Whole30 2017 – Wrap-up

I realize that my posts about Whole30 are somewhat contradictory. I apologize for any confusion and hopefully this post will clear things up. I’ve got some explaining to do.

Here’s the thing. Whole30 outlines the way we as humans are designed to eat. We’re meant to eat a diet consisting mainly of vegetables, meat and fruit. Our food isn’t supposed to be messed with using chemicals and genetic engineering. Food isn’t meant to be processed. It’s not meant to come out of a factory.

So I agree with that aspect of Whole30, where you eliminate every source of processed junk from your diet. I agree with eating whole, natural foods. And I agree with everything else about Whole30. But now you’re probably thinking, ‘then why were you so miserable?’ I’ll get into that now.

For me, food is mental. It’s all mental. When a craving strikes, I can completely control it or completely submit to it, using only my mental powers. When it comes to dieting (which I don’t do to begin with, because of this reason), the way my body physically reacts to food is far less significant than the way my brain reacts. In other words, my body can physically handle not eating peanut butter. But my brain can’t. It’s too much stress. I have to think about it, reminding myself to not eat peanut butter. I know this sounds silly and maybe this is a poor example. Simply put, when I place restriction on myself, my brain reacts violently. However, on any given day, I don’t eat peanut butter all day along. Sometimes, weeks go by where I don’t have a single taste of peanut butter, or cheese, or whatever it may be. The difference is that, in one case (the one that works for me), I’m naturally not eating something and in the second case, I’m restricting myself.

The two most important things for me to know and understand about my personal relationship with food is restriction and how my I react mentally. Food is directly connected with stress. That doesn’t necessarily mean that food is what I turn to when I’m feeling stressed out. Yes, there are sometimes when I “stress eat”, but I keep track of it closely and it doesn’t happen often. Food is not my stress-relief. When I say that food is directly connected with stress I mean that I feel more stressed when I have to search every single label on something, for fear that it “isn’t compliant”. I don’t want to worry about that. I want to eat what I want, when I’m hungry. And most of the time, what I want is healthy and Whole30-ish to begin with. Restricting myself (specifically from cheese) makes me feel like a German Shepherd on a chain, being pulled back from something he wants to chase. The more the dog is held back, the more the dog wants whatever he’s barking at. I don’t want to feel restricted.

So this Whole30 has proven to me that, while I might not lose weight as quickly, I am definitely happier and nicer when I eat according to when my own tried-and-true guidelines. I know what works for my body. I know what doesn’t work for my body.

All in all, the basics of Whole30 works for me. The recipes, the guidelines, the reasons behind eliminating certain foods; I agree with all that. But when it comes to the restriction, I don’t do so well. For me, restriction is worse than eating an entire bag of Cheetos. Hopefully that makes sense. 

And I’m curious; how does Whole30 make you feel? Have you ever done one? What’s the hardest challenge for you when it comes to food? Is there a particular way of eating that makes you feel your best? Feel free to comment!

Whole30 2017 – Week 4

TGIO – thank goodness it’s over!

Today is the day. It’s Thursday. It’s March 30th. It’s over…and I’m still alive. Barely.

Okay, I’m being dramatic. And Whole30 isn’t over just yet. I’ve got the next eight hours ahead of me to push through. But what’s eight more hours after 30 days, right?….right?

So here’s the last week of Whole30.

Day 24: Friday

We were at a friend’s house for (homeschool) art and Zumba classes. I had started to recover from the near mental meltdown of Week 3, so I was fine.

Breakfast: I made a two-egg omelet with leftover carnitas, with sweet potato mash on the side.

Lunch: I skipped lunch because there wasn’t any time for it during the classes, but I had an Epic apple and bacon bar (still not quite sure if I like them or not) and dried mango to snack on.

Dinner: After the classes, we went with our friends to Chili’s for dinner. I actually didn’t have that rough of a time. I pretended like I wasn’t on Whole30 and it worked because I normally don’t eat the chips on the table. I normally don’t order dessert. I normally go with the skinny entree options or a salad with no dressing. So it wasn’t a big deal that I ordered the 6oz steak with grilled avocado and broccoli. At least, at Chili’s, it wasn’t a big deal.

