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Whole30 Week 1 – Favourites

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Hey there! So it looks like January Whole30 is going to be an annual thing. I got off to a late start because I’m the type who likes to start things on a Monday, rather than the 1st of the month. This round of Whole30 has given me the quickest turn around I’ve ever experienced. On Monday I was feeling exhausted, lethargic, and slow from the holidays, but by Wednesday I felt energized and free. Each round becomes easier and easier as you get familiar with recipes and meal planning, and this round I’ve recently discovered something that is changing my life! ONLINE grocery shopping with DELIVERY to my doorstep!

During the spring and summer we have all our produce delivered by our CSA program, we have all our animal protein in our freezer already, and we just pick up local eggs from a farm a couple of blocks away, so there’s barely any shopping needing to be done. But during the winter the chore creeps back into my life – and to me, it really is a chore. So, I’ve recently started doing online grocery shopping once a week or once every two weeks at Save On Foods online, and for $4.95 it is delivered to my door step the next day. Every week they have coupon codes that are making the delivery price totally worth it. I find myself spending less, because I’m not wandering the aisles. I’m sticking to my meal plans better and not buying anything extra that I don’t need. Anyway, I’m pretty excited about that, and if you’re like me and despise grocery shopping then I highly recommend it.

Back to Whole30. Here are my favourite meals from this week.

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Top left: Pretty self explanatory breakfast. I’m currently obsessed with soft boiled eggs. My method: Bring small pot of water to a boil. Gently lower 2 or 3 eggs into the boiling water, being careful not to bump and crack the shells. Set timer for 6 minutes, or 7 minutes for 3 eggs. When the timer goes, immediately remove the eggs from the water and rinse them under cold tap water for 30 seconds. Then peel and enjoy. I love them with the yolks running over avocado.

Top middle: An old favourite of mine – Chorizo and Yam Stew. This is so hearty and delicious with the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. I love it with avocado on top to balance the heat.

Top right: My new favourite roast recipe – Pomegranate Habanero Shredded Beef by Stupid Easy Paleo. This was absolutely delicious! I will definitely be making it again very soon. We had it with salad and butternut squash one night, and with salad and roasted cauliflower the next night.

Bottom left: My usual – soft boiled eggs on sweet potatoes and kale. I fried the sweet potatoes in coconut oil, salt, pepper, and about 2 tsp regular paprika and 1 tsp smoked paprika. I tear the kale and add it for the last 3 minutes of cooking time.

Bottom middle: This is what my lunch looked like all week with slight deviations. Roasted chicken breast (rubbed in Epicure’s Turkey rub and baked), pear, butternut squash, sweet potato, and pumpkin seeds on mixed greens. I don’t like raw veggies, so as I mentioned on Instagram, my salads are really just #hotfoodpiledonlettuce.

Bottom right: I don’t really know what to call this – some sort of Mediterranean Skillet dish, I guess. I chopped up red cabbage, carrots, spinach and peppers and fried them in coconut oil and garlic. Then I dumped in artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, and Kalamata olives and fried it for a few more minutes. Then I mixed in some leftover chicken breast. It was delicious and very filling.

Eat well, move your body, and have a great week!

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Chorizo and Yam Stew

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This is based off of a recipe a friend shared with me, with just a few tweaks here and there. It’s hearty, delicious, and has exciting flavours. I love topping it with cool avocado to balance the sweet and spice of the stew.

Ingredients

-4-6 chorizo sausage links

-3 cups diced yams

-1 onion

-3 garlic cloves, crushed

-2 stalks of celery, diced

-1 large carrot, diced

-1 bunch of kale, roughly torn

-1 can of diced tomatoes

-2 tbsp tomato paste

-4 cups chicken bone broth

-1.5 tsp chili powder

-1 tbsp smoked paprika

-1 tsp regular paprika

-1.5 tsp oregano

Directions

  1. Remove sausage casing and crumble the sausage into a large soup pot. Fry the sausage until it is cooked through, and then remove it and set aside, but save all the juices in the pot.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, celery and carrots to the pot and fry for approximately three minutes.
  3. Add the yams, herbs and spices and stir for another three minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste and diced tomatoes and stir. Then add the chicken bone broth, stir everything, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes to let the yams soften.
  5. Add the chorizo sausage back into the soup, stir, and simmer for another 5-10 minutes until heated through.
  6. Ladle into bowl and serve with avocado if desired. This recipe makes about 6 servings.

Eat well, move your body, and have a great week!

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This Christmas

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I’ve had two things in the back of my mind for the past few weeks that I’ve been wanting to write about. You could call them rules or guidelines, but basically they’re just two things that I would like to sit down and talk with you about over some hot coffee. I can’t do that, but I’d love to hear what you think, so please feel free to leave a comment.

