Somewhat Sinful (and Sunful) Sunday

Day 7…

Today was an absolutely beautiful day!  I love it when it’s nice like this on the weekends.  It inspires me.  Sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes it’s not.  Today, maybe less so.

So, I didn’t really cheat.  But I wasn’t that great either.  My day desperately needed more vegetables.  And less things trying to be bad things.  Again, I have no pictures, but here’s how my day went down:

Breakfast= Onion Sausage Scramble

So yesterday I mentioned that I made my own breakfast sausage.  Turns out it really was as good as I’d tasted when I first made it.  This morning after church, I came home and sauteed some onion slices, mixed in a bit of the sausage, and scrambled some eggs with it.  It. was. GOOD!  Like, really good.  I also had some strawberries and blueberries to round out a very satisfying breakfast.  I used the rest of the sausage to make a frittata that I’ll explain tomorrow.

Lunch= Deconstructed Andouille Sausage Sandwich

This is where I probably could have been better.  Meal two was also sausage.  To my credit, this was a link of Trader Joe’s chicken andouille sausages, one of the only sausages made without added sugar (and only 4 points on the Weight Watchers Points Plus program), so there are many ways it could have been worse.  But still… sausage.  Inspired by last night’s dinner, I ate the sausage with a little mustard on top, a Romaine lettuce leaf, and a few pickles.

Snack= Chocolate “Pudding”

I found a recipe on Pinterest labeled as Whole 30: chocolate pudding, which is made with only a mashed banana and cocoa powder.  I cant remember the last time I went a full week without chocolate, but oh my… even the bitter chocolate pudding was delicious!  I’m not really sure this is in line with the spirit of the program; after all, bananas mixed with eggs to make “pancakes” is not allowed.  I won’t do it often, but it was definitely a treat!

Dinner= Ham and Carrots

A few months ago, I worked with some composer friends from church to record an album, and tonight we had our CD launch party.  I was iffy about going, because I didn’t know if they’d have anything there I could eat.  But I’d already RSVP’ed before I decided to do this program, so I went. Technically, none of the food was program approved.  But it could have been worse.  I had some honey baked ham (but I took the skin and crust off) and some baby carrots.  I know there was some added sugar, but it was either that or nothing, and I was actually a bit hungry.

Remarks…

Some good, some not so good things today.  The good thing is that I wasn’t tempted by the off-limits things at the party: bread rolls, broccoli salad, pasta salad, strawberry pound cake, chips and salsa, wine…  But I also didn’t eat as many nutritious foods as I would have liked.  I guess Sunday is a good day to be a bit relaxed, but I want to keep myself strict on this.  My body still has to process the bad with the good.  This week will be better. I have a meal plan all ready.  Week 2- Here I come!

 

 

 

Sinless Saturday

 Day 6…

I’m pleasantly surprised about how today went. I thought it would be verrrry difficult, but not so!

Last night I bought a spiralizer (because it sounds like the way to go for those doing Whole 30). So today on my errand run (wedding invitations are mailed, thanks for asking!) I stopped by the grocery store and bought some zucchini.  I’m really looking forward to trying zoodles. They seem to be highly liked…

I also made my own breakfast sausage today! Just cooked up some ground pork with a bunch of seasonings, and it pretty much tasted like the real thing. Tomorrow I’ll make some sort of breakfast scramble to really try it out.  Until then…

Breakfast= Walnuts 

Ok, yes I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I just was not hungry.  I got out of bed, got dressed, and went out. When I got home I had a handful of walnuts while making the sausage. I may also have taken a taste of the sausage to make sure it was seasoned well…

Lunch= Grilled Chicken, Spinach Strawberry Salad, and Sweet Potato Chips

I tried out my spiralizer on a sweet potato and made thin chips. I sprinkled half with salt and pepper, and half with cinnamon. I think I could improve the baking process, as some of them were burned and others not quite crispy enough, but it was a good first start.

