Thursday, January 10, 2013

Whole30: Let's Talk Food (and Recipes)

I am a self-proclaimed picky eater. I always have been, and probably always will be in some form. I have gotten better over the years (trying new things like guacamole can change your life), but I'm still that person who can take one look at something and turn her nose up.

That's why I thought doing the Whole30 would be a challenge for me since I like my basics--bread, potatoes, milk, and of course, sugar. But I was resolved to do it, regardless of what I thought I would or wouldn't like. I just decided to look at it as more than a challenge to eat right, but also a challenge to invent new recipes or put my own spin on old ones, and find good food I would like.

If you look back over my past Whole30-related posts, you'll see that I've been sharing some different recipes. I, the picky eater, approve them all, as does my sidekick (and fiance), Nick. Some recipes have also been approved by non-Whole30ers, so they have to be good, right?

This week we've been recycling a lot of our previous recipes, just because we liked them so much. We made deconstructed taco burgers for dinner last night and had leftovers for lunch today. We also delved into the realm of pork chops, seasoning them with fresh garlic, onions, salt and pepper, wrapping them in bacon, and pairing them with garlic-roasted fresh green beans and a side salad topped with homemade avocado dressing. (Side note: It's a good idea to buy the book, It Starts with Food, which will tell you everything about the Whole30, including how to make your own mayo and dressings.)

So if you're wondering if you'll actually like any of the food you're going to be eating during the Whole30, take it from me, you will. Don't be afraid to get creative with spices, garlic (which is awesome on practically everything) and switching up a dish you might make on a regular basis.

Baked eggs in bacon baskets; can also be made scrambled.

That said, tonight we had steak. Nick made his own dry rub and I tried out a recipe for baked eggs in bacon baskets, found here and pictured above. It was delicious, so I've included the steak rub recipe below. We also had sugar snap peas boiled in lightly salted water with one chopped scallion.

The baskets were really good, though the bacon wasn't so amazing. We found a kind we could have (without sugar), so I'm sure "regular" bacon would taste better. These would also make a great breakfast item, obviously, kind of like a bacon egg muffin. Similarly, I'm interested in putting my own spin on this egg muffin recipe.
Nick's Steak Dry Rub with a Kick
(Covers at least four 5-oz. steaks)
- 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 3/4 tsp. paprika
- 3/4 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
Mix spices in a small cup, then massage mixture into meat on both sides. Nick prepared our steaks by browning two chopped garlic cloves and two sliced scallions in about 1 tbs. clarified butter in a skillet, then cooking steaks in the skillet until done.

Have a Whole30 recipe or recommendation? I'd love to hear your suggestions and try something new!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Whole30: Week One - Complete!

One week down, three more to go! (It feels so much more manageable when put in weeks rather than days, right?!)

Today was a pretty good day overall, though I'm adding a new point on the timeline, "want to cry about everything." I felt like everything that was remotely frustrating made me want to cry, rather than kill things. I'm not sure if that is a good or bad sign, but I'm hoping it doesn't continue tomorrow. Also, having breakfast this morning and remembering to use my inhaler definitely helped me have a better workout than yesterday's unfortunate trip to the gym.

Here's a quick look back at the past week, just in case you missed anything (I personally recommend checking out the recipes).

Day 1 -  Shared my first day of meals and a recipe for yummy chicken and veggie soup.
Day 2 - Shared two recipes that pair well together--salmon and broccoli with garlic. I also shared some bits of information and encouragement.
Day 3 - I tried to spread the gym love by sharing my tips for a more enjoyable trip to the gym.
Day 4 - I talked about cravings (those wicked things!) and shared a recipe for deconstructed taco burgers.
Day 5 - Rambled about dreams, eating out, and other things that were going on.
Day 6 - Shared two lettuce wrap recipes and additional information.

Overall, I'd say it's been a good week. Yes, it has been hard at times, but it has definitely been more rewarding than challenging. I'm still recommending that anyone and everyone give it a try, if only to see what it's like to really feel good and have increased energy. (Who can say no to that?!)

Also, looking for some new moves in the gym, or at home? Check out this: Glamor's One Month Slim-Down Plan, presented in a slideshow of photo demonstrations. Or come to Iron Horse and workout with me! :)

I'm not sure if I'll continue blogging daily, but we shall see! If not, I'll be sure to keep posting recipes and "milestones" and answering any questions I get.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Whole30: Day 6 + Wrap Recipes

Today's encouraging moment: my tightest pair of jeans is already feeling a little looser! I put them on expecting them to feel like they usually do: a tight squeeze. But today they feel really good, not too tight and a little extra give. It's nothing huge or crazy, but a nice little progress marker at day six.

