Saturday, October 11, 2014

Breaking News...Round 2!!!

sorry I've been absent for a month, things got a little hectic last month, I slipped away from the disciplined, clean eating I'd been keeping to for over a month, and...well, I just got lazy. When you're lazy, you'll eat just about anything put in front of you. And I pretty much did. Ah, such is life.

But great news! I'm taking on another round of the Whole30 in support of my little sister!! We've been at it for the better part of a week, and I'm proud of her determination! She's been struggling with digestion and intestinal issues for most of this year, so she decided to do the Whole30 to see if it would help ease some of the painful symptoms that she's been having. Perhaps you'll see her in a guest post further down the line!!

Just a quick recap of some of the things I've eaten this week, which have pretty much been the same every day: breakfast has been chicken Apple sausage and homemade coconut milk yogurt with my homemade mango jam mixed in, then grilled chicken, zucchini soup, and baby carrots for lunch, and a new stir fry I mixed up this week for dinner! I spiralized a sweet potato and sautéed half of the noodles in a little ghee to soften them, then I mixed in some browned ground beef and some steam-sautéed "Cruciferous Crunch" veggie mix from Trader Joe's (it finally opened in Boca!!). I seasoned liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then also threw in some ground mustard and fennel seeds. It was really good!

My sister and I are planning to do another big cookup Sunday afternoon for the week ahead, so I'll report back more after then. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Hmm, wonder what this could be for???

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mid-weekend Update!

Previously on the Bumpbuster blog...I'd promised all you faithful readers an update on my homemade coconut milk yogurt experiment.

The verdict? DELICIOSITY!!!

I got home from work on Thursday evening, and my little jars of tangy, coconutty wonder had been chilling all day in the fridge. I took out a jar, dipped in a spoon, and tasted. It was the clean tang of yogurt I'd missed, and just a hint of coconut n the background. Creamy goodness! I decided to amp up the flavor by swirling in a spoonful or two of no-sugar-added mango jam that I'd made back at the end of July. Flashback photo...

Canning homemade jam makes me feel like a domestic goddess. Which I definitely am not.

The yogurt was definitely thinner than the Greek yogurt I'd been buying before going paleo, but it is very enjoyable and satisfying. I took another jar in my lunch on Friday, so I've got just five jars left to enjoy before I need to make another batch. Plus, I've had requests from family members to share!! I might end up buying a second set of jars, so I can always be ready to make a batch even if I'm still working on the first. I just love the fact that I can now make my own yogurt at home, and control what goes into each batch. The only sugar I added to the recipe was a tablespoon and a half of coconut sugar, which is absolutely necessary for the yogurt cultures to feed off of during the fermentation process. Once the process is finished there is no sugar left in the finished product. No additives, no preservatives, just real food!

A quick recap of Thursday through today's meals (DISCLAIMER: I've gone off the rails a bit these past two days!):

Thursday, Sept. 11th:
Breakfast: diced chicken thighs, collard greens, and sweet potato hash, banana with sunbutter
Lunch: spicy tuna cakes, carrots, chopped nectarine with coconut cream
Dinner: zucchini noodles with homemade meat sauce, yogurt with mango jam
Evening snack: grapes and Caramelized coconut chips

Friday, Sept. 12th:
Breakfast: Aidell's chicken apple sausage, banana with sunbutter
Lunch: spicy tuna cakes, carrots
Afternoon snack: homemade banana pudding (more on this later)
Dinner: boyfriend treated to Capital Grille! Appetizer: fried calamari with cherry peppers Entree: steak au poivre with shared sides of roasted wild mushrooms and potato au gratin Dessert: creme brûlée 

Saturday, Sept. 13th:
Breakfast: apple fritter and bacon maple donuts with a decaf coffee from Rhino Donuts in Lauderdale by the Sea

As you can see, from Friday afternoon on, it was gradual slide into Cheat Day Extraordinaire; whoops! There's a story behind the banana pudding, though. At the end of July, one of the employees of the company I work for (which happens to be my dad's company) came to me about assistance with his insurance benefits. He had previously declined our company insurances, because he was covered under his wife's plan. Then she was laid off in July, so they now needed to enroll in our company plans.

 I helped him get his paperwork together, then I needed some additional information from their previous plan to submit to the insurance company. While he was on the phone with his wife getting the information, he asked me if I liked sweets. Now, by this time it was around the first week in August, and I was a few days into my Whole30; I told him I definitely had a sweet tooth, but I was doing a challenge and not eating sugar for 30 days. He asked when the challenge was up, and I said after Labor Day. He then said, "okay, after Labor Day, my wife is gonna make you her homemade banana pudding as a thank you!" 
Banana pudding...a Southern hug in a bowl
Now, I'm half Southern, and my food preferences definitely lean towards my Southern roots, and I LOVE banana pudding! How could I turn that down? So yesterday was the day, and his wife brought in a still-warm dish of the banana pudding into my office. They are two very sweet and nice people, and honestly one of my favorite parts of my job is being able to help the employees any way I can with dealing with insurance or whatever other payroll/HR issues they may have. Getting repaid in desserts is just icing on the cake. Heh heh.

As far as Capital Grille goes, the food there is so good, I couldn't resist indulging some more. And the menu is pricey, so it's a very occasional treat (the boyfriend had a $50 coupon, which is one of the reasons we went - the bill still ended up at $100 WITH the coupon!). Their fried calamari with cherry peppers is about the best calamari I've ever had, so I was definitely ordering some of those. I love the spicy, vinegary contrast of the peppers with the crispy, chewy calamari. The steak was pretty good, too, but was actually outshined by the two sides we ordered to share, which were both recommendations from our waiter. The roasted wild mushrooms were so earthy and savory, a good counterbalance to the pepperiness of my steak, and the potato au gratin just melted in my mouth. I should've stopped after my entree, but creme brûlée sounded too good to pass up!

