Wednesday, July 29, 2015

It Starts With Food

It Starts With Foodby Dallas & Melissa Hartwig

292 pages
Published 2012
Read June 2015

"We eat real food---fresh, natural food..." The first line of the Preface of this book caught me right away.  Up until now, I thought I was eating real fresh food.  I knew I wasn't eating gluten free, but I was eating what I had been told was extremely healthy.  I had the veggies and fruits down and I was drinking my water.  I was even getting all the whole grains I needed.  Well.... let me just tell you that this book changed my life. 

The Whole30 program is designed to help you find which food groups are hurting you.  For me, my chiropractor mentioned that I might have a food intolerance.  In order to find that out, the Whole30 program eliminates certain food groups for 30 days so that you can reintroduce them one by one.  This will allow you to see which one or two groups are causing a disruption in your system.

I have learned more from Dallas and Melissa Hartwig in this single book than any other book I have ever read on nutrition......and I've read plenty (even the one for dummies lol).  By following this program, I feel lighter and more energized.  I have greater focus and less ailments.  All because of food!!  If I had known about this just ten years ago, my life would be so different!  I feel so stupid that I've believed all the wrong things for most of my life.

Thank you to the Hartwigs for sharing their passion and restructuring my life.  I look forward to what the future holds for me and can only hope that more people find this program!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Whole 30: Week Three

Week three has seen a dip in my energy and I think I figured out that I wasn't eating enough.  Crazy I know!  My son had swim lessons every night this week so I had to really cram in meals and utilize my slow cooker and cold meals like crazy!

DAY 15 - Sunday, July 19
Another visit to the in-laws required me to take my dinner.  We didn't leave until after lunch so I only had to take one meal.  Extremely tired this morning, not sure why.  The Timeline says I should have better energy, not worse.

DAY 16 - Monday, July 20
By this day, all of this seemed like second nature.  I'm not letting my guard down though because the minute I do, that sugar dragon will rear it's ugly head!  I can really taste the fresh, bold flavors of my food.  I chew and enjoy my meals!

DAY 17 - Tuesday, July 21
My sister and her fiance came for dinner tonight.  My husband grilled hamburgers and hotdogs (not the kind I can eat!).  But, I was ok.  Didn't really crave it....it smelled good, but I didn't have to have it!  I ate my Mexican Chicken Soup and loved it.  That was a mini accomplishment for me.

DAY 18 - Wednesday, July 22
Still pretty tired.  I'm starting to think it could be one of two things.  One,  I may not be eating enough, I will have to put my food into a nutrition calculator...I know I'm not supposed to count calories!  I'm not hungry, but something is happening to me.  Or two, lack of sleep.  I will need to start going to bed earlier.

DAY 19 & 20 - Thursday & Friday, July 23 &24
Otherwise uneventful days.  Same as before, still tired.

DAY 21 - Saturday, July 25
My mom was having a yard sale this weekend, so I had to bring breakfast and lunch with me.  Things went well in the eating department but I think I let my water slide a little.  I could tell I didn't drink as much as I should have because I had a huge headache.  Less than 64 oz of water and 6 hours of 90 degree sun shining down does not make me a happy camper.  Lesson: Drink the water.

THE VERDICT
I think the food part was a little easier this week.  I took on more recipes, knowing how to better manage my time.  The hectic week we had made me realize that I could really take my food anywhere, and eat it cold if I had to.  If I can do that, I can do this! 
I don't know when it happened, but this week I had a moment where I felt 30 days wouldn't be long enough.  I feel like my body needs a little more time.  I have made a decision to make my Whole30 a Whole45 and then go from there.  I still feel myself fighting a few cravings here and there, and think I might benefit from the extra time.  We will see.

THE FOOD

Southwest Eggs (Whole30)
Still loving this breakfast!!  It's amazing!  I think I might be able to eat avocados straight out of the shell with a spoon =)

The Breakfast Salad (Fed & Fit)
This was really great!  I learned to make my own sausage (I used ground turkey) because I can't find anything without sugar!!  It was a relief to know it was a simple thing. I loved the flavors in this, but be careful mixing it all up and expecting it to last all week.  Tomatoes make everything soggy.  I'll keep it all separate next time.

