whole30 week 3

#whole30 week 3

Whole30 Week 3 – done!  It was hard, hard, HARD!  Definitely my most challenging week yet.

Rather than repeating myself every day I’m just going to write it here that snacks each day were (all, some, or none of) these things: apple with almond butter, fruit, smoothies (avocado + coconut milk + banana + blueberries + almond butter + spinach)

Also, I have to apologize because I did a terrible job taking pictures of my meals this week so it’s a pretty boring post.

Day 15 (Sunday)

breakfastSweet potato hash with two fried eggs, bone broth

lunch – Leftover chipotle chicken from our meal Saturday over extra sweet potato hash from breakfast and grapes.

dinner – Salad with chicken, hard boiled egg, sunflower seeds, and orange poppyseed dressing and berries.

thoughts – My milk seems to be back!  Yay!  Hudson nursed well at each feeding.

Hudson and I left after a quick lunch Sunday to go stay with my mom for part of the week.  She is thankfully 100% supportive and plans to make strictly Whole30 food while I’m there plus I brought some of my own stuff from home, but I know it will still be somewhat challenging since it’s not our normal routine or my own kitchen.

Day 16 (Monday)

breakfast – Sweet potato hash with fried eggs and bone broth

lunch – Leftover chipotle chicken over sweet potato hash and grapes.

dinner – Shrimp gumbo and berries.

I’ve never had gumbo before but Mom and I found some recipes that we were able to modify into a Whole30 compliant meal.  It was very good!

thoughts – Today I felt mad.  I was just mad that I couldn’t eat whatever I wanted.  Here I am staying with my mom and I can’t have any of my favorite comfort foods like chicken and dumplings or homemade milkshakes.  I sure hope this “Tiger Blood” I keep hearing about kicks in soon so I can quit craving things that I can’t have!

I haven’t done as well with my veggies yesterday or today so I need to try to increase those.

But on a positive note, my milk has been fine today.  Hudson nursed less than normal since he was so distracted playing and being in a different environment, but when he did nurse there was plenty of milk.  Looks like adding in the extra fat via smoothies is working so I will continue doing that!

Day 17 (Tuesday)

breakfast – same as previous days

lunch – Leftover chipotle chicken over leftover sweet potato hash and leftover gumbo.

dinner – Steak, roasted green beans, mashed potatoes, salad, and fruit.

Day 18 (Wednesday)

breakfast – same

lunch – Leftover steak, green beans, and gumbo

dinner – Fish (I don’t even know what kind, my mom cooked it), steamed broccoli, sweet potato hash, squash, and fruit.

thoughts – Reeses.  No bake chocolate oatmeal cookies.  Chocolate cake.  Cake batter ice cream.  THAT is what I really want.

Seriously.  I am SO over Whole30 right now.  I am tired tired tired of eggs, avocados, and sweet potatoes.  I want a yummy dessert.  I also feel like it isn’t working for me – I don’t feel any better or more energetic than I did before…in fact, I feel pretty much exactly the same.  I also don’t feel like I’ve lost a single pound.  My wedding ring (and not even my real wedding rings but my stand in ring until my real ones fit again) doesn’t feel the least bit looser than it did 18 days ago.  I so badly want to wear my real rings again!

Don’t worry, I am going to see these 30 days through.  Just 12 more days to go.  But I’m definitely feeling very discouraged and questioning whether or not it has been worth it.

Day 19 (Thursday)

breakfast – same, minus broth because I ran out

lunch – Leftover steak, squash, sweet potato hash, and an apple with almond butter.

dinner – Chicken breast and a hashbrown-type thing (basically the same recipe as the sweet potato hash but with white potatoes).

Dinner was a big fail.  Michael and I both got back from being out of town to nothing in our fridge and nothing planned so we had to throw something together.  The chicken was ok but the hashbrowns didn’t turn out good at all (plus if I can’t have ketchup on my hashbrowns then I just don’t want them…).

thoughts – Over.It.

I am so sick and tired of eating the same things over and over.  So boring.  I have to find some other things to add in if I’m going to finish out these 30 days!

Day 20 (Friday)

breakfast – Scrambled eggs with onions and kale, blackberries

#whole30 scrambled eggs and blackberries

lunchAvocado tuna with radishes and grapes

dinner – Vegetable soup and tangerines

I modified my usual vegetable soup recipe – took out the corn and peas and added in some okra instead.  Not the most exciting soup ever but it was pretty good.

thoughts – Being home made Whole30 much easier.  I wasn’t as angry about “having” to eat this way and my intense frustration and desire to quit have chilled out.  Also some friends talked me down from the ledge ;).  I also broke the Whole30 rules and weighed myself.  I had told myself that if I got on the scale and hadn’t lost any weight then I was just going to quit.  However, I have lost some (not tons, but some) so I’m going to keep going.

Day 21 (Saturday)

breakfast – Two fried eggs, blackberries, and broth

lunch – Avocado tuna with radishes and grapes

dinner – Vegetable soup, leftover tuna from lunch, grapes, and tangerine

thoughts – Today was a little hard.  We had our church ladies’ retreat this weekend and instead of getting to eat the yummy food they made I ate my own.  Friday night I ate supper before I went, Saturday morning I ate breakfast before I went (I drove back and forth Friday and Saturday instead of spending the night), I took my lunch with me, and then I left before supper so I could eat at home.  It wasn’t awful but I was kind of bummed to miss out on the meals.

I got tired of my smoothie so I didn’t eat one Thursday, Friday, or Saturday and I felt like my milk had dropped so I’ll start drinking those again.

Also….dare I say it?…I am very tentatively, fingers crossed, thinking that maybe, just maybe, my (stand in) wedding ring is feeling a teeny tiny bit loose.  I’m trying not to get too excited but I’m really hoping that’s the case.  I SO BADLY want to be able to wear my real wedding rings again!!

Thoughts for the week

Well as you can tell I really struggled this week.  Now that the end is in sight and I’ve already gotten past the events where I really missed getting to eat anything I wanted (staying with my mom and being on ladies retreat) I think I can make it for nine more days.  It may be a boring nine days (although I’m going to work on getting some more variety) but I can do it.  I’m not going to say that I’m enjoying it, and to be quite honest I pretty much hate it, but I’m going to see it through.

