All Posts Tagged ‘food

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Whole 30 – Week 2 – Meal Plan

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Hey there! Wow, this no caffeine thing has been ROUGH. For the first 3 days I had a non stop pounding headache, was exhausted during the day, and awake in the middle of the night. By day 4 I was feeling way better though, and I’m excited to see how things improve even more over the next few weeks.

Here’s my meal plan for this week. A few breakfasts that I will double, and leftovers for lunch every day. 

Breakfast:

Yams and Eggs (There isn’t much to this “recipe” but it’s one of my favourites. I chop the yams into cubes and fry them in coconut oil and steak spice until cooked through. I remove them from the pan and cover them to keep them hot. Then I quickly fry 2 eggs and put them on top of the yams. You could partially boil the yams at the beginning of the week to make them quick and easy to fry up in the morning.)

Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet

Potatoes with Kale and Bacon

Crustless Quiche

Dinner:

Mexican Meatza

Chocolate Chili on spaghetti squash

Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque (skip the corn)

Sweet Pineapple Ginger Meatballs 

Lemon Garlic Chicken on Zoodles and Kale

Italian Sausage and Zoodles

Moroccan Spiced Salmon

I suggest tripling the Chocolate Chili and Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque and freezing them for Whole30 emergencies. Those are two of my favourite recipes…you won’t be sorry!

Enjoy!

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A Healthy Vacation – Part 1 – Whistler

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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 wanted to spend as little of that time in the kitchen as possible, so I prepped almost everything ahead of time.

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Here’s a complete list of what I packed:

Green beans

Kale/Swiss chard mix, washed and torn

Yellow carrots

1 large zucchini

4 avocados

1 bunch of bananas

Cherries

Apples

1 dozen eggs, half of those hardboiled

Chicken (2 large bone-in breasts and 2 large thighs)

Homemade sausage patties

Homemade meatballs

Partially cooked diced yams

Cooked beets

Cashews

Larabars

Date/Coconut balls

Black coffee

At first glance, all that cooked food may look like a lot of prep work, but it really wasn’t. I like to keep it simple and use shortcuts.

For the chicken, I threw it all in a crockpot the night before with about 1 tbsp of rosemary, 1 tbsp of basil, 1 sliced lemon, salt and pepper, and drizzled olive oil on it. I let it cook all night on low, then let it cool in the morning and packed it away in tupperware. This took about 5 minutes of hands on time.

For the beets, I also used the crockpot. I scrubbed them, threw them in the crockpot and covered them with an inch or two of water. I cooked them on high for 2 hours. Once they cooled, I slid off the peels and then packed them in tupperware. Maximum ten minutes of hands on time.

The meatballs and sausage patties were what took the most time, and so I doubled both recipes knowing that I could use the extra for camping the next week. For the meatballs I used the Greek version of Melissa Joulwan’s meatballs. I packed half of them in a tupperware and froze the other half in a ziploc freezer bag for camping. For the sausage patties, I used my absolute favourite homemade sausage recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo, found here. I did the same as I did with the meatballs, packing half in a tupperware container and freezing the rest in a ziploc freezer bag for camping the next week. This only took about 30 minutes of hands on time the night before our trip.

While the meatballs and sausage patties cooked in the oven, I peeled and chopped about 6 small yams. I fried them in coconut oil but left them slightly hard so that they wouldn’t get mushy over the next few days. This took about 15 minutes of hands on time, and about 15 mins of frying time. 

The morning of our trip, I threw it all in a cooler and unloaded it all in the fridge once we arrived. Over the weekend, we simply ate different combinations of all these foods. Bonus, we came home with a ton of leftovers that we ate at home over the next couple of days. All of this food was Whole30 approved, and because I’m not actually doing the Whole30 challenge this month, eating this way for our 3 main meals a day left room for treats like this that I found at the Whistler Farmer’s Market:

applebaconpie

Apple Bacon Pie. Seriously.

Spending the small amount of time to do this ended up saving us a ton of money (dining out in Whistler is expensive!), a lot of frustration and exhaustion trying to keep our two wiggly children quiet and entertained at restaurants, and left us with so much extra time to explore and have fun. 

Try it, I know you can do it!

(Side note: I was so happy to bump into Caveman Grocer at the Whistler Farmer’s Market. Check her out!)

