Super Simple Baked Potato Fries

One of the parts of Whole30 I was looking forward to the least was the fact that the only carb I was going to be able to eat were potatoes.  Sweet potatoes, white potatoes.  That’s it.  I was a full-blown carb addict, so this wasn’t something I looked forward to.  But honestly, I loved it.  I had yummy potatoes every single day, and I never missed the other carbs!  Seriously.  I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t live it myself.

Potatoes are actually a great carb option because they don’t mess with your blood sugar in the same way breads and other carbs do, and it’s PACKED with some awesome nutrients.  It’s a carb that actually does your body good, and I’m planning on continuing to use potatoes (especially sweet potatoes) as my main carb of choice.

This recipe is how I fixed my potatoes most of the time, and how I continue to fix them!  This was great with sweet potatoes and white potatoes alike.  Plus, you can switch out the dressing for regular olive oil, melted coconut oil, or melted ghee and it’s just as delicious!

Super Simple Baked Potato Fries

1 medium potato, peeled and sliced into fries

1 tbsp Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic Dressing (or oil of choice)

1 tsp sea salt

Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Toss all ingredients together until all fries are completely coated.  Spread fries in one layer (preferably not touching each other) on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper).  Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, until browned and crispy (or your desired doneness).  Enjoy!

***I don’t personally love leftover potatoes, but you can make a huge batch and keep them in the fridge for a few days if you want.

Everyday (Paleo) Meatloaf

My husband LOVES his momma’s meatloaf.  I have never really been a huge fan of meatloaf in general, but I’ve tried several different recipes that haven’t been a traditional recipe to find something that he and I could both enjoy.  None of them have been hits with him, though, so I just haven’t made meatloaf in a really long time.  When I saw this recipe looking for Paleo meals, I knew I had to try it because I was pretty sure it would be a hit with everyone!

I am so glad I tried it, because I was right!  This is so simple and SO GOOD.  The original recipe calls for 1 cup almond meal and 2 eggs, but I went for the note of omitting the almond meal and just using 1 egg.  The original also calls for 6 tbsp tomato paste, which I didn’t have on hand, so I used some leftover marinara on top instead.  It was so good!

I’d love to try to add a few more veggies into this recipe to bulk up the veggies, but I may have to work up to that so my husband doesn’t know what I’m up to!

Everyday Meatloaf (slightly adapted from Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso)

2 lbs lean ground beef

1 egg

2 tsp minced garlic

1 red onion, finely diced

1/2 tbsp sea salt

2 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp dried basil

2 tsp marjoram

1/2 cup marinara

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients (except marinara) in a large bowl, using hand to combine until well mixed.  Put meat mixture in a lightly greased 9×13 glass pan and form into loaf.  Bake 30 min.  Top meatloaf with marinara, using a spoon to spread evenly over the top of the entire loaf.  Bake 30 more min or until meatloaf is completely cooked through (use an instant read thermometer to ensure it’s completely cooked–ground beef should be cooked to an internal temp of 160).  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 min before serving.

I served this with green beans and homemade sweet potato fries!  It would go well with basically any veggie.

 

Whole30 Results and Post-Whole30 Plans

Well, I did it!  I made it all 30 days of a strict, clean eating diet.  It was HARD.  I suffered through some sugar withdrawals, I had to take some extra time to prepare more food than I normally do, I had to think ahead a LOT more when I went to events and bring my own food, and I had to sit and watch other people enjoy foods that I wanted to eat, but had committed to not eating for 30 days.  Even on day 29 a few days ago, I thought about throwing in the towel and giving up!  Isn’t that crazy with just one day to go???  But I remembered what I had read on the Whole30 Timeline on their website–I committed to all 30 days, and I OWED it to myself to finish all 30 days!