I only ended up eating two meals today, which may have impacted my work out (that and the fact that I forgot to use my inhaler). Didn't go as far as I had wanted to, but it's kind of hard when your chest starts to tighten up. On the bright side, I didn't have any caffeine today and I didn't feel tired or head achy at all. Normally if I didn't have a cup of coffee in the morning, by the afternoon I'd be feeling it. So that was nice.

Tonight we repeated my chicken and veggie soup (recipe at the end of this entry) for dinner, this time doubling the recipe so we could have some for lunch tomorrow. We're also planning to try my egg drop recipe with beef broth to see how that tastes. I will share the recipe if it's better (than it was with chicken broth--okay, but not amazing).

We've also been delving into the realm of lettuce wraps lately. They really make a great substitute for bread (can't believe I'm typing this) when it comes to quick lunches and deconstructed burgers. Today we had tuna lettuce wraps for lunch. They were delish! So here are a couple wrap recipes for you to try.
Ground Beef and Water Chestnut Lettuce Wraps
- 1 lb. ground beef, broken up into small bits
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1-2 scallions, chopped
- 5-7 diced water chestnut slices
- pinch of cayenne
- 2 pinches of basil
- 2 pinches of parsley
- spices sprinkled across pan while cooking meat: paprika, onion powder, salt, pepper.
Drizzle olive oil into a sauce pan, heat over medium with garlic while adding beef and stirring. Mix in scallions and continue to stir. Sprinkle/add all spices over meat. As meat nears completion (should be brown), stir in water chestnuts and cook for a few minutes over medium. Remove from heat and spoon into lettuce leaves. You may want to top meat with mustard, it adds a nice flavor. Wrap leaves and enjoy!

Tuna Lettuce Wraps
- 1 can tuna fish in water (if you're doing Whole30, make sure to check the ingredients!)
- approx. 1 tbs. olive oil mayo (use this guide to make your own)
- 1/2 tbs. mustard (or more, depending on how much you like it)
- 2-3 diced pickle chips
- optional: diced onion
Mix tuna and condiments together with a fork, breaking tuna up into smaller pieces. Scoop tuna onto a lettuce leaf, wrap lettuce around tuna and you're good to go!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Whole30: Day 5

Here we are at day five and things are still pretty good. I had my first food dream last night. I don't remember specifically what food it was, but I was at a party being offered non-Whole30 foods and I'm pretty sure I ate some of them. And then felt bad.

Eating out with friends and family isn't such a great thing any more, especially when you have to watch people eat their French fries and burgers and you're stuck with a salad and grilled chicken. (Although homemade avocado dressing does help with that.) Also today, I craved chocolate. That was a first for the Whole30. We have discovered that homemade frozen juice pops and real fruit smoothies make a great substitutes for dessert. We found frozen fruit with no added sweeteners that we blend with some apple juice for our smoothies. Yum!

I'm not quite at "kill all the things" level, but I can feel myself getting easily irritated and frustrated if things don't go correctly. So hopefully I'm basically bypassing that phase as I'm already in "I just want a nap" mode. Because I fell asleep yesterday afternoon and today for a little bit.

Nick and I are still encouraging people to join us, because cravings aside, we've been eating and feeling great. I'm not getting nearly the amount of caffeine I used to intake and my energy levels are better than before. Especially at the gym, but I think I mentioned that. I can't help but continue to promote Whole30 and its benefits to friends and family. It's not the most fun thing, but feeling good never felt so good. ;)

Tonight we cooked up some beef for lettuce wraps. I'll let you all know how they turned out, but basically I broke up the meat, added garlic, scallions, spices and water chestnuts and sauteed it in a skillet with some olive oil. If it's good, I'll pass on specifics.

Anyone else have any recipes to share? I'm also curious to know if any of you are considering the Whole30, want to start or are going to start. Or are you doing a different diet or health routine? Please share! :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Whole30: Cravings Central + Recipe

Today I woke up with only one wish--to stuff my face with cereal. Preferably Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but I'm not picky.

I've also been craving bread. Lots of bread. Rolls, slices, pizza dough (yeah, don't look at pictures of pizza dough when you want bread, it does not help). A restaurant in town makes really good french bread, and my mom and I went there for lunch yesterday. I can happily say I resisted, but it. was. hard.

