From The Kitchen

I don’t know about you, but I tend to think of dinner as pasta & salad or meat and potatoes. Pretty traditional I guess, especially given how much I love to cook and how adventurous we are in our food choices.  I think I just want to provide hearty food that will people up.

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I tend to skip right over salad and sandwich options for dinner. But, the more we settle into Paleo/Whole30 way of eating the more comfortable I am exploring other options. It’s easy to get stuck in the grilled meat, roasted vegetable rut, but there are so many other options. Especially now that we’ve done Whole30 twice and know what the (almost) perfect balance is of adding a few things back in now and then (things like honey or coconut/almond flour to create paleo wraps etc).

In an attempt to switch things up a bit I decided to give the California Chicken Wraps from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain, Meals Made Simple a try for dinner the other night, and I’m so glad I did!

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First let me say you should follow Against All Grain online! Even if you don’t have food allergy issues, and don’t really care about eating paleo, her recipes are good! Everything, from sauces & condiments, to starters and main meals have been a hit in our house!

She has two Cook Books I have the Meals Made Easy one (I’ll get the other one at some point…because having 30+ cookbooks it totally normal right?!) and I love it. It’s the one I grab the most when sitting down to make my two week menu.

Anyway, back to the chicken wraps…while I can’t share the recipe here, since it’s not my creation (you will have to get the cook book if you want the recipe) I can say it has honey-mustard grilled chicken, bacon, avacado, amazing paleo/Whole30 ranch herb dressing (that is way better than the Whole30 approved options I’ve been purchasing at the store!) and her famous (at least in this house) wraps that work in a multitude of recipes. They are really great to make at the beginning of the week and then have on hand, as needed throughout the week for lunches etc.

We found that using the lettuce as a cup to hold everything keeps the dressing from making the wrap soggy and falling apart. And, if you need a Whole30 version of this meal then just use the lettuce and skip the wrap, it’s still going to be yummy that way, and get Whole30 approved bacon (which I find at Whole Foods).

I foresee us eating this a lot, especially during the summer when something a little lighter and cooler will be refreshing. Especially when served with a nice, crisp white wine!

 

Whole30

I debated and debated regarding posting about Whole30, but decided that since it’s a huge part of our life currently, and having an impact on our family, and life in the kitchen, I would share.

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Fritatta recipe from the Whole30 book.

For those who don’t know what Whole30 is the site has all the information you need. In short it cuts out sugars, some nuts, all alcohol, all dairy, all grains, and all beans. Basically we are left with meat, veggies and fruit. But, the meat has to be just meat, so bacon and hot dogs are a no go, for the most part (there are a few approved options out there if you can find them & afford them).

Beverages are very limited as well…black coffee, plain tea, and water or sparkling water. And, all sauces and dressings are home made.

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Walnut crusted pork loin.

Sounds fun right?

I’ll be up front. I do not approve of plans like this, which is why I wasn’t going to post about it. Drastically cutting things out, and if you mess up you have to start the 30 days over. On top of that the book states that this is a hard way to live and they do no recommend doing this 365 days a year because it’s not sustainable. I don’t believe in non-sustainable/deprivation ways of eating. at. all.

I was gorging on things leading up to our start date, that I don’t even like. But, because it was going to be a “do no eat” for 30 days I had to cram it in while I could. Never mind that I can go months and not eat cookies/doughnuts when they are not on a do no eat list. Mentally I don’t like plans like this…in an attempt to be healthy it can create unhealthy mental issues with food.

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Brussels sprouts and Sweet Potato hash with a balsamic reduction.

So, why are we doing this then? Mostly it’s to get to the bottom of potential food allergy issues, or foods that are contributing to some symptoms that are lingering. Which is why we like the reintroduction part of the plan. We will systematically add things like corn, wine, rice, sugar back for a few days, and then go back on plan and see how we feel. There’s a whole laundry list of things that this way of eating helps with from migraines to autoimmune issues, and of course GI issues. You don’t realize how bad you felt until you feel good. So hopefully this will help with that!

We, one of us anyway, are already dairy and gluten free, but still having potential food related issues, so the hope is this will help us figure out what is going on.

What I like about it: 
-The food is good. It’s not crazy/strange diet food.
-It’s not about losing weight, it’s about finding out how you feel and how your body responds to what you put in it.
-No counting calories, fat, portion monitoring, or using a scale.
-The book has a day by day breakdown of how you will feel and why.
-Between the book and the website all questions and advice are covered. You have all the info you need!
-Making your own mayo and ketchup etc. taste so much better, like it’s supposed to. It’s amazing what food can taste like when it’s not full of sugar, additives and preservatives.
-Drinking a ton more water, and I drank a lot before this!
-Grilling. The next two weeks I plan out will be a lot more grilling!
-It’s largely a paleo way of eating, something we were already doing a lot of, so not a huge departure, but still a big change.
-I’m never hungry.

What I don’t like: 
-So much cooking. That’s saying something given I like to cook. But this is intense. Everything we eat has to be prepared in some way. I’m doing so much cooking for every meal, prep cooking all day (it feels like) on Sundays so there is breakfast and lunch during the week for Mark.
-So many dishes. By the time I’m done with breakfast every pan, all the knives, and most of the cutting boards are dirty. Seriously running the dishwasher 3 times a day…that’s just crazy!
-Making all the sauces. While they taste good and add tons of flavor, still I have to make all the sauces.
-So much water. I don’t drink coffee, and when I do it will never be black, I can’t dink carbonated beverages without it upsetting my tummy, and I don’t love plain tea. So I’m left with water. It’s only been a week and I’m sick of water. I’m putting fruit in it, mint, and other herbs, but bottom line it’s still water. I miss wine just for the variety in beverage.
-I have no energy! I tried running Friday…what a joke. Turns out days 6-7 are the I want to nap and have no energy days. So, I’m hoping as my body adjusts to running off of fat, which happens around day 10, rather than carbs this will improve. If not my 10 mile trail run in a few weeks is really going to suck!
-My old meal plan. While the food has been good it’s not exciting, and my go-to meals that I can cook in my sleep are not approved. I miss picking new, fun recipes to try, and tacos. I really miss tacos. Yes we could have taco salad, but I’m already eating a head of lettuce a day, so another salad isn’t what I’m looking for.
-No eating out, it’s just such a hassle to try and find the maybe one thing on any given menu that is ok to eat, but then you have to worry about how it’s prepped.
-No wine with steak…but at least we get steak.
-Having to think about food all the time. Is it ok or not, don’t think about the things I miss or am craving etc. I just don’t like feeling consumed by food decisions.

I’m really anxious for it to be over and to start adding things back in, because I want to know what, if anything, needs to be added to the list of foods we don’t eat.

Anyone else done Whole30? Any advice?