I made it! As of yesterday, I’ve successfully completed my second Whole 30 and 31 Days of Yoga Revolution. Not to be all “wow, I’m so proud of myself, look at how great I am” blah blah crap, but honestly, it feels pretty good to know that I was able to successfully do both.
Despite my hesitations going into yoga (refer to this previous post), I think I’m sort of into it now. Not to say that I’ll be going on yoga retreats or constantly referring to my third eye, but I genuinely feel more relaxed and stress-free, and even in just 30 short days, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my flexibility and stability. But past the physical effects, I also gained something I hadn’t really thought about before–30-40 minutes of peaceful “me” time every. single. day. It’s so easy in life, at least for me, to get caught up in everything else going on in the day–projects at work, supporting friends, taking care of pets, entertaining dates–the list goes on. But it’s important to remember that you’ve got to be the number 1 in your life, and self-care is incredibly important. Maybe that means treating myself to a manicure, taking a fancy workout class, or finally getting a blow out, but for the past 31 days, it meant showing up for myself to do a little yoga. It was a time I set aside just for me everyday, and while some days had to get skipped (and made up for later!) I did my best to show up. I mean, I practiced in my bedroom, so really, no excuses.
It’s funny how much Whole 30s can vary from one to another. I remember during my first one trying all sorts of weird recipes (such as a cashew “alfredo” sauce-some things really need dairy), and constantly looking at what day it was in the 30. I always had a count-down to the end, even though I was feeling good. For this Whole 30, I stuck to recipes that felt a bit more comfortable and classic, such as Pizza Spaghetti Pie and Paleo Meatballs (I guess I was feeling Italian this month?) and relied more heavily on having easy to eat fruit and veggies around (and of course, prosciutto) to fill in the gaps when I didn’t have a full meal planned. For most of this Whole 30, I had no idea which day I was on. I had more energy and focus than last time (thanks yoga!), but my bits of insomnia that I battled last time crept back in, too (anyone else have this on W30?) But I had my hard moments–days 20-25 were filled with a massive sugar craving, and losing my desire to eat anymore meat. And I’m not going to lie, all I wanted the day of the inauguration was a large vat of wine and a rich chocolate cake. But as any Whole 30er will tell you, not having these things won’t kill you. I didn’t die because I couldn’t have a drink on an awkward date, and not being able to bake for a month didn’t cause me wild distress either. I think they call that discipline, kids.
So what’s the takeaway? Am I just going to go eat all the bagels I can find and drink until Trump isn’t president anymore? Duh, no. Physically and mentally I feel better than I have in a while. And I wasn’t going to say it, but screw it, it’s my blog–I lost 14 lbs since January 3rd, and DAMN does that feel good! W30 emphasizes the importance of not weighing yourself during the 30 days, and while I was feeling better, I didn’t really think I lost any weight. Not that a number should be the only factor in determining success, but it does put a very superficial reward on what you feel internally. So far I haven’t eaten anything non-Whole 30, but I am going out tonight, and brunching tomorrow. I don’t want to fall too far off the wagon, but I’m ok with occasional splurges with friends or for special occasions, and I’m going to stick with paleo-ish at home (paleo baking is happening in the near future). I’ve also started another 30 day yoga series (30 is apparently the ideal timeframe for me), and I’m looking forward to continuing my practice. We all know that change takes time, but I feel really good about the changes I’ve been able to make for myself since the start of the year, and I encourage you to reward yourself for the changes you make for yourself, too. In a time of a lot of uncertainty, remember you’ve only got yourself to owe up to, so do it for you! Tell me what you’ve done for yourself lately! Take a class? Learn something new? In the next blog I’ll tell you how my first aerial yoga class went...stay tuned!
During my prep for my first Whole 30, one tip that kept coming across in my research was the importance of meal prep. Never let your next meal be a complete mystery; without something ready in your pantry or fridge, you’re more likely to reach for something non-compliant (compliant was a word I never used pre-W30, and now I can’t seem to get it out of my vocabulary). I already packed my lunch for work everyday, and cooked most dinners at home, but I still knew that Whole 30 prep was going to be a bit more intensive. For me, it’s easiest to plan out breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week, and always have fresh veggies, fruit, and compliant snacks on hand. Most days, I’ll eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch for 7 days straight (if it’s tasty the repetitiveness doesn’t bother me, but I know that isn’t the case for everyone), and I’ll plan something for 4-5 dinners, and then have a couple “filler” options for nights when I want to switch it up. I’ll then spend a Sunday morning or afternoon cooking everything up for the week, and packing it up so it’s easy to grab and go.