  1. Be mindful of what goes in your mouth. This is something that I try and practice all the time but especially during the holidays, when there are more parties and treats around than usual. Rather than completely withholding from any and every treat that passes by, and rather than indulging in every single treat that passes by, make intentional and conscious choices about which off-plan foods are ‘worth it‘ for you. Avoid automatic eating, like bowls of snack foods (chips, popcorn, candies) that are easy to consume in large quantities without even realizing it. Avoid high sugar and high alcohol drinks that quickly lead from one drink to three or four drinks. When you make an intentional and conscious choice to enjoy something that you know is not the most nutrient-dense choice for your body, go ahead and enjoy it. Please don’t try to work out how many burpees you need to do to burn off however many calories you consume in that off-plan choice. (It doesn’t work that way anyway, so don’t waste your time.) Please don’t call it a ‘cheat’, or label it as a bad choice or bad food. Be mindful about your choice, and then enjoy the heck out it.
  2. Be mindful of what comes out of your mouth. ‘Tis the season for adults all over North America to be saying things like, “As soon as the holidays are over, I’m starting a diet”, “I really need to work off all these holiday sweets”, “I’m really packing on the pounds this Christmas”, etc. Here’s the thing: your children can hear you. And they are learning to associate the holidays with gaining weight, and the New Year with losing weight. Mamas, they see you cringe at yourself when you look in the mirror and they hear your big, discontented sigh. If you’re going to drink eggnog in front of your children, just drink it. Don’t drink it and then talk about how many calories are in it and how far you’ll run tomorrow to ‘burn it off’. They are putting it all together in their sweet, innocent minds, so let’s be mindful about the words we use to describe our food choices. Eat your food, and focus on the more important things like family, connection, traditions, and joy.

(Read a lot more about the way we talk with our kids about food and exercise here. It’s something I’m super passionate about, and I would love to hear your opinion!)

Keep these things in mind, and enjoy your holidays. Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

 

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Healthy Holiday Tips

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Every Wednesday morning I lead a walking/running class at Breakaway, a program that runs out of North Langley Community Church. For this week I’ve been asked to speak for about 5 minutes to the collective group of women and give them some fun and light healthy holiday tips.

I met with my sidekicks Jessica and Sheena and we came up with 5 simple tips for staying on track during the holiday season, and they encouraged me to share them on this blog as well, so here you go (the long version)…

  1. WATER. Don’t forget to drink it. ‘Tis the season of hot drinks – and usually these drinks are full of sugar, dairy and alcohol. It feels natural and instinctive to drive through the Starbucks drive through a few extra times during the Christmas season, and to almost always have a red cup in hand while grocery shopping or running errands. I’m not against the occasional fancy Christmas drink and I’m certainly not against coffee, but I am strongly against mindless, excessive consumption. My advice is this: pay attention to how much you are consuming. Choose consciously. Enjoy every sip, but enjoy less of it. A cup of coffee when you wake up in the morning is fine, but you don’t need one every time you leave the house, or every time you sit down to relax, and you don’t need 4 glasses of wine at the Christmas party. One will do. If and when your hand feels empty (I’ve noticed that for many people, it just feels natural to be holding a drink in their hand), replace those extra drinks with WATER. Water is your friend! Try it with lemon or fruit in it. If you want something hot, try herbal tea. Keep flushing out all that extra sugar and caffeine that most people ingest during the holidays by drinking water, water, and more water.
  2. SLEEP. More than water, sleep is your best friend. It’s healing and restorative in so many ways. It’s essential for full enjoyment of the holiday season. Aim for 8-10 hours on as many nights as you possibly can. If you start to feel sickness coming on, rest and sleep as much as you can. Sleep heals. Moms with young children and those who struggle with insomnia – just do the best you can. About an hour before you want to fall asleep, turn down the lights in your home. Put away your phone and laptop, and make sure there are no lights on in your bedroom, including computers or digital clocks.
  3. JUST ONE BITE is okay. This one is something that Jessica mentioned she learned while doing her Whole30 challenge. She explained that the permission to STOP eating something if you don’t like it really made a difference. For example, if you’re at a Christmas party and you fill your plate with Christmas goodies. and then take a bite of something and don’t like it, you don’t have to finish it. For some of us, this can be revolutionary. Give it to your partner, or throw it out. Don’t finish it just for the sake of finishing it. Let it go. Eat something if you really enjoy it, and don’t eat it if you don’t enjoy it. Sounds simple, but next time you’re at a party, be mindful of what you’re tasting and see how often you eat something even if you don’t really enjoy it. It happens more often than we think!
  4. CROWD OUT. One of the first techniques I discuss with clients is the “crowding out” rule. When you fill your plate during a meal, start with the healthy options. Fill your plate with protein, vegetables and fruit FIRST. Eat what’s on your plate, and then decide if you need or want anything else. Crowd out the less healthy food with healthy food. The more you fill your stomach with nutrient dense, filling food, the less space there is for empty, useless food.
  5. MOVE. Move your body as often as you can, in as many ways as you can. Find a way that you like to move your body: dancing, running, walking, hiking, yoga, etc. The possibilities are endless. Think outside the box! Jessica and Sheena had the cute and clever idea of making up short, effective workouts to do while your Christmas baking is in the oven. A quick scan on Pinterest led to these, and there are many more ideas out there.

