2018 Happiness Project

Happy New Year! 🙂 I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is gearing up for an even better 2018. A lot of people are skeptical when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, but sometimes a new year can be the perfect starting point to begin incorporating new practices into our lives. Last year, I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, in which the author underwent a full year of adopting positive new habits based on happiness research. I loved the book and its practicality so much that I quickly became a fan of Gretchen’s podcast!

Inspired by both the book and the podcast, I decided to take 2018 to create my own happiness project, based on applicable lessons from the book. For the next six months, I will focus on ingraining new healthy practices into my life (and re-ingraining some old ones that have fallen to the wayside!), and will share my results and lessons learned on the blog each month.

Feel free to adopt these practices into your own life from month to month, or create your very own happiness project using the resources from Gretchen’s site. Don’t forget to share your own findings in the comments section!

2018 Happiness Project | Wellness & Wanderlust

  • January 2018: Boost Energy.
    • Practice better sleep hygiene and go to bed earlier.
    • Exercise more often.
    • Go for 15-minute walks before work each morning.
    • Take time to reorganize.
  • February 2018: Focus on Nutrition.
    • Undergo a Whole30.
    • Make time for meal prep every Sunday.
    • Try one new recipe each week.
  • March 2018: Lighten Up & Appreciate the Present.
    • Attempt a “Pollyanna Week” of minimal to no complaining.
    • Keep a one-sentence journal.
    • Practice gratitude each day.
  • April 2018: Reevaluate Finances.
    • Look over my monthly budget and find areas to cut back.
    • Organize coupons and gift cards for more efficient use.
  • May 2018: Make Time for Friends.
    • Prioritize social time with friends.
    • Don’t gossip.
    • Show up.
  • June 2018: Pursue a Passion.
    • Dedicate more time to writing and blogging.
    • Submit an original piece to a new publication.
    • Work on learning a new technology.

What are your resolutions for 2018? Share in the comments section below!

Your Health in Action: Small Changes You Can Make in 2018

Your Health in Action: Small Changes You Can Make in 2018The end of the year is quickly approaching, and if you’re anything like me (and millions of other people worldwide), you’re probably hard at work on your list of resolutions for 2018. Many of us are after the same things, but without concrete goals and strategies for achieving those goals, we are likely to abandon our resolutions before we even reach the month of February.

Health-related achievements are one of the most popular — if not the most popular — new year’s resolutions we set for ourselves. Whether we are looking to lose weight, run a marathon, or demonstrate Gaston-level feats of strength, we often aim to improve our overall health and wellness at this time of year.

In order for us to accomplish these goals, it is important for us to make changes we can stick to. While major transitions (like embarking on the Whole30 or adopting an intense fitness regimen) can have a significant impact on our health, let’s not forget about some of the small changes we can implement in our lives as well! Check out a few of my tips for ways to improve our health in 2018, and share your own in the comments section below.

  • Drink more water.
    Experts say that we should be drinking half our bodyweight in ounces of water each day. Drinking enough water will keep you fuller longer, boost your metabolism, hydrate your skin, and provide a myriad of other health benefits. Invest in a cute water bottle or tumbler that you can refill throughout the day for easy access, and consider swapping soft drinks or other beverages for water when dining out.
  • Meditate and practice gratitude.
    Spiritual and mental health are arguably just as important as your physical health, and can ultimately help you achieve your goals by relieving stress and encouraging self-awareness. Meditate for just a few minutes a day with some ambient music (my artist suggestions: The Album Leaf or Eluvium), or search for “5-minute meditation” options on Spotify for an instant boost. You can also choose to keep a gratitude journal to remind you of the things you’re grateful for.
  • Dedicate time to meal prep.
    I’ve written about the merits of #MealPrepSunday before, but they are absolutely worth another mention. Cooking three healthy, Instagram-worthy meals each and every day (from scratch, of course!) is no easy feat when you’re also juggling work, school, a social life, and other obligations. However, it is much easier to eat healthy throughout the week when you’ve chopped/mixed/cooked ahead of time. I love to spend a few hours on Sundays zoning out to reality TV while chopping veggies — it saves me a ton of time later in the week when my other responsibilities pop up.
  • Incorporate essential oils into your life.
    Essential oils are derived from plants and yield a variety of health benefits! I diffuse  a mixture of lavender and peppermint in my home to help ward off headaches, and use lemongrass in the kitchen to assist with cleaning. As someone who struggles with eczema, I often use tea tree oil to relieve any inflammation after a breakout. Do your research to find out which essential oils may benefit you!