Kayaking in Whistler

Kayaking in Whistler

Morning run around Lost Lake, Whistler

Morning run around Lost Lake, Whistler

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Salmon and Lemon Pepper Zoodles

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This summer we’ve been enjoying so much wild salmon from the Community Supported Fishery that we are a part of. I’ve been experimenting with a bunch of different recipes (basically trying to find which one Charley will eat with the least amount of whining) and have found that this one that I have just barely adjusted from Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo is simple, delicious, and great for repurposing leftovers the next day. I have a hunch that Charley might actually like it, although she would never admit it.

I happily eat leftovers every day as a way to save time in the kitchen. When you cook absolutely everything from scratch, leftovers are a necessity. With that in mind, i reheated this salmon from last night’s dinner and added some simple zucchini noodles and red pepper, and it only took about 15 minutes of my time. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the salmon:

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1 lb wild salmon

1-2 tbsp of coconut oil

2 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary

Pinch of salt and pepper

For the zoodles:

1 large zucchini, spiralled into zoodles

5 baby bell peppers, chopped

2 tbsp Tessemae’s Lemon Chesapeake sauce

Directions

For the salmon:

1) Preheat your oven on the low broiler setting.

2) Place some tin foil on a baking sheet and grease with coconut oil.

3) Place the salmon skin side down on your baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4) Sprinkle the chopped rosemary on the salmon, and top the salmon with the lemon slices.

5) Broil on low for approximately 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your salmon.

For the zoodles:

1) Heat a large pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of Tessemae’s Lemon Pepper sauce.

2) Fry your peppers for a few minutes until they begin to soften.

3) Add your zoodles and combine with the peppers. Fry for 4-5 minutes, until they are softened to your liking.

4) Remove and place in a bowl or on a plate. Top with your leftover salmon.

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Tessemae’s sauces are Whole30 approved and a great addition to your kitchen. They make dishes like this super quick and easy! You can order them online or find them at Whole Foods.

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Whole30 Tips

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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 thirteen 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 is complete, then you are missing the point. (And you will end up with a really sore stomach!) Choose something more along the lines of a new pair of shoes, or a day at the spa. On those extra tough days during Whole30 (usually the first few days), look at photos of what you’ve set as your reward. Remind yourself that you can do it!

2) Surround yourself with those who support you.

To the average person, Whole30 sounds extreme. I’ve crossed paths with a lot of people who write it off as a crazy fad diet before actually knowing anything about it. Do not waste your time arguing and trying to convince those people. Avoid them during your Whole30 challenge and surround yourself with family and friends who love and support your lifestyle change. If you can’t find friends and family who support you, look online. The Whole30 community is huge and incredibly encouraging. Search Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and you will find thousands of people going through the challenge with you.

3) Do your research and know what you are getting into.

The official Whole30 website is fantastic. It’s clear and easy to understand. Make sure you read it and know what to expect. Know that you will probably feel worse before you feel better, and that this is normal and good! Take a look at this timeline to get an idea of what your thirty days will feel like.

4) Build your resources.

Now that Whole30 has gained so much popularity, there are never ending resources online. Spend some time looking at all of the recipes available online. A bunch of us foodies have already done all the work for you, so take advantage of it! Some of my favourite recipe resources are: Well Fed 1&2 By Melissa Joulwan and her blog, Nom Nom Paleo, and The Foodie. There are so many more, so keep looking!  Most of the recipes I post under ‘Cooking with Joanna’ are Whole30 approved or easily modifiable.

5) Meal plan.

Once you’ve found a bunch of recipes that you’re interested in, set up a meal plan and a corresponding grocery list. The first few times you do this it might seem time consuming, but as it becomes a habit and as you become more familiar with the foods you eat, it becomes easier and much faster. Now, I spend about thirty minutes, once a week, setting up my meal plan and grocery list for the next 7 days.

6) Meal prep.

Once you’ve set up your meal plan and shopped for your groceries, prepare those meals ahead of time as much as you can. Spend a couple hours at the beginning of the week chopping your vegetables, partially steaming your vegetables, and cooking your meat. You will be so glad you did! Melissa Joulwan teaches you how to prepare your meals in detail in her cookbooks Well Fed 1&2. I highly recommend them, as all the recipes are Whole30 approved.

7) Cook once, eat twice.

Leftovers are a huge key to surviving Whole30. Look through each recipe in your meal plan and decide which ones are the most simple to double or triple. I always double or triple any meatballs, hamburgers, soups, chilis or casseroles that I make. You can either eat the leftovers over the next few days just as they are, or repurpose them (use leftover meatballs to make a soup), or freeze them for future days in the month where you are too tired or too busy to cook a fresh meal.

8) Keep emergency food handy at all times.

