Whole30 Week 2

You know how I know this is working? You know how I know this Whole30 that so many people read about and think is impossible is actually very doable?

Because I’ve stopped counting the days.

A friend of mine asked me at work the other day “What is the first thing you’re going to eat when you’re done?”. My initial thought was… well… nothing.

I don’t actually miss anything.

In the end, my answer was something like a glass of wine or a cup of coffee with some stevia and coconut milk, maybe some pumpkin pancakes with maple syrup.

But really, I’m not craving anything, I’m not thinking about food all the time, I’m actually not hungry. If you know me… that is a crazy notion. I’m always hungry, something I got from my father’s genes. We are simply hungry all the time. These last few night shifts I worked… I could not believe it. I wasn’t eating all the food I was bringing. I wasn’t eating all the food I was preparing, I had so much food I was actually sharing it! I’ve been eating paleo for over a year now but still found myself snacking and eating all the time and still was hungry 2 hours after meals filled with protein and fat, but not nearly as bad as before when I would have a piece of toast for breakfast.

I’m also feeling very fueled in this Whole30 because of the support. My friend Myriam is by my side and was actually the one who asked me to try it out with her, it’s great to have someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of and support each other when out with friends. And after having a few phone calls with my mom she decided to start it as well with my father!

I’m getting many questions from friends and family and it really makes me happy that people are interested in making their lives better.

I think a big part of this is the incredibly long and dreary winter we are having here in Canada, and there seems to be no end in sight. I even told my friend that one of the things I’m most excited about finishing the Whole30 is that the weather will be more springlike by then! (I’m starting to doubt that even…) 

People are feeling depressed and tired and stressed out, and the Whole30 is something to get excited about and challenge yourself and make yourself feel better!

Paleo Pork Schnitzel

Adam made a request for some schnitzel.

As a child, I lived on the Canadian Military base in Germany for four years with my family. I was a very picky eater as a child, but I remember schnitzel being one of the only things I would eat! I was very excited to make a paleo version of this.

So here it is!

Ingredients:

5 Pork Chops (tenderized, pounded, fat cut off)

1/2 cup tapioca flour with salt and pepper (in a bowl)- I believe arrowroot flour would also work

1 cup almond flour with salt, pepper and paprika (in a bowl)

2 eggs, whisked, with 1/3 cup coconut milk (in a bowl)

1 cup melted coconut oil

Instructions:

Place coconut oil in a pan and melt at medium-high heat

Heat oven or toaster oven at 300 degrees and have grill pan ready to place pork chops on after frying in coconut oil.

Place bowls side by side, first the tapioca flour, then the egg mixture, then the almond flour mixture.

Dip the pork chops in the tapioca flour, make sure to cover, then dip in the egg mixture, then dip in almond flour, then place in melted coconut oil in frying pan. Fry each side for 4-5 minutes each, then place on grill and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat process for all 5 pork chops.

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I served it with some cauliflower rice and made the delicious paleo mayonnaise (added some dill and lemon juice) from the NomNom Paleo Cookbook

http://nomnompaleo.com/post/3440774534/paleo-mayonnaise

Delicious!!

Whole30 Preparation and Week 1

Since starting my paleo journey about a year ago, I have heard about this “Whole30” program but have never really looked into it much further. The basic concept is similar to that of the paleo lifestyle; no grains, legumes, sugar, dairy… but it doesn’t just stop there. You are not to have any sugar other than fruit, and you should limit your intake of that. Yup, that means no natural sugars like maple syrup, honey or stevia leaf. No processed meat (deli meats, BACON! 😦 ), no alcohol of any sort, no sulfites and nitrates (most bacon) and no white potatoes, for 30 days.

Not only does the program want to change the kind of food you are putting in your body, but also the way you consume the food. It’s trying to change your habits, so no paleo versions of pancakes, brownies, even if they have Whole30 approved ingredients. I read an article that equated this to “sex with your pants on”, it really made me laugh.

http://whole9life.com/2011/10/sex-with-your-pants-on/

I had a hard time understanding this part of the Whole30 program when I first started looking into it… but the more I researched and read the more I understood.