Dinner= Deconstructed Burger and Carrot Sticks

Jonathan and I tried out a new restaurant that opened in the neighborhood. I ordered a deconstructed hamburger, which is basically a burger patty on a plate with a piece of lettuce, tomato slices, pickles, and red onion.

I wish I would have taken a picture, but alas, I’d been waiting for that burger all week and was eager to try it! It was quite tasty!

Remarks…

I’ll admit that tonight I wished I weren’t on this diet. The restaurant had several menu items I would have liked to try. Pizza, corn fritters (looked like delicious hush puppie!), pretzels, lots of beer… It scares me a little that I’m feeling temptation so early in the program. I still have 24 days!!

But then I looked at the people eating those things and thought, when I have their physique, I can eat those things again. That may be the wrong way to look at it, but in a way, it’s helping me to envision the long-term reward over the short-term satisfaction. It I think that’s what will help me through this!

 

Friday Five Day

Day 5…

Today has probably been the best day yet.  It’s been five days since I started the Whole 30 diet, and I feel invigorated.  It’s crazy that two days ago I felt like I might completely crash, and today I was tempted to take a jog.

One of the stipulations of the Whole 30 program, on top of all the dietary restrictions, is that you’re not allowed to weigh yourself or take any measurements for the entire 30 days.  However… I’m technically still on Weight Watchers, and if I lose 10 pounds in 2 months, I get a refund.  So, today I stepped on the scale, anddddd…. I’ve lost 5 lbs since last Friday!  FIVE FREAKING POUNDS!!! Heck yeah!  So since I started the program in mid-January, I’ve lost a total of 8 pounds.  So, I’m back on track and feeling great.

The real test of my endurance will be this weekend, when I’m home and leisurely lazing around the apartment… because I don’t have much to do this weekend, and there’s a party on Sunday night.  Oy.  I think I can, I think I can…

Breakfast= Eggs and Potatoes

Today’s breakfast: Eggs over easy served over breakfast potatoes with peppers and onions.  One of this weekend’s missions will be to find some plan-acceptable breakfast meat so I can make my own casserole for breakfast.  Because while the cafeteria has been great, and I can visually witness the making of my eggs, I have no idea if the potatoes are 100% compliant.  They may have hidden butter, sugar, etc, so it’ll be good to know for sure when I can make and supply my own breakfast.

Lunch= Rainbow Trout and Salad

We had lunch out today to interview a potential candidate for a job opening in our department.  Since it’s Friday, I’m Catholic, and it is Lent, I picked a seafood restaurant near the office.  Unfortunately, most of the seafood dishes are fried, prepared with butter, or served with dairy or grain sides (see also: orzo, mashed potatoes, etc.).  So I had a lot of changes to my order: grilled rainbow trout on seasonal vegetables and a wedge salad, minus the cheese and dressing.  Even though the salad was bare and only contained lettuce, tomatoes, and bacon pieces, it was good until the second-to-last bite.  As I was about to devour the last bite, I suddenly realized that, duh, bacon is meat!  And while it is allowed on Whole 30, it is not allowed as a Lenten lunch item on a Friday!  Oops!  Hopefully Jesus will forgive me.

The fish was delicious, but after eating a few of the seasoned veggies (green beans and carrots), I realized they were swimming in butter!  You can’t win for losing sometimes… so that was the end of lunch.

Snack= Apple and Almond Butter

Yummmmmmmmm……..

Dinner= Jalapeño Shrimp, Green Beans, and Potatoes

Jonathan and I had an errand to run at the mall, so we walked over and grabbed dinner while we were there.  I won’t lie; finding Whole 30 compliant, meatless dinner options at a mall food court is challenging!  In fact, short of a veggie plate or side salad, I’m pretty sure I got the only thing I could have, at a place called Farm Plate (or something to that effect).

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I guess there’s a chance the shrimp and/or potatoes could have been prepared with butter, but I tried to eat as little of the “sauce” as possible, and only ate two potatoes.  So hopefully any dairy I ate was negligible.

