Whole30 Update & a Recipe Roundup
Here I am rounding out week 3 of my Whole30, and friends, I couldn't be more ready to keep going with my #CaitGoesPaleo journey.
I had *planned* on writing short, weekly updates to share my journey with you this month, but I started back at school last week (I'm a high school teacher) so needless to say, I've been a little busy getting back into the swing of things. Plus, if you missed my post last month, I had a job change this summer, and not only did I start the school year, I also started at a different school.
Nothing like trying to do a W30 in the midst of change! But you know what, as stressed I thought I might be trying to get back into the swing of things and having to meal plan cook all. the. time. I'm actually feeling great. When we did our very first W30 a few years ago, it the same month we bought our first house and moved in, so I guess I'm just a sucker for doing all the hard stuff at once.*
However, I thought I'd jump in this week and share a little update in case some of you are almost ready to jump in, but just need an extra little encouragement. PLUS the Whole30 community just announced their next round of a group Whole30 for September. It's becoming an annual tradition to jump in and do one together in September and January, so now is the time because there's going to be a whole mess of people doing it with you, and what better time to connect!
Alright. Let's jump into these last few weeks!
*Side note, I do not recommend doing your very first W30 during the midst of a big life change or really busy schedule. In fact, I discourage it unless you're stubborn-headed and strong-willed like me.
Week 2: Still feeling good
For the most part, since our very first W30, I've been a lot cleaner with our nutrition, so our first week "detox" hasn't ever been as hard as that very first one. I was coming off of a major have-a-little-coffee-with-my-sugar-laden-creamer fix, not to mention a pretty big addiction to sugar. Cue the headaches and grumpiness. But by the time I got to week two, I was feeling so good--and that euphoric feeling was back this time around, just without the major sugar headaches!
However, week two this time has been two-fold. At first I felt like maybe nothing had changed and I struggled with the whole point of doing a W30 again. I was constantly asking myself why I couldn't just go paleo? I even had a few thoughts of giving up. But... I pushed through the first part of the week and hit the point where I started feeling really great. I was sleeping better. I had way more energy than I felt I had all summer, and I was starting to enjoy being in the kitchen again. I also went on a weekend writing retreat which was an obstacle for food, but I ended up just packing leftovers from the week as well as plenty of emergency foods, and things worked out. I felt pretty good that I was able to stay compliant, had prepared well for it, and even got to share some of my journey and food passion with other writers. Those campfire smores didn't get to me.
Week 3: Are we there yet?
If there's one piece of advice I can pass on about a W30, it's this: find a support system. Whether it's a friend to confide in and keep you accountable, someone to participate with you, or a community of people you can chat with over the course of the 30 days, you will definitely want support. See, the end of a W30 is fabulous. You'll feel the best you've felt in a long time (or so I hope!) but every day until then is going to be up and down, up and down. You'll feel great. You'll want to quit. It'll be the best thing ever. It will suck. You'll love life. You'll hate W30.
People do hard things everyday. A Whole30 isn't hard. Well, sometimes it's hard, but always it's worth it.
You get my drift. This friends, has been week 3 for me.
Hear me out. I'm still physically and mentally feeling fabulous. Despite starting a new job, my anxiety is lower and not much else has changed in my life to affect that. I'm back to my 5am wake up call and I'm not feeling fatigued at any point in the day. Definitely no afternoon crashes, and I even have last hour prep period. My headaches have decreased, my brain fog is gone, and my allergies haven't kicked up despite some of the Midwest humidity and the first inklings of the change of seasons. For me--these are already Whole30 successes and we've still got eight days left plus reintegration. But week three is where it gets mentally hard.
I've hit that point where I'm feeling great and seeing results, so I can quit right? Of course not! But that's what my brain thinks. The countdown to the end has hit, so you think it would be easy, but this is where it gets hard. My brain is trying to trick me into thinking we've done what we were supposed to do. But in reality, I need to finish out the Whole30 AND move through the reintegration process to reap full benefits.
But you know, people do hard things everyday. A Whole30 isn't hard compared to some of the battles people face. Well, sometimes it's hard, but always it's worth it. Or that's what I keep telling myself anyway, despite my really weird craving for chocolate this week. Sure, all those silly Paleo desserts are taunting me, but there will be time for those later. Right now is about giving my body and mind the health journey it deserves.
Some of my favorite Recipes
I went through a slump this summer where I was just tired of being in the kitchen, but a W30 forces you to cook, to plan, and to be ready. So, these last few weeks I've been cooking my way through The Whole30 Cookbook, Instagram account, and Michelle Tam's new Ready or Not, and I've begun to fall back in love with being in the kitchen. I wanted to share my top recipes so far mainly because they're easy and as my husband gave them an excellent rating, they will definitely be making their way back into my meal plan rotation!
- White Chicken Chili from @paleorunningmama on Whole30Recipes Instagram
Super easy, super delicious, and even better if you add avocado and lime sauce to it. [Lime sauce is homemade mayo with lime juice instead of lemon. Just sour enough to add a delicious kick, and my everyday substitute for sour cream for anything with a Mexican flair!]
- Instant Pot Kalua Pig Nom Nom Paleo or in Ready or Not!
This is only W30 compliant if you can find sugar-free bacon, which I did for the first time locally! And it is SO worth it. Make sure you have the Hawaiian Red Salt too to get the full deliciousness. I ordered some off of Amazon just for this recipe!
- Twice Friend Plantains from @paleorunningmama on Whole30Instagram (There's also a recipe in Ready or Not! which I used.)
Oh my gosh friends. These were 100% amazing. I actually did not make the dip, though it looks delicious, but instead ate these with the Kalua Pig and it was a little bit of heaven on earth. Definitely a pairing that was made to be.
- Instant Pot Chicken and Gravy from Nom Nom Paleo, website and book
Comfort food at it's finest. This version of gravy has become a new favorite and a staple when I roast chicken. The gravy is great over some roasted or mashed potatoes too. Just use chicken broth and ghee for your mashed potatoes to make them compliant!
- Everything Oven Fries, seasoning from @perrysplate on Whole30Recipes Instagram
In college, there was an Einstein's Bagels in our commons and you would find me there most weekend mornings, cashing in my meal plan money for some bagel sandwiches. I was a hard core runner at the time, and couldn't get enough carbs! My favorite was always the everything bagel, and I'm a sucker for the flavor still. So when I found this seasoning mix recipe (since there's no Trader Joe's around here) I cut up a few potatoes, drizzled with them avocado oil, sprinkled on the seasoning and baked at 450 degrees for about 30ish minutes (give or take depending on your oven.) This is probably my new favorite oven fry flavor!
We're heading into the final stretch of this W30 round, and I am so glad we jumped in--even if it has been a busy month. I'm hoping week 4 goes by fast so we can jump into the reintegration process. I'm excited to see how my system has changed in terms of food tolerance, ready to say goodbye to some foods for good, and I might also be stocking piling a few Paleo desserts that I'm ready to try.
But then again, who doesn't love dessert?