Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Whole30 • The Last 15

We finally finished the Whole30!

If you didn't know already, my family and I have taken the last 30 days and changed our eating habits through the Whole30 Program. I posted an update halfway through the program and I figured I ought to post an update at the end.

We've technically reached the "end" of the program, but I don't have any intentions of going back to the way we used to eat.

It's the end, but it's so not the end. If you know what I mean.

In the first 15 days I saw many changes in my skin, weight, energy levels, and even my eyelashes (yes please).

And in the last 15 days?

I chose to do the Whole30 (and basically made the rest of my family) so that we could be healthy overall. I wanted to see if sickness, skin irritations, intestinal discomfort, lack of energy, etc etc would show any change.  We lead a pretty busy life and it seemed like we were constantly exhausted and sluggish; not to mention the fact that my one year old was sick almost every week with one sickness or another. And we already were eating pretty healthy!!

It's amazing what some simple changes in your diet will do.

Let me just tell you what we DON'T have after 30 days...

Unexplained sickness
Sensitive skin
Little to no energy
Constipation (oh come know you've had it too)
Unexplained grogginess
LOVE HANDLES!! (ya, I'm excited about this one)

Losing weight was so not the point, but it was an added bonus...bye bye baby weight! I lost a total of 19 pounds (which was the rest of my baby some). The last time I weighed what I do now I was in highschool! Outside of needing to tighten those abs up a little, I'm in the best shape I think I've ever been in. I do exercise regularly though, so that definitely played a part.

My skin has remained almost completely clear. At one point in the last few weeks I ate something that had added sugar ( accident. I didn't know!) By the end of the day my face and back were broke out. (ew.) I couldn't believe how quickly my body reacted after having been clean for only a few weeks. It was a big eye opener for me.

My energy levels are pretty consistent now, and unless I pull an all-nighter with the baby I stay pretty focused and alert all day long. It feels so good to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and maintain that feeling throughout the day.

And this is my favorite part of our Whole30 experience...

For the first time in a year my son has been sickness free for a consecutive 30 days. (I thought back to when he started getting sick all the time and realized it was when I switched him over to cows milk.) His appetite has easily tripled and he is thoroughly enjoying almost every vegetable I feed him. He is eating more servings of vegetables each day than the average adult. As a parent, I am amazed at his transformation the most. He's even happier and more well-mannered!

I HIGHLY recommend you consider this program. I've read and heard quite a few negative comments suggesting that this is a "crash diet" or that it's "extremely unhealthy because our bodies NEEEEED grains." I think its important to consider that much of what we eat either isn't what our bodies were ever intended to have, or it includes ingredients that are not healthy. Our bodies may neeeed grains, but not chemically modified ones. And the truth is, if you do this only to lose wight and then jump right back into your unhealthy habits as soon as it's over, then you will probably see "crash diet" results.

For us this wasn't a was a life lesson.
And we don't regret it one bit.

So here is  a breakdown of the last 15 days... (any repeats from the previous 15 days will be linked to my first Whole30 post)

Taco egg scramble
Sliced strawberries

Garlic chicken
Roasted broccoli

I used leftover taco meat in our scrambled eggs. Topped with salsa, avacado, and cilantro it's seriously one of my new favs. 

To roast broccoli, toss cut broccoli florets in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400 for about 15 minutes, or until tender. 

Scrambled eggs with onion and mushrooms
Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries

Tacos on romaine with salsa and fresh guacamole

Cajun chicken
Roasted asparagus
Apples with cinnamon

I seasoned my taco meat with salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and a few red pepper flakes.

Taco egg scramble
Fresh grapefruit


Scrambled eggs with spinach, onions, and mushrooms
Turkey sausage links
Bananas with cinnamon

Venison steak with balsamic mushrooms and onions
Roasted dijon green beans

Balsamic dijon burger topped with a fried egg
Sweet potato with cinnamon and coconut oil

Scrambled eggs with sausage, onions, and roasted broccoli
Slice strawberries
Honeydew melon
Bananas with cinnamon

Berry and spinach smoothie

Cinnamon coconut coffee creamer
Chocolate coconut coffee creamer

The smoothie is equal parts strawberries, raspberries, and frozen blueberries, one banana, two cups of spinach, 1/2 cup coconut cream, and a little water.

Okay, these coconut creamers are my FAV! In my first post I referenced a vanilla coconut cream, which was tasty, but didn't quite hit the spot for me. I'm kind of a coffee creamer snob. So I set out to make my own version.

Place two cans of full fat, unsweetened coconut milk (I like this brand) in the fridge until completely chilled (a few hours). Take 5 or 6 medjool dates and place them in a coffee cup and just barely cover with warm water (about 1/2 cup). I intended to let them soak for 10 minutes, but then I forgot about them...For three hours. Oops! Oh well, happy accident! Take the coconut milk from the fridge, flip the cans upside down (don't shake), open, and drain off the liquid. Scoop out the cream and add to a food processor with the soaked dates and the water they soaked in. I ran this through the food processor until the dates were as fully incorporated as I could get them and then split the creamer in half. To one half, add cinnamon. (I didn't measure, but I'm assuming 1 tsp...or add to taste.) To the other half add 100% cocao powder (Hershey's special dark is what I used)...I didn't measure this either, but I'm thinking about 1TBSP... or to taste. Once I split the cream and added my add-ins, I individually ran them through the food processor again to fully incorporate the ingredients. Refrigerate. Once cold it's thick like whipped cream...and tastes SOOO good.

