Friday, March 27, 2015

Whole30: week 4 and wrap-up

The end is nigh! If you missed them:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

Day 22: Shepherd's pie. This was one of my father in law's favorite dinners on Whole30. It was really tasty! I was amazed at how delicious the mashed potatoes were with no butter or milk! My only critique was that I wanted more potatoes on top. My favorite part about it was that it made a TON so we had lots of leftovers!

Nathan made apple crisp. I don't care for fruity desserts, so I didn't eat it myself, but it disappeared in no time flat, so it must have been good!

Day 23: Oven baked chicken fingers and sweet potato fries. Neither the chicken nor the fries got crispy, but they both tasted great. We just had raw veggies with them.

Day 24: Spaghetti squash boats. Definitely a new favorite! We'll keep eating this after the Whole30 is done. We decided we prefer the sauce with ground turkey. This was my birthday, so I had a "fudge baby" in lieu of cake. Haha! It was good, but let's be honest... no substitute for BIRTHDAY cake ;) Are you proud of me for not cheating on my (30th!) birthday??

Day 25: Stir-fry. I just chopped up potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, broccoli, green beans, and chicken and seasoned them and cooked them together in a big pan. When everything was about done I added pea pods. Very simple meal that everyone enjoyed.

Day 26: Slow cooker fish chowder. This wouldn't actually fit in our (6 qt?) crock pot, so we had to cook in in our huge stock pot on the stove on low all day. It smelled very fishy as it was cooking, but it turned out pretty well. It all got eaten over the course of the week, so it must have been ok! Obviously you'd have to like fish to enjoy it.

Paleo dinner rolls ... sooo... I totally forgot you aren't supposed to have "paleo-ified bread" on the Whole30... and I made these rolls to go with the fish chowder. They were pretty great, and it was a nice pairing. But if you're being strict (as I was trying to be!), you shouldn't eat these on Whole30 ;)

Day 27: Chicken drumsticks, crash hot potatoes, and green beans. Another rerun and a new favorite meal of mine. They are just so good.

Day 28: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans. The meatloaf was ok. Not terrible, not great, just ok. My mashed potatoes turned out well! I made them in the same way as in the shepherd's pie recipe (above), with almond milk and coconut oil and lots of seasonings. I was happy with them.

Day 29: Tuna casserole. This was Nathan's favorite Whole30 meal, so I wanted to have it again. It was just as good the second time.

Day 30: "The Bomb" Chili. So good!! I keep adding too much Cayenne... like, one shake for the whole pot... that stuff is spicy!


We really tried to follow the plan as strictly as possible. We had zero added sugar/sweeteners, grains, dairy, or legumes for the full 30 days. The only ways we (acccidentally) "cheated" were on the spirit of the program only... eating Paleo dinner rolls, and our Paleo fudge babies. Neither had any off-limits ingredients, but they were replacements for things we were supposed to be weaning from. I just totally forgot we shouldn't have them.

That being said, we don't regret it. We're really pleased to have discovered a dessert that we both enjoy that we can feel good about eating (it's just raisins, walnuts, vanilla, and cocoa). Is having a sweet tooth a bad thing? Maybe. But we HAVE one, so if we can satisfy it with something that's healthy-ish, I think we're doing A-OK. Again, if you're being strict with the Whole30 plan, any sweet treat/baked good is pretty much out... so no fudge babies.

Oh, and I did eat those three french fries that one day... and I don't feel bad about that either. ;)

I'm glad we did this plan for a few reasons:

1. I learned a lot about food. EVERYTHING has added sugar. Lots of things have preservatives. Eating paleo-style means near constant cooking, prep, planning, and shopping... it's a LOT of work. Paleo is expensive, especially for a whole family.

2. I love to cook, and I had a lot of fun trying new recipes and finding creative ways to create meals with all the dietary restrictions we were under.

3. I figured out how to meal plan. I knew having a plan was key to our success, because if we were scrambling to figure out dinner every night we would have ended up cheating with ingredients we had on-hand (because so many things have added sugar).

4. I found out I don't have any obvious food sensitivities! Yay! I didn't feel the magical energy boost or anything that many people who do the Whole30 experience either, though... except being more bloated and gassy than normal pretty much the whole time, which was not super fun.

5. I discovered that I do have enough willpower to control what I eat if I put my mind to it. I love food (especially convenience, restaurant, and junk food... of course!), so I have a hard time saying no and putting limits on myself. But if I can go a whole month on a VERY strict eating plan, I'm sure I can put reasonable limits on what I eat on a daily basis!

6. Nathan and I both lost at least 10 lbs! This really surprised me. I thought I might lose a few pounds, but there's no way I thought I'd lose ten! That's a LOT for me. I'm just amazed, because I ate as much as I want and I never went hungry, and I really enjoyed all my food. I know that the zero sugar/desserts was the biggest factor.

This is my before and after Whole30, just for fun! I can see a pretty big difference! Same outfit (but with the green shirt on top). I actually reached my goal weight, which is my pre-Desy weight (which was lower than my pre-Orion weight :P). I have decided that I'd like to lose 5-10 lbs more, and I love that I know how now (say that five times fast) and that I CAN do it if I choose to!

We were afraid of going wild and eating EVERYTHING after finishing Whole30, so I did some research and decided to do a meal plan for a whole month! We've already have to switch days around a couple times, but it is super helpful to have a plan in mind so we can have the correct ingredients on hand to make a good meal each day. I have a white board up in the kitchen with our daily meals and a shopping list written on it. Hey, being organized is fun!

Well, we're 3 days post-30 now, and I admit that we have indulged a lot (hey, we had to celebrate my birthday properly!!). BUT, we have a solid plan and a lot of healthy meals ahead of us, so I'm feeling good. Do I want to do paleo long-term? Probably not. Am I glad I did the Whole30? Yes. It was good for us. Am I glad it's over? Absolutely. :)
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