There are still 26 days until our Whole30 Challenge starts, but 1) I don’t like to procrastinate and 2) I’m getting excited to start! It’s pretty easy to be excited about giving up sugar and alcohol all while still getting to enjoy those things, but I really feel like this challenge is going to help me get back to the healthy lifestyle I was rocking before my Crohn’s went into remission and I went on a crazy binge eating and drinking endless amounts of sugar all summer. I am definitely one of those people who sugar affects tremendously. Once I have a little, I can’t get enough, and then I get mood swings, gain weight, and feel like complete crap, but can’t seem to stop ingesting it, ahhhhh! I know that I have to take extra good care of my body now while it’s still in good shape or I’ll be in really bad shape down the road, it’s just been hard cutting out all the bad stuff now that my digestive issues aren’t making me completely miserable (just slightly uncomfortable). Anyway, I hope that you are reading up on all the benefits of this challenge and telling yourself, “I can do this! I need to do this! I want to do this!” It’s a lot like giving up cigarettes (which some of you may have to do for the challenge), you have to really want this in order to find the willpower and motivation to go way out of your comfort zone for 30 whole days (haha! See what I did there? ;)).
So yesterday, I scoured Pinterest for every Whole30 compliant (or easily made compliant) recipe in existence. We had a super chillax weekend at home, so what better way to veg-out than a 4 hour rendezvous with my mistress? 😉 I managed to find way more than 30, 60, or even 90 recipes! I’m not sure how much compliant stuff I’ll be able to find yet. I plan on going to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Kroger, Aldi, my local butcher, and Walmart (and checking out what Amazon has) before the challenge starts, but even then, I’m starting to realize there’s a good chance I won’t be able to find (or afford) some of the ingredients needed to make some of the stuff I pinned! So, I’m going to make my meal plan for week 1 to give you guys an idea of how to make yours, and I’m going to try and only include recipes with ingredients I’m sure I’ll be able to find. I’ll have a better idea of where to get what after I go shopping.
Try to remember that I stay home and make dinner during the day while my kids are at school, so if you work, you might have to look for more crockpot options or dedicate a day over the weekend to prepping for your weekday meals (which I’ll still be doing even though I don’t work outside the home). I also like a large variety of foods (like all of them, seriously), so what I might be excited about cooking, you might turn your nose up to. Don’t let that discourage you! Where there’s a will, there’s a way! If you need any help coming up with a meal plan, please don’t hesitate to ask! I’m not an expert by any means, I’m just willing to look for solutions because I truly believe there always is one. It might not be what you want to do, but it will be doable.
Day 1: Saturday January 7th, 2017
Breakfast: Zucchini and Sweet Potato Latkes with Fried Eggs
Ingredients: zucchini, sweet potato, coconut flour, eggs, ghee/clarified butter, cumin, garlic powder, parsley, salt, pepper
These are kinda like potato pancakes (with zucchini). I’ve had regular latkes made with white potatoes, so I’m excited to try this new take on them! Add a fried egg on top so when you cut into it, all that warm gooey yoke runs over it….OMG, I’m salivating just thinking about it! This is a breakfast I’m pretty sure my kids will enjoy! I wasn’t planning on having the entire family along for the ride, but after looking at all of the recipes, I think most of it is stuff my kids will eat. I still plan on keeping some Hot Pockets, Totino’s Pizzas, mac and cheese cups, and Eggo waffles on hand for the days when they give me hell about eating what Joe Daddy and I are eating, but a lot of these meals are similar to what we already eat. I’m hoping to be able to find some bacon for less than $.79/ounce, but just in case I can’t, I’m leaving off any recipes with bacon. If I can’t find any at the store, I’ll consider giving US Wellness Meats a try. They have Whole30 compliant meats, they’re just expensive (like double what I already pay for the all-natural uncured stuff I usually buy). I’ve heard it’s easier to find compliant prosciutto, so I may just have to stick with that and not have any bacon, sausage, or ham for a month (which I won’t be happy about, but I’ll survive).
