Sunday, February 19, 2017

G&G Whole 30 Help Guide

So last summer some would say I decided to do something kinda crazy...I eliminated all processed foods, added sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, and alcohol (yep) from my life for 30 days. Why would I do this?! Honestly this was kind of an experiment for me socially and health/nutrition wise. With life/school engagements, work events, and just being a twenty-something year old out about with friends - I could not honestly say I had never gone 30-40 days without ANY of the list above... I'm looking at you bread and alcohol (killin me NYC). My stomach wasn't always feeling 100% and I wanted to figure out what the deal was. It also became a kitchen cooking challenge for me and I wanted to just see if I could even do this...challenge accepted. What exactly is this crazy concept called? Say hello to Whole30.

I know this is a fashion style based blog but I have had so many questions from family and friends about my experience. I loved the ending feeling/NSVs (explained below) and I figured this would be a nice way for me to share shortcuts I found, recipes, favorite foodie finds, and tips on how I got through the 30 days.

Let me explain real quick - this is NOT a diet. The goal is not to lose weight or even measure weight loss (although zero booze and processed foods it happens). I love that this idea is about how you feel. It's a complete 360 reset I would say. The focus is on eating whole REAL foods and NSV - None scale victories. A few of my NSVs: I noticed my skin felt and looked great, learned new recipes/kitchen shortcuts, slept like a baby, positive happy moods, energyyyy bursts, clothes fit more comfortably, zero bloat sad stomach feels, and overall I just felt amazing. I loved this outcome so much I decided in January to start 2017 with round 2. Hello new year!

So my number one question I got was, "What on earth CAN you eat?"   I was surprised to see actually a lot of different foods to choose from. There's really something simplifying by focusing on the main things I could eat: Meats, seafood, veggies, fruits, nuts, dried fruit Basic list HERE.
Plantain chips, Organic Veggie Broth, Ghee, Grass Fed Angus patties, Epic Bars, Egg Whites, Chicken Sausages (check ingredients on some)
So I actually got the bulk of my things from TJs. It's priced so well and a lot of the foods are on the list. I found all veggies and proteins here... listed above are a few favorites. 

Fav Whole Foods Products: A LOT pricier, but some things you really can only seem to find there.

Timing: Pick a quiet time in life to do this - no weddings, bdays, January...a time when you know you can do this without feeling like you are missing out on something special.
Plan: When things get unorganized and I feel overwhelmed, that's usually when I'm not into it anymore.  Seriously READ THE BOOK ( or have a good idea of it) and give yourself a few weeks to gradually gather things you wouldn't normally have on hand in the kitchen - certain oils, nuts, ghee, almond/coconut milks, more expensive meats. It didn't seem as expensive for me to do this vs. making a big grocery haul all at once.
Clean Up: Yes clean and organize your cabinets. I put all the things that were not compliant on the third shelf and everything good to go eye level. It really helps eliminate the whole can I have???? question when you're READY for din.
Use a Crockpot: This saves lives. It's seriously the biggest time saver. There are SO many easy overnight recipes you can make and use throughout the week.
Meal Sizes: It did take me some time to try to figure out my meal sizes. Of course if I was hungry or pre/post work out I would have a compliant snack. But overall I tried to make my meals big enough to last me to the next. At first I felt like I was eating SO much but learned that feeling full and happy sure beat that 4:30 or pre lunch hanger. Use the template for an idea here. 
Frozen Veggies: They are your bestie. They are cheap, save well, and are and easy meal base when you need something quick.
Meal Preps: Make Meal preps to last for about 3 days. Plan at the end of the week what your main menu will be. Sundays and Wed were my days to make 3 main things and use throughout  breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I made a basic google sheet similar to this here and planned my weekly menu.
Meal 123: I like Melissa's advice to think of breakfast as another meal. So meal 1, 2, and 3. That way you don't feel weird about eating leftover steak or chicken for breakfast vs. a more breakfasty meal...and you stay full until lunch. Oh the reactions I got eating "dinner" for breakfast haha.
Yassss Snacks: Always have something on hand - it's when times are tough and your starving for something you crack lol Here are a few of my favs that would tide me over. Raisin boxes, Trader Joes plantain chips, Epic Bars, mixed nuts, Compliant Lara Bars compliant RX Bars (without peanuts), piece of fruit, Chomp Sticks, Boiled Eggs+berries.
Eating Out: Check the menu ahead of time so you aren't scrambling there. I've had luck with most breakfast places because you can usually get boiled eggs+smoked salmon+fruit or something like that. Any place with a salad bar is also a great option as well. NYC friends- Try Springbone Kitchen. Pretty much everything is Whole30 compliant and it's reallllyyyyy good. I went every Saturday for breakfast with friends (get the portobello burger or chicken zoodle soup).
Your Peeps: Connect with others or enlist a friend - It helps to not feel alone lol Or have someone who is excited and supportive on your team. My mom and I had fun sharing snaps/recipes during my first round. She loved the recipes and came up with a few new ones for me to try too. This past January I had friends either do Whole30 or Dry January so it was fun having dinners/people to hangout with and not feel the ahhh I am missing out factor. Also you don't have to be a hermit - I was actually more social to keep mind off things. I had dinners or met up with friends for tea/coffee vs. happy hour. I did workout classes with friends, got manicures/ laid out in the summer...You find ways to still be social.

