed to cool off next week, so I'll try to sneak in a run or two in the evening. Morning runs (during the week) are pretty much impossible at this point, since Adi is still waking up so early.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Day one, done!

Day one, done! (well, it will be in about two hours).
Today was easier and harder than I expected. In some ways, it was really easy to eat on program - we cooked up some yummy food today! But, it was really difficult to eat breakfast. Breakfast is tough for me and always has been. I rarely eat it, and it's usually something small. So the idea of lots of protein and veggies was a little hard for me, and I'll be honest, it was tough to eat my egg muffins. They were good (I tasted them the night before when I made them), but it was hard to get them down. Eating a few grapes helped (something with the sweetness, maybe?).
But it was fun to eat breakfast with Adi; normally I just hang out while she eats. It never occurred to me until this morning that me sitting there not eating may eventually have negative effects on Adi's perception of food and eating.
Another thing that was hard was packing Adi's lunch for tomorrow. I didn't realize how much I snacked on what I was packing her while I was getting things together. I consciously had to not lick spoons or take bites of things while I was packing.
So what did I eat? Breakfast was two egg muffins and some grapes, a banana mid morning; lunch was a large salad with chicken, avocado, tomato, olives and almond slivers (balsamic vinegar/olive oil for dressing); and dinner was ginger chicken and green beans (Jared found this recipe, not sure where. It's steamed green beans + ghee + lemon juice + slivered almonds). Everything was super yummy!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Getting started

As part of the Whole30 program, I signed up to receive their daily email throughout my 30 days. I told them when I planned to start (Monday) and they send an email with inspiration, tough love and an accountability button (or something like that) every day. The first one came yesterday (which was actually Day -2) and had instructions for cleaning out the fridge/pantry, stocking up on compliant foods, and setting goals.  We didn't completely strip the pantry and fridge, since Adi won't be eating totally compliant, but we did do some massive cleaning. And just to clarify, the ice cream in the freezer went into the trash - we didn't have a big ice cream party this evening to finish it! :)

I will say that our shopping trip today looked totally different from normal. Very few trips up aisles, mostly shopping along the edges (meat cases, produce, etc). I did grab a few bags of steamer veggies for nights when we need a little extra. It was also a little more expensive and we aren't quite done yet. There were a few veggies/fruits that didn't look good in El Cheapo store, so we are stopping at The Nicer store tomorrow after church. We also didn't find much in the way of compliant bacon or sausage, so I think we'll try to make our own sausage (it's just ground pork and spices, after all) and I may send hubby to Whole Foods to check for bacon (or maybe I'll use it as an excuse to go to Whole Foods one of these days. Dang, I wish it were closer). I should have taken a picture of all the fruit and veggies... maybe tomorrow I'll remember!

So, in the interest of being totally committed, my Day 0 email said to set some SMART goals, in up to three of the "Whole 9" areas (Nutrition, Sleep, Stress Management, Exercise, Active Recovery, Injury Rehab, Fun and Play, Personal Growth, & Temperance).  Here they are:

Nutrition: I will eat breakfast. Before coffee. Every day.

Fun and Play: I will turn my phone completely OFF for 4-6 hours every weekend (and not overnight. When Adi is awake. :))

Stress Management: I will take a lunch break every day at work. Away from my desk (!).

I will take before and after photos and measurements, but I haven't decided if I'll share those now, or later, or at all. I don't know how brave I am yet. And I'm hoping I kick this cold before Monday, because I may be really grumpy the first few days if I'm changing so much about my diet AND I feel like an elephant is sitting on my sinuses. Not good for anyone!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Welcome back, accountability and the whole 30

I started this blog a long time ago. When I started it, I lived in a different state, had a different job, did not have a baby, and was unhappy with my weight and needed some accountability.  So what's changed?  New state, new job, the presence of an amazing little girl in my life and the continuing presence of her amazing dada.  And truth be told, I am actually pretty dang proud of the fact that I have lost the baby weight and then some (she is almost 2 years old, so I'm not going to brag TOO much). However, I have a few (admittedly vanity) pounds I want to lose, but more importantly, I have realized over the past few months how much of a control food has over my life. When I'm stressed, I eat. When I'm happy, I eat. And eat, and eat, and eat. And not good things. So in my constant quest to become healthier, a better role model for my daughter, and just happier, I've been looking into ways to loose those last few pounds, but also to do it in a manner that is healthy and sustainable.  A good friend of mine has been an advocate of "paleo" or "whole food" eating for quite some time. So I bought the book (It Starts with Food) and quickly read through it. Twice.

The premise of the program is pretty simple. Whole foods. Foods with very few items on the ingredient list, and nothing processed. I know you're all thinking "holy cow, that means she can't eat ANYTHING." So yea, it is a bit restrictive compared to what I normally would eat. It will force me to adapt. Greatly. But it will also force me to think about everything I eat, too. Where does it come from? Do I really want to put that in my body? Is this going to make me healthier or unhealthier?  I'm not going to go into the program. You can find out all the details here, or buy the book. :)

Now, just to put a few things out there:

1. I don't 100% agree with everything in the book. BUT, I also don't 100% agree with everything that I eat. And I can do anything for 30 days, right?

2. This is going to require some serious planning. And cooking. With an almost two year old that DEMANDS dinner. On time. :) It will take some getting used to!

3. I'm excited. And nervous. And more than a little afraid of failing.

So why did I start this blog again? Because I need accountability. I need a place to put pictures of what I eat, when I eat it. Without driving my facebook and instagram friends crazy. I am sure I'm going to have some frustrations and I need a place for that, too. So follow along if you like, but I'm going to be real here, this is for me. I'm going to be selfish! :)