Monday, September 16, 2013

Thanksgiving Inspired Chicken Salad

pumpkin spice latte has been out for several weeks. 

plaid throws and faux apple basket fillers line isles of target. 

Costco is now carrying Chamba Chai (at least the one in San Diego is). 

Christmas decorations are already popping up. wait, what? 

this means its fall. and even though the first day of fall isn't technically for 6 more days (September 22nd) and i'm still wearing cut off jean shorts because it's still in the high 90's here in Fresno... i am so excited!!!! 

i'm so ready for summer to be over and the air to get that sweet crisp to it. i can't wait to see the trees on my street turn all shades of orange and yellow. and most of all, i can't wait for Thanksgiving. it's my favorite holiday. i love everything about it. everything. 

i had some leftover roasted chicken that i wanted to make for lunch and i stumbled upon this yummy looking recipe, but didn't have some of the ingredients, so i thought i would experiment and ended up coming up with a Thanksgiving inspired chicken salad. it would be great with leftover turkey after the big day too! 

here it is:

{Thanksgiving Inspired Chicken Salad}

2 c chopped roasted chicken
1/4 c sugar free dried cranberries
1/4 c chopped green onions
1/4 c chopped pecans
1/4 c mayo or coconut cream (this creamy part at top of canned coconut milk)
salt & pepper to taste

mix it all up and enjoy! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

my Whole30 experience

hello everyone! i am so pumped up right now! my husband and i just finished our first Whole30, yesterday! i wanted to share our experience (mostly mine, since i don't want to speak too much for him). if you don't know what Whole30 is, i urge you to go to their website and devour it! it will change your life! we loved it so much we are going to move forward keeping most of the principles.

before starting Whole30 we ate a paleo diet for about 2 years. i'd say we stuck to an 80/20 clean eating system... 80% paleo 20% cheats. i will say that when we cheated, we cheated good (think fettuccine alfredo, doughnuts, rustic scones, sandwiches... we love our fluffy breaded goods.) we also ate a bunch of paleo baked goods. i keep them in the house for the kids and since they were "healthy" i didn't see a reason to resist. while feeling pretty good most of the time, at least compared to our eating habits pre-paleo, we still had crazy food addictions and really wanted to give ourselves an extra push to breaking those bad habits.

i also had some personal reasons/goals to work toward. back in the spring i developed a small patch of rosacea on my cheek. i really wanted to see if cutting out all possible food irritants would minimize the breakouts. i also have been wanting to tone up and slim down my stomach area. i've had bloating and was working on some good muffin top handles. (calm down haters, i may be thin but i wasn't in shape and toned up!)

so, we had a big vacation and celebrated our 10 year anniversary in San Fransisco... indulging in clam chowder and bread bowls, doughnuts from Peir 39, macarons, pasta!!!

then it was time to get started! i used these meal planning sheets to keep track of my weekly menu and what i needed from the store. most of the lunches i post here are meant for my kids lunch boxes (we kept them as close to whole30 as possible) and most of what my husband and i ate for lunch was protein leftovers from dinner, served over salad. here are my meals plan for the 30 days.

caveman custard
this was the week before school started so lunches were just thrown together with leftovers.
day 1: caveman custard w/ berries & sausage
fajita salad
pulled garlic chicken w/ red pepper sauce over spaghetti squash

day 2: bacon & sweet potato hash w/ fried eggs
grilled chicken salad w/ veggies
beef stir fry (recipe from Practical Paleo cookbook)

day 3: sweet potato pancakes & bacon
chicken salad w/ hard boiled egg
chicken adobo (sub rice vinegar for apple cider vinegar & sub soy sauce for coconut aminos) w/ cilantro cauli-rice (from Practical Paleo cookbook)

day 4: sausage spinach scramble
chicken over lettuce
carnitas "tacos" (use lettuce instead of tortillas)

day 5: crustless quiche
carnitas salad
italian sausage sauce (i sub italian sausage for beef and add chopped zucchini) over spaghetti squash

