My Whole30 Program Journal – Blogging My Way to Health

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On March 20th, 2017, I started my Whole30 program experiment. For the next 30 days I will chronicle my experiences with this Whole30 eating journal. I will comment on the food I eat, try new recipes, the struggles I encounter, as well as the daily victories. My biggest worry are the cravings I expect to have as I do this program.

I am doing the Whole30 program to find out what foods, if any, contribute to my health issues. Besides being a fat man currently weighing 267 pounds according to the scale in the doctor’s office, I have tendonitis in my left elbow and chronic backpain. The backpain is worrisome because I have a stretching program for my upper back. So I will be seeing a physical therapist later during the week to assess and treat my lower back.

Day 1

Today, March 21st, 2017, is a transition day. I have not had any grains, legumes, dairy, or other food items prohibited by the Whole30 program rules.

I had a late breakfast because of my scheduled annual physical and the need for fasting prior to lab work being done.

I discussed the Whole30 program and my objectives with my doctor. He expressed an interest in seeing the results after 30 days. After leaving the doctor’s office, I went to the grocery store with my shopping list of items for my meals for the week.

Breakfast consisted of:

  • 3 scrambled eggs with sauteed onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes.
  • Bowl (1 cup) of fresh raspberries.

Dinner was:

  • Pan-seared chicken breast with Asian spicy sauce/marinade (my play on homemade Thai seasoning)
  • Oven roasted Brussels sprouts

pan seared chicken with roasted Brussels sprouts

I was hungry. So I rushed setting up and taking the picture. My bad.

5 from 1 vote
Print
Asian Spicy Sauce/Marinade
Prep Time
20 mins
 

This is a play on spicy Thai seasoning. It can be as spicy or not as you like it. 

Course: Main Course
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp ginger, fresh
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 1 ea Thai chili pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • .5 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp mint, fresh
  • 1 tsp lemongrass
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • .5 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Process all ingredients in a food processor. Or mash with mortar and pestle. 

Recipe Notes
Adjust salt and Thai pepper quantity as necessary.

Day 2

Good news! I was expecting the “hangover effect” as described in The Whole 30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom.”  I did not have it this morning!

The Whole30 timeline for days 2 and 3 show that most people starting the Whole30 program experience headaches, soreness, and mental fog… sort of like a hangover. The size of the hangover effect is proportional to the amount of junk consumed prior to starting the Whole30 program. This is your body telling you that it is adjusting to the lack of junk food!

Yay, me!

I started the day off with a breakfast of Huevos Rancheros with avocado and black coffee. The stock photo below shows Huevos Rancheros with slow cooked eggs sunny side-up. I cooked mine in ghee and made them over easy. Since the Whole30 program rules prohibit eating grains, I had to forego the tortillas.

Turns out, I did not miss the tortillas!

slow cooked huevos rancheros eggs with avocado

One of the kids, ate some of my leftover pan-seared chicken with My Asian Secret Sauce. So my dinner was not as large as I would have preferred. So I added an apple as desert.

I don’t know if the Whole30 program food change caused me to be tired. But I went to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal.

Day 3

Today is bright and sunny! But a bit breezy. Even better, I am feeling fine when I woke this morning. I am having a light breakfast of scrambled eggs and baked sweet potato wedges because I have a cardio stress test at my Cardiologist’s office this morning.

Got back from the Cardiologist and started preparations for Chicken Tikka Masala. I will use the slow cooker function of my Instant Pot.  Here is the recipe I used. The preparation time took longer than 25 minutes because cutting and dicing is not my strength. Actually, I have no strengths in the kitchen. Just a total amateur.

 

chicken tikka masala recipe

 

Amazingly, the dish came out just like this picture! Since the Whole30 Program does not allow bread or grains during the 30 days, I added a side dish of stir-fried garlic baby bok choy. I stir fried it using coconut oil since vegetable oils are out.

So far, the Whole30 Program is working for me, emotionally and mentally. I still am not craving the foods I have stopped eating.

Day 4

Looking to be a bright and sunny day! I had a good nights sleep. I went to physical therapy for an evaluation and treatment of my lower back.

I prepared bacon and eggs with raspberries for breakfast. I used Pederson Farms uncured no sugar hickory smoked bacon (Whole30 program approved). Once I finished cooking the bacon, I fried 2 eggs over easy in the bacon grease. I cooked extra bacon to crumble into my salad in a day or two.