I am so proud of myself.  Not only have I stuck to the Whole30 program (plus Shakeology), but I’ve also stuck to my workout plan as well.  This past 30 days has really been an exercise in self-discipline; I knew that my relationship with food had gotten really unhealthy and dysfunctional, and I needed something strict and structured to make that better to be the healthiest person I can be.  And I did it! There were days that I wasn’t sure I would make it, to be honest, but I was dedicated and committed.  I kept reminding myself about why I was doing it in the first place, and the benefits I’d be getting from being disciplined.  2 Timothy 1:7 was my mantra: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and SELF-DISCIPLINE.”  I knew that I could do it and that I NEEDED to do it, and I powered through with some prayers!

I have seen some amazing results through these past 30 days.

  • my acid reflux has gone from being a daily/nightly issue to virtually disappearing
  • my skin is clearer
  • my energy levels are up
  • I’m more satisfied with smaller amounts of food (because they are so nutrient-dense)
  • my cravings for desserts have pretty much disappeared
  • I am not using food as a coping mechanism for my stress/emotions
  • my midsection is flatter
  • I have less digestive issues
  • I don’t look pregnant after eating 1 meal
  • I have much less bloating in general
  • I got a cold and was only sick for a couple of days instead of the 5-7 days I would normally be feeling terrible
  • my patience and moodiness is better
  • my clothes are fitting so much better
  • my confidence is much higher than a month ago
  • my anxiety is much much better
  • my cravings for carbs have been almost non-existent!
  • My body image is better
  • My self-esteem overall is better
  • I’m not using the scale to measure my success with my health goals–the emotional attachment to whatever number it says is gone
  • I don’t wake up in the middle of the night anymore–once I’m asleep I STAY asleep
  • I haven’t been getting “hangry” even if I go 4-5 hours between meals
  • I’m not constantly hungry all day anymore
  • I’m reading the labels on my food and looking up ingredients at restaurants to know exactly what I’m putting into my body
  • I’m making mindful, intentional decisions about what foods I’ll eat instead of making mindless, emotional decisions
  • I have new, healthy recipes to add to my family’s rotation
  • I FEEL BETTER!

I lost about 7 lbs in my 30 days, plus a little over an inch from my waist and hips!


Several people have asked me, okay, that’s great you feel are feeling awesome–but what’s next?   Whole30 is not intended to be an all-the-time way of eating, but an experience to help you make mindful choices about how different foods affect your body, both positive and negative, so you can decide what will be healthy staples in your diet, what indulgences are worth it for you and how often you want to incorporate them into your life, and which foods just simply aren’t worth it for you.

With all that in mind, I’ve decided that going forward, I’ll be following a mostly Paleo diet.  This is similar to Whole30, but I’m relaxing a little with the “no added sugar” ever to make it simpler to get everything I need at my grocery store and to make it simpler to eat out with my family.  I will definitely be avoiding gluten and soy, and limiting dairy to just Greek yogurt.  I’m still in the reintroduction phase of Whole30, so some of this plan is up in the air as I wait to see how these different food groups affect me.  But if I’m feeling this good without all these foods, why would I want to go back to the way I used to eat????  That makes no sense to me.  Food is fuel, not comfort or celebration or self-worth, and I want to keep treating it as such.

So, I’m prepping for a Paleo/gluten-free lifestyle and keeping my options open with dairy, legumes, and non-gluten grains to see how my body reacts to them as I reintroduce them.  Overall, the main goal for this experience for me was to improve my dysfunctional relationship with food–to stop using food as a coping mechanism and source of comfort–and staying away from sugary sweets and gluten will help me continue this healthier relationship with food.  I’m not struggling with cravings, and I want to keep it that way!

I was afraid of Whole30 for a really long time–over a year, in fact.  I avoided making this commitment because I was afraid that it would be too hard and that I would fail.  But now that I’ve actually done it (!!!), I wish I had started this sooner.  God does not intend for us to be a slave to food and our food cravings–He wants to set us free from that!  If you are struggling with these issues like I was, take heart that YOU CAN change it.  I’d love to be a part of your journey to food freedom!  Comment or email me to start chatting about a transformation.