Remarks…

Apart from the decrease in number on the scale, I can tell this diet is working.  I feel better, have fewer cravings, am rarely hungry, and get full faster.  Two weeks ago, a small salad and thin fish fillet would never have been enough.  Today after lunch I was satisfied.  I’m hopeful that the good results will continue.  Wish me luck!

 

Fruitful Thursday

Day 4…

Why do I feel like I’ve been on this diet for far more than four days?  In both good and bad ways.  I do miss bread and cheese, but I don’t crave it.  I just think sometimes it would be make my meals a tad bit less… blah.

On the other hand, I do feel a little better.  As far as energy goes, today was 100% better than yesterday.  I had some stomach issues, which I imagine is the result of my eating a ton more fruit and vegetables than I’m used to, but other than that, today was a pretty average day.  I don’t even have a picture to post.  Here goes:

Breakfast= Scrambled Eggs with Peppers and Fruit

This morning I totally ordered the same thing I ordered yesterday, but the guy in the cafeteria apparently didn’t hear me when I asked for ham in my eggs, so I just got peppers. Trying to reduce my potato intake, which I miss eating with my eggs in the morning, I got some fresh pineapple, grapes, and berries.  Yum!

Lunch= Fajita Salad and Banana

The cafeteria was serving chicken fajitas today, and so I got mine without the tortilla and dairy. It was basically a very simple chicken fajita salad.  Kind of small, but decent.  For a side, I ate a banana.

Snack= Apple and Almond Butter

So, I discovered almond butter yesterday and it is YUMMY!  Justin’s Pure Almond Butter, which I found at Target, contains only ground almonds and palm oil.  I had a little on an apple for a snack today, and it was just what I needed.  I foresee that going very fast!

Dinner= Leftover Meatballs

So tonight I’d planned to make pork cops and sweet potatoes, but Jonathan had a work thing, which left me to eat dinner alone.  What I really wanted when I got home from work was a bunless burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf, but once I got home, I wasn’t really in the mood to go back out to get one.  I thought of ordering takeout, but couldn’t bring myself to spend the $15 minimum on a bunless burger.  So, I finally gave in and ate the remaining four meatballs in the fridge.  Not much, but it was fine.  I didn’t take a picture of it; in fact, I didn’t even take them out of the Tupperware container we’d refrigerated them in.  So just use your imagination on that one.

Remarks…

I guess I said it all above.  Much more energy than yesterday, and getting used to abstaining from all the unhealthy foods in my life.

This weekend could be interesting.  At home with food at my disposal… I think I can handle it, but it’ll be tough.  To be continued…

 

Not Even Potatoes

Day 3…

OK, I’m going to go ahead and bury the lead– today was rough.  When my alarm went off this morning, I had a five minute serious debate with myself about whether or not to actually get up.  Casual, kidding debates happen all the time; of course, I’d always prefer to stay snuggled under the covers, head on a soft pillow, with my man on one side and usually a kitty (and sometimes two!) on the other.  But then I tell myself that I have to make money in order to afford this comfort, and I get up and get on with my day.  Today, it took everything within me to get out of bed.  I convinced myself that once I got up, it would get better.

And it did, for about two hours.  And then it got worse.  So the website was right.  I just can’t quite figure out if today was more akin to the hangover phase or the “I just want to nap” phase.  Because I felt tired and had a headache allll day. The 3:00 hour felt like 3 whole hours.  I took a walk.  I got multiple glasses of water.  I gave the diet coke nozzle on the soda machine the stink eye every time as I filled up my cup with water time and time again.  I needed caffeine (well, I thought that probably would have helped in any case).

I got home and went straight to bed, where I slept for about an hour until Jonathan came in and asked if I was planning on sleeping all evening.  I’m pretty sure I could have.

On the positive side, I haven’t had any serious cravings or even been hungry.  I’m actually pretty satisfied with smaller portions and didn’t even need a snack today.  As long as days like today don’t perpetuate too much longer into the future, I think it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.  I’ll keep you posted.

