Whole 30: Week 4

It’s the last week, meaning we’re in a single digit countdown to the end of the Whole 30 Challenge.  I, almost, can’t believe it took this long while simultaneously wondering where the last 30 days went.

Looking at the Whole 30 Timeline, I would say that I’m pretty on track. I’ve had the worst cravings – so far – over the past 3-4 days (ramen noodles topping that list) and I’ve, also, wanted to give up on meal planning/eating because it all just sounds like too much work. I believe the exact line from the Whole 30 Timeline is:

In fact, if Iron Chef Bobby Flay were to walk into your kitchen right now and offer to cook you any Whole30 compliant meal you wanted, you’re not even sure you could think of one.

That about sums it up.

After a weekend in Vail with my friend Jacqui who eats a pretty Paleo compliant diet (and provided lots of inspiration) and the purchase of a new paleo cookbook — I’m armed and ready to take on some new recipes this week (which will hopefully spice up the repetitiveness of the past few weeks). Here’s what I have on tap:

Whole 30: Week 4 Meal Plan

I made a humongous pot of the broccoli, cauliflower and bacon stew that should last us through three meals each + snacks. Christian isn’t a huge fan, but based on the fact that he ate it, it’s got to better than cooking something else for himself. 🙂

Here’s to 4.5 more days of no corn chips.

Whole 30: Week 3.5 Meal Plan

Technically I’m on day 18 which is still week 3, not week 4. This does mean, however that I’m only 13 days from finishing this.

This week was really tough. I came down with Cold-Mageddon and I’m still not 100%. I was completely down for the count on Thursday/Friday/Saturday and today my big ambitious goal is to go to the grocery store to commandeer more cold medicine and some food for the week.

I cheated ever so slightly by drinking cup by cup of fruit juice with chipped ice (my throat hurt so bad and it was oh so good). I also had a small bowl of chicken soup that did have a few peas and corn kernels in it… it was delicious and at the time I was just thankful that I didn’t have to say “no” to noodles or cook the soup myself — if you know what I mean. Considering that I didn’t have any milk, sugar, gluten or weird oils… I’m going to go ahead an excuse myself. You know, sickness and all.

I’m hoping that things will go more back to normal this week, but last week’s chest cold feels like it’s moving more to my sinuses and I sound like a croaking toad. Ribbet.

Here’s what I have planned meal wise this week, you’ll notice that many are the same and that’s only due to the fact that we never had them last week since I was so sick.

Meal Plan  - Week 3.5
(Don’t judge my, again, horrible photo quality… uploading photos from my phone is about all I have energy for.)

We’re actually going to be having burgers with spiraled sweet potato cakes and brussel sprouts for dinner tonight… and I accidentally forgot (call it foggy sickness brain) to pick up a whole chicken, so hopefully I feel motivated enough to pick one up before Wednesday.

Then Friday night, all-day Saturday and then part of Sunday will hopefully be spent in Vail visiting my friend Jacqui — I was supposed to go a couple of weeks ago but due to weather and a friend coming to town from Philadelphia we decided to postpone. Let’s hope that the snow holds off enough for me to get up there this time.

Whole 30: Week 3 Planning.

We’re onto week #3.

This past week was great on the food front, seriously delicious meals and snacks. Here’s a snapshot of some of my favorites this week:

Week #2 Meals!

 

This photo includes Zoodles (zucchini noodles), butternut squash soup, garlic chicken + brussel sprouts, salmon cakes + broccoli + sweet potatoes, almond crusted chicken fingers + sautéed kale + sweet potatoes. 

The big downside to this week was feeling like I’m gaining weight rather than losing it… I’m no stranger to strict diets, but this one (limiting my nightly square of chocolate) is probably the strictest. Normally I feel like I’m thinning up, but this week I just felt like I was packing on the pounds and wandering around like a bloated balloon.

I was pointed to this timeline that explains day 8-9 as “pants will fit tighter days” — so I guess I’m on track? Other than the weight blahs, I feel pretty good. Since I’ve been on a semi-strict diet the past few months, I don’t think I’m noticing the “WOW I FEEL AMAZING” high that a lot of other participants are probably starting to feel. Though, I do feel so much better than when I’m cheating like crazy (like I was, ahem, over the holidays).

With all that in mind, here’s what I’m planning for this week: Week 3 Meal Plan

 

Sorry for the crappy photo — I didn’t have my big camera nearby when I took it. Anyways, instead of snacking for lunch today, I decided to make this Sweet Potato Chili instead (I left out the hot sauce). It was delicious and now we have extra soup to fill in for snacks or extra meals as needed!

As far as I’m concerned, this meal plan is just as exciting as any other meal plan I’ve ever created and it should be a good week on the food front. Here’s to happy, healthy eating in week #3!

Whole 30: Week 2 Meal Planning.

Does it count as week two if you’re only 4 days deep into the program? I had a bit of internal debate about this and decided, what the hell. Normal people might run it on a Thursday to Thursday schedule to keep up with when they started, but since my shopping/life revolve around a Sunday to Sunday schedule I’m changing it all up — call my crazy.

Here’s what I have planned for Whole 30 this week in the food department:

Whole 30 - Week 2 Meal Planning - Lifeloveandgarlic.com
In order to prepare, I spent several hours prepping food tonight and here’s what I have in the pre-prepped  arsenal for this week:

Butternut squash soup
Egg Bake with peppers, onions and bacon
Six baked chicken breasts
Paleo mayo
Roasted broccoli
Chicken Salad with almonds and celery

During that time I, also, prepped the slow cooker chicken w/gravy and packed up lettuce for lunches.  Should be a pretty varied week food wise — here’s to week 2 of the Whole 30. Wish me luck!

