Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Guacamole: A VegOut Inspired Love Letter

Guacamole is amazing for so many reasons. Here are a few of my personal favorites: It’s DELICIOUS, it’s easy to make so also-- hard to screw up. You can dip things into it, you can plop it on top of things, or you can just grab a fork/spoon/finger and eat it all by itself.

Guacamole is also magical. When I make a meal for my kids I often put sliced avocado on their plates. Half of the time they just eat it without comment and the other half I get a “I don’t like avocados, REMEMBER?” That’s when I feel like reminding them they happily ate avocados two days ago for lunch, but, you know, pick your battles. I take their plates, scrape the avocado into a bowl and mash it with a fork. Here’s where the magic happens…  I sometimes honestly don’t add one thing, I just mash them, put it back on their plates and then my kitchen blows up with all kinds of “Oh, GUACAMOLE! I love this. It’s the best EVER.” So there’s something we can all agree on.

Making guacamole is pretty fool proof and almost every recipe you see will offer a measurement and then say “or to taste” because it’s really about what you like. When you have a recipe like that it is always a good one to plan ahead and get your kids involved. The only special tool I would recommend is a potato masher for young kids. It tends to be easier than a fork for them to handle and mash with.

Step 1: mash
First things first: Find some medium sized non-breakable bowls that your kids can go to town on with a fork or a masher. Next set out a big selection of things they can add and let them get busy. That’s what my kids love to do. Some ideas for things you can experiment with when you make your own guac:  kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, red onion, white onion, green onion, onion powder, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, lemon juice, minced garlic, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne or your favorite hot sauce.

Step 2: sprinkle, switch to fork
Even though I have a recipe, in real life I never follow the same recipe twice. I see what I have in the fridge, throw in a pinch of this or that until it tastes just right. Make sure and keep some extra veggies on hand, because (another magical quality) guacamole is a vegetable (and also technically a fruit) that you can dip other vegetables in. Pure genius. We like to put out sweet peppers, carrots, celery, tomato slices, hollowed out cherry tomatoes, raw and roasted cauliflower, and the list goes on. If you have these out while the kids are busy mashing, they automatically have something to dip and try out their creations.

Step 4: Dump
Here are two of my favorite guacamole combos. The one I make most often for the kids is quick and easy. The other one is great when you have a group and all of the ingredients on hand. I cut the quick recipe down to 1 avocado portion so you can multiply by the number of avocados you use. The other needs a few more to back up the fresh garlic and jalapeno. Both recipes use large hass avocados that will be close to the size of your hand from wrist to mid fingers.

Quick and Easy Guacamole
1 large haas avocado
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp maldon flaked salt or ¼ tsp of regular kosher salt
a few cranks of fresh pepper
1 to 2 tsp of lime juice
Throw it all in a bowl and mash. Taste and adjust flavors as needed.

Party Guacamole
3 large haas avocados
1 clove of garlic, minced
¼ of a red onion, finely chopped
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2-3 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped
1 medium jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
3 tsp maldon flaked salt or 1 ½ tsp regular kosher salt
1 lime, juiced (should be 2 tablespoons of juice)
Throw it all in a bowl and mash. Taste and adjust flavors as needed.

If you ever find yourself with fresh pico de gallo, you can make the easiest guacamole in the world by throwing it on top of fresh avocados and mashing away. 

My last bit of guacamole love is reserved for how much it helps me introduce new foods to my kids, making it a perfect tool when you VegOut with your family. Certain foods that seem a little different are much friendlier when you can dip them in guacamole. It helps us get past that initial new appearance or strong flavor hurdle.  Get creative with your guacamole and have fun with your kids in the kitchen. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Getting Ready to VegOut!

Our house is about to VegOut! for the third year in a row, and I’m so excited to get my kids back in the kitchen trying new vegetables and new recipes.   As a mom who splits time between home and the office, it’s easy for me to fall out of the habit of involving my kids in all the cooking prep and execution that happens between “what would you like to eat?” and “dinner is ready.” Doing VegOut! as a family gets everyone involved in the shopping, cooking and eating process. Involved kids are excited kids and excited kids try new foods!

