Whole30 Week 1- whole lotta cooking going on

January is my first Whole30 v. 5.0. I really needed this stricter eating plan following two weeks of holiday eating and a complete derailment from anything resembling a paleo or primal diet (and the associated raging IBS, bloating, and other fun symptoms…not to mention 12 pounds of scale weight gain in two weeks. Yikes).The biggest part of this for me is not thinking of it as a diet…at least not in the weight loss sense. Part of the Whole30 program is not taking any measurements during the 30 days, no scales, no tape measures, no bodyfat monitors. Sure I took all those as a staring baseline, but the necessary equipment has been stored away until February 1. For me, this is a huge leap of faith (and making me a tad crazy).
Because so many friends, family and co-workers, think the idea of not eating grains, sugars, dairy or legumes so radical, I’m making an effort to photograph and document what I eat using my iPhone. What’s funny is no one is questioning the eating plan from a health stand point…it’s all about satiety. I mean who can possibly not eat bread or muffins or…. 
It was only a 4 day work week. I spent two of those days out of the office on biz travel, but saw a definite theme to lunch at my desk…simple protein and veggies. Tuesday was leftover steak, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts – a duplicate of Monday’s dinner, and Friday did a quick run to the grocery for a roasted chicken breast and some fresh raw veggies.

Tuesday night I made Braised Chicken Breasts with 40 cloves Garlic, a Rachael Ray recipe, leftovers were my dinner on Thursday. To make the recipe 100% Whole 30 compliant, I used ghee instead of butter and de-glazed the pan with chicken stock rather than Marsala. Still very, very yummy, However, I do believe the Marsala adds a richness to this dish, and will use Marsala in future. My kiddo was excited to see me starting to cook the “chicken with the crunchy skin”. If you make it, brown them well, and make sure the stock/braising liquid stays below the crispy skin.

Wednesday and Thursday I was at the mercy of restaurants, hotel food, meeting catering and stashes of food I either brought or obtained while on a business trip. This reliance on what I have available is where I’ve had problems with compliance in paleo/primal eating (and when I was doing traditional calorie counting). Okay, maybe less reliance on what was available so much as a built in excuse to stray from the plan. This trip, this month, I am teaching myself that lack of compliance is neither necessary nor an option. One thing I did fail at was taking pictures…but I was 100% compliance. I am discovering that by first asking about gluten-free options, and also telling the server I am dairy intolerant gets me to a good starting point with menu options. I can edit from there. Thursday’s lunch was a Primal Pac I’d stashed in my backpack, Wednesday a working meeting lunch where I just calmly and quietly removed all the bread and cheese from the catered sandwich lunch. And I did raid the concierge lounge for some late night munchies…enjoyed after a walk around downtown Chicago.

Saturday morning…leftover steak, turned into a steak, spinach breadless “benedict”. Ever since discovering how easy it is to make fresh hollandaise, I cannot believe I used powdered mixes for so long. Honestly, fresh isn’t much more work, and so much tastier. Used ghee as the butter source, and buy the free-range, omega3 type eggs. 
Planned a stir-fry for Saturday night. I had prepped so many veggies, that this meal was repeated Saturday and Sunday nights with slightly different spices. First night was scallops and shrimp, done spicy with ginger and garlic. Second night, also spicy, but stronger curry type seasonings (hot curry powder, gram marsala, and vindaloo mixes) and added a touch of coconut milk. This time proteins were shrimp and chicken. Each family member got to make their own veggie selections, and I cooked each individually. Huge hit with Kiddo who has requested this is weekly…at minimum.
In the interest of honesty…….Food-wise I was 100% compliant to Whole30. There was one planned, and pre-decided deviation, my office’s monthly beer tasting club was Friday. Purely educational (really, I work in this biz). Limited the amount I drank past the what was needed to taste the beer, leaving most in the small tasting cups. Focused much more on aroma, color, mouthfeel. But, yes, I realize it is non-compliant. 

All and well a good first week.

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