Tonight we went grocery shopping for dinner at a local hometown-y store. We were walking down one of the aisles... with bread... ug, bread! And I forced myself to look away. Of course on the other side of the aisle, what did I see? Cereal. (Cue angry face.)

My cravings haven't really been that bad yet. I mostly crave something bad for a few seconds as I remember those days when I could just grab a handful of whatever (Cheez-Its, peanut butter, cereal!) and just stuff my face. Yes, I admit, all I've wanted to do lately is stuff my face.

On the flip side, I've been feeling really good. I only get slight headaches when I'm hungry and I'm not too cranky. I only get a little psychotic when I can't find something, or feel frustrated. But thankfully, it quickly passes. So things in that department are going well.

Workouts have also been going well. Today I did three miles (walk-run-walk-run-cool down) on the treadmill and then some weight training. Not bad for the fifth day back in the gym. I'm already feeling increased energy levels thanks to the Whole30. So yes, gym love is totally happening! :)

And though I'm only on day four, I'm already thinking about what I'm going to do once the Whole30 has been completed. Yeah, it's early, but I can't let myself get back to the way things were with too much fast food and too many sweets. Right now I'm contemplating two "allowance" meals, which will be healthier choices but still fast food, or food at sit-down restaurants. Those would be Wednesday night (with the youth group kids) and Sunday afternoon (we usually do lunch out with my family). The rest of the time, meals would be planned out and mostly Whole30-compliant. I do think I will allow some dairy back in, because hey, I love my milk. And some bread, whole wheat and of course, in moderation. But that's just what I'm thinking now. It could always change.

And now, on to the recipe. We made deconstructed burgers for the past two nights in a row. The first night I stuffed them with garlic and scallions and topped them with spices. They turned out pretty good, but not as good as the second night when we made taco burgers! Mmm mmm. So I am going to share the taco burger recipe with you, because it totally rocks my taste buds.

First attempt at deconstructed burgers with garlic-fried snow peas and carrots.
Deconstructed Taco Burgers
- We used this recipe for homemade taco seasoning in place of a packet, however we didn't have pepper flakes so we used two pinches of cayenne. Prep the seasoning according to directions.
- 2 scallions, finely diced
- ground beef, rolled into baseball-sized portions
Make a bird's nest in each beef ball using your thumb. Proportionally sprinkle taco mix and scallions into all bird's nests. Roll beef back into a ball, kneading mixture into meat, then flatten into patty. Place patty (or patties) into skillet and cook on medium heat, flipping until burger is evenly cooked. Once your burgers are done, if you're on Whole30, use a lettuce leaf in place of a bun and top with whatever condiments/veggies you like. We topped ours with mustard, homemade olive oil mayo, pickle slices, and cherry tomato slices. Snow peas make a great side, as does apple sauce.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Whole30: Learning to Love the Gym

Since getting back into the gym this month, I'm trying to teach myself to love it again. This is somewhat difficult since my love for the gym started in college, under completely different circumstances.

I learned to love the gym during my freshman year, which was when I first had access to a workout facility. It actually started with joining the women's basketball team, which forced me to spend 2-4 hours a day at the gym (and with a "family" of teammates). So the gym became like a second home, someplace familiar, and once basketball ended, all I wanted to do was spend my afternoons working out.

The next year I started working at the gym because I couldn't think of a better job to have. I loved the atmosphere, running collegiate sporting events, meeting new people, and hanging out in a place I felt comfortable. I still spent most afternoons working out after class and before dinner. Running and weight training were my release of stress in trying times.

Looking back, I know the gym represented many things in my life, but most of all, I liked the way I felt when I was there. Now the battle becomes, how to I replicate that? And, how to I pass that replication process on to you all?

Unfortunately, I don't really have a concrete answer yet (if I ever figure it out, I'll pass it along in a heartbeat), but I do have a few tips/ideas to help make working out more enjoyable.

1. It starts with your mentality. How do you think about the gym? What do you associate it with? If each trip to the gym feels like a chore that you have to get done, you probably have the wrong mentality. Start associating the gym with positive thoughts. This will take work, but you can retrain yourself to think of the gym as a good thing. Associate it with feeling good, feeling comfortable in your own skin, healthy, longevity, anything that in your mind is a good thing.

2. It continues with relationships. Find a workout buddy (or several), someone you can "hang out" with at the gym, even if you do totally separate routines. It will give you someone to travel to and from the gym with, someone to chat with and follow around if you feel lost. (Or if you're the gym expert, you can help them learn how to use weight machines, etc.) It will also put you in a mutually encouraging relationship, which will continue to reinforce positive feelings about the gym.

