Homemade Mayonnaise

I’ve pretty much been a mayonnaise hater my whole life. Really, I just haven’t been a big fan of condiments in general. They just seemed so strange and full of mysterious ingredients (and this was long before I actually cared about what was in my food). But after I started dabbling in the real food world, I came to realize it was possible to make my own condiments. This took all the mystery out of what was in them and got me thinking that maaaaybe they just weren’t so bad (still never touching ketchup though).

Homemade mayo was my “gateway” condiment into a whole new world of condiment-filled deliciousness. It’s the base for sooooo many fantastic sauces that can take any food from super boring and bland to lick-your-plate good. Once you’ve got plain mayonnaise, you can make ranch, garlic aioli, or southwestern dressing. And then there are the multitude of other recipes you can use it in… chicken salad, potato salad, egg salad… you get the idea. 

Why make your own? Well, most store-bought mayos use questionable fats, like soybean oil or canola oil. Even the ones that tout “Made with olive oil!” on the label are still mostly made with shady oils. They also often have other strange ingredients and preservatives. Homemade mayo is just SO easy, and I must say it tastes a lot better than store-bought. Also, don’t be scared away by horror stories of the egg and oil separating, as this has never once happened to me after a full two years of making mayo. Give it try!

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Homemade Mayonnaise
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: ~1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup extra light olive oil
  • 1 tbls lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp mustard powder
  • Salt (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Crack the egg in your blender and allow to come to room temperature for at least 20 minutes (this helps the egg emulsify with the oil).
  2. Add lemon juice, mustard powder, and salt.
  3. Turn your blender on low, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream. It should take around 2-3 minutes to pour in all the oil. At first the mixture will be fairly liquid, but it will thicken as you go. Using a dish towel as a guard may help keep some of the initial splashing at bay.
  4. Blend for one additional minute after the all the oil has been added.

 

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Half-Marathon Training Week 12 + What I Ate In A Day

It seems like I’ve been training for this half-marathon for forever… and it also seems like I still have forever to go. I’ve run around 270 miles since the beginning of June, and boy do I feel it. Sure, I feel the good, like being stronger. But right now I just mainly feel tired. So, so tired. The Hansons were not playing around when they designed this training program. This has been the most I have ever run, and a huge change from my first half training plan, where I only ran 3x week. 

To be honest, I’m ready for it to be over. I know I’m bound to feel this way at least once during a training cycle and this is the time where I need to just dig in and push forward. Despite this, I’m still really enjoying my runs once I get started. It’s just the getting started that is a bit harder right now. Even though I struggle to get out of bed to go running each morning, I find myself researching potential full marathons, which makes no sense whatsoever. Am I insane?

 

What I Ate In A Day

Anyways, let’s move on to talking about food. More specifically, I thought I would share what I ate on a long run day! This particular day’s long run was 10 miles. I use dates as my running fuel source, and I’ve been playing around the timing of consumption and how much to eat on my long runs so that way there aren’t any surprises come race day! I typically only have a few nibbles mid-run, then scarf down the rest once I finish.

Pre-run: one fried egg.

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Mid/Post-run: one coconut date ball.

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Breakfast: PaleOMG’s Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes, bacon, and a fried egg! I ended up having a fourth pancake too… what can I say, I’m always starving after my long run!

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Lunch: A simple garden salad (with feta!) and two chicken gouda sausages. And a pup patiently watching for anything dropped…

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Dinner: I went out to dinner to Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe for dinner with some of my family. I had the chicken feast, which includes a salad, grilled chicken, roasted potatoes (they are underneath the chicken), and tzatziki sauce. I also got an extra order of chicken, which I split with my husband.

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Dessert: I had about 1/2 cup of this AMAZING ice cream. It is seriously so good… and fairly clean. I wish I could eat it all day, every day.

 

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Sweet Plantains with Cinnamon Coconut Glaze

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It’s seems like pretty much everywhere is going through a big heat wave lately and Kentucky is definitely not excluded. It is so freakin hot and humid. I just can’t do it anymore! I mean, maybe it would be alright if I had an office job or something that kept me inside all day, but it just sucks trying to ride horses in 90 degree with 90% humidity. Maybe living in Newfoundland for 3 years has made me a big sissy about heat, but I feel like I’m dying come 2pm. Okay, enough complaining.