And I have no real excuse for going to Rhino Donuts this morning after Pilates and yoga (I did back to back sessions; Pilates from 8-9, and hot yoga from 9-10:30). I'd heard very good things about the new donut shop in LBTS, so walked over and ate my two donuts at one of the sidewalk tables. Both donuts were delicious, but I'm really looking forward to trying one of their "rhino horns" when they put them back on the menu after the weather cools down (apparently they're difficult to make in the heat and humidity) - they're Rhino's version of the famous Cronut from NYC's Dominique Ansel Bakery!

That's about all for now, still on tap for the weekend is a baby shower this evening, and doing my weekly cookup at some point today or tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!
So-long-for-now Snaggle

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pilates, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, and The Great Yogurt Experiment

Ahh there's so much to share today, and it's getting so late! Here goes nothing, though...first, my meals today:
Buster is a big fan of zucchini noodles, apparently.

Breakfast: diced grilled chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, and collard greens, banana with sunbutter
Lunch: spicy tuna cakes, baby carrots with guacamole, chopped nectarine with coconut cream
Dinner: zucchini noodles topped with homemade meat sauce


Man, that homemade meat sauce was delish! I just used a recipe I found on, with a few tweaks. In the future, I'll make some changes, such as letting it simmer even longer, and adding more tomato paste (I only had about a tablespoon left in the tube). But it was pretty tasty for my first stab at making homemade sauce!

I had another Pilates session earlier this evening, so it was already somewhat late when I got home. But since I hand time to kill while my meat sauce simmered, I got to working on my first batch of HOMEMADE COCONUT YOGURT!!.

Back before I made the switch to the Paleo lifestyle (let's face it, it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle, haha), yogurt was a regular staple in my diet. I'd either have a yogurt as breakfast, or as part of my lunch. Sometimes I miss the creaminess of yogurt, and the ability to get extra protein in my diet in the form of a sweet almost-dessert. And then I saw a post on Instagram from one of my favorite Whole30 bloggers, and she made her own homemade almond milk yogurt! She had gotten her recipe from Lexie's Kitchen, and sure enough, she had both an almond milk yogurt recipe and a coconut milk yogurt recipe posted on her website! Obviously, yogurt made from coconut milk doesn't contain the protein of a traditional cows' milk yogurt, but hey, you can't always get what you want. I'll eat my paleo yogurt with a side of meat, hahaha.

I purchased a yogurt maker (fairly inexpensive), yogurt starter, and gathered the ingredients over the past week, so I was ready to go tonight. It was a fairly easy process, and now I've got seven 6 oz. jars culturing away overnight! I'll report back in tomorrow on whether the batch is a success, and if it's yummy. I fully plan on mixing some of my no sugar added homemade mango jam with the yogurt, yum!
Mmm, my little jars of probiotics

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sushi Tuesday!!!

Gotta make this quick interwebz were down for most of the evening, oh noes!!

Breakfast: chicken apple sausage, banana with sunbutter
Lunch: 3 spicy tuna cakes, small mixed greens salad with grilled chicken, carrots, cukes, tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette from Italio
Snack: baby carrots and guac, chopped nectarine with coconut cream
Dinner: 2 sushi bomb rolls from Bluefin Sushi Thai

The salad at lunch was an impromptu decision when D/B offered to pick me up something while he was out at lunch; it was really good! After work, I went over to my sister's new house to see her and the kids, and we decided to walk over to the really good sushi place across the street. They have a Tuesday special, the sushi bomb rolls are $5 each with purchase of a drink. These rolls are tuna, salmon, and whitefish with asparagus and avocado, and the whole roll is tempura-ed and deep fried...definitely NOT paleo or Whole30, but pretty delish!!! Plus, when we walked into the restaurant, my parents' neighbors and good friends Bridget and Paulie were there, so we joined them for dinner! It was a fun evening for sure. I need to clean it up the rest of the week, I definitely felt a little heavy after dinner tonight, kinda bloated, so I need to get back to my happy place.

That's about it for tonight; I was going to try my hand at making coconut milk yogurt after I got home, but the boyfriend stopped by and I ran out of time. So perhaps tomorrow night! Gotta test this bad boy out:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekend Recap

There's always so much to catch up on on Monday nights, isn't there?

Friday, Sept 5th:
Breakfast: chicken apple sausage, scrambled eggs, banana
Lunch: diced chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, and turnip greens hash, chopped nectarine with coconut cream
Dinner: sloppy joes (sans hamburger buns), crudité, grapes

Saturday, Sept 6th:
Breakfast: chicken apple sausage, scrambled eggs, banana
Lunch: Chipotle salad with carnitas, pico, medium salsa, guacamole 
Dinner: Mississippi Sweets BBQ pulled pork platter with Mississippi Sweets (sweet potato chips) and  cole slaw

Sunday, Sept 7:
Breakfast: chicken apple sausage, scrambled eggs, banana
Lunch: ground beef sautéed with onions and broccoli, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes
Dinner: JB's On The Beach seared ahi tuna salad, coconut banana cream pie

Monday, Sept 8th:
Breakfast: diced chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, and turnip greens hash
Lunch: ground beef sautéed with onions and broccoli, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes, chopped nectarine with coconut cream
Snack: banana with sunbutter
Dinner: scrambled eggs with spinach and feta chicken sausage, grapes

Yes, you read that right...I ordered dessert on Sunday night. And I didn't feel bad about it! I shared the slice of pie with my boyfriend, and didn't feel bloated or icky afterwards. I did, however, get a low level headache late this afternoon, most likely from sugar withdrawal. I must remember the sugar headaches the next time I'm tempted to order dessert! Honestly, though, I don't think it's a terrible hint to indulge every now and then, but there's always a trade-off, and you have to decide if it's worth the consequences.