When I lived in Denver, there were a few times we organized a "gym day" at work, where we would all go to 24 Hour Fitness together at the end of the workday (it helped that we all had memberships with the same company). If you know a group of people on the same work schedule who want to get in the gym, try organizing a "gym day" (or days), when everyone knows that at least a few people will be showing up.

If you can't find anyone to work out with, try making friends with people at the gym. This may be a little bit harder, but you're all there for the same reason. Get to know the employees and regulars you see when you typically work out. It starts with a simple hello and can grow into a friendship outside the gym.

3. Don't bite off more than you can chew. When you first get (back) into the gym, start small. Do not overdo it by running ridiculously far on the treadmill, attempting to lift half your body weight or pushing yourself until you throw up. Even if you used to be able to do more, you need to give your body a chance to get used to working out again. And yes, this phase could take a while, so continue small until you feel your strength building up, then increase your routine gradually.

The best way to get burned out at the gym is to set impossible goals for yourself, or expect more than you can physically do. When you don't meet unrealistic goals, you might start thinking things like, What's the point of going to the gym if I can't even accomplish something? So set achievable goals and you'll start feeling better about your abilities in the gym.

4. Learn your schtuff. If you don't know your way around the gym, you'll feel more timid about going in and working out. And if you don't know how to use the weight machines, you can end up injuring yourself big time. So, do yourself a favor and learn your way around the athletic facility.

Start by getting a tour from the staff when you first visit/sign up. They will be able to show you where everything is, and should also be fully versed in how to use all the equipment. If you have a question about a weight machine, do not be afraid to ask how to properly use it. Also, if you have a friend who knows a lot about weight training and machines, ask them to give you a crash course. If you can regularly workout with said friend, well that's even better!

5. Give yourself a nice, fat reward. Still need a little extra motivation? Set up rewards for yourself. I love working out right after work because I know when I'm done I get to go eat a nice, big dinner (of yummy Whole30 goodness). A filling and nutritious meal is a great reward, because it not only tastes good, but does good.

In college, my reward was a (too big) bowl of soft serve ice cream at dinner. Or lunch. Or both. I indulged. But looking back, I was probably the most in shape I've ever been (I actually bought a size 3/4 dress sophomore year, how does that happen?), so I don't think it hurt too much. Your reward might be a small sweet treat, a shopping trip when you drop a size or two, a new pair of running shoes after a few months of consistency, etc. It doesn't hurt to help yourself feel good about what you're doing (as long as you don't over-do it and break the bank or pack back on the pounds).

6. Get some good tunes. This one is fairly obvious and doesn't need much elaborating because, let's face it, music can make or break your workout. So pick out some songs that get you pumped up, put them in a playlist and get to it!

7. Don't think... too much. Do not, I repeat, do not let yourself think about "all the other things you could be doing." Even if you only work out for 20 or 30 minutes, it is time well spent. Taking care of your body is important. You shower, brush your teeth and sleep. Your body needs exercise too. So do yourself a favor, make some time and get that bod in gear!

Anyone else want to share what motivates you to get to the gym or workout at home? Let's keep sharing the love! (P.S. I have another recipe to share tomorrow so come back for deconstructed taco burgers!)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Whole30: Sharing = Caring (Including More Recipes!)

Well here we are at day two of the Whole30 and surprisingly enough, I'm still feeling good! (Also surprising, I'm writing a blog post for a third consecutive day. That doesn't usually happen. Like. Ever.)

After reading the scary "Whole30 timeline" post I shared in my last blog entry, I woke up expecting the worst. (Headaches are supposed to start on days 2-3.) While I had a few minor irritating headaches in the morning and afternoon, it was nothing like a crazy hangover headache. So either I should expect more tomorrow, or maybe I'm skipping this phase.

I also felt a little sleepy during some portions of the day, but nothing that interfered with my normal workflow. I haven't had too many cravings, yet, but for a moment I glanced at a leftover cinnamon roll in the fridge and thought that if I wasn't doing the Whole30, I'd totally snatch that sucker up! Needless to say it, along with a few other items, were deposited into the trash can.

A refreshing tumbler of black tea and orange slices helped beat the afternoon slump.