SO, I thought I would share a recipe on here! I’ve been a bit iffy about sharing recipes and have talked myself out of it numerous times. My food photography skills are majorly lacking, I’m bad about measuring things when I cook, some of my ideas really do not taste good… the excuses are endless. Well, I just decided to forget about all my dumb excuses and just go for it! Sorry about the bad picture and all future bad pictures… I’ll work on it. 

Anyways, this is one of my FAVORITE things to eat. I loooove fried sweet plantains. They are great for a snack, as a side, or even dessert! I’ve been to Guatemala a few times and anytime plantains were served was a good time. On my last visit, the family I stayed with made fried sweet plantains for breakfast, served with whipped cream and sugar. It was pretty much heaven. Since I try to steer clear of sugar and dairy these days, I decided to make my own version of this sweet treat, which is totally Whole30 compliant! If you’re wondering which coconut butter I use, check it out here!

Sweet Plantains w/ Cinnamon Coconut Glaze
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large ripe plantain*
  • 1 tbls coconut butter
  • 2 tbls + ½ tsp coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium frying pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Slice the ends off the plantain then slice down the length of the plantain, only deep enough to cut through the peel.
  3. Peel the plantain then slice into ½ inch thick coins.
  4. Add 2 tbls coconut oil to pan. Once the oil has melted, add the plantain coins in a single layer. Cook until brown (about 2½ minutes) then flip and cook until the other side is brown.
  5. Once done, remove plantains to a plate.
  6. Prepare your glaze by mixing the coconut butter with the cinnamon and ½ tsp coconut oil and heating in the microwave for 15 seconds (no more than that!). Drizzle glaze over plantains and enjoy!
Notes
*Plantain should be yellow with significant brown/black spots. If it were a banana, it would look far too ripe.

 

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How to Eat Vegetables: Part 2

Alright, so last week we looked into why vegetables are such an important part of your daily diet. That’s great and all, but if you anything like I was, you have no idea how to start incorporating them into your meals in an enjoyable way. Vegetables do not have to be bland and mushy and weird. There are endless possibilities for eating vegetable, but I’ll outline a few ways to help you get started eating (and liking) them.

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  • Incorporate veggies into something you already love.

            The first time I really ate vegetables I had a mix of corn, carrots, and peas. It came from a bag in the freezer, and they were heated up, slathered in butter, and topped with salt, pepper, and chopped walnuts. I love nuts and had always added them to my desserts for their wonderful texture and taste, but I had never thought to add them to vegetables. It just seemed off-limits. But, as it turns out, there really aren’t any rules when it comes to cooking and as adults we can do pretty much whatever the flip we want. Think outside the box here. If you are crazy about pesto, pour it all over some steamed broccoli. Love BBQ sauce? No big deal, mix it in with some sautéed cabbage. You can even try “sneaking” veggies into your normal dishes. For example, chop some carrots up really small and add them to your pasta sauce. Sneak a few handfuls of spinach into your smoothie. Add a bit of finely chopped red pepper into your scrambled eggs. Keep the vegetable:other food ratio fairly small at first, and gradually increase it as you get used to the new tastes and textures.

 

  • Roast them.

Roasting does something totally magical to things. Okay, it’s actually not magic, it’s called caramelization, but that’s beside the point. Roasting completely changes the flavor profile of any vegetable you roast. There are several types of vegetables that I do not like eating unless they are roasted, such as brussel sprouts and cauliflower. You can roast pretty much any vegetable, though ones with a lower water content usually roast better.

Here is what you do: pre-heat the oven to a high temperature (~450F), chop veggies into manageable pieces, toss in cooking oil (avocado oil is my fave) and spices (S&P will do just fine), place evenly spaced on a baking sheet, then roast for 20-30 min (note: white potatoes take about 2x as long and at lower temperature). I like mine with a lot of browning/blackening, but you may like yours with more or less. Smaller pieces will allow for more browning, while bigger piece will give you less. Play around with cook time and piece size until you find what you like best. Once again, there are no rules.