Taking on 30 days of 30 vegetables with young children does have its challenges, but it also has huge benefits. One of the biggest ways to combat picky eating later in life is to introduce your children to as many different foods as possible between the ages of 4 months and 2 years. My son was eight months old for his first VegOut! and will be two and a half this time around. I am really excited about tracking our vegetables on the new free app this year. The instant gratification that it provides is going to be a huge hit with my almost five year old, and I’m looking forward to easy access to all of the great recipes and prep ideas.

Roasted red pepper sauce with helpers.
Parents have a tendency to get a little stressed when it comes to the food their kids eat. Is it healthy enough? Are they eating enough? Are they eating too much? I’ve learned a few things along the way that helped make this a fun and stress free event for our family.

When kids have power they have ownership in the situation and they are more likely to enjoy being part of it all. Let them pick out a new vegetable at the farmer’s market or grocery store. Pull out a cookbook or go online and discuss the different ways you can prepare the veggies, and then let them decide which way they want to try. Find some age appropriate tasks for them to take on in the prep/cooking process.
I did a 30 day program that required me to sit down at a table for every meal. As a consequence I ate a lot more meals with my kids. It was a huge eye opener. When I was having something different from them, they always wanted to try a bite. This led to my 2 year old requesting hot sauce and kale for his scrambled eggs, and my 4 year old eating grapefruit and spinach salad. Eating together also creates a familial environment where you are less likely to face a power struggle over food.
Growing up it was usually “you have to finish your plate” or “you have to eat all of your vegetables.” I knew the rules ahead of time and that my mom was sticking to her guns. To eliminate a lot of back and forth, start smart and try to create meals for your kids that are balanced and healthy. Here is the number one rule in our kitchen: You have to try everything on your plate. If you take a bite and decide you don’t want to eat it today, that is totally fine, but you HAVE TO TRY IT. If you have a really picky eater and need a baby step, then start with licking and lead into biting and chewing. Celebrate the small steps and you’ll get there eventually.
A hungry child is much more likely to try something new or different. A hungry toddler also does a lot less fork banging and feeding the dog from the table (is that just my kids?) and a lot more shoveling food into his sweet little mouth.

Not a fan of the roasted red pepper juice.

Fun is contagious. The number one thing your kids want is to have fun with you. Make a plan that fits your family, get your kids involved and HAVE FUN together. Let them start to chop vegetables, let them crack an egg and spill half of it on the floor, make the kitchen a fun and safe zone to learn and try new things. Realize that the green beans your three year old devoured yesterday might be her worst enemy tomorrow, and that’s ok. Young kids are more than a little unpredictable. Don’t let one bad reaction cause you to put a food in the “dislike” category. Kids change their minds from one second to the next. Enjoy and embrace the momentary chaos. And last of all -- age appropriate kitchen clean up. Four year olds love to sweep and two year olds are really good at throwing trash away.

So get out there and get ready to VegOut with your kids or your students or your friends. Make sure and join the party online using hashtag #VegOut2016. Track your veggies and find recipes on the VegOut app. Get in the kitchen and have some fun! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Whole30 Results and Throwing Out the Scale

First, scales aren't totally meaningless, but the number they shoot back at you is. I'm not talking about people with real health problems who might have perfectly good and necessary reasons for having a scale or needing to know how much they weigh. I'm talking about people like me. People who step on a scale at least every other day to see what the number will say. People who step on a scale for vanity, assigning power to the loss of pounds. But here's the thing.. how much you weigh doesn't even come close to defining what you look like, what your body shape is, or how healthy you are. 

One of the Whole30 rules was that you couldn't weigh yourself for the entire 30 days of the program. So after I weighed myself on Day 0 I took the scale and put it at the top of my linen closet. Out of sight out of mind. I'm sure there are lots of reasons why this is a rule, but in my life it helped me to focus on how things were changing without getting hung up on a number. 

If this picture was a feeling.. I have felt it.