Day 25: Saturday

Breakfast: Another carnita omelet, but no sweet potato mash this time.

Lunch: 1 chicken sausage link with zoodles and Rao’s marinara sauce.

Dinner: Didn’t track.

Day 26: Sunday

Breakfast: Two-egg omelet with spicy Italian sausage and broccoli.

Lunch: Wasn’t really hungry, so I had two tablespoons of almond butter.

Dinner: Tuscan soup, two bowls. This is my favorite meal of all time, and now it is Whole30 compliant! It has kale, sausage, and potatoes (optional, but not optional). The broth is usually made with heavy cream and chicken stock, but leave out the cream and cuts down on calories, is compliant, but it’s still amazing! I don’t even need it with the heavy cream anymore when I’m back to my normal eating because I love it this way just the same.

Day 27: Monday

Breakfast: Two-egg omelet with spicy sausage and sauteed kale. I get into these omelet kicks where I eat one for breakfast everyday for a week, but then I don’t make it again for awhile.

Lunch: My long run was changed to Monday since I wasn’t feeling well on Sunday. So I had breakfast late in the morning, skipped lunch, but ate 1 and 1/2 coconut-rolled dates before running.

Dinner: London broil steak with cauliflower mash and mixed greens.

Day 28: Tuesday

We saw Beauty and the Beast on Tuesday! Oh it was amazing! We all loved it. I didn’t know Emma Watson could sing and she was literally the perfect actress for Belle. The only thing that I didn’t like was that I couldn’t have popcorn ☹️

Breakfast: Tuscan soup. I broke the omelet for breakfast kick with soup. *shrug*

Lunch: Skipped. We were at the movies. I had a homemade trail mix of dried mango, dried pineapple and almonds.

Dinner: 2 salsa verde pork chops with brussel sprouts and mixed greens.

Day 29: Wednesday

We were running errunds on Wednesday. The formal dance is on Saturday and we made a last minute trip for jewelry and stuff.

Breakfast: 1 scoop chocolate Shakeology with 1 cup almond milk and a tablespoon of almond butter.

Snack: Epic bacon bar. I didn’t like this one too much.

Lunch: 1 leftover salsa verde pork chop.

Dinner: 1 chicken leg quarter with mixed greens salad (walnuts, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds).

Day 30: Thursday

At long last, it’s finally here.

Breakfast: 3oz London broil steak.

Lunch: 1 leftover salsa verde pork chop.

Snack: 1 chicken thigh with mixed greens.

Dinner: 4 homemade turkey meatballs with Rao’s marinara sauce and mixed greens salad.

I was thinking of writing my sum-up here on this post, but since I have a lot to say and clear up about Whole30, I decided to write a separate post for the summary.

Catch ya later!

Whole30 2017 – Week 3

Hi guys.

If you’ve done Whole30 (or know someone who has done Whole30), you know that the first week is a nightmare. Fighting all the temptation in the first week or two is extremely hard, right? But then after the horrid days 10 & 11, life gets better. You’re feeling better, you’re looking better, you’re eating better. Your jeans fit better.

By the end of the third week, you begin to think that maybe you could continue eating like this. That’s how most of the reviews on Whole30 go.

I’ve done two Whole30’s prior to this one. And both times, my experience with it is the opposite. The first two weeks are AMAZING for me. I feel great and have no temptations, even on Days 10 & 11. 
But then Week 3 rolls around and everytime, it is miserable. What was enjoyable and easy last week, is now making me feel like a wreck. And it stops there. From Week 3, Whole30 doesn’t get better for me. When I did the first Whole30, I thought I was doing something wrong. Maybe I wasn’t eating enough and was hangry. When I did it the second time, I again thought I wasn’t eating enough. But this time around, I know I was eating enough. And I still felt miserable.

So the third week again was rough for me. Maybe this time, it’s because on Thursday we went to Sahadis, a middle eastern market in NYC, and then to Carmine’s, an Italian resturaunt. 

I was with friends who are familiar with Whole30, but it’s still difficult when everyone is enjoying delicious pita bread, fresh hummus, and then a huge plate of spaghetti and meatballs, bread and chocolate covered cannolis. Literally everything not Whole30. Middle eastern and Italian, two of my favorite cuisines. I haven’t given in and cheated, but I did feel severely restricted. And after that, I just felt the Whole30 chains getting tighter.