Whole 30 Week 2

#whole30 week 2 meal plan and thoughts

Week 2 of Whole30 – check!  I started out Week 2 with a meal plan like I had in Week 1 but we deviated from the plan a lot this week!  We still ate the same basic stuff but just switched up what nights we had them.

#whole30 meal plan week 2

(see my meals and recap of week 1 here)

I’m not listing my snacks each day because frankly I forget from day to day but also because it’s the same every day: apple with cashew or almond butter, tangerine, macadamia nuts, hard boiled egg (all or some of that list, depending on how hungry I am during that day).

Day 8 (Sunday)

breakfast – Oh man…today I had the best breakfast ever!  Sweet potato hash with fried eggs.  So, so good!  It was time consuming making the hash (Michael very sweetly cooked breakfast for me while I got ready for church) so not something I’ll do every day but maybe for a special weekend treat.  It was very filling too – I wasn’t able to eat it all!  I had some broth with my breakfast as well.

#whole30 fried eggs and sweet potato hash

lunch – We finished off the chili from last week with some kale chips and then I also ate my leftover eggs and hash from breakfast.

dinner – We cooked another chicken in the crock pot like last week and served it with sweet potato fries, roasted broccoli (minus the parmesan that recipe calls for), and some berries.

Day 9 (Monday)

breakfast – Sunday we tried another egg bake-casserole-dish-thing.  This time we made a southwest breakfast casserole.  I tried a bite on Sunday and thought it was going to be a winner but Monday when I had it for breakfast it just wasn’t love.  Hudson and Michael both loved it but I wasn’t a fan.  I’m beginning to think that breakfast casseroles like this are not for me (SUCH a bummer because they are super easy and convenient).  I had a cup of broth with my breakfast as well.

#whole30 southwest breafkast casserole

lunch – We had lots of leftover chicken from our meal Sunday night so I made a salad like the one I loved so much from last week (chicken, lettuce, avocado, cherry tomatoes, roasted pumpkin seeds, and orange poppyseed dressing).  I also had some grapes and leftover baked sweet potato.

dinner – We loved the spicy tuna cakes from last week so much that we made them again!  This time though instead of cooking them in a muffin tin we cooked them in a skillet and liked that much better (less clean up than a muffin tin!).  We also had kale chips and brussels sprouts for sides.

Day 10 (Tuesday)

breakfast – More of the southwest breakfast casserole and bone broth.

lunch – Same salad with grapes.

dinner – Michael cooked salmon (instructions here – we used ghee instead of butter) and it was delicious!  That was a winner!  For sides we had roasted green beans, mashed sweet potato, and strawberries.

#whole30 salmon#whole30 salmon and roasted green beans

This time we cooked some of the green beans separately for Hudson without the cayenne since they were too hot for him last time – he loved them and ate the whole plate!

Day 11 (Wednesday)

breakfast – Two fried eggs, some leftover zucchini, and bone broth.

lunch – Same salad with leftover mashed sweet potatoes.

For some reason this did not fill me up like it had the other days and I was hungry very shortly after.

dinner – A random smorgasboard of things.  We didn’t have time to cook before church and we had tons of leftovers so we ate those up.  We had leftover spicy tuna cakes as our “main” item and then had whatever leftover veggies were in the fridge.

Day 12 (Thursday)

breakfast – Two fried eggs, roasted potatoes (finally finished all of those up from last week!), and broth

lunch – Same salad with some grapes and leftover roasted green beans.

dinnerShepherd’s pie and strawberries.  This was the first time either of us had ever had any form of shepherd’s pie and it did not disappoint!  I thought it was a little bland so I added some hot sauce to mine to spice it up but overall it was very good!  Hudson must have thought so too because he ate an adult sized portion!

#whole30 shepherds pie

Day 13 (Friday)

breakfast – Two fried eggs, mashed sweet potatoes, broth

lunch – Leftover shepherd’s pie

dinner – Shrimp stir fry (shrimp, bell peppers, and broccoli plus some seasonings that Michael put in but I’m not sure what they were), crash potatoes, and fruit.  Definitely a winning meal!   We all loved the stir fry and the potatoes – Michael liked his crash potatoes with rosemary, I put chili powder on mine, and Hudson’s just had salt and pepper.

#whole30 shrimp stir fry and crash potatoes

snacks – apple with almond butter, smoothie

thoughts – Today I was done, done, done.  I wanted to throw in the towel and eat a big, gooey brownie.  Part of that was because I was just tired of eating this way and craving sweets and part of it is because my milk has been consistently very low for about a week.  That wouldn’t be such a big deal if Hudson were ok with it and using that as an opportunity to wean but instead he just cries and signs for milk all the time and it’s quite stressful.

Before I quit Whole30 due to the milk thing I’m trying really hard to get it back up and just eating lots of calories (let’s be honest, eating tons of veggies does not result in many calories).  Smoothies are technically a no-no but it was the best way I could think of get a bunch of fat and calories so I made a coconut milk/avocado/blueberry/banana/almond butter smoothie.  It was better than I expected – not great, but edible.  Not perfectly Whole30 but if it comes down to that or a brownie I guess I made the better choice.

Day 14 (Saturday)

breakfast – We had the delicious sweet potato hash with fried eggs again and broth

lunch – I had not finished my breakfast so I ate the rest of that for lunch and then also some leftover shepherd’s pie.  We had a bunch of fruit left over from the oils class I taught that morning so we ate some of that too.

dinnerChipotle chicken sweet potato skins, avocado, and grapes.  This was good but H.O.T.   Oh my stars.  We couldn’t find chipotle peppers so we used the chipotle spice we found on the baking aisle and my oh my was it hot!  I love hot food but even this was a bit too much for me!  It was a delicious meal though, so next time we’ll just make sure to use less seasoning.

thoughts – I had another hard day today.  I taught an essential oils class at my house and made a coffee cake for it that and did not take a single bite!  I was proud of that but it was also a total bummer to bake a cake and not get to eat any of it!  I couldn’t even try it to make sure it tasted ok!  I’m hoping that I’ll get over this hump soon because I am for sure getting bored and missing lots of my yummy foods.

