Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Day 23: A Beautiful Day of Cooking and Continuing Legal Education

My day in pictures.


Breakfast at 7:30. Eggs poached in salsa and spinach + coffee.


I took MC to my HIIT/Chisel class today! It was so fun showing him off to my teacher and vice versa. Also, he totally killed it. He even did more jumping lunges than I did. Afterwards, had PWO chia bites at 11.

UntitledPicMonkey Collage

Marvelous day of cooking and learning.


Lunch at 1:30. Sweet potato topped with chicken pozole and avocado.


SWYPO! Which I totally rationalized. I still feel okay about it and will describe rationalization at a later date. Pictured above is a grain-, nut-, dairy-, sugar-free banana bread. My children enjoyed it with dinner and I taste-tested it. Not bad. Not not weird.

Dinner at 5:30. Pork tenderloins with squash-apple compote and pan-fried cabbage. Best dinner in a while. And gorgeous too, even though my picture isn't the best.

Sweet dreams. xx

Monday, March 30, 2015

Day 22: Two Chicken Salads Too Many

Today was tricky. It was my husband's birthday so we tried to do celebratory things but I still haven't made it to the grocery store so I ate poorly, though technically within W30 limits. We spent the day at the Science Museum, which was great, and I brought snacks but not enough so we ended up buying lunch there. Eating at home is so much easier and cheaper. (Sigh.)

I was so hungry for breakfast at 8 a.m. I almost forgot to take a picture for us. My usual scramble with less fixings. Frozen spinach, tomatoes, salsa, sauerkraut, Sunny Paris seasoning, 2 eggs, all cooked in ghee.


Mid-morning I had a banana and some plantain chips. Lunch was at 12:40 p.m. It was a tiny, sorry excuse for a salad with chicken and a hard-boiled egg. No dressing and no vegetables other than lettuce and a few mealy diced tomatoes. Oh well. It was food from a museum that caters to children. I should have been more prepared.


I had a little leftover chicken pozole when I got home at 4:00 p.m. and then we had proper dinner at 5:45: Agra Culture salad with chicken, avocado, radishes, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and sweet potato wedges. Local D'Lish started selling deli items from Agra Culture a couple months ago. The family and I have been eating the expired sandwiches and soups that the other staff don't take home and I think they're pretty good.


Tomorrow I need to kick off another "Back on Track" streak. It will not involve making more chicken. I really don't like chicken that much (except for this revelation). This week's going to be a porky one. Here is my tentative plan:

Breakfasts as usual.

Day 23, Tuesday: PWO chia bites or an apple with sun butter. Lunch will be salad greens, baked sweet potato topped with chicken pozole. For dinner, cabbage fried in ghee with poppyseeds (this is a recipe from Amy Thielen's cookbook, which I've currently got checked out from the library) and some Ina Garten prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloins with Kim Boyce's butternut squash-apple compote. Sort of. I'm getting inspiration from cookbooks that I haven't spent time with in a while. That's been an unexpected benefit of Whole30ing.

Day 24, Wednesday: PWO chia bites or apple with sun butter. Loaded salad for lunch with chicken and avocado. Dinner will include leftover pork tenderloin, cabbage, and potato rosti.

Day 25, Thursday: Salad with leftover meat or tuna burgers for lunch. Ambitious goal at the moment is a variation on these curried scallops, spiced potatoes with mint, and something I call "butternut saag" that I've made three times and have been meaning to put on this blog for ages but just haven't yet. It's Chef Edith at her best though, so I'll try to make it happen for reals this week!

Day 26 is Good Friday. The Whole30 folks frown on fasting. I have my priorities nonetheless and Jesus trumps Paleo. Catholic fasting allows for at most one small meal plus two small snacks which combined do not constitute a whole meal. I am thinking eggs for breakfast, some almonds and a fruit in the afternoon, and a tuna cake in the evening.

Day 27, Saturday: For lunch, carrot-ginger soup and a big salad. That morning I will finally be making Nom Nom Paleo's Kalua Pig in my slow cooker, so that will feed my family on Saturday night (with plantain tortillas, magic green sauce, and date cole slaw), and hopefully get me through the rest of my Whole30!

