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.
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.
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.
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.
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!