Lunch consisted of two tuna salad stuffed avocados. I like to make these because it only takes about 15 minutes. I just scoop out some avocado and mash it together with tuna fish, cilantro, a bit of jalapeno pepper, red pepper, diced tomato, and a squeeze of fresh lime. And salt and pepper to taste.

tuna salad stuffed avocados

The afternoon was tough for me. Malaise has set in. And I am hungry for junk food. So I substituted cut carrots. That sure helped!

The other thing I have noticed is that I am thirsty more often. So I keep a tumbler of ice water with me. It could be due to not eating any processed foods since starting. So much of the processed foods sold contain salt in one form or another.

I will increase portion sizes. I have left over chicken tikka masala for dinner! So I will eat it all!

Day 5

I woke after a restful 7 hours of sleep. And then finished my blog post about intermittent fasting before preparing breakfast.

I thought it strange, cooking eggs, bacon, and potatoes for breakfast considering all the bad publicity in the past about bacon and eggs. But after reading about so many different diets and eating, it is not bad after all. I am eating Whole30-approved Pederson Farms uncured no sugar hickory smoked bacon, eggs fried in ghee. and baby red potatoes.

Ghee is a different form of clarified butter. Ghee is made by simmering butter longer until the milk proteins brown, clump, and drift to the bottom. Ghee has a sweeter, nuttier flavor than clarified butter.

I experimented for lunch. I have never cooked with ground pork. So I thought I would make ground pork burger patties, Asian style. This is inspired by the Filipino Longanisa patty my wife makes. The Filipino Longanisa origin is Spain and is a favorite local sausage. What makes my  pork burger patty version Asian style is the elimination of brown sugar and the addition of coconut aminos (instead of soy sauce), cilantro, garlic, and diced green onions. I was surprised by the results! But I want to experiment some more to refine the recipe.

Yay, my Thrive Market order arrived today! I order food products online since they are cheaper than the local stores and the shipping is free. I received more ghee, canned wild caught salmon, almond butter, cold brew concentrated coffee, and several other items.

Fortunately, I made enough pork patties to eat them again for dinner.

Day 6

It is Saturday and Day 6 of the 30.

The food changes are making an impact. I feel like I am run down without energy. And I just woke up 2 hours ago.

It has been 7 days since I have had any processed foods that come in a can, box, bag, or container. My only beverages have been water (lots of it) and coffee. I have prepared all my meals from fresh or frozen food items plus seasonings and cooking oils.  The only exception was the canned tuna when I made the tuna salad stuffed avocados.

One of the foods I miss during this Whole30 program is oatmeal. Even though I do not eat oatmeal very often, it is nice to have a bowl of hot cereal in the morning. (Grains should be avoided so that when foods are added back to your diet, you will be able to recognize which ones cause body inflammation.)

Oh, well. I fried two eggs and sauteed spinach and mushrooms with garlic for breakfast.

Today is a very busy day. Among other things, contractors are here finishing up the work on the new house siding. I have several casement windows that they sealed (caulked) shut during the siding installation.

Today I combined lunch and dinner into one. I made Asian style meatballs that can be used with any dish. Instead of using bread or crackers as a binder/filler, I used diced sweet potatoes. The recipe came from Nom Nom Paleo, Michele Tam’s popular website. I also steamed green beans with my Instant Pot.

Day 7

I made it to the 7th day of my Whole30 experiment!

It is really weird. I am not hungry this morning.

So I checked in the Whole30 book to see what they say about hunger or not being hungry. To quote the book, “The food you are eating on your Whole30 is much more satiating than the foods-with-no-brakes you used to eat, and your body isn’t used to being this well fed.”

Even though I am not hungry, it is important to get sufficient calories and nutrients. So I had a breakfast of two scrambled eggs, a banana, and sliced green mango. The following chart shows how good a cup of mango slices are. Check out those Potassium and vitamin levels! I have a chart of the recommended daily values on my post Healthy Diet Guide to Lose Weight.

mango nutrition values

Today is meal planning day for the next week. Once I have my meals planned, I will be able to create a shopping list. I have already found one recipe I want to try. Here it is.

Avocado apple grapefruit salad recipe

The kids wanted me to make Chicken Tikka Masala again. So I did. Because this is a slow cooker dish, it took awhile (6 hours). But it was worth the wait.

My meal planning for the new week is complete. So I will take my shopping list to the store tomorrow morning!

Day 8

This is starting off as an all-around good day! I feel fine and the weather is going to be nice today!

Again. I was not hungry this morning. So I had an apple and blueberries. Then I went to the grocery store for the things I need for meals this week. The first store does not carry any sugar free bacon or breakfast sausage links. 🙁  I stopped at Wegmans on the way home because I know they carry sugar free bacon. It turns out that they carry sugar free sausage as well.