My current week looks like this:
Breakfast-A yummy spinach, egg, and salt pork frittata. It’s easy to make the weekend before, cut up into six slices, and grab one to eat when I get to work. There are so many great Whole 30 frittata recipes out there, so really explore!
Lunch-Pizza Spaghetti Pie This AMAZING recipe from Juli Bauer could not be any simpler to make, and tastes almost exactly a carb-loaded “classic” spaghetti pie. If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash, go try it now! And you probably have the rest of the ingredients in your pantry. Her buffalo chicken casserole is also super tasty.
Dinner-Chicken Tikka Masala
Every week, I have one wild card recipe; something I’ve never tried, and wasn’t recommended by a friend. This week it was Tikka Masala. While the flavor is good, if I made it again, I’d blend everything (minus the chicken) prior to cooking; even with a cup of coconut milk, mine is still runny, and I don’t find stewed tomatoes particularly appetizing. I serve it with a roast potato and brussel sprouts.
Dinner Alternate: As you can tell, I try to focus on inexpensive meats and readily accessible items (minus the Garam Masala that I literally walked a mile in the snow to get). But sometimes my body is just craving red meat! Instead of picking up an expensive steak, I’ll buy ground beef or burger patties to have a couple nights as a nice change from chicken. Serve with some ground mustard, sweet potatoes and a nice salad, and it’s a great alternative.
I also always have apples and whatever fruit is in season/on sale on hand, as well as some dried mango (not regularly), cashews, compliant fruit bars (I stash some at my desk for when I forget my breakfast), and last but certainly not least, prosciutto. Prosciutto is a perfect little snack for quick protein, and it’s fairly easy to find a compliant version (just make sure the ingredients are pork and salt). Beverages are important too! I find always having mint tea on hand as a lovely after-dinner alternative to dessert really helps. Flavored seltzer is also good, just make sure it is free of sweeteners.
Who out there is doing a January Whole 30? What are some of your favorite things to have on hand?
Welcome back! Yesterday I mentioned that I was about to embark on my second round of Whole 30®, but you may be thinking, what is she talking about? If you want to read all the nuts and bolts about it, I’d suggest starting here, but in short, it’s a 30-day approach to changing the way you look at food. The program cuts out carbs, legumes, dairy and alcohol completely, and focuses on proteins, veggies, fruits, and lots of eggs. As someone who’s tried many diets in the past, Whole 30® appealed to me because it promised to cut out the measuring and calorie counting, and focused more on listening to what your body wanted. I can get on board with that! A good friend of mine has done a few Whole 30s before, and when she told me she was doing another this past September, I was eager to join her. I subscribed to the Whole 30 Instagram feeds, added recipes to Pinterest boards, prepped meals, and was ready to go. And let me tell you, the experience was not quite what I was expecting…
The mantra of Whole 30 founder Melissa Hartwig is “It is not hard. Don't you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.” And you know what? It’s true! I was expecting meal prep to be daunting, for socializing with friends to be impossible, going to bars on first dates to be cringe-worthy, but you know what? It wasn’t. I’d spend my Sunday afternoons meal prepping for the week (always making sure breakfast and lunches and snacks were ready), and instead of getting dinner and drinks with friends, we’d go to concerts or shows or bookstores. I found ways to eat out (though I tried to cook 98% of my meals), and honestly, not drinking at bars felt totally ok (and can you say MONEY SAVING?!) Many Whole 30ers report feeling more energized and less stressed–personally, I wasn’t in that camp, but I did feel a sense of calm and empowerment, probably because I felt very in control of everything I was putting into my body. Super focused on one aspect of my life=less focus/less stress on the other aspects. Oh, and after 30 days of eating nourishing foods but also never feeling hungry, I lost weight.
So everything is sunshine and daisies then and I’m still eating Whole 30? Well not exactly…
The 30 days was over. And the holidays started. And all the wine. And the cookies! I managed to stick paleo-ish at home, but decided I wanted to start my 2017 off with another Whole 30. I’ve prepped my breakfast and lunch for the week, and just ordered some Thai as a “last meal” of sorts. But despite the extra work, I’m really looking forward to starting 2017 out strong, and focusing on myself. I’ll share my tips that worked best for me the first round, and recipes I’m excited to try in this round. Curious in learning more for yourself? The original Whole 30 book is a great place to start, and looks super purdy on the kitchen counter, but there’s also a whole host of resources online, too. Have any of you out there tried Whole 30? What were some of your toughest challenges?
And don’t worry, this blog will not just be about Whole 30, or other maybe-crazy sounding food plans. Next up this week: why I may not be patient enough for yoga, and a review of the amazing lip tints I picked up recently.