Whole 30 – Week 4

Crockpot Apricot Chicken, use cauliflower rice for Whole30 (courtesy of Wholesomelicious)

Whole30 Chat:

Last night I went over to a friend’s house to watch GoT. As I mentioned before, we are doing a different themed potluck each week. Last week was Thai food, last night was Indian food, next week we’re grilling and doing “American” food.

Herein lies the biggest challenge with Whole 30: socializing with your friends. Yes, they’re supportive and encouraging, but at the same time it sucks when your mouth is watering over the fluffy, steaming hot samosas and piles of garlic naan tempting you. “This chicken curry has a dash of heavy cream in it, but it’s barely anything,” my hosts told me. But still, I avoided that chicken dish. Another friend brought lamb meatballs, which I could eat, and they were delicious… After I made sure every grain of rice was scraped off. Another friend brought palek paneer, and I spooned some of the spinach onto my plate to mix with cauliflower rice but I dodged the cubes of delicious fried cheese hiding in the green goodness. Beyond the apricot chicken that I brought, there was almost nothing for me to eat. At least there wasn’t also a chocolate cake this week 😛

One of my friends commented that it’s impressive how well I’m sticking to the diet even though I’m just doing it as an experiment, so that was a nice compliment. Beyond having food FOMO with my friends, everything else has been pretty easy. Fruit and RX / Larabars have helped satiate my sweet tooth and given me energy for workouts, prepping breakfast for the whole week on Sunday is really helpful so I can eat as soon as I get up, which ameliorates tummy problems at the gym. I learned how to make an overnight coconut cold brew using my french press, and that I don’t mind drinking my coffee black. I don’t realize that I miss pizza or pasta unless I walk by a pizza place. But, it’s only been three weeks.

What helps me push through:

  • Remembering that IT’S ONLY 30 DAYS
    • Caveat: although, you should reintroduce the foods over the course of 10-14 days, at least on your own sort of schedule if not one food every three days. Jumping back into the way you were eating before won’t help identify if any of the restricted foods caused allergy symptoms or GI distress. 
  • Not overdoing it with crazy recipes
    • Keep it simple and stick to flavor profiles you like. One reason this has been so easy for me is that I really look forward to and enjoy all of the meals that I’ve made. I’ve even been eating more food than normal because I’m not having calorie dense pastas, pizzas, cheeses, etc. 
  • Not making a big deal out of it
    • …and if someone else does, loved one or stranger, you just have to shake it off and keep moving remembering that it’s only 30 days. 
  • Drinking plenty of water, and keeping an emergency snack on hand 

Downfalls of Whole30:

  • I’m eating a lot more meat than typical
  • There is absolutely no way a vegetarian could meet their protein needs on this diet
  • Relying on fruit and RX bars to keep you away from hypoglycaemia is a must for athletes and exercisers
  • Having little to no options at places where nearly everything is full of carbs and/or has touched the deep fryer (Case in point – the half chicken entree at Matchbox was flash fried for crispiness)
  • For women: may affect the menstruation cycle
  • “Whole30” approved packaged items… kind of goes against the original point, doesn’t it?
  • “Whole30” health coaches… sorry but who are these people? There are plenty of actually qualified dietitians and nutritionists out there to help counsel better eating habits. Whole30 isn’t a sustainable lifestyle, in multiple senses of the word, and I hope no one eats this much meat without thinking about the planet. To me, creating their own “Whole30 health coach” certification is just another example of how Whole30 is a business trying to make $$$. 

Week 3 in Review:

During week 3, there were no incidents of hangriness to report.

Everything went swimmingly until Thursday night, when I met a spontaneous date out for dinner. We went to Matchbox, where basically the only on the menu that I could eat was a salad. This salad, ironically, had pretty much the same set up as the Sesame Chopped Chicken Salad that I’d have for lunch. However, there was tuna instead of chicken, and fennel with frisee instead of cabbage and carrots, so it was different enough. It tasted delicious and I was pretty hungry so it hit the spot. But as soon as I got home at 10pm I felt famished and ate some chicken with cashew/date sauce and an RX Bar. I subbed a few spin classes over the weekend since many people were traveling for the holiday weekend. The extra workouts made me tired enough to want to go to bed early on the weekend, so that was good. The highlight of my week was discovering that the RX bars made with cocoa don’t have added sugar, so they’re technically compliant to Whole 30 AND they were on sale at Harris Teeter so I picked up 12 for $15. The chocolate hazelnut is now my favorite RX Bar, and the Larabar is tied between Coconut Cream and Cherry Pie.