day 6: sausages with applesauce & slivered almonds
leftover spaghetti
beef koftas with cucumber salad & avo-ziki sauce (recipe in Practical Paleo cookbook)

day 7: crepes for the kids, fried eggs over green veggie saute
leftovers for lunch
grilled lemon chicken w/ roasted broccoli

overview: this first week was so rough. if i hadn't read all over the internet that it gets better, i would have seriously given up. the first day i had an excruciating headache (this was Sunday, the day my husband leads worship at 4 church services and is gone all day). there was no relief from that headache for the next 4 days. i experienced flu like symptoms... aching body all over, down to the bone. i couldn't sleep at night because my body was in so much pain. i couldn't sleep in the daytime because i was eating so well i had too much energy. i seriously felt like i was coming off of heroin. on the second day for my husband, he had a headache so bad he vomited all night long. it was so hard to keep going. but we made it through and by day 5 or 6 it all fell into place and i felt like a new person. tons of energy, sleeping better than i have in like 20 years, not dealing with blood sugar spikes or drops (i'm hypoglycemic), stabilized mood and hunger, no bloating.

for snacks, we mainly ate raw cut veggies & olives, handfuls of cashews with shredded unsweetened coconut, and applesauce.

this week school starts so lunches will be more kids focused. we still ate mostly leftovers and salads.
day 8: apple, sweet potato & pecan hash w/ eggs
meat rolls with cut raw veggies & olives
summer coq au vin (this recipe is similar to the one i've been making. sub the wine for broth and sub the flour for arrowroot flour)

day 9: crustless quiche w/ fruit salad
chicken nuggets w/ veggies & homemade jello
mustard chicken (the actual recipe is in the Practical Paleo cookbook, but this is close) w/ roasted acorn squash & coconut butter

day 10: leftover quiche & fruit
chicken salad w/ apple slices, veggies & brownie bites
homemade asian chicken soup

day 11: caveman custard w/ berries & sausage
pepperoni w/ olives, veggies, grapes,  & custard
italian sausage sauce (i sub italian sausage for beef and add chopped zucchini) w/ spaghetti squash

day 12: egg & bacon cups w/ fruit
paleo waffles w/ hard boiled egg & sausage, fruit
chicken cacciatore over spaghetti squash

day 13: scrambled eggs w/ veggies & sausage
meat rolls w/ avocado, olives, jello, & veggies

day 14: veggie omelets
leftovers for lunch
beef koftas with cucumber salad & avo-ziki sauce (recipe in Practical Paleo cookbook)

overview: you guys, i started doing crossfit and yoga or pilates during the first week of Whole30... and i have to warn you... by this point in the game i sharted myself twice #TMI #sorrynotsorry. hey, i'm just being honest with my personal experience... and some people will want to know what to expect. i'm pretty sure all the veggies is what did it... but it was not fun. i listened to this podcast and started seeing firmer stools after adding more cruciferous veggies to our meals. also, things start changing, i noticed my body responding faster to the workouts, and my recovery was a lot faster post work outs.

roasted sweet potato w/ coconut butter, cinnamon & raisins
also, my pre workout meal (every time, because i am a creature of habit) was a hard boiled egg and half an avocado. my post workout snack was a roasted sweet potato with coconut butter, cinnamon, & raisins. i also gave this to my kids before and after their long gymnastics workout.

fried egg over green veggie hash
day 15: paleo waffles for the kids, fried egg over green veggie hash for us
leftovers for lunch
carnitas "tacos" (sub lettuce for tortillas)

day 16: bacon spinach crustless quiche
meat rolls w/ fruit & veggies
thanksgiving meatballs w/ caulimash & salad

day 17: leftover quiche w/ fruit
leftover meatballs & veggie skewers w/ apple slices and sunflower seed butter
chicken & sausage gumbo (sub flour for arrowroot flour) w/ sweet potato mash

day 18: caveman custard w/ berries & sausage
omelet roll up w/ paleo waffle & fruit
chicken wings  (recipe in Practical Paleo cookbook) w/ roasted broccoli

