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    Whole30 Challenge: Week One

    One of my meals during this week: Turkey Burger & Guacomole with Sweet Potato Buns, Fries, and Broccoli
    One of my meals during this week: Turkey Burger & Guacamole with Sweet Potato Buns, Sweet Potato Fries, and Broccoli

    In December of 2015, I made a #chenchallenge to get healthier. That was not going on another diet that I would ultimately give up on after a week (if that), or spending countless hours at the gym until I get bored and stop going. It was a lifestyle change – changing the way I lived (including exercise) and the way I ate. I started trying to eat healthier during Sunday – Thursday with a general rule of thumb of no processed or added sugar foods and exercising a lot more often, whether that meant going to hot yoga sessions 4-5 times a week, making an effort to walk more or go bike riding/snowboarding when weather permitted. Then, I would totally pig out Friday night and Saturday meals. Um, probably not the best approach since my weekend calorie count was obnoxiously higher than the week and my body was probably like WTF but hey, I was at least eating clean ~80% of the time right?.. better than eating clean 0%. And I did lose about 20 pounds, considering my highest and lowest weight in the past few years (#consultinglife). But I eventually plateaued and wanted to try something else.. One of my cousins was doing the Whole30 challenge (http://whole30.com/new/). If you don’t know what it is, it’s pretty much a “nutritional reset” – 30 days of clean eating with a set of rules, eliminating certain body-impacting food groups from your diet so that once your 30 days are over and you start adding back certain foods, you can see how they affect your body. She told me I should try it out. So, after a bit of reading on the Internets of many happy stories (especially from one of my favorite food bloggers – Michelle Tam of NomNomPaleo), I took up the 30 day challenge.

    I started on Monday, May 16th and today would have marked the completion of my first week… buuuuut I’m going to be honest and keep myself accountable: I failed. I slipped up last night at a restaurant eating dinner with friends at Westville in Chelsea. Westville has healthier options and it’s actually pretty good (although, pricier than my normal dining budget). I had such a good time catching up with my friends that I didn’t even realize I ordered artichokes and asparagus with parmesan until it came to the table. I didn’t want to waste it so I tried to brush off as much parmesan as I could. I guess I could have taken drastic measures to try to clean it off with water but I had a #yolo moment and just ate it. Do I regret it? Not really. Thanks to the pep talk from the Whole30/9 Team. I know I could just continue on but eh, I want to fully commit to the challenge so I restarted today with a target completion date of Tuesday, June 21st. But regardless, I’ll still share how my first week went and what I ate.

    Anyhow, this first week (of trying to do whole30! ha) wasn’t too bad. The days before my first day, I was on vacation in Arizona, so I had to do some prep before I left (normally, I would’ve tried to do this on a Saturday or Sunday). I researched and pinned a lot of Whole30 recipes on Pinterest. I created an old-fashioned excel sheet and planned every meal for Monday – Sunday. Then, I created a shopping list of everything I needed for the first week – the first one was longer than this upcoming weeks (and probably all the weeks after) since I never had things like coconut oil, almond meal, coconut flour, coconut milk, etc. in my pantry. I did my first Whole30 shopping haul at Trader Joe’s and Stop & Shop. TJ’s has a pretty good selection of paleo items, at a decent price. Some helpful TJ whole30 shopping lists I used: http://www.jaysbakingmecrazy.com/2015/06/19/must-have-pantry-items-for-a-whole30/ and http://www.jennyonthespot.com/wellness/25-whole30-compliant-foods-at-trader-joes/. One thing I realized in between pinning recipes and meal planning, while all the recipes looked super delish, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time (partially due to laziness and also don’t have that kind of time) with meal prep, cooking, or using so many ingredients that I wouldn’t normally use again; so, I tried to keep my meals pretty simple (but somewhat still tasty!) and I would make 2 servings of dinner (for next day lunch) so I didn’t have to cook lunch the next day.

