Whole30 Fried Rice

For those of us on the January Whole30, can you believe it’s finally Day 14? Now that I’m no longer having sugar withdrawals, I’m starting to see the light and feel some of the positive effects of the program. My energy levels are always fairly low for the first couple weeks of the Whole30, so it’s important for me to have meals that are easy to prep and throw on the pan on those days when I just want to #KillAllTheThings.

That’s why this paleo stir-fry has always been a go-to of mine! I keep things really simple buy purchasing frozen cauliflower rice ahead of time (Birds Eye Steamfresh is a great option I can find in most grocery stores), but feel free to make your own by popping some cauliflower in the food processor. This recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, Whole30-friendly, and paleo-friendly!

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation.

Whole30 Cauliflower Fried Rice | WellnessAndWanderlust.net

Serves 3(ish)

Ingredients:

  • 3 bell peppers, chopped (any color – I like to mix them up, but you can do all one color)
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded or chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package Birds Eye Steamfresh Riced Cauliflower (or equivalent of other brand / homemade)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp coconut aminos (or more, to taste)
  • Optional: Salt and garlic to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add in chopped peppers and carrots. Let cook while microwaving frozen cauliflower rice.
  3. Pour in cauliflower rice, add ginger, and cook on medium for 10 minutes.
  4. Create space in the center of the pan, and crack both eggs. Scramble gently, break up the eggs, then mix back in with the rest of the veggies and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Pour in coconut aminos and stir. Let cook for another minute or two.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Get Skinny Quick: A Summary of Every Diet That Has Ever Existed

cathy-image1Over the last year, I’ve opened up about my health and weight loss efforts through this blog and through social media in the hopes that I can help others in their journey to better health and overall wellness. I began my first Whole30 in February 2014, but over the years I’ve experimented with a variety of programs and even a few fad diets, so I’m familiar with what else is out there.

Longtime readers will know that I love to make fun of everything in today’s culture, but what many of you may not know is that I also love to make fun of the multi-billion dollar diet industry as well. We are overwhelmed with options for how we can lose weight and achieve our health goals, often to the point that we don’t know where to get started. Diet and exercise begin to sound too simplified; we need something with more rules, more structure. So much structure we can barely breathe.

1317519207815_5947909Of course, we all know that losing weight usually comes down to one thing: burning more calories than we are taking in. However, we tend to disagree on where those calories should come from, whether or not we should count them, and how much we should really focus on them in the first place.

Today’s post summarizes and pokes fun at the many weight loss options we have, according to the media and the diet industry. Which one do you subscribe to? 🙂

  • Women’s Magazine Diet: As its name suggests, this type of eating plan has been popularized by women’s magazines and lifestyle websites everywhere. In order to lose weight, your diet should solely consist of Greek yogurt (topped with honey and granola), fish, quinoa, hummus, a single piece of dark chocolate every night, and enough kale to make your head spin. Also, you should have a glass of red wine every night because of the antioxidant properties. (Never mind the fact that the health benefits of red wine mainly come from the skin of red grapes, and therefore you’d be better off eating red grapes!)
  • Diet-JokeTiny Meals Diet: Eat twelve 100-calorie meals per day, because everyone knows your metabolism speeds up when you’re scrambling in the kitchen to come up with twelve tiny meals.
  • Complicate Your Life Diet: You must eat four meals per day at 300 calories each. The first meal must consist solely of simple carbs. The second meal must consist solely of protein. The third meal must consist solely of vegetables. For the fourth meal, you must incorporate all food groups, arrange your plate by color and perform the dance of the seven veils before eating. If it sounds simple enough, then you’re doing it wrong.
  • Celebrity Diet: Every female celebrity with a toned bod is asked to share her secrets for obtaining a trim waist. She will suggest the following: Eat everything you want “in moderation.” Don’t think about dieting. Eat dark chocolate every day. Be confident. Have a lot of sex (even though your current weight makes you feel less likely to find a romantic partner). Laugh a lot. Hug your children. Forget the fact that these celebrities have trainers, personal chefs and strict diet regimens. Just follow these rules and you might lose weight, or you might just fill up on dark chocolate.
  • 4580d82a39cb4994dad989276ebecf51If It Fits Your Macros Diet: Eat pizza and donuts all day in accordance with how much you exercise. If your macros don’t add up by the end of the day, grab a spoonful of peanut butter.
  • Clean Eating Lite Diet: Eat lots of vegetables, but only when prepared with parmesan cheese and panko bread crumbs. (Thanks, Pinterest!)
  • Paleo Lite Diet: Say you’re paleo, but really just eat lots of bacon and almond flour pancakes.
  • Obscure Ingredient Diet: Does the recipe call for salt? Use Himalayan sea salt instead. Why drink water when you can drink Moon Juice? Buy only organic foods, even if they don’t exist in an organic variety. You’ll be sure to lose weight, because you’ll give up on finding these ingredients in your neighborhood grocery store and wind up not eating anything.
  • tumblr_m7tvb3sIkF1qzplvlo1_1280Link-Bait Diet: This diet pulls you in with a catchy headline or video that you can relate to. “DO YOU TRY EVERY DIET OUT THERE AND STILL STRUGGLE TO LOSE WEIGHT?” they ask. Why yes, you think to yourself, that’s totally me. You click the link and get sucked into an hour-long video that promises to give you five weight-loss tools that will help you obtain the body of your dreams. But first – the narrator says, “You’re probably wondering why I’m qualified to talk about this.” No I’m not. “Well, I used to be just like you… [cue sob story about the narrator’s weight problems and how depressed he/she was].” I don’t care, just tell me the five tools! “Before I tell you the five tools, let me tell you a little more about how insecure you must be feeling.” An hour later, you have learned nothing about how to lose weight, but you have been offered a special discount if you act now and purchase these diet pills.
  • Pre-Packaged Merchandise Diet: Don’t even bother with fruits, vegetables or your own home-cooking. Instead, buy diet drinks and frozen meals that will allow you to quantify exactly how many calories or points you have accrued. These drinks and frozen meals can only be purchased if they are sold by the company whose diet you’re on.
  • Juice Cleanse Diet: Drink your calories for the next 3 days to 1 week. This will cause you to be really moody. Say snarky things to everyone around you and lose all of your friends. When the cleanse is over, no one will invite you out anymore, especially not for food-related outings. The weight will really start to come off quickly!