A favourite fun exercise that the three of us love is called the Squatty Potty. Make a pact with a couple of friends to do the Squatty Potty challenge for a full week. The challenge is to do 10 (or more!) squats every time you use the washroom. It’s silly and light hearted, but a good way to get moving. Every little bit helps!

Take care and enjoy this wonderful Christmas season with your friends and family.

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Balsamic Beef Stew

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Wellness With Joanna

I woke up to the sound of pouring rain this morning and immediately thought to myself that today is a good day for stew. A couple of hours later I got a text from my sister in law asking if I had any good stew recipes. Great minds think alike! There’s just something comforting about curling up with a bowl of hot stew while the rain comes down outside….

Ha! Who am I kidding? No mom ever gets to eat their stew while it’s still hot. I’m usually scarfing down my dinner as fast as I can while simultaneously doing the airplane move, trying to shovel food into my 1 year old’s mouth and chanting “You can do it!” to my 3 year old, desperately trying to convince her to eat her carrots. Bonus points if I can get the dirty dishes loaded before the 1 year old climbs out of his…

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A Healthful Thanksgiving – From My Family to Yours

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Wellness With Joanna

That has to be one of the best episodes of Friends, am I right?

My family celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving a week early this year, much to the delight of my turkey loving self. One of the great things about celebrating with my family is that we are all focusing on living healthy, balanced lifestyles, which makes family dinners fun, easy and no one is needing maternity pants.

I want to eliminate your excuses for hopping off the healthy bandwagon around holidays, so here’s the run down of what we ate and a few other recipes that I would like to try next year or some that I think sound delicious. I can’t do the grocery shopping or cooking for you, but these clickable links should save you some time.

As I have explained in previous posts, when it comes to holidays or special occasions, I don’t eat strictly Whole30 or Paleo…

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A Healthy Vacation – Part 2 – Camping

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I wish we could go back and do this trip all over again!

Wellness With Joanna

I’ve had an on again, off again relationship with camping my whole life. My (brave) parents took all four of us kids camping every single summer for as long as I can remember. And I’m not talking weekend camping, I’m talking 2-3 weeks at a time with no showers, no flushing toilets, no fancy RV. I loved it as a young kid, hated it as a moody teenager, and now I’m back to loving it as an adult. Looking back, I’m so incredibly grateful to them for giving us those amazing, natural, old school, get-outside-and-breathe-that-fresh-air kind of experiences. Just don’t tell them I said that.

I’ve been hearing all summer from people that it’s impossible or just too difficult to stay healthy on vacation, and especially while camping. I decided to try and prove them wrong. (Read Part 1 to see a detailed explanation of how we stayed healthy in…

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A Healthy Vacation – Part 1 – Whistler

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Throwback to last summer!

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Over the course of this summer, I’ve heard a lot of this:

“I’ll start eating healthy after my vacation is over.”

“It’s impossible to eat healthy on vacation.”

“It’s too hard to eat healthy while camping.”

“Whole30 is impossible on vacation.”

Of course, I took this on as a challenge to prove that it IS all possible, and that it’s not that difficult or time consuming with a little guidance and prep work. We had two short trips almost back to back, giving me two opportunities to test out my ideas. (Read Part 2 – Camping to see how we stayed healthy on our road trip to Alberta).

First, we got to spend a weekend in Whistler with our good friend and her daughter. We stayed in a lodge with a full kitchen, making this the easier of the two challenges. Still, we only had 2 nights there, and I…

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Whole30 Tips

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Wellness With Joanna

This post has been updated since it was originally published on 7/29/2014.

I’ve completed the Whole30 challenge a few times now and generally live a Whole30 lifestyle, but I still remember how overwhelmed I felt during my first challenge. Since then I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that will really increase your chance of success. I wish everyone success with their challenge, and here are my top eleven tips!

1) Choose a reward for yourself.

It may sound childish, but sometimes you just need a little extra push to complete something difficult. Before you start, choose some sort of reward for yourself to meditate on during the thirty days. It should go without saying, but do not use food as a reward. If you spend the thirty days dreaming of a huge ice cream sundae that you can’t wait to stuff into your face as soon as the challenge…

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On Why We Don’t Use the F Word – And Other Family Rules

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Wellness With Joanna

No, I’m not talking about THAT F-word.

In our home, we do not say the word fat. Ever. Sound extreme to you? Maybe. But if you’ve ever spent time in that dark place of self-loathing because you can’t seem to starve away every single tiny piece of fat from your body, then you will understand my intense feelings surrounding that word. (Someday I will write in more detail about that dark place, but not yet.)

That’s my sweet daughter Charley in that photo on her first day of preschool. She’s three and a half and as happy as can be. It kills me to know that because I have suffered from an eating disorder, and even though I consider myself healed, she is at a higher risk of developing one in her lifetime. I’ve read the research, and it’s enough to make some very firm rules for our household, to protect her…

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