Week 4: What’s at Bat

Changing up breakfast and lunch, LOTS of veggies to be consumed this week!

This week, I’m going to try to combine the 12:12 version of IF with Whole 30. I’ll be aiming to have breakfast around 9am and to have dinner between 7-8:30pm, so no eating after 9pm. Hungry Harvest brought broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, baby greens, and plums… basically salad ingredients. I found a crockpot recipe for the Sunday potluck and wanted to switch up breakfast and lunch this week. The following were used for meal prep, and were found on Pinterest:

  • Potluck – Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken (Wholesomelicious)
    • Only a few ingredients, lovely flavors, and SO easy
  • Breakfast – Sheet pan veggies (sweet potatoes, broccoli, red onion) with breakfast sausage and eggs
    • My own creation
  • Lunch – Chilaquiles with Sweet Potatoes (40 Aprons) 
    • The main calorie providing ingredients are chicken, sweet potato, avocado oil, avocado, salsa. Most of the condiments add little to calories but a ton of flavor
  • Dinner – Cauliflower Shepard’s Pie  (Unbound Wellness)
    • Will serve with salad

Timeline of what my typical meal prep process looks like:

Friday – chose the recipes, list what I need by section of the store, note how many servings each recipe supposedly makes and how each meal is cooked so as to consolidate time and multitask (20min).

Saturday or Sunday – grocery shopping (60 min total round trip).

During shopping – I note prices because I have started a spreadsheet on my phone (I’m so type A, I know), for what costs how much between the different stores that I walk by almost every day. Believe it or not… Whole Foods is usually the most affordable except for Rx Bars and Larabars (cheaper at Harris Teeter, and frequently on sale), and hand soap (cheaper at TJs).

Items that resulted in my shopping trip totaling
$110 this week

Sunday – Meal Prepping: I started with the crockpot meal since it needed 4-6 hours to stew. It took all of five seconds to blend the sauce in my Ninja single serve, then pour it over the chicken and onion in the crockpot, and that was that! With the crockpot set up, I preheated the oven and started to brown the meat for the Shepard’s pie. While browning, I diced the veggies for said pie and steamed the cauliflower. While resting the meat and cooking the veggies, I pulsed the cauliflower with coconut oil in the food processor. Then I assembled everything in the casserole dish.

I also chopped up all the broccoli, red onions, and several sweet potatoes, tossed half with oil, then spread them on a baking sheet and baked them above the Shepards pie, making great use of the oven. In that 20 minutes, I made the cauliflower rice to go with the apricot chicken. Once the veggies and pie were done, I transferred the veggies to a tupperware and refilled the sheetpan with the rest. Another 20 minute period, during which I prepped the veggies for and began to fry the sweet potatoes for the chilaquiles, but decided I’d rather bake the “chips” for ease and cleanliness, so put some on a small sheet pan, then the rest on the large sheet pan when it was free. While those were in the oven, I packaged everything for storage in the fridge, loaded the dish washer, did a few dishes by hand (including the cast iron), wiped off the counters, swept the floor, and took out the trash and recycling.

Notes about recipes:

  • Apricot Chicken: Recipe says it makes 6 servings, but it would be more like 4 good sized portions or 6 small portions. Don’t worry about cutting up the chicken, it will fall apart at the touch of a fork when done in the crockpot.
  • Breakfast: With several sweet potatoes, a red onion, and a few broccoli crowns, I should be able to get 6 breakfasts out of these sheet pan veggies without a problem. Adding 3 Applegate breakfast sausages and an egg each day for protein.
  • Chilaquiles: Recipe says makes 2, so I made adjustments because I wanted to get 5-6 servings. I baked the sweet potatoes instead of frying them, for the sake of time. For lunch, I’ll reheat a handful of potatoes with a couple big spoons of salsa plus some chicken then garnish with 1/2 an avocado, cilantro, red onion, radishes, and jalapenos.
  • Shepard’s Pie: Recipe says makes 4. I was going to try to stretch this out over 5-6 servings, but discovered at 4 servings each one is only about 350 calories, so I won’t be stretching that out more.

Next weekend meal prep will be interesting because I’ll be transitioning off of Whole 30 in the middle of the week and on to my third diet of the year: The Tim Ferriss Slow Carb diet. I’ll describe it in more detail next week 🙂

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