Looking for more ideas on how to improve your health in 2018? Elysium Health has compiled a helpful infographic with tips from wellness bloggers (including yours truly!), along with solutions to your diet, exercise, and sleep problems. For more information from Elysium, check out their research on NAD+ and how it can preserve our health.

Infographic from Elysium Health

What are your wellness tips for 2018? Share with us in the comments section!

Aloo Gobi (Curried Cauliflower & Potatoes)

If you’re anything like me, you have a few favorite comfort food recipes that regularly make it into your meal rotation. In my case, I can’t get enough of this aloo gobi recipe — I make it at least once (if not two or three times!) per week. This Indian-inspired dish mixes cauliflower and potatoes and is not only easy to make, but it’s Whole30 compliant! In other words, it’s healthy and packed with flavor.

Aloo Gobi Recipe - Whole30 Compliant!

One of the great things about this meal is that you can easily customize it to match your taste preferences. Add in turmeric, garam masala, or tomatoes to switch up the flavor profile. Oh, and did I mention that it pairs amazingly with my curry and coconut crusted chicken bites? You can thank me later. 😉

I live alone and generally cook for one, so this recipe is meant to serve one fairly hungry person or two less hungry people with no sense of adventure (kidding). Adjust the quantities based on your needs!

Aloo Gobi Recipe - Whole30 Compliant!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp ghee/clarified butter (or regular butter if you’re not following Whole30)
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • Sprinkle of chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: A few spoonfuls of petite diced tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Melt your ghee or butter over medium heat.
  2. Add in cauliflower florets and diced potato.
  3. Drizzle on olive oil, then mix in curry powder, garlic powder, chili powder and salt.
  4. Cook on medium for about 20 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender.
  5. Remove from heat, take a million photos of it until you can get the lighting right, post on Instagram with a few decent hashtags, and serve.

Bon appétit! If you try this recipe, let me know what you think. 🙂 Please share and subscribe to my blog for more recipes, Whole30 resources and other goodies!

Link Love Wednesday: Rock Mafia and Haunted Houses

ridinghoodshoI can’t believe Halloween is already almost here! The month of October really flew by, and I’m still not really sure what my costume will entail this year — although there’s a good chance that I’ll break out the famous tiger ears again! 😉

What are your Halloween plans this year? Let me know what you’re up to in the comments section below. (I’m in need of some costume inspiration!) As always, enjoy this week’s Link Love.

Things I’m Loving Lately

  • The delicious handcrafted marshmallows at Wondermade, a local cafe in Sanford, FL. You can purchase their many flavors as gift packages online!
  • When The Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka, about one family’s experience with the Japanese internment camps during World War II. A very moving read.
  • The Big Bang by Rock Mafia. It isn’t new to me, but I could listen to this song for hours on repeat.
  • My recent purchases made through Pop Your Pup. It’s an awesome place to make pop art T-shirts of your pets!
  • Julian Edelman, Wide Receiver for the New England Patriots. He’s been on my fantasy football team from the beginning, and what he lacked in points this week, he easily made up for in dashing good looks. 🙂

What’s your favorite link love this week? Share your latest findings in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Futuristic Fashion, Love & Mathematics

5ClGUNklg-wk7KVyQwU50QHappy July, readers! I hope the summer is treating everyone well and that you are finding fun ways to beat the heat. Grab a cold beverage, crank up the air conditioner, and tune into this week’s batch of link love to entertain yourself on one of those days when you just can’t bear to go outside. 🙂

What are some of your favorite links from the last week? Share your Internet findings in the comments section below!

Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating

Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be EatingFlip through any health magazine in your neighborhood supermarket, and you’ll quickly find an article about the next greatest superfood. In the past few years, every time I’ve searched for clean and healthy recipes, I’ve been immediately inundated with quinoa and kale dishes to the point of nausea. Does anyone else feel the same?

Throughout my Whole30 journey, I have tried to incorporate a lot of nutrient-dense foods into my diet, and am amazed at how much better I feel. Over time, I have not only discovered just how delicious they can be, but how many health benefits these foods have. They may not be as glam as the quinoa-kale salads that have exploded all over my home page on Pinterest, but they can still be prepared in fun and flavorful ways and deserve a little love.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a medical professional. I am not a licensed dietician — I just happen to play one on TV.