For more information visit their website for the full program, it’s all free!

http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/

I really like when I saw them refer to the program as sort of pressing a “reset” button on your body, metabolism, health and quality of life. Ever since I started the paleo lifestyle,  I have had many people ask “why?”. Why are you so strict about your diet? Why aren’t you eating any sugar for 21 days? You’re not fat, you don’t have acne, you don’t have any health issues.

What I’m going to start saying is that, plain and simple, I just want to be the best I can be. I want to see how far changing my diet and lifestyle can take me. I want to see my greatest potential. I want to see how much energy I can have, how well I can sleep,  how fit can I be, how happy can I be.

Simply put, I want to be the healthiest and happiest version of me I can be.

That being said, this program requires an incredible amount of preparation, both physically and mentally. A good friend of mine approached me about doing this with her, and I figured this would be a great opportunity for both of us. I started reading books, online articles, recipes, making grocery lists and menus for the weeks to come. At first, it was a little overwhelming and stressful to think about. But at the same time, it’s very exciting. That’s one of the main reasons I like doing these different things, to challenge myself to make new and different foods and experiment with my cooking and food.

My plan is to go grocery shopping the day before the week starts, and basically buy whatever meat, fruits and veggies are on sale, then make my menu for the week based on those items. My first week I spent a lot of money because there happened to be a lot of meat on sale, so I stocked up for the month. Hopefully this will save me money in the long run!

I decided to cut down on my coffee intake during the Whole30. Initially, I had thought that coffee was not allowed on the program, and was mentally preparing myself for that. But then, the same night I found out I couldn’t eat my bacon, I found out I could drink my coffee black. Despite learning this, I decided to try to continue the program without drinking coffee. Coffee can make you crave sugar because of the caffeine, and every year I seem to be drinking more and more coffee. So I’m hoping to be able to stay awake without it.

I started off the Whole30 on a 4 night shift stretch (12 hour shifts) so I made sure to make a few large items like a pot roast and quiche that would last me a few leftovers.

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Beef tip sirloin pot roast with carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnips

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Zucchini Quiche (crustless)

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Greek Souvlaki Chicken Skewers

What have I learned this week? Meat tastes so much better when it’s marinated.

The withdrawals weren’t too bad. I got over the coffee and bacon thing after day 3, and the sugar cravings went away after day 4. I never really got the headaches, just a little bit when I first woke up.

On to week 2!

Sweet Potato Buns

My computer has been in and out of the shop since the beginning of December so I haven’t been posting.

Today I have been working on my sweet potato bun recipe. I made these a lot last summer when we had BBQs.  My husband basically lives on hamburgers in the summer so I had to figure out an easy way of eating them (lettuce buns just don’t seem to be the same…). I’ve found many recipes for sweet potato “pancakes” and this one in particular from Dawn of Paleo that I used for a while: http://dawnofpaleo.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/sweet-potato-buns/

But I played with this recipe a lot and found that if you puree the sweet potatoes and bake them they stick together perfectly. I’ve even made them in huge batches and frozen them to use later. My husband even prefers them to use for his burgers over regular buns!

Here’s the recipe!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use 2 medium sweet potatoes

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Peel them and grate them either using a grater or a food processor.

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This should yield about 6 cups of shredded sweet potatoes. Add 6 large eggs, 1/4 cup coconut oil and pulse a few times.

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In a bowl, mix together 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp rosemary (really you can use what ever spices you want, sometimes I add cayenne pepper to make them spicy). Add to the food processor and pulse a few times again.

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It should be mushy, not liquidy or chunky.

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Place a large spoonful on parchment paper lined baking sheets and shape into round buns and flatten a bit. It should make about 12 (6 buns total).

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then flip them, and bake for another 30 minutes.

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You can use them for hamburgers, breakfast sandwiches, pulled pork, whatever! yum yum yum.

Winter Food

If you live in Canada then you know how freezing it has been over the last month. Yesterday the temperature reached -39 degrees celcius in Ottawa with the windchill. If you live in Canada, then you also know there are tricks to surviving winter. My main survival technique is food, and lots of it.

My four favourite winter comfort foods are Chili, Soup, Stew, and Shepherd’s Pie. It’s been too cold for me to venture to the grocery store so I had to come up with something based on what I had in the fridge and freezer, and it’s turned out to be delicious.