Day 28, Easter Sunday. I am not sure what I will be eating on this day. It might be a big salad or veggie soup and other makeshift food alongside the sides that happen to be W30 compliant at our Easter gathering.

I still have to think a little more about Days 29 and 30 (and beyond). Other than having carrot-ginger soup and Kalua pork on hand - and making chicken livers! - I'm not sure how I'll be wrapping things up. I might just ride it out being resourceful or I might go out with a culinary bang. Either way, you'll be the first to know. And now I really must go grocery shopping.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Day 21: What I ate, what I didn't

This morning we hosted a birthday brunch honoring my son, husband, and father-in-law. Lest you remain unconvinced of how v. truly in-this-to-win-this I am, behold all that I resisted:

Birthday Brunch Food

And YES that sure is Aunt Judy's Egg Casserole, top left. As well as apple danish, banana cream pie, and sea salt caramel chocolate cake, the latter two from Lucia's. I wanted to bake birthday cake myself but not licking cake batter from my fingers is kind of the worst, so I just saved myself the annoyance and splurged on these ladies. Come over if you want any. There's a ton left.

What I did eat wasn't half bad though.

Day 21 Food

Late breakfast at about 11 a.m. was eggs, salmon, salsa, sauerkraut, fruit, coffee. Lunch at 3 was a homemade Lara bar and some jicama and tomatoes (not the best lunch but I am pretty much out of food and I knew I should eat something). Dinner at 6 was roasted shrimp and broccoli + a baked sweet potato with coconut oil and curry powder (all lovingly made by MC). I'm drinking a cup of tea now and can't wait to go to bed early tonight. Long fabulous weekend requires long fabulous recovery sleep. We take our staycations v. seriously here! Kicked it off with a Jenn Grinels house concert on Friday and survived 1 restaurant + 4 bars as part of my father-in-law's birthday pub crawl last night. FYI: soda water can range from zero to three dollars in NE Minneapolis, depending on where you land (and probably the lavishness of your cleavage (damn it)). 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Days 18, 19, 20: I Missed You Too!

I am still cheat-free and this week has been great. Things are finally coming together in my head with respect to what I am learning and hoping to take away from this food experiment. People have been asking a lot of questions and as I continue to articulate what's happening in my body and in my head, it forces me to think more critically about it all and I am nearly ready to write a mega post on what I think, how I feel, whether I'm going to be paleo afterwards (short answer: no), where I'll head next, and why I think the Whole30 is probably worthwhile for anyone seeking one or more of the following: a more efficient metabolism, kicking the sugar / cheese habits, increased awareness of how your body processes food, mental and/or physical healing of something that may be food-related, some rockin' biceps. What I've experienced firsthand as a Whole30er has largely corroborated what I've heard or read before, notably from my acupuncturist (sugar is fuel for bacteria and fungus) and my former personal trainer (it's 90% how you eat and 10% how you work out). Everything seems like less of an uphill battle right now. Taking care of my skin, working out, flossing, getting organized, problem-solving with foresight, thoughtfulness, and detachment. Not my usual reactively/emotionally/shortsightedly dealing with life's demands. All that said - it's not magic, I have some low-level anxiety about reintroducing certain foods and concerns re: how I will tolerate things I've historically enjoyed v. much, and I still ethically oppose the daily consumption of meat. This is all a preview of what's to come. I'm drafting in my mind. I've got a lot to edit out and structure better. This is stream of consciousness right now (in case you couldn't tell). I also have ten more days to go and chicken livers to fry and who knows what else.

So here's what I've eaten for the past three days. I accidentally deleted one breakfast picture and I didn't manage to photograph some things, as it's been a busy (but super fun!) few days.

Day 18, Thursday. Egg hash for breakfast (same as Wednesday, basically); PWO chia bites and banana; leftover chicken and brussels sprouts for lunch; dinner part 1 roast beef, guacamole, jicama, celery; dinner part 2 lackluster chicken stew. This is one of my deleted-photo days, so we're left with  just a picture of lunch, luckily the most photogenic and tastiest meal of the day.

