Friday, September 6, 2013

Playing with Paleo

A while back, a good friend of mine posted all kinds of things on Facebook about the Whole30.  I had no idea what it really was, other than a healthier and stricter way of eating, and didn't give it much thought after that.  Then I went to culinary school and gained an appreciation for food and where it comes from that I never really had before.

Then, I graduated culinary school and took a "food trip" to NYC.  While the trip was AMAZING and the food was even better, a few pounds that I didn't invite followed me home.  I started to notice once we got back and things started to calm down a much as they can anyway...that our eating habits had really taken a plunge.  I had been in school non-stop for a year and a half.  A lot of nights I wasn't home to cook, and when I was, I was so overwhelmed with school work that we often turned to eating out and take out more that I really want to admit.  With our France trip coming up and knowing we would be in a town where the multitude of restaurant options aren't available, I decided it was time for a change.  It was time to get ready to cook the way I will have cook oversees.  It was time to get the crap out of our diet.

I got back in touch with my friend who hooked me up with the book It Starts With Food.  This book is wonderful!  If you've never read it and have any interest whatsoever in how food affects your body, read it!  It will change your outlook on everything you put in your mouth. 

To help get the yuck out of our system, I decided to put the hubs and I on the Whole30 challenge.  The basics of the diet is to cut all processed food, grains, beans, dairy and alcohol out of your diet for 30 days.  I must admit that I shed a few tears (ok, I cried like a baby) when I had to put my beloved cork screw away for a month, but I figured if I could do it while I was pregnant, I could do it in order to detox and make my body more healthy. 

I would LOVE to be able to say to you that everyday was roses and I felt wonderful all the time.  That would not be the truth though.  So here are a few things I learned from being on the Whole30:

1 - Detoxing your body is tough!  Aside from our recent indulgence trip to NYC, I thought I ate pretty well.  Even with all the meals we ate outside the home, I thought I made some smart choices...considering.  I don't drink soda that much and only have one cup of coffee a day.  I've never been that big on sweets (strange but true coming from a pastry chef), so I thought I wouldn't have that much trouble.  However, there were days that were tough.  I had a pretty bad headache for the first few days and the hubs was really tired.  All the sudden all I wanted was sugar because, well now, I couldn't have it.  When these side effects hit, I decided to look back at the book.  Apparently, you are suppose to ease yourself into this "diet" and not really go cold turkey to take the edge of the detoxing effects.  Oh well, guess I'll remember that next time.

2 - Don't underestimate the power of menu planning!  This is really essential to make it though without loosing your mind.  This wasn't that difficult for me since I'm a big planner anyway.  But if I can offer some advise, remove the temptation from your fridge and pantry!  Trust me, even with the best planning in mind, if you're having a bad day, you will sit down with the bag of potato chips if they are there...and wind up eating the whole dang bag and feel miserable about yourself...can you tell I've done that before?

3 - It's really not as hard as it seems!  I started off pretty grand, making wonderful Paleo recipes I had found on Pinterest for breakfast, lunch and dinner so excited about the new tricks I had found.  That lasted about 2 days.  Then I realized that I was making it more difficult for myself than it needed to be.  I started looking at things my family ate anyway and how I could change those to fit the plan.  Take spaghetti for instance.  My family LOVES spaghetti and would probably eat it every day if I cooked it.  The only problem was, now we couldn't eat the pasta.  So, I picked up a spaghetti squash at the store and roasted it in the oven.  Added to that some yummy meatballs, topped it all with tomato sauce and served it up.  The little one gobbled it up and the hubs barely new the difference!  He didn't even miss the sprinkle of cheese that wasn't on top.

4 - It will change you!  Yes, there were hard days.  Yes, there were days when I wanted to give up and call Sir Papa John to save dinner.  Yes, there were days when all I wanted to do was hit the snooze button on my alarm instead of getting up to make breakfast.  Yes, there were days when I wanted to lock myself in the bathroom for a bubble bath and a nice big of wine.  But then there were days that I had the energy I had when I was in college.  There were days when I would take the little one to the grocery store and let her pick out the veggies for dinner.  There were the days where the number on the scale got smaller and my clothes fit a little looser.  There were the days that I finally felt good about myself.  Those were the days that made it all worth it!

There's the overview of my Whole30.  Stay turned for some of my favorite recipes I concocted during the course of the month...and some things that didn't work so well!

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