Living from the Inside Out


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Whole 30 Days 26-29: Home Stretch

Well, it’s getting longer and longer between posts. I have to admit I’m losing a bit of steam on this thing. It’s been an extreme test of willpower: not even licking your finger after making your kid’s peanut butter sandwich. Funneling the maple syrup from the big container into the little one and not sneaking a taste. Scooping the ice cream for the guests and completely abstaining. Torturous.

I also have to admit I’m not really drinking the Kool-Aid here. I don’t feel “better than I’ve ever felt in my life.” I haven’t had some sort of epiphany where I’m going to give up sugar forever. I haven’t accepted the Whole30 founders as my food gurus. I want pasta, cheese, oatmeal, a cookie here and there. At least I know this: paleo ain’t for me.


That said - we’re still chugging along and the finish line is in sight. The days are blurring a bit now and I have no idea what we’ve really eaten. Breakfasts and lunches have been rote for the most part. Eggs with this and that. Salads with whatever meat we had leftover, or a hamburger patty. One day I had lunch at Chipotle - carnitas bowl with salsa and guac. Rinse, repeat. You get the idea.

So just recapping the dinners from the past few days… I’ve also become way too lazy to post the recipes so post a comment if you’re dying to have the recipe for anything…

Day 26 -Slow cooked short ribs with braised cabbage and mushrooms

Pretty darn good. I was proud of myself because I came home from work at lunch time and popped these in the slow cooker. Threw a couple apples, carrots and a bit of onion in. The side dish sounds bit odd but it was what we had. It turned out nice!

Day 27 - Lobster bisque

I won’t offer the recipe. It was only ok - quite edible at the time, but I’m looking at the leftovers and I am not inspired to do a repeat. Lobster bisque needs cream and sherry if you ask me. Coconut milk doesn’t cut it. Perhaps the recipe needed some tweaking. Because we’re so limited on this diet, there was nothing really to thicken the soup. Bleh.

Day 28 - Carne asada, rajas, ceviche, citrus-marinated grilled chicken. Tasty! Of course, it would have been better with beans, tortillas and a beer. I know I’m not supposed to miss that stuff but we really missed it. 

No photo, sorry! It tasted great but didn’t look very pretty!

Day 29 - Seared scallops, asparagus, yam

Definitely a welcome change from all the red meat we’ve been eating. Somewhat lighter. We topped them with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. On the flip side, the scallops were $21 a pound so we won’t be repeating that again any time soon.

Whole 30 Days 22-25: I’m sick of meat

It’s starting to catch up to me. Here we are in the home stretch… and I’m just burning out. I guess that’s normal, but after 25 days of meat, meat and more meat, I’m dying for something else. I’d probably eat a shoe at this point. Just as long as it’s not meat.

That said… we’re still continuing to eat well, although the meat/salad combo is getting a bit weary.

Day 22:

Breakfast: Butternut squash soup, followed by 2 hardboiled eggs a few hours later. You are not supposed to snack on this diet but I can’t eat enough at one sitting to not be able to do that. Screw it. I’m snacking.

Lunch: Trader Joe’s Kale Waldorf salad topped with a Trader Joe’s Chicken Patty, balsamic, olive oil

Dinner: Sauteed chicken tenders with mango-pineapple salsa, yam, sauteed brussels sprouts. The mango-pineapple salsa had mango, pineapple, tomato, cucumber, jalapeno, lime juice, lemon juice and I think that was it.

Day 23:

Breakfast - Fried eggs with tomatoes

Lunch - Trader Joe’s Artichoke/Hearts of Palm salad with leftover chicken, balsamic, olive oil

Dinner - Picadillo - I am too lazy to edit this recipe here, but to sum it up, this is a Latin American ground beef dish. We used turkey instead of beef. I didn’t have any capers so I left those out. I added some golden raisins. I also didn’t have an hour to simmer the thing so I cooked it for 15 minutes. It was different and yummy. The boys hated it.

Day 24 -

Breakfast - Scrambled eggs with leftover picadillo

Lunch - Trader Joe’s Chopped Sicilian Salad with a Trader Joe’s Roasted Chicken patty, avocado, balsamic, olive oil. These chicken patties do contain canola oil but I am too burned out on this diet to really care. It’s probably not that much.

