Saturday, March 21, 2015

Week 3 of Whole30

We have come to an end of week 3 of whole30, aka 21 days!  At this point I have decided this is where the whole30 comes to an end, for now...Like I said before, we eat very healthy in general so it wasn't a HUGE change in our diet.  It helped me be a lot more aware of the wide spread use of sugars, sulfates, etc. in foods that don't seem to be "processed".  I really did enjoy the whole process, especially holding myself accountable.  I will be taking a break for a couple weeks simply because we have a couple exciting things coming up.  Joe's birthday is this week so we definitely want to enjoy that, I am heading home for a couple days so who wants to give up some amazing home cooked meals, and we are doing a weekend getaway in Chattanooga.  Some things in life just have to be enjoyed and celebrated!  That being said, we have been breaking the rules and weighing ourselves, and we both lost a very significant amount of weight considering we lead a fit and healthy lifestyle.  You are definitely less bloated when eating whole30, and I could see a noticeable difference in my core.  The plan is to do two more weeks leading up to Fiji so that we are looking and feeling our best going into our vacation! 

I wanted to make sure to post our last week of meals.  The high point was our seared tuna steaks!  We found some at the international market and they were absolutely amazing!  Other than that, we did a lot of chicken and lamb like we did previously. Chicken can be done so many ways you really cannot get tired of it! So, here we go...7 more days of meals and workouts!

Day 15
Breakfast – Smoothie for 2 (2 bananas, 1 cup mixed berries, juice, water)
LunchSalad with romaine lettuce, 1 egg, ½ avocado, balsamic vinegar
Dinner – Carolina trout with mushrooms, deviled egg
Workout - ~ 2 hour tennis match (3 sets)

Day 16
Breakfast – Smoothie for 2 (2 bananas, 8 strawberries, juice, water)
Lunch – Salad with romaine lettuce, 2 eggs, balsamic vinegar with an apple
Dinner – Stir-fry – 1 lbs chicken diced and browned mixed with 1 diced zucchini, 1 diced yellow squash, ½ cup diced onion, 2 cup broccoli, 3 cloves diced garlic all sautéed and seasoned with pepper and ground mustard
After Dinner – herbal tea and an orange
Workout – spin class, 15 minutes core work, 1 hour tennis

Day 17
Breakfast – Smoothie for 2 (1 banana, 2 cup tropical fruit, juice, water)
Snack ­– pistachios and an apple
Lunch Salad with romaine lettuce, 1 egg, ½ avocado, balsamic vinegar
Dinner- Seared tuna steak salad with sautéed green beans and sundried tomatoes
Workout 5 K walk, 1.5 mile run, 2 hour tennis

Day 18
Breakfast – Smoothie for 2 (1 banana, 2 cup tropical fruit, juice, water)
Lunch – Salad with romaine lettuce, egg, raisins, almond crusted chicken and an apple
Dinner – Stir-fry – 1 lbs chicken diced and browned mixed with 1 diced zucchini, 1 diced yellow squash, ½ cup diced onion, 2 cup broccoli, 3 cloves diced garlic all sautéed and seasoned with pepper and ground mustard
After Dinner – orange
Workout – yoga

Day 19
Breakfast – Smoothie for 2 (2 bananas, 8 strawberries, juice, water)
Lunch- Diced avocado and two eggs with balsamic vinegar with an apple
Dinner – Lamb  seasoned with salt, pepper, and rosemary with sautéed broccoli and onion
Workout – n/a

Day 20
Breakfast – Smoothie for 2 (2 bananas, 1 cup mixed berries, juice, water)
Snack-unsalted fancy nuts
Lunch-2 hard boiled eggs and avocado salad with balsamic vinegar
Snack – unsalted fancy nuts
Dinner – 4 chicken tenders seasoned with lemon pepper
Workout – 2 mile run, 1 hour spin class

Day 21
Breakfast – Smoothie for 2 (2 bananas, 1 cup tropical fruit, juice, water)
Lunch – 2 italian sausages, banana
Dinner – mixed nuts, hard boiled egg, apple
Workout – 1 ½ hours tennis

Seared Tuna Steak with Avocado Salad

As you may know, I am a HUGE fan of seafood and I am pretty sure I could eat it every day.  That being said, sometimes you gotta mix it up.  We tend to go with what we know, salmon, tilapia, etc. but this time Joe brought home some tuna steaks from the international market.  I hope that they have it there regularly because it truly was one of my favorite meals we have made.  It was so fresh and light and full of flavor!  So, here we go with the recipe!