I went back to Pilates again after work, and it was another good session. My instructor also told me to practice cobra pose on a regular basis, as this allows the vertebrae in the lower back to expand and potentially allow the bulging disc to ease back into place. It seems counterintuitive to me, but at this point I'm willing to do just about anything - and my back does feel better after a few poses.

Sorry I've gotten lazy about taking pics, here's one of the fresh, cold-pressed juice I picked up at my Pilates studio to tide you over till tomorrow night!

Beet it, kook!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Healing My Back

It's been over five months now that I've been trying to get my lower back straightened out; I saw a chiropractor for a month back in late May/early June, I took over a month off of exercising completely. I modified workouts to remove anything involving my lower back - leaving mostly shoulder work and the stationary bike. Finally, I've seen two orthopedics, and just Tuesday, finally had an MRI.

My orthopedic got the MRI results in yesterday afternoon, and other than a slight bulge in my L4-L5, congenital narrowing of the canal and a very slight touch of scoliosis, the results were clear. My ortho also seems to think my issues might lay within my SI joints, not the lumbar spine, because of how the pain tends to travel down to my tailbone. He offered me three options: anti-inflammatories, oral steroids, or injections. I'm trying the anti-inflammatories (600mg 3x a day for 10 days) for the time being, then I go back to the ortho on the 17th.

I'm also continuing my Pilates regimen; I'm currently attending reformer classes twice a week, with one complimentary yoga/mat Pilates class a week as well. I went to a yoga class tonight, and I really enjoyed it. We did a lot of deep stretching, especial hip openers, which should really help my SI joints in the long run. I'm going to have to wait until Monday for another reformer class, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Here's my menu for today:
Breakfast:diced chicken, sweet potatoes, and turnip greens hash
Lunch: ground beef on Ethiopian cabbage drizzled with BBQ-mayo sauce, chopped peaches drizzled with coconut cream
Snack: banana with sunbutter
Dinner: Deliver Lean turkey shepherds pie with maple glazed turnips (boyfriend shared with me!)

I'm getting low on prepped food again, so I need to get back in the kitchen before the weekend. I've got some more ground beef I can cook up, plus some broccoli to steam. I went pretty light when I grocery shopped Tuesday night, but I think I can make it to Sunday. Eating clean is denifitely expensive! But, as they say, you can pay the farmer now, or pay the doctor later!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Whole30 Results, Recap, and the Hot Dog Story

So I teased you guys with the picture above last night; it shows the beginning, middle, and end points of the thirty days. I also stepped on the scale for the first time in a month this morning...and I'm down 7 pounds! I think I still have a bit to go on reducing da pooch, but it's definitely flatter and less bloated than a month ago. And my pants all fit better! That's the most important thing to me, not the number on the scale. I'm also sleeping better and am just feeling more calm and content in general, and it feels great. Those feelings are keeping me determined to keep sugar out of my diet!!

And now...the hot dog story. As I told you in last Thursday's post, my boyfriend and I had tickets to the Miami Surge-New York Rhinos Gridleague match Saturday night. It worked out perfectly, because his parents were staying at their condo in Miami for the past week, so we went down and visited with them for the afternoon, then headed down to the match in the evening. We got down to their condo around 2 Saturday afternoon, and met them at the cafe out on the beach, where we ordered some sushi. I ordered a cucumber wrapped tuna roll, and I'd smuggled my coconut aminos in like a good lil Whole30er! We hung out for about 3 hours, then headed down.

Now, I'd read online that there was going to be tailgating before the match, plus there was to be a local paleo meal delivery company set up in front of the arena. Grabbing some compliant snack per game would be a cinch, right? Wrong. The meal delivery company was only handing out samples! So we went inside, where I hoped there'd be something, anything I could order from concessions. Uhh...hmm. Chicken fingers, nachos, popcorn, Papa Johns...I was starting to panic. It was only six o'clock at this point, the match was going to go until at least nine, what the heck was I going to do? The cucumber roll was long gone at this point. Finally, I decided to order an all-beef hot dog, top it with yellow mustard, and eat it sans bun. It was as compliant as I was gonna get while trapped inside the Bank United Center for three hours over dinner time. That didn't even stick with me the time we were heading back north, I was absolutely starving and had developed a headache. I snapped at my boyfriend the whole way back to Fort Lauderdale, because we were meeting up with friends and I was pretty sure there'd be no food for me there. Finally, we stopped at a 7-11 in Fort Lauderdale, where I proceeded to purchase a 2-pack of hard-boiled eggs, 2 bananas, and a bag each of salted almonds and cashews. And a coconut water. And that my friends, is how you do 7-11 Whole30 style!!!

Time to recap the past two days of food:

Tuesday, September 2nd:
Breakfast: zucchini soup, three scrambled eggs, banana with sunbutter
Lunch: Naruto cucumber rolls with coconut aminos 
Dinner: browned ground beef on top of Ethiopian cabbage drizzled with BBQ-mayo sauce, fruit salad

Wednesday, September 3rd:
Breakfast: zucchini soup, diced chicken thigh, sweet potato, and turnip greens hash, banana
Lunch: browned ground beef on top of Ethiopian cabbage drizzled with BBQ-mayo sauce, fruit salad
Dinner: Italian hot plate! Diced chicken thighs sautéed with diced onions, steamed broccoli, and diced tomatoes, seasoned with Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes

So that's my recap of the past two days, as well as my Whole30 results and the hot dog story. Tune in tomorrow for my MRI results and plan of action over the next two weeks for my back!