Without further adieu…

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Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating1. Sweet Potato
Forget the marshmallow-filled sweet potato casseroles you grew up eating. Sweet potatoes on their own are an excellent source of Vitamin A (377% of your daily Vitamin A needs in just one cup), which is important for good vision and healthy skin, among other things. Sweet potatoes also have nearly as much potassium as bananas, but only 1/3 of the amount of sugar. Paleo foodies are already aware of the many awesome ways to prepare your sweet potatoes, but for those who need a little inspiration, check out my Pinterest page for recipes. Pop over to Lexi’s Clean Kitchen for my favorite sweet potato gnocchi recipe!

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2. Cabbage
Cabbage gets a bad rap, thanks to this scene from Austin Powers (you’re welcome), but aside from its reputation as a food for circus folks, this vegetable is actually packed with tons of health benefits. Cabbage is a good source of Vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting. Cabbage also has cancer-fighting properties and is good for your immune system, heart health and more. Not sure how to incorporate it into your diet? Try these garlicky cabbage “steaks” from Rockin Mom’s Kitchen and you won’t regret it!

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Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating3. Eggs
No, they will not give you heart disease. Eggs actually have the potential to improve your HDL (the good kind of cholesterol) and are a complete source of protein. They are pretty much perfect! I hard-boil several eggs early in the week as a grab-and-go healthy snack, but they can be prepared in a variety of ways. Dani Spies from Clean and Delicious has a great 101 video about how to buy, store and cook eggs. Vegetarians, this is a great protein option for you!

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4. Blueberries
As a child, I always heard that if it could stain your clothes, it was probably pretty healthy. Of course, you could easily stain your clothes with food dyes and plenty of not-so-healthy snack foods, but the rule more or less applies for fruits and veggies. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and a relatively low glycemic fruit, which means they won’t wreak havoc on your blood sugar. Eat them raw or bake them into something – the world is your oyster.

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Forget Quinoa! 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating5. Pineapple
Not only do pineapples make excellent homes for hyperactive sea creatures (here’s looking at you, Spongebob), but they also taste awesome and have a lot of important nutrients. Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which reduces swelling, bruising and inflammation. One cup of pineapple contains more than 100% of your recommended daily Vitamin C, which is vital for the immune system. Try cooking up some pineapple chunks in coconut oil and cinnamon for a sweet but still healthy treat. If nothing else, it will make your kitchen smell fantastic!

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What are some superfoods you enjoy? Share your favorites in the comments section below!

Your Health in Action: Eating Healthy While Maintaining Your Social Life

Tips for Eating Healthy While Maintaining Your Social Life

Whether you’re a seasoned paleo foodie, a chronic dieter or a newcomer to the world of clean eating, there’s a good chance that you’ve struggled at one point or another with how to stick to your program in social situations. Going out to a restaurant or a party can be pure torture (read: relatively inconvenient) for those enduring any kind of elimination diet or simply trying to eat healthier, especially when the people you go out with are ordering all the unhealthy foods you still crave.

Luckily, there are ways to make your social life a whole lot easier to maintain while still making your health a priority. Here are a few tips to get you started!

"But what will I eat at Tiffany's?" Holly asked herself, wondering if she could find a menu online.

“But what will I eat at Tiffany’s?” Holly asked herself, wondering if she could find a menu of their breakfast options  online.

Research the menus ahead of time.
Your friend calls you up and says, “We’re going to that trendy new restaurant downtown tonight. They serve cupcakes in champagne glasses for dessert so bring your appetite.” You immediately jump into a panic because: (a) Cupcakes sound amazing right now but you’re trying to kick your sugar habit. (b) You aren’t really sure what you’ll be able to eat because you’ve never been there. (c) Parking is horrible downtown, especially on a Saturday night.

Luckily, there’s an easy solution to problems A and B: go online and look up the restaurant’s menu online! As both a picky eater and someone who has completed a few rounds of Whole30, I do this all the time before going to a new restaurant. If I can make a decision before I leave the house, I am less likely to order a bucket of tater tots in a fit of hunger and panic. Knowing what you’re going to order beforehand takes away most of the pressure you may be feeling, so that instead you can focus your energy on finding the right parking garage. Planning ahead is key to your success!

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Know your staples and substitutions.
Most of the time, I know I am safest ordering a salad or some combination of grilled chicken and veggies, and I am totally fine with it! Have an idea of what works for you before perusing the menu, and don’t be afraid to make substitutions. I am constantly replacing rice with veggies or asking for the sauce/dressing on the side, and most places are ok with these changes to an extent. I even keep a running list of my favorite healthy options and substitutions at local chain restaurants that allow me to stick to my program if I go out for the night.

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Sabrina didn't have the heart to tell Linus that alcohol wasn't permitted on the Whole30.

Sabrina didn’t have the heart to tell Linus that alcohol wasn’t permitted on the Whole30.