Thoughts for the week:  Well Week 2 was definitely harder than Week 1.  The “new” has worn off and the repetition of eggs, avocados, and potatoes is getting old.  I used up most of my “oh man that looks awesome!” meals from Pinterest last week so this week I was struggling to find things that looked appealing.

Next week I am going to work really hard at finding some new dishes to try so that I’m not bored and try to eat more good fats to get my milk back up

Whole30 Week 1 {meal plan, recipes, and thoughts}

#whole30 week one meal plan

Whole30 week 1 is done-o and I survived!  Hooray!  Here’s what I ate, what we liked (and didn’t like), and thoughts about each day.

I’m not sure how well you can read this, but this was my meal plan for the week.  I don’t usually plan our meals this much in detail, but since this diet is so strict I wanted to make sure that I planned out everything and actually over planned as far as how much food we would need.  Of course this ended up getting changed some during the week as we discovered foods we didn’t like or I realized a meal made more or less than I expected.

#whole30 week 1 meal plan

Look how full that fridge is!  Mercy.  I went on a huge shopping trip Saturday to get everything on my insanely long list.  #whole30 groceries

And of course I had to enjoy one last Dr Pepper and Reeses before starting!

Photo Feb 28, 11 38 35 AM

Alright, here we go!

Day 1 (Sunday)

breakfast – Saturday night I fixed baked eggs with spinach, tomato, and onion and then warmed it up for breakfast Sunday.  I was not impressed.  For one, I don’t like cooked tomatoes (I just thought I’d give them a try again) and also the consistency was too wet.  I also had roasted potatoes with rosemary.

#whole30 breakfast of tomato onion spinach egg bake and roasted potatoes

I knew I didn’t eat enough, especially since I didn’t eat very much of the frittata, so I wasn’t surprised that I was very hungry by the time church was over.

lunch – After church we fixed tuna with avocado and some kale chips.  The tuna was delicious!  Michael tried mine and liked it so much that he wanted me to fix him some which was so surprising to me.   Hudson loved it too and gobbled it up.  I felt like we ate a bunch but I was hungry pretty soon after so it wasn’t filling enough.

#whole30 lunch avocado tuna, cucumbers, and kale chips

snack – For snack I tried this broccoli/carrot/avocado/grape/pumpkin seed salad and a boiled egg.  The salad was so-so.  Not the best thing that I’d ever made but not the worst.  It made a TON so I had a bunch of leftovers…which is too bad because I didn’t like it that much.

Still hungry a little while later so I ate half an apple with almond butter (not as good as my beloved peanut butter but it’ll do)

dinner – My favorite meal of the day!  And I finally got full!  We cooked a chicken in the crock pot and had sweet potato fries and roasted green beans.  The chicken and sweet potato fries were recipes that we know and love so it was nice to have some “comfort food”.  The green bean recipe was new and it was delicious!  I loved it.  They were way too spicy for Hudson though so just fyi if you’re making them for your kids.

#whole30 dinner chicken, roasted green beans, sweet potato fries, strawberries

thoughts – Day 1 was a struggle for sure!  Hunger and headaches were the theme of the day.  I felt hungry pretty most all day until supper.  I think like I ate enough for three people at supper to finally get full!  Right before we left for church Sunday evening I got a raging headache that lasted until we went to bed.  I very rarely get headaches so that was unusual.  I’m guessing it was from a lack of sugar.

Day 2 (Monday)

breakfast – I tried chopping up the frittata from Sunday and putting it back in the oven to see if that would dry up the mushy texture a bit.  It didn’t.  I also forgot to roast a potato the night before so I fixed one really quick…too quick because the pieces didn’t get cooked all the way through.  I ended up giving Hudson almost all of my eggs and just eating the raw-ish potatoes and some bone broth that we made after we cooked chicken last night.

(bone broth = spicy broth made from the bones of the chicken from the previous night’s meal.  It’s supposed to be super good for you and it’s delicious.  Recipe here)

Breakfast fail.

#whole 30 breakfast of spinach onion tomato egg bake, roasted potatoes, and bone broth

lunch – Lunch was almost a fail too.  I had planned for us to eat sweet potato fries…I hadn’t planned on us eating so many the night before that there were very few leftovers. Then I planned to bake a sweet potato in the oven but I forgot to put it in before lunch.   So I decided just to throw a sweet potato in the microwave.

Our microwave has an automatic potato sensor thingy but we never use it and as I’m merrily fixing my salad and the potato is smelling very strong I think that maybe it’s been in there a little too long.  I look and it says it still has 10 minutes left but when I open the microwave smoke comes billowing out!  I had to open the doors and windows and turn on the fan (luckily it was on the upper end of freezing outside instead of the single digits!).  The potato was dry and felt petrified.

(Update: on Saturday our microwave still smells like burnt potato…oh my!)

However, the rest of lunch was amazing!  I made orange poppyseed dressing (waaaayyyy better than the boring olive oil and vinegar homemade dressing I’ve made in the past when trying to avoid store bought dressing) and used the leftover chicken, lettuce, radishes, and cherry tomatoes to make a big salad.  We ate what was left of the sweet potato fries and had some macadamia nuts on the side.

#whole30 lunch chicken avocado salad with orange poppyseed dressing

snack – Another round of the broccoli/carrot/apple salad, which held up surprisingly well, although I liked it less on day 2 than I did day 1.

dinner – I made “the bomb chili” in the crock pot along with roasted brussels sprouts.  Other than forgetting to thaw out the ground beef and having to cook forever to get the frozen meat browned, this was an easy and delicious dish!  There are tons of veggies in it but you don’t notice them (at least, I didn’t) so it’s a good way to get extra vegetables in.  It’s very different from my normal chili recipe and the consistency is much thicker, more like sloppy joes.  But it was still good, although Michael didn’t like it as much as I did.  Hudson loved it!

I cooked the brussels the same way I do our roasted broccoli, minus the parmesan, and they turned out great!  I’ve always been afraid of brussels sprouts but not anymore.

#whole30 dinner the bomb chili, brussel sprouts, strawberries

snack – I felt hungry before bed so I had an apple with almond butter.

#whole30 snack apple with almond butter

thoughts – I woke up with super puffy eyes.  That only happens if I have a big cry the day before but I hadn’t so I really have no idea why that happened.  I’m not sure if was related to Whole30 or just a weird coincidence but it was very strange.  My hands also felt swollen which happens after I eat a ton of salt (like tortilla chips) but again, I didn’t do that the day before so who knows.