Crossing the Whole30 Finish Line!

I made it! I made it! Today was Day 30 of my Whole30, and it's officially over! It wasn't always easy, but I'm so glad I did it. I've been debating with myself for the past week about what to do on Day 31, and at this point I think I'm just going to keep going as long as I can. Granted, this might only last till the weekend, but a girl can try! I'm going to continue to try to eat Whole30-style as much as possible (definitely during the week), and try to make sensible choices when eating out on the weekends.

Speaking of weekends, here's what I ate over the long weekend:

Friday, August 29th:
Breakfast: diced chicken, sweet potato, and collard hash, banana
Lunch: Chipotle - Bossman's treat! - carnitas salad with pico de gallo, medium salsa, and guacamole
Dinner: baked sweet potato stuffed with collards and chili
Late night snack: chopped nectarine with coconut cream

Saturday, August 30th:
Breakfast: zucchini soup, hard-boiled egg, banana
Lunch: tuna salad with carrots and cucumber slices
Afternoon snack: cucumber roll with tuna
Dinner: all-beef hot dog with mustard, hard-boiled egg, banana, cashews and almonds (more on that hot dog later)

Sunday, August 31st:
Breakfast: zucchini soup, banana
Lunch: tuna salad, banana with sunbutter, hard-boiled egg
Dinner: Chipotle - carnitas salad with pico de gallo, medium salsa, and guacamole 

Monday, September 1st:
Breakfast: hard-boiled egg, apple slices and grapes
Lunch: tuna salad
Dinner: ribeye steak with Montreal steak rub, baked sweet potato, veggies with paleo ranch dressing, fresh fruit

I'm gonna have to save the hot dog story for tomorrow night, it's getting way too late! Stay with me as I continue the adventures!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Whole30: Days 24 & 25

Breakfast of champions
I can't believe I'm only five days always from completing my Whole30! There's only a 3-day holiday weekend standing between me and the finish line, haha. Let's recap what I shoved in my face over the past two days, shall we?

Wednesday, 8/27:
Breakfast: diced grilled chicken thighs, sweet potato, and collard greens hash, banana
Lunch: Chili over zucchini noodles
Snack: Caramelized coconut chips
Dinner: red Thai curry over zucchini noodles, peaches with coconut whipped cream

Thursday, 8/38:
Breakfast: diced grilled chicken thighs, sweet potato, and collard greens hash, banana
Lunch: chili over collard greens and a baked sweet potato
Snack: baby carrots with guacamole, hard-boiled egg, mixed nuts
A perfectly balanced snack!

Dinner: red Thai curry over zucchini noodles

This week has been somewhat hectic, so I'm really glad I've had a good stash of food, ready to go, all week. I know some people hate eating the same thing over and over, but I really don't mind. Especially since I'm the one making the food and it's all my favorites! Since Sunday, the only food I've prepped is the curry Tuesday night, which literally took 5 minutes, and I mixed up another batch of tuna salad this evening while I heated up the last of the curry. Now I'll have lunch through the weekend, and I still have plenty of chili left as well. I also have a pound of grass-fed beef  waiting in reserves in the fridge, as well as a few veggies I can prep. I should be set on food through Labor Day!

So here's the update on my visit to the orthopedic clinic for my back. First if all, if anyone in Palm Beach or Broward Counties needs to see an orthopedic, I highly recommend Emere in Boca Raton; it's a walk-in orthopedic clinic, similar to an urgent care center, so no appointment needed. I walked in, filled out a few forms, and was seen by a doctor literally within 10 minutes. And I absolutely loved the doctor - Dr. Jace Provo, who is actually on staff with the NBA. He sat down and talked with me, asked what was going on with my back, then performed a few diagnostic tests, having me both stand and lie down to perform the tests. He said that my issues were in the L5-S1 area of my back, which is a common area for injury for crossfitters, and that he was going to order an MRI to really see what was going on in there. And that made me really happy, I really hope that I'll finally have an answer to what's going on with my back. I scheduled the MRI for Tuesday after work, they just need to get approval from my insurance in order to perform the MRI. So fingers crossed that they don't deny me!

I've got another busy weekend ahead; Pilates first thing Saturday morning, then I'm pretty sure I have to head into the office for a few hours after that (it's the last business day of the month). After that, my boyfriend and I will be heading down to Fisher Island in Miami, where his parents have a condo. It's like entering a different world, going over to the island, a nice little getaway. We'll visit with them for a few hours, then we're headed to Coral Gables to catch the very first Gridleague match in Miami! What's the Gridleague, you ask??

According to, Grid is "the world’s first professional spectator sport with co-ed teams that compete in strategic athletics racing. It’s a mainstream sporting league that is fan, TV and sponsor friendly. Each two-hour match features two 10-person teams (5 men, 5 women, one of each being over 40 years old) going head to head in 11 fast races. Grid races are easy to follow and are played with pre-set rules and unlimited substitutions designed to force teams to strategize." My condensed definition? It's a professional Crossfit league! There are 8 teams for the 2014 season, with one expansion team set to join the league in 2015. Miami's team is the Miami Surge, and has some well-know athletes on the team - Talayna Fortunato and Lauren Brooks, to name two. And they're facing off against the New York Rhinos Saturday night! So I'll report back in and give a recap on the event,

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Whole30: One Week to Go!