I didn't think I really ate that healthily over the course of last month, because let's be honest, I was downing the sugar like it was going out of style. But looking back, I think I ate more quality food during the week of Christmas than I have in a while (think homemade chili, a shrimp dish from Olive Garden, turkey and lots of fresh veggies). So who knows what the deal is, but so far, I'm still feeling really good. And happy. :)

Now, on to the things I have to share. First, let me talk about cost since I got a question (from the lovely Liz) on how much it cost to restock my pantry. I should clarify that on our first shopping expedition, we didn't exactly fully restock, because it's still looking pretty bare. We did end up buying a lot of fresh produce and meat, which will probably be the case throughout the Whole30.

Overall we purchased about $110 in food, but spent about $65 thanks to some gift certificates from work. Besides fresh items, we got coconut milk, chicken stock, olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, almond butter, regular butter to clarify, juice, raisins, applesauce, tuna, spices and lemon and lime juice. We have yet to get some additional items (like coconut flour) to fill out our pantry supply, but we figured this would get us going.

Next, I would like to thank Cami for the encouraging words she left on my last post. It has meant a lot to me to have friends and loved ones encouraging me and sharing their support. So now it's my turn. If you are considering the Whole30, let me share the love and say, you can TOTALLY do this! Everyone is capable of changing their eating habits for 30 days and through that, making good lifestyle changes. And the best part, you'll feel amazing! So go for it, girls and guys! I believe in you. :)

Finally, I have two recipes to share (by request)! And even if you're not doing the Whole30, you should try these because they are simple and so delicious!

Pan Seared Salmon Filets with Roasted Almonds & Lemon
(Serves two)
- 2 salmon filets (6 - 8 oz.)
- 1/2 lemon
- 6 crushed almonds (you can add more if you're sans Whole30 and an almond lover)
- 3-4 tbs. olive oil
- salt to taste
- 4 dashes of pepper (per filet)
- pinch of basil (per filet)
- pinch of parsley (per filet)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
-  hint of cayenne
Toast almonds in sauce pan with 1 tsp. olive oil until darkened, season with salt if desired. Remove and set aside almonds. Place 1-2 tbs. of olive oil in pan, add salmon filets on medium heat, season with salt, pepper, basil, parsley, crushed garlic, cayenne. Allow salmon to cook 3-5 minutes until underside turns white, then flip and repeat seasoning. Allow salmon to cook all the way through, then add almonds and squeeze lemon over filets. Allow salmon to sit 1-2 minutes on low heat to absorb lemon flavor, then serve.

Broccoli with Garlic
(4 servings)
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets (about 3 cups)
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- salt and pepper
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Steam broccoli or cook in a large pot of lightly salted water until tender-crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain and pat dry (drying not necessary if steamed in holder). In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds until lightly golden (no not allow garlic to brown). Add broccoli, salt pepper and red pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally until warmed through (not long).

I'm off to make some deconstructed hamburgers for dinner, so we'll see how that goes. I'm also going for my first meal out tomorrow (lunch with my mom), so we'll see what I can find to eat! We're hitting up a place with a really great salad bar (I just may be the freak that brings her own dressing along). C'est la vie.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Whole30: Day 1 + A Recipe

So here we are at day one... it feels like a one small step/giant leap type thing. Significant, yet not. Also, I was excited to see how many people read my post from yesterday. Hopefully we can spread the encouragement and support around!

Today went something like this...

Breakfast: One hard boiled egg and half an orange. I made myself a tumbler of black, unsweetened coffee and attempted to drink some while at work. I probably took a total of five sips. It's hard to have coffee without sugar. :/

Morning Snack: A few almonds and raisins. Kind of like trail mix, minus the bad stuff.

Lunch: As lunch got closer I was really excited knowing I would not be ingesting crap for once. Lunches used to consist of lots of fast food (Wendy's!), which tasted delish but would later leave me feeling like I wished I hadn't gone there.

Today I had homemade chicken and veggie soup, a Whole30-safe spin on chicken noodle. I made the soup last night, essentially throwing together ingredients I knew would work (chopped celery, carrots, scallions and garlic, some spices and cubed chicken). When it was done, Nick tried some and really liked it, so we wrote down the basics, which I am sharing with you at the end of this entry. :) I also had half an apple, two pickle spears (the cracker replacement) and a small amount of juice.

I was wondering how the afternoon would go, but I didn't experience any sort of crash. (Which really, that makes sense because I didn't eat any sweets beyond fruit.)

Afternoon Snack: Same as the morning snack.