Day 18 Lunch

Day 19, Friday, more on it with camera. Breakfast was kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, scrambled eggs, salsa, magic green sauce, sauerkraut, some strawberries. Lunch leftover salmon coconut soup and some apple with sunbutter. Dinner was big green salad with three tuna-sweet potato burgers, sprouts, jicama, and guacamole. Late last night, we hosted a concert with snacks and alcohol. MC made me a mocktail with coconut milk, passionfruit juice and lime juice and it was delicious and did not at all make me feel the way I did after Naked Juice last week. There was much less juice involved, the juice was less sugary, and the coconut milk (fat) cut against metabolizing the sugar super fast. All those things worked so well in my favor that I had two. (Probably like 5-6 oz each, plus some soda water to top off each glass.) Also nibbled on veggies, almonds, and chia bites while everybody else enjoyed M&M's, cayenne shortbread, chips + roasted red pepper hummus, and, according to my friends, some crazy good crackers that I randomly got from Kowalski's.

Day 19 Food

Day 20, Saturday. Breakfast with my girlfriends at Yum: chilaquiles, minus tortilla chips and challah (?), plus breakfast potatoes. Their eggs and potatoes are dairy free, btw. Makeshift lunch at home: chicken-apple sausage, carrots, celery, jicama, olives, sweet potatoes, magic green sauce. More satisfying than you'd think.

Day 20 Breakfast and Lunch

Took a break from working out today. Tonight is going to be challenging. More on that later. I am out of food!

Happy weekend! Happy spring break! xoxoxoxoxo

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Day 17: So Much Closer to Day 30!

Right? Day 17 sounds like I'm in it to win it.

One thing I need to win it is some sleep, so I'm limiting this post to an account of what I ate today. Lucky you.


I mixed it up this morning with breakfast! Are you kind of proud of me? I had all those leftover roasted roots from last night, so I went crazy and made a hash. Added mushrooms, prosciutto, tomatoes, and Penzey's Sunny Paris seasoning. Topped it with two eggs that I'd fried up in ghee and ate it alongside my daily dose of sauerkraut. Super good. 7:30 a.m.

PWO at 11:15 (in the locker room, where I've diligently been enjoying my PWO food): homemade lara bar.


Lunch at 12:15: a banana, roast beef, guacamole with carrots, celery, and jicama.


Dinner was late as tonight we had parent-teacher conferences, so we ate after putting the children to bed. I had some apple slices and almond butter at about 7 pm and then this delightful salmon stew for dinner at 8 pm. I added jalapeño with the garlic and ginger and cilantro stems when I added the broth and coconut milk. MC complimented it. I contemplated seconds. It was almost - almost - as good as this one - which Sarah B. doesn't call "The Best Coconut Soup, Ever" for nothing. (FYI Sarah B. is my hero.)

I also made a giant pot of chicken stew tonight, based on another Not Without Salt recipe. (I can't call it pozole because there is neither hominy nor pork in it!) I will thank my future self for this endeavor, as it's good enough and smells wonderful and I know it will taste even better tomorrow, AND I have four lunch-sized portions of it ready to transfer to the freezer in the morning so that I can have some quick reheatable options during the next couple weeks. That said, it was a fair amount of work and next time I think I will just stick with my chile verde stew, which is simpler and, I think, more flavorful.

Enough about me. Good night. xoxooxxo

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Day 16: Back on Track

Hooray! I had GREAT food today! Because, as I said last night, there was nowhere to go but up, and once I realized that was the only direction I could head, I took advantage of the momentum. I made a plan, I went real grocery shopping (as opposed to the 12-minute fake version attempted yesterday), and I stuck my children in a tent watching Octonauts so I could get to work!


I made this chicken and brussels sprouts recipe that my friend Rhiannon recommended. She did not let me down. It exceeded expectations big time, and I was expecting a good meal. This is super delicious. Make it. And don't be withholding where the garlic powder's concerned. Go big or go home. It's the primary seasoning! I used ghee and it was perfect (though messy; I had to clean a lot of grease splatters after this one). The thin pan sauce that settled in my cast iron skillet after baking went straight into a little jar for tomorrow. I have no idea how I'm going to use it yet but I can't wait to figure it out. I might just drink it. It's lemony, garlicky, buttery bliss.

My nearly 4-year-old took a bite and said, "Thank you for making this yummy chicken dinner, Mommy. It is sooooo good." I might have cried. I don't want to talk about it.