Buster got all fancy for the occasion

Happy National Dog Day, everyone!

This week is moving right along; here's what I ate today:

Breakfast: mug of zucchini soup, Aidell's chicken apple sausage link, banana
Lunch: tuna salad with carrots and cucumber slices, chopped nectarine with coconut cream
Dinner: red Thai curry with chicken, bamboo shoots and yellow squash

I hadn't originally planned to make the curry this week, but I had all of the ingredients to make the curry sauce in my pantry, so it was just a matter of choosing which veggies to throw in with the chicken. It literally takes 5 minutes to make! I used 2 tbsp. Thai Kitchen red curry paste, a can of coconut milk, and 2 tbsp. of Red Boat fish sauce. Ah, fish sauce...smells like stanky feet going in, but makes the final product so much better! It just adds a salty savoriness that I definitely miss if I don't include it.

I went to Crossfit after work today, and got in some strict press and strict pullup practice. I did 5 sets of 3 strict press (I did 65#), then 1 strict pullup. Then, I did three sets of 3:00 on the Airdyne for calories, with 3:00 rest in between. I got 38, 46, and 50 calories on each set. After the class, I strapped on the pair of gravity boots they have at the gym, and looked like this for a few minutes:

Letting go of the bar to get into the dead hang takes a little bit of courage...

My back had grown increasingly more and more agitated throughout the day (well before I went to Crossfit), so I really wanted to give the gravity boots a try. As soon as I put them on, my spine just felt like it stretched out and decompressed, and a satisfying pop occurred. Unfortunately, as soon as I came back down, my back tightened right back up, and got tighter after I went home and ate.

So I think I'm going to go back to the orthopedic tomorrow, actually go to the new walk-in orthopedic, Emere, that my friend just started working for. I've got to get some answers on what is going on with my back; it's not like I'm in severe pain all the time, but it hurt pretty bad tonight and I'm sick of being on the IR. So we'll see how that goes...

Tomorrow is HUMP DAYYYYYY!!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Whole30: Days 19-22

I've fallen behind this weekend on blogging! I was barely home enough to get my food prepped for the upcoming week, let alone log my food. I'll fill ya in on all the details, but first, my food log...

Friday, 8/22:
Breakfast: Scotch egg with Ethiopian cabbage, banana
Lunch: Ground beef with Ethiopian cabbage drizzled with mayo/BBQ sauce
Dinner: Cheesecake Factory Luau Salad minus edamame, cheese, and wontons, with  olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Saturday, 8/23:
Breakfast: grilled diced chicken thighs with collards and sweet potato
Lunch: Chipotle salad with carnitas, no beans, pico de gallo, medium salsa, and guacamole
Snack: Starbucks unsweetened iced passion tea, banana
Dinner: grilled chicken thighs and ground beef with Ethiopian cabbage

Sunday, 8/24
Breakfast: Scotch egg with Ethiopian cabbage
Lunch: tuna salad with carrots and cucumbers
Dinner: Chocolate chili from Well Fed over zucchini noodles

Monday, 8/25:
Breakfast: Mug of silky gingered zucchini soup, Aidell's chicken apple sausage, and a banana
Lunch: Tuna salad with carrots and cucumbers, chopped nectarine with coconut cream
Dinner: Chocolate chili over zucchini noodles and a baked sweet potato
Evening snack: Nectarine

On Friday, I worked until lunchtime, and decided to take the afternoon off. My boyfriend had taken the whole day off, and we decided to head down to the BB&T Center to take in day 1 of The Crush Games, a local Crossfit competition. We ended up staying down there until early evening, and headed across the street afterward to Sawgrass Mills mall. I was getting hangry, so after some shopping we headed to Cheesecake Factory. I was nervous about finding something to eat there, but salads are always a safe bet so long as you sub a few items. I wolfed my salad down!
This is what Whole30 hell looks like...

Saturday morning, I woke up early to head to Pilates at 8, but before I left, I brewed a cup of coffee and sautéed up my breakfast hash to take on the road. After class, I ate on the way out to the BB&T Center. It worked out perfectly, my boyfriend's first heat was at 9:55 and I got there in plenty of time. Some other friends of mine were several heats after him, so I stayed to watch their heat, then headed out to find lunch around noon.
That's my hunk on the far right!
I had googled the day before for Chipotle and found there was one about a mile down the road from the arena, so I headed straight there. The carnitas salad was so good! Of course, I love ordering the burrito bowl with rice and beans usually, but ah well, the salad was pretty good. And I still got to order guac, yum!

After heading back and watching the finals heats of the afternoon, and I headed back across the street to the mall and met up with my little sister for some more shopping. She did all the shopping! But I did grab the snack at Starbucks, which held me over until I could get home for dinner and had some of my quickly dwindling leftovers - I was definitely going to have to make food on Sunday. I ended up just laying low on Saturday night, it had been a long day.

Sunday morning I woke up and went to church, then came home and mixed up a batch of homemade mayo, which I then I used to make tuna salad. I had a scoop of that with cucumber slices and baby carrots. While I ate, I made my cooking plan for the week, and made my shopping list at the same time. After lunch, I headed off to Publix, and was back home within a half hour, ready to start my "cooking wod"!