Breakfast= Denver Scramble and Fruit

When I say “Denver scramble,” what I actually mean is scrambled eggs with cooked ham and peppers, since cheese is off-limits, and I’m not a huge fan of onions for breakfast (It’s a breath issue, unless they’ve been sauteed for a while, like the onions in the potatoes I ate yesterday).  Instead of potatoes, like I’d been eating for breakfast the past two days, I opted for some mixed fruit and munched on melons, berries, and grapes.  Again, no coffee, so I had water.

Lunch= Grilled Ribeye, Potatoes, and Mixed Veggies

Since dinner last night was so disappointing, I did not save any leftovers to take to work today.  Instead, I went to the cafeteria and ordered a grilled ribeye.  My intention was just to choose one side of mixed veggies (squash, zucchini, peppers, and onions), but I was feeling so low on energy at this point that I got a side of grilled potatoes as well.  Very delicious, but not even potatoes could help my situation.

Snack= None

Wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t have a snack today.  Just lots of water!

Dinner= Grilled Chicken and Spinach Salad

When I got out of bed around 7 tonight, I was in absolutely no mood to cook.  Wednesdays are actually choir rehearsal nights, and I’d planned on stopping at a burger joint to try their bunless burger before rehearsal.  But by the time work was over, my energy level was so low it would have made the Sim version of myself pass out on the floor asleep for at least 2 hours.  So I went home instead and slept.

Thankfully I’d bought some backup food just for such situations.  I had some frozen chicken strips in the freezer, which I microwaved.  Then I tossed together some spinach, strawberries, and a few pecans to make a light (and very pretty) salad.

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Boom.  Way more satisfying than last night’s chicken (and I promise that’s the last time I’ll harp on the fact that last night I made disappointing chicken) and in a fraction of the time!

Remarks…

I’m actually quite excited that I don’t feel overwhelmingly hungry on this diet.  I think I’ve found a good balance of how much is enough.  As far as the energy thing, only time will tell.  I’ll let you go while I veg on the couch until bedtime.  To peppier tomorrows!

Day 2 Blues

Day 2…

Before I started Whole 30, I’d read an article on whole30.com about what to expect from your body throughout the program.  Day 1 for me went as expected: feeling great, wondering who on earth has problems with this diet.  This morning when I got up, I braced myself for Day 2, which was described on the site as “The Hangover.”  I was well prepared to deal with a day where my body realized it didn’t have a constant intake of bad food to process, and decided to protest.  As the queen of pouting (ask Jonathan…), I figured this day would come on strong.

But I didn’t feel it.  I woke up like I always did- tired, but not unbearable.  My day was also pretty much the same. And then 3:00 hit, and I thought, “Oh, Lord Jesus, how am I going to stay awake?”  I did a lap around the office.  I got some water. I even ran an errand.  Nothing. I was exhausted.  I somehow trudged through the next two hours, went home, and hit the couch!  

So, although today did not come on as strong as expected, I’m starting to feel some side effects of the program: low energy, low spirits, wondering who on earth doesn’t have problems with this diet.  I’m going to power through it… but man, if I only had a scoop of ice cream…

Breakfast= Eggs and Potatoes

This sounds familiar, no?  Hint: it was Day 1’s breakfast as well.  I’ve decided that if I am going to eat potatoes, breakfast is the time to do it, so that the energy from the carbs lasts me all day long.  Today’s eggs were over easy, on top of the breakfast potatoes with peppers and onions.  Very delicious, and I didn’t feel hungry again until after noon, which, in my mind, is progress.

Lunch= Leftover Meatballs and Sweet Potato

I brought four leftover meatballs today for lunch, which were very good!  Because we had salad last night for dinner, I didn’t have any sides to bring with it, so I went down to our office cafeteria and got a baked sweet potato, which I ate plain.  My lunch was accompanied by a large refreshing glass of ice water. Delicious!

Snack= Apple

Not much to remark on here.  Red apple.  Sweet. Did the trick.