I'll come back around to the numbers later, but here are some of the things I loved about the Whole30:

  • Portion Sizes
    If there is one thing that will make me fail on an eating program, it's limiting my food. I need a program that says "here are the right foods, and fill up your plate." That's what this did. Eventually you get less ravenous and things even out, but I am still in shock that I didn't go up a size in clothes with all of the food I was eating. Especially all of the homemade mayo. I am officially a mayo person.
  • It's Challenging
    This seems like a weird thing to love, but it's empowering because it is a challenge. I know I have issues with some foods. It's hard to get over emotional ties or longstanding history. Just so we are clear, I am still talking about food. Doing this for 30 days showed me that I can be more powerful than a craving. Discovering that power gave me power in other things. It's like a self esteem up-cycle.

  • FREE Resources for DAYSSS
    You don't have to buy the books. You can do this entire thing very easily with the power of the internet. The Whole30 website has every tool that you can get in the book except the recipes. But all you have to do is google "Whole30 recipes" and there are TONS of things right at your fingertips. Want to know if something is compliant? Google it. Because this program has been around for a few years, someone, somewhere has asked your question. And someone answered it. Google can find it all for you. Can't tell you how many times I used my phone to check for compliant ingredients. One of my best days was when I found out San Daniele Prosciutto was compliant. And melons are in season.
  • The Whole30 Community
    There are TONS of strangers on the internet who REALLY want to help you make it through your Whole30. They want you to succeed. Strangers who taught me why my first attempt at homemade mayo failed. Strangers who suggested I eat more sweet potatoes (that's a good stranger) and strangers that told me to drink even more water. Strangers who cook things that you see and then you are like "shit I forgot about monkey salad!" and your life changes for the better. 

Now the results. At the end of my 30 days (before I step on a scale) here is where I am:
  • A Better Me
    I'm happier. I can say that without a doubt. It's nothing to do with "I'm happier with my physical appearance," I'm just happier. I feel more optimistic. I don't get anxious about things, and that's coming from someone who at one time in her life got anxious about everything. I am more fun to be around and that makes me a better wife and a better mom. The ripple effect means that my relationships are working, my kids are happy, my marriage is strong. Because when you work on yourself, things around you kind of magically become better, too.
  • Solid Sleep
    One night over this 30 day period, I swear I woke up in the exact same position I went to sleep in. It's the same amount of sleep, but the quality is so high. It makes a huge difference in my mornings and my days.
  • Clearer Skin
    I was hoping the Whole30 would completely clear up some random eczema problem areas I have, and while it did improve them, I would probably have to live a very clean long term life to get rid of them. My skin in general though was much clearer and the areas I usually put concealer on weren't red anymore. Since I don't wear makeup every day, that was an easy one to tell. So dark circles and red t-zone became even toned and non greasy.
  • Energy on Retainer
    It's not energizer bunny energy, it's energy that is there when I need to use it. When I do use it it's consistent and not up and down. I don't have an afternoon crash anymore, and that is huge with the kids. They want to go everywhere and do everything, and they should. Now I can better facilitate our adventures.
  • Speaking of the Kids
    The Whole30 rules asked me to sit down to a meal 3 times a day. I found myself often sitting at the table with my kids eating. They want to try what I have (if it's not what they have) and this opened me up to a whole lot of foods that they love, but have never been exposed to. Plus my daughter very much wants to do what "grown ups do" right now. When I eat junk, they want junk. When I eat healthy, whole foods, they want healthy whole foods. The snacks that they ask for have changed over the last 30 days. That is just INSANE to me how much of an impact what I eat has on what they want. When you clean out all of the cheddar bunnies they will eventually start asking for fruit instead. But let's be realistic, there will still be cheddar bunnies and pirate's booty, and popcorn on movie night.