Whole 30.

Whole 30 Logo

It’s no secret that I’ve been playing around with my diet over the past year — most recently giving up gluten, dairy and sugar. I did really well and responded really well to that diet and for the new year decided to take it one step further and give the Whole 30 a spin. Whole 30 is essentially a cleaner (I know, how much more strict can you get?) version of what I was already doing. The big “no-no” highlights for me were: no beans, no rice (or any grains for that matter), no honey, no alcohol, no corn, no peanut butter, no paleo-ified desserts etc.

Let me tell you — unless you’re getting it directly from the produce department or the meat counter (both of which have their own set of recommendations) it’s going to take some research. Lucky for me, I’m already pretty familiar with these limitations and don’t feel particularly cornered as far as what I eat.

I thought I might, semi-track, my version of the Whole 30 for two reasons:

1.) To remember what I ate and how it went.

2.) To attempt to track something for the blog – of which I’m absolutely horrible at doing.

So, we’ll see how this goes – I’m not promising anything.

I started yesterday, so in true Megan fashion, this post is coming to you a day late and completely devoid of photos. Mostly because I forgot to take them. [disclaimer: I have the ability to take pretty decent food photos, but since I’ll be sharing meals that I may or may not have packed in a jumbled Tupperware, don’t expect anything award-winning ;-)]

Here’s my meal plan breakdown for Thursday – Saturday:

Thursday:
Breakfast: Boiled Egg
Lunch: Canned green beans + Can of tuna (aren’t you glad I didn’t photograph this?)
Dinner: Chicken breast cooked in avocado oil with garlic and shaved brussel sprout salad with balsamic dressing

Friday:
Breakfast: Handful of almonds (only because I left my egg at home by accident)
Lunch: Chicken + Brussel Sprout leftovers
Dinner: Out to dinner — will order a salad, no dressing

Saturday:
Breakfast: Boiled Egg
Lunch: Out to Lunch with a friend
Dinner: Crockpot chicken tomato soup

In between I’ve been snacking on nuts or apples if I’m hungry. I’ve also been drinking green tea and other herbal teas at night. I’ll be back on Sunday to cover my meal plan for the upcoming week. Hopefully I’ll actually take some pictures moving forward.

If you’re interested in trying out the Whole 30, here’s some information (and key posts) to get you started:

What is the Whole 30?

Whole 30 Shopping List

The official Can I Have Post

Pantry Stocking PDF

Meal Planning PDF

I, also, want to note that you don’t have to pay to do the Whole 30 — the majority of the information is online for free. You can, of course, by their book or opt into some of the paid additions, but it is absolutely not necessary. There aren’t any supplements you need to take, you’ll simply be spending money on the food you eat. 

Life Hack: Food & making more time.

This winter life felt like one big ‘ol to do list. No matter what the line items were, even the good things, they felt like moments I had to get through just so I could move on to the next. It sounds so depressing when I say that, but in a way it really was. Week nights felt bogged down and packed full and the weekends were just as bad. The worst part was I didn’t know how to fix it and there wasn’t an end in sight.

Plus, when you add on goals and intentions for the year it became really easy to get overwhelmed. One of the areas that seemed to take up a lot of space was meals – what we were buying, prepping and eating throughout the week. Making sure most of the food that made its way into our mouths was healthy became a huge task and one that just didn’t feel like it could be tamed. I started dreading our weekly trip to the super market on Sundays and knew that my afternoon would be shot trying to get everything ready for the week ahead. This may sound a touch dramatic, but I promise it was how I felt. And, if you could have seen me thawing, washing, chopping, mixing, roasting and organizing I’m pretty sure you would have joined in with your own enthusiastic sigh.

By the start of May, Christian and I had committed to doing the 24 Day Challenge through Advocare (see note below) and the rules of eating got a little stricter than usual around our house, but in some ways it got easier. We had meal shakes every morning and leftovers at lunch. At least breakfast was taken care of, right? This is when I read a tip from Nicole over at a Life Less BS about her formula for healthy eating…

[I know this is a really long-winded way to get to the hack, but I think how we got there is what makes it so great]

Each day you aim to have one smoothie and one salad (the kitchen sink of meals, as she says, because just about anything can go in them). This may sound rudimentary, but just having the decision making taken out of two meals a day gives me an immense sense of relief. SERIOUSLY. I felt so much relief that I implemented it the next week.

But, it gets better. Instead of packing leftovers for lunch, we ate them for dinner either the next night or later in the week. I was now getting 2-3 meals out of each dinner I actually cooked. It was amazing.

Here’s what a typical meal plan looks like at our house right now:

Weekly Meal Plan

On Sundays, I’ll usually grill or roast a bunch of chicken for salads and chop up a couple of cucumbers & peppers to toss in salads as the week goes on. Other than that, there’s not much that goes into it.

So, for us, the hack is this: 

Smoothie for breakfast
+ Salad for lunch
+ Make dinner stretch for 2-3 meals during the week
———————————————————————-
= More hours in your day & a mostly healthy diet

It may not be rocket science, but it makes such a huge difference in how I feel about planning, prepping, making and eating. Give it a whirl, I promise you’ll love it just as much as we do. Unless, you’re one of those people who doesn’t eat leftovers… then, you’re on your own.

 

*Disclaimer: Since I’m all about being 100% real, after falling in love with Advocare’s 24 day challenge (amongst a plethora of other products) we’ve decided to become Advocare distributors. From here on out, links to Advocare will take you directly to our microsite. If you have any questions please feel free to shoot me an email. Thanks!