Snacking is not encouraged during Whole30, but neither is starving yourself. During the first few days of your challenge, experiment with the size of your 3 meals a day to make sure you are eating enough to keep you satiated until your next meal. However, sometimes life gets in the way and we can’t eat our breakfast, lunch or dinner at a regular time. In this situation it is so helpful to have “emergency” Whole30 snacks easily available to you. I like to keep Larabars (you can buy them at Costco, but read your labels because not every flavour is approved), approved beef jerky, Energy Balls, hardboiled eggs, and meatballs either in my fridge or in my purse. The hungrier you become, the less likely you are to make a smart decision about food, so in a pinch, use a snack to stop you from making a poor food choice. Do not use these snacks if you are feeling bored, tired, or emotional. Only use them if you are legitimately hungry and will not be able to have a meal soon. (Side note: notice that all of these snacks are mainly protein. If you snack on fruit, you will be hungry in 10 minutes. Protein and healthy fats are the way to go for snacking.)

9) Read your labels.

The first grocery shop that you do during Whole30 will take twice as long as usual just because of all the label reading you will need to do. To avoid an accidental slip up, check the label on everything you buy. It is shocking how many products contain sugar, preservatives and soy. Be aware and watch out!

10) Focus on what you CAN have, not what you can’t have.

Yes, you need to memorize the list of foods you can’t have during the Whole30 program. But once you’ve done that, stop focusing on those foods and start to get excited about all the new vegetables, spices and herbs you are going to try. I kept this Whole30 Shopping List on my fridge during my first few rounds of Whole30 and it helped immensely.

11) Get outside.

If you are feeling tired and sluggish, get outside. Breathe in the fresh air. Remind yourself why you are doing this challenge. It is amazing how many times I find myself in a slump in the middle of the afternoon, and then when I force myself to go outside even just for a quick walk, my mood improves dramatically. Remind yourself that you are changing your life by doing this challenge, and that is very admirable!

12) Make sure you eat enough.

I hear lots of people complain that they are constantly hungry during Whole30. I take a look at what they’re eating and immediately see one of two problems. Either they’re eating toddler sized portions each meal, or they are not eating any carb-dense or starchy vegetables and healthy fats. If you are eating the same amount as your three year old, then yes, you will be hungry all the time. If you are trying to survive on a small chicken breast and spinach salad every day then yes, you will be hungry all the time. Make sure you include vegetables like yams, sweet potatoes, beets, broccoli and cauliflower, and healthy fats like avocados, olives and nuts. Your body needs them for so many reasons, one of them being to keep you full.

13) Don’t measure your success by the number on your scale.

Say it with me, your value has nothing to do with your weight. Absolutely nothing. Get that idea out of your head. Our society has pounded it into our minds, but I’m challenging you to spend the rest of your life erasing it from your psyche. Instead, be in tune with your body to notice more important changes. How are you sleeping? How do your nails, skin and hair feel? How is your mood? Energy level? Bloating? These are the results that are life changing, not a number on the scale.

I love this post on the topic of weight and the scale.


I’m so excited for you and wish you the best of luck! Feel free to comment and share your own tips or ask any questions. I would love to be a Whole30 resource for you!

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How Whole30 Changed My Life

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Have you heard of the Whole30 craze yet? It has gained a lot of popularity since I first discovered it a few years ago. I discovered Whole30 about 4 years after ‘recovering’ from an eating disorder. I had finished my therapy and was now trying to figure out how to live a balanced life. Even though I was finally eating three meals a day, my relationship with food was still so damaged. I found that if I tried to focus on getting in shape again and being healthy, it would trigger old habits too quickly and I would start to obsess and quickly become miserable again. If I went the other way and didn’t try at all, then I felt sluggish and heavy and guilty. I was using an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication to dull the guilt and anxiety surrounding food, but I knew I couldn’t do that forever. I hated my postpartum body but was too scared to try and fix it. I feared becoming ‘sick’ again, and I had sworn to myself I would never do that to my husband and daughter.

About a year and a half after my daughter was born, a friend of mine posted a food photo on Instagram with the hashtag #whole30. I asked her what it was, and got the run down: No grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, or alcohol for 30 days. This intrigued me! I jumped in without doing much research and not fully understanding the concept. I admit that I desperately wanted to lose a bit of weight and this seemed like a great way to do it. (Now, years later, I understand that the program is NOT meant for losing weight, although most people do lose weight on it).

Seven days into the program, I couldn’t believe how different I felt. My body was settling into a natural and comfortable weight. Energy was coursing through me for the first time since before puberty. I was able to eat and not feel guilty after. I was having fun experimenting with new foods and new ways to cook. My clothes were fitting differently and I had an overall feeling of lightness. I often joke that I even became more fertile than usual as I discovered that I had become pregnant with our son during the thirty days, completely by surprise.