Have I missed any important diets? Sound off in the comments section below! 🙂

Whole30 Recap: Week 2

diet-funnyWe’ve survived another week! Can you believe we are about halfway through the January Whole30? I’ll admit that some of my symptoms, such as bloating and headaches, still haven’t fully disappeared. However, I am amazed to see my differences in mood, skin and energy levels!

With a new week behind us, I’ll share my latest round-up of meals and daily observations during my own Whole30. For more information, visit my introductory post or check out my recap from Week 1!

Keep in mind the following disclaimers as we delve into Week 2’s program:

  • I am not a medical professional of any kind and I will not claim that what has worked for me will work for you. If you have any medical questions, please consult a professional.
  • This is not a full meal-plan for everyone following the Whole30. There are some days where I just can’t handle a large meal, so I might just stick to roasted veggies or something light. There are other days when I might eat a small (compliant) snack in between meals, and those snacks are not necessarily reported on my blog. Please listen to your body. We are all different!
  • I repeat meals that I enjoy. You will not be getting a list of 90 different dishes, mainly because I am a creature of habit and when something tastes good, I want to have it again! 🙂 However, I will still be testing out new recipes every week, while rotating in some of the old favorites.
  • You can follow along on my Instagram page, where I post meals and recipe ideas daily!

Time for some Whole30 deliciousness!

whole30 round 2 veemoze

Day 8 (Jan. 8)

Feelings: I have always been convinced that I have ADD, but today I felt like my concentration was at an all-time high. Even when faced with some stressful subject matter, my mood was a lot more even. When I eat a lot of processed foods, I find that I get a lot more emotional over the little things and am not as efficient when it comes to solving problems. On Day 8, I felt like a lot of my irrational processed food monsters that had resurfaced during the holidays were gone.

Breakfast: Apple with almond butter and a bowl of raspberries.

sweet potato noodles veemoze

I sprinkled in rosemary for a little something extra!

Lunch: Sweet Potato Noodles (from Civilized Caveman Cooking) and a hard-boiled egg.

Yum!

Yum!

Dinner: Went out to a local restaurant and ordered the California Salad, with spinach (which you’d normally have to force me to eat), cucumber, blueberries, strawberries, orange, and a hard-boiled egg.

Day 9 (Jan. 9)

Feelings: For the love of Gosling, my pants are tighter! I wish I could skip this side effect and instantly feel all the positive ones, but it should only last a few days… right? It was frustrating to feel bloated and have a stomachache all day, but I had to remind myself that “this, too, shall pass.” Because of this, I ate fairly light on Day 9.

Breakfast: Bowl of raspberries. (Like I said, I really wasn’t feeling well on Day 9.)