Wegmans is an amazing store. They have an incredible variety of foods and products. Their products and prices range from low to high. And there are bargains as well as hard to find items. Need truffles? They have them at some stores under lock and key.

I made the Avocado Grapefruit Apple salad for lunch. Not having a grapefruit, I substituted a pomelo.

pomelo fruit

The pomelo is like a grapefruit except the taste is milder and a bit sweet. The picture above shows the pomelo segments with the skin peeled off.

I had left over chicken tikka masala and more salad for dinner.

I am starting to get the hang of this Whole30 program. So far it still feels “new” to me in the sense that my routine is now different. I am cooking new things like the masala because I cannot fall back to eating convenient foods. I don’t mind the extra time it takes to prepare breakfast for example. I know my food choices are better. And that’s the point!

I am still motivated. And I am looking forward to tomorrow. I am cooking the no sugar sausage for breakfast.

Day 9

This morning I made Andouille Sausage Cajun Scramble. But without the cajun spice. I just added ground garlic and a pinch of cayenne pepper. This was a “no-brainer” recipe. Just slice up some sausage, diced onions, diced sweet potatoes, diced red potatoes, diced green pepper, and eggs. I skipped adding cheese since Whole30 does not allow dairy products.

Andouille Sausage Cajun Scramble

The newest of this Whole30 program is wearing off.

It seems like all I do is think about food, shop for food, and spend lots of time cooking food. I have to think about my food choices in much more detail, read more labels, prep and cook and clean far more than just my I-am-too-tired-so-I- order-takeout-microwave-meal-I’ll-just-pour-some-cereal days.

I need to spend time looking for things like casseroles that I can freeze and reheat. I will even consider tuna casserole, which is something I did not like from my childhood days.

I decided tonight is steak night! Easy to cook! I took the extra time to experiment and make cauliflower rice. It came out better than I expected!

Day 10

Yay, I am one third the way through the Whole30 program.

I decided on scrambled eggs and more Andouille Sausage as well as a cup of blueberries for breakfast. Simple, easy, and no thinking required.

Thinking back over the last 10 days, I find that my kitchen skills are getting better. I am better at chopping, dicing and to the point I want better knives. It would be nice to have a much sharper, higher quality chef knife.

Today was a very busy day. So I wanted something quick for dinner. Stir frying is an easy and quick way to cook just about any meat. The meat should be cut up into 1.5 inch pieces to cook thoroughly.

stir fry chicken
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Stir Fry Chicken (Whole30 compliant)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

This is my emergency protein dish to make use of ingredients that are "getting old" and need to be used up.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 ea Chicken breast
  • 2 ea Garlic cloves
  • .5 ea Onion
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Aminos
  • 1 bunch Spinach
  • 2 tbsp Cooking Fat (ghee, lard, coconut oil)
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Pepper
Instructions
  1. Add cooking fat to heavy skillet (cast iron).

  2. Smash garlic and add to skillet.

  3. Chop onions and add to skillet.

  4. Cut chicken into small cubes or pieces.

  5. Add coconut aminos to skillet.

  6. When chicken is finished cooking, turn off heat, and add spinach.

Recipe Notes

This recipe applies to any meat protein and easy-to-cook vegetables such as broccoli florets.

Coconut aminos are a subsitute seasoning for soy sauce and taste very similar to soy sauce. 

Day 11

It is only day 11. Doing this Whole30 program. is. NOT. easy.

But I am starting to see results. My jeans fit again!

I am so tempted to step on a scale. But the Whole30 program is not about losing weight. And the scale says nothing about my overall health. The focus of Whole30 is to get healthier, and not reducing the pull of gravity on my body mass. My goal is to be healthier and make better food choices in the future. Whole3o is helping do that!

Yet, I would still like a bowl of oatmeal instead of eggs for breakfast for a change.

Dinner was a treat today. I had a buffalo cheeseburger! Without the bun, cheese, and the usual condiments. It was still great.

buffalo is a lean meat

If you are not familiar with bison, here is some info.

  • According to the USDA, a grass-fed, three-ounce bison patty has 152 calories and seven grams of fat.
  • That’s less than a broiled, 90 percent lean beef burger, which averages 184 calories and 10 grams of fat.
  • It’s even less than a broiled, 93 percent lean turkey burger, which averages 176 calories and 10 grams of fat.
  • To me, bison tastes a little lighter and slightly sweeter than a beef burger.
  • Buffalo are grass-fed unlike most conventionally raised beef.

Day 12

According toThe Whole 30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedombook, I made it past the hardest days. Based on hundreds of thousands of people who have done the Whole30 program, people are most likely to quit on day 10 or 11.