Ingredients: ground beef (I buy the grass-fed organic from Aldi for less than $6/lb), multi-colored bell peppers, avocado, lime, cilantro, jalapenos (optional), salsa (or tomatoes), green onions, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper
I plan on eating soup throughout the week and making kid-friendly lunches on the weekends. We aren’t the biggest fans of ground turkey, unless it’s in something real flavorful like spaghetti, so I’ll be sticking with ground beef for this one. If you haven’t made your own taco seasoning before, it’s stupid easy and there’s a link on this recipe. I love bell peppers, but I never thought to use them as chips! I’ll probably get some real chips for the kids to eat with since they aren’t nearly as crazy about bell peppers as I am ;). For guacamole, I just mash an avocado, add a little salt, squeeze half a lime, and sprinkle in some (a LOT) of cilantro. It’s super easy! Sometimes I make it chunky by adding red onions and tomatoes (and jalapeno to spice it up). If you don’t like bell peppers, you could always turn these nachos into a salad or lettuce wraps!
Dinner: Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa
Ingredients: salmon, mango, red onion, red bell pepper, tomato, cilantro, lime, greens (spinach, arugula, romaine), chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, jalapenos (optional)
Salmon is one of my most favorite foods! Pair it with my other favorites (mango, red onion, red pepper, tomato, lime, and cilantro) and I’m sold! I might even make the mango salsa ahead of time to put on my nachos for lunch! While this alone would make a perfectly fine meal, I’m thinking I’ll add some greens and make it a salad!
Day 2: Sunday January 8th (my sister LuLu’s, and Elvis’, birthday!)
Breakfast: Sweet Potato Apple Bake
Ingredients: sweet potato, apple, raisins (sugar-free), pecans, coconut oil, full fat coconut milk (check ingredients), cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, salt
Since I’m making a savory breakfast for Saturday, I figured I’d try a sweet one for Sunday. I made banana bread this past weekend and it was very well received! I don’t do a lot of baking, but I had 4 bananas getting ready to go bad and just enough gluten-free flour left over from last year’s Thanksgiving (yeah, that’s how often I bake from scratch! LOL!). Since my goal after this challenge is to eat at least 80% Paleo, I better get used to making more food from scratch! I just hope I can find sugar-free raisins! You can omit them, but I think they’ll be great in this!
Lunch: Tuna Salad
Ingredients: canned tuna, celery, eggs, green olives, romaine hearts, homemade mayo
I already know I won’t have any salmon leftovers, so I’ll have to make lunch on Sunday as well. Keeping in mind that my kids’ll be home, I think tuna salad is the perfect lunch idea! I normally make my tuna salad with tuna (obviously), celery, eggs, mayo, and green olives and eat it on gluten-free crackers. I’ll have to make some homemade mayo, but that looks super easy, so the only other change I’ll have to make is the crackers. I’m thinking tuna salad lettuce wraps instead! Just get a head of romaine, tear off a leaf, and voila! Instant “tortilla” for the tuna salad! If you want other ideas for tuna salad, check out the recipe above!
Ingredients: Pork chops, olive oil, chili powder, paprika, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic, chipotle chili pepper spice, salt, coconut milk (check ingredients), cilantro, lime, parsnips, cauliflower, yellow squash or butternut squash, carrot, sweet onion, garlic powder, ground mustard, egg, pepper, homemade ketchup
Yes, that’s a lot of ingredients (at least compared to some of the other meals), but Sunday is the one day that I usually have nothing better to do than cook. It will probably be my meal prep day as well (I’ll probably change my shopping day from Tuesday to Friday to help with this). The only thing you have to omit is the liquid smoke. It has molasses in it. I looked up some substitutes and smoked paprika came up, which I already have on hand, yay! I am really interested in this Paleo Mac and Cheese! I can totally live without mac and cheese, but the way the lady goes on and on about how good it is has me intrigued! I love parsnips (they taste almost identical to carrots, only rootier), but I’ve never made them as fries! I’m also interested to see how my homemade ketchup turns out! It seems fairly simple! I’m most interested in what my kids will think! I’m fairly certain the pork chops will be a homerun, but it’ll be interesting to see what they think of the others!
Day 3: Monday January 9th (Back to School for the kids!!!)
Breakfast: Mini Frittatas
Ingredients: Eggs, onions, bell peppers, spinach, salt, pepper, bacon/sausage/ham or mushrooms
I love a good frittata! I’m sure these mini versions won’t be as good without milk and cheese in them, but I need something quick and easy to eat before I hit the gym Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (and something easy for Joe Daddy to grab before he leaves for work), so I’ll be making these Sunday for the week! This recipe calls for bell peppers, onions, spinach, and some sort of breakfast meat. I’m hoping to find some kind of compliant meat, but if I don’t, I’ll just add in some mushrooms. The best part of a frittata is you can put whatever you want in it! I’ve made a loaded baked potato one, a Greek one, a BLT version, a Southwestern version, and even others and they’ve all been delicious! I usually have a protein smoothie before I head to the gym in the morning, but these will be just as quick and easy, and hopefully not fill my stomach too much.