We went to the gym after work and I expected to hit that second-day-back-in-the-gym slump. But my workout today was even better than yesterday and I felt amazing. Some may say it's too early to tell if the Whole30 is doing its job, but let me tell you, there's no arguing with a mid-workout body. Things are either going really well, or really terrible. Today, things felt fantastic. I'll take it when I can get it.

Dinner: Ahh, dinner. Dinner was amazingly delicious. We had pan seared salmon filets, broccoli with garlic, cherry tomatoes and apple sauce. If you guys are interested, I will share the recipes for the salmon and broccoli in a future post.

I promise not to bore you with endless lists of the things I ate every day. This is just an example of what daily meals can/will look like for the next month. I will share recipes when they turn out decent/amazing/totally edible, or when asked for them. (And as a side note on the next month, this post from the Whole30 site scares me just a little. I don't want to become the psychotic version of myself, but I just might. You have been warned.)

In other news, I think I will be participating in my first organized run in February. We're talking at work about participating in the annual B-rry Scurry four-mile race put on by our local community college. I've never been much of a distance runner, usually only a mile at a time (I blame organized sports for training me to run-stop-run-repeat), so this could be interesting.

In conclusion, this is for the GIRLS ONLY who need some gym inspiration: Glamour posted this slideshow on their website of celebs' bodies that will make you want to get to the gym asap. I'm mostly posting this so I can go back later when I'm starting to feel chocolate cravings and remind myself that there's an end goal.
Chicken and Veggie Soup
(Serves two)
- 32 oz. chicken broth (we found that Rachel Ray's chicken stock is Whole30-safe)
- 2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
-  Drizzle of olive oil (unfortunately I didn't measure most of this, just added as I saw fit)
- 2 sticks chopped celery (or as much/little as you want)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 8 baby carrots, chopped
- 1 tsp. salt (or more to taste--I just put in a small handful)
- several dashes of pepper
- pinch of basil
- pinch of parsley

I heated the chicken broth and olive oil in a pan, added the veggies and spices and let them cook at a low boil for about 10 minutes/until soft, stirring occasionally. I added the chicken and let it simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Whole30: The Final Countdown

Today is the last day before the Whole30 begins! (Read more on this in my original post.) We're "celebrating" our last day of dining freedom with things like cinnamon rolls and caramel macchiatos. Probably a bad idea, but too late now.

We also started the first day of our new gym membership, after purchasing it last night. Nothing like starting the new year off right. It feels so good to be back in the gym again.

Nick and I have been getting ready to start the Whole30 over the past several days. It started on Sunday with making a (very long) shopping list of things we could have and would need for the next week's worth of meals.

Making the list...
Why print off a list when you can hand-write one with a Sharpie pen? (I know, it's unnecessary but I've always liked writing things out.) Anyway, after we assembled our list, we headed over to Hy-vee to buy the goods.

Siphoning off the best snow peas.
Nick is my go-to for all things relating to the grocery store, but especially produce, since he worked in a supermarket for nine years in New Jersey. He obliged by selecting the best fruits and veggies we could find, which also included digging through a tub of snow peas to find a handful of good ones.

A cart full of Whole30-approved items (minus the Jamba Juice, we had that last night).
Shopping for the Whole30 reminded me a lot of when I gave up high fructose corn syrup while living in Denver. It was surprising then how many items contained the sweetener. Shopping for Whole30 items is like that, times 10. You can't have any added sugars whatsoever, so we spent a long time reading labels and checking my list. (Nick was also very helpful for this as he memorized the names of the ingredients we couldn't have.)

In the end, we got a cart full of lovely, healthy food items, which will hopefully last us about a week.

New Year's Eve shopping expedition! ;)
And so here we go. I'm actually really looking forward to whipping this old body into shape and feeling healthy once again. Getting back in the gym reminded me just how long it's been since I really cared about staying in shape, enough to do more than go for a little jog on the riverfront.

Tonight we're going to start putting things together and working on a meal plan for the next week. I'm excited to try some of the recipes, and invent our own. Nick knows a lot about cooking (probably more than me), so I think we'll have no trouble coming up with lots of great meals.

We also weighed ourselves for the last time until the Whole30 is completed (they tell you not to take any measurements during the 30-day period), and we'll take our measurements before. If I'm feeling brave at the end of this, I might tell you all where I started at. If not, I'll just tell you what I lost overall. :)

In closing, here is some encouragement my reason for doing the Whole30, my friend Cami, passed along to some of us today: A kick-off blog post on the Whole30 site. If you're joining us, or still on the fence, check it out! And keep reading because I'll be posting all my updates here on my blog.
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