  • This Way of Eating is now EASY
    Which is an insane thing to say considering I spent the first 10 days of the Whole30 walking around with the cookbook like it was my phone and having mini panic attacks when I would lose it. Even though this 30 days has something to do with the myth that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, I did form some new habits. Of course I still have a lot of my deep rooted old ones, so maybe it's just that I formed a back bone or the ability to overcome my old habits. Whatever happened, it made this way of eating pretty straightforward and simple for my continuing days thus far. 
So here is why I am giving my scale the side eye, if not a kick out of the door. In 30 days of hard core commitment, but no official working out, kitchen slave level cooking, marathon grocery shopping, not drinking, bloated belly, energy DRAIN, physical withdrawal, BOTH kids having ear infections (on separate occasions), two 2 year molars breaking through, memorial day weekend, a 100 year flood, 4 children's birthday parties, 1 wedding, and low lows followed by high highs.... well I took a look at the noticeable changes in my body and I expected that I had lost somewhere around 7-10lbs. But I lost 4. And I'm not unhappy about that, because I am happy with my physical results, I'm just stunned at the power I used to give the number on the scale. I'm REALLY glad I didn't get on a scale for 30 days. Because when the days were hard (and some really were) if I would have gotten on a scale and seen that I hadn't lost any weight or had lost 1 pound, I might have gotten into the "it's not working for me" mind game instead of embracing all of the changes that were happening beyond the scale. 

 I didn't do this to lose weight. If I lost weight I wasn't going to complain, but I am not overweight. I wanted to get rid of belly bloat (which I did) and just kind of see where this would take me. I am probably an 80/20 healthy real food eater, but when I do one of these things I realize how much mindless eating I do. This is especially true when it comes to my kid's food. There are all kinds of new things that you learn about your eating habits when you take on something like this.

I took before and after pictures and I wasn't going to post them. First, because it's not really my thing, and second because these pics are literally rolled out of bed selfies in the bathroom mirror. If I planned to share them I would have put some more thought into them. But with the 4lb loss I feel like the photos better illustrate the body changes. I also measured before and after and will give those stats as well. So here we go:
L: The Day Before my Whole30 (Day 0)  R: The Day After my Whole30 (Day 31)
I did also take a picture of myself blowing my stomach out as far as it would go and then sucking my stomach in with protruding ribs. Both of these photos are relaxed body. I lost 1.5 inches in my waist, 1 inch in my hips, .5 inch on each thigh and 1 inch in my bust. Arms stayed the same. And yes, I do think that 2 of those 4 lbs came out of my bra. And I'm not complaining.

So there it all is. Lots of words that I can sum up like this: I learned a lot over those 30 days. About my relationship with food, but also about myself. I like the me on the other side of the Whole30 better. I think my results would have been more drastic if I hadn't have already tamed my sugar dragon last year, but the results were still amazing from an emotional standpoint. I didn't realize I was feeling bad until I got back to feeling good again. 

If you think a Whole30 is too much for you to take on, then pick some smaller goals and work your way up. That is essentially what I did. My journey started a year ago when I gave up refined sugar for a month. My food choices only improved from there and then out of the blue I wanted to take on the Whole30. If someone was on the fence I would say absolutely do it. But it's not something that is for everyone and I respect that as well. The really insane thing I didn't see coming until I was done: I know now that this will not be my last Whole30. But I promise to officially stop talking about it (unless asked) until it's time for the next one. 

Seriously --thanks everyone for the support. Y'all have been lifesavers and completely amazing. Now here's to summer cocktails with zoodles, steak and eggs. 

The daily journey continues at www.instagram.com/raisingtexas.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

My Whole 30: The Last Ten Days

If the middle of my Whole30 was the worst part, the last ten days were my magical days. I'm not sure what tiger blood is supposed to be, but it wasn't some kind of mystical thing for me. I just gradually started to feel amazing. Noticeably happier. More patient. I let more joy into my life. I had energy whenever I wanted to use it. I WANTED to do things like clean out the garage and sweat. I felt my body toning up and changing. I had a little hiccup at the end, but when I turned to Whole30 food, the food was healing. Anyway, more on all of that in my wrap up post. 

The last ten days I felt a lot more comfortable with the food which means the meals got a little less fancy. I have rediscovered my love of tuna salad, so you'll see a lot of that. and lots of eggs. Details and food from the last ten days below.

Day 21:This was one of the first days I noticed my energy just running really constant and high. We helped some friends clean up from the flood and then I came back to feed the kids and put them to bed. And I was ready for more. Breakfast (no picture) was bacon, eggs, and berries.