I’ve upped my water and can definitely tell since I have to go to the bathroom more frequently!  Today I had a very mild headache in the afternoon but nothing like the one Sunday.  My milk supply seems to be fine; in fact, I felt like I had more milk than usual this morning when we woke up.

I have been very impressed and surprised with how well Hudson has done with our meals.  I have given him everything we eat and he has eaten great (better than me at times)!  He loved the mushy tomato eggs, gobbled up tuna (which had raw onion), ate radishes and chili and broccoli salad.  The only things he has really rejected were the roasted white potatoes, brussels sprouts, lettuce, strawberries, and the roasted green beans (I made them too spicy…you should have seen his poor face when he ate them – I felt terrible!)

Photo Mar 01, 12 39 41 PM

Day 3 (Tuesday)

breakfast – After the tomato spinach frittata was a bust I decided to try another frittata recipe.  This one was asparagus, spinach, and mushroom.  The only problem?  I hate mushrooms.  The consistency was so much better with this recipe but the mushroom taste was so strong and in every bite that I just couldn’t eat it.  I will be reusing this basic recipe but leaving out the mushrooms.

So again I mostly just had my potatoes and broth for breakfast.  Time to find another egg option that I actually like.

#whole30 breakfast spinach mushroom asparagus fritatta with roasted potatoes and bone broth

lunch – Leftover chili with avocado, some veggies (honestly can’t remember now), and some macadamia nuts.

dinnerBuffalo ranch chicken stuffed peppers (using the leftover chicken from the crock pot chicken) and roasted cauliflower.   I didn’t not care for the stuffed peppers but the cauliflower was delicious!  So, so good!  I’m usually just meh about cauliflower but this recipe was fantastic.

And now I’m sad that I used up the chicken for this meal and can’t have any more yummy salad right now.  Sniff.

snacks – apple with almond butter, tangerine, boiled egg

thoughts – I think it’s good to experiment with new foods or even to try things that you haven’t liked in the past, but when you’re trying to stick to a strict diet it might not be the best time to try those foods that you hate and hope that you magically like them…chances are you won’t and now you’re stuck with an inedible meal (and you can just pull out the Frosted Flakes and eat a bowl real quick since you didn’t like what you fixed!).

Also, today I woke up with a sore throat.  It went away after a few hours but I can’t help wonder if it was a coincidence or maybe related to detoxing from Whole30?

Day 4 (Wednesday)

breakfast – Ok no more eggs with yucky ingredients for me!  I abandoned the frittatas and scrambled eggs with onion, green pepper, and spinach.  Finally an edible breakfast!  I also had roasted potatoes and broth.

#whole30 breakfast scrambled eggs with peppers onions and spinach and bone broth

lunch – Leftover stuffed pepper and same salad as Monday (minus the chicken)

dinner – Baked sweet potato, boiled egg, berries, leftover roasted cauliflower

snack – apple with almond butter

I ate a whole apple this time (usually I just do half) and quite a bit more almond butter because I felt like my milk was dropping some so I was trying to increase my calories, fat, and carbs a bit.

thoughts – This was the first day that I didn’t feel crazy hungry all day…I’m sure eating a good, filling breakfast probably played a big part in that!  Still having a headache, mostly in the afternoon and evening.

This was also my first Whole30 “challenge”.  We had to go to church early to help serve the meal for the college kids and normally I would eat there, but not while on Whole30.  So before we left I ate my apple with almond butter snack, I didn’t eat anything while we were there, and then after church I ate another snack-y supper.

Day 5 (Thursday)

breakfast – Same thing as Wednesday

lunch – A serious snow day calls for some comfort food!  Leftover chili, avocado, kale chips, and berries

#whole30 lunch chili with avocado, kale chips, and berries

dinner – Green chili chicken with cumin roasted carrots, baked sweet potato, and berries.

The chicken was good.  Not like the best thing I had ever eaten, but still good.  I did not like the flavor of the carrots but Michael and Hudson both loved them.

snack – apple with almond butter, tangerine

thoughts – The first day without a headache!  Hooray!

Day 6 (Friday)

breakfast – Decided to fry my eggs this morning so I had two fried eggs, roasted potatoes, bell pepper strips, and broth.

#whole30 breakfast fried eggs with roasted potatos, bell pepper strips, and broth

lunch – We had a random assortment of leftovers.  I had leftover green chili chicken with avocado, some berries, and kale chips.  Hudson had (and thoroughly enjoyed) leftover buffalo chicken and avocado.  Wow that was a mess!

Photo Mar 06, 2 05 26 PM

dinnerSpicy tuna cakes with roasted asparagus and berries (strawberries and blackberries).  The tuna cakes were delicious!  Sweet yet spicy and so good!  We all loved them and are going to have them again next week.  So yum.

snacks – apple with almond butter, tangerine

thoughts – I don’t feel horrible anymore and I’m not having to spend as much time in the kitchen as I expected…things are looking up!

Day 7 (Saturday)

breakfast – Two fried eggs, some bell pepper strips, roasted potatoes, and broth.  Good and filling, although I’ve just about had all the roasted potatoes I can handle so it’s time to change it up a bit for next week!

lunch – Avocado tuna with cucumbers and baked sweet potatoes

dinner – We tried cinnamon orange shrimp and it was fantastic!  Too spicy for Hudson though so next time I’ll cook him some separately.  We also had zucchini, roasted butternut squash, and berries.

snack – Apple with cashew butter (this was my first time trying cashew butter and I didn’t like it); tangerine and some macadamia nuts

thoughts – I woke up slightly stopped up and feel like I’ve got a bit of a cold coming on.  Sore throat a few days ago and then this…more coincidences or is detoxing my body causing some dormant sickness to spring up or weakening my immune system so that I’m catching stuff? (…who knows, I totally made those things up so that might not even be legit).

I also noticed that I’m not getting nearly as hungry between meals and not feeling like I have to eat as much at each meal.  The first few days I was starving but now I feel pretty satisfied throughout the day.

I did get pretty mad (at no on in particular, just in general) Saturday night as I was getting ready to make a new breakfast dish for Sunday morning that I had to cook yet another meal and wash more dishes.  I felt exhausted (I’m sure the minor sickness wasn’t helping) and like I really just wanted a break from fixing food! (totally opposite of how I was feeling Friday funnily enough).

