One Week In (reflections on Whole 30 and stuff)


I don’t believe in detoxing from sugar. While I think that it’s possible to consume too much of it with deleterious effects on your body, I think that “detoxing” suggests dependency and addiction. There’s also a mystical component to it that classifies food in the same category as a toxin, and I just don’t subscribe to that line of thinking.

I also don’t believe in “cleanses.” We have livers and kidneys and small intestines for a reason. Their primary function is to cleanse our system of the things it doesn’t need. To quote my doctor, “anything that makes you poop is a cleanse.” And, again, the valence of the word “cleanse” within the context of eating suggests that if you’re not eating these things, you’re eating dirty, impure, or unpleasant things. I don’t subscribe to this school of thought, either.

I do believe in balance and mindfulness.

Eating (mostly) Whole 30 for the past week has made me more mindful of what I’m putting in my mouth. I lost about 5 pounds this week (I was up a little on Monday morning due to weekend indulgences). I ate lots of lean protein, a crapton of veggies and fruit, and more cashews than I thought would be possible. I took in very little sugar and dairy (basically enough to make my coffee palatable), swapped out diet sodas for hot tea and sparkling water, and ate wheat (a tortilla) once. As of this writing, it’s been a week since I had a Coke Zero or a Fresca (both of which I would consume once daily) and I haven’t missed them at all.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on how much bread I ate before adopting a Whole 30-forward diet: grazing on Goldfish, pretzels, cheez-its, ritz crackers (usually upon arriving home with the kids in the evening and shoveling something in while getting dinner ready), pasta nights with soft French bread and butter on the side. Cereal or toast for breakfast. Snack bars in the afternoons. Ice cream bars at night. My processed carbohydrate consumption was out. of. control.

Other pros of Whole 30: the leftovers get used, mostly by me. I repurposed last week’s turkey taco meat into taco salad, and made breakfast out of the chicken verde. It feels good to be wasting less food.

Cons: It’s so much meat, and it’s so much cooking. Now, I do a lot of cooking during the week, but holy cow, is this a lot of cooking and prep. How would someone with an inflexible schedule (say, an 8-5 job, kids with extracurriculars, etc.) manage this? But mostly? It’s too much meat. I know that the preferred meats in this plan are grass-fed, organic lean meats, and I reckon I could go source that at the farmers market, but the price goes up exponentially. And I can’t, in good conscience, eat (and feed my family) feedlot meat 5-6 nights a week. It’s bad for our bodies, it’s bad for the environment, and it’s cruel to the animals. (We drove past a feedlot outside El Paso back in December and OMG, not only did it go on for MILES — there were stacks on stacks of cows crammed in these pens, and the ones that were sitting were doing so in muddy sludge — it REEKED. I was gagging at the fetid ammonia smell, something I don’t want to associate with a steak or a burger.)

So, in short, I’ve decided that strict adherence to Whole30 isn’t for me (but I kinda knew that going in). But I can feel that my body likes this healthier regimen of heaps and heaps of fruit and veg, fewer processed carbs (no more than one serving per day), NO DIET SODAS (it’s been 10 DAYS!!!!), and drastically fewer sweets (one serving per week, and not a slice of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, but like, a cookie). This is a way of eating that feels right for me, from a food-consumption standpoint, a quality of life standpoint, and an ethical consumption standpoint.

So, without any further super-privileged navel-gazing about my food choices (just last night I told the BK, who was kvetching about dinner, to think about the kids at his school who wouldn’t have a yummy dinner, so it’s rather ironic that I spend so much time fussing over and analyzing what I eat), here’s our menu plan for the week.

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Sunday: Baked chicken with spinach and artichokes (This was not very good, I thought. The chicken, while tender and juicy, wanted more seasoning, and the three tablespoons of fat made for greasy, greasy vegetables. Not an ideal combination.)

Monday: Steak, broccoli, roasted potatoes (This didn’t happen, as the husband was sick and working late and I didn’t want the meat, so I had a salad, while the kids had mac and cheese.)

Tuesday: Arugula with roasted salmon and potatoes  Just gonna keep the salmon in the freezer and have the steak tonight instead.

Wednesday: Veggie frittata with spinach and peppers (blessed, blessed meatless dinner!)

Thursday: TBD (it’s the night of our school spelling bee, and I’m the coordinator/emcee/pronouncer/judge)

Friday: Tacos (with shells for the family, taco salad for me)

Saturday: Historically our dining-out night. So, we’ll see!

Lunches will consist of salads topped with lean protein, mostly. I’ve got a cache of boiled eggs prepped for the week.

Breakfast will alternate between egg-centric whatevers, Rip’s Big Bowl with unsweetened almond milk, and chicken sausage with fruit on the side.

Starting With Food (On Whole 30 + meal plan)


I’ve been curious about Whole30 for a little while now; my dad adopted a modified Whole30 diet early in 2014 and by summer had lost nearly 50 pounds. I’ve been fairly successful with Weight Watchers, but I decided that I need to be a little less sloppy, more disciplined, with my food intake. My friend C did a Whole30 back in the fall and I enjoyed seeing her posts on Instagram, detailing her meals on the program. My ears perked up when, at the end of the 30 days, she’d lost something like 13 pounds.

I’m now 42 and really need to quit messing around and lose about 40 more pounds (I lost 18 in 2014). I have a family history of cancer (breast, spinal, multiple myeloma — all fatal), high blood pressure, and so on. I joke sometimes and say that I want to lose weight so that I can live forever, but the truth is that while I do want to live to watch my grandkids grow upI want to be healthy while doing it.