First, I got the batches of Chocolate Chili and Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup going on the stove, so that once they reached a simmer, I could focus on other things. I preheated the oven and got the sweet potatoes as well as chopped yellow squash roasting. I fired up the grill, and grilled off 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs. I also spiralized three zucchini, dividing the noodles into six portions in to go containers.
I had all of his food cooked up in under three hours! Better yet, I also have the ingredients on hand to make a quick Thai curry this week, which I can serve over the zucchini noodles. So I've got plenty of options that should keep me fed throughout this week!
My fridge, post-cookup!
Today was a typical Monday, but I ended up heading to my parents' for dinner with my family, since if didn't see them over he weekend. I brought a serving of the chili with zucchini noodles, plus a roasted sweet potato. My niece kept stealing bites of my sweet potato! Good thing she's a cutie!

That about wraps up my weekend and Monday, I'm down to 9 days to go on my challenge! More thoughts later this week on what lies ahead and what I plan to do post-Whole30!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Whole30: Day 18

So the first half of the Whole30 challenge seemed to fly by, but this week I've found myself thinking, I'm only on Day 17? I still have 13 days to go?? Time seems to be dragging this week; fortunately, food boredom has not set in yet, and I'm not absolutely sick of cooking (yet), possibly because I do try to experiment at least once a week.

I did a 2-month paleo challenge through my Crossfit box back in the early spring, and it was really successful - I lost about 10 pounds and got really lean - AND I started hitting PRs in the gym. Then towards the end, food boredom set in, I just really didn't feel like cooking up a whole bunch of food every week anymore. It also didn't help that I had company staying with me for a month - company that I absolutely loved having stay with me, but wanted to cook me delicious, non-paleo Southern food. I gave in and let her feed me whatever, and slowly, the weight crept back on and I lost the leanness I'd gained. Then I hurt my back, and it all went downhill from there...

Lean, mean, Crossfit machine!
Back to today, here's what I shoved in my face:

Breakfast: Banana with sunbutter, Scotch egg, broccoli
Lunch: Ethiopian cabbage topped with diced grilled chicken thighs and BBQ sauce, chopped nectarine drizzled with coconut cream
Snack: handful of macadamia nuts
Dinner: baked sweet potato stuffed with pulled pork and topped with BBQ sauce, Ethiopian cabbage, small salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

My boyfriend...he's a total hottie when he wods :D
I'm going to be cheering my boyfriend on in a local Crossfit competition for most of the weekend, so it's gonna be tough to get my food squared away for the upcoming week. Gotta come up with a game plan and then execute when I can, most likely in the evenings! I'll also be taking food along to the competition, so we'll see how that works out. Since I won't have access to a microwave to heat up my food, I'll most likely pack tuna with carrots and cucumbers, maybe a piece of fruit, and maybe I'll hard boil some more eggs. With a lunch bag with a freezer pak, I should be good to go. I'll report back on that later in the weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

So This Happened Tonight...

Here, fishy fishy...
Yup, I did it. I made the Pan-Fried Sardines from Well Fed 2 for dinner. Before tonight, I'd never eaten sardines in my life, and when I think of them, they send me back to my high school days. For Homecoming week, we had a grab bag contest where whatever you pulled out of the bag, you had to eat as fast as possible. Sardines and Vienna sausages were ALWAYS in the bag!!

Tonight, however, while the flavor of the fish was definitely stronger than I'm used to, it was not unpleasant, and the light breading of arrowroot powder and spices provided a crunchy texture and flavor that could stand up to the sardines. I ate them over Ethiopian Cabbage, also a Mel Joulwan recipe, and the cabbage had bold seasonings as well. So baby steps, baby steps. I know fish like sardines and mackerel are high in omega 3s, plus they're pretty economical, so I'm trying to broaden my horizons and learn to enjoy them. I would call tonight's dish a success!

The rest of today's food log:

Breakfast: mug of Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup, Scotch egg, broccoli, banana with sunbutter
Lunch: Ground beef over Ethiopian cabbage, drizzled with mayo/BBQ sauce mix, chopped nectarine with coconut cream
Looks weird, tastes awesome
Snack: Caramelized coconut chips

I went right home from work today and made up a batch of the coconut chips to tide me over till dinner (I get off work at 4:30). I ended up laying on my bed, eating the chips and watching tv, and before I knew it, I'd fallen asleep for almost two hours! I've been averaging only 6 hours of sleep per night, so I know I definitely need to work on that. Food is only part of the equation; your body needs plenty of rest to recover and heal as well, and this part of the equation often gets ignored in today's fast-paced world. I know it's the hardest part for me, and as I get older I realize that I can't function on as few hours as I used to. I'm not really sure how I survived almost six years at Deloitte!

On that note, I think I'll turn in. Good night all!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Whole30: Day 16

Food log:

Breakfast: Scotch egg with steamed broccoli, banana
Lunch: leftover pulled pork, collard greens and sweet potato "strata"
Afternoon snack: chopped nectarine drizzled with coconut cream
Dinner: spiralized yellow squash topped with homemade meat sauce (made by my friend Kelli)

What are Scotch eggs, you ask?
Mmm...tasty little morsels of meaty goodness 
I also like to refer to them as "protein bombs" - it's a hard-boiled egg (peeled, of course) encased in pork sausage, then baked in the oven. Apparently you can find these everywhere in the UK, they're deep-fried across the pond. Hopefully someday I'll be able to taste the real deal, but in the meantime, one of these plus veggies on the side make for a tasty, tasty meal. I made them last night and placed them in to go containers, ready for my lunch (and breakfast) bag.