  • 1½ lbs. very fresh albacore tuna steak
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for searing
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 limes, zest grated
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. fresh dill
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Drizzle the tuna steaks with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a medium skillet over high heat, sear the tuna steaks for 1-2 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. Cool slightly. I had 2-inch thick steaks so I seared on each side for 2 minutes. Outside of the tuna should be white and slightly golden and inside still visible pink.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, lime zest, and lime juice.  Season with freshly ground black pepper.  (original recipe called for 1 tsp. wasabi powder, 2 tsp. soy sauce, and a dash of hot sauce but we left that out to keep it whole30)
  3. Cut the tuna in 1-inch chunks and place in a large bowl. Add the avocados, scallions, red onion and dill. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and mix well.
  4. Enjoy!
Original recipe found here

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Whole 30 First Half...

So we have reached the halfway mark of Whole30.  I don't think I see too many changes in how I feel, but hey I guess that's not a terrible thing!  Like I said before, we ate pretty healthy leading up to this so it wasn't a huge lifestyle change.  I have become a lot more aware of exactly what goes into packaged foods, weather it is mustard or bacon.  It is shocking how many products add sugar to them.  The other thing that came up a lot was 100% all natural not really being all natural!  It has been fun educating myself on what really is "non processed". For more information on Whole30, follow the link here.  In the previous blog (here)  I documented why we decided to do the challenge.

There aren't too many things that I miss.  The first couple days you obviously think about what you cannot eat.  Once you get past that step, it simply becomes a habit to grab a carrot when you want a snack, enjoy a cup of tea at night instead of desert, and simply stay away from the fridge.  Two weeks into it, I would obviously still love an ice cream Sunday, but that only comes when I see someone else eating one!  So, I haven't decided how long I will do it, since I haven't seen many changes in the way I look, feel, etc, but it sure has been fun!  For now, here is the first two weeks of meal plans that we did, along with a quick explanation of what I did to workout!  Enjoy!

Day 1, Sunday March 1:
Brunch– 1 poached eggs and a pear
Snack – hard boiled egg with balsamic vinegar
Dinner - Salmon with avocado salsa (RECIPEand steamed broccoli and spinach  (we used dill instead of cilantro and lemon juice instead of lime since that is what was at the house!)
Meal prep for the week:

  • Egg muffins for Joe to eat for breakfast: (RECIPE)
  • Chicken Salad for Joe to enjoy two days during the week for lunch (RECIPE)
  • Grilled chicken strips seasoned with red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, salt, cooked on cast iron skillet for grilled chicken salad during the week

Workout – n/a

Day 2
Breakfast – Smoothie (for 2) – 2 bananas, 6 strawberries, 1 cup 100% Orange juice, 1 cup water, ½ cup fruit from frozen tropical fruit bag (pineapple, cantaloupe, strawberries, honeydew melon)
Snack – 1 cup unsalted mixed nuts (no peanuts)
Lunch – Salad with a head of romaine lettuce, 1 egg, ½ avocado, balsamic vinegar and olive oil to taste
Snack – Hard Boiled Egg
Dinner – Lamb loin chop seasoned with salt, pepper, and rosemary and asparagus drizzled with olive oil and kosher salt
Workout – spin class, abs, 2 mile walk, tennis

Day 3
Breakfast – Smoothie (for 2) – 2 bananas, 1 mango, 1 cup mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries), 1 cup 100% orange juice, 1 cup water
Lunch – Greek Salad – Salad with egg, artichoke, onion, grilled chicken, peppers, and mushrooms
Snack – ½ cup mixed nuts
Dinner – Bison Meatballs (1 lb. ground beef, ¼ red onion, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tbsp. ground mustard seed makes 6-8 meatballs) with 1 pack mushrooms sautéed with 2 scrambled eggs and pepper
Snack – ½ grapefruit and tea
Workout - n/a