Dinner - Ribeye steak, roasted tomatoes and spinach. Amazing.

Day 25 -

Breakfast - Scrambled eggs with leftover steak and spinach. And hollandaise. They say you can’t save hollandaise because it breaks when you heat it up. Not if you know what you’re doing!

Lunch - Trader Joe’s Chopped Sicilian salad with sliced prosciutto, balsamic, olive oil

Dinner - Bison Burger at The Counter again. Toppings were grilled pineapple, olives, sprouts, tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms and green onions. I was forced to watch my son eat a grilled cheese and fries while I sat there hungry. Not fun…

Whole30 Days 20 and 21: Something is happening

We’re 2/3 of the way there. The end is finally in sight! But now that we’re feeling better and more energetic, it seems like if we stop after 30 days, then we’ve almost wasted them. I think that may be the point. Aside from the meat fatigue and avocados at every meal, I’m actually starting to enjoy this way of eating, maybe a little.

Crazy things have been happening. I went to the gym for the first time in like 5 years. Well, maybe 3 years. I joined a new gym so we could use the pool (a really nice outdoor pool for families) so I decided that as long as I was paying, I might as well go! My husband started cleaning out the garage on Friday. I know that going to the gym and cleaning the garage don’t seem like monumental events, but for us… well, I’m embarrassed to say that these are out of the norm.

So on to the weekend’s food choices.

Day 20:

Breakfast - fried eggs with tomatoes (cooked in the pan with the eggs), pineapple, strawberries and basil

Lunch - chicken salad with mango, apple and walnuts (redux from the other day)

Dinner - lamb chops with chimichurri sauce, plus all the leftover veg from the past week (beets, green beans, sweet potatoes, zucchini, broiled tomatoes)

Here’s the ingredient list for the chimichurri:

  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
I halved this recipe. Original recipe says to blend it all together in a food processor. I didn’t feel like getting mine out so I just chopped the herbs and mixed it, adding a bit more oil and salt. Also, authentic chimichurri has oregano, not cilantro, but it’s what I had on hand.
I put a little cumin and coriander on the lamb before grilling it. It turned out great!
Day 21:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with spicy tomato sauce and basil mixed in; avocado, tomato and chicken sausage on the side
Lunch: hamburger in a bowl with tomato and avocado
Dinner: carne asada (skirt steak marinated in lime juice) with guacamole, tomatoes and spinach. My hubby was gracious enough to cook tonight and it was amazingly delicious. The meat came from a nice butcher shop and it was really, really good!

Whole30 Days 18 and 19: I’m sick of eggs and meat

I may be sick of eggs and meat, but I don’t have much else to eat. There’s no cheese and no tofu allowed, so I’m pretty much beholden to the chicken, the cow, the sheep and the pig. Although, I had a bison burger today, and it was delicious!

Breakfasts are particularly challenging. I do know my way around an egg, but there are only so many ways to eat one before fatigue sets in. I miss my oatmeal! I could eat just fruit but I think that’s a recipe for disaster (see my post from a few days ago when I didn’t have protein for breakfast). I don’t know that I could really manage chicken or meat for breakfast too, especially since I’m eating it constantly. So, eggs it is.

Also, oddly enough, I’ve started to have stomachaches. Had one last night and have one now. You are not supposed to have stomachaches on this diet, but I have one. I can’t imagine what would have caused it since I’ve cut out everything that normally causes belly pain.

Here’s my Day 18 recap:

Breakfast: Prosciutto, tomato and mushroom omelet with avocado on the side

Lunch: Chicken salad with homemade mayo, celery, apples, mango and diced walnuts, served with a green salad

Dinner: Tri-tip kabobs with mushrooms and peppers, and a steamed artichoke. The tri-tip pieces were a little small for the BBQ so some of them got kind of nuked, but overall it was pretty tasty.

Day 19:

Breakfast: Leftover butternut squash soup, then 2 hardboiled eggs and some watermelon. I will say the soup was great for breakfast. I added a little coconut milk too.

Lunch: Bison burger bowl from The Counter. I had lettuce, carrots, olives, tomatoes and avocado. Brought my own balsamic/olive oil dressing from home. Yum!

Dinner - China Coast salad from Islands - hold the wontons and dressing.