Not to be discouraging to those who are successfully doing Whole30 and are feeling great by the end, but this third time around, I know for sure what works for my body. Two weeks are the most I can do without wanting to rip my family’s heads off. Two weeks before I completely plateau. Two weeks of feeling great before I feel like a wreck. My focus is shot and I can’t push myself as hard as I normally can during my workouts.
On the other hand, my skin is clear and my jeans do fit better. But I’ll get into that in my Whole30 wrap-up post.

Day 16 Thursday:

Breakfast: 2 meatballs

Snack: Bison epic bar

Lunch: Carmine’s mixed salad with sausage and marinara sauce (no dressing)

Dinner: Cabbage with Sahadis baba ghanoush

Snack: Little bit of meatloaf and sweet potato mash

Day 17 Friday:

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs

Lunch: Meatloaf and sweet potato mash

Early Dinner: 2 chicken sausage links, broccoli and baba ghanoush

Dinner: salmon with sweet potato mash

Day 18 Saturday:

Breakfast: 1 tbsp sahadis almond butter

Lunch: 2 scrambled eggs with 2 tbsp salsa, 2 sausage patties and roasted potatoes

Dinner: Cajun chicken breast with sweet potato mash

I forgot to track Days 19 & 20, but it was pretty much the same as the previous days.
Day 21 Tuesday:

Breakfast: 2 eggs with 3 slices bacon

Lunch: Kale salad with beets and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic

Dinner: Whole30 cookbook carnitas with guacamole, kale salad (as above) and sweet potato mash

Day 22 Wednesday:

Breakfast: Leftover carnitas

Lunch: Carnitas and sweet potato mash

Dinner: Zoodles with 3 meatballs and Rao’s marinara sauce, and a kale salad with beets

Day 23 Thursday: 

Breakfast: Carnitas and sweet potato mash

Lunch: Zoodles, meatballs and Raos marinara (I love saying ‘zoodles’ 😂)

Dinner: London broil steak, kale salad, beets, 1/2 avocado

Me at Day 25

Whole30 2017 – Week 2

Hey guys! Sorry this post is a little late, but here it is – Week 2 of Whole30 complete! Week 2 was surprisingly easy, and I didn’t feel a lot of temptation. Even while scouring the internet for dessert recipes to use in my upcoming graduation party, I didn’t have any cravings. The only craving I had was for the baking process itself. I really, really miss baking. So here’s Week 2’s recipe round-up!

Day 8: Wednesday

On Wednesday, I went to my first Rachel Ray show! It was a lot of fun, and I got a cookbook from the guest chef. I was very, very happy when I went through the recipes in the book; there were a few Whole30-compliant recipes, and even more that could easily be adapted to meet the Whole30 restrictions. I was in NYC pretty much all day on Wednesday, but I stayed on track with my food.

Breakfast: 3 hardboiled eggs early in the morning, then a Larabar halfway to the city.

Lunch: After the Rachel Ray show, my mom and I were hungry and we wanted to get something to eat in the city. Unfortunately, Whole30 prevented us from going to a Middle Eastern place and a Japanese restaraunt, but we found a bar and grill to get compliant burgers. I had a satisfying burger with carmelized onions, bacon and grilled asparagus, without the bun.

Dinner: I kind of skipped dinner because we ate late, but had a kale and onion scramble later in the evening.

Day 9: Thursday

Thursday was my long run with mom. We ran 7 miles at a bike path.
Breakfast: Kale and onion scramble and two slices Applegate brand bacon. Because how else would I start the day?

Snack: 1 banana

Lunch: Leftover Whole30 cookbook recipe stuffed peppers, minus the pepper. Just the butternut squash, sausage, kale and onions

Dinner: Donal Skehan, the guest chef on the Rachel Ray show, has a delicious Whole30 compliant recipe in his cookbook, Fresh. It was chicken breast with cajun seasonings, which had a nice kick. It paired delightfully with sweet potato mash, which had a slight coconut flavor due to the coconut oil. The recipe was so simple: chicken breast (or thighs), cajun seasoning, sweet potatoes, coconut oil, salt and pepper. It instantly became one of my favorite quick-dinner recipes.

