Whole Picture | Whole 30

My Whole 30 journey began back in October of last year. It was actually something I learned about via Instagram as some of my favorite bloggers began posting photos with captions donning the hashtag. I decided to give it a go because it was only a month. Little did I know that month would be a game changer.

Besides visiting the Whole 30 website and sifting through a few terrible recipes on Pinterest, I did very little research. Pinterest really was no help, and I believe I complained about the lack of appealing food grams in this post. The program is pretty straightforward as to what you can and cannot eat, so I really just took that and ran with it. In the kitchen, I do very well by instinct and intrigue, so having a recipe spelling out every step on how to make sweet potato fries is not necessary. If I buy a vegetable that I am not all too familiar with, say kohlrabi or fennel, then I will consult the great internet about pairings and cooking methods, etc.

Here we are now in February, probably the coldest month of the year. I have since completed two Whole 30s and have kept up with a paleo diet 80% of the time. I am not going to lie and say chinese takeout and pizza have not been godsends during the icy, subzero, and all around miserable weeks starting off 2015. But that little splurge will only happen once a week. Luckily, some of my favorite neighborhood restaurants have dishes that are indeed paleo & even Whole 30 apropros. I was planning on starting #3 a few days ago on Ash Wednesday, but lo and behold a ridiculous virus or maybe even the flu (?) has taken over my immune system. So I have been living off gross canned chicken noodle soup and green goddess smoothies. I really just can’t wait to be feeling like a normal human again. That new gym membership isn’t going to work itself out. Anyway, I have had a few friends reach out to me recently, so I thought I would put together a quick Whole 30 Q&A.

Is the Whole 30 hard? What can you even eat?

Honestly, in my opinion it is only as hard as you make it. The program lists in bold black and white the things you must abstain from: all grains, legumes, sugar, alcohol, and dairy. I’ve never been one for soda and oreos so the sugar part was not that difficult. I’m much more of a carb combo kind of girl. Like give me a bowl of rice and beans or polenta or steel cut oats and I am in hog heaven. If this is also you, might I just suggest a pantry purge before starting. That way you won’t be tempted. My dog was very happy about this. 

There are SO MANY things you can eat! The next time you go to the grocery store, try out perimeter shopping. Almost everything in produce is part of your Whole 30 oyster, and if you step on over to seafood you can get the real deal, too! I’m talking about oysters. My grocery list’s go-to products are: eggs eggs eggs, sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, Brussels sprouts, ground turkey and beef, coconut and almond milk, avocados, apples, almond butter, dried mango, and coconut flakes. Just be sure to read your labels and make sure you’re going with the uncured, no sugar added varieties, because FOR REAL sugar is in everything. 

I’m going to do a Whole 30 but I’m still going to drink beer/wine/liquor…

Just don’t then. Seriously, it’s 30 fucking days. I assure you that bars do serve water. If you want to reap the full benefits of this program then you have to be 100%. That means no beer! 

This part was pretty damn easy for me because all of my drinking friends (really almost all of my friends in general) live far far away in the land of Texas where the Lonestar flows freely and Tuesday nights are just another excuse to get wasted. Had I still been living in Denton, I may have had a more difficult time with this. But then again, you have to look at the big picture. What do you even want to achieve? Is that beer really worth messing up your 15 day good streak? It’s 30 days, it’s more than doable.

What can achieve in 30 days? Will I lose a lot of weight?

To start this answer off, every body is different. Some of you were blessed with a high ass metabolism while others not so much. The things you will achieve are better skin, higher energy, better sleeping patterns, and yes you will probably shed a few pounds. Just go look at Whole 30 success stories on the internet. People have changed their lives for the better. Like, this isn’t a fad/quick results diet. It’s more of a marathon. A life marathon if you really embrace the program.

But you’re a size 4 now? How much weight did you lose?

I posted a photo on Instagram of me at the laundromat in size 4 jeans eating a donut. Yeah, those jeans were really worn in by my sister and barely buttoned on my body. I had to wash my size 6 jeans, which I suppose is my current size in jeans I like to spend money on, see- J Crew and Madewell.

It’s one of those Whole 30 rules that you don’t weigh yourself before and after. I don’t have a scale so this rule was pretty easy to not break. I really just let my body/clothing do all the talking. “These jeans are falling off.” “Can we go swimming today in this sweater?” “Good thing you like oversized tees because that is what we all are now!” I remember when I was out shopping for something to wear on NYE the lady at BCBG put me in this weirdly flattering maxi dress romper thing in a size 6. It wasn’t a struggle to get on and I almost cried. I so would have bought it as a small victory dress had it not affected my ability to pay rent. I went on later that night to wear a dress of my sister’s in the same size. I still felt like a million fucking dollars.

I finally hopped on a scale a few weeks ago out of shear curiosity. 60 SIXTY 60 pounds down. What the? This didn’t even feel like a chore! How much time had gone by? About 4 months had flown. But it only took 30 days to solidify those changes.