Lunch Day 21: tuna salad, dates, almond butter, leftover apple

Dinner Day 21: Grilled salmon with a mayo based caper dill sauce,
roasted asparagus, and sauteed zucchini with red pepper.
 Day 22: So much extra energy, I decided to spend all morning cleaning out the garage. In the June heat with the mosquitoes. That was a change of pace. Then took both kids to the pool at the Y with friends. Two kids vs one me at the pool. I don't know if they won or we all lost. Or maybe we all won. Hard to say. Lots of energy all day.
Breakfast Day 22: poached egg with tuna salad over baby spinach
and aged balsamic.

Lunch Day 22: AMAZING. Cherry tomatoes, green pepper, onion, Ghee
and garlic sauteed with zoodles. Chicken and sun dried tomato sausage.

Dinner Day 22: Clean out the fridge salad with a fried egg on top.
 Day 23: Back to work. Noticing loose clothes, overall happiness and great focus. Not losing my patience with the kids = better behaved kids. Who knew?

Breakfast Day 23: Scrambled eggs with pesto, cantaloupe, tomatoes
and avocado.

Lunch Day 23: Even more Tuna Salad at work. Jealous?

Dinner Day 23: Roasted chicken, roasted veggies on top of tossed
baby spinach salad.
 Day 24: This is my 5am pilates day and for the first time in a LONG time, it was not murder to wake up at 4:30am. I'm not saying it was fantastic, it was just not murder. Still with the constant energy and focus. Lots of great sleep happening.

Breakfast Day 24: Tuna Salad. Because eggs get old. But apparently
Tuna Salad does not.
Lunch Day 24: At work. Greek Salad with leftover roasted chicken
and an apple.

Dinner Day 24: Brisket with gravy, roasted carrots, sweet potato,
and spinach.
Day 25: Things were really starting to come together. I just felt really good in my own skin. I could remember tons of things without having to make lists and my energy was off the charts. I had to put on a bathing suit for my son's swim class and I didn't even think twice about it.

Breakfast Day 25: The day I discovered monkey salad. With
fried eggs over sauteed spinach.

Lunch Day 25: At work. Tuna Salad in a bell pepper, cantaloupe,

Dinner Day 25: Zoodles and ground bison topped with tomato sauce

Day 26: I was feeling amazing. Fun wedding this night (which was sober and cakeless but still a blast) and got to have lunch with Landy. AND the dress I wore to the wedding was one I bought right after my own wedding when I was pretty trim. Non scale victories.

Breakfast Day 26: Fried eggs over spinach, fresh berries and banana.

Lunch Day 26: Chicken veggie salad that came with a blob of goat cheese
on top. I had a hungry four year old with me and I was STARVING so I just picked it off.

Dinner Day 26: Dinner at a wedding= mood lighting. I had to give lots of evil side eye to the
roast beef slicer who continuously tried to skimp me.
Day 27: Was a busy one. Running on not a ton of sleep from the wedding the night before and we had some of our dear friends over for brunch before they headed out of town. Then an afternoon birthday party. The kids were a mess, but it was actually pretty ok. My energy at the end of the day was not as high, but not as low as it could have been.

Breakfast Day 27: Monkey salad with banana, blueberry, shaved coconut
almond butter, and chopped dates.

Lunch was actually breakfast. We had friends over and did bacon, eggs & fruit salad.
and a pyramid of donuts, but guess who didn't have any? Spoiler alert: It was me.

Dinner Day 27: can you tell I am getting lazy by this point? Leftover
roasted chicken, baby kale and spinach salad and the avocado my son
wouldn't finish.
Day 28: The day that did me in. Sunday was busy. I took the kids to church, came home to put them in bed, and then we spent the afternoon at the pool. And I probably drank one glass of water.

Breakfast Day 28: Eggs scrambled with a little coconut water. Topped
with tomatoes and avocado. Side of fruit.

I almost forgot about lunch this day. It was Sunday and the kids ate at church and I was
a little worn out. So at 2pm I grazed in the fridge on Tuna Salad, boiled eggs and a banana.
Dinner Day 28: Sunday Roast with roasted veggies and a mayo based
horseradish dipping sauce.
Day 29: I woke up feeling awful this day. I managed to load up the kids and head to the grocery store and while I was checking out I regretted it. Weak and achy and a little out of it. I made it home and got the little one down for his nap. Then I did something I never do.. I called for backup and went to bed. I was feeling horrible, but still hungry. I was SO tempted to give it up, grab a gatorade, cook some brown rice and give in. But I stuck with the whole30 food and it made me feel better. But this day is a little disjointed food wise.

