Hi there, long time, no see. It's been a while. Trying to maintain a work-life balance, finding time for myself and Mr HaHa was extremely difficult with my last work assignment and being gone 12-13 hours a day!
Skip forward, I'm on my next work assignment. I'm living away from home in Vail (Feb-Dec 2016). I have an adorable (company-paid) apartment and love being in the mountains! I don't love being away from my husband, but thank goodness for Face Time and weekends! Honestly, with my last project, I really never had an "me" time; it was work and "us". It's been interesting to be away from home and forcing both Ben and I to grow.
Anyways, moving to Vail, I really wanted to start off on the right foot with a more conscious, healthier diet and lifestyle. Motivated by a friend, my second week here I started Whole 30. I figured it was best to jump into it before I could get used to anything else; plus I knew it would be easier not having to please Mr. HaHa and just feed myself. I also signed up for the gym and started training for a marathon. A lot at once!
You'd think it'd be exhausting, but I've had so much energy! I believe I have Whole 30 to thank for it. For anyone who isn't familiar, Whole30 is 30 days of no dairy/grains/sugar/legumes/alcohol. It really was surprisingly easier for me than I thought it'd be. I’ve always used Sundays to meal plan for Sun-Thurs; so I kept that schedule. I also was constantly looking for recipes, so much that I’d get excited and start planning ahead for the next week. I think part of the reason I didn't have difficulty was that I love to cook and found it fun and inspiring to constantly seek out new recipe ideas.
The most helpful time savers were to prep long-"lead" foods in advance, like roast spaghetti squash or butternut squash the night before so it’d be ready to shred for my meal. I also got in the habit of one breakfast for the work week and making it on Sunday night and then just making eggs a few nights so that I wasn’t making a breakfast from scratch every day.
Another aspect of Whole 30 is no snacking. This probably terrified me the most. I was really surprised to find that probably 90% of the days I didn’t need anything and meal times crept up on me!
A few of my fav meals to share (I also have a Pinterest board)
Make 4 servings
½ lb grass-fed ground beef or ground turkey (I used complaint chorizo (Boulder Sausage Company is awesome))
1 Tbsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. garlic powder
⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ cup water
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 medium sweet potato, diced small (about 1 ¼-1 ½ cups)
½ cup diced red onions
½ cup diced red pepper
½ cup mushrooms, chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped
Fresh Cilantro, Avocado, Green Onions, Salsa (optional)
1 can of diced tomato with green chili (added)
Lunch/Dinner: I tried to make a 2-serving dinner and have leftovers for lunch
Spaghetti squash pizza crust – I realized part way through baking that I had the oven at 350 instead of 400 so I cranked it up; but my squash never fully seemed to “dry”/bake like real pizza crust. I had to use a fork to eat, but I will definitely try again (and at the right oven temp); I also think I needed to dry to get more of the moisture out of the squash
Complaint BBQ Sauce (I simmered to get the flavors to blend and added water to get to the consistency I wanted), with crockpot pulled pork over a baked sweet potato
Strawberry avocado salsa (I mixed up, added balsamic to taste and let sit for 30min) over salmon and spinach; it was kind of odd over the salmon, but I think it’d be odd with any meat. I’ll keep making and just eating with spinach as a salad
Roasted butternut squash (seasoned with pepper and fennel seed) mixed with compliant sausage and roasted kale <I wanted to do squash as noodles, but had a hard time running them threw so I gave up)
Juli Bauer’s Buffalo Chicken Casserole
I used my greek marinade over chicken and roasted veggies
Obsessed with chimichurri over meat. I think steak/veggies and zoodles/marinara were the only meals I repeated because I like them both so much.
For snacks I keep dry roasted almonds, complaint Lara bar and apple/banana with almond butter.
I really feel so great that there’s a lot of stuff I don’t really see a need to add back into my diet. We leave for vacation on 4/2 and I want to be able to have flexibility to eat there and know the impacts of foods; so I’m following Whole 30’s 10-day reintro plan starting today (hummus at lunch!) to make note of what effects food groups have on me; but moving forward I plan to be pretty strict Whole 30 during the week (except red wine) and then more lax on the weekends but still eating/drinking consciously.
Even without having my final weigh in, my skin is clearer, I moved down 2 sizes on my belt loop, my stomach is flatter and my rings are spinning on my fingers! Plus I feel like I have more energy, sleep well and wake up without being groggy. I’m so glad I took the plunge and did it!
So on to Reintro Day 1: Legumes!