Curry Chicken Salad (Instagram: vanessa_eats_clean_food)
LOVED THIS!!  Another amazing combo of flavors.  I also made my own mayo with this one.  I'm astonished at all the things that are easily made at home.  The crunch of the apples with the creamy mayo and fresh burst of grapes....aahhh!  I could have eaten this every day.  Even my husband kept stealing forkfuls =) I forgot to get a picture, I just ate it!

Avocado and Crab Salad (SkinnyTaste)
I love Gina!  I have her cookbook at home and love it so much. She has the best recipes, so I was excited when I found one that was considered Whole30 compliant.  However, I realize that I'm not a big fan of crab.  I don't know if it was the strong flavor and aroma or what, but I haven't really had crab before.  Unless it was covered in jalapeno popper cream cheese dip ;)

The Best Paleo Chili Ever (Living Lobpries)
Another great recipe!  I had a big yellow squash from my friend's garden this week and decided to use it in place of zucchini in this recipe.  It was fantastic!  I love a chili that tastes tomato-y and spicy. I enjoyed this one and will make it again! Instead of letting it all simmer on the stove, I used the slow cooker...big time saver.


Mexican Chicken Soup (I Heart Naptime)
I have been a long time follower of Jamielyn and I love her blog!!  She's crafty, she's efficient, and she can cook.  I loved this recipe.  Simple, bold flavors and so filling.  I topped it with half an avocado....yum! Also a time-saving slow cooker meal....another lifesaver this week. Again, I forgot a picture.  I'm getting bad at that!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Whole 30: Week Two

Halfway through!! This week seemed a little bit easier to me......just a little, not a lot!  I wasn't a frantic mess in the kitchen trying to figure out how I was going to cook ALL of this food!?!?  I was able to choose recipes that I knew I would like and be able to eat for a few days.  Freedom for me this week came in the form the Whole 30 cookbook

DAY 8 - Sunday, July 12
This was the first day I really had to take my food somewhere (other than work). We were at my husband's parents' house unpacking from their recent vacation.  We stayed for dinner which was something I could absolutely not eat.  Luckily, I had planned for that and brought my dinner with me!  1 point for me!

DAY 9 - 13 - M-F July 13-17
The week was pretty uneventful, except my bathroom trips were much less than last week.  I began to have doubts around day 9.  My thoughts are, "What am I doing?  Have I created unrealistic expectations for myself?  My pants are tight - OMG did I eat sugar??"  I was essentially in panic mode the first half of the week.  I was bloated and thinking that this will never work for me.
By the last half of the week, my cravings were coming back full force and I was dreaming of stuffing my face full of chocolate chip cookies!  Cookies?!?!  I don't even like cookies!  Potato chips were always my vice, but I feel the sugar calling my name in these dreams!  Crazy.

DAY 14 - Saturday, July 18
I drove most of today.  Four hours one way to pick up my sister at the airport.  She flew home from a month long trip to Italy and I wanted to be there to see her.  I knew that I was going to need to eat breakfast at home but take my lunch and dinner with me.  I also knew I wasn't going to have access to a microwave, so I had to find meals that didn't need warmed up.  I had a chicken salad that afternoon and chicken and zucchini for dinner, but thankfully I made it home to warm it up.  I was very proud that I didn't eat at every gas station or Starbucks we stopped at!

THE VERDICT
It was a stressful week in my head.  I'm glad physically it wasn't stressful because I don't know if I would have made it through.  I have to keep telling myself to take it one day at a time.  Just get through lunch, just get through dinner.  I have noticed that, other than the cookie dreams, my mind doesn't have my day revolving around food.  Don't get me wrong, I always have my meals in the back of my mind because I don't want to get stuck somewhere without them.  However, I am not constantly planning all the junk I want to eat in the near future.  I would say that's a win.  I've been slacking on my gym visits...only twice this week.  Hopefully that picks up.

THE FOOD
So, I thought last week was the best food ever.  That makes this food completely amazing! And most of it came from the Whole30 Cookbook.....life saver.


Southwest Eggs (Whole30)
This breakfast was my standout meal this week.  Who knew that paring fluffy scrambled eggs with homemade salsa and half of a creamy avocado would be heaven on a plate?
The fresh ingredients and simplicity of a homemade salsa blew my mind.  I love onions, especially the red onions!  They are perfect in this homemade salsa (also from the Whole30 Cookbook!).
Sweet and Savory Blueberry Tortilla (StupidEasyPaleo) - Still a hit with me, so I alternated this and the Southwest breakfast all week.


