January Whole 30 Challenge – Week 4 and What Happened on Day 18 … and 21

It’s cold. Not just your average January cold but, “you can get frostbite in 15 minutes” cold. We’ve had snow on the ground since mid-November, and for some reason, it’s keeps snowing, even on days when it wasn’t in the forecast, like today. We’ve had very few img_6965school days this past week, and this coming week does not look promising. Wednesday’s forecast includes numbers I can’t comprehend. Things like -40 below zero wind chills.

Sure, there is plenty of beauty in winter. I have always lived where there is winter and have gone through many long, cold season. The white snow is beautiful. It’s sparkles in the sun. It’s very poetic and makes you want to read a book by the fire. It lights an imaginative fire in children (young and old) who seem immune to the temperature.

This month has been a bit more challenging because my husband and I have been doing the January Whole 30 Challenge. It’s been going fairly well. As I mentioned in last weeks update, I had eaten pasta on two occasions. I was also realizing how hungry I was despite how much food I was eating. I was eating great healthy meals, and snacks filled with protein to keep me going. But I was still hungry.

Monday, everyone was home from work and school for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and we were finishing up a puzzle. It was nearly lunch and I was hungry. And not normal hungry, but “I need to consume some belly filling food soon” hungry. So I went into the kitchen and make myself a (healthy) sandwich … on bread! Let me tell you, it was delicious. Then, only a few days later, I ate some sourdough bread with our Whole 30 approved homemade sausage, kale and potato soup. I ate another slice with salmon that night, and another with leftover soup for lunch. And … I feel great about it.

This challenge has not been about losing weight, or depriving myself of food. It’s been about only eating 100% healthy and whole foods. So, I’m at about 97% at this point. Like I have said before, everyone’s bodies are different and we can’t treat them the same. I process food differently that other people, and I have to take that into account when I choose what to eat. Even before this challenge we were eating 80% whole foods and 20% not so healthy or whole foods. That’s a pretty good ratio.

I’ll have a full wrap-up next week after we’ve finished our month of Whole 30. We’ve found some amazing recipes that we will add to our rotation. We will add back healthy grains and glasses of wine in the evening, and probably … cheese! All in healthy moderation.

I’m including in our Week 4 Menu the recipe for the soup we made and also the crapes we made this morning, which we will continue to use this grain free recipe. There are also a few extra recipes this week because it goes through February 2, and also includes an extra dinner for when church was cancelled on Wednesday, due to weather.

 

WEEK 4 MENU

Zuppa Toscana Potato Soup

Gluten Free Crapes

Steak Bites

Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs

Naan Bread

Butternut Squash Chili

Beef Stroganoff

Fish Taco Bowls

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Blackened Cod, Sweet Potatoes & Zucchini

Sweet Chili Coconut Lime Chicken

January Whole 30 Challenge – Week 3 and Mid-Challenge Check-In

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This morning we had an egg fritata.We used potatoes (crust), ground breakfast sausage, egg and nut pods creamer. Started in the cast iron skillet on the stove top and finished in the oven.      Easy, quick and delicious on this cold snowy morning!

We have made it to the half-way point of our January Whole 30 Challenge. It’s been good and challenging so far. Many of the dinners are similar to how we normally cook, but with some different ingredients. We’ve adjusted, or left out an ingredient or step in several of the recipes. Overall, the food has been delicious and kid approved. Again, most of these meals are similar to what we are used to eating.

My husband and I have both noticed a few things about how these two weeks have been for us personally and for our bodies. You can read his take on Whole 30 on his blog. Here are a couple of things I have noticed, a few cheats I have allowed, and my favorite dishes so far. Keep scrolling for my week 3 menu.

  1. Everyone’s bodies and metabolisms are different. I have a very fast metabolism and have always needed to eat well to maintain my weight. (Note: I am not doing Whole 30 to lose weight.) I have needed to add extra snacks and more to my meals because of this. (Extra protein helps.)
  2. I do not miss diary at all. When my seven-year old was born, I had to give up all dairy to nurse him. It was torture. I missed the splash of regular milk in my coffee, and cheese, and ice cream, and cheese! I don’t find myself craving any of those things. (Regular Nutpods Dairy Free Creamer has been perfect in my coffee, and I’ll probably continue to use if after our challenge is over.)
  3. Cheats: I have had regular pasta twice. The children were having it with their dinner and I needed the extra food (see #1). And I’m okay with it!
  4. I honestly do not feel any different after two weeks of Whole 30. Many people say they have more energy, sleep better, and are able to get up easier in the mornings. we have 5 children, and it’s a rare night that no one wakes us up. My husband and I both work full-time in church ministry and each kiddo is involved in approximately 100 activities. I don’t think and energy boost is coming anytime soon. But I would welcome it.
  5. We were eating very healthy before Whole 30, but it’s always good to take a break from added sugars (and gluten, soy, dairy, grains, ect). I will be ready to add back in some healthy dairy and grains when this is over.

The is not one formula for eating healthy. Our family’s goal has always been 80/20. 80% whole foods, and 20% everything else. We don’t stress when we eat macaroni and cheese or corn dogs, but we keep fast food to an extreme minimum. We try hard to get our children to eat vegetables with every meal, but are content knowing that 80% of their food is healthy. Eating healty is a lifestyle, not a diet or quick fix and I think we’re doing a pretty great job!

 

WEEK 3 MENU

Cauliflower Pizza (We purchased the crust and added vegetables and prosciutto.)

Bruschetta Chicken

Potluck with Friends (I’m making: Green Salad, Potato Salad and Chicken Thighs.)

Chicken Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Chipotle Carnitas Bowls

Thai Turkey Burgers

 

January Whole 30 Challenge – Week 2

We have successfully finished our first week of our January Whole 30 Challenge. Dinners have been the easiest for us and lunches are mostly leftovers. Breakfasts are a bit more challenging, especially trying to get all seven of us out of the door in the morning. My protein smoothies have been a good break from having eggs every day. I was a bit under the weather this past week, and am still recovering, so my husband took the reigns on cooking. I’ll take pictures this week of what we’re eating.

The Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes by Danielle Walker over at Against All Grain were my favorite dinner this past week. My seven-year old son (our picky eater) really liked the Hawaiian Shredded Chicken and the Cranberry Rosemary Chicken. You can find all the recipes here: January Whole 30 Challenge – Week 1.

And now, on to our Week 2 Meal Plan. As a reminder, we plan Friday – Thursday weeks, so tomorrow morning is our shopping day. Wednesday’s we have dinner at church, so we pack leftovers or have a big salad. Happy healthy eating everyone!

 

Blackened Salmon with Avacado Mango Salsa

Walnut Crusted Lemon Chicken Piccata

One Pan Lemon Basil Chicken

Beef and Mushroom Ragu with Spaghetti Squash

Taco Salad

Instant Pot Cashew Chicken