    During the weekdays, it wasn’t too terrible as I was pretty much used to eating pretty cleanly (just had to take out some foods like oatmeal in the morning) but it got harder during the weekend, when I’m not home as much and usually go to restaurants to eat since I’m out and about. I find that preparation (even though it takes me SO LONG to do meal prep) is key to success to the Whole30, a paleo or any special diet lifestyle.

    I know I’ve read it’s common to get “the paleo blues” (such as headaches, major cravings, mood swings, crankiness, and tiredness) in the beginning since your body is going through a dietary change. On Tuesday, I had a major headache (not sure if it’s due to the new diet). I didn’t necessarily feel any more energetic. Also, I was often still pretty hungry even after my meals (I did not use the Whole30 meal template), which led to some snacking of Whole30 compliant foods such as fruit or cashews (snacking is not recommended on Whole30 and I may have eaten too many cashews… so addicting!). Food prep/cooking does take a long time, which is definitely what I see as a huge roadblock for me as I try to eat a variety of meals during the week so I don’t get bored.

    This is what I ate the first week and I will probably copy a lot of these meals throughout the 30 days (but will probably try to better follow the meal template).

    Monday – Day 1
    Brunch (aka I skipped breakfast due to sleeping past it after a redeye flight back to NYC)

    • 1x Aidell’s Chicken Apple Sausage
    • 2x Fried Eggs using coconut oil
    • Trader Joe (TJ)’s Serrano Salsa Fresca

    Dinner

    • Chicken Tenders, pan fried using coconut oil – Recipe from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy
    • Sweet Potato Fries with old bay seasoning, pan fried using coconut oil
    • Broccoli with ground pepper

    Tuesday – Day 2
    Breakfast

    • 1x Banana with Almond Butter
    • 1x Fried Egg using coconut oil
    • TJ’s Serrano Salsa Fresca

    Lunch

    • Left overs from Mon’s dinner

    Dinner

    • Turkey Burger (my own half-baked recipe – go to “How To Make Turkey Burger” – but pan fried using coconut oil)
    • TJ’s Avocado’s Number Guacamole
    • Sweet Potato Buns, pan fried using coconut oil
    • Sweet Potoat Fries with old bay seasoning, pan fried using coconut oil
    • Broccoli with ground pepper

    Wednesday – Day 3
    Breakfast

    • 2 boiled egg whites (I hate cooked yolk)
    • 1x Banana with Almond Butter

    Lunch

    • Leftovers from Tues’ dinner

    Dinner

    • Spicy Turkey Meatballs (inspiration from old post of spicy turkey meatballs) – just used red pepper flakes, old bay seasoning, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
    • String Beans

    Thursday – Day 4
    Breakfast

    • 2x Eggs Omelette with String Beans and Chicken

    Lunch

    • Leftovers from Wed’s dinner

    Dinner

    • Yellow Curry Meatballs with String Beans (my own recipe with inspiration from my grandma and Fashionable Foods‘s Thai Yellow Curry Turkey Meatballs) – I made 3 servings

    Friday – Day 5
    Breakfast

    • 1x Aidell’s Chicken Apple Sausage
    • 1x Banana with Almond Butter

    Lunch

    • Leftovers from Thurs’ dinner

    Dinner at Sushi Restaurant

    • 1x “no-rice” roll of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado wrapped in cucumber
    • 7x pieces of sashimi

    Saturday – Day 6 (Failed)
    Breakfast

    • 1x Aidell’s Chicken Apple Sausage
    • 1x Egg Omelette with String Beans
    • TJ’s Serrano Salsa Fresca

    Lunch

    • Leftovers from Thurs’ dinner

    Dinner at American Restaurant:

    • Grilled Chicken
    • Grilled Asparagus with parmesan (#fail)
    • Roasted Artichokes with parmesan (#fail)

    Overall, I think I can continue doing this for 4 more weeks. Many people say it will get easier! I sure hope so. I’ll also try to track better what I eat through the myFitnesspal app so I have better idea of proportions and not overeating. If anyone has done the Whole30 before, I’d love to hear your experience or any tips. Hope I survive this week! Eek!

    Until next,
    xoxo Eileen

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