Did you work out a lot? If so, don’t you have to eat more? Do you have to count calories?

Autumn in Pennsylvania is absolutely beautiful. If you’re not spending any free moment outside then you are just an idiot. I started the couch 2 5k running program in September as part of my birthday goal plan. Running every day before or after work was completely doable when working part time. Then I started my first Whole 30 and shortly after that was offered full time. My running schedule changed with that and as the weather evolved. I had it all planned out to continue running outside even as the bleakest weather approached…yeah right. During the months of December and January, any type of exercise that was not walking to work and lifting boxes came to a complete standstill. I joined a gym a week ago, though. Worked out every single day. And then got the flu. Go me!

As for eating more when working out/counting calories…no and no. I continued on with my normal breakfast lunch and dinner and the occasional snack. Why count calories when you’re eating only real food? Shit, I don’t even measure things out. Why yes, I will eat that entire head of cabbage or broccoli. 

How do you have so much self control? How do you deal with cravings? What about pie? Isn’t baking your thing?

Once again, you have to look at the big picture. What do you want to achieve and are you going to let that ice cream cone of cupcake bring you down? I only really get cravings for sugar goodness one week out of each month. I’ve learned that frozen bananas blended with coconut milk and topped with chia seeds and toasted coconut comes pretty damn close to ice cream with sprinkles. Dates off some pretty natural sweetness, too. Self control is definitely a learned art form. After a lot of time without sugar goes by you really learn not to miss it.

I work in a bakery, so temptation is all around. I think what really helps is seeing other people buy and buy and consume and consume and they don’t even blink twice about the 700 calorie brownie they are having for dessert. I’ll also have dreams about pizza, but I never take a bite! Go me!

Yeah, pie and baking are “my things”. Now that I am working full time again, I don’t spend my off hours slaving away over some cookies or scones. I’ve started to delve into the wonderful world of paleo baking, though. Some things however, cannot be recreated to their full taste potential without butter. Yeah, I celebrated National Pie Day with ALL OF THE DAIRY and had no regrets. 

 

SO, once I am feeling better, it’s on to #3. I’ve got a little ways to go before reaching my end goals. This time around, I plan to momentarily post the occasional favorite recipe, etc. I have so many favorites to choose from! Please follow along on the journey if you’d like OR begin your own! Down below are some of my favorite dishes to date. All photos were taken from my Instagram, let’s be friends!chicken eggs green meatballs roots samosa

 

Stay well, y’all!

Friday Favorites 8.16

Last week, I spent a very sweaty couple of days in my favorite city with my dad and 2 of my 3 sisters. New Orleans, NOLA, the Big Easy, Crescent City, call it what you want, is the land of Creole and crayfish! My favorite place to be..just not during the month of August, haha! Kidding. New Orleans is the home to so many of my favorite things. Things you can’t find anywhere else!

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If you follow me on INSTAGRAM then you probably know alllll about my little Nola getaway. Last week was crazy! The day I got back from the TXSC conference I moved into my new apartment house, went to work for 1 day, then caught a plane. It was so nice to be in “the City that Care Forgot” with the people I love most. Not having to pay for any meals was also swell. Thank God my dad is a foodie! And the food here is the best you will ever have. Seafood and spice and everything nice. Plus poboys. Plus fried chicken. Plus jambalaya. Plus….I could write forever about Nola’s food! Sadly, this time around I didn’t take a shit ton of food pics. I will leave you with my Nola Favorites Top 10 List! instead!

Annie’s Nola Favorites Top 10 List

1. Cemeteries. Fun fact: Did you know that the words cemetery and graveyard are not interchangeable? Graveyards are burial grounds adjacent to a church whereas a cemetery is strictly a resting place. There are churches on pretty much every corner in Nola, but they keep the dead people separate. A few Canal St. cemeteries are in pretty close proximity to churches…So maybe they overlooked the real meaning of the word? Anyway. I love dead people? That sounds weird. Nola falls below sea level so all the dead must be buried above ground in elaborate stone crypts and mausoleums, making the city truly unique. I really want to visit the St. Louis #1 on Basin St. in the Treme….but Travel Advisor says no way, Jose! #sketch

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2. The French Quarter: Mainly Decatur and lots of side streets. Le duh! Bourbon St. is a little too crowded for me, but I am not at the age yet where I will complain. My mom hates Bourbon, Nola altogether really. She thinks it stinks! Double le duh! It’s built on a swamp, the city is constantly drunk, and almost everything in the FQ is covered in frat boy piss. And the roaches. I love and prefer Decatur! Last Thanksgiving I stayed at the French Market Inn, a haunted hotel built in the 1700s on Decatur. Centrally located and awesome! So many of the major sights can be seen here as well!

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3. Cafe du Monde. Need I say more? Always busy. Always fresh. Beignets et cafe au lait.