Back to the plan!

Here's the plan!

1. Breakfasts will continue to be eggs, salsa, greens, other veggies lying around. It's working and I need to keep what works.

2. Tomorrow's lunch will be tonight's leftovers. I could not be more excited to eat lunch tomorrow. Tomorrow's dinner will be Salmon and Coconut Stew with some cooked greens tbd.

3. Thursday's lunch will be on-the-go: roast beef, fruit, veggies, nuts. For dinner that night, I'm making this pozole - and I'll be posting, for the sake of the rookies, about how to Whole30-ify a recipe.

4. Friday's lunch will be a big salad and some tuna cakes. Dinner will be one of my Melissa Clark favorites: Roasted Broccoli and Shrimp. I usually eat it with a grain, so to make it a heartier meal, I might make another favorite - Lottie and Doof's potato rosti. Every time I make that I wonder why I don't make it more often. We are partying that night too, so MC is going to make me this coconut-pineapple mocktail.

5. Some big news: I am committing publicly, right now, to making crispy chicken livers. Because apparently the Whole30 really DOES change your life.

6. Starting tonight, I'm working on the sleep part of the deal. On the days when I don't have caffeine (today and yesterday, last Tuesday and Wednesday), I have had a dramatic lull in energy in the afternoons.

7. Write my novel.

8. Reverse climate change.

9. Make a food plan for next week.

And finally, today's meals.

Breakfast of Champions at 7:30 am. Also had tea with coconut milk in it at about 9:15.


PWO at 10:45 am. Bar with sprouted flax and dried fruit. Pretty satisfying. Felt good after eating it.


Lunch at 1 pm. Big salad with guacamole, sprouts, nuts, seeds, beets, strawberries, mint, romaine, scallions, lemon juice, and olive oil.


Dinner at 5:30 pm. Chicken legs and brussels sprouts; roasted parsnip, sweet potatoes, and rutabaga. The best. (Ask my son.)


Another day in the bank. A much better day, actually.

Monday, March 23, 2015


I am glad today is about to be over. Because today being over means I am closer to Day 31. A day I am really starting to look forward to.

I ran out of food. I tried to remedy this by going grocery shopping in the twelve minutes I had to spare beginning at 11:42 a.m. Needless to say it was a spectacular failure. They didn't have brussels sprouts, I didn't have a list, and I was still late to pick up Beckett from preschool. I ended up coming home with a lot of bananas, a lot of chicken, and no plan.

Hence the beautiful meals depicted below.

Day 15 Food

Breakfast at 7:30 - Eggs, tomatoes, arugula. My worst breakfast in a while.
Lunch at 12:45 - Chile verde stew with an egg and some guac.
Unpictured snack at 4 - Banana, 2 chia bites.
Dinner at 5:45 - Beautiful, colorful salad with beets, mango, pepitas, carrots, lemon and olive oil... and hot dogs.

The first day of the best week yet did not really meet my expectations. Tomorrow I'll do better. I mean, from bad eggs and good hot dogs I have nowhere to go but up, right?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Day 14: In Which I Decide to Dine Out TWICE

I find dining out's not worth it when you are avoiding all the ingredients that chefs put into food to make it delicious.

That said, I enjoyed breakfast at Be'wiched today and dinner at Tilia and both establishments were accommodating of my crazy requests. It would have been much less expensive to eat at home. But. Then I would have had to cook for myself, and I wanted a break from that. Especially after making fourteen exceedingly delightful students a nice-looking and nice-smelling brunch this afternoon and not partaking in it myself.

Here's how it went today.

Breakfast at 7:30 am: 2 eggs, a slice of prosciutto, kale, ghee, sauerkraut


Brunchy Lunch at 11:30 am: pastrami hash with 2 eggs, iced americano. This was good and veggie-packed. Ordering was stressful though.


Snack at 4:30 pm: half an apple, spoonful of almond butter

Dinner part 1 at 5:30 pm: Salmon, arugula, brussels sprouts. I'm not even going to tell you how much I paid for it.


Dinner part 2 at 7:30 pm: A purple yam (!) with coconut oil (The purple inside was a surprise. I thought it was a jewel one, which has purple skin and yellow flesh. They all taste about the same to me.)