Speak up.
If you decide to go out with friends, pick the restaurant. No more of this back-and-forth “I don’t know, where do you want to eat?” that seems to land you at the Olive Garden every time. (Mmmmm, endless breadsticks.) I have a few friends who are kind enough to ask me if I’m on Whole30 before we go out, but there are plenty of times I’ll take charge on a restaurant choice because I already know there won’t be anything compliant for me at other restaurants. Don’t be afraid to speak up and make the decision yourself!

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Bring food to the party.
I’m guilty of snacking at parties. No matter how many people are present, there always seems to be more than enough food to nosh on between conversations and awkward one-armed hugs. I have never been to a single party where healthy food outnumbered the junk food (although one can only dream of a secret paleo society that hosts monthly parties featuring sweet potato gnocchi and cauliflower poppers). To keep yourself from gravitating toward the Cheetos, bring a healthy snack that people will enjoy and fits your own program. There are about a million ways to make a fun fruit salad, or if you are on a less restrictive program, you can always opt for healthier versions of your favorite junk food (Skinny Pop Popcorn and The Better Chip spinach/kale chips are two of my favorites). Besides, bringing food to a party is the proper thing to do!

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Ann didn't want to spend her entire Roman holiday focused on food, so she and Joe hopped on a Vespa to cruise around the city instead.

Ann didn’t want to spend her entire Roman holiday focused on food, so she and Joe hopped on a Vespa to cruise around the city instead.

Focus your activities on something other than food.
Fun fact: Not every social activity needs to involve a meal. If you find it difficult to stick to your program while out in a restaurant (because, let’s face it, this is no easy feat), stop going out to restaurants. Invite your friends to go bowling or visit an art festival. Watch a movie in the park. Find a museum in the area that you’ve never been to before. Have fun without bonding over how much you’ll hate yourselves for ordering the mozzarella sticks.

Avoid the scale.
In general, a lot of experts suggest avoiding the scale (or cutting back on its use) regardless of your social life, but my tip in particular focuses on restaurant visits. Most restaurants will pack your food with tons of salt, so if you’re planning a weigh-in any time soon, you may want to wait.

"Do I look like I care what you think?" Jo asked, posing fabulously with the Nike of Samothrace.

“Do I look like I care what you think?” Jo asked, posing fabulously with the Nike of Samothrace.

Stop caring about what others think.
When you change your lifestyle, especially when that leads to dietary restrictions, there will be naysayers. Don’t listen to them. Remember that different food groups and chemicals affect everyone differently. I would love to lose weight while eating endless bowls of pasta and laughing in the faces of my enemies, who have gained weight eating that same pasta, I know this is not possible for me. I know how gluten affects my skin, mood and stomach, so when people comment that I should be eating “whole grains” and “in moderation,” I’ll smile, thank them for their suggestions, and keep doing what I’ve been doing. You know what works for you better than anyone else does (except your doctor, of course), so if your friends start giving you unwarranted dietary advice, ignore them or change the subject.

What are your tips for maintaining a social life while still eating healthy? Sound off in the comments section below!

Your Health in Action: A Guide to Effortless Meal Planning

Courtesy of Spud Comics

Courtesy of Spud Comics

Embarking on a new diet or wellness program can often be challenging. As you attempt to eliminate those “problem foods” or to introduce new super foods to your lifestyle, you may not know where to begin! Those regular staples you once fell back on are now out of the picture, and you might find yourself struggling to figure out what to eat or how best to stock your kitchen.

Meal planning can be a simple and effective answer to the overwhelming questions, “What groceries should I buy and what should I make for dinner tonight?” No matter what your dietary preferences or limitations may be, a meal plan is a great way to prepare yourself for the week ahead and to avoid wasting food!

I’ve created a meal planning template of my own that I use regularly, and I find it extremely useful to incorporate into my busy schedule. Click here to download my meal plan template as a Microsoft Excel file that you can edit, or click here to download the PDF version to print.

Weekly Meal Plan Template & Tips from So It Must Be True

Having a meal plan keeps me on track and helps me avoid going to Publix four times in one week (as much as I love grocery shopping). It also allows me to turn my “hey-I-saw-this-on-Pinterest-and-I-want-to-make-it” dreams into a reality because I know which ingredients to purchase ahead of time.