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4. The National World War II Museum. This is probably my dad’s favorite, and a new one of mine! I am obsessed, no OBSESSED with European history. One of my favorite undergrad courses over WW I&II in Europe. This museum is huge! We’re talking 4+ buildings! We got to watch a doc in 4D hosted by Tom Hanks titled Beyond All Boundaries. Very interesting and interactive! Scroll down to see me covering my ears in a German bomb shelter!

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5. Sno Balls. Forget snow cones! We are not in Kansas (or anywhere else in the U.S. that isn’t Nola) anymore! These powdery, icy treats are native to the city and only really open during the summer months. Where Texas has Shiner Beer, Nola has a sno ball to cool you off! Usually a Plum St. kind of gal, I branched out and tried Hansen’s off Tchopitoulas. We went back  3 days in a row!

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6. Oak Street. That street name will forever hold a special place in my heart. I lived on the Denton version for a few years. It’s also home to my favorite bar, creatively named Oak Street Drafthouse haha! The Nola version is just as lovely. Home to a favorite brunch spot, the Oak St. Cafe, as well as a very eclectic consignment shop where the old lady owners still wear pillbox hats and items are always 75-90% off! Hello vintage Pucci for real cheap! It also turns out that we are the long-lost relatives of the Haase’s Shoes store owners!

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7. FREE Citrus. Well I guess not technically, but I always manage to make it home with a few lemons or limes I snagged from a tree in the Garden District! Locally grown and organic!

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8. Hoods. Treme, French Quarter, Garden District, Mid City, Uptown, Marigny, Bywater, New Orleans is divided into so many neighborhoods! My favorites are the Garden District/Uptown and Mid City. We went to rock and bowl, and then promptly discovered how bad my family as a whole is at bowling. I think my highest score was a 23…. Bumpers, please! Oh yeah, New Orleans definitely has it fair share of ‘hoods’ too. Lil Wayne reps the city! Holly Grove what what?

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9. Magazine Street. So yeah I have a thing for streets. Magazine has so many cool shops and restaurants! Definitely one of my favorites!

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10. THE FOOD!!! I saved the best for last! As you read way up there, Nola has the best food. You also know I didn’t take any pictures. I will leave you with one of my favorites: Parkway! In Mid City! I always get the Reuben….but their poboys are the size of my arm!

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Have any of you guys been to New Orleans? If so, what are your favorite places to visit? If not, please let me be your virtual tour guide! I know so much!

Hope you all have a happy Friday and a lovely weekend!

Citrus and Spice and Everything Nice

(The everything nice being an abundance of cilantro and goat cheese.)

I judge a Mexican restaurant by three things: tortillas, guacamole, and salsa. If your restaurant strikes out on 2 out of 3 of these, chances are 98% to none, that I will no longer patronize your establishment. An example: 7 Mile Cafe in Denton. Old guacamole and marinara sauce salsa? Ummm, no thank you! They have since stepped up their freshness and salsa game, bumping them off my shit list. That sentiment is now semi-directed at Loco Cafe, but their biscuits make up for everything!

When it comes to guac, I am a total snob. I turn my nose up at that previously froze, pre-packaged crap they call avocado dip or guacamole spread. Some places, like Subway for example, disgrace the guacamole name. I may be slightly partial to their 50 cents per scoop guac because I swear it gave me food poisoning. They saying “if it’s brown flush it down” should also apply to avocados. I hate the smell and taste over an overly overly ripe avocado. <end rant>

Guacamole is one of my favorite snacks. Avocados are God’s gift to earth along with central air and <insert hot celebrity here>. Oh yeah, and they are one of those good fats! I’ll take a large avocado sprinkled with sea salt over a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked any day as long as I’m not PMSing!

That being said, guac makes for a pretty healthy snack. Something I can throw together in under 30 minutes time. Damn, I can make amazing guacamole faster than I can run a mile? (Sad but quite possibly true. I need to work on that!)

Here is my recipe! I love garlic more than vampire hunters!

Ingredients

2 large, ripe avocados

4 garlic cloves, diced

1/2 yellow or purple onion, diced

1 jalapeno, diced (seed if you don’t like spice)

a handful of cilantro but more than that would not hurt

the juice of half a large lemon

1/2 tsp ground cumin

sea salt, black pepper, and chipotle powder to taste

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The Process

  1. Deseed avocados and empty the flesh into a large bowl. I like to use the knife method, just make sure your aim is right!ImageImage
  2. Chop and dice garlic, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. Add to bowl along with stated spices.ImageImageImage
  3. Mash together really well with a fork. Oh my! I think this is the most difficult recipe I have yet to post on my blog!Image

If you like your guac a bit creamier, I suggest adding a tbs of Greek yogurt. I am personally not a fan of tomatoes in my guac either. On top is whole different story!ImageImage

The tangyness of goat cheese accompanied with the smokey chipotle in the guac tast amazing together. Out of tortilla chips, I opted for the sea salt, dill, and olive oil Triscuits. Best decision of the day (besides this blog post).ImageImage

Tomorrow is the 4th of July! I hope you all have a very happy and safe holiday!