Romesco Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles (Whole30)
My husband loved this simple sauce, so much that he requested it a second time in one week because he put it on everything!  While he's not following the Whole30 like I am, he does eat what I eat most nights for dinner.  We had a lot of zucchini this week, but I do not have a spiralizer yet, so no zoodles, just slices.  I will have one soon!  Anyway you slice zucchini is a hit in my house!


Perfect Seared Chicken Breast with Perfect Roasted Asparagus (Whole30)
The Whole30 cookbook taught me that I can make chicken breast taste amazing with just a little salt and pepper.  By searing first!  Never knew that, not an expert chef here.  Now I do, and I can't stop! (Even set off some smoke detectors! HA!)  Roasted Asparagus and a few more zucchini with this one rounded out a great meal (topped with Romesco Sauce).

Perfect Seared Steak with Asparagus (Whole30)
Again with the searing...great!  More asparagus and romesco sauce =) Yum!

Chicken Salads
I ate a lot of chicken salads this week, I was in the mood for some reason.  Maybe it was because I made this awesome ranch dressing!! Or because I found a fantastic chicken (above) in Forester Farmers Market.  I found this big bag at Sam's Club.  I just had spinach, romaine, chicken, tomatoes, onions, walnuts, and this dressing.  It was so good.

Cream of Asparagus, Celery, and Zucchini Soup (Delicious Obsessions)
Well, there were mixed emotions about this soup.  I loved it, hubby....eh, 7 yr old son...no way.  We do make him try things to get him interested in different foods, but he was not having it with this soup.  I even tried to tell him it tasted like broccoli (in a way it does) because that is his favorite veggie.  He still didn't like it.  I ended up eating the whole pot myself throughout the week.  I got to try out my immersion blender with this recipe, which was fun!

On to Week Three!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Whole 30: Week One

Oh week one!  I dove into the Whole30 with both feet.  I was so tired of feeling sick and tired.  If it wasn't constant headaches, it was chronic acid reflux, or a stomach tied in knots.  I started reading It Starts With Food.  I devoured more than 100 pages the first day I had it.  The information inside is full of insight on the why.

We all want a diet or a quick fix.....just tell me what to eat so I can get on with it.  But, nothing really tells us WHY does food affect us like it does.  Until now.  I'm utterly astonished and at times overwhelmed with the loads of information that I've been reading.  However, I am learning to mend my relationship with food.  I'm getting there and it feels good.  If you are out there reading and have ever done or are doing a Whole30, I would love to hear from you! So, week one......

DAY 1 - Sunday July 5
This day was fun, exciting, and easy!  I loved it.  I started a new way of eating with one goal...and it isn't weight loss for the first time in my life!  I know I'm eating this way in order to find out which foods are bothering me. So, day one I felt fantastic!

DAY 2 - Monday July 6
Whoa!  Everything changed today.  I was extremely tired, a little light-headed, a slight headache, a little foggy, and then the acne flare up....ugh!  I can handle all the other stuff, but the acne drives me crazy.

DAY 3 - Tuesday July 7
Everything is starting to make more sense.  I've been reading more labels and I feel better.  Re-reading It Starts With Food at the same time is really helping me stay focused.  I was still a little foggy this day, but not has bad as Monday.  I am so thankful that I gave up caffeine a month before jumping into the Whole30, because the headaches would have been unbearable.

DAY 4 - Wednesday July 8
I thought I was getting through the worst, but again with the headaches.  I was really tired and I didn't sleep well.  Fought through it at the gym after work and then went home and crashed.

DAY 5 - Thursday July 9
This is where things really started to get interesting.  Let's just say, my stomach hated me.  HATED. ME.  I felt for as much as it was rumbling, and as many bathroom trips that I made, it was trying to tell me something really important. My clothes were fitting a little better, my skin started to clear up, but I still felt tired.

DAY 6 - Friday July 10
My energy is starting to pick up.  I took the day off of work, and started the morning with a nice workout.  Worked on a project for my sister (more on that later!), and just really stayed busy.  Normally a day off of work for me is my behind parked on the couch with snacks and TV shows.  Not today! I actually felt like I accomplished things.