 

  • Try a lot of different kinds of vegetables until you find “the one”.

Don’t worry if you don’t love every single vegetable you eat. I hate raw tomatoes. Whatever. The important thing is that you don’t give up altogether. Be sure to try a vegetable prepared several different ways before you write it off completely, but if it still makes you gag after a few attempts, move on to the next! I promise if you keep trying different vegetables prepared different ways, you will find your vegetable soulmate. The one that changes your entire outlook on vegetables. Don’t give up… it is out there! My veggie soulmate is roasted cauliflower, and it is that gorgeous veggie (love you cauli!!) that led the way to many others.

      Overall, take your time but don’t give up. You absolutely can change your taste buds and the way you think about vegetables. I never thought I would eat brussel sprouts for breakfast, yet I do it all the time. That’s a whole other post for a different day, but the point is, if you really want to work towards better health, you will find a way to do it.

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Halfway to the Huffin Puffin + What I Ate In A Day

I’ve made it halfway through half-marathon training! I’m really feeling like I’m in the groove of things, running early the morning followed by eating shit-tons of good food. I’m digging it. I may just go into perpetual half training just so I can keep up this level of food intake. GIVE ME ALL THE FOOD!!!

 Okay, so in all seriousness, I really am enjoying myself. My body is getting so much stronger and I LOVE that. And that is making me love my body, regardless of weight, and that is something to celebrate. I mean, it’s capable of running 10 miles on a Sunday morning before breakfast, so that’s pretty badass, right?! I’m relishing my morning runs (most days…), watching the sunrise and listening to podcasts. It’s an excellent time to just think and dream and plan, some of my favourite things.

I did end up skipping two easy runs last week so that I could fully enjoy a lake weekend with my family, and I have no regrets about it. I just was not up for running hilly, humid miles while everyone else was hanging out in the lake relaxing. I was also experiencing some uncomfortable ankle pain and figured a few days rest would do me good. I reworked my schedule to make sure I still got my long, tempo, and speed runs in.

Unfortunately, my ankle has remained a bit cranky. I have no idea what it could be, as the location of the pain changes, and sometimes it just doesn’t even hurt at all. I’m running through it for now, and it has slightly improved. Crossing my fingers it keeps getting better!

 

What I Ate In a Day

Just to note, every bit of it was Whole30 compliant!

Pre-run: handful of almonds and iced coffee, as usual! This particular day’s run was 6 miles, consisting of 6 x 800m intervals with recovery jogs and a warm up/cool down.

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Post run breakfast: 3 fried eggs and leftover grill potatoes. I think I probably had a collagen peptide berry smoothie too….

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Lunch: freakin ah-mazing chopped salad with a sweet and spicy “peanut” dressing. Plus an apple.

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Dinner: Leftover 5-Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie (you have to make this from PaleOMG!), roasted cabbage and onion, and fried sweet plantains. A totally random assortment of food, but also totally satisfying and easy.

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Dessert: fresh fruit! Peaches, blackberries, and pineapple. <3

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How to Eat Vegetables: Part 1

There are a lot of us out there that know eating vegetables is a good, important thing. We are told this over and over throughout our lives one way or another. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that we actually eat vegetables, let alone like them. Perhaps you are traumatized by your parents’ mushy peas and carrots or find you’d rather make room on your plate for other things (like dessert). Or maybe you are just simply overwhelmed by what to do with the darn things. Either way, if you landed here because you are wondering if and how you should start eating veggies, you are in the right spot.

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I understand the aversion to veggies. With the exception of corn, potatoes, and the occasional salad (i.e., lettuce doused in ranch), I did not eat vegetables until I was 23. TWENTY-FREAKIN-THREE!!! My plates were devoid of colour. Bread, pasta, chicken—all shades of beige. Somehow I survived without any major nutritional deficiencies, though I think it is safe to say I was far from healthy. Anyways, it was around this time that I started looking longingly at my friends’ colourful plates of food (they were just so pretty!) and thought that maaaaybe I should expand my diet to include a few vegetables.