Late evening - (yes, I went to a party!) Luckily for me, Whole30 compliant foods were plentiful. Here’s a photo of my plate. No alcohol was a bummer, and everyone was raving about the cookies, but I stood fast!

Whole30 Day 17: I may actually be enjoying this

I can’t believe I wrote that, but today was one of those days when I really enjoyed what I ate.We made a great pork tenderloin for dinner - a Bobby Flay recipe that we used to make a lot - and with one small, unnoticeable change, we made it Whole30 compliant. Simply substituted a small amount of coconut milk for a small amount of dijon mustard in the dressing. Call me crazy, but I get excited about silly stuff like that.

Also, I love that I can eat olives, avocados and prosciutto (and hollandaise) on this plan. No complaints here!

Here’s the recap:


Breakfast - fried eggs and tomatoes (threw a few chopped tomatoes in with the eggs) covered with Trader Joe’s salsa verde. Very tasty!

Lunch - Trader Joe’s Siciliano salad with chopped prosciutto, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. This was the second time I had this for lunch. So good I went back for more.

Dinner - Marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Orange Vinaigrette served with grilled zucchini and broiled tomatoes

(Pork tenderloin recipe adapted from Bobby Flay. Note: I used the version in an old edition of Bobby’s cookbook From My Kitchen to Your Table which is slightly different, proportion-wise)

Spicy Orange Vinaigrette:

3 cups fresh orange juice
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons coconut milk
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1 cup olive oil

Heat orange juice in a medium saucepan and reduce to 1/4 cup. Let cool slightly. Combine the orange syrup, vinegar, coconut milk and ancho chile powder in a blender and blend 30 seconds. With the motor running slowly add the oil until the dressing emulsifies. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Marinade:

2/3 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
3 tablespoons pasilla chile powder (I just used regular chile powder)
2 teaspoons cayenne
1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoons salt
2 (2 pound) pork tenderloins

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade, pour the remaining marinade into a large baking dish, add the tenderloin and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. Preheat grill pan until almost smoking. Remove pork from marinade and grill for 10 to 12 minutes basting with the reserved marinade. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Whole30 Day 16: Keep on keepin’ on

I think it’s finally getting a little easier. I’m not having to think about it so much. That said, I still wouldn’t mind a glass of wine… only 2 more weeks to go!

Here’s yesterday’s recap. I’ve hit a little bit of cooking burnout so we kept it simple.

Breakfast - soft boiled eggs, melon. My husband reconfirmed that he hates soft boiled eggs.

Lunch - Day 13’s leftover roast chicken, beets and green beans

Dinner - hamburgers and salad.

Whole30 Day 15: Halfway there

We’re halfway there! I made it 15 days without carbs, sugar, dairy, soy or legumes. Not a small feat when you think about the fact that I still have two children who want ice cream and rice and peanut butter sandwiches. It is almost impossible to serve ice cream without tasting any!

That said, today may have been my toughest day yet. Instead of my usual eggs, i started off with Sweet Potato Puree. Thought maybe I could use a break. Stopped at Starbucks for an unsweetened Passion Tea.

Well by 11 I was starting to feel a little lightheaded. I wasn’t home so I couldn’t get a proper lunch. Had a few macadamia nuts. Still didn’t feel quite right. Stopped at Trader Joe’s. The power was out. Went to another Trader Joe’s. The cooler was broken. Waited 10 minutes to get my salads. By this time it was past 1 and I was really not feeling well. Finally got out of there and home, shoved some chicken sausage and a little salad in my mouth and then crashed into a very profound nap.

So - what was the problem here? Few things could have been to blame:

  1. Lack of protein
  2. Lack of caffeine
  3. The heat - it was unseasonably hot
  4. Fatigue - had a big day yesterday and didn’t sleep well

By the afternoon I felt better, though I still had the caffeine headache. I love the fruity teas but they don’t have caffeine!

Dinner was leftover cedar plank salmon and asparagus, topped with poached eggs and hollandaise. There’s nothing that hollandaise can’t fix!

Whole30 Day 14: Mother’s Day!

It’s Mother’s Day! What better way to celebrate than with some sugar-free, dairy-free, carb-free, soy-free stuff!

Seriously though. It’s getting easier and easier to make it through these days. We did have the grandmothers over for Mother’s Day, and I cooked a respectable Whole30 meal.