Once the 30 days are over, I plan on reintroducing some food items back into my diet. Right now I am thinking of adding some whole grains and limited dairy.

Then I can have a buffalo cheeseburger with bun and cheese! Maybe. But first I need to see the results.

This afternoon I experimented making breakfast patties using ground chicken. The idea is to make a bunch and then freeze them for later eating. I used a bunch of different spices like sage, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, and others. Had I planned better, I should have split the ground chicken into two batches. Then I could have tried different spices to make Tex-Mex for example.  Oh, well. Next time.

My kitchen skills continue to improve. Cooking is not such a chore anymore. And I enjoy eating whole foods. I do miss eating my wife’s cooking though. Many of her dishes have Whole30 prohibited ingredients such as soy, sugar, and grain. So I have to be careful not to fall off the Whole30 bandwagon.

Day 13

My energy levels are ramping up!

I woke up feeling energized and ready for the day. Good thing because I am playing in a golf tournament today.

Today will be an eating challenge as I will be at the golf course most of the day.

I am taking some hard-boiled eggs, apple, and carrot sticks with me to eat while playing. Hopefully, the club house will have a salad option with a dressing I can eat afterwards. Otherwise, it will be a long drive home hungry.

It was a long drive home. Fortunately, bringing along a healthy snack helped me get through the day.

Day 14

I woke up this morning sore all over. It was the golf yesterday. But once I was up and moving around, all the soreness disappeared.

I can’t believe today marks the completion of the second week. I know the program is working. I feel like I have more energy. Enough to do housecleaning chores today.

Food-wise today is two fried eggs and fruit for breakfast. I tried making a sweet potato, red potato, and blueberry hash as a side dish for the eggs. I added the blueberries towards the end, but left it cooking a bit too long. So it turned out to be a purple, sweet mess. Next time, I will turn off the heat when I add the blueberries.

My wife cooked steak for lunch. I asked that she season mine only with salt and pepper. Because once in awhile she will add soy sauce as a seasoning in lieu of salt. We made lunch the largest meal of the day. So dinner was vegetables and fruit.

Day 15

Half way done!

The Whole30 program teaches using food as reward (or as punishment) can undermine the healthy eating habits that you’re trying to achieve. So rewarding yourself or celebrating with food—even healthy food—disconnects you from the relationship we want you to build with food; a nourishing, sustaining, significant relationship.

So there will be no cake and ice cream for me!

My clothes are feeling loser. And my favorite jeans fit better. That’s reward enough!

I have noticed several other things going on with me:

  • I am sleeping better and feeling refreshed when I wake up
  • I am not hungry all the time and don’t have the urge to “graze”

I like the Whole30 program! No counting calories or measuring food. Dinner tonight was all healthy food. Small strip steak sauteed with onions, asparagus, and a baked sweet potato. Dessert was fresh pineapple chunks.

Day 16

I am now on the downhill side!

I woke up this morning feeling great! 

I am in a great mood, the sun is shining. So today, I will clean out the flower beds, pull weeds, and that sort of stuff. Why not, I feel great.

I finished the garden work and now want to experiment with a new dish using my Instant Pot.

5 from 1 vote
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Instant Pot Chili Pork Stew
A one-pot Instant Pot Mexican Soup recipe with lots of chiles and pork loin roast.
Ingredients
  • 4 lb pork loin Roast cut into 6 pieces
  • 3 - 7 oz cans diced green chiles
  • 3 poblanos diced
  • 1 red onion divided, diced
  • 1 15 oz can Rotel
  • 2 Tbs chili powder
  • 2 Tbs Goya Adobo Seasoning
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tsp salt - more to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the pork loin roast into 6 pieces and place in the Instant Pot along with 1 can of the diced green chiles (reserve the other two cans for after cooking), the diced poblanos, ½ of the diced onion, Rotel, chili powder, adobo seasoning, paprika, water and salt. Select 'manual' on the Instant Pot and set the timer for 50 minutes.
  2. Once the time expires, allow it to naturally release pressure (approx 20 minutes)
  3. Once the pressure is released, remove the lid and using the back of a spatula, start breaking up the pork pieces so that they become smaller shredded pieces. I personally like to keep some a little large, not completely smashing all of them.
  4. Add the remaining two cans of diced green chiles and stir.
  5. Serve with chopped cilantro, crumbled cotija and lime for garnish.
Recipe Notes

I used pork stew meat I had available instead of pork loin. I also substituted jalapeno peppers instead of poblanos.