So here is the deal: yes, you need to eat vegetables. It’s true! They are vital to your health and well-being and you simply cannot be at optimal health without these. When you are at your optimal health, you feel like a badass, and who doesn’t want that?! Let me break down a few of the reasons veggies are so important, that way I’ve got you fully convinced of their importance before we dive into how to actually eat veggies.

 

  • Nutrient Intake

Vegetables are the best source of bioavailable nutrients there is! Veggies are excellent sources of fiber, with some types having more fiber content than whole grain bread. They also provide potassium, a mineral which is necessary for the normal function of every single cell in our bodies. Vitamins A, C, and E are also found in vegetables and are essential in our diets as they cannot be synthesized by the body. It is important to note that ingesting these substances in the form of pill is NOT the same as consuming them from their naturally-occurring sources. I won’t delve into that too much here, but just know that taking a multi-vitamin will not replace your need for vegetables!

  • Disease Prevention

Due to the actions of the nutrients available in veggies, they help to prevent diseases. For example, a diet high in potassium has been known to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Overall, the nutrients in veggies work to prevent heart disease and cancer, boost immune function, and aid in the normal function of every cell within the body.

  • Weight Loss/Maintenance

Despite being packed full of nutrients, vegetables are typically low in calories. They provide a way to fill you up and keep you satisfied, without adding a ton of calories into your daily diet.

 

Tune in next week to learn HOW to cook all those veggies you are now convinced you need. 😉

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Half-Marathon Training + What I Ate In A Day

Hello everyone! I haven’t talked a whole lot about it, but I’m currently in training for the Huffin Puffin half-marathon in September. As I dive into the 5th week of training, I thought I would share a little bit about what I’ve been doing and how it’s going.

First, a little background. I did my first half-marathon 2 years ago in Newfoundland in a teeny tiny race (maybe 20 competitors?) run in conjunction with a 10k of slightly larger size. I ran it in 2:21, which I thought was pretty awesome and trained for it using one of Hal Higdon’s plans running 3 days a week. Overall, it was a good experience, but I went into the race hurting, and came out of it hurting even more. I hurt so much that I just didn’t want to run anymore. I decided that this time around I wanted to use a different training program with more frequent runs to help me get stronger and keep me from getting hurt. My body just seems to do much better with more running rather than less! This led me to the Hanson’s Half-Marathon Method! I won’t outline the exact particulars of the method here, but the program is made up mostly of slow, low-intensity runs with a few speed and tempo runs each week. And because it has you mostly running 6 days a week, you learn how to run on tired legs.

I’ll be honest, training was supposed to start the week of my wedding, but it didn’t really go as planned! I got some runs in that week and the week of my honeymoon, but I did not follow the first week and a half of the plan perfectly. I decided not to sweat it since it was made up of shorter, easy runs, and just jumped right into the program when I got back from my honeymoon. It was a bit of a rude awakening, but I survived.

The first 4 weeks of the plan have had me running 5 “easy” days a week, which has been a lot harder than I thought. I quickly realized I had to get my run in early, before the heat and the busyness of the day set in. Though I have tried, I have NEVER been able to get myself to run in the mornings. This time though, I knew it was either run in the mornings or don’t run at all, so now I’m officially one of “those people”. You know, the crazy ones running around in the dark with the fireflies at 5:30am. The first few times, I felt like dying when my alarm went off at 5. Once I did finally get up and run, I was left feeling very tired for the rest of the day until I fell into bed, asleep by 9pm, usually only 5 minutes into Game of Thrones. (Apologies to my husband for not being able to watch a full episode in one sitting in quite some time!) Fortunately, it’s feeling much easier now and I enjoy not only getting the run out of the way early, but the peace and beauty of the sunrise.

I’m midway through the 5th week of training, and that means I move into running 6 days a week and add speed and tempo runs into the mix. I had my very first interval training session on Tuesday, and man, it was HARD. The running part was hard, but so was trying to keep track of all the numbers (pace, laps, etc…). I’m hoping this will start to feel more natural as I go on. Tomorrow I have my first run at goal race pace (which is 9:55 min/mi for those who care) and I know that is going to be tough too! BUT I’VE GOT THIS!!! At least that’s what I will keep telling myself.