Dinner= Chicken and Prosciutto-wrapped Asparagus

Why do I try so many new recipes?  I feel like every week I cook at least three to four times, and yet I’m still always trying new recipes.  One of these days I will learn to stay with the tried and true and leave the new stuff to those who are slightly less picky than I am…

Tonight I made cilantro lime baked chicken thighs and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus.

I’ll start with the latter.  For a while I’ve been wanting to try this, and the theory of making it seemed pretty simple: just wrap some prosciutto around some asparagus stalks, saute in a little olive oil, and voila!

Easier said than done.  The prosciutto stuck to the paper it was wrapped in so much that it shredded and fell apart in my hands.  A huge mess!  I did manage to wrap them around some asparagus stalks, some individually and some in bunches of three, and then pan fry them in some olive oil.  By the time the prosciutto was done; however, the asparagus was basically burned.  The asparagus was also quite bitter, so I could barely eat it.  Jonathan, on the other hand, loved it!  He even started eating them off my plate, even after I’d stripped some from their meaty wrapping!  So, I guess that were ok, but a ton of work and not really to my taste.

Neither of us liked the chicken much.  I found a recipe online for chili lime chicken, but it called for honey.  I tried to substitute with a little apple cider vinegar. Not the best.  It was a pretty presentation, but saddened me on so many levels… Maybe it was just the Day 2 blues.

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Remarks…

I think the lesson learned here is to stick to the recipes I know.  After all, I’m cutting back so many kinds of food that I normally enjoy that I might as well know for a fact I’m going to love the ones I do make.  Maybe if I’m stuck in a rut I’ll try something new in a few weeks.  If I do, you’ll be the first to know.  And by the way, here’s the first week expectations, as described by whole30.com:

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Maybe I skipped to Days 6-7, which means I surpassed Days 2-5.  For Jonathan’s sake, let’s hope so!

 

A Whole (30) New World

Intro…

Ok… I’m really not one to read blogs.  And I’m also not one to write one.  But after months and months of failed dieting, it was suggested that maybe if I keep a blog, I would have more success sticking to something.  So here I am.  Hi, I’m Jen.  I live in Atlanta, Georgia, and in about 2 months, I’ll be a wife to the most wonderful man.

But I’m not dieting because I’m getting married.

It’s all about health.  And until I had someone else who cared for me as much (or possibly even more) than I used to care for myself, my health was always something I kept in the back of my mind… like, maybe I’d get to it in a few years or when things got less busy or I finally found my place in the world.  I don’t know.  Now it means more to me to get in better health, so I’m determined to find a way to do just that.

Some people who start on a (let’s call it) “health adventure” are already halfway there. They are in decent physical shape and body mass.  For example, my sister’s 26-year old New York actress roommate can hold herself up in a dozen or so yoga poses, has an incredibly flat tummy, and still does Whole 30 several times a year.

I am not one of those people. I can admit to myself that choosing not to take better care of myself could have very undesirable consequences not too far down the road.  So, again, here I am.

Whole 30…

My sister and her roommate introduced me to Whole 30 one weekend when I was in New York for a visit.  They’d both recently come off 30 days of what they referred to as “clean eating” and acclaimed that it was the perfect diet for both dropping pounds and feeling better.  I thought I’d give it a try, and went a bit bananas, buying every Whole 30-approved fad food out there… coconut flour, ghee, cashew butter… and it lasted a whole three days.  I hit a small hiccup I can’t even remember– maybe a birthday party or work lunch– and I gave into temptation, and that was the end of that.  Plus, I hated the taste of ghee and thought the cashew butter tasted, well, like ground-up cashews (which is one of my least-favorite nuts).  I didn’t even open the coconut flour (What the hell do you use coconut flour for??)

A month ago, I decided to get really serious about health.  That type of thing tends to happen with proximity to New Years and resolutions.  Back in the day (think: high school) I lost quite a bit of weight using Weight Watchers.  So I signed up.  I actually followed the plan, tracked every meal, weighed things, exercised three times per week, etc., and at the end of the week I’d GAINED a pound!  At the end of two weeks I’d only lost 2 pounds, and at the end of another, only one pound lost.  A pound lost is most certainly better than a pound gained, but at this rate, I knew I’d soon become unmotivated and give up.