Here are a few tips for creating your own weekly meal plan that works for you:

  • Think about what you will be doing that week. In my event-driven job, I am constantly working during meal times and often exposed to delicious but unhealthy free foods. (I’m thinking of you, pizza!) When I think about my schedule when meal planning, I can determine when I will need to pack a lunch that will keep me away from the pizza box, or (if I know I’ll be working late), I can decide ahead of time to pack a snack to tide me over until I get home. On my personal downloadable meal plan, you can actually fill in your daily activities and add notes for these days.
  • Think critically about meal prep. On my meal plan, I like to include certain tasks, such as “defrost chicken” or “hard-boil eggs,” to ensure that these foods are ready by the time I am ready for them. I may also incorporate my weekly schedule by adding the reminder to “pack lunch for tomorrow.” These “meal prep tasks for the next day” are the perfect way to make sure your ingredients are ready to go.
  • Consider packaging and portion sizes. Buying a fresh head of broccoli? Think about how many servings you will make with that, and implement those into your plan. For example, if a package of cauliflower florets yields two individual recipes with cauliflower, you should include two cauliflower meals on your meal plan so that your produce doesn’t go bad.
  • Keep staples on hand. If you know that you regularly use a certain ingredient, such as almond flour or coconut oil, always make sure you are fully stocked. It’s always disappointing when you are dying to try a new recipe but have to run to the store at the last minute to pick up a basic ingredient. Always check your cupboards before shopping.

Once again, you can download my weekly meal planner template as an Excel file here or as a PDF here. For recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest boards!

What are your weekly meal plan tips? Share yours in the comments section below!

Whole30 Recap: Week 5

Whole30 Week 5 Recap | So It Must Be TrueGood evening, Whole30-ers! For those of you who completed the program in January, your 30 days are over. Congratulations! For others, you may have started your Whole30 later in the month or are planning to embark on this journey at another point in the future. I started to feel the positive effects of the program toward the end of January, and decided to extend my Whole30 to at least 60 days.

Whole30? Whole60? For those of my readers who are unfamiliar with these terms, the Whole30 is a 30-day strict elimination program that cuts out gluten (including non-gluten “grains” like quinoa), dairy, soy, sugar/artificial sweeteners, legumes and all of the bad chemicals we find in processed foods. The program is designed to help participants discover the effects that these problem foods can have on their physical and mental health. People who complete the program report better moods, weight loss, improved skin, sound sleep, and much more. I highly recommend it!

For the first four weeks, I shared a list of meals I ate and observations I made on a day-by-day basis. However, because this has started to become repetitive after the first 28 days, I have decided to limit my weekly recaps from now on to simply include my observations, tips, and any new recipes I tried that week. (Besides, how many times can you read “Moroccan Carrot Salad” and “hard-boiled egg” in one sitting? :)) For a more detailed recap, please visit Week 1Week 2Week 3 and Week 4 to see how I felt at the beginning stages of the program and what I ate. You can also check out my introductory post here.

Feelings and Observations

Whole30 Week 5 Recap | So It Must Be TrueThe program really felt like second nature at this point. Because of my adventures in the kitchen throughout January, I already had some favorite recipes up my sleeve that made it easier for me to meal prep. Admittedly, I didn’t feel very well this week – I suffered a few headaches and stomachaches – but I’ve changed up a few habits to see if that will improve in the next few days. I would like to see some more changes in appearance (i.e. weight), but I know that will mean dragging my lazy butt to the gym and getting up earlier than I’m used to. I just need to push through and continue to form healthy habits!

New Recipes

Whole30 Week 5 Recap | So It Must Be TrueTakeaways from the Week

  • It is important to think positively and expect things to turn out for the best. I was freaking out on Tuesday when I cooked the Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers because (A) I had never poached chicken before, (B) I had never shredded chicken before, and (C) I had never baked stuffed peppers before. I was so afraid this dish wasn’t going to come out the right way, even though I followed the directions, but you know what? It was delicious – one of my favorite Whole30 recipes thus far! I spent all that time worrying that it was going to come out horribly and that I would have wasted all that time and food, when I could have focused my energy into something more productive (like cleaning up the mess I made in the kitchen!).
  • The Internet has everything you need. Seriously. Need to learn a new technique? There’s a video on YouTube for that. I am learning a lot from short how-to articles and videos I find. You don’t need to own Julia Child’s cookbook (or even have access to the Food Network) to learn how to cook.
  • Some cravings do start to go away. I’m not going to lie – I would love a bowl of penne pasta right now – but I also remember how bad gluten has made me feel in the past, and it reminds me that the initial taste isn’t worth the stomachache or skin breakout. There are still some foods that I would love to have, but my cravings are diminishing as I recognize the negative effects that certain foods have on me.

What have you learned on your Whole30 thus far? What awesome recipes have you tried? 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!