I actually went to Crossfit this evening! My back has been sore all day, I must've tweaked it a little at Pilates last night, which is a bummer. The strength portion of the wod today at my box was 6 attempts  at a one rep max weighted (strict) pull-up; I was pumped because this is one of only several exercises that I can do and not bother my back. After warming up, I got to work setting out the dumbbells I would clasp between my feet to use as weight; I started off with just a body weight strict pull-up to see how it felt, and it felt great. I then worked in 5 pound increments, up to 25#; it took a few tries at 25#, but I finally got my chin up over the bar! My box uses an app called Wodify to track everyone's times and scores, and I think I had the 5th best weight among the women for the pull-ups! Not too shabby for a scrawny-shouldered gal like myself!! During the metcon, which was a variation of Fran, I rode the Airdyne for 15 minutes, and got some good cardio in. Felt good to be back in the class, for sure.
Again, not me...but this is how I did my pull-ups, except with a pronated grip

I cooked up some more food tonight, including a pound of grass-fed beef and Ethiopian Cabbage from The Clothes Make the Girl, so I have more tasty food to keep me fueled throughout the week. Check back tomorrow night, I plan to get adventurous with my dinner tomorrow!

Whole30: Halfway There!!

I'll keep it short here tonight, because it's wayyyy past my bedtime; I got home from Pilates around 7:15 and then needed to cook some things up for dinner, so I've been running behind all night. I'd been meaning to make another batch of BBQ sauce all weekend, and finally got around to it tonight. I used some of the sauce to make a sort of layered dish, with sliced sweet potatoes, collard greens, and shredded pork. I layered the ingredients in a ceramic dish and popped it in the oven for 30 minutes. It was pretty tasty, but I need to think more of branching out on the flavors and ingredients (I used what I had on hand tonight); I think it could be a pretty yummy dish. I'll keep testing and report back!

Here's my food log for today:

Breakfast: pulled pork, sweet potato, and collard green hash, chopped nectarine with coconut cream.
Lunch: diced grilled chicken thighs, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli drizzled with creamy Italian dressing.
Dinner: pork, sweet potato, collard greens "strata" with BBQ sauce.

I decided to post one halfway point pic, above. Not bad for 15 days, right? And to think if I could exercise at full capacity...ah well, gotta be kind to my body. The ol' back is a little stuff tonight, there were a few movements I did tonight at Pilates that may have been pushing it, so hopefully it'll feel better tomorrow.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Wrapping Up Whole30 Weekend 2

My wingman with the heart of a champion!
I've gotten a little behind in blogging this weekend, but for good reason: it was a pretty action-packed weekend! First, food log:

Friday 8/15:
Breakfast: cup of Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup and the last of the Almost 5-Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie
Lunch: pulled pork with green beans and tomatoes with tex-mex seasoning, topped with guacamole
Dinner: bowl of Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup topped with pulled pork, Urban Garden omelet at the Riverside Market (more on that later)

Saturday 8/16:
Breakfast: cup of Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup, one Aidell's Chicken Apple Sausage, banana
Lunch: diced grilled chicken thighs and oven roasted Brussels sprouts drizzled with creamy Italian dressing
Snack: banana with sunbutter
Dinner: pulled pork with green beans and tomatoes with tex-mex seasoning, topped with guacamole

Sunday 8/17:
Breakfast: cup of Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup, one Aidell's Chicken Apple Sausage, banana
Lunch: diced grilled chicken thighs and oven roasted Brussels sprouts drizzled with creamy Italian dressing
Dinner: sashimi style roll (no rice), kc cucumber-wrapped roll, both with no sauce, I smuggled in coconut aminos for dipping :D

So as I said in my last post, I had two friends with birthdays this weekend, one being my boyfriend. Friday night, I went down to The Riverside Market in Fort Lauderdale to help a good friend celebrate his birthday. The Market is great little local beer garden that also happens to serve great food and has a great laid-back atmosphere. We hung out for about 4 hours, playing card games and eating and drinking.

 Now, one thing I haven't shared up to this point is that I don't drink alcohol, at all, so that probably gives me somewhat of an unfair advantage for the Whole30; I've read many posts on the Whole30 forum from my fellow August 4th starters that the worst part of the challenge is not having their nightly glass of wine. So anyways, hanging out at a beer garden for four hours was no problem for me. I hadn't planned on eating anything, but I ate dinner early, and was feeling a little hungry by the time we got down there, and was pretty pumped when I found they had omelets on the menu that were oven baked with no oil or butter. I ordered the Urban Garden omelet, which had spinach, broccoli and mushrooms: when the waitress brought it out, I cut into it with my fork and was so disappointed when I found cheese inside - cheese was definitely not listed on the menu. So I had to be THAT diner after all! I felt like such a jerk, but I sent it back and they remade it for me. And it was very good!

Saturday morning I was up early for Pilates at 8; it was another great class. The owner of the studio was my instructor this time, she was great and sent me some info after the class for their introductory special for after my LivingSocial deal ends. After the class, I went home, ate breakfast, and loaded Buster up for a trip down to the vet in Fort Lauderdale. Buster had the heart of a champion, he got 3 shots and barely flinched!

Saturday night I'd planned a birthday dinner for my boyfriend at a local Mexican restaurant; about 20-25 of our Crossfit friends came out to help celebrate. After having to send the omelet back the night before, I didn't feel like fighting my way through the menu, so I ate before we went. It was definitely hard to avoid the chips, salsa and guac!! But I stayed strong and had a great time with good friends.

Today, I got up and went to church, went out to my parents' for a quick trip to see my niece and nephew after church, then came home and straightened up the house a bit in the afternoon. My boyfriend came over in the early evening, and we went to Lemongrass, an Asian bistro in Boca. I ordered two rolls, one was called a "sashimi-style" roll that included tuna, salmon, cucumber and asparagus (wrapped in seaweed), then a cucumber-wrapped roll that also had tuna and salmon and some veggies. I smuggled in some coconut aminos to use in place of soy sauce, the sushi was delicious. 