Lunch: Healing Chicken Soup
Ingredients: Chicken, celery, carrots, onion, chicken broth, turmeric, ginger, garlic, cauliflower, Red Boat fish sauce*, basil, parsley, coconut aminos**, thyme, rosemary, olive oil, salt, pepper
I’ve decided that since Joe Daddy needs something easy to take to work, and I need something easy to heat up once I get home from the gym, and we probably won’t have many leftovers cooking whole foods like this, I’m going to make a big pot of soup every Sunday! I love soup, especially in the winter! For this soup, I’m going to cook a whole chicken in the crockpot by following these directions. Then I’ll add in all the other ingredients and divide it up into separate containers so Joe Daddy and I can just grab and go each day!
*Fish sauce is one of the foulest smelling things on Earth, but it’s salty like soy sauce. Unfortunately, most fish sauces are made with sugar, so if you’re going to use it on the Whole30 Challenge, you gotta get Red Boat, the only brand that is sugar-free. Of course, it’s $7 for a 8.45oz bottle on Thrive (and $16 for a 17oz bottle on Amazon), but I’ve heard they have it at Whole Foods and possibly Trader Joe’s so there’s a chance I might find it cheaper. I haven’t even started this challenge yet, and I’m already seeing how much sugar is being snuck into my body without me even realizing it! I mean, I know when I eat a candy bar or a donut or even a piece (or loaf) of bread, but it’s in everything! And to find sugar-free options, you gotta be willing to sell your soul...ok, that’s a little dramatic…but they do expect you to pay double or more! Uggghhh! But as frustrating as it is, I refuse to give up before I even start! It is totally possible to do this challenge without things like bacon and fish sauce, but as long as I can fit them into the budget, I’m going to get them, even if they are much higher than I would normally spend on them. I’m betting I will still spend less money overall because I won’t be able to eat out as much and I won’t be eating just for taste (which is really the only reason I ever over eat).
**I’ll talk more about coconut aminos on the next recipe.
Dinner: Teriyaki Chicken with Zoodle Stir Fry
I love, love, love zoodles! I dare say I love them more than regular noodles! I don’t cook them very long because I like it when they crunch! I am super excited to be getting a new spiralizer for Christmas! I have had this one for a couple years now, and I have put it to good use, but it can’t spiralize things like sweet potatoes or onions, so when I saw this one on sale at Walmart on Black Friday for $5 cheaper than usual, I grabbed it to open on Christmas Day :). While this recipe sounds fantastical, I’m thinking it could use some mushrooms, carrots, and chicken to make it a complete meal! You can’t follow the recipe because it calls for soy sauce, which is a no-no, and teriyaki sauce, which almost always has sugar in it. The good news is you can make your own teriyaki sauce without any sugar, but you need coconut aminos, which is a Whole30 version of soy sauce. My friend swears it’s good, but again, it’s costly. Amazon has a 3 pack of Coconut Secret’s coconut aminos, teriyaki sauce, and garlic sauce for $25. I’m not sure how cheap you can find it in stores (or where it’s even sold), but online, they go for $10-$20 per bottle! I did see that Bragg’s makes coconut aminos as well, but with shipping it costs just as much. Maybe it’ll be cheaper at a store!
Day 4: Tuesday, January 10th
Breakfast: Mini Frittata (already made!)
Lunch: Healing Chicken Soup (already made!)
Dinner: Garlic Margherita Chicken
Ingredients: chicken, zucchini, tomato, garlic, basil, olive/avocado/coconut oil, salt, pepper, greens (spinach, arugula, romaine)
I’ve made this before and it was good, but it needed something else…so this time, I’m making it into a hot salad!