Insanity Max:30 Halfway Update

I haven’t really been posting much about my workout plan lately, but I’ve been doing Insanity Max:30 for the past month.  I’m 5 weeks into the 60 day program, so a little more than halfway, and I am loving how I feel and how my body is changing.

Insanity Max:30 is a high-intensity cardio program that uses just your own body for resistance.  It’s so nice to not have to worry about using any equipment or mess with switching out weights!  Each workout is 30 minutes long, which works well for me because I have a MUCH harder time being consistent with my workouts when they are longer than 30 minutes.  This program is very intense–definitely a step up from 21 Day Fix/21 Day Fix Extreme and T25 that I did at the end of last year.  Thank goodness for modifiers!  I modify a lot of the workouts, honestly, but there’s no shame in that game.  I’m pushing myself and seeing some great changes, not to mention feeling awesome!

The intensity of the program is easier to deal with since it’s 5x/week with two rest days on the weekends.  There have been weeks when I’ve taken one rest day in the middle of the week and then another on the weekend (instead of doing all 5 workouts in a row), but I haven’t skipped any workouts!  I do get sore, of course, but I drink the Beachbody Performance Recover post-workout within 30 minutes of finishing my workout and it helps the soreness so much!  I have been abstaining from my Recover during the Whole30 since it’s a source of stevia, and I really miss it.  I can’t wait to finish my Whole30 at the end of this week (!!!) and add my Recover back into my routine.

This is the same pair of jeans in December and in March. I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m moving in the right direction!

When I finished the first 30 days of Max:30, the workouts switched and upped the intensity.  I’m excited to see more changes in this last phase of the program, and I’m considering doing it all again when I’m done and working on my endurance!  I would love to be able to do this program with fewer modifiers, so that is definitely a goal for 2017.

The left is day 1 and the right is day 30. There is a lot of difference in my midsection!

I’ve been taking progress pictures in my summer bathing suit for a couple of different reasons: first, I like to take progress pics in the same outfit to get a true comparison of how my body is changing, but I also have the summer as motivation to keep getting fit!  We go to the pool a lot, and I want to feel confident!  Plus, I have a wedding in August that I want to look great at and feel awesome in the pictures.  I tell my challengers to take tons of pictures during their transformations because they are so much more reliable than the scale!  I haven’t been weighing myself on the Whole30 but instead have been focusing on how I feel, changes in my body, and how I fit in my clothes.  I have been really motivated and encouraged by what I’ve seen!

Do you have some summer events that you want to look and feel awesome for?  My March accountability group is starting in exactly one week!  I’d love to take you under my wing and help you reach your goals.  Send me an email at wweaver0@gmail.com and we can chat!

Simple Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

When it comes to eating clean, especially with the Whole30, simplicity is key.  This has the trifecta of a great healthy meal: crockpot+dump it in+few ingredients.  Sometimes healthy crockpot meals require you to still cook before, or only cook for a few hours (so you risk burning it if you set it before work), or have a TON of ingredients that end up being more money and more trouble than it’s worth.

The original recipe for this meal calls for a little more work because it serves the carnitas in baked sweet potato skins and broils the carnitas in the oven for the few minutes to get it more crispy, but I’ve omitted that for this post.  You can serve these with sweet potatoes, certainly, but you can also serve it with salsa and avocado, over a bed of greens, or in corn tortillas if you aren’t doing Whole30.  As written, this recipe is Whole30-approved, so make sure you pair it with other compliant foods to make it a full meal.

I love the fact that this recipe doesn’t call for any oils–the pork has enough natural fats that oil is totally unnecessary.  The orange zest and juice added some awesome flavor to this meal–I’d never added orange zest to pork before, but now it’s going to be one of my staples!  I did use a sieve to pour the orange juice through to keep seeds and pulp out of the meat, but if you don’t mind pulp you don’t need to worry about that step.