Scrambled eggs with salsa and cilantro

Coffee with cinnamon coffee creamer (referenced above)


Obviously I didn't take photos of my food this day... I can't remember why. BUT these cashews were my favorite snack through my Whole30. 

Balsamic venison steak
Roasted broccoli
Roasted butternut squash

Fried bananas in coconut oil and cinnamon

The recipe for the broccoli is referenced earlier in this post. Toss the squash in olive oil, sea salt, and cinnamon and roast at 400 for about 20 minutes, or until tender.

Ok these bananas were so good. SO GOOD. If you have texture issues then you might not like these (they're soft in the middle), BUT if you don't...then these will rock your world. (Ok maybe just mine)

Slice a banana into 1/2 inch slices and lightly top with cinnamon. Heat a tbsp of coconut oil in a pan. When the oil is hot place the banana slices cinnamon side down and sprinkle cinnamon again. It's important that your oil is hot and that you only flip these once, otherwise you'll lose the carmely coating on the outside and just be left with squishy bananas. Once the underside is browned (or carmely and slightly crunchy) flip. Fry for a few more minutes until both sides are done and serve.

Sliced apples with cinnamon coconut cream

Chicken fajitas on romaine with salsa and fresh guacamole

The cinnamon coconut cream is just a scoop of the refrigerated coffee creamer.

Slice chicken breasts into thin strips and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Marinate with 1/4 cup of olive oil in a ziploc for 1/2 hour. Slice onion and colored bell peppers (I used green and red) and very lightly season with the same seasonings. Fry the veggies and chicken separately (so they'll be done at the same time), preferably in a skillet. Serve in romaine leaves and top with salsa, guacamole, and cilantro.

Fajita egg scramble
Sliced avocado
Sliced bananas
Sliced peaches

Grilled steak
Roasted zucchini and summer squash
Roasted sweet potato

Balsamic chicken
Leftover roasted zucchini and summer squash
Leftover roasted sweet potato
Sliced avocado

I just cut up some leftover fajita meat and fajita veggies and added it to our eggs. Topped with salsa, this was an incredibly tasty breakfast.

I always butterfly my chicken so that it is a consistent thickness when it cooks...also I prefer a thinner piece of chicken because it doesn't dry out as easily. Season the chicken and fry in olive oil about 6 minutes on one side. When you flip the chicken, toss balsamic vinegar on top and continue to fry about 3 minutes. Flip and rotate about every 2 minutes so that the balsamic glaze will cover the whole piece of chicken. Continue this until the meat is cooked through. This is one of my favorite Whole30 recipes.

Balsamic cauliflower
Sliced avocado
Baked sweet potato with coconut oil and cinnamon

Season the cauliflower and steam it in a little bit of chicken stock. When it's almost done remove the lid and add balsamic vinegar and sautée until the vinegar turns to glaze and coats the cauliflower.

Grilled hamburger with dijon
Grilled zucchini fries
Sliced apples with cinnamon
Sliced honeydew melon

Italian chicken tenders with sautéed onions in tomato sauce
Roasted butternut squash
Frozen blueberries

Pumpkin pie smoothie

I made the italian chicken very similar to the way I did in the link...except I added balsamic vinegar to the onions and I used more tomato paste...a lot more.

Ok...pumpkin pie smoothie. Totally desserty...but oh em good. This actually started out as a pumpkin spice coffee creamer. I made the creamer the same way I did with the cinnamon and chocolate (mentioned earlier) only to one half of the coconut cream I added (approx.) 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, a few shakes of pumpkin pie spice, a few shakes of cinnamon. (The other half I did chocolate again) You really can't mess this up...just adjust it to taste. I put this in the fridge with intentions of letting it chill for coffee the next morning....and then I decided to blend some with ice.
Best. Decision. Ever.

Scrambled eggs with balsamic ground beef and onions

Chocolate pumpkin spice shake

Grilled chicken
Baked sweet potato with coconut oil and cinnamon
Sliced apples
Sliced honeydew melon

Breakfast was kind of an experiment this day. I browned some ground beef in balsamic. It was good, but not my all time favorite.

This chocolate pumpkin spice shake was the best treat I made the whole 30 days. I took about 1/2 cup each of pumpkin spice creamer and chocolate creamer (that I mentioned earlier) and blended with ice. So good.

So, the thirty days are over.
At approximately 12:01 a.m. on day 31 my husband ate a custard filled, chocolate covered long john donut. (ok I ate a teeny, tiny bite too)

I instantly had a headache. It sounds dramatic, but it was insane how sweet it was.

We really like how healthy we feel and want to keep it that way. We wont keep a strict "don't ever break the rules" diet, but we'll continue many of the eating habits we've learned over the past thirty days.

If you're doing The Whole30 Program or considering it I hope these posts help!

Here's a couple of links I referenced often:
The Whole30 Program
The Whole30 Shopping List
The Whole30 Forum
The Official "Can I Have?" Guide