By the end of the thirty days I felt fantastic. I was so happy with the results. I was convinced that everyone I knew needed to try the program! Unfortunately a few weeks later I became extremely ill while pregnant and could not stand the sight or smell of any protein and very few vegetables. For the rest of my pregnancy I survived on toast, apple juice, goldfish crackers and the occasional carrot. I undid all the good things accomplished during my first Whole30 challenge, but this time I knew how to fix it. I knew that as soon as my pregnancy was finished, I could do another round of Whole30 and get back on track.

Six weeks after my son was born, I did my second round. This time I researched a lot and read It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, the creators of Whole30. I learned the reasons behind it, how to properly reintroduce food after the thirty days, and how to live a balanced life after. I incorporated all kinds of exercise. Again the results were so fantastic and came quicker during the second round.

The best thing of all: I learned to stop seeing food as the enemy.  I learned that the number on the scale is meaningless. I learned that I don’t have to waste my time counting calories. I learned that strength is beautiful. I learned that it’s important for my children to see me eat and enjoy food and use food to give me energy. I learned to see food as fuel for my body.

I can’t even begin to explain the freedom I have experienced. Freedom from medication, freedom from guilt, freedom from self-hatred. I used to fall asleep at night in tears, hating myself and hoping that the next day I would be able to eat less and less and less until there was nothing left of me. Now, I fall asleep knowing that I’ve done my best for that day to show my children that food is wonderful, food is energy, food is strength. 

So, now what? Almost a year and a half after my second round of Whole30, this is how I live: All the food that I eat in my home is Whole30 approved. Because I am a stay at home mom, this makes up about 90% of my meals each week. When I go out for dinner with friends, holidays, or special occasions, I enjoy myself and eat whatever I feel like eating, knowing that I will most likely not feel my best the next day. I understand that when I do this, I am not choosing the best fuel for my body. But because I do not do this often, I am completely okay with those choices. There is no more guilt associated with poor food choices. I am not ‘cheating’ on some kind of diet; I am making conscious decisions. This kind of balance works for me. My body feels better than ever. I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I am a good example for my children. I feel healed.

If you feel guilty about your food choices, if your body feels exhausted, or if you just want to clean out your system, I really encourage you to check it out. Click here to check out the official program.

If you decide to try out the program or if you have any questions, I would love to be a resource for you. Almost all of my recipes filed under ‘Cooking with Joanna’ are Whole30 approved, and I think you’ll find my Ten Tips for a successful Whole30 very helpful. I am happy to answer any questions you might have and would love to offer encouragement! Follow me on Instagram at @wellnesswithjoanna also, as I am constantly collecting and sharing Whole30 approved recipes from other recipe bloggers. Happy Whole30-ing!

And PS – so much thanks to that friend for sharing her Whole30 experience on Instagram. You know who you are.

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Italian Sausage and Zoodles

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If you don’t have a vegetable spiralizer yet, you need to go get yourself one. Right now we are squeezing our little family into a basement suite and my kitchen is tiny, so I was thrilled when I found this little hand held one for $10 at Ross last week.

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However, someday when we are living in a bigger space with a bigger kitchen, I’m going to order this bad boy. But for right now I’m happy with my little one and it’s doing the job just fine. Look at these beautiful zoodles!

photo copy 2Zoodles are quick, easy, delicious, and a great substitute for pasta, which is what I used them for last night. This recipe makes enough for about 3 people. Enjoy!

Ingredients

5-6 large zucchini, spiralized into zoodles

1-2 tbsp olive oil

1 lb Italian sausage (pastured pork and sugar free)

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 garlic scapes, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1-2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1 jar of your favourite sugar free pasta sauce (I usually just blend fresh tomatoes with some Italian herbs rather than buying pasta sauce)

Directions

1) Heat a large pan over medium heat and pour approximately 1 tbsp of olive oil into it. Once heated, crumble the Italian sausage into the pan and add the bell pepper, carrot, onion and garlic scapes. Fry until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink.

2) Add the jar of pasta sauce and mix to combine. Lower the heat, put the lid on, and allow to simmer while you make your zoodles.

3) Heat another large pan over medium heat and pour approximately 1 tbsp of olive oil into it. Working in batches, fry your zoodles in the olive oil for 3-5 minutes or until softened.

4) Once all of your zoodles are softened, serve them with the sauce on top and sprinkled with fresh parsley. Enjoy!

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