All Posts Tagged ‘meal planning

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Whole30 Favourites – Week 2

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I’m dubbing this week the week of Ugly Food. Everything was delicious, I promise, even though my lame iPhone photos sure don’t make much look appetizing!

I love this part of the Whole30 because it’s when my energy really kicks in. This morning I was up and had tonight’s dinner in the crockpot by 8am and let me tell you, that NEVER happens. I am NOT that person. (Seriously, ask my husband. Mornings are not pretty around here.) I’m currently feeling like a total Super Mom/Wife, and it’s only 9:32am…I’ll get back to you on that though, because I don’t see that feeling lasting all day. Ha!

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Top: Healing Chicken Soup by Stupid Easy Paleo. This was so delicious and soothing! We’ve had all kinds of sick bugs in our house these past two weeks so this soup was perfect. Next time I will double or triple the batch.

Bottom far left: Artichoke Chicken Lemon Pasta by PaleOmg. I loved this. I love pesto and will be using this pesto recipe for other recipes as well as this one again. I’m not sure why the colour of mine was so weird, but it tasted great and even reheated just fine.

Bottom second from left: Old faithful! Soft boiled eggs on Sweet Potato and Zucchini Hash. I used to always pan fry this recipe but lately I’ve been spreading it all on a baking sheet and baking it in the oven to save time. It gets nice and crunchy that way and I don’t have to stand over the pan, constantly mixing it.

Bottom middle: One of my all time favourites that I have been craving lately – Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque by my lovely friend Renee Jordan. I make this soup pretty regularly and in big batches. Try it and you’ll see why!

Bottom second from right: This was just a simple salad of mixed greens, prawns fried in coconut oil and Flavor God seasoning, with beets and pumpkin seeds. This was at the end of my grocery week so it’s lacking in colour and more vegetables, but it was yummy and filling none the less.

Bottom far right: This was a weird experiment that looked terrible but tasted fantastic. I used the Jerk Chicken recipe from Well Fed 2 by Melissa Joulwan but subbed scallops for chicken. The entire recipe is not available unless you buy the book (so go buy it!) but the seasoning recipe can be found here, on her fantastic blog. I served it on cauliflower rice, and it reheated well for leftovers the next day.

Right now I’ve got Puerco Pibil in my crockpot for dinner tonight, and it smells fantastic. I’ll share it with you next week with the rest of my favourites.

Eat well, move your body, and enjoy your week!

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Whole 30 – Week 5 – Meal Plan

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Only two more days! Congratulations to everyone who has held on this far. Now the most important part is coming next: Life After Whole30. Don’t mess this up! Carefully re-introduce foods in the proper manner. You’ve worked hard so please don’t throw it all away now.

Breakfast:

Sausage Egg Cups

Spicy Breakfast Stew (I’m sure by now you guys have become accustomed to eating weird stuff for breakfast!)

Meat Crust Quiche

Dinner:

Beef Pot Roast

Baked Garlic Mushroom Chicken

Grilled Flank Steak with Cilantro Balsamic Marinade

Spicy Shrimp Butternut Squash “Rice” with Tomatoes

Italian Chopped Salad

Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

Crockpot Pulled Pork Chili

Previously:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

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Whole 30 – Week 4 – Meal Plan

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Breakfast:

Zucchini Fritters

Potatoes O’Brien

Sweet Potato Quiche

Dinner:

Spicy Sausage and Potato Soup (Add more veggies!)

Paleo Butter Chicken (Skip the Naan…sorry guys. Use cauliflower rice instead.)

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken and Gravy

Slow Cooker Sausage Stuffed Peppers  

Spicy Pineapple Chili (This is one of my favourite recipes to double or triple and freeze.)

Lemon Pepper Spaghetti Squash with Scallops and Kale

Salmon with Avocado Salsa

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Whole 30 Meal Plan – Week 3

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Week 3! Finally in the second half of Whole30 where everything starts feeling gooooooood. I can’t believe that I can wake up now and actually function without coffee. I definitely still miss the taste, but I’m so glad that I’m not relying on it.

What do you find the most challenging about Whole30? For me it’s definitely the social functions. I hate being the odd one out, not eating yummy treats at a ladies night or dinner get together. I also hate turning down food that has been cooked for me by someone who loves me. A friend of mine had me over last night and baked a wonderful looking gluten free peanut butter pie and I felt awful for turning it down. I REALLY hate being thought of as the girl who is always on a “diet”. That’s not at all who I am, but when you give the 30 second Whole30 run down to someone, it can certainly come across that way.