day 19: sweet potato hash w/ eggs
leftover wings w/ veggies & dip
roast pork w/ apricots (sub flour for arrowroot flour & canola oil for clarified butter) & caulimash

day 20: veggie & sausage scramble
sunflower butter & jelly sandwich w/ veggies
guac burgers w/ sweet potato fries

day 21: veggie omelets w/ fruit salad
leftovers for lunch
spiced meatballs w/ fig compote (recipe in Practical Paleo cookbook) & roasted acorn squash w/ coconut butter & raisins

homemade fruit gummies
overview: we are feeling amazing by this point with discussions of never going back to dairy, caffeine, and even going for Whole90!!! haha! it is a lot of cooking (and cleaning... i've mentioned several times that i need a maid!) but we are hardly eating out at all so we're saving money there. you do have to be really prepared, so i spend one day on the weekend prepping a couple things. i roast a couple sweet potatoes for my post workout snack, i hard boil a dozen eggs, i make my clarified butter, homemade almond butter, a fun treat for the kids lunch like fruit gummies or homemade jello, homemade larabars, and about twice a week i make my own almond/cashew milk. this keeps the busy week running smoothly and i'm not caught without the necessities.

omelet roll up 
day 22: crepes for the kids, fried egg over green veggie hash for us
leftovers for lunch
mustard chicken over spaghetti squash

day 23: egg & bacon cups w/ fruit
omelet roll up w/ paleo waffle & fruit
guac burgers w/ sweet potato fries

day 24:  fried egg over green veggie hash
sausage & apple spears w/ cashew butter & veggies
summer coq au vin (this recipe is similar to the one i've been making. sub the wine for broth and sub the flour for arrowroot flour)

day 25: caveman custard w/ berries & sausage
chicken salad w/ ants off the log, custard
italian sausage sauce (i sub italian sausage with beef and add chopped zucchini) w/ spaghetti squash

day 26: leek & swiss chard crustless quiche w/ fruit
sunflower butter & banana sandwich w/ veggies
chicken cacciatore over spaghetti squash

day 27: leftover quiche w/ fruit
egg salad w/ olives & veggies
lemon & artichoke chicken (in Practical Paleo cookbook) w/ caulimash

day 28: veggie omelets w/ fruit
leftovers for lunch
broccoli chowder w/ savory chicken thighs

overview: two more days to go and feeling so good. we are seriously going to keep going. the only craving i'm having at this point are for a paleo treat (i really want to break my Whole30 with this!) and some wine. i think i'll try some hard apple cider though.

day 29: egg & bacon cups w/ fruit
omelet roll up w/ paleo waffle & fruit
beef koftas with cucumber salad & avo-ziki sauce (recipe in Practical Paleo cookbook)

day 30:  bacon & sweet potato hash w/ eggs
chicken nuggets w/ veggies & ants off the log
guac burgers w/ roasted broccoli & sweet potato fries

ok.... so here are my top 3 tips:

2. prep your meals or snacks for the week ahead.
3. don't give up, it gets better. you won't die.

ok, one more

4. don't be afraid to find your favorite recipes and put them into regular rotations. i obviously did this here. as fun as it is to experiment with new dishes, you don't want to risk a kitchen fail and be left with only cashews for dinner.

shootdang! i just cant emphasize enough how great we feel. sleep is so so good now. that is a HUGE deal. we've had bad sleep for years! we're on our 4th or 5th mattress in 10 years of marriage. my rosacea is not totally cleared up but its almost unnoticeable. i've read that it takes a while so i'm gonna be patient with that. i've only lost about 5 lbs., but my body shape has changed a lot and so has my husband's. my sides are smaller and my stomach is almost flat. TONS of energy all day, even with no caffeine. also, when all is said and done, i sharted a total of 4 times. i'm not proud of it. but it happened and i handled it. so. there's THAT. that's the one downside, besides 5 excruciating days of coming off caffeine/sugar/carbs.

guys, go do this, you will be so glad you did.