Simple Slow Cooker Crockpot Pork Carnitas (slightly adapted from Fashionable Foods)

2-3 lb pork loin or shoulder

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 large oranges)

zest of 1 orange

1.5 tbps cumin

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Line slow cooker with crockpot liner, if desired.  Place pork in crockpot and cover with remaining ingredients.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Using metal tongs or two forks, shred pork .  You can either serve the pork from the juices in the crockpot, or remove from juices, depending on preference.

To keep this meal Whole30, serve with roasted sweet potato, chopped tomato, pico de gallo, chopped avocado, and/or cilantro.  If not eating Whole30, you can still serve with those same options, as well as corn, whole wheat, or gluten-free tortillas/chips.

Whole30 Lifesavers

Today marks day 19 of my Whole30 (plus Shakeology) experience, and so far it’s been great!  The biggest challenge outside of feeling terrible on day 2 has been preparing foods–ideally you would be eating at home with all foods you’ve prepared yourself, and that is just a lot to do for anyone!  Even though I stay at home, it’s not super realistic for me to have time to prepare tons of food every day.  Enter these products that I refer to as my Whole30 Lifesavers–condiments, packaged foods, and restaurant meals that are tasty, easy, and Whole30-compliant!  Where appropriate, I’ve linked the corporate pages for products so you can check them out and see where they are available around you!

Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime Mayo–I’ve been using this for tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, lettuce wraps, and a portobello mushroom BLTA that I made (YUM). It’s got a little spice to it, which automatically makes it awesome to me.  And it’s super easy to dump some hard-boiled eggs, cooked chicken, or a can of Whole30 compliant tuna with a spoonful of this stuff for a quick meal.  It’s a little bit of a splurge compared to regular mayo, but I’m 2/3 of the way done with my Whole30 and I still have a little over half a jar of it.  If it lasts the entire 30 days or beyond, to me that’s worth it!

Tessemae’s Dressings/Marinades–specifically Lemon Garlic and Ranch–these have been amazing during my Whole30!  I have used the ranch in mashed potatoes and as a dip for my baked potato fries, on burgers, and as a dip with other veggies.  The Lemon Garlic has been a great marinade for my homemade potato fries–I just slice up a potato, toss it in the dressing, and put it in the oven.  It’s so easy.  I found these on sale at my local Kroger, too, and they will have lasted me the entire 30 days with some leftover.

Wellshire Farms Paleo Bacon–I was dismayed to see that EVERY SINGLE PACKAGE of bacon at my Kroger–even the ones labeled “all-natural”–had added sugar.  Once I did some digging, I found this brand that is sold at Whole Foods and it’s fantastic.  It’s considerably more expensive than regular bacon at the store at almost $1/slice, but frankly it’s totally worth it if you want bacon on Whole30.  There are other brands out there that will deliver Whole30-compliant meats to your house, but those are expensive, too.

Larabars–these are great for a fast, portable snack, but you have to be careful with these.  Larabars are not intended to be an everyday snack for you on Whole30, and not all of the flavors are Whole30-compliant: anything with chocolate is out, and some of the other flavors have vanilla extract, which is also not compliant.  I like Cashew Cookie, Coconut Cream Pie, and Lemon Bar.  These are perfect to carry in your car or purse to have if you need something and there are no other options.

Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Milk–I hesitated to include this because it’s kind of an iffy product.  Technically, it’s compliant with Whole30, but the monk fruit extract makes it a little sweet, which kind of takes away from the spirit of Whole30.  For me personally, I’m not worried about this iffy-ness because I’m already not doing a “true” Whole30 with my Shakeology, so this isn’t doing any damage.  If you are doing a very strict Whole30 with no Shakeology, then I would stay away from this particular flavor and use the Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk instead.

Aidells Chicken Apple Sausage–these are awesome.  This helped me make a super quick breakfast that helped me get my days started with good flavor and protein, so that set me out on some good momentum.  It’s important to note that the entire BRAND is not Whole30 compliant–just this particular product.  Read your labels and double check EVERYTHING to make sure you are following the program to the strictness you are aspiring to.