Breakfast (in bed!): omelette with leftover carnitas and sauteed peppers, topped with avocado and fruit on the side.

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Lunch: Trader Joe’s Sicilian salad with 3 slices of prosciutto on top, balsamic and olive oil.

Dinner: For the first time in a while, we cooked on Mother’s Day. Last year we went out and it was ridiculous, so this year, we decided to keep it simple and it was great. My favorite part was the hollandaise sauce; so rich and creamy! The salmon wasn’t executed as well as it could have been; plus I bought sockeye salmon, which I realized I just don’t like. It’s not as buttery and rich as other varieties.

Menu:

Butternut Squash Soup

Cedar plank smoked salmon

Steamed asparagus with hollandaise

Broiled tomatoes

Sweet Potato Puree with Coconut Cream and Pecans

Berries with coconut/mango “ice cream”

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Recipes

Butternut Squash Soup

 

 ½ onion

2 cloves garlic

Coconut oil

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes

4-6 C chicken stock

½ t cumin

½ t coriander

½ t cardamom

½ t ground ginger

¼ t allspice

Salt

Pepper

Sour cream or yogurt (optional)

Chopped cilantro (optional)

 

Directions

Lightly saute the onions and garlic in the coconut oil over medium heat until translucent. Add the squash cubes and enough stock to cover. Add the spices. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is soft. Let soup cool slightly. Puree in a blender and return to pot. Reheat, adjust seasonings. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and/or chopped cilantro.

(note: buttermilk can also be used – add when reheating and stir through)

Cedar Plank Smoked Salmon

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

2 (12 inch) untreated cedar planks

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/3 cup coconut aminos

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3-4  lbs salmon fillets, skin removed

Directions:

1. Soak the cedar planks for at least 1 hour in warm water. Soak longer if you have time.

2. In a shallow dish, stir together the vegetable oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, green onions, ginger, and garlic. Place the salmon fillets in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for at least 15 minutes, or up to one hour.

3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat. Place the planks on the grate. The boards are ready when they start to smoke and crackle just a little.

4. Place the salmon fillets onto the planks and discard the marinade. Cover, and grill for about 20 minutes. Fish is done when you can flake it with a fork. It will continue to cook after you remove it from the grill.

 

Hollandaise sauce

Adapted from Tyler Florence/Food Network Ingredients

4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, clarified (1 stick)
Pinch cayenne
Pinch salt

Directions

Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in some warm water.



Low-carb Broiled Tomatoes

Adapted from Food Network

 

Ingredients

4 large tomatoes, halved crosswise

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, or marjoram


Directions

Season tomatoes with the salt and place seed-side down on a rack or paper towel to drain for about 30 minutes. Blot dry with a paper towel.

Position an oven rack in the upper part of the oven and preheat the broiler. Line a broiler pan with foil. Place the tomato halves on the prepared pan, seed-side up, season with pepper to taste, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle herbs over the top. Broil until hot and the tops begin to brown, about 8 minutes.

Sweet Potato Puree with Coconut Cream and Pecans

We ate these on back on Day 5 if you’re interested in the recipe.

 

Coconut/Mango “ice cream”

Took a can of chilled coconut milk and mixed it with mango puree made from organic frozen mangos (just popped them in the blender). Put the whole thing in my ice cream maker.  It wasn’t very sweet and it froze into a rock but once thawed and paired with the berries, it worked to a reasonable degree. Sure, it wasn’t Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean, but it actually wasn’t bad!

Whole30 Days 12 and 13: Gettin’ the hang of it

Well, I’m pleased to report that cravings have pretty much subsided and I’m finding it much easier to be faced with temptation. My husband brought home these homemade chocolate chip cookie/blondie things and they have been sitting on the counter, but I’m able to resist their siren call. I took my son to Rite Aid for ice cream (for the first time ever, I might add; that’s something I did all the time as a kid) and I wasn’t even fazed. 

So here’s the Day 12 recap:

Breakfast - we had assembly at the kids school again, so I made deviled eggs again. Ate those with some fruit and half a Larabar that wasn’t quite good.

Lunch - leftover pumpkin curry. Boy was that rich! Really missed the rice.