Thoughts for the week:

Well I tried some new foods and recipes that were a big, fat bust, but I also tried some new ones that were huge winners!  The most exciting thing is that I survived my first week!  Once I got past the first few days and my headaches and the hunger subsided it got a whole lot easier.  Actually I was surprised, compared to dieting in the past, as to how few cravings I had for sugary things.  Usually I really struggle with that for a few days.

I do feel like my milk has dropped some, especially in the afternoon, but since Hudson is 13 months and eating good meals I’m not as concerned about it.  I am trying to boost it a bit but it’s not a huge problem that makes me feel like I need to quit Whole30 at this point.

Notes: This meal plan is probably far from perfect.  Because I am still breastfeeding I have been more lax about having snacks (Whole30 recommends no snacking), eating fruit (I think you’re supposed to just eat 1-2 servings a day and I’ve been doing 2-3), and also eating potatoes multiple times a day.  So just fyi if you’re planning to do Whole30 definitely read the book or read the guidelines to make sure you are doing it correctly.

But for the most part when I’m planning my meals I start with my protein, add at least 2 veggies, make sure to have some healthy fats, and then maybe some fruit on the side.

I have linked to all the recipes from this week but if you’re more visual or want to see all the recipes I’ve collected, check out my Whole30 board on Pinterest.

(oh and in case you care our dishes are Corelle’s South Beach pattern)

I’ve got another week of meals planned and the groceries are purchased so here we go sailing into week 2!

whole30 here we go

I’m taking us on a new journey, dear readers.  A journey through my Whole30 challenge.  If you follow my Facebook page then you’ve seen my #whole30 posts recently and maybe you were curious (or maybe you don’t give a rip but too bad ’cause I’m going to tell you anyway).

I’m not going to go on and on trying to explain the program.  You can check out the official Whole30 website or Google (or search Pinterest) and you’ll find tons of info.  Also, It Starts With Food is the book that goes along with Whole30 and would be a good thing to read if you’re seriously considering.

it starts with food #whole30

Basically it comes down to this:  for 30 days (starting Sunday, March 1) I’ll be eating meat, seafood, eggs, veggies, fruit, and healthy fats.  And that’s about it.  No dairy.  No grains.  No beans.  No peanut butter (!!) (because peanuts are technically legumes).  No processed foods.  And definitely no added sugar.  It’s like Paleo but stricter.

(see the Whole30 rules here)

Why?  WHY? Why would you want to do that?

Several reasons, really.

At first it was just because I wanted to lose weight.  I’ve really struggled since Hudson was born and after researching Whole30 it sounded like something that could help but not drop my milk supply as long as I make sure to eat enough.  “Traditional” dieting has not worked for me while nursing (contrary to the common idea that breastfeeding makes the weight just fall off).  If you’ve been around a while you know about my weight loss journey in college so I know *how* to lose weight, I just can’t use my old techniques while nursing.

But as I researched I realized I want to do this for so much more.  Hudson doesn’t eat nearly as healthy as I’d like since he eats what we eat and that isn’t very many vegetables these days.  I’m also hoping it’ll help with other things too such as changing my mindset about food, fixing digestion issues, and re-training my body to enjoy real food over processed.

So are you never eating cheese or bread again?

No.  I mean yes.  I mean…I do plan to introduce those foods back into my diet.  I do not feel like Whole30 is a long term way that I’d like to eat.

Part of the thing with Whole30 is that after you finish your 30 days (or longer if you want to keep going longer) you start slowly adding in the foods that could be trigger foods for health issues (gluten, soy, dairy, etc.).  You see how that makes you feel and evaluate whether you think you should eat them or not (read It Starts With Food if you want to know more specifically why they don’t want you to eat those foods).  I personally don’t feel like any of those foods are big issues for me but I want to try going without them just to see (what if they *do* make me feel bad and I’m so used to it that I don’t realize?).  But unless I find that I really need to avoid one of those foods then yes, I will add them back in.

My plan after Whole30 is to go back to eating the way we did during our 100 days of real food challenge – lots of whole, real, minimally-processed foods (including dairy, grains, and beans).

Why am I telling you this?

I fully intended not to say anything because what if I fail?  I was just planning to pop on here in a month and be all “let me tell you about this great lifestyle change I made this month – I’m so much healthier and I lost weight and it’s great!”  Unless it didn’t make a difference and then I wouldn’t say anything.  But then I realized that I’d rather share my journey with you and have that accountability so here I am.

It’s going to be hard.  I don’t eat a lot of meat and I don’t eat a lot of vegetables so it will be a challenge for those to make up the majority of my diet.  But is it impossible?  No.

My meal plan is made.  My grocery list is made.  I’m going shopping this afternoon.  I’ll start prepping what I can this evening.  I’m celebrating my birthday with family tomorrow and will probably overindulge on junk.  And then Sunday it begins.

whole30 meal plan

So here we go.  30 days.  No cheats.  No junk.

Who wants to join me?  We can do this together!

chunk-less salsa {Works for Me Wednesday}

I had such a DUH moment last week…a “this is so obvious that I can’t believe it took me 26 years to think of this!” moment.  I almost feel ridiculous sharing this with you since it is so simple, but just in case it might help someone else out, I want to share :).

I love salsa, but I do not like chunky salsa.  I like the taste but not the texture – huge hunks of tomatoes are yucky.  I much prefer the salsa you get at Mexican restaurants to the salsa that comes in jars from the grocery because restaurant salsa is much smoother.  When I buy salsa from the grocery I end up being so wasteful because I dip my chip in, shake off the chunks, and then just eat the juice-flavored chip.  I basically eat on my salsa until I’ve used up all the juice and then throw the chunks away (or pass them off to Michael or my mom who are nice enough to eat my leftovers).

salsa 1

Last week I had a hankering for some salsa, so I grabbed a jar at the grocery.  As usual, I started eating it while avoiding the chunks.

Then I had an epiphany in the form of my food processor.

salsa 2

I could just throw that salsa in the food processor (or blend it) and make the chunks whatever size I want…Duh!

salsa 3

Look at that nice, smooth salsa!

salsa 4

I have eaten the whole jar with no waste!  Food I enjoy more + reducing waste = a win in my book!