Lunch: Cucumber Pasta Salad (from Holistically Engineered), accompanied by Whole30-compliant applesauce and a hard-boiled egg.

Ohhhh, pineapple. I just can't get enough of you.

Ohhhh, pineapple. I just can’t get enough of you.

Dinner: Roasted broccoli (cooked in olive oil, garlic and salt at 400F for 20 minutes) and this delicious grilled pineapple inspired by @danikabrysha’s Instagram guest post on @whole30recipes, sans walnuts.

Day 10 (Jan. 10)

Feelings: When I woke up on Day 10, I felt extremely well-rested and in a very good mood. This could have had something to do with the fact that it was Saturday and I’d slept in, but I’d like to think some of it had to do with my positive food choices!

Breakfast: Nectarine and a hard-boiled egg.

Lunch: Roasted Cauliflower (cooked in olive oil, salt, pepper and lots of paprika for 20 minutes) and more grilled pineapple because it has become my favorite thing in the world.

Coconut Lime Chicken Bites = Yum!

Coconut Lime Chicken Bites = Yum!

Dinner: Coconut Lime Chicken Bites (from Daily Bites Blog) and diced potatoes cooked in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. I was so excited to cook something that my boyfriend also enjoys!

Day 11 (Jan. 11)

Feelings: On Day 11, I noticed that a lot of the puffiness in my face had gone down. I woke up feeling very well-rested again today, but felt increasingly tired as the day wore on. As much as I hate to admit it, I attribute this to a lack of proteins and fats throughout the day.

Moroccan Carrot Salad!

Moroccan Carrot Salad!

Breakfast: Moroccan Carrot Salad (inspired by @bloemingfabulous’ Instagram post on @whole30recipes).

Lunch: Picked up lunch from another local restaurant with my boyfriend and sister and ordered the Southwest Salad, with mixed greens, carrots and raisins.

Dinner: Leftover Coconut Lime Chicken Bites and diced potatoes, because leftovers are fun, too.

Day 12 (Jan. 12)

Feelings: Today I was feeling super bloated. I thought this phase of the program would have been over by now, but it wasn’t. With today’s stomachache, I tried to eat fairly light meals again.

Breakfast: Apple with almond butter.

Lunch: Roasted Broccoli (cooked in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic at 400F) and a bowl of grapes. Looking back, I now think that too many grapes may have perpetuated the problem.

Dinner: Scrambled Eggs (my first time making them myself in months!) and a nectarine. Not going to lie, it was total comfort food on a rainy day.

Day 13 (Jan. 13)

Feelings: I didn’t feel as bloated on Day 13, but I did have a pretty persistent headache throughout the day. Usually I get those from processed food and artificial sugars, but with those foods out of my diet, I’m not really sure where this headache came from. The weather was pretty dreary, so my headache probably had something to do with the barometric pressure or something intelligent like that.

Breakfast: Hard-boiled egg and a nectarine.

Lunch: Roasted Cauliflower (see Day 10 for exact instructions) and another egg.

The chicken didn't come out the way I wanted, but the veggies/sauce were fantastic!

The chicken didn’t come out the way I wanted, but the veggies/sauce were fantastic!

Dinner: Sweet and Sour Chicken (from Paleo Leap) with red pepper, yellow pepper, water chestnuts and pineapple. I love the crunch of the water chestnuts! This was a fantastic dinner – one of my favorites so far.

Day 14 (Jan. 14)

Feelings: It was an eventful Wednesday, but I really felt positive and empowered, like I could take on the day! Of course, after I took on the day, I fell asleep on the couch watching an adorable animal movie and woke up to Season 2 of The Wire, a show I do not currently watch. Still, it is important to note the profound effect this program has had on my mood!

Breakfast: Hard-boiled egg (typical) and an apple.

Lunch: Moroccan Carrot Salad and plain applesauce. This was especially tough, because at one of my work events that day, we gave out pizza and it smelled amazing. Thankfully, I remembered how awful I feel when I eat pizza, and suddenly my carrot salad was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my life.

Dinner: I was exhausted from working back-to-back events, so I went out to dinner and ordered a spinach salad with warm grilled chicken (don’t you love when the chicken is actually warm?), carrots, cabbage, and orange slices.