 

Recipe adapted from http://joaniesimon.com

The Chili Pork Stew is a winner. My wife and boys love it!

Day 17

I liked the Chili Pork Stew so much that I had some for breakfast. I just added two fried eggs as well as a small Orange Pineapple smoothie.

5 from 1 vote
orange pineapple smoothie
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Orange Pineapple Smoothie

3 ingredient smoothie as a breakfast beverage selection.

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 each orange
  • 1 cup sliced pineapple
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Instructions
  1. Peel and segment orange.

  2. Add ingredients to blender and blend.

The Whole30 program does not prohibit smoothies, but they are frowned upon. It has to do with the satiety signal sent to your brain when you chew and eat your food. So when you drink your meal, your brain does not get the feedback it needs to tell your body that it has eaten.

I am a failure again at trying to make a decent Cauliflower fried “rice” — or cauliflower grated into rice-like bits to look like rice. In theory, making sautéed grated cauliflower is easy. I have tried several easy (ingredient limited) recipes. I guess this is going to be something I need lots of practice. Once I get it right, I can start adding extra veggie goodies to the recipe. Hopefully, mine will look like this picture from Jenn Segal’s Once Upon a Chef recipe.

cauliflower fried rice

Day 18

It is a overcast, rainy day today. But that does not matter. I have a good frame of mind. Because I CAN do this Whole30 program. It has become stress-free. Food decisions are easier to make. I still get a tug to the dark side of nutrition now and then. Resistance is not futile! (I had to throw in some Star Wars and Star Trek references!)

I think I am becoming a nutrition nerd! I just bought two books from Amazon about nutrition.

Only the younger son and myself were home for dinner tonight. So I made bison burgers and salad with ranch dressing. He had the bun and cheese with his bison patty while I had just the patty. He said he prefers the taste of the bison cheeseburger over hamburger.

I made a ranch dressing using a recipe I found in the Whole30 book. The dressing turned out better than any bottled ranch dressing I have had. Here is the recipe I used (modified because I did not have all the ingredients listed.)

5 from 1 vote
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Homemade Ranch Dressing (Whole30)
Prep Time
15 mins
 

Thick and creamy ranch dressing with a little zing to it. Good on salads and used as a dipping sauce.

Course: Appetizer, Salad
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Basic or homemade Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp Dill
  • 1/2 Tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Onion powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Black pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp Paprika
Instructions
  1. Whisk the mayo, coconut milk, and vinegar in a small bowl.

  2. Add the dill, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and paprika and stir until thoroughly combined.

Recipe Notes

I did not have either parsley or coconut cream. But the dressing turned out fine.

For homemade mayo, Epicurious has a good recipe.

Day 19

It is a rainy morning today. Even so, I am in a good mood. Whole30 non-scale victories include positive impact to mood, emotion, and psychology. I believe it!

I have physical therapy this morning. So I will postpone breakfast until I return. With Whole30, I find that I am not hungry every morning. Also, I am used to going 12 hours between dinner and breakfast on an intermittent fasting regimen.

Late breakfast became brunch. So I made up a big batch of sauteed vegetables and two fried eggs. Red Bell pepper, onion, and kale with Chipolte pepper seasoning.

I am thankful for leftovers. For dinner, I ate the remaining ground bison meat and the salad with dressing I made the other day.

Cartoon picture of pie chart

I went to one of the big membership discount warehouses to check prices and availability of sugar-free bacon and deli meat. While I did not find any, I noticed there is a disconnect between the product description on the front verses the ingredient and nutritional lists on the back of many product packages. The “advertising” on the front of a number of products indicted the product was natural or “all natural.”  Yet, there was nothing natural about some of the ingredients.

Day 20

Ten more days to go!

I just realized the tendonitis in my left elbow is gone!

Not being a doctor, I assume the tendonitis was the result of inflammation caused by food I eliminated. I may be able to identify the food groups or food  after I reintroduce them into my diet after I finish the 30 days.

Today was a quiet day. I spent time doing more research on a new article. And I received and started reading “The Alzheimer’s Antidote” book, which I ordered on Day 18. My mother passed away as a result of dementia, a metabolic-cognitive syndrome. So this is of personal interest to me.

The premise of the book is that Alzheimer’s disease is, at least in part, a systemic metabolic condition, and as such, there are dietary and lifestyle interventions that could potentially stop or slow the progression of this condition, and possibly even reverse some of the damage that has already occurred. Alzheimer’s patients show as much as a 45% reduction in cerebral glucose use. In other words, the brain is starving to death!  That metabolic issues involving disturbed glucose and insulin processing in the brain are major factors either directly causing or at least exacerbating Alzheimer’s. The reduction in cerebral glucose metabolism is not controversial. The controversy lies in what causes this and what to do about it.