Blending my salsa so it’s the consistency I prefer works for me!

Linking up to Works for Me Wednesday.

how to eat real food on a budget {Works for Me Wednesday}

10 tips for eating real food on a budget

A year ago, Michael and I were gearing up to start our 100 days of real food challenge, where we would eat nothing but real, local, organic food for the next 100 days.  I had actually spent a couple of months thinking, researching, and reading Lisa’s blog before we took the plunge.  We successfully completed that challenge (you can read about it here: week 1, week 2, week 3, and our results) and have since then stuck to the basic real-food principles.

Here we are a year later, and I can say that we have completely changed the way we eat.  Yes, we still eat non-real foods (usually just the occasional dessert or eating out), but 80-90% of what we eat is good, whole, healthy, and natural.

If you’ve considered trying to eat more natural, now is the time to do it!  The farmers markets are opening back up, you still have time to plant a garden, and you’ll have tons of variety in the summer.

One of the biggest hurdles I hear people talk about is the cost.  I’ve heard many people say that they’d like to eat more natural and organic, but that it is way too expensive.  Yes, it can be more expensive but it doesn’t have to break the bank.  Personally, I think that we put so much money into gyms and insurance and doctors, and not nearly enough on eating nourishing food.

Now don’t get me wrong, I realize there are many family who have a very small grocery budget and absolutely have no wiggle room.  I’m not trying to make those people feel bad.  But if you do have some extra money (or could cut back elsewhere) and focus more on the food you buy, I highly suggest giving it a try.

Anyway, here are some tips I’ve found for eating healthy without spending a fortune

  • Grow a garden – You’ll have the start-up cost (plants or seeds, dirt, water, wood if you decide to do raised beds, etc.), but once you’ve paid that then you get virtually free veggies with the bonus of knowing exactly where they came from.  Even if you don’t want to grow a full-on garden, you could do a small container garden like we did last year when we lived in our apartment.  Even if you just grow some herbs, you’ve saved quite a bit of money there – fresh herbs at the grocery are outrageous!  You could also choose one or two items that you know you eat a ton of, and just plant those so you don’t have to keep buying them week after week.

container herb garden

  • Shop at the farmers market…but also compare prices with the grocery – I really do prefer to buy food from the famers market.  Our farmers market only allows people who grow organically, plus I like knowing where my food comes from and supporting local farmers.  Also, you can often find great prices on items at the farmers market.  That being said, sometimes there are things at the farmers market I just can’t bring myself to pay for.  For example, at the farmers market potatoes may be $3.50 per pound and I need 2 and 1/2 pounds for my potato soup.  However, I can get a 3 pound bag of organic potatoes at Kroger for just a little over $2.00.  In that instance, I choose to buy the Kroger potatoes.  That’s just my personal preference.

farmers market

  • Ask about “seconds” at the farmers market – A friend of mine who sells at the farmers market gave me this tip when she learned I was planning to can tomatoes.  I was able to buy a huge box of tomatoes for about $10.00 (way, way less than the usual price of tomatoes per pound) because they were “seconds” – not very attractive, and some with bad spots.  But since I was using them to make sauce or to can, I didn’t care about how they looked and just cut out the bad parts.  This saved me a ton of money.  It might be worth asking about to see if anyone at your farmers market does the same thing.

canning tomatoes

  • Use coupons where you can – You will rarely get coupons for produce.  Kroger occasionally gives a $5.00 off your total order coupon or a $1.00 off $6.00 of organic produce, but other than that I can rarely use coupons on the food we buy at Kroger (and of course, not when we buy at the farmers market).  However, I can still try to use coupons and shop sales for our paper goods and toiletries, then use the money I saved from that to buy more expensive organic food.
  • Learn the “dirty dozen” – If you can’t afford to but all organic, try to figure out what foods are most likely to contain pesticides (and thus, the ones you are going to definitely want to buy organic) and which ones aren’t so bad (and you could just buy the conventional ones).  I’ve seen lists of the “dirty dozen” all over Pinterest; the 12 items you should definitely buy organic and the 12 items that aren’t so critical.

fresh fruit

  • Eat less meat – Meat is expensive.  Organic, local meat is really expensive.  Try eating a few meatless meals a week or reducing the amount of meat you use in your recipes to save a little money.  Some of our favorite meatless meals are homemade refried beans with homemade tortillas, potato soup, pancakes, and pizza.

homemade pizza

  • Stretch the meat that you do use – Gone are the days of buying boneless, skinless chicken breast and canned chicken broth.  Now we buy a whole chicken at the farmers market, which is quite expensive at about $17.00 per chicken, but we stretch it farther.  We cook the whole thing in our crock pot and then pick as much of the meat as we can off the bones.  We usually have one meal with the chicken as our main dish, and then use the rest of the meat that we de-bone either for sandwiches (Michael likes chicken sandwiches for lunch) or in another dish (like chicken and dumplings, cheesy chicken and rice, chicken quesadillas, or white chili).  After we de-bone the chicken, we throw the bones and skin back into the crockpot overnight and make chicken stock.  It is easy peasy, makes 10-12 cups, and is way better than the store-bought, watered down stuff.  I use it in soups and such, and if I’m not going to use it right away I freeze it in ice cube trays for later.

whole chicken in a crock pot

  • Preserve food while it is in season – Not only is eating in season food much better for you, it is also usually cheaper.  Freeze or can extra in the summer to eat on all winter so you can have the most nutritious produce and save some money.  We were brand new to canning last summer, but we gave it a try, canned quite a bit of food (more than we needed…it’s almost summer again and we still have a lot left!), and so far have been pleased with the results.  We also froze some stuff (not much since we had very little freezer space at the time) and intend to freeze even more this year.

canned vegetables

  • Trade with a friend or see if they have extras they want to get rid of – If you have an abundance of tomatoes and your friend has way too much squash, maybe you could trade.  Or if you’re really lucky, someone might be bursting at the seams with food and just wanting to give it away so it doesn’t spoil.  We were very fortunate that for a while I worked with a professor whose chickens laid way more eggs than she could eat and she gave me free, fresh eggs nearly every week.  My in-laws had an abundance of apples on their apple trees this year that they gave us and I turned into homemade apple butter.
  • Reduce waste – Letting food go bad and having to throw it away is just throwing money in the trash.  Try to be mindful of what is about to go bad and eat it before it does.  An Eat First box is a good way to do this.  Or try to salvage things that have started to go bad (use wilted spinach in a green smoothie, freeze too-brown bananas to use later in banana bread of banana pancakes).

green smoothie

How do you eat healthy without breaking the bank?