So I’ve decided to give Whole 30 another try.  It’s a challenge to myself- 30 days to take control of myself and kick a healthy lifestyle into gear.  I feel like I’m better prepared for it this time.  I made my list.  I bought the ingredients just yesterday, and today is Day 1.  For the next 30 days, no grains.  No soy.  No dairy.  No sugar (real or artificial).  No (gulp) alcohol.  No beans. Tough, but manageable

Let’s do this.


Day 1…

I’m trying not to think of this as a limitation.  It’s a journey.  And I can do it. I’m 30 frickin’ years old.  I can do anything I want.  And I want.  Yesterday I bought an extra dozen eggs with the intention of making some sort of egg casserole that I could bring to work and eat in the mornings.  However, I couldn’t find a compliant meat ingredient (sugar really is used in everything!) at Publix, so I’ll have to go to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods later this week before I can make the casserole.  Therefore:

Breakfast= Eggs and potato

I’m amazed but very grateful that potatoes are allowed on the Whole 30 diet.  I’ll try not to abuse this somewhat “carby” allowance, but I did eat some this morning with two eggs, fried hard, onion, and peppers.  Washed down with water.  I may try to get some almond milk for my coffee later this week, but until then, water will have to do.

Lunch= Blackened tilapia with salad and mixed veggies

Today was my direct report’s first official day at work, and so the team went out to celebrate… at an Italian restaurant!  Eek!  Bread was brought to the table, and bruschetta and mozzarella ordered for an appetizer.  But none for me.  I happily passed and instead ordered a salad (hold the cheese and dressing), which is surprisingly satisfying.  Instead of pasta, I ordered blackened fish, which was served with delicious zucchini, carrots, and peppers.  Throughout the meal I sipped on unsweet iced tea.

Snack= None

It was a busy day, and, since lunch was a bit late, I didn’t need a snack.  I did continue to drink water throughout the day.

Dinner= Meatballs and tomato sauce with green beans mixed salad

I’ve determined that this blog is not going to turn into a recipe blog, but I do feel that I should describe the meals I cook in a bit of detail so that I can refer to the good ones for later cooking, and the bad ones for reflection on perfection.  I’ve donned Mondays to be “Meaty Mondays,” so tonight I made meatballs with a red sauce. It was a fairly typical meatball recipe: lean ground beef, onion, a few seasonings, an egg, a tablespoon or so of tomato sauce, and, the secret ingredient, coconut flour.  YES! I finally opened the bag of coconut flour (Did you think I’d throw it away?  That $#!T is expensive)!  I pan fried them for a few minutes in olive oil and then popped them in the oven at 400° for about 20 minutes.  It as loosely adaptive of this recipe. Topped with tomato sauce, and came out soo tender!

In the meantime, I thought I’d steam some fresh green beans.  Usually I just buy canned green beans and boil them, but steamed seemed the way to go.  I’d made them this way once before, and they were amazing!  Tender but fresh!  A perfect complement to the meatballs.  God had other thoughts.  Turns out, you can ruin steamed vegetables– all you have to do is forget about them for a few minutes, allow all the water to burn out of the pan and the pan to crust… and you’ll have burnt-infused green beans in seconds flat!  It was the most embarrassing kitchen mistake I’d made since I left the plastic wrap on my mom’s dinner rolls at Thanksgiving when I was 11.  Beautiful, bright green beans that tasted like ashtray.  Yuck Yuck Yuck.

Thankfully I keep a bag of salad on deck just for situations like these (or when I’m too lazy to cook veggies, you pick).  I tossed some leafy greens and tomatoes with some lemon juice and pepper, and dinner was served.  Tonight’s drink of choice was a La Croix Passonfruit Sparkling Water.

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Bon appetit!

Remarks…

It’s the end of Day 1, and I feel great!  I’m excited to continue this diet and see how I feel at the end of it.  I think I’ll go work out now!