Day 10: Friday

I don’t remember what I did Friday, but I do remember being so hungry. I usually am the day after a long run.
Breakfast: Shakeology + 1 cup almond milk and 1/2 banana

Lunch: Leftover cajun chicken breast and sweet potato mash

Snack: 2 Italian meatballs + 1 medjool date

Dinner: 2 cracklin’ chicken thighs (from Nom Nom Paleo) with more sweet potato mash


Day 11: Saturday

Saturday was another running day, and again had the bottomless stomach feeling.

Breakfast: 1 cup coffee (it had 1 tbsp cocoa powder and 1 tbsp coconut cream) with 3 slices bacon

Lunch: Shakeology with 1 cup almond milk + 1/2 banana; about an hour later, I had a cajun chicken breast.

Snack: 1 pear with homemade almond butter

Dinner: kale and onion scramble with 3 homemade sausage patties (ground sausage, fennel seed, cinnamon, sage, ginger, salt and pepper)


Day 12: Sunday

Breakfast: 1 hardboiled egg; 2 scrambled eggs with 2 tbsp Whole30 compliant salsa, 3 slices bacon, and chipotle panfried potatoes

Snack: 2 tbsp homemade almond butter

Dinner: 2 salsa verde pork chops with cabbage 

Day 13: Monday

Monday was our dress shopping day. We stopped at Red Robin for lunch. I hate going out to eat while doing Whole30, but it’s very good practice for self-control.

Breakfast: Shakeology with 1 cup almond milk

Snack: Apple pie larabar

Lunch: Red Robin lettuce-wrapped chicken breast burger with bacon, guacamole

Dinner: I forgot to track it so I don’t remember 😑

Day 14: Tuesday

Pre-workout: 1 tbsp almond butter

Breakfast: Shakeology + 1 cup almond butter

Lunch: 2 eggs with broccoli and carmelized onions

Early dinner: Cauliflower rice with Jamacian Jerk seasoned pulled pork

Snack: cabbage with salsa verde and roasted potatoes

Day 15: Wednesday

Breakfast: Leftover Jerk pulled pork and cauliflower rice

Lunch: 3 Italian meatballs with cauliflower rice, broccoli and roasted potatoes

Dinner: 6 italian meatballs with cauliflower rice, broccoli, sweet potato mash and 2 slices of bacon (I was trying to get rid of leftovers)

Well, that was Whole30 Week 2!

Right Now – March 2017

O M G.

That’s all I have to say. How is it March 15th of 2017 already?! Time just- it didn’t even fly by! It ran me over! 

I guess it’s because I’ve been busy. With school and all, my life just won’t stop. I suppose that’s a good thing; I would rather be busy than having absolutely nothing to do. I don’t like the feeling of being idle.

So it’s March 15th, and update time! As you might know, I am doing the Whole30 program this month. I’m writing a Week 2 round-up post (probably posting it tomorrow).  So in the realm of food, March isn’t the most festive time. But I’m feeling great and that alone is worth it.

Got snow? We do! 2 feet of it! It’s crazy how much snow we have in the middle of March. But my dog, Max loves it.  I nearly froze my fingers off during this little photoshoot of my baby boy. 

Next, I got my learner’s permit in the mail this week! Like, the actual ID card; not the paper copy they gave me at the DMV. So that’s super exciting for me. Regretfully, however, I haven’t gotten a chance to drive much. Just a little practicing in parking lots here and there.

As for workouts, because I realize that my blog title is Pots, Pens & Push-ups, yet I have not posted a single thing about workouts. During the month of March, I am re-doing Jillian Michael’s BodyShred program. It’s intense, and because this is my third time going through it again, I’ve condensed it. Normally, you would be doing each of the 8 workout videos twice a week for two weeks. But I get bored in my workouts easily, and for another reason I will mention in just a bit, I decided to just do each video once, but in the same order according to the rotation calender. The second reason is I don’t want my body to burn out.  On it’s own and followed the way intended, BodyShred is incredibly intense. It’s no lie when Jillian says it will shred your body. It’s true. It’s hard enough to get you in shape, but not to the point where you would pass out. But following it the rotation calender way and half-marathon training is too much. So I condensed it and I’m seeing the results I want. And I’m incredibly sore.