Breakfast Day 29: Monkey Salad

After I took myself to bed I ate small quantities of things. A cup of chicken broth,
a banana, some unsweetened apple sauce. Then later almond butter and dates.
A sickbed gift from my husband.

Dinner day 29: My attempt at Whole30 sickness comfort food. Looks gross, huh?
Sweet potato (baked then mashed), chunks of chopped steak (you know, for iron),
and spinach. It looks awful, but was actually good.
Day 30: After refueling with around 150 ounces of electrolyte water, I woke up this day feeling much better and pinpointing that I was definitely dehydrated from the weekend and possibly fighting a cold. My last day was pretty uneventful. More eggs for breakfast (that I forgot to take a pic of) and more tuna salad. Those were easy, reliable things that made this doable.

Lunch Day 30: At work. Tuna salad with green peppers and an apple.

Dinner Day 30: thanks to my husband for being hungry for this. Kale
caesar (minus the parm) with grilled chicken.
More to come. Hopefully tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My Whole30: Days 11 through 20

These days were rough on me. All ten of them. The food was amazing, but I just felt... slow. Like I was walking through cottage cheese. And irritable. I'm sure it didn't help that I had a special ladies only visitor for a portion of these ten days. The timeline said days 11-14 would be hard. All ten of these days were hard on me, which just emphasized the fact that this process is unique and different for everyone. And with that, here is the food from the very middle of my Whole30. 

Day 11: By this point I was finally getting the hang of the food. I was also SUPER bloated. Which was hard to take considering I was working so hard on all this food and washing so many dishes. But I kept on..

Breakfast Day 11: Mixed greens topped with leftover sweet potato
cauliflower mash, and a fried egg.

Lunch Day 11: Apple, yellow bell pepper, & Tuna Salad.

Dinner Day 11: Leftover Chili with avocado and a baby kale salad
 Day 12: The Friday before Memorial Day weekend. This was the first day I had a burst of amazing energy. After breakfast I weeded and mulched the entire back yard. I wasn't even hungry, but when I noticed it was 2pm I forced myself to eat lunch. Then went back out and finished. I felt really great this day.

Breakfast Day 12: fresh baby kale topped with leftover lettuce wrap
filling, scrambled eggs and avocado.

Lunch Day 12: Leftover sweet potato/cauli mash, baby kale salad,
last bit of leftover tuna salad, and celery stuffed with almond butter
and topped with chunks of dates.

Dinner Day 12: Baby spinach and kale tossed with evoo and aged balsamic,
chicken and mushroom sausage on top of chunky tomato sauce.

 Later this night I did some memorial weekend prep. We left town for two nights and so I packed some stuff for meals and for extras.
Included above - Greek salad ingredients, slaw ingredients, thai
zoodles ingredients, and even more tuna salad.

Day 13: was a travel day for us. We woke up, ate breakfast, packed up the kids and the car and headed out. It was a busy day, but a fun one. It was also a really tough day as far as resisting temptations. I ate A LOT of dates and almond butter this day. Without regrets.

Breakfast Day 13: pretty self explanatory.

Lunch Day 13: I had a big greek salad and a hard boiled egg. I was hungry
and didn't take a pic.

Dinner Day 13: Leftover Greek Salad, my whole30 slaw, and corkscrew
bbq brisket and ribs. I am fairly certain these were not compliant. So there's
my confession. There was something in the rub that gave me a headache.

But look at this brisket... I had no choice.
 Day 14: Busy day with the kids in and out of the pool. Still not as convenient being away from home, but I managed just fine. 

Breakfast Day 14: papaya with lime and tuna salad topped with
grapes on a bed of spinach.

Lunch Day 14: Cantaloupe, San Daniele Proscuitto & sauteed spinach

Dinner Day 14: Strip steak, roasted green beans, roasted broccoli &
leftover slaw.