However, with all that being said, I’ve found that most of those people at those social functions eventually come to me later wanting more information about Whole30. I’ve seen a lot of them change their lifestyle around completely, and then it’s all worth it, right? We’re spreading the Good Food Word. Plus, no hangover, no food baby, and no extra toilet time.

Here’s what I’m eating this week.

Breakfast:

Paleo Sausage Egg “McMuffin”

Baked Yam and Brussel Sprout Hash

Sweet and Savoury Quiche 

Dinner:

Easy Paleo Pot Roast

Roasted Nectarine Salsa on Wild Salmon

Healthy Braised Pulled Pork

Vegetable and Mango Curry With Basil-Ginger Quinoa (Use cauliflower rice instead of quinoa, chicken instead of chickpeas, and coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.)

Cabbage Rolls

Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon

Bacon Chorizo Chipotle Smothered Meatloaf (I always skip the almond flour here and have no problem, but it IS approved to use on Whole30 for this recipe if you wish to use it.)

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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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Whole30 – Week 1 – Meal Plan

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I’m doing the official Whole30 challenge again! The first time around, I was just focused on SURVIVAL. It gets easier every time, and so this round I’m adding a new challenge. This will be my first time completely cutting out caffeine. I only drink 1 cup of plain black coffee in the mornings and the occasional coffee in the afternoon or evening if I’m at a special occasion or family event, but I’ve recently had some adrenal issues and so I’m interested to see if cutting it out completely will make a noticeable difference. Right now I really treasure my steaming cup of coffee every morning so this is definitely going to be difficult for me. Wish me luck!

One of my most important tips for completing a successful Whole30 is meal planning. I really enjoy meal planning and so I’ll be posting my weekly plans here for any of you who don’t enjoy it or need inspiration or ideas for recipe resources.

Each week I will post 7 dinners and 3-4 breakfasts. I will double my breakfast recipes for leftovers, and I will eat dinner leftovers for lunch each day. (Another tip for Whole30: cook once, eat two or three times.) Remember to make sure any sauces and meats are sugar free. These are the base recipes for each meal, but I will add steamed veggies, roasted veggies or huge salads to all of these meals.

Hope this helps!

Breakfast

Eggs in Purgatory by Nom Nom Paleo

Breakfast Skillet

Breakfast Hash 

Apple Pork Breakfast Sausage by SEP, sautéed swiss chard, and fried yams.

Dinner 

Jalapeño Lime Chicken Wings by SEP

Garlic Pork and Cauliflower Rice (Crockpot) by Paleomg

Lemon Roast Chicken by Jamie Oliver

Thai Pork and Veggie Meatballs by Paleomg (skip the honey)

Lemon Rosemary Salmon by Diane Sanfilippo

Mango and Avocado Salsa on Salmon by Nom Nom Paleo

Balsamic Beef Roast by Civilized Caveman (skip the white wine)

Never heard of Whole30? Check out the official website, and read about how it completely changed my life.

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Life After Whole30

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So you’ve completed the Whole30 challenge, but now what? How do you make this work in real life? After some trial and error and multiple Whole30 challenges, I’ve found what works for me, and I think this process will help you find what works for you too. 

Step 1: Reintroduction

I really messed this part up after my first Whole30 challenge. If I remember correctly, I ended my challenge with a binge meal at Olive Garden of all places. In a single large meal I reintroduced dairy, gluten, alcohol and sugar. Trust me, this is NOT the way to celebrate! Needless to say I ended up on the toilet pretty soon after my meal, but I had no idea which one of those things caused it.

A lot of people miss this incredibly important step of the process: reintroducing the food groups that you have cut out for 30 days. You’ve successfully cleansed your body from all potentially harmful food, and now is your chance to see what kind of reaction your body will have to each of these foods, telling you whether or not you should eliminate them completely.

While still keeping your diet Whole30 compliant, reintroduce a food group, one at a time, and wait three days before reintroducing the next previously restricted food group. During those three days, be in tune with your body and keep a close watch for any changes. Watch for all kinds of reactions, ranging from sluggishness, bloating, or pimples, to diarrhea, constipation, or stomach cramps. After 3 days, while still keeping your diet Whole30 compliant, reintroduce another food group. Watch for changes in how you feel. Repeat this process until you’ve reintroduced all of the food groups that you feel like you missed out on during your Whole30 challenge. Don’t bother reintroducing foods that you did not miss and are not interested in including in your diet.

It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig goes into a more detailed description of how to do this and I highly recommend buying it. You can also find their complete reintroduction plan on their website, Whole30.

Here is a sample schedule of how you could reintroduce food. This is just the order I chose to reintroduce foods into my every day diet but you can alter it to your preferences and needs.