(Other resources you might like: eating real food while travelling and the busy girls guide to eating real food)

Linking up to Works for Me Wednesday

A Monsters, Inc. birthday party

You remember our friends the Gaines’?  The ones we’ve adopted as our Bowling Green family?  The ones who are moving to Africa in October (*sniff*)?  Well they recently had a fun Monster’s Inc. party for Abby’s 11th and Josiah’s 2nd birthdays.monsters inc birthday 3Tiffany had decorated super cute with all this purple, green, and teal.  I have to confess that it has been many, many years since I’ve actually watched Monsters, Inc. but I vaguely remember something about doors…or maybe I’m just gathering that tidbit from all the doors Tiffany used for decorations.

monsters inc birthday 10I was excited to contribute the cake…Sully on the bottom layer and Mike on the top (copied from here).  Compared to Nora’s Wizard of Oz cake, this one was a breeze!  It turned out cute (at least, I think so).

monsters inc birthday 4I just hope it didn’t hurt Mike’s eyeball when they stuck those candles in there…

monsters inc birthday 15The birthday girl approved

monsters inc birthday 16And so did the birthday boy

monsters inc birthday 12And Levi just tried to grab everyone else’s food…I think he was jealous

monsters inc birthday 13I love this sweet boy

monsters inc birthday 14Even when he eats my Monsters, Inc. security badge

monsters inc birthday 11Jojo-bear

monsters inc birthday 1Little monster…this is one hilarious kid

monsters inc birthday 7He got this car racer thing and played with it forever.

monsters inc birthday 5Clearly I’m way out of touch with pre-teens and Disney channel – Abby got tickets to R5 and she was super excited (apparently R5 is a band from the Disney show Austin & Ally…yeah, I didn’t know that either – don’t feel bad).

monsters inc birthday 6Levi was clearly unimpressed by the present-opening

monsters inc birthday 9So he took a little nap :)  Presh.

monsters inc birthday 17Abby wanted us to play a little family game of basketball

monsters inc birthday 2But I’m pretty much the most un-athletic person on the planet so I chose to stay on the sidelines.

Observation #1 about that picture: Look at the four of us with our arms crossed…we look so judge-y.

Observation #2:  I promise I am working on my New Years goal of improving my posture…but clearly this moment was not one of those times

Michael and meI adore this picture that Tiffany took.  I didn’t even realize she was taking it but it’s now one of my favorite pictures of us.

In other news…who’s thankful for Facebook and multiple cameras?  There were no less than 5 cameras snapping away at the party and then we could just snatch each others pictures from Facebook.  Yay technology and yay for way better angles and shots than I would have ever had to show you :).



pot roast so easy a caveman could make it

I’m not really sure why, but pot roast was one of those meals that I was really intimidated by.  It seemed like it would be super hard to make and I avoided it for years…little did I know that it is literally one of the easiest and quickest meals I have in my repertoire.  Lucky for you, I’m going to share my recipe so you too can make this delicious dish.

Forewarning, if you desperately cling to precise recipes then this recipe might be a bit vague for you.  But I promise, it’s hard to mess this one up, so try to give it a chance.

Also, if you have an aversion to raw meat, you might want to skip over the next few pictures…

pot roast ingredientsWhat you’ll need: rump roast, onion, carrots, potatoes, and rosemary (not pictured: salt and pepper)

pot roast onionschop the onion in large chunks, layer in the bottom of the crockpot

pot roast carrotspeel and chop the carrots and add to the crockpot

pot roast potatoesthen chop and add the potatoes (I leave the peel on)

pot roasthave your wonderful husband brown the roast put on your big girl pants and brown the outside of the roast

browning pot roastyou don’t have to brown it long, just a few seconds on each side until it looks like this

rosemary pot roastplace the browned roast on top of the vegetables, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary

crock pot roastadd a little bit of water to the bottom of the crock pot

crock potcook on low for 6 hours

cooking pot roastprepare for a party in your mouth

This is so easy to throw in the crock pot and then have a whole meal – meat and veggies – ready in just a few hours.  It’s a perfect meal when you’re having guests over.  The vegetables absorb the flavor from the meat and become so much better than plain veggies.  In fact, I don’t like carrots, raw or cooked, and yet I’ll eat tons of them cooked like this with pot roast.

This is a very flexible recipe and can be adapted based on what you like and have on hand, but here’s a general guideline.



  • 3 lb roast (I like rump roast)
  • half an onion, chopped in large chunks
  • 2-3 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 pounds of potatoes, chopped, peel left on
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt, pepper, and rosemary (I try to use fresh, but dried is fine too) to taste


Put the chopped onions, carrots, and potatoes in the bottom of a large crock pot (mine is 6 quarts).  Brown each side of the roast over medium heat for a few seconds.  Browning the roast makes it look nicer in the end and helps seals in the juices.  Sprinkle salt, pepper, and rosemary over top of the roast and veggies.  Pour 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the crock pot (this may not be necessary since the roast will make plenty of juices and moisture itself, I just like to make sure there is a little liquid in the bottom to start).  Cook on low for 6 hours.


South Beach Phase 1 – Real Food Edition


If you’ve read my blog for a hot minute you know I’m pretty health conscious (although I do love the occasional sweets!).  Longtime readers may remember that I used the South Beach Diet back in college to lose 50 pounds and jump start my healthy lifestyle, and that I’ve basically followed those SB principles for the past six years.  If you’ve been around in the last six months, you know that we took our healthy lifestyle one step further and started eating a real food diet – natural, local, organic, minimally-processed food only.

Over Christmas I indulged more than I should a tiny bit and so decided to do two weeks of Phase 1 at the beginning of the year to get over the sugar cravings and get back on track.  However, this was the first time that I’d done South Beach since we started eating real food this past summer.  Although many of the principles are the same, there were some things that I ate on Phase 1 in the past that are not “real” and I didn’t want to eat this time around.  So I went about trying to combine the two into a plan that meets both South Beach and real food.