 

What I Ate In a Day

I thought I would share what I ate on a day spent out of town while on Whole30. I was traveling to a horse clinic, which was awesome, but definitely required some thought to ensure I was able to stay compliant and not hungry. I made all my food ahead of time and kept it in a cooler. It’s not pretty or perfect, but it worked!

 

Pre-run: handful of almonds and a cup of iced coffee. I’m a creature of habit, so I made sure to bring these things with me for my overnight trip.

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Breakfast: 4 italian egg muffins (they probably had about one egg in each), 2 apples, and a Kit’s Organics Fruit and Nut bar (Dark Chocolate Almond and Coconut). I may have been just a little hungry after my 6 mile run. The only thing they had at the hotel breakfast that I could eat was apples, so I was sure to get my share.

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Lunch: 2 Aidell’s chicken and apple sausages, 1 cup roasted sweet potatoes, a few baby carrots, and an apple

 

Dinner: Another Kit’s Organics bar on the road back home and a giant bowl of watermelon once I was home. It had been so hot all day that I really didn’t have much of an appetite by dinner time. I was also in the car driving home, so I just didn’t worry about it. For the record, this is fairly unusual… I pretty much never skip a meal or am not hungry!

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Taking time to take time.

Well, I haven’t posted anything for a long time. I was having a kickass time hanging out with out of town friends and family, getting married, and going on my honeymoon! The last month has been busy, stressful, life-changing, and tons of fun. I totally understand it now when people say they married their best friend, because I did just that. Mark is a pretty great guy and I sure am blessed to have him. 🙂

Mark and I had a fantastic trip to Hilton Head Island and were able to completely disconnect from real life and do just fun things for an entire week. I can honestly say I returned feeling so refreshed and ready to embrace the rest of the busy summer ahead. I know for a fact this is partially because I consciously made the decision to take a break from blogging, Facebook, and Instagram. I also chose to not do anything work related while we were on vacation.

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It has been YEARS since I have done this, and I’m seriously wondering why the heck I didn’t do it sooner! I realize now how incredibly important it is to unplug from the constant emailing, texting, social media-ing for a little while and just embrace what’s in front of me (dolphins! The ocean! My amazing husband!). I posted one or two pictures to my personal Instragram and a few Snapchats, but that was pretty much the extent of it. If anyone tried to contact me for work, I let them know I would get in touch when I was back in town.

These days it is so easy to get sucked into our phones, our followers, and our perceived responsibilities that we totally forget to just enjoy what is happening around us. We live in a time where everyone is expected to be constantly busy and working and doing something. I sometimes find myself feeling guilty for sitting outside on the patio with the chickens and just enjoying the evening. This is ridiculous! It’s exhausting and unhealthy (hello, adrenal fatigue!) to constantly be on the go.

I’ve decided to challenge myself in a few ways to combat this. First, I plan on spending more time disconnected and more time relaxing (without feeling guilty for it). This will mean that I will need to be more productive in my “on” hours. Second, I need to take the time (and money) to go on a vacation at least once a year. It doesn’t have to be long or far away or luxurious, but it does need to be with my favourite person (Mark) and disconnected from everything else.

I encourage you to come up with your own plan to grant yourself some downtime– I’m sure you could use it! Let me know what you think… I’d love to hear what others are doing to make time for relaxing and recharging.

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Should You Do a Whole30?

Last week I talked about the Whole30 and some awesome things the food elimination program has done for me and my relationship with food. After reading, you may be wondering if it’s something you should give a shot as well.

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I want to say that everyone should do a Whole30! It really is life-changing. I’ve learned things about myself that go way beyond just food. If you think you would like to learn more about how food works in YOUR body, do a Whole30. If you want to learn more about your psychological relationship with food (like why you’ve struggled to adhere to healthy eating plans in the past, or are stuck in a yo-yo dieting cycle), do a Whole30. I have learned a lot about myself and how food affects me (mentally and physically) from doing Whole30s. While I personally do not have any particular health conditions (such as an autoimmune disease), I know of many others who do and have been helped tremendously by doing a Whole30. I never went into Whole30 with the purpose of losing weight, but there are countless stories of weight loss from those following the program.