Day 1 (Day 31 of Whole30): Reintroduce dairy. Throughout the day, add some cheese, milk or yogurt to your regular meals. Watch for signs of intolerance. Many people get stomach cramps, pimples, a runny nose and congestion from dairy products. Decide how you feel and if it is “worth it” to add dairy back to your regular diet. For myself, dairy gives me dark circles under my eyes, a runny nose the next day, and a general feeling of tiredness. Because of this, I keep it out of my regular diet. However, because it doesn’t send me running to the toilet or give me intense stomach cramps, I have no problem indulging in some dairy as a treat once in while at a birthday party or similar situation. I know I won’t feel my best the day after, but it’s not going to make me extremely ill.

Day 4 (Day 35 of Whole30): Reintroduce grains/gluten. Have a bagel or some toast, some crackers and maybe some rice throughout the day. Just as you did with the dairy, pay attention to any reactions you may have. For myself, bread make me constipated and sluggish. I hate how I feel for 24 hours after I eat it and so I avoid it as much as possible. Some grains bother me less than others but almost all make me feel sluggish and so I keep them out of my regular diet.

Day 7 (Day 39 of Whole30): Reintroduce sugar. This was such an eye opener for me. I had no idea how sensitive I am to sugar until I did this reintroduction. Just a handful of M&M’s can give me a major sugar crash about 20 minutes after indulging. With the exception of high quality very dark chocolate, I reserve sugar for special occasions. I rarely sweeten things in my regular diet, but if I do then I use organic raw honey or organic maple syrup in small quantities.  Pay special attention during this evaluation as the signs may not be as physical and obvious as they can be with gluten or dairy.

Step 2: Eating Well for Your Body

So now you know which foods irritate your body and which foods make you feel great. You’ve decided which foods are worth adding back into your regular diet either consistently (every day), moderately (2-3x per week), or rarely, for special occasions. Now you get to practice this in your life and get comfortable with your new way of eating. Learning to meal plan and meal prep takes time at first, but with practice it becomes quicker and simpler. It used to take me a few hours each week to make my meal plan, write out the corresponding grocery list, and chop/prepare my food for the week ahead, but now I spend approximately 20-30 minutes making my meal plan and shopping list and maybe another 30 minutes preparing food.

Every Sunday I receive an email from my CSA group letting me know what veggies I will be receiving on the following Tuesday. Once I’ve skimmed the email and got an idea of the contents, I sit down and make my meal plan. I thumb through my favourite cookbooks (Against All Grain, The Paleo Kitchen, Well Fed 1&2, Practical Paleo, Nom Nom Paleo, etc) and find recipes that use the produce I will be receiving. I choose 7 dinners and 3 or 4 smaller meals for breakfast and lunch. As I write down the title of the meal and page number of the cookbook it’s from, I jot down any extra ingredients that I will need to buy on a separate piece of paper, and that is my grocery list for the week. (With more and more practice and exploring, I’m aiming to make this extra ingredients list as small as possible so that I am using only what comes in my CSA box.)

When I receive my CSA box on Tuesday, I wash and chop most of my vegetables and separate them into produce bags or glass containers. If I know that I have an exceptionally busy week ahead, I will chop and partially cook any yams, potatoes or beets. You can partially steam any dense vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, or you can also pre-shred your zucchini and yams for Breakfast Hash. If I have any vegetables left by the end of the week, I throw them all together in a Breakfast Skillet.

Each week I visit my local butcher shop and get just enough meat for the week, corresponding with the meals I have planned for. I ask them to wrap it all separately for each individual meal so it defrosts quicker on the day I need it. In Well Fed 1 and 2, Melissa Joulwan lays out a detailed description of how to cook and prep your meat for the week. I have the time to cook mine fresh each day, so I don’t follow her plan, but I know others who do and find it extremely helpful.

I cook once and eat two or three times from that meal. I love leftovers and never let any food go to waste. I often eat leftover dinner for breakfast, and leftover breakfast for lunch.

Why?

Where do I even begin? Because I’ve never felt so strong as I do now, after about 1.5 years of consistently eating this way. Because I no longer have any guilt related to my food choices. Because by choosing to live this way, I can keep up with my 3 year old and 1 year old and still have energy to spare. Because I’m free from the anxiety and confusion surrounding my food choices. Because I’m showing my children that this lifestyle is a real, attainable and sustainable way to live.

Read more about why and how Whole30 Changed My Life and helped me recover from years of disordered eating.

Some of my favourite meal planning resources:

Nom Nom Paleo

The Clothes Make the Girl

Against All Grain

PaleOmg

Civilized Caveman

Photograph by the incredibly talented Vanessa Voth Photography.