My Whole30 Journey

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

You know what is really dumb? 

Having a baby in April and getting married in September.

Who does that shit?! Like who actually plans that???

I'd be totally lying to you if I said I did the Whole30 just to feel healthier. Psssssh, no. I wanted to lose this baby/college/chipotle/budlight pudge I had going on. I want to feel beautiful and confident on the day I marry my main man and after completing the Whole30, I really do feel amazing!

If you haven't heard of this craze, called the Whole30, it is basically a 30-day cleanse where you only eat healthy fats, proteins, fruits and vegetables. Their website has all the details and you can read about why they eliminate the foods they do in their book, It Starts With Food .

For me, the thought of giving up bread, cheese and sugar all at once was enough to make me curl up in a ball and die. When I was pregnant with Nora I would have a little snack of peanuts and chocolate chips erryday. And lots of waffles. GOSH, I love a waffle. But I knew the only way I was going to see the type of results I wanted was to cut it all out 100% and follow the Whole30 program to the T. Luckily, we started the program pretty soon after I had baby girl so I was already off the alcohol, and with breastfeeding, it was easy to stay off it for another 30 days. Otherwise, that would have been another really hard one for me to cut. I love winding down with a glass (or two or three) of wine at night.

I guess what I am trying to say is.. timing is EVERYTHING. And so is support. If you're looking to complete a Whole30, I suggest looking at your calendar and picking a time that isn't chalk full of weddings, BBQs, visitors and parties. Going out to eat while on the Whole30 isn't impossible but it is really hard to watch others indulge right in front of you. Unless you're a robot. So really take some time to plan it out. It was also really helpful that Josh and I we're both doing it together. We we're able to get rid of most of the bad stuff in the house and support each other when the cravings really hit.

^^^Egg muffins with Franks Hot Sauce
^^^Asian style ground pork with mushrooms, carrots and coconut aminos. Add fresh basil and cilantro with a spicy mayonnaise. Serve in a crunchy cabbage leaf!
^^^Fried eggs all day!!!!!
^^^My favorite breakfast to make: potato or sweet potato hash with sautéed onions, mushrooms and kale. Add bacon or sausage if you're looking for some more protein. Serve with fried egg and avocado.

Once you know when you want to start, it's time to prep for the grocery and your meals. The Whole30 website has great resources for your planning so I really suggest looking through those before you make a trip. One of the things that helped me the most when shopping was knowing all the different ways they slip sugar into foods. You can find many of the names they call it here so you know when checking labels.

Shopping was probably one of the more stressful parts of the whole process because it's more expensive buying everything organic and we ended up going to the store almost once a week. The up side was, we weren't going out to eat and drink like usual so we definitely saved money in that respect. My favorite places to find the best organic options we're Wegmans and MOM's Organic Market. 

^^^Breakfast tacos: turkey "taco shell", scrambled eggs, tomato and avocado
^^^Chicken salad cabbage wrap 
^^^Egg muffins
^^^I'm still obsessed with this salmon recipe and I tried beets for the first time! My fingers looked like I murdered someone but yum!

In terms of food, there were a few staples we always made or kept on hand. Each weekend we would meal prep by grilling lots of chicken and pork, make egg muffins for quick grab-and-go breakfasts (you can find the recipe for those here), boil eggs and grill or steam veggies. 

PS, did you know you can hard boil eggs by baking them in a muffin pan?! Genius I tell you!

We made salad dressings by just mixing olive oil & vinegar, and also made the Whole30 approved mayonnaise for some chicken salad and potato salad recipes. Beeteedubs, that Red, Hot & Blue copycat potato salad recipe is the BOMB dot com. You could also use the mayonnaise to make some of these yummy crab cakes! Old Bay does NOT have any sugar in it... hallelujah!!!

Since I was breastfeeding while doing the program, I made sure to keep a lot of nuts, fruit and Whole30 compliant Lara Bars on hand in case I needed a snack or didn't have time to cook something. Some of the bars have sugar in them so be sure to check the list for the ones that you can eat. 

We made sure to keep a lot of steam-in-the-bag veggies on hand for something quick and ground meats are perfect for quick stir fry meals. Cabbage was our favorite for crispy lettuce wraps with ground pork or beef. If you're looking for a soy sauce alternative to get a nice asian flavor, pick up some Coconut Aminos from your local organic store.. it's so yummy!

Also, don't forget fresh herbs can really help change it up when you've had scrambled eggs 9 mornings in a row. I loved tossing some basil in mine. And speaking of eggs... when in doubt, throw a fried egg on ANYTHING. One of my favorite meals we made was burgers with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, avocado, pickles and jalepeno. I usually really crave a slice of cheese (and a bun and ketchup and a brownie and ice cream) on top but with a fried egg I wasn't missing a thing! 

^^^Seared scallops may be my favorite

Instead of using butter, we used Ghee or Clarified butter that I found in the refrigerated organic section at Wegmans. Honestly, this stuff is delicious. It tastes sweeter than butter to me and works great for seafood dips and seasoning vegetables. 

There I am at 9 months pregnant. This was about four days before I had Nora and I was 209 pounds. That's right.. twooooo hundoooooooo. I can't believe I'm sharing that on the internet but you know what, FUCK IT, that body made and birthed a baby!!!!!!!! So I'm just gonna go with it!!!!!!!!

I took this on Nora's second day out of the womb. It's hard to tell with her strapped to my body, but I was still rocking a significant "after birth belly" and my face was a bit swollen.

I took this drunken selfie last week. YAY for date night! And pouffie ass hair!!! How do you spell poofy??? Google is not helping me.

I lost 10 pounds and 12 inches while doing the Whole30. Couple that with all the breastfeeding, I was able to lose all 45 pounds since having Nora.

I truly did feel a difference when I changed the food I was eating. I rarely needed to drink coffee because I felt so energized, even while waking up several times to feed Nora in the middle of the night. Cooking so often became second nature and I'm happy to report that I can turn down a dessert and not cry about it. My face and arms thinned out in the first week of cutting sugar. My skin also looked better than ever.

For me, the Whole30 helped me lose the weight I wanted to but it also helped me take control of my sugar consumption. It really is ridiculous when you start reading labels and see that sugar is added in to everything.
Thanks America, you fatso.

Losing weight is hard and making huge changes like this to your diet can be really tough if you don't have the support around you, so a big thank you to everyone who was with us on this health journey. Thanks for not teasing me with beers too many times and a big thanks to Hadley for not sharing her ice cream cone with me. I appreciate it girl!!!!! The only time I'll allow you to hog it all to yourself!

If you want to chat about the Whole30 feel free to comment here or email me at foreverfireflying AT gmail DOT com. I love to gab about this kind of stuff!

I also have a board on Pinterest dedicated to Whole30 if you are looking for some recipe inspiration.

Here's to feeling good in our swim suits and still enjoying an ice cream cone! Because really, life ain't worth livin' without some chocolate and alcohol every once in a while. Or every weekend. Or right now, BYE.

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