Takeaways from the Week

  • Ghee is really good. I never had it during Round 1 or Round 2 of my Whole30 in 2014, but I finally picked some up and used it in my sweet potato noodles and my scrambled eggs. I love the taste and will definitely use it in the future!
  • Even if protein is your least favorite food group, you still need to eat it. Otherwise, you will be a sleepy, grumpy jerk until you do.
  • It is important to have a game plan when you know you will be faced with tempting food choices. Pack a lunch if you know you’ll be all day, or check the menu ahead of time before you go out so that you already know what you’ll be ordering. You can even be a control-freak like me, and pick all the restaurants yourself! Your friends can get junky bar food anywhere, but it ismuch harder for you to find something Whole30-friendly at most restaurants that still looks appetizing.

What have you learned this week? What new recipes do you suggest testing out? Share your Whole30 experiences in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned on The Whole 30

keep-calm-whole30-pinterestHappy Sunday, friends! As some of you may know (especially if you follow me on social media), last week marked the end of my second Whole 30. For those unfamiliar with the Whole 30, it is a 30-day program designed to improve your health by eliminating some of the major problem foods: sugar/sweeteners, grains, dairy, legumes and various others.

I don’t claim to be an expert in nutrition, and in the past I have avoided discussing my journey to better health on this blog. However, in the past few months since I began experimenting with cleaner eating, I have had dramatic improvements in my skin, energy levels and mood that I never thought possible through diet alone. (I also managed to lose a lot of weight!) Because of my positive experiences with the program, friends have approached me with questions, so I decided to devote an entire Weekend Five to it!

Below are some of the lessons I’ve learned after completing the Whole 30 program twice. (I plan to do it again in June, if anyone is interested in joining me!)

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned On The Whole 30

Jersey-Shore-Five-Snooki-Pickles1. Read the ingredients.
When I started really reading the labels on my food, I was amazed at all of the hidden ingredients I found! For example, every jar of pickles in my local grocery store either contained corn syrup, yellow food dye or both. To fulfill my random pickle craving without compromising my diet with unnecessary ingredients, I drove out to a nearby health food store. They tasted just as good as any other pickles, except they wouldn’t make my skin break out the way that food dye does, and they wouldn’t give me a headache the way sugars often do. You’d be shocked at how easily the manufacturers sneak sweeteners into places we wouldn’t expect: sauces, chicken broth, etc. If you aren’t keeping a close eye on what is in your food, then you could be sabotaging your diet in the process! The fewer the ingredients, the better, because it generally means that your food is closer to the original source.

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2. Do things the RIGHT way, not the quick way.
When I look back at some of the ridiculous ways I tried to lose weight in high school and early in college, I have to laugh. There are a lot of fad diets out there, and we’ve all tested them out. But as much as we like to complicate things, it’s really quite simple: cut out the junk food, eat healthier foods, watch your portions and exercise. Doing it the right way will lead to better habits and weight loss that sticks! Slow and steady wins the race.

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veemoze snacks3. Find ways to beat the excuses.
For the past few years, I wanted to lose weight through cleaner eating, but I always had my excuses: I can’t cook. I’m too busy to prepare meals. When I’m tired, I need my food to be quick to make.However, out of necessity during my Whole 30, I discovered snacks that were easy to make ahead of time, meals that didn’t require much preparation and pre-packaged foods like Lara Bars that were a better alternative to any other “nutrition” bar in the aisle. (Seriously, read the ingredients!) I also learned that washing some fruit or cracking open a hard boiled egg really didn’t add much time to my daily routine, and that my excuses were actually invalid. Figure out your excuses now and then figure out how you are going to beat them in the long run, so that they don’t beat you!

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4. Weigh the pros and cons.
The next time you are having a craving, ask yourself: “Do I want 30 seconds of gratification, or do I want a lifetime of good health?” The program is only 30 days – to give into temptations early on is to cheat yourself! In the long run, you should allow yourself indulgences every once in a while, but remind yourself that there is a trade-off. Do I miss certain foods? Yes. I have even brought them in as an occasional treat now that my program is over. But I also know that, while delicious, some tempting foods will ultimately make me tired and grumpy, and will make my skin break out. Do I want to eat unlimited amounts of junk food, or do I want glowing skin and a body I’m proud of? The answer to that one is quite simple!

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0b32ed3e28a98cf77dbc847abf7697c05. There are seven days in the week. Someday isn’t one of them.
Every day, there will be reasons not to start. Maybe you’re stressed out at work, or you’re afraid of what others might think. Forget those reasons. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to prepare (read, research, shop, gather ingredients) and then press play. Once I finally took action instead of making up excuses, I started to see success. Stop resolving to start “someday” and take your first steps today. (Tweet this!)

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Readers, have you ever completed the Whole 30 or another clean eating program? What would you suggest to others considering it? What did you learn during the program?

Are you considering a program like this? What questions do you have about getting started?