Another thing that happened this month was the dress shopping. On April 1st, our homeschool group is having a formal party with dancing and dinner. It’s going to be so much fun, all ages and I can’t wait for the dancing! But my sisters and I didn’t have anything formal enough for this occasion, so dress shopping we went. A full day of searching through hundreds of dresses from various stores, plus shoes and other items. It was exhausting, and this is coming from someone who likes shopping. I don’t like dress shopping, though I did find a beautiful gown that is perfect. I actually found two; the first one is the one I really want. It wasn’t my size but it was the last one 😭 Armed with the skew number, we searched the online stores and finally found it on Amazon. Hopefully it’s what I expect, but we’ll see. It’s a floor length gown, black and blue. I love it because the blue is not screaming. It’s on the top of the dress and subtle, almost hidden underneath a layer of black chiffon. The rest of the dress is black with a chiffon layer. It’s super comfortable, light enough to dance in, but really needs to be altered for a shortie like me. The second dress is nearly exactly the same. It’s the same length, therefore also needing to be altered, and has the same chiffon skirt, but instead of the top being a hidden blue, it’s black and white.

Oh! Last week I went to the library and got Gone With The Wind. I love it. I don’t like Scarlett, but I don’t mind Rhett. And of course, I love his name. The library we go to in Warwick has this little used book shop. I got a bunch of Mary Higgins Clark’s books and some John Grisham books too. I’m very pleased with my book pile. I can’t wait to devour the rest of them.

Well, that’s what’s happening. How is your month so far?

Whole30 2017 – Week 1

Well, I’ve survived, and successfully too. The first week flew by pretty fast, and I’m not totally miserable. Yeah, salads are boring now and I miss peanut butter, but it’s not a bad start. I’m actually proud of myself. So, seven days down, 23 days to go.

Now for the first weekly round-up of recipes. The first days were kind of kitchen sink; I made this egg scramble that turned out to be one of my favorite breakfasts, and it’s been my go-to breakfast for the past week, and some of my dinners too. (Recipe below)

Day 1: Wednesday

Breakfast: Kale & onion scramble. Ok, not the most appetizing thing in the world, according to what it looks like, but man is it delicious. I mean, I really like it, but I wasn’t so sure at first. I also used roasted broccoli a few times instead of the kale, and it’s pretty good as well. I had three slices of bacon to go with it.

Lunch: Don’t hate me for this one. It’s the only non-Whole30 thing that I’m eating, and I’m eating it only because I need the extra nutrition while half-marathon training. For lunch, I had 1 scoop chocolate Shakeology with 1 cup almond milk and 1 tbsp mixed nut butter (from Trader Joe’s; it has hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, brazilnuts, but no peanuts!). I was also running out the door and grabbed an apple pie Larabar.

Dinner: Breakfast was so good that I decided to repeat it. On the side, I had some more broccoli.

Day 2: Thursday

Breakfast: Guess who. Kale & onion scramble, two slices of Whole30 approved bacon. 

Lunch: Shakeology (as above)

Dinner: iBreathei’mHungry’s paprika chicken, without the sour cream gravy. It is one of my favorite dinners, even without the gravy. Also with broccoli, and some cauliflower mash.

Day 3: Friday

Breakfast: I don’t remember 😣 but it was either Shakeology or the egg scramble.

Lunch: Leftover vegetable soup and a paprika chicken thigh.

Dinner: Kale & onion scramble, the broccoli version. We have a lot of broccoli in this house.

Day 4: Saturday

Breakfast: Now that I’m writing it, I realize how many times I’ve eaten this Kale & onion scramble. But I don’t really care and it’s still going to be my breakfast today. So I had this for breakfast on Saturday once again.

Lunch: Shakeology, minus the nut butter.

Dinner: Leftover paprika chicken and broccoli.

Day 5: Sunday

Breakfast: 1 hardboiled egg before my run; half a baked chicken breast and Shakeology afterwards.

Lunch: I don’t think I ate lunch because I had the chicken and Shakeology late in the morning. I snacked on broccoli.

