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Yes, I am less than a week away from completing my whole30. I haven’t blogged since Day 2 because, at times, I’ve actually forgotten about this challenge all together. I’ve been so consumed with bringing all the creations in my head to life! When making the decision to participate in this challenge, I was somewhat afraid that I would run out of ideas and run out of energy to make the journey seem new and exciting every single day.

It’s funny how eating cleaner has not only cleansed my body but has also rejuvenated my perspective on life. I have always loved cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. But comfort food to me used to equate to lots of rich, buttery, and likely cheesy fattyness I don’t even really regret eating because I can’t deny it was good. Within the past 22 days, I have redefined what comfort food means to me. And, dare I say, I have surprised myself along the way.

People have a lot to say about paleo/whole30. I agree that there are negative aspects, like cutting out milk– as it is a good source of calcium. However, for the most part.. the grain, the starches, and anything with added sugar.. I realize I can really do without. I’ve learned that fresh produce can be equally as satiating when cooked well. If I’m craving something sweet, I immediate think fruit.. dessert.. yes! I’ve grilled, sauteed, baked, boiled, steamed, and Magic Bulleted my way through every meal and I’m absolutely loving how something as simple as careful and conscious preparation can make food taste better!

Let me update you on some of my creations:

Day 3: open faced omelet with sauteed peppers and onions, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, fresh lime juice, s+p

 

 

 

 

 

chicken salad (roasted chicken breast, avocado, lime , cilantro, onion) on a bed of romaine with apple slices drizzled with cashew butter

 

 

paleo blueberry muffins- made with almond flour, almond butter, and coconut oil

 

 

 

 

zucchini ribbons with mushrooms, coated with a light garlic sauce and topped with chopped almonds

 

 

 

 

smashed strawberry, peach, mango, pineapple, lime filled with pellegrino and finished off with some blueberries

 

Day 4: mixed greens salad with apple, avocado, tomato, green onion, and almond flour and coconut encrusted chicken

Day 5: homemade real fruit popsicle

 

Day 6: paleo pancakes with warm blueberry syrup and bacon on the side

Baked salmon with lemon pepper, steamed veggies, and zucchini bacon scallion fritters

Day 7: grilled burger with lettuce, tomato, homemade guac, and crispy bacon

 

Day 8: salmon with basil and walnut pesto.. And maple glazed sweet potato fries.

Sliced banana, almond butter, blueberries, and toasted coconut

 

Day 9: Zucchini boats with sausage and vegetable marinara filling

Day 10: Egg scramble with bell pepper, salmon, and green onion. And banana and almond butter drizzled with honey

Personal paleo pizza.. leftover sausage marinara, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, olives, arugula, tomato, and basil

Apple sauteed with orange juice and topped with warmed slivered almonds, cinnamon and a drizzle of honey

Day 11: Fried “rice” made with cauliflower.

Day 12: Frozen fruit blended with banana.. nice and thick and refreshing. Better than ice cream!

Day 13: Paleo waffles with warm strawberry syrup

Day 14: BBQed chicken over slaw.

Day 15: Asparagus and sausage frittata

Day 16: Paleo banana pancakes topped with almond butter, warm strawberry syrup, and cinnamon

Day 17: Fish and chips– white fish battered with almond flour and coconut flour, baked sweet potato chips, and roasted red pepper and garlic dip

 

Day 19: Homemade trail mix– almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, and toasted coconut. Great snack! I make a big batch so I always have some on hand!

Grilled zucchini, bell pepper, onion, cherry tomatoes, and chicken

Day 20: BBQed pork chop with grilled vegetable, avocado, cilantro, and lime slaw

Frozen mashed banana with toasted coconut mixed in.. topped with warm strawberry sauce, slivered almonds, and extra toasted coconut

Day 21: Fried egg with mixed greens salad drizzled with balsamic

Personal portobello pizza with homemade sauce, hot Italian sausage, caramelized onions, and olives. Also, simple arugula and seasoned sweet potato salad

Day 22: Turkey and spicy sausage meatballs baked and then simmered in homemade marinara sauce.. on top of a sweet potato and roasted red pepper mash.. and arugula salad with avocado, tomatoes, olives, and red onion

Clearly, I had to make up for all the posts I never wrote. As you can tell, most times I’ll use the same ingredients over and over.. but I do try to prepare them differently each time. For some things, like the paleo waffles, pancakes, muffins and almond flour pizza crust, I did search the web for a good recipes to follow. But that’s about it.. for the most part, I’ve been cooking based on my instincts and it’s worked out well so far.

Each day, I’m learning more and more about food and expanding my palate to tastes and food pairings I’ve never really tried before. Since I started my whole30, I have not used any processed foods. Everything, including all the sauces and dips, have been made fresh.