Dinner - one of my favorites - slow cooker carnitas and homemade guacamole with sauteed peppers and onions

Slow Cooker Carnitas

1 2-3 lb pork shoulder, trimmed

2 oranges, quartered

1 onion, quartered

2-3 cloves garlic, smashed

2 bay leaves

cumin

dried oregano

salt

pepper

olive oil, lard or coconut oil

  1. Trim the pork shoulder of any big fat pieces.
  2. Place the oranges, onion, garlic and bay leaves in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Generously sprinkle both sides of the pork shoulder with the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.
  4. Place pork shoulder on top of the orange-onion mixture
  5. Cook for 7-8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high
  6. When pork is done, separate the meat using two forks or your hands if there’s time for it to cool.
  7. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the carnitas and cook, turning, until the outside is uniformly brown and crispy.  

Guacamole

Courtesy of Food Network/Alton Brown

Ingredients

3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

Directions

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

Moving on to Day 13…

Easy day, but we did stop by a cocktail party early in the evening. It was tough! We didn’t stay for long, but I had a few nuts, a few olives and hubby had some shrimp, along with a sparkling water.

Breakfast - probably the most awesome breakfast yet. Leftover carnitas mixed with spicy Mexican tomato sauce, served with guac. Seriously yummy.

Lunch - I was out with my son so we got fast food! Luckily, this is the original fast food - a freshly made Mexican fruit salad (watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, mango, coconut, jicama, cucumber and oranges) topped with salt and lime. We have fruit carts all around the city that sell a big cup for $4.

Dinner - Roasted chicken with beets and carrots; sauteed beet greens; steamed green beans. Here’s how I made it:

Lemon Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables

Ingredients

1 whole organic chicken, rinsed and dried
1 lemon, sliced
Fresh oregano or other herb

1/4 onion
6 beets

4 carrots

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

 


Directions

Gently separate the skin from the chicken breast so it forms a pocket. Insert lemon slices and oregano under the skin. Place any remaining lemon slices, a few sprigs of oregano and the onion into the main cavity. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Peel and quarter the beets. Slice the carrots. Arrange both on the bottom of a large baking dish to form a “rack” for the chicken. Season with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken on top of the vegetable mixture, breast side down.

 

Bake at 375° for 1 ½ hours or until done. After 1 hour, turn chicken so breast faces up.

Whole30 Days 10 and 11: Uphill climb

Days 10 and 11 are in the bag, but it has not been easy! Hubby had to take a business trip which proved very challenging from a food perspective. I had an easier time of it here, but I’m getting very bored with eggs and meat. A bowl of pasta would be amazing right now. Or even a bowl of oatmeal.

Still suffering through my own share of challenges. Today the kids had a bake sale after school, which I got to vicariously enjoy (you can look, but you can’t touch!) Tomorrow, we’ve got assembly again but I think I may bring a Larabar just to have something sweet at hand.

I’ve also found that eating out is way less enjoyable than eating at home. There are fewer options and usually it’s not much more than a slab of meat and some steamed veggies. Cooking is definitely the way to go on this plan.

So getting down to it, here’s the Day 10 rundown:

Breakfast - scrambled eggs with Mulay spicy sausage, melon.

Lunch - hamburger with homemade mayo, salad

Dinner - Sharky’s half power plate with grilled wahoo and fajita vegetables.

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Day 11 -

Breakfast: fried eggs, avocado, melon

Lunch: chicken sausage, Trader Joe’s Kale and Spinach Waldorf Salad, balsamic vinegar, olive oil

Dinner: Turkey taco salad with orange vinaigrette

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For the turkey:

1 - 1.5 lb ground turkey

1 T chili powder

1 ½ t cumin

¼ t red pepper flakes

¼ t garlic powder

¼ t onion powder

¼ t oregano

½ t paprika

1 t salt

1 t pepper

1. Brown the turkey in oil

2. Add the seasonings and 3/4 - 1C water

3. Cook over medium heat until water has evaporated

For the vinaigrette:

¼ C orange juice (freshly squeezed if possible)

2 T sherry vinegar

¼ C extra virgin olive oil

1T chopped cilantro

Salt

Pepper

Whisk ingredients together until blended.

For the salad:

I used iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, jicama, grated carrot, avocado, hearts of palm and black olives.

 Assemble turkey on top of salad and add dressing to taste.