Okay, so here’s the truth, I’ve known April 7th, 2018 was coming my entire life. But is it just me or did time speed up and *boom* now I’m approaching my 30th year? Don’t get me wrong, I’m blessed to see my thirtieth year and to usher in the next chapter. But, I was also determined to make some fundamental changes in who I am before my actual birthday arrived. Enter the Whole 30 before 30.
A little under a year ago I really started thinking about the next chapter that is thirty. I like to say I’ve put a lot of life into my first 30 years, and it’s 100% true. I had a child between my junior and senior years of high school, graduated with a academic honors diploma, proceeded straight to IUPUI and earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees back-to-back, while somehow building a career (that may just be starting, but is filled with accomplishments I’m quite proud of!). I’m an active member of a county-wide leadership academy, I served on the ProAct Indy Board of Directors, I’m on two steering committees, I’m incredibly active in my community, and I’m a full-time, single parent to an amazing twelve year old. The first 30 has been pretty sweet.
But, the first 30 were a little out of order! While I jumped into education and the workforce, I sacrificed some of my freedoms, some of my fun, and I overlooked my overall health and wellness. It wasn’t that I ate poorly, but I didn’t eat great. And I work out, but when there’s time. So heading into 30, I wanted to make two changes: consistent efforts to work out and a better nutrition plan. Insert the Whole30 and membership to OrangeTheory, but that’s not why we’re here today!
The last 30 days have taught me so much about food, health, and overall wellness. I am a type one insulin-dependent diabetic, so it was truly an experiment to change not only how I eat, but what I eat. I not only lost inches, but weight, and I’ve committed to completing a second round after my 30th birthday because I feel I do deserve to celebrate with champagne and Cake Bake!
I highly recommend reading the Whole30 before starting the journey. I took almost two full weeks to get mentally prepared for the journey I was about to embark upon. I also completed the daily journal to help guide my thoughts and celebrate small wins along the way. So, without further rambling, here are some of my favorite recipes during my Whole 30 before 30, along with a few tips! [You can buy both books online: Whole30 and Day by Day.]
Meal prep will become your best friend.
No, seriously, you’ll find comfort in planning ahead and not having to think about what to eat when you’re tired, hangry, in-between shuttling kids, or juggling your own extracirriculars. My Sunday routine changed the most as I’d work to have my meals prepped and ready before noon, so I could enjoy the afternoon. Also, you may want to stock up on good Tupperware! I was very thankful for that White Elephant gift with a 75-piece set.
Plan your emergency meals.
I won’t lie, when I read this in the book I kind of laughed to myself. I truly didn’t think I would need an emergency meal to keep me on track. Oh how I was wrong. Anyone who knows me knows that I can eat breakfast any time of the day, so my go to meal was eggs, turkey sausage, and some diced potatoes with Mother Noble’s Cajun seasoning. If I was feeling really fancy I’d add a few fresh peppers! On Thursday and Friday nights, I’m spent, and I truly think my emergency meals kept me committed during the Whole30.
During my Whole30 the Midwest also received one last blast of winter from Mother Nature, and I knew I’d want comfort food. So, here are two of my go-to, Whole30 approved recipes for those needing something delicious to keep them motivated!
Pictured left to right: homemade wedge potato fries, tomato basil chicken soup
Homemade Wedge Potato Fries
- Cut your favorite potatoes.
- Drizzle in olive oil, salt, pepper, and Whole30 approved seasoning as you see fit.
- Bake on 350 for 40 minutes (alter time for softer or crunchier fries).
- Enjoy with Brickhouse Vinaigrette Garlic Herb Dressing, which is also Whole30 approved.
Tomato Basil Chicken Soup
- In a Dutch-oven (or large pan), combine 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes, 1/3 cup fresh basil, and 1 cup of garlic infused olive oil.
- Add 2 pounds of chicken, covering it with the sauce.
- Simmer on low heat for 25 minutes.
- If you’d prefer creamy, after those 25 minutes, remove the chicken and blend the remainder of the mixture in an immersion blender.
- Add chicken back in with blended mix (or leave it chunky!), and add 1 can of coconut milk.
- Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
Call on your support system!
There was one weekend I was just over the Whole30. Sick of the food, ready for something different. Luckily I called my friend Lauren, who’s a Whole30 pro and all around a ray of sunshine, and she suggested a Whole30 approved Buffalo Chicken Dip – be still my heart! The recipe was too easy: combine 2 pounds of shredded chicken, 1 cup of Frank’s RedHot, 1 cup of approved Primal Kitchen Ranch, and one cup of Primal Kitchen Avocado Mayo in your slow-cooker. Let it do it’s thing for four hours and enjoy! Bonus: add diced carrots and celery to the slow cooker for extra veggies. Delicious and approved!
It’s doable folks. The Whole30 is truly what you make it! I lost 6 pounds and 2 inches from head to toe, but greater than that, I discovered I am far more capable than I originally thought. So here’s to 30, and my second round of Whole30 coming later this April. Before I go, here’s a snapshot of a few other, quick, delicious recipes!
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: meal prepping, breakfast bake, steak fajitas with cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash with homemade meatballs, and meal prepping.
- Layer pan with shredded potatoes.
- Add two cut up peppers.
- Add turkey sausage (previously cooked and left just a little red so it doesn’t dry out in the oven).
- Top with 8 scrambled eggs, salt, and pepper.
- Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
- Cube steak and saute with Mother Noble’s Cajun seasoning.
- Add peppers and saute as desired.
Cauliflower Rice bowl (not pictured)
- There are variety of cauliflower rice blends available in the frozen section. Note: most of them have added seasonings that are not Whole30 approved. Double check the ingredients before tossing it in your cart!
- After you microwave the cauliflower rice, add in 5 cherry tomatoes, and half of an avocado.
- Top with Mother Noble’s Cilantro Lime Salt (you don’t need much!)
Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs
- I typically make spaghetti squash noodles, but they go bad so quickly! This time, I opted to buy Green Giant pre-cut noodles at Kroger, and boy they were delicious!
- In a separate bowl, combine 1 pound of ground turkey with black pepper and chopped white onion. Once mixed together, create your meatballs. Before tossing in the oven, top with fresh, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Bake meatballs at 250 for 25 minutes.
- Top noodles with a meatball or two, a couple cherry tomatoes, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.