YAY! We have watermelon today. One of my favorites.

Watermelon is an unusual fruit source of the carotenoid lycopene and a rich source of phenolic antioxidants. … Watermelon is a very good source of vitamin C. It is also a good source of pantothenic acid, copper, biotin, potassium, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and magnesium.

Here is the nutritional breakdown of watermelon.

watermelon nutritional facts

(Source is USDA National Nutrient Database)

 

Day 21

I have been told or read somewhere that it takes 21 days to break a habit or start a new one. I think mindless eating or grabbing the nearest convenience food habit did not take that long! And breaking it will take longer than 21 days.

Reading reading “The Alzheimer’s Antidote” certainly puts the fear into you to change your eating habits. Especially, if you have a family history of cognitive problems.

Today is the final round of The Masters golf tournament. So I will be preparing chicken and sweet potato poppers ahead of time for dinner. The Day 18 recipe for ranch dressing is a great addition for the chicken poppers.

5 from 1 vote
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Chicken with Sweet Potato Poppers (Whole30)
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

Bite sized poppers are great for dipping into your favorite sauces.

Course: Main Course, Snack
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 cups raw sweet potato - Grated
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil + 1 tsp for greasing the baking sheet
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 sprigs green onion - Chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly grease a lined baking sheet with coconut oil.

  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and thoroughly combine.

  3. Begin rolling the mixture into small, slightly flattened poppers about one inch in diameter (you'll have about 20 poppers) and place them on the cooking sheet.

  4. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes, flipping half way through.

  5. Crisp further in a pan or place under the broiler if desired for 1-2 minutes to crisp further.

  6. Remove from the oven when thoroughly cooked through.

  7. Allow to cool and serve with your favorite sauce.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Unbound Wellness (http://unboundwellness.com/sweet-potato-chicken-poppers-paleo-aip-whole-30/).

Day 22

I am in the home stretch! 8 days to go.

Mood and happiness are consistently good. I am making good food choices.

I am now looking forward to continued good eating. So I have been reading about nutrition and other diet plans. I also finished my post about the DASH diet as a way to lower blood pressure. I talked to my doctor 3 weeks ago about the DASH diet, which he recommends.

Just for fun, here is a short video of the band, OK Go performing a treadmill workout to their song, “Here It Goes Again.”

I did a food experiment today. I have never cooked a spaghetti squash before.

5 from 1 vote
Spaghetti squash with meat sauce and cheese
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Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs
Total Time
1 hrs 15 mins
 

I experimented with cooking a spaghetti squash and adding a Italian meat sauce. This picture shows it with melted cheese on top. I opted for a cheeseless version.

This is a quick and easy recipe using a store-bought premium marinara sauce. I used Rao's all natural sauce which is expensive, but worth it. It has no sugar added; and is not a sweet sauce.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 each Spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound Hamburger, ground
  • 32 ounce Marinara sauce
  • 1/2 each Onion, diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cups Cheese, your favorite
Instructions
  1. Cut squash in half and deseed.

  2. Dizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Place upside down on cookie sheet and add cup of water. Bake in oven at 375 for 30-45 minutes, until soft.

  4. In pan, sautee onions and garlic. Add ground beef and brown. Then Add your favorite spaghetti or marinara sauce and simmer until squash is done.

  5. Once squash is done, remove from oven. Drain water from the cookie sheet. Add your favorite cheese to the bottom of the squash. Top with your meat sauce and then add your cheese to top of meat sauce. Return to oven and bake another 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

Recipe Notes

This is a very flexible recipe. You can adjust onion and garlic quantities to suit your taste. Add additional vegetables to the sauce (diced mushrooms, bell peppers, diced zucchini, etc).

The picture shows the sauce added to the halved squash. As an alternative, the squash can be scraped out and squash added to plates with meat sauce on top.

Spaghetti squash is NOW my alternative to spaghetti pasta! There is no reason for me to eat pasta anymore.

Day 23

At first, I was itching to step on the scale to see how much weight I have lost over the last few weeks. It would be so easy. The scale is just sitting there on the bathroom floor doing nothing.

But I resisted. Then I thought, it does not matter what I weigh. I feel great! I have energy! And I am still making good food choices!

I had leftover spaghetti squash with meat sauce today. It was still good after reheating it!

My middle step daughter is visiting this weekend! She makes a version of Filipino Pancit (a stir fried noodle dish) using spaghetti squash. Pancit is an addicting comfort food with an ubiquitous presence in the Philippines as well as many places here in the U.S. She will have to make some while here. Here is a picture of her dish.