DAY 7 - Saturday July 11
I spent the day with my mom and we never sat down.  So another day chock full of energy that I never had before.  I could really get used to this.

THE VERDICT
It was a rough start full of cravings and headaches. But, at the end of the week I felt great and couldn't wait to start the second week!

THE FOOD
I have to say that some of the things I ate this week turned out to be the best food I've had in a very long time.  The flavor of certain things amazed me.  All in all, I had a great week!  Let me show you....

Broccoli and Spinach Frittata {Savory Lotus} - This was good, not fantastic, but a good stable breakfast frittata.  I paired it with an organic salsa which enhanced the flavors a little.  I think I just wasn't used to having all the flavors at first.  However, it stood up well for the first half of the week, but by the end of the week, I didn't want it anymore.

Italian Turkey Chili {Vanessa Romero} - This was AMAZING!!  Hands down, the best thing I had all week.  The only ingredients were turkey (I used ground turkey breast), spinach (I used fresh), Italian Seasoning, and homemade roasted red pepper sauce. This sauce took a little time to make, probably because I'm a newbie at this homemade stuff.  But it was so worth it, I could have eaten this stuff all week!


Creamy Cashew Chicken Soup {Stuff I Make My Husband} - The flavors in this soup were fantastic! The cashews really made it creamy and luscious. It felt like a good hearty meal.

Garlic Shrimp with Sausage and Broccoli Rice {This Flourishing Life} -  This was different.  It was my first experience with making something else in the place of rice.  Having sausage and broccoli in the place of rice was strange, but the flavor with the shrimp was really good.

Crockpot Cajun Jambalaya {Food Renegade}- I make Cajun Jambalaya all the time. All. The. Time.  So it was great to find a replacement so quickly. I didn't expect it to taste the same at all.  However, it was just as hearty and just as spicy as I like it!  Another great recipe.

Sweet & Savory Blueberry Tortilla {Stupid Easy Paleo} - This was my weekly standout recipe!  It includes one ingredient that I absolutely don't like....cinnamon.  I don't like cinnamon anything, don't even like the smell.  But this dish changed my mind.  It was so good!  Eggs, blueberries, cinnamon.....that's it.

On to Week Two.....

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Before I Begin....

There have been a lot of new changes around my world in the last few months.  It all started when I began having consistent lower back pain and sought the help of a chiropractor.  I, ignorantly, thought that a chiropractor would just fix my back.  However, the one I found wants to fix it all and I love that! He's also a certified nutritionist so........bonus!  I have been given more information, more insight, and more attention in the first month of visits than I have ever received at any doctors office.  I'm amazed!

I learned that, just by looking at me, he could tell that I have some sort of food intolerance that is causing inflammation. That was my first visit.  I have since then read everything I could find on inflammation.  Time and time again I found myself staring at a Paleo website or an Autoimmune Protocol cookbook. It had to be worth checking out and I have learned so much!

Decision-making has never been one of my strong suits.  I'm happy to let others make decisions and be along for the ride.  That's not something I like to admit, but it's true.  However, after that first visit, I decided that my eating habits had to change.  I was going to get down to the bottom of all my stomach issues and headaches.  I found a site explaining the Whole30 elimination diet...a reset if you will...and I just knew I had to start.....and soon.

I planned for 2 weeks, hunting through recipes and reading books.  It Starts With Food and The Whole30 by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig.  I even snatched up a copy of Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan.  I am determined not to fail, after all, this is about my health.  Never did I think that my next grocery trip would take hours.  I'm thrilled with all the wonderful food I get to eat, but I'm appalled at two things.  One, all the food we enjoy eating is chock full of crap and two, I wasn't smart enough to read the labels before I fed my family.


I will be documenting my 4 week journey through the Whole30 as well as keeping a record of the recipes I love, those I hate, and all the blogs and resources that have helped me through.  I want to discover to things: to be able to learn enough to keep going, to keep eating a clean diet and to discover which of the five groups is causing my issues.  After that I hope to be able to transfer my family over even when they aren't at hope.  It will be a struggle, don't get me wrong, but I'm certain it will all be worth it.

I hope that a few of you might join me!  I'm so excited.......