Dinner: Kale & onion scramble, broccoli and a few ribs without the barbecue sauce.

Snack: Apple pie Larabar

Day 6: Monday

Breakfast: Kale & onion scramble, with two slices Whole30 approved bacon.

Lunch: Shakeology

Dinner: I kinda skipped dinner because I was at an orientation for the college program I’m interested in. It was during dinnertime, but I wasn’t too hungry anyway so I just had an Epic sriracha chicken bar, which is thankfully Whole30 compliant.

Snack: 2 coconut medjool dates

Day 7: Tuesday

Breakfast: Kale & onion scramble, two slices bacon.

Lunch: I was cooking dinner, and there was some leftover, so that was lunch. See below.

Dinner: Whole30 cookbook recipe, stuffed peppers. It’s kale, sausage, butternut squash, onion, and garlic all stuffed into roasted bell pepper.

Kale & Onion Egg Scramble

Ingredients:

  • Three eggs, beaten
  • 1 large handful kale (or a handful roasted broccoli, torn into little florets)
  • 1/2 medium  yellow onion, already carmelized
  • 2 tbsp bacon grease or other cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper (garlic salt and pepper is amazing!)

In a small pan, heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Sautee the kale (or broccoli) until dark green and wilted, about 3-5 minutes. (For the broccoli, since it’s already roasted, just heat through, not cook.) Add onions to kale and turn heat to low.

Pour eggs into the pan over the kale and onions, stirring like scramble eggs. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bacon or sausage and you’re good to go. It’s pretty simple.

So that was Whole30 week 1. Next week, we will be doing more recipes from the Whole30 book, so I look forward to that!

What else was it going to be called?

Already the number 1 album, Divide (➗) by Ed Sheeran was released this morning, March 3rd, 2017. 

After taking my dog out this morning, I got an excited text from my sister about the new release and immediately we had the album playing, of course. It’s playing right now as I write this.

Ed Sheeran certainly has a way with words. Every song on the record is a work of art, lyrically and musically.

Here’s the tracklist:

  1. Eraser
  2. Castle On The Hill
  3. Dive
  4. Shape Of You
  5. Perfect
  6. Galway Girl
  7. Happier
  8. New Man
  9. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here
  10. What Do I Know?
  11. How Would You Feel (Paean)
  12. Supermarket Flowers
  13. Barcelona
  14. Bibia Be Ye Ye 
  15. Nancy Mulligan
  16. Save Myself

The album over all has a classic Sheeran vibe, and I’m in love with it. I love the cover too; it’s such a beautiful blue.

So here’s my top 5 off the album. They’re not really in any particular order, since it’s still too soon to decide which is my all-time favorite.

  1. Happier
  2. Perfect
  3. Castle On The Hill
  4. Supermarket Flowers
  5. How Would You Feel (Paean)

‘Happier’ is the song I was most surprised with. Based on the beats and lyrics of the previous songs on the record, I was expecting it to be a joyfilled Irish jig or something that conveyed euphoria. Nope. The best way I can describe it is by quoting Ed: “…I’ll smile to hide the truth but I know I was happier with you.” It’s just a beautiful, sad love song.

‘Perfect’ is the next ‘Thinking Out Loud’. Written for his girlfriend (immediately making it the sweetest song in my opinion), this song is going to be a hit. And even if it doesn’t get as popular as I think it deserves, it’s still one of my favorites on the record.

‘Castle On The Hill’ was my favorite of the singles before the album was released. It still is one of my favorites. I love the Celtic sound. I really do. Sometimes, I just replay the intro forever.

‘Supermarket Flowers’ is definitely the most bittersweet song on the album. Like ‘Afire Love’ from ✖️, it is about the death of his grandparent. Specifically, his grandmother. It’s very sweet and I like that it is written in the point of view of Ed’s mother.

‘How Would You Feel’ is a slow, soft ballad, for which Ed Sheeran is known. It’s great for relaxing, his voice is soothing and it’s beautiful. It’s even made one of my soundtracks for one of my books. It fits the relationship between two of my characters perfectly.

So that’s the first of the two albums I was waiting for this year. Twenty øne piløts, you’re next!