Tomorrow I'm half way done! Time for a celebratory mocktail! xoxo

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Day 13: A Little Too Haphazard

We enjoyed a day together as a family - YWCA, Minnesota Children's Museum, get together with relatives. All good things. I tried to be prepared, packing snacks for the children and a lunch for myself, stopping at the Wedge for lunches for the rest of the family. Despite this recipe for success, my stomach didn't do great today. While I have yet to experience a true hunger pang this week, my gastrointestinal sweet spot is evidently a slave to my new eating schedule. Missing out on a proper lunch resulted in a bunch of weird snacking - it was veggies and fruit and nothing bad for me or violative of the W30 manifestos, just ill-timed and unsatisfying, resulting in a mildly upset stomach. Tea and chicken stock seem to be helping. I'm thinking an early-to-bed agenda might also be in order.

Today's food consisted of the following:

8 am breakfast: Blueberry Eggs. As close to French toast as I can get for a few weeks. I probably won't make it again. It was tasty enough and a good amount of interesting, but it seems I don't need fruit in the morning. I kind of missed my sauerkraut. Seriously. Who am I?

PicMonkey Collage

10:30 am post-workout: a few chia bites

12 pm lunch: 3 tuna-sweet potato cakes, an apple

Afternoon: a few chia bites, tiny amounts of celery, pineapple, tomatoes

5:15 pm dinner: spoonful of sun butter, leftover Asian slaw with leftover roast and green beans (a delicious combo), cuppa chicken stock


Having a plan, having readily available food in the refrigerator, and being home at meal times are all extremely helpful in following the W30 rules. Tonight I'm going to get on it. Goal: this week's going to be my best week yet.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Asian Cole Slaw for Company (Whole30/Paleo Version)

Well, really, we were the company. Kind neighbors invited our family over for (perfectly) grilled salmon tonight and this was our humble offering.


They know I'm doing the Whole30, so we agreed that I'd bring a side dish that satisfied my current dietary needs. This more than worked out. Everybody was pleased and it took all of ten minutes to assemble. Make it! xoxo E-NC

Asian Cole Slaw (W30/Paleo version)
Yields 6-8 generous side servings, more if there are many sides available

For slaw
6 cups shredded cabbage (I used a bagged mix which had carrots too)
Handful (or three) of chopped cilantro
Handful of chopped mint
2-3 seedless oranges or 2 mangoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (Cara Cara oranges are the best if you can your hands on some)
1 jalapeño, minced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt

For dressing
Zest and juice 1-2 limes (at least 3 tablespoons juice)
Juice of half an orange
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce (or 2 teaspoons more coconut aminos + 1/4 teaspoon salt)

Toss cabbage with salt in a large serving bowl. Add oranges, chopped herbs, and jalapeño, if using. Place all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Pour dressing on salad ingredients and toss everything together. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add a little more lime juice or a splash of rice vinegar if it tastes flat or oily. Add up to 1/2 teaspoon salt if it's almost there but needs some gussying up. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours before eating. Leftovers are good too, stored in refrigerator, but not as fresh and beautiful as the first day's version.

Days 11 and 12: I Didn't Give Up!

I was just busy! Because, even though it seems like my entire life consists of Whole30, it does not. I have people to teach, menus to plan, board meetings to attend, leadership initiatives to advance, folders to stuff, cardboard to cut, iron to pump, shoes to get repaired, library books to return, library fines to pay. Oh and also children to raise, spouse to support, laundry to fold, dishes to wash. It's more than a day's work. So sometimes I don't get to the blogs, even when I fully intend them to be a priority.

The good news is that I have stayed committed! I am stronger and clearer-headed and more even-tempered and have not had to nap since Wednesday. I have an unfamiliar can-do attitude about things right now. My theory: the result of combined W30 compliance (i.e. if I can do this, I can do anything!) and enhanced mental clarity. I want to get organized, get up earlier, accomplish more, delve deeper into everything important to me. I've made it to daily Mass twice, addressed work issues and responded to emails almost expeditiously, lifted heavier weights, returned phone calls in a more timely fashion, mapped out our summer. Most significantly, my jeans are loose.