YAAA This is what I did POST Whole30 - Not gonna lie. The Doughnut Project does NOT disappoint.
Favorite Go to Recipes: G&G Pinterest Idea Board HERE
  • Instant Soup Recipe - Add bone broth/veggie broth to cooked chicken and mixed veggies Soup 
  • Snack Plate - Mixed deli meats, avocado half, boiled egg, mixed nuts, apple/fruit slices
  • Butternut Soup - Add a can of puree butternut squash, chopped onion, 1 can coconut milk, 3 cups veggie broth, salt+pepper to a pot and cook = soup.
  • Crockpot chicken -  Put 3 frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot, add spices+ chicken/veggie broth. Cook low for 7 hrs = Instant shredded chicken. I would mix this with veggies, kale, 
  • Chicken Hash - Recipe Here
  • Overeasy eggs + leftovers
  • Italian Ground turkey or beef: Cook ground turkey or beef with canned tomatoes and add Italian spice blend
  • Baked potato with above shredded chicken+veggies+franks hot sauce
  • Chicken Salad - Shredded chicken, boiled egg, kale, salt+pepper, olive oil, golden raisins, Avo mayo, pulse in a food processor. 
***If all else fails just remember this...
Meal bases (below): + Protein (any meat/seafood) + fat (usually nuts or Avocado)

  • Broth
  • Greens
  • Roasted veggies
  • Cauliflower "rice"

Know your Spices: It makes everything more exciting. I added a lot of the below to meats, seafood, or veggies for some flavor. Also check your labels because a lot of spices have sugar (surprise surprise). Pinterest also has some great spice mix ideas too!
  • Instant Italian - Oregano+garlic+basil+salt+pepper+red pepper flakes
  • Instant Asian - Sesame seed oil+ garlic+ginger+salt+pepper+coconut aminos+olive oil
  • Instant Mexican - Cilantro+salt+pepper+cumin+jalapeno peppers+tomatoes
  • Instant Indian - Curry powder+salt+pepper+coconut flakes+red pepper or Turmeric 
  • Basics - Salt+pepper+garlic powder
  • Instant Sausage Spice - Sage+thyme+salt+pepper+garlic powder
YES The Doughnut Project

Surprising Things I learned: 

  • SUGAR IS IN EVERYTHING - Even frozen veggies sometimes. Meats, canned veggies/fruits, almond was a huge surprise to see just how many things have sugar that don't need it at all. 
  • I CAN drink my coffee black and actually like it. 
  • Your tastebuds change and you kind of don't miss or crave things towards the end. 
  • Bored eating is a real thing - If you aren't down for grilled chicken or veggies. You really aren't hungry. 
  • The Whole30 timeline is also on pointttt - Click HERE to see what you might go through 
  • Raisins, plantain chips,and Duene Reade mixed nuts became life staples - lol my team at work knows ALL about this.
  • I got really creative in the kitchen and if you are out and about most places are accommodating...just ask nicely. 
  • Yogurt makes my skin mad and my tummy NOT so happy. Grains are also not the easiest on my stomach either - but I'll pick my battles and eat what I want, at least I know now :)
I know this seems like A LOT. Believe me I was like ??? at first too. But you will get the hang of it. It's really so worth it and you do feel wonderful afterwards. Now, I try during the week to live a loose Whole30 ish (I said ish) based on what I've learned throughout the process. I hope this helped anyone out there debating giving this a shot or even just easing into eating better. If you have any other questions feel free to message me or text/call if you have my info. I would be more than happy to help.

Resources I used during Whole30: 
Whole30 Website
Whole30 Cookbook - SO many great recipes
Downloads List - I kept this in my Ibooks on my phone. Having the additives and basic rules with me was always extremely helpful
Pinterest - SO many helpful articles and recipe ideas on here. I have a board HERE that I keep just to stay organized and get ideas. I suggest making one and referring when you need a whole30 version of something you are trying to make.

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