However, if you are recovering from any sort of eating disorder, tread carefully, this may not be for you. Although the Whole30 recommends staying away from any sort of calorie or macro-counting and instead following your internal cues for satiety, it is a restrictive diet and could pose a problem for some people because of that.

If you decide to do a Whole30, actually do it. I see so many people say “Oh well, I just couldn’t help but I have honey in my coffee” or “I just had one cocktail last night, instead of two, so that’s good!”, then complain they just didn’t get good results. That is not Whole30. The rules are very clear. You will not gain the full benefits of the Whole30 unless you stick to the program 100% for the full 30 days. You owe it to yourself to give it your all for 30 days, which is really not that long in the grand scheme of things. I recommend reading It Starts With Food first. It gives you the WHY behind the Whole30, which can give you an extra boost of purpose to use in those difficult moments when you just want a freakin’ piece of chocolate!

After you have completed the Whole30, be sure to properly follow reintroduction protocol. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! I don’t think enough weight is given to this among the Whole30 community. So much focus is put on the Whole30 itself, yet I see so many people struggle in life after. Take the time and find out what foods you can handle (mentally as well as physically) and which ones you can’t. You do not need to feel guilt for eating non-Whole30 foods in life after if they make you feel good. You do not need to do Whole30 every day for the rest of your life. Find out what works for you and roll with it, knowing that this will probably change as time goes on, which is why it is still important to do a proper reintro, even if it’s your 2nd or 3rd or 4th round.

The Whole30 is hard, but it is SO worth it. If you are struggling with food/sugar addiction, weight loss, or health problems, the Whole30 just may be your golden ticket.

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What the Whole30 Did for Me

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The Whole30 has played a HUGE part in my relationship with food over the past few years, and I think it’s worth sharing exactly how. It’s gotten be pretty popular over the past few months, but let me give you a quick run-down of what the Whole30 is. Be sure to check out their website for full details. The Whole30 is a 30-day program meant to eliminate foods that can potentially create a negative physiological and psychological response in your body. This is then followed by a careful, systematic reintroduction of those foods to discover which ones are most troublesome for you.

So what does the Whole30 eliminate? Grains, legumes, dairy, added sugar (not even honey or maple syrup), carrageenan, MSG, alcohol, and added sulphites. Treats and junk foods (including french fries and potato chips) are not allowed to be recreated with technically compliant ingredients. Additionally, you are not allowed to weigh or measure yourself (or your food) for the duration of the 30 days. When I first heard about it, I thought it was insane and entirely impossible for me. It kept popping up though, and finally I decided to give it a try. After all, it’s only thirty days, right? I have since completed three Whole30s. Here is what I gained from them:

 

  • I learned that I can say no. I have always found it difficult to say no to food offered me out of fear I would offend or make myself look like the food weirdo. But when I was doing the Whole30 I had a legitimate reason to say no, and this carried over into my life after Whole30. It turns out I’m an adult and I don’t have to eat anything I don’t want to. My health is way more important to me than a cupcake, and most people don’t really care what I eat anyways. (I didn’t fully grasp this until my 3rd Whole30, just so you know).
  • I can now recognize what is a psychological craving, driven by emotions (as opposed to a biological need). Not eating from my emotions is still hard, but at least now I’m aware of it and I’m working on it.
  • I can throw together a totally healthy meal in no time. And when I know I really won’t be able to cook, I’ve gotten to be pretty good at being prepared with pre-made (homemade) meals. Not having time really isn’t a good excuse to not eat well.
  • I am SO much more aware of what is in my food. Holy moley. Who knew there was sugar lurking in EVERYTHING?! I eat far less processed foods than I ever have because they are pretty much all full of terrible junk.
  • I am continuing to seek out more information about the effects of not only my food choices, but other products I use. I’m digging deeper into the products I buy, such as cleaning and beauty products, to see how those might have an affect on me as well.

 

So, that’s the short story of what the Whole30 has done for me. I will do more Whole30s in the future, so it’s a story that will continue to evolve. If you are considering doing a Whole30, come back next week where I will dig a little deeper into making that decision.

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