Since some of the most popular search terms that brings people to this blog are related to South Beach, I think it’s a pretty safe guess that people are searching for information about South Beach.  I like to share what I’ve learned.

Now, if you’re the type that wants to follow Phase 1 to the letter exactly as the book states, then this post is not for you.  And if you’re a real food enthusiast that scoffs at cutting out carbs or restricting fruit, this post is not for you either.  But if you’re wanting to give South Beach a try while also eating a real food type diet, then this post IS for you.

Carrying on.

I knew going in to it that one of the hardest things would be my sweet treats.  My biggest purpose for doing Phase 1 was to clean my system of sugar.  In the past, I would eat lots of sugar free treats (no sugar added fudgesicles, no sugar added mochas or hot chocolate, coffee with Splenda, etc.) but eating real food means not eating fake sugar substitutes, which rules out all those options.  And South Beach restricts all sugar in Phase 1, so that ruled out honey or pure maple syrup that I’d used to sweeten things while eating real food. Yikes…what’s a sweets-loving girl to do?

Eat peanut butter, that’s what.  Seriously, I couldn’t think of a better option so I just used peanut butter as my “dessert”.  Since I couldn’t have fruit either, and that’s my preferred method of eating peanut butter (I’ve tried it on celery but I just don’t like it!), I mostly would just eat a spoonful or two as my treat.

Something else I anticipated being a challenge was what I could dip veggies in.  In the past I’d eat tons of raw veggies with Ranch dressing on Phase 1.  But since pre-packaged ranch isn’t an option anymore, I was a little stumped.  One choice was to use homemade ranch, which I’ve made and used in the past.  It doesn’t taste quite the same, but it’s still pretty good.  I also found a hummus recipe (tutorial coming soon!) that I love, so I made a ton of that and ate it with my vegetables.

Another big difference was with my dairy products.  South Beach doesn’t advocate for low fat products except for dairy (milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt), but with our real foods switch we’ve decided to eat whole fat dairy products.  So when I did Phase 1 this time, I still drank whole milk, ate full-fat sour cream, and ate full-fat cheese.  Same thing with bacon – South Beach suggests turkey bacon, but that’s not a real food so I’ve been eating regular pork bacon.

Enough rambling.  I’ve already posted a fairly comprehensive list of ideas for Phase 1 foods here so I’m not going to re-post that all here.  Most of the items on that list (minus the sweet treats) are easily adapted to be made into real foods so check it out and change it to what works for you.  But just so you can get an idea, here are some examples of what I ate on Phase 1 while still sticking to my real food principles.

Breakfast: I’m boring with breakfast – the same thing every day.  I also don’t want a huge breakfast, just enough to hold me for a few hours.  I mostly ate a fried egg (organic, local), a piece of pork bacon (organic, local), and a cup of organic whole milk (from a local dairy).  Quiche cups would also be a good options (using regular bacon).

Lunch: Soups, soups, soups!  Most lunches were salad (organic lettuce from a local farm), homemade dressing, some cheese (local), and soup (chili, split pea soup, white chili…all adapted to be more “real” by using dried beans instead of canned, homemade chicken broth instead of canned, and local organic meat).

Snacks: roasted chick peas, hummus (recipe coming soon!) and veggies, Mexican pecans, peanut butter, plain nuts.

Supper: More soups, taco salad (organic lettuce, local organic ground beef, homemade taco seasoning, homemade salsa, crockpot refried beans, organic avocado, local cheese, and sour cream), organic chicken or fish with vegetables (kale chipsparmesan lemon basil broccoli, and green beans are some favorites), and stuffed peppers (organic beef, dried beans, organic bell peppers, homemade tomato sauce and taco seasoning)

Sweet Treats: Sorry, no good solution for this one.  Just try to eat a non-sweet snack that you really enjoy (like yummy peanut butter!)

So like I said, it’s not 100% South Beach Phase 1, but it accomplishes the overall principle (cutting out sugar to get rid of the cravings) while still eating all real food.  Also, remember that there are tons of options…many, many recipes can be made into real food recipes with a little tweaking so be creative and see what you can come up with.

If you’re just starting your South Beach and/or real foods journey…good luck and enjoy!  You won’t regret it :)

my weight loss tips roundup


I don’t profess to know everything there is to know about weight loss, and I especially don’t pretend to follow all the tips that I do know (if I did I’d be much skinnier than I am now), however, I have had some success in the weight loss department in the past.

As the new year approaches many of us (including myself) are thinking about trying to eat healthier, detox from the holidays, and/or lose weight.  Since one of the most popular search terms that brings people to my blog is “South Beach Diet”, I figure there are many people out there with questions.  So I thought I’d round up all my posts about dieting, healthy eating, etc. into one place.

Start by reading about my weight loss journey: the background, the diet, the exercise, the results, the maintenance, the struggles, and the future.

If you’re interested in going with South Beach or some other similar low-carb plan, you might want to check out my posts about my South Beach phase 1 meal plans and following South Beach while eating out.  You should also look at my recipes – they aren’t all South Beach friendly, but many of them are (and I’ve included a note at the end of the South Beach friendly recipes that tells you which phase they would go with).

If you travel a lot make sure to read my tips on how to eat healthy while travelling and how to exercise while travelling.

Some other helpful posts for your journey toward healthy eating include tips for prepping your food in advancemaking sure you know how to find the best weight for your body, and the heart rate monitor that I use and love.

South Beach has been my diet lifestyle of choice for the past 7 or 8 years, but this year Michael and I took it a step further and decided to move away from highly processed food.  We did what we called a real food challenge, where we ate only local, organic, non-processed food for 100 days.  After we completed the challenge, we decided to maintain that way of eating with exceptions for special occasions.  You can read about our journey with that here: the challenge details, week 1, week 2, week 3, the results after one month, tips on eating real food while travelling, the busy girl’s guide to eating a real food diet, and the results after 100 days.

Like I said, I don’t know everything and I don’t follow these diets strictly, but I have had success with South Beach and eating real food in the past and it helps me to have all the resources in one post so I can reference them when I’m trying to get back on the wagon (aka right now).  I hope this helps you, too!