Thursday, June 16, 2016

Whole30 Week 1...Better Than Xanax

It's true. Who knew that taking all of the toxins out of my diet could have such a sudden and welcome effect? I would actually expect to be more irritable while keeping cravings at bay not more calm and balanced. Patient and unflappable too with my kids, at work and even on the road. I have more energy throughout the day, and then at night I crash and sleep like a baby as I should. My eyes are bright, my skin is soft and I just plain feel better.

So far Whole30 has been a success and I'm not going to prattle on here about the specifics because if you're interested, you should read the books. There are also countless blogs that offer a wealth of helpful information. This is not a health or fitness blog, but I do have a few tips for getting started.

1. Preparation is key. Read about the program and understand what you are committing to and why. This is science people.

2. Plan at least a few days worth of meals and shop in advance. I generally plan our dinners and shop once a week, and even I was surprised by how much extra time it took. I know it didn't help that I was often preparing somewhat separate meals for the kids, but I tried to just do riffs on one concept. I made stops at Trader Joe's, Costco and Pick n' Save over the weekend. Also be prepared for shopping trips to take longer as you read labels, and to cost more as you stock up on healthy oils, herbs and other staples.

3. Read labels. Claims like 100% fruit, all natural and no additives are loose. It's best to make as much as you can (salad dressing, ketchup, taco seasoning) homemade, but that's always my MO. The two times we didn't read labels we ended up with sparkling water with sucralose and a beautiful bag of dried cherries that had added sugar. Eventually, you'll hash out compliant products and the best places to buy them. After a week, I already have a handle on it. Whole Foods has a number of compliant products like dressings and even bacon, but I haven't stopped there yet because the only thing on my list is coconut aminos, and I know I'll come out of the store at least $100 poorer.

4. Don't skip breakfast and every time you step foot in a store, buy a dozen eggs. They're whats for breakfast. I usually combine them with egg whites in an effort to be careful of cholesterol, but I'm not even sure that's necessary any more. I feel like there have been so many mixed messages about whether eggs are a super food, or on the do not eat list. I know they are an excellent source of protein so we're having one each morning without guilt because I haven't had cheese in 7 days people (and I haven't missed it). My favorite way to enjoy them is sunny side up over a bed of wilted spinach, but they're tasty over roasted potatoes (yes, you can eat potatoes in moderation) or in a veggie frittata. Throw a few avocados is your cart each time too. It's important to eat healthy fats and they taste good. On everything.

5. Put some love into your food and be creative. There are more things you can eat than you can't. Family dinner is an end of day ritual in our house so it's important we savor it. I enjoyed all of these meals. I never felt deprived. Below is a sampling of the meals we enjoyed for dinner and then lunch. Leftovers are key on Whole30.

 Deconstructed chicken fajitas with guacamole (Trader Joes). 

 Cauliflower soup with potatoes garnished with crispy prosciutto and green onion.

 Roasted spaghetti squash with homemade red sauce with ground turkey and a salad with homemade vinaigrette.

Sauteed chicken Italian sausage (Trader Joes) with pan fried (in coconut oil) potatoes and cider roasted cabbage and carrots.

Deconstructed kabobs with sauteed riced cauliflower.

Grilled flank steak. grilled sweet potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and roasted prosciutto wrapped asparagus.

6. This is your Whole30 so make it work for you. The program doesn't advocate snacking, but Saturday I was starving mid-day and I knew dinner was 5-6 hours off so I snacked. I just made sure it was compliant. Let me tell you that was the best apple I've had all year. I love Trader Joe's crunchy almond butter. Also put your snack on a plate and sit down and enjoy it. Be mindful.

7. Find ways to treat yourself, but beware of whatever your "no brakes" foods may be. Skip them. I craved a glass of wine a couple evenings so instead I made an iced coffee with coconut milk and I put it in a pretty glass. I was satisfied. Better yet treat yourself with a walk, a pedicure or a little retail therapy.

I know I won't be this strict forever, but there are many changes I've made this week that I see sticking going forward. I'm already seeing this more as a lifestyle than a 30 day commitment and I sure wouldn't be saying that if I didn't feel great.

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