Filipino Pancit noodle dish

 

Day 24

Amazing! I wake up in the morning and I am not hungry. My body must be using all that fat I have stored. I feel energized!

Actually, it is of concern to me, because I need to eat to get the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals I need. So I had a large breakfast this morning.

I now have the Instant Pot chili pork stew from Day 16 cooking in the pot. Middle daughter should arrive around dinner time from her drive from Colorado.

I am spending more time in the grocery stores these days. It is because I am reading food labels. And now making better purchase decisions avoiding the products  with unhealthy ingredients.

The money I am not spending on fast food can now be spent on buying better quality and fresh, whole foods. Case in point is the spaghetti squash with meat sauce. My wife purchased Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce, which is made from all natural ingredients and has no sugar. Not to pick on Ragu’s sauce, but Rao’s is about three times more expensive than Ragu. Cheaper products have cheaper ingredients and generally add sugar for taste.

Day 25

Very busy today with the daughter and husband in town visiting. Made a big salad for lunch and dinner.

We had Filipino Pancit for dinner. Shredded spaghetti squash was substituted for the traditional rice noodles to make it Whole30 compliant.

5 from 1 vote
Filipino Pancit noodle dish
Print
Whole 30 Filipino Pancit (Noodles)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hrs
 
Pancit is to the Philippines as pasta is to Italy. The are many variations of this popular noodle dish. Proteins may include chicken, pork, beef, and shrimp. Same thing with vegetables.
Course: Main Course
Servings: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 each medium spaghetti squash
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups green beans, cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 each chicken breast, cooked and diced
  • 18 each shrimp, deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (Red Boat is Whole30 compliant)
  • 2 each lemons
Instructions
  1. To prepare the spaghetti squash: Pre-heat your oven at 375 degrees. 

  2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and deseed. Lay the two halves flat on a baking sheet and add a 1/2 cup of water to the sheet. Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the squash is al dente. Let it sit flat side up until cool enough to handle. 

  3. Using a fork, scrape the flesh lengthwise to strip it into thin strands. Put the strands in a bowl and set aside. (You can actually prepare this ahead of time and refrigerate it, then just bring it out when you’re ready to use it.) 

  4. In a large pan, heat your favorite cooking fat in medium heat until its starts to shimmer. 

  5. Sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds until it is fragrant. 

  6. Add the beans and carrots; stir-fry until they start to soften. 

  7. Add the chicken and shrimp; stir-fry until they are cooked or heated through. 

  8. Add the cabbage; stir-fry until it starts to wilt. 

  9. Dump the spaghetti squash into the pan. Mix everything together. Season with salt and pepper and patis (start with the above measurements but add more if necessary). 

  10. Transfer to a serving plate, garnish with lemon quarters and and enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

We love shrimp. So we add extra. Depending on size of shrimp, they can be cut into half or thirds.

We also use soy to add extra seasoning to taste. (Use coconut aminos as a soy substitute).

The Red Boat fish sauce is Vietnamese. Rufina Patis is a Philippines originated fish sauce that is Whole30 compliant (no sugar added).

Day 26

My breakfast this morning was two fried eggs, small salad with extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and lemon dressing, and a small bowl of leftover chili pork stew. This is why I love the Whole30 program. I am eating healthy, whole food!

We were talking about what foods we will reintroduce into our diets once the 30 day period ends next week. The reintroduction is phase two of the Whole30 program.

The purpose is to slowly, carefully, systematically reintroduce some of the “prohibited” items back into our diets. This will enable us to evaluate how these foods make us feel with regards to our changed attitudes and thinking about food.

I think one of the first foods I reintroduce will be oatmeal. Oatmeal with blueberries, diced apples, and dried cranberries.

Lunch was one of my favorites, bison patty with lettuce, cucumber, and tomato salad. I added a little Dijon mustard to the bison.

Dinner was leftover meat sauce and salad. The meat sauce was Rao’s Homemade Marinara sauce with ground beef added. Rao’s sauce is the best marinara sauce I have ever had.

Day 27

We continue to discuss what we will reintroduce into our diets.