Day 4
BreakfastSmoothie (for 2), 2 bananas, 1 cup tropical fruit mix, ½ cup mixed berries, water and orange juice
Snack – 1 cup mixed nuts
Lunch – Salad of romaine lettuce with egg, ½ avocado, oil and balsamic
Dinner – Fajitas – 1 red onion, 3 green peppers, 1 red pepper, 2 large chicken breasts, salt, pepper, garlic powder all sautéed
Workout – 25 minute run, tennis practice

Day 5
Breakfast – Smoothie (for 2), 2 bananas, 8 strawberries, water and juice
Snack – 1 cup mixed nuts
Lunch – Pear and a salad of romaine lettuce with egg, ½ avocado, oil, balsamic
Dinner – Lamb seasoned with salt, pepper, and rosemary with spaghetti squash seasoned with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, olive oil
Snack – Dates
Workout – 1 hour yoga

Day 6
Breakfast – Smoothie (for 2), 2 bananas, 8 strawberries, water and juice
Lunch – 10 piece sashimi with small side salad with carrots and cucumbers and lemon
Snack – Pear
Dinner – Lettuce wraps (1 lbs ground turkey, 1/3 onion, 3 garlic cloves, olive oil) with romaine lettuce shell and baked asparagus with salt and olive oil
Workout – 6 mile walk

Day 7
Breakfast – Smoothie for 2 (2 bananas, 1 cup mixed berried, juice and water)
Lunch – Pear, 3 egg salad with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper
Snack – pistachios and tea
Dinner – Salmon (like done on Day 1) with sautéed broccoli and mushroom
Workout – 2 hours tennis, 3 mile walk

Day 8
Breakfast – Smoothie for 2 (2 bananas, 1 cup tropical fruit, juice, water)
Lunch – Can of Sardines in water, apple, pistachios, 2 hardboiled eggs with balsamic vinegar
Dinner – Pulled pork smoked on GreenEgg seasoned with mustard and whole30 approved seasoning + homemade BBQ sauce with sautéed broccoli, mushrooms, and onion, and smoked salmon
Meal Prep

  •  Egg muffins prepared like Week 1  under Day 1
  • Grilled Chicken seasoned with salt pepper, and cayenne pepper

Workout – 2 hours tennis, 5 mile walk

Day 9
Breakfast –Smoothie for 2  (2 bananas, 1 can pineapple in 100% pineapple juice, 3 strawberries, water)
Snack – dates and hard boiled egg
Lunch – Salad with egg and ½ avocado with balsamic vinegar
Snack – Pistachio
Dinner – Salmon with lemon and pepper with sautéed broccoli and mushroom
Workout – n/a

Day 10
Breakfast – Smoothie for 2 (2 bananas, 8 strawberries, juice and water)
Lunch – Tomatoes and Pineapple Soup
Snack – Egg
Dinner – Chicken stir-fry with 1 lb. chicken, 1 zucchini, 1 squash, 2 cup broccoli, 2 cup cauliflower
Workout – 2x2 mile run (one on my own one with Joe)

Day 11
Breakfast – Ardens Garden fruit smoothie
Snack – unsalted raw almonds
Lunch – Salad with fajita veggies, grilled chicken, tomatoes, and guacamole
Dinner – grilled chicken with cauliflower mash, zucchini noodles with lemon
Workout – 4 mile walk/sprint workout

Day 12
Breakfast – Pomegranate and Acai berry smoothie
Snack – Raw almonds
Lunch – Panera Chicken Cobb with Avocado – no dressing, feta, or bacon
Dinner – Salad with cranberries, almonds, and grilled chicken
Workout – 4 mile run

Day 13
Breakfast – Smoothie for 2 (2 bananas, 8 strawberries, juice, water)
Lunch – Salad with 1 hard boiled egg, ½ avocado, balsamic vinegar and an apple
Snack – Pistachios
Dinner – Lamb seasoned with salt, pepper, and rosemary with green beans sautéed with sun dried tomatoes and garlic
Workout – 1 hour yoga, 3 mile walk