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So, starting Monday, I’m kickstarting better habits by doing my first Whole30. I’m a little nervous about the black coffee (sweet, creamy coffee is pretty much why I get out of bed in the morning), but I’m willing to sacrifice now for the greater good, so to speak. I think I can go a month without cookies and treats and the occasional glass of wine — the objective is to reboot my intake and build healthier habits from there. I do not, however, see myself going full paleo.

I’ve worked out a meal plan for the coming week and listed it below. The Whole30/paleo folks sure do like their meat, where I try to limit my intake of animal protein to no more than one meal per day. This will make breakfasts difficult, and I reckon I’ll be sick of almond butter and Larabars come Feb. 5.

I welcome any recipes, tips, and reminiscences of your own Whole30s. Let the healing begin!

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Sunday: Posole (not W30 compliant with the hominy, but I’m officially starting on Monday)

Monday: Sauteed shrimp and veggies

Tuesday: Balsamic pork roast (with compliant subs for the honey and worcestershire sauce), sauteed spinach, roasted potatoes

Wednesday: Turkey lettuce wraps

Thursday: Salsa verde chicken, roasted plantains (the rest of the family will probably have tacos or rice), salad

Friday: Thai crunch salad (will have to make a few adjustments to make this W30 compliant)

Saturday: If we stay in, we’ll have steak, potatoes, and something green. If we go out (we might go see the Hobbit), I’ll probably get salad.

Breakfasts will be some balancing act of fruits + almond butter, egg somethings, and fruit + Larabars. Lunches will be mason jar salads, most likely.

Meal plan: Week of 8/24/14 (First week of school!)


 

Chicken yakisoba

Chicken yakisoba

It’s the first week of school! The BK starts fourth grade and the LK starts kinder, so big big BIG changes are afoot! The LK has a new collection of sassy dresses with animal prints, the BK has … a bunch of new Magic the Gathering cards, so we’re ready to rock! 

These nuggets started school today.

These nuggets started school today.

I figure, new school year = new energy to blog my meal plans, especially since we’re embarking on a new extracurricular regimen (fall baseball! ukelele lessons! gymnastics! painting! etc.!). As ever, I’m looking for a good balance of nutrition (so, veggie-forward), at least one vegetarian meal a week, Weight Watchers friendly for me, and yet still appeals to the kids. As such, here we go: 

Sunday: mac + cheese + chicken nuggets + grapes for the kids (per their request), passed apps dinner at Jacoby’s for the parents (by the way, we really liked Jacoby’s and will definitely be back for dinner, if not brunch and lunch. Think Contigo with southern comfort foods like pimento cheese, coconut cake with marshmallowy 7-minute frosting, and your East Texas grandma’s hobnail glass collection)

Monday: chicken yakisoba

Tuesday: shrimp + black bean tostadas

Wednesday: baked spinach and cheese ravioli + salad

Thursday: beef + broccoli, rice

Friday: dinner at our last Express game of the season

Saturday: pizza, maybe? 

What’s on your meal plan for the week?

Meal plan: week of 5/11/14-5/17/14


 

soup

It’s bathing suit season, which means it’s zero-point veggie soup season. Because nothing inspires wolf whistles at the beach than a cabbage-bloated belly. Wooo-hooo!

Seriously, though, I’ve been back on Weight Watchers in earnest for about five months now and I’ve been on the threshold of my first goal (losing 5% of your starting weight) for weeks now. Lots of things derailed me — I didn’t track or exercise during SXSW, I had Foodways Texas, followed by the Austin Food & Wine Festival. I work out A LOT, but I’m also super sloppy in my tracking, going over my daily points allotment every day.

I’m really ready to get serious again with this partly because I’m paying to be a member every month, but also partly because this is the most progress I’ve made with weight loss since before I got married. (I lost 40 pounds back in 2003.) And it’s not so that I can look good in a bathing suit, but because I want to be healthy for a long, long time. I also am looking to clean up the family’s diet, especially because I’ve been letting too much sugary junk slip through the cracks and ends up sliding down my gullet. It’s better for the entire family’s health if I’m holding the line with healthy foods.

Along with having a vat of zero-point veggie soup on hand for afternoon snacks, I’m committed to weighing and measuring all of my portions and staying within my points target every day. No more borrowing from my slush fund of 49 weekly “extra” points, since I have no intentions of giving up my Saturday cheat day.

To that end, this week’s meal plan is carefully planned to speak to all of those concerns — cutting back on the sugar and junk, carefully measured on-plan portions, with a little wiggle room for wholesome treats.

Sunday: Build your own tostada night, with refried pinto beans, shredded chicken, cheese, veggies. The kids loved this.

Monday: Bacon and Shrimp Pasta Toss (10 points per serving); apple crisp for dessert

Tuesday: We’re going to a 6pm UT baseball game, so there will probably be sausage wraps or Frito pies or nachos or something (I’ll have a big helping of veggie soup during the LK’s dance class, which ends at 5:30)

Wednesday: Easy Crock Pot Chicken and Black Bean Taco Salad (7 points per serving)

Thursday: Edamame Salad with Crispy Steak Bits (7 points per serving)

Friday: Mom’s Spanish Chicken and Rice (9 points per serving)

Saturday: TBD. Not sure what we’ve got going on this weekend — maybe nothing, but that’s typically our dining out night.

What’s on your healthy eating plan for this week?