I’m finding that now when I go grocery shopping, I’m usually walking in without a real plan– which is so unlike me. Usually, I make a list and check it twice. But I truly believe that clean eating is really about how food inspires you. I spend the most time in the produce section, circling around a few times to scan all the fresh goodies. Not relying on a list is actually a very freeing experience. I also scope out multiple grocery stores to grab ingredients.. Whole Foods for the freshly ground almond butter, almond and coconut flours, and coconut oil.. Trader Joe’s for just about everything else.. And a few trips to Safeway just because it’s closer.

I hope some of my whole30 creations have made the 30-day challenge a little less intimidating for those of you who are interested. Paleo/whole30 is not difficult at all. But, like all good things, it does take time. I do have lazy days where I contemplate just eating the same meal for a few days in a row. The key to staying motivated and sticking to eating clean is avoiding those lazy moments. I literally open all my cabinets and stand in front of my refrigerator for a few minutes at least once a day– sometimes more when I feel like my creativity is fading– and asking myself “What will I make today?”

 

I’m shocked that I’ve completed Day 22 already. I’ve really never felt better! I’m definitely appreciating and enjoying food so much more and I have also established way more confidence in the kitchen. I know I have a lot more paleo/whole30 left in me! Stay tuned.. it’s not over yet!

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I had a 4-week break from life and I went a little food crazy. Here’s a taste of what’s been going on in my kitchen..

Egg and Cheddar Breakfast Panini

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Chicken and Vegetable Lasagna

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Eggplant Parm

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Baked Ziti with Chicken

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Cheddar Jalapeno Popovers

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Homemade Fresh Whole Wheat Fettuccine with Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes, Feta, Arugula and Grilled Zucchini

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Nachos: Multigrain Chips, Mozzarella. Tomatoes, Lettuce, and Guacamole

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Smore’s Cookies

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Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Rice Krispies Bears

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Okay.. I think I went a little photo crazy. Minus the baked goods (which I bake but don’t eat anyway), I feel like I try to incorporate lots of vegetables in my diet. However, I am definitely a lover of all things bread, pasta, and cheese. My 3 food groups.. I could, without a doubt, live off of those three things alone.

I am not in denial about my high refined flour intake or the sprinkles of cheese I put on just about everything. I can scarf it all down and not even feel guilty about it. But since I finally have time to spend some time in the kitchen again, why not change it up? Perhaps because it’s summer time, I’m feeling inspired by clean eating. And thus cue in paleo.

I’ve been doing a little research on this paleo/ whole30 thing. I hate to call it a diet, so I won’t. When I think of diets, I think of those anorexic types who nibble, skip meals, and forget that we need calories to survive. I don’t nibble and will never weigh my food. Being such a foodie, I am more interested in expanding my normal repertoire and tapping into my creativity by coming up with new ways to appreciate fresh produce and ingredients at their peak.

Since I have overeaten pasta, bread, dairy for so long, I think it’ll be good for me to take a break from it all at least. In addition, paleo means no legumes, or starches (like those delicious white potatoes I love so much and even corn). And I’ve never been a sweets person, so I’m not even going to stress that one.

So, what CAN I eat? Vegetables, fruit, lean meat, eggs, seafood, nuts and seeds. That’s pretty much it. The key is to avoid processed foods and, for me, start eating more consciously. I want to purge my body of all the crap I’ve been feeding it. Most people would dread this style of eating, but I’m actually really excited! Plus, it helps that I have a wedding to attend in about 32 days. Hoping to be happy, healthy, and lean by then.

Today was the first day of my 30 day adventure. For brunch ( I woke up late), I had a smoothie with frozen strawberries, banana, and applesauce ( I hope applesauce is okay.. it said 100% pure and no sugar added!). It was delicious and filling. It tied me over while I went to run my errands.

Once I got back from Trader Joe’s, I immediately munched on a few of these..

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Yum! I love this.. especially the kick of the wasabi. It’s light and crisp.. great substitute for chips. Also had a handful of this amazing trail mix that made it into the basket from TJ’s.

Then for dinner, I made turkey lettuce wraps with fresh guacamole. For the filling, I sauteed diced onions and green peppers, added the ground turkey, then chopped mushrooms and finely chopped jalapeno. Once that all cooked together, I seasoned it up. SO easy. The fresh guacamole included avocado, tomato, a little finally chopped onion, cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lime, and salt and pepper to taste.

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This was my very first attempt at making a lettuce wrap and I LOVED it!! It ended up being more hearty than I had anticipated. I thought I would still feel hungry, but actually I was full but not painfully stuffed. In the past, whenever I had to choose between lettuce wrap and pasta, of course I always chose pasta. So I really just never knew how delicious lettuce wraps could be! It’s Taco Tuesday and I wasn’t even missing the taco shell..and cheese.. and sour cream. Truth!

I believe putting in the time to prepare all the ingredients is the most important part. Even though I didn’t follow a recipe, having an image of what I wanted to include definitely did help. And that’s the essence of why I love eating like this so much! It’s just so much fun coming up with new things and trying out new combinations!

So happy to share this new adventure with you! I will keep this updated with all my creations. I encourage everyone to join me for the next 30 days! 🙂

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