Day 15: Memorial day was a little fast and furious. Quick morning and then loaded up the kids to head back home for lunch with my in laws. I was still feeling the cravings and feeling bloated.. and feeling over it.

Breakfast Day 15: fried eggs over easy, leftover roasted broccoli and
green beans, and a bowl of papaya.

Lunch Day 15: Was not photo worthy. It was leftover slaw, fruit salad and two
hard boiled eggs.

Dinner Day 15: Grilled chicken breast smothered in Whole30 Tomato
Sauce, steamed broccoli with lemon & even more leftover slaw.
 Day 16: This day was a mess. The night of Memorial Day we got 11 inches of rain overnight. We live half a mile from a bayou that came way out of it's banks. We were up all night with the kids (who don't like thunder) and then couldn't go to work the following day because the roads were still flooded. I do remember having lots of energy on this day. And not really being too concerned with feeling sorry for myself because I couldn't have bread.
Breakfast Day 16: Tuna salad with grapes & fresh baby kale and
spinach salad.

Lunch Day 16: Chili with avocado and an apple.

Dinner Day 16: This was one of my absolute favorite dinners so far.
The shrimp is from the Whole30 cookbook. It is tossed in pesto at the
end and is fantastic. With roasted mushrooms and sweet peppers.
 Day 17: Back to work. I was busy and irritable and still bloated. I was actually getting a little fed up with the program on this day. I almost got out the scale, but didn't. I really had to power through. 

Breakfast Day 17: Fried eggs over sauteed spinach. A banana.

Lunch Day 17: At work. We grilled extra chicken Monday and mixed
it up with chicken salad. Exciting, I know. On top of butter lettuce with
avocado and green pepper.

Dinner Day 17: Trying to meet weird cravings. Leftover Chili,
prosciutto and melon.
 Day 18: I was feeling more optimistic. I decided to try and drink 100oz of water a day. It was a game changer. Definitely got me over some kind of invisible hump.

Breakfast Day18: scrambled eggs topped with leftover pesto, tomato
and aged balsamic, watermelon and cantaloupe.

Lunch Day 18: Zoodles topped with chicken sausage and
tomato sauce. This was amaze.
Dinner Day 18: Salmon sweet potato cakes with a mayo based
sauce (with dill, lemon juice, capers, pesto and fresh pepper) and
green onion. roasted green beans and baby bellos. This was AMAZING.
 Day 19: 100oz of water a day was making me a happier person with lots of energy. And so was the Whole30. On this day I noticed my clothes were fitting better. Great fuel for the weekend ahead.

Breakfast Day 19: Chicken and sweet potato hash from the Whole30
cookbook. A great egg alternative for breakfast.

Lunch Day 19: I threw together a spinach salad and topped it with
whatever  I could find. That included sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes
and a hard boiled egg.

Dinner Day 19: Grilled NY Strip, roasted sweet potatoes and more
spinach salad with a dressing that was made even more awesome with
toasted prosciutto and sauteed green onion.
 Day 20: I threw myself a pity party on Day 20. We had to cancel plans to leave town due to storms and an ear infection. And I also threw a pity party for all of the dishes. I felt like the dishes were never ending. And I wanted them to end. But it was Saturday, I was feeling leaner, and I made my breakfast all in the same pan. Sometimes it's the little things.

Breakfast Day20: fried eggs over sauteed spinach, bacon & blueberries

Lunch Day 20: Chicken salad, apple slices & dates with almond butter.

Dinner Day 20: Grilled fajita steak, homemade guacamole, mashed
sweet potato & roasted sweet peppers.
 These were rough days for me. I was overall pretty over the whole thing and had to talk myself in to "trusting the process". It was a huge game changer for me mood and energy wise when I started drinking more water and added in more starchy vegetables. It's like a little mystery body formula I had to figure out.

It is currently day 30 for me, so I'm hoping to post meals from days 21-30 tomorrow. Then a recap. Haven't decided if I'll actually display before and after pics. Because I love the internet and things... but seeing my midsection on it is a bit much. Maybe. Who knows.

Greetings from a converted Whole30 cult member!