Day 14
Breakfast – Smoothie for 2 (2 bananas, 1 ½ cup tropical fruit, juice, water)
Lunch – 2 hard boiled eggs, pistachios, orange
Dinner – Ground turkey meatballs with sun-dried tomatoes and onion and seasoned with ground mustard, salt, and pepper, with sautéed broccoli and cauliflower
Snack – Grapefruit
Workout – n/a

Whole30 Egg Muffins

Leading up to the Whole30 challenge, Joe always had a smoothie in the morning on his drive to work, then a yogurt and granola parfait around 10.  We had to find something to replace the 10AM snack, so we started looking around.  Egg muffins seemed like the most simple, Whole30 approved meals that sounded amazing!  They really are quick to make, and you can prepare them on Sunday for a whole week!  We made sure to make 15 so that he could have 3 each day.  He has enjoyed them, and they are easy to customize to your taste.  You can anything to them, from peppers, tomatoes, other meats, and make them your own!  We have made them the same the past two times so here is the recipe we have used.

Egg Muffins
1 cup diced mushrooms
½ cup diced onion
2 cloves diced garlic
½ lbs ground pork seasoned
red pepper flakes
cayenne pepper
garlic powder
kosher salt
12 eggs

Preheat oven to 350F.  Dice mushrooms, onions, garlic (and anything else you would like in your muffins).  Saute until they are browned.  Season ground pork with red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder.   Saute until cooked through.  Whisk eggs until beaten well.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the remaining ingredients and mix well. 

Distribute mix into desired muffin tins, lined with silicone muffin cups for easy removal.  Fill approximately 3/4 full so they do not overflow.  Cook for 30 minutes or until center is firm.  Remove and cool.  Enjoy!

Paleo Chicken Salad

Sometimes lunches for Whole30 are hard to come by.  It is a lot harder to go out to eat and find something that is Whole30 eligible, and salads can get boring (especially for Joe) and don't necessarily fill him up.  Because of that we had to come up with some creative lunch options.  It is always nice to be able to make a couple meals on Sunday for the week, so Joe found this Chicken Salad that called for ingredients that we already had at home.  He enjoyed it for two lunches throughout the week to make it more exciting.  It is quite flavorful so I hope you enjoy!

Avocado Chicken Salad

1 Pkg boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 or 3)
1 avocado
1/4 of an onion, chopped
juice of 1/2 a lime
2 Tbsp dill (that was all we had at the house and it actually tasted good, the original recipe calls for cilantro)
some salt and pepper, to taste

Cook chicken breast until done, let cool, and then shred. Add all of the other ingredients and mix.

It's quick, simple, and yummy!
Original Recipe Found here

Monday, March 2, 2015

Whole30 Challenge

Diet - a word very much over used in the English language. 
Healthy LifeStyle - something often overlooked in today's society

I want to start by saying for my husband and I, being on a diet is not the focus of us participating in the Whole30 challenge (our goal is mentioned later).  Any person would be lying if they said they never wanted to change something about their looks.  No matter how fit you are or how healthy you are, there are day's that you simply do not feel the best.  Maybe you feel fat, your abs aren't big enough, or your muscles are too big as a female for a shirt to fit properly.  In the society that we live in today, everyone is conditioned to search for perfection.  The idea of perfection comes in different forms for everyone, and every day we should strive take a step closer to make us a better person. 

For Joe and I, we tend to live a healthy lifestyle.  We are active and work out regularly, whether it is a quick trip to the gym, a yoga class, or a tennis match. We also eat fairly healthy and don't eat out very often, simply because I love cooking.  That being said, I also love baking, ice cream, and Girl Scout cookie season.  I don't have a huge sweet tooth and we may lead a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes I simply have no self control.  It's easy for me to eat something unhealthy early in the day, then continue the trend simply because I already messed up a "healthy" day.  I also travel a lot, and sometimes it is simple to grab something quick on the go, not necessarily thinking about the nutritional value. I think it is easy to get in a cycle to have a desert after dinner every day, and slowly but surely you crave more and more sweets.  Plus, I am 26 and don't want to live my life not allowing myself to eat foods I enjoy for really long amounts of time!  I don't think I will be 80 one day and think back no how lucky I was to not eat my ice cream because I was on a diet!