The bad news is that I have super mixed feelings about what I'm learning about food and how it affects my body. Sugar is the devil. I get it. BUT. I don't think I wanted to learn how horrible it can make one feel once the habit of it's been placed on hold. This morning I drank a Naked Juice that was technically compliant (though not recommended). I wasn't even thirsty, but I was somewhere where I had to buy something in order to occupy a particular space (and use space in question's wi-fi), and I thought a little juice would taste nice. To be safe, I only drank half of it (one serving). Also important: I had eaten an ample breakfast about an hour prior, so I wasn't loading up on sugar on an empty stomach. Nevertheless! Within five minutes my body revolted against me/it. I had horrible cramps and nausea and a little bit of shakes. It went away after about forty-five minutes, but all day my stomach has continued to feel varying degrees of unsettled.

I don't think I mind being a normal person who's stomach can decently tolerate all kinds of foods, including sugar, however poisonous it is. Isn't that one of the rad things about being human? And raccoon? Certainly, I don't want to be a high maintenance eater who gets sick from a swig of juice. Dining out with a tree nut allergy is annoying enough! These thoughts are all troubling me. Also - I can't remember if I've mentioned this before - but raw tomatoes have started to give me an itchy mouth. They never have before. Is the W30 Challenge causing me to develop new sensitivities? Because that is not what I'm after. What I was after was information. This was about as scientific an experiment as I get to do these days. I didn't anticipate such drastic changes however, and I find some of them disconcerting.

Those are today's (and yesterday's) impressions. I'll finish up with the food now. Have a lovely weekend! xoxo E-NC

Thursday, Day 11

Breakfast at 7:30: "The Usual" - sauerkraut, kale scramble topped with salsa


Post-workout snack at 10:30: Raw bar (felt right - I've stopped obsessing about workout food and am just eating something W30-approved immediately post-workout)

Lunch at 1 pm: big salad with almonds, seeds, beets, avocado, sprouts, arugula and romaine and last of my herbed mustard vinaigrette. AND A BLACK COFFEE. That is mega. You have no idea how mega.

Dinner part 1 at 8:30: chicken thigh from work (no picture - I promise, you don't want one)
Dinner part 2 at 9:30: cold red roast (not bad, but not worth photographing), microwaved sweet potato with coconut oil

That sweet potato was stupid delicious.

Friday, Day 12

Breakfast at 7:30 am: The Usual. (Yes, I'm over it, but it tastes good and doesn't require thinking. I am newly appreciative of the benefits of some routine in one's life.)


Poison at 8:45 am: Naked Juice

No Juice!

Lunch at 1 pm: W30 curry tuna burgers, arugula, guacamole (not pictured: seconds) (so good! W30 variation on these guys - revised recipe forthcoming!)

Dinner at 6:15 pm: Salmon with olive oil, W30 Asian cole slaw (a variation on my favorite salad - I'll share revised no sugar/alcohol/grain recipe soon!)

I also had two LaCroix grapefruit sparkling waters, an iced coffee, some herbal tea, and a ton of water today. More thirsty than hungry for some reason. Let me reiterate: I am barely ever hungry. Even yesterday, as I watched my thirteen lovely students and two coworkers eat food I'd helped to prepare, conscious of the fact that I wasn't probably going to eat for seven waking hours, I was not hungry. When I got home though, I needed food fast. Hence cold roast, which totally hit the spot.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Day 10: Just the Food

I am tired. I think a whole bunch of the stuff that was supposed to happen to me earlier is happening now. Like, I'm breaking out, I've taken naps two afternoons in a row (this is v. unlike me), I'm finally crashing at night but I'm not as refreshed in the morning as I felt last week. My body is learning how to get energy from fat and it's a steep learning curve.

So I'm going to bed soon but wanted to stay on top of my food tracking, and also I wanted to share something from the Whole30 website:

Days 10-11: The Hardest Days.