Day 5: Wednesday, January 11th
Breakfast: Grain-free Oatmeal
Ingredients: apple, dates (be sure to check for sugar), coconut flakes (unsweetened), almonds (plain), chia seeds, almond butter (without sugar or homemade), coconut milk (check ingredients)
I have to at least try this grain-free oatmeal once! I’ve heard it’s really good, and I like all of the ingredients, and I’m not too funny about textures, so even if it’s not like regular oatmeal, there’s a good chance I’ll enjoy it. This recipe calls for a splash of cashew milk, but I can’t find any cashew or almond milk that is Whole30 compliant (unless you make it yourself), so I’ll be using coconut milk.
Lunch: Mackerel Lettuce Wraps/Cups
Ingredients: canned mackerel, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, lime, Red Boat fish sauce, romaine hearts
Wednesday is my day at home, so I’ll be skipping soup this day to make one of my favorite childhood dishes: mackerel lettuce wraps!
When I was 12, my mom married a man from Thailand. Oddly enough, the memory from when he posted this picture on Facebook last year of us from over 20 years ago just popped up yesterday! LOL! If you ever feel like you had bad hair in the past, just look at mine and know: mine was worse! LOL! Anyway, his mother taught my mother how to make a few Thai dishes. This is one of them. It’s so simple, but so good! It’s pretty similar to tuna salad, just different flavors! You add chopped red onion, cucumber, cilantro, half a lime squeezed, and a teaspoon or so of fish sauce to a can of mackerel and wrap it in a romaine lettuce leaf. That’s it!
Dinner: Breakfast Hash
Ingredients: Aidell’s Chicken and Apple Sausages, sweet potato, white potato, onion, red bell pepper, olive oil, salt, pepper
I really love the taste of sweet potatoes with salty white potatoes! I haven’t had Aidell’s Chicken and Apple Sausages before, but they are a compliant sausage I know I can easily find!
Day 6: Thursday, January 12th
Breakfast: Mini Frittata (already made!)
Lunch: Healing Chicken Soup (already made!)
Ingredients: boneless lamb loin, mint, parsley, garlic, red wine vinegar, butternut squash, ghee, beef broth
I’m pretty excited to try this butternut rice! I love butternut squash! I’m also eager to be making condiments and sauces from scratch! I can’t believe how easy it looks! I started making my own dressings about a year ago, and I am amazed at how much more I like them than the store bought stuff! Hopefully, I can find some affordable boneless lamb loin, otherwise, I’ll probably just make steaks.
Day 7: Friday, January 13th
Breakfast: Mini Frittata (already made!)
Lunch: Salami, Almonds, Cashews, Berries, Sweet Potato or Plantain Chips
Ingredients: salami, almonds, cashews, fresh berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries), sweet potato chips, plantain chips
I plan on going shopping right after I leave the gym on Fridays, so I’ll have to pack a lunch to eat in my car on the way to the store. I don’t think a Larabar will cut it since I lift weights on Fridays, so I’m gonna bring some salami and nuts so I get plenty of protein. And so I get a little fruit and veggies, I’ll pack some sweet potato or plantain chips and some sort of berries (blue, black, or raspberry…or maybe a mixture!). Joe Daddy might be sick of soup by Friday, so maybe he’ll take something like this as well.
Dinner: Beef Brisket with Onions, Tomatoes, and Potatoes
Ingredients: beef brisket, onion, tomatoes, beef broth, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper
Since I don’t get home and finished unloading groceries until right before the kids get home, I plan on throwing some potatoes, a beef brisket, a sliced onion, some diced tomatoes, minced garlic, and beef broth (in that order) in the crockpot before I head to the gym. That way, dinner will still be ready by 4pm! I can’t let my kids come home to no dinner. They’ll snack til they’re stuffed and refuse to eat again!
Let me just go ahead and say, starting out, it has taken a lot of effort trying to plan 3 meals a day for 7 days, even though most of my breakfasts and lunches are the same! Hopefully, it’ll go quicker for the 2nd week! Do not wait until the last minute to start planning! It took me several hours to find recipes, research Whole30 approved options, and setting up a meal plan that is fairly simple but with plenty of variety that works with 7 people’s schedules! I hope that the extra hours I put in to share it with you helps shave some time off your efforts! If not, at least all of my planning is easily accessible (and won’t get misplaced like it would if I wrote it all down on a piece of paper, haha!) ;).
Once I get my shopping list made, I’ll share that as well, and then my shopping experience of course! If you have any tips, please feel free to share on the Facebook group page!
Last week, I posted about my Whole30 Shopping Experience at Trader Joe’s. Well…