Yellow mustard–pretty much all yellow mustards are compliant, but double check the label to be sure.  I’ve used this as a condiment with burgers, potatoes, eggs, veggies, etc.  Pretty much everything goes with mustard as far as I’m concerned, and it’s a great way to get more flavor in!

Coconut Secret Organic Coconut Aminos–this is the only Whole30-compliant soy sauce alternative, so it was important to me to find because I love Asian dishes and wanted to continue making stir fry during my Whole30.  I was only able to find this online or Whole Foods.

 

For those times where eating out was needed (okay, I just didn’t want to cook):

Panera Bread–you have to stick with salads and either bring your own dressing or use lemon juice, but you can customize any salad to be Whole30 compliant if you check the ingredient list for your favorite salad.  I’ve been ordering a Seasonal Greens salad with no dressing, then adding my own shredded chicken, pecans, other veggies, and Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic dressing.

Chipotle–this one has been a true lifesaver!  The only compliant meal here is the bowl with carnitas, pico, and guacamole.  I’ve just been asking them to give me as much pico as they can without getting into trouble.  You can also take it home and add your own fajita veggies to bulk it up.

Five Guys–hamburger patty in a lettuce wrap with their fresh veggies–tomato, green pepper, jalapeno, and onion–with mustard.  I got this and realized when I got home that they had given me ketchup instead of mustard, and you better believe I got back in my car to get it fixed.

Mexican–grilled chicken with chopped avocado and pico.  Our favorite neighborhood Mexican place has a guacamole salad that is just avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice.  I have gotten that with some grilled chicken and it’s to die for!

I’m sure that there are many more compliant restaurant meals out there, but these are the ones I’ve researched for myself. Do some digging and researching your favorite restaurants to see if there is anything you can customize for your Whole30 journey!

 

 

Super Simple Whole30 Breakfast

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I normally have my Shakeology for breakfast–it’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s a great post-workout drink when I do my early morning workouts.  For the past few weeks, though, we’ve been finishing our basement and I have temporarily lost my workout space, so my workouts have to happen when everyone is up so I don’t wake them up with my burpees and squat jumps.  That means I am saving my shake until later in the day when I’ve done my workout, leaving me in need of some good Whole30-compliant breakfast meals.

I still want something easy and relatively quick, and I’m not always in the mood for a casserole to eat off of all week.  Enter this really simple, completely compliant, and super easy breakfast.  It has a carb, a protein, a healthy fat, and a veggie to start off my day, it is full of energy for my day, and it tastes good.  It’s extremely versatile, too–at the end of the recipe I’ll give you a few variations to help you find something to fit your tastes.

Super Simple Whole30 Breakfast

1 Aidellis Chicken and Apple Sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup diced potato (of any variety–I like sweet potato and gold potatoes)

1 small sweet onion, diced

1 teaspoon coconut oil or ghee

Salt and pepper, to taste

Garlic powder and onion powder, to taste

 

Melt the coconut oil (or ghee) in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add diced onion and diced potato, and cook until potatoes are soft and onions are translucent (about 8-10 minutes), stirring constantly.  Once they are cooked, add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder and stir to combine.  Remove from pan and put in a bowl.

Add sausage pieces into the pan and cook until browned and heated through, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.  Once it’s done, add to the bowl with the potatoes and onions and enjoy!

Variations: You can sub in any lean protein: 2 eggs, ground beef/turkey/chicken–as long as it’s Whole30 compliant you are good to use it!  If you aren’t following Whole30, you can use breakfast sausage, the homemade breakfast sausage from the Fixate cooking show, chorizo, etc.

Instead of diced potato, you can use frozen hashbrowns, or you could take out the potato and put an extra veggie in.

If you don’t like onion, you can use any veggie–diced mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, chopped Brussels sprouts, etc.

For Whole30 toppings, you could top this with Frank’s Red Hot sauce or chopped avocado. If you’re not following Whole30, you could add cheese on top.