Fact: you are most likely to quit your Whole30 program on Day 10 or 11. By this point, the newness of the program has worn off. You’ve made it through most of the unpleasant physical milestones, but you’ve yet to experience any of the “magic” the program promises. You’re still struggling to establish your new routine (read: you’ve eaten eggs prepared ten different ways over the last ten days), and while you’ve been trying really hard to have a good attitude, today you are incredibly aware of all the foods you’re “choosing not to eat right now.”  Everywhere you look, you see the things you “can’t” have: the melted cheese on a greasy burger, the creaminess of that double-scoop cone, the cold beer in your best friend’s tailgate cooler. Dammit, this is hard! And right now you’re wondering if the results will really be as good as “they” all say it is.

You’re cranky, you’re impatient, and you’re really, really tempted to just eat the stupid cheese.

This is where you really start to experience the psychological hold that your food habits have on you. You’ve put in a lot of effort to get to where you are right now, but you’re still waiting for the results you’re hoping to see. Your  brain tells you that you deserve some kind of reward (don’t you?) and, of course, we’ve been conditioned to think of food as the best reward out there. Right now, you’re craving that ice cream, beer, or whatever treat you think would make for just the right reward. But, instead of that treat, you’re standing face to face with the realization that you have 20 more days of deprivation ahead of you.

The key here is to redefine your idea of reward.  Think long and hard about the foods you’re grieving and ask yourself what need you’re expecting them to fulfill.  Are you feeling anxious and looking for reassurance?  Are you feeling sad, and looking for something to cheer you up? Are you worried you won’t successfully finish the program, and it’s easier to self-sabotage than fail? Remind yourself that food cannot fill that void for you—cannot make you feel truly accomplished, comforted, calm, happy, beautiful. Then, find another way to fill that need that does not involve those foods. Prepare yourselves for these days, knowing that all you have to do is see them through to the other side before things get much, much easier.

To which I reply: YES. I do want a reward. Unfortunately, I want that reward to be a latte and scone, ideally with clotted cream on it. Where can I get a scone with clotted cream in this town anyway?

This morning, I wasn't hungry. I had chicken stock for breakfast at 7:30. Then, at about 9, on our way out the door to the YWCA, I ate a handful of nuts and a spoonful of coconut oil. I worked out hard from 9:40-10:30, ate a Lara Bar, and then swam for twenty minutes, showered, and walked home alongside my scootering son.


At 12 pm, I ate lunch: leftover chile verde stew + 2 scrambled eggs with salsa + crumbled kale chips + a few barely compliant packaged baked green peas. I have been settling for barely compliant when I work out. It's just too much to think about otherwise.

At 2:30-3ish pm, I had a second lunch: roast beef, carrots, celery, plantain chips.


At 5:15 pm, we ate dinner - a little earlier than I would have liked, but I had a meeting to go to. I made a W30 version of my favorite red roast. I subbed orange juice for mirin, and a combination of coconut aminos, chicken stock, and fish sauce for the soy sauce. It wasn't the same, but it was still slow-cooked roast, which tasted good but left my house smelling overpoweringly of fish sauce. I ate my roast on a salad of romaine, arugula, cilantro, sprouts, avocado, and some plantains that I pan-fried and cut into crouton-like bits. Dressed the salad with pan juices. It was fine but nothing to write home about. Nothing to blog about for sure. I never really use soy sauce that often but I sure miss it since starting the W30. I think because it makes meat taste good, and I'm eating a lot more meat than usual.

At the meeting, the smell of grocery store bakery cookies was all kinds of intense. My senses of smell and taste have become hypersensitive. I expected that about as much as I expected the irresistible urge to nap at 1:40 pm two days in a row.

Ten down, twenty to go. That sounds so not close to the end. Carry on warriors.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Day 9: It's All About the Sauces, featuring...
Garlicky Sunbutter Sauce + Herbed Mustard Vinaigrette

I teach a class called Sauces 101, but I think "It's All About the Sauces" is much sexier. Next time we throw it into the mix, I'm changing it. Because seriously, one of the eight hundred things I've learned about myself and food in the last nine days is that sauces can sure make a meal. Especially when the meal is eggs. Again.


In the spirit of sharing what I'm learning, I'm going to share two sauce recipes today. Both are versions of personal favorites, which I enjoy at home and use in class. Both make everything taste good.