The Whole30 program is more than just about what we eat. For optimal health, we must also consider:

  • Sleep. Unplug from your computer, TV, iPad, e-reader, and cell phone a full one hour before bedtime.
  • Personal growth. Handwrite and mail a letter, postcard, or greeting card to a friend or family member with whom you’d like to stay better connected.
  • Temperance. Choose one hour a day when you are completely unplugged from your computer, TV, and your Smartphone.
  • Active recovery. Spend 20 minutes stretching, foam rolling, or doing mobility work.
  • Injury rehabilitation: Do all of your PT exercises or other injury-prevention or recovery activity for 15 minutes.
  • Fun and Play: Read a book (pleasure reading, not work!) for one hour.
  • Stress management: Do 10 sun salutations each morning before you have your coffee.
  • Exercise: Increase the length of your dog walks by 10 minutes. That’s 300 more minutes of exercise for you and your pooch.
  • Nutrition(ish): Floss your teeth. Good health starts in the mouth!

 

Other aspects of optimal health

 

Day 28

I made a taco breakfast casserole for breakfast today. It was an experiment that worked! Here is the recipe.

5 from 1 vote
Print
Taco Breakfast Casserole
This is a quick and easy taco breakfast casserole that is Whole30 compliant. It is a great use of vegetables you want to use up before spoiling.
Ingredients
Taco Spice Blend:
  • 1.5 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
For The Casserole
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee plus more for greasing the casserole dish
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 8 eggs
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Place all of the taco spice ingredients into a small bowl and blend. 

  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8x8” baking dish with coconut oil or ghee. Evenly press the shredded potato into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the dish cool for 10 minutes. Press the shredded sweet potato down into the dish with the back of a spatula. This will remove any air pockets that would allow the egg mixture to settle to the bottom of the dish. 

  3. While the shredded sweet potato is cooking, melt the coconut oil/ghee in a medium-size pan over medium heat. Once melted, crumble the ground beef into the pan and sauté until cooked through. 

  4. Add the bell pepper and sauté until soft, about 3-4 more minutes. Drain any fat from the pan. 

  5. Add the diced tomato and broccoli. Add the taco spice blend to the pan and stir well to combine. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. 

  6. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and coconut milk. Add the ground beef mixture and stir well to combine. 

  7. Pour the egg mixture into the baking dish, on top of the shredded sweet potatoes. 

  8. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the casserole is set. 

  9. Cut into serving size, top with any or all of the toppings and ENJOY! 

Recipe Notes

Adapted from ihearteating.com taco breakfast casserole recipe.

The family loved it! A little less cayenne pepper will take the bite out of the recipe. The older boy said add more! But that is why he should use the hot sauce condiment.

More on our ongoing discussion of foods to add back into my diet. Sometimes you have to wonder what the truth is regarding what you should eat. It not difficult to find one medical study that tells you XYZ is bad for you. And then find another that says XYZ is good for you.

All I know for sure is that moderately or highly processed foods and sugar are not good for me.

 

Random medical advice

 

Day 29

Yay!

I just realized my body has made the adjustment from constantly expecting the empty calories from junk food.  The cravings have disappeared! I tell myself that or else it is the fear of the consequences of eating useless carbs!

I made a change to the Day 18 Whole30 Ranch Dressing recipe that was a major change to the good! I added coconut milk and reduced the red wine vinegar!

5 from 1 vote
Print
Homemade Ranch Dressing (Whole30)
Prep Time
15 mins
 

Thick and creamy ranch dressing with a little zing to it. Good on salads and used as a dipping sauce.

Course: Appetizer, Salad
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Basic or homemade Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp Dill
  • 1/2 Tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Onion powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Black pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp Paprika
Instructions
  1. Whisk the mayo, coconut milk, and vinegar in a small bowl.

  2. Add the dill, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and paprika and stir until thoroughly combined.

Recipe Notes

I did not have either parsley or coconut cream. But the dressing turned out fine.

Today was big salad day! This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Elaine asked George to buy a big salad from their favorite restaurant.

The big salad scene in the Jerry Seinfeld show.

 

My big salad had greens (lettuce, arugula, spinach), diced apples, diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, diced avocado, and hard boiled eggs. And was topped with homemade ranch dressing. Yum!

I made more Instant Pot Chili Pork Stew for tonight and tomorrow! It went great with more of my big salad.

Day 30

The last day!

Not really. I am just feeling so darn good right now that I can’t imagine wanting to eat or drink something that I know will make me feel not-so-good.  But it’s up to me to decide to keep going or start the reintroduction of other foods. I may stay on the Whole30 until something so delicious (and so worth it) crosses my path.

Right now there just is not anything I want to eat.

And there is no need or desire to celebrate. I think this was only the first step to better health.

Day 31

I am finished with my Whole30, but my new healthy lifestyle is just beginning!

Thank you for reading this far. I hope my 30 day journal gave you an insight into my journey.


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If you have comments, any questions or wish to share your experience with Whole30, please share by leaving a comment below. Thanks!

 


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