Knowing all of this, I had seen/hear/read about a lot of diets/cleanses/etc. Although I had entertained many in the past, none of them seemed to speak to me, since my focus really isn't to lose weight.  A lot of them I questioned, and for that reason I never decided to do them.   I do want to say that I am not judging others that have done any of the mentioned challenges or diets below, they simply are not for me (just like Whole30 may not be for you). A lot of my friends have done one or many of the below, and experienced great results!  Everyone's body's are different and everyone's lifestyles are different, so I really don't believe diets or healthy lifestyles can be "one size fits all".

Juice Cleanse - This is something that I don't this is a "healthy" approach to life.  Overindulging for a couple days/weeks/months, and think you can reverse it in a couple days by only drinking a "cleansing juice".  It may work for some people, but it simply doesn't seem appealing to me.  I cannot force myself to drink something that doesn't taste good to me for days without any solid foods.  I had also heard some horror stories (including one from my mom when she did it years and years ago) that gave the cleanses a bad taste in my mind.

Gluten Free - This is simply a fad diet that somehow caught on like wild fire.There are people out there in the world that are forced to have a gluten free diet for medical reasons.  Without getting into too many details, I have family members that are Celiac, and they will be the first to tell you that it is something that you simply could not life through without knowing you had the intolerance at a young age.  Joe and I have always prepared whole wheat pastas, made whole wheat breads, and enjoyed whole grain granola, and there so many great nutritional aspects of whole grains that people seem to forget.  Looking at ingredient lists of gluten free pastas and breads show that there were even more processed chemicals thrown into these foods in order to make them taste good. For this reason, gluten free never even crossed my mind.

Paleo -  I have a lot of friends that do CrossFit and have gone through the Paleo journey.  Although the concept makes sense, some of it never made sense in my mind. The main obstacle I had in my head was all of the Paleo recipes that simply mimic regular food.  I don't think our ancestors were trying to make bread out of almond flour and dates, and brownies that taste like brownies with the use of some crazy ingredients.

There were several others that have come up, but none seemed to work.  After having a friend do Whole30 (a variation of it) I started reading about it.  A lot of what I struggled with in the Paleo diet was mentioned in the introduction to the challenge.  It was kept simple and straight forward. No grains, sugar (natural or man made), legumes, dairy, processed foods, or preservatives.  Although they emphasize to not edit what they write is approved and unapproved, it didn't match what I wanted to do perfectly, so we made some changes.  We decided that we wouldn't eat potatoes during the duration of the challenge, although they have recently been approved in Whole30.  I am not a huge potato eater anyways so this was a simple decision on my end!  Something I couldn't buy into was smoothies.  Although they aren't labeled off limits in Whole30, they advise against them.  Their reasoning simply did not make sense to me, so we will continue with our smoothies in the morning.  I think they keep me full longer than eating the fruit whole, which is what their argument was for not having smoothies, and in the end, they are just something I was not willing to give up.

So, with these minor changes, and Joe's buy it, we were set to go!  Here are my thoughts so far...
  • First, I will say, it makes it much easier to do it with a friend, roommate, or significant other.  We are only in day 2, but seeing Joe's enthusiasm about the journey makes it that much easier for me!
  • Prepare Meals - Joe's biggest concern is what will replace his daily yogurt and granola for breakfast.  At times he also goes out to eat for lunch, and he wanted to know what he could eat for lunch!  We took about an hour on Sunday to prepare some breakfast and lunch for the week, as well as really plan out dinners!  Quite frankely this was so fun for me but makes the work week much easier!
  • Don't think about what you can't eat, focus on what you can eat!
  • READ all labels!  I tend to read a lot of labels but I have never notices just how many things have sugar in them!
As we go, I will post what we eat, new recipes, and my thoughts!  The last thing to do is set a goal!  So here we go.

GOAL:  Become more aware of what goes into my body, even when I think it is "healthy".  Take 25 days (we are only doing 25 days since Joe's birthday is the 26th of the month)  to truly enjoy simple foods and let my body take a rest a bit and not have to process any preservatives or processed food!  Enjoy 25 days of clean eating to help refocus on the healthy lifestyle we try to lead.

So with that, here we go!  Link below for the program!

Whole30 Instructions