W30 Super Garlicky Sunbutter Sauce
Makes about 1 1/2 cups / 6+ servings

5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Sunbutter
1/3 cup coconut aminos
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2-3 pitted dates
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 raw or cooked carrot (optional - thickens it up a bit)

Blend everything until smooth. Serve with chicken, shrimp, anything grilled, noodles, quinoa, fresh or sautéed vegetables, or over salad. We enjoyed it (twice) with carrots, green beans, shrimp, baby spinach, and kelp noodles. This afternoon I enjoyed it on a green salad. Scrumptious.

The Super Garlicky Peanut version of this sauce, as featured in my Quick Weeknight Meals class, is as follows: Blend together 5-10 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or rice vinegar or white wine vinegar), 3 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Everybody loves it. It totally makes the veggies go down.

Herbed Mustard Vinaigrette 
Makes 1 cup / 6-8 servings

Note: This dressing is always W30 compliant unless you use mustard with wine or some other prohibited food in it. Natural Value Dijon works and that is what I used.

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar or champagne vinegar*
1 tablespoon dijon or grainy mustard
1 shallot or 1/4 red onion, minced
6 leaves fresh basil (or more), minced (I also used some oregano because I had it)
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs or Bouquet Garni (I used 1/2 teaspoon marjoram + 1/2 teaspoon Bouquet Garni)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Place everything in a jar and shake well.

* If all you have is balsamic, go for it, with this caveat: if it's really high quality, just go balsamic vinegar + olive oil and save this dressing for another time. It won't shine amidst all the herbs and mustard.


And now for your daily dose of W30 mumbo-jumbo!

Today was harder than previous days. I worked out hard and also swam a few laps as a cool down. Yesterday or maybe the day before I mentioned that my body composition is changing. This was much more obvious in the pool. I felt more buoyant, and faster. This, after skipping the pool for ten days! And after a v. challenging HIIT/Chisel class. I don't want to downplay how this feels. It's rad! 

So that was the good part of the day. The bad part is that I'm exhausted and insatiable. I have not figured out what to eat post-workout. Historically, I'd have coffee with milk in the morning, work out an hour or two later, shower at the gym, then come home (or go to Lucia's) and eat an enormous lunch. I am trying to follow the W30 eating template, however, which calls for pre- and post-workout meals, separate from your other meals. The workout-contingent food is a bonus! Except that I don't want to prepare another meal. Three is hard enough! Today I thought I was super on it, working out within two hours of breakfast and bringing a post-workout banana and two tuna-sweet potato cakes in a cooler to the gym. I ate them right after my shower and they felt good. But I was ravenous by the time we came home. I ate what I thought was a decent lunch (it followed the W30 guidelines, anyway), but I was still hungry. So then I had three Navitas chia snacks (they are kind of like Lara Bars, but smaller and with a few more ingredients, all W30-compliant)... and a handful of nuts... and some strawberries... and some plantain chips and a few olives. All decidedly snacky foods that were unsatisfying but handy. What was not handy: a giant burger and fries. I contemplated for a long while whether I was hungry or something else. I think I was tired (I took something like a power nap a little later - a closed-eyed lie down with Bob the Builder whining at me from 22 centimeters away - which, surprisingly, still ended up being refreshing), but mostly hungry. Maybe I need more fat, but I thought I wasn't supposed to have much post-workout. I don't know. Pardon my rambling. This is something I should have probably taken to the W30 forum, where, invariably, a moderator tells the newbie like me to chill out and to eat a sweet potato.

That marks the end of today's impressions. Other than that I really want an iced latte.

What I ate:

Breakfast at 7:20 am - 2 eggs, spinach, salsa, coconut oil (same as yesterday; why mess with a good thing?)
Post-workout meal at 11:10 am - 2 tuna-sweet potato cakes, banana
Lunch at 12 pm - salad with red lettuce, egg, tomatoes, roast beef, sprouts, cilantro
Post-lunch snacks (no picture) - chia snacks, nuts, strawberries, plantain chips, olives, chicken stock

Dinner at 5:30 pm - leftover sausage and roasted vegetables, green beans with mustard vinaigrette, apple, spoonful of coconut oil 

Board meeting snacks - about 2 liters of water, while everyone else enjoyed chocolate and lemon-thyme shortbread

Tomorrow night I'll be a third done. Hooray!