Jasmine’s Sweet Potato Mash Up Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

1 lb extra lean ground beef

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 large turnips, peeled and chopped

1/2 sweet onion chopped

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp bacon fat

1 tbsp ghee (or butter or coconut oil)

1 cup frozen peas and carrots

1/2 cup beef stock

1 tbsp tapioca flour

salt, pepper, any spices and nutritional yeast for seasoning

Recipe

In a large pot, cover sweet potatoes, carrots and turnips (cut carrots and turnip into smaller chunks as they take longer to soften) in water, sprinkle with sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn the temp down to medium and cover until you can easily stab a fork through the pieces (approx 30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees C.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown the ground beef on medium with the bacon fat. Once you only see a little bit of pink, drain the fat. Return skillet to stove top and add onions and garlic. Sautee for a couple of minutes, sprinkling with salt, pepper and oregano. Once onions are soft add 1/4 cup beef stock, with the other 1/4 cup in a small bowl add the tapioca flour and whisk until well mixed. Add this to the skillet, it will help thicken the juices. Once everything is well mixed add the frozen peas and carrots, stir for 5 minutes until the veggies are no longer frozen.

When the sweet potato mixture is done, drain the water and return to the pot. Mash with potato masher and add sea salt and pepper, along with 1 tbsp Ghee.

In a large oven safe glass or ceramic casserole dish, place the meat on the bottom and spread the sweet potato mixture on top, patting it down with a fork to cover all edges. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, sea salt and pepper. Bake on middle rack at 350 for 30 minutes then broil for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes before serving (it’s hot hot hot!).

Enjoy it with some home made paleo ketchup!

Paleo Beef Butternut Chili

Winter is officially here! Brrrrrrr. It’s time for Chili!

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Ingredients:

1-2 pounds lean ground beef

8 strips of cut up bacon

1 small butternut squash, diced

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can crushed tomatoes

1 cup home made bone broth (I used chicken because that’s what I had)

1 small sweet onion, diced

3 cloves minced garlic

2 large carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp paprika

Sea salt

Pepper

Recipe:

Set slow cooker to low.

Cook the 8 slices of bacon in a frying pan, add onion and garlic and cook until onions are soft. Then add ground beef, sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1 tbsp chili powder and cook until browned.

Drain fat from beef, add beef, bacon and onion to slow cooker. Add diced butternut squash, carrots, celery, peppers and add all spices on top, along with more salt and pepper. Add diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes on top and bone broth. Stir until well combined. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add slices of avocado on top when ready to serve.

If you want a shorter cook time you can roast the butternut squash, carrots and celery in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes before adding it to the slow cooker.

I just had two huge bowls and I’m so full!

21 Sugarless Days

Well. Here we are. I finished off the 21 days with a huge salad with grilled chicken and avocado.

When I started eating “paleo” cold turkey last winter I saw major differences right away. I had everything from the withdrawals in the first week (intense headaches, fatigue and sore all over),  but eventually saw weight loss, better skin, headache improvements, better immune system and even better nails. Perhaps because I saw such differences when I made those changes I thought that I would see even more improvements with the 21 Day Sugar Detox. I believe I set my hopes too high and wound up disappointed. I also believe that my stress levels were too high during the 21 days and I worked way too much so I didn’t see any differences in my sleep (my sleep patterns are way off) or acne.

However, I’d like to be positive about this. Due to the amount that I worked and the sleep that I lacked I’d like to think how much worse off I might have been if I had been eating sugar. I didn’t get sick in the height of the flu season, when many other people in my workplace (a HOSPITAL) were getting sick. Okay I might be jinxing myself now.

I did learn a lot about my diet in these 21 days. I probably don’t eat nearly enough vegetables. Yes I had a lot of salads and squash, but I could definitely do with a wider variety of vegetables and more of them. I eat a heck of a lot of eggs and bacon. But also staying positive, I eat probably 100% more vegetables than I ate this time last year.

I decided to do the detox in November because I thought there would be less temptation. But in hindsight I believe that the spring or summer might be a better time to do the 21 DSD. Much more fresh and local produce, farmer’s markets and likely cheaper as well.

In any case, It’s over now. I may try the detox again next summer or spring. It was a learning opportunity and I love experimenting with new recipes and different ingredients. The 21 Day Sugar Detox book by Diane Sanfilippo was very helpful and I made many of the recipes from the book that will now become regulars in my meal rotation.