After dinner, we walked across the street to a self-serve froyo shop. While my boyfriend filled his cup to the brim with four different kinds of froyo and then topped it with coconut, white chocolate chips, and sprinkles, I had just fresh fruit from the topping bar. It was a good cap to a great weekend.

I can't believe that I'm already two weeks in to my Whole30; tomorrow marks  the halfway point! I took pics on Day 1 (which I haven't shared yet), and I'm planning to take some more tomorrow, and then on Day 30. I've also got some new recipes to test in the hopper, I'll definitely be posting more about that later in the week. So if you've grown bored by my eating the same thing day after day, hang in there, new material is on the way!
What the what?!?

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Whole30 Day 11

Well we're cruisin' towards the weekend, folks! Eleven days down, and I'm feeling pretty good!
This is me...feeling good

Other than the breakouts I mentioned yesterday, the only symptoms I've noticed this week has been a little bit of, um, tummy problems late in the afternoon; it could be from the raw veggies I've been eating (or my body still adjusting to all of the veggies in general). It's not bad, though - actually, kinda reminds me of being in India four years ago; I'd eat the western (American-style) buffet breakfast at the hotel each morning, mainly eggs, toast, coffee, etc. It was like clockwork, I'd eat the breakfast, and within a half hour or so, I'd have to make a quick run to the bathroom, but then I'd be ok. I always said I could eat all of the sketchy Indian street food I wanted and would be fine, it was the American food that got me! Ok, TMI time is officially over...

So, today's recap:

Breakfast: Almost 5-Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie, chopped nectarine with whipped coconut cream

Lunch: Diced chicken thighs, collard greens, and sweet potato hash; baby carrots with ranch dipping sauce

Dinner: Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup topped with pulled pork
Simple yet filling meal

I've been starting to run low on food, so before I left for work this morning, I put a pork loin rubbed with chili powder, cumin, and paprika into my trusty crock pot. I love when I get home from work and have a meal waiting for me; the kitchen smelled so good! Once I got home, I quickly chopped up the ingredients for the soup and got that simmering on the stove; an hour later I had dinner ready and it barely took 5 minutes of prep. I try to use my crock pot at least once a week, and it really is such a timesaver. And now I have plenty of soup to sip on my way to work in the morning for the next few days!
Add caption

This weekend should be a pretty big test of my resolve, as it's my boyfriend's birthday weekend, and we're planning a big dinner Saturday night with our friends at a local Mexican restaurant. My plan is to eat before I head to the restaurant, and maybe just order a salad or something similar. The meal I usually eat there is paleo, but may not be Whole30 compliant. I could grill the waitstaff, but I hate being a difficult diner :) I also have another friend that is celebrating his birthday tomorrow night at a popular local beer market; the beer won't be a problem (I don't drink alcohol at all), but the market is known to have tasty food as well. Again, I'll probably eat before heading there, and hopefully I'll have the will to stay strong!

That's it for now! Any of my readers doing a Whole30 now? I'd love to hear about some of your experiences, meals, or gripes, feel free to share in the comments!

One-Third of the Way There!

Today was Day 10, officially a third of the way through my Whole30! I did a much better job today of eating enough fats and protein, and felt satiated most of the day as a result.

Breakfast: Almost 5-Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie (I literally can eat the same thing for a week straight, can you tell?), chopped nectarine drizzled with whipped coconut cream.

Lunch: ground beef, green beans and tomatoes with tex-mex seasoning and a dollop of guacamole.

Afternoon snack: banana and small handful of macadamia nuts.

Dinner: at a friend's! My friend and her husband started their Whole30 on Monday, so she invited me over for a big pot of chili; I brought my spiralizer and we ladled the chili over zucchini noodles. It was so good! I also brought a jar of the ranch dressing I'd made over the weekend, and we had a nice crudité platter as well. Entertaining Whole30 style!!
I ate it too fast to take a picture, whoops

If you've never heard of a spiralizer before, you're missing out - you can use it to turn all sorts of veggies into noodles. Zucchini is probably the veggie I spiralizer the most - I use them in curries, soups, pad Thai, topped with pesto or tomato sauce, etc. I also really like sweet potato noodles too.
The spiralizer - a must-have in any Paleo kitchen!

I also went back to my Crossfit box tonight! I definitely did not do the wod, but practiced my strict pull-ups for about ten minutes, then rode the Airdyne for 20 minutes. It was good to see my friends from the box, I miss the sense of community when I stay away. I probably won't get back to the box until next week, but it's nice to know I can get in there and get some cardio in, even when I'm taking a break from the wods.

So far,I really haven't had too many of the "symptoms" a lot of people experience when doing a Whole30; I had a slight headache on Day 1, and was a little sleepy throughout the first week, but that was about it. However, I noticed today that I have a few breakouts on my face :( I'm hoping this is just my body working the toxins out, I don't need to be looking like a teenager!!

Ok, that's it for tonight, we're on the downward slide towards the weekend!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Whole30 Day 9

Recap of today's meals:

Breakfast: Square of Almost 5-ingredient Spaghetti Pizza Pie, banana

Lunch: Diced grilled chicken thighs, collard greens, and sweet potato hash sautéed with diced onions and Well Fed 2's Sunrise Spice

Dinner: Deconstructed Hamburger Salad, baked sweet potato

I had dinner with my family tonight, so I brought along the fixings for the hamburger salad. My family was very curious! I also had a handful of nuts later in the evening. All day I had this feeling as if I wasn't eating enough; I was hungry several times throughout the day, and it felt like it took my dinner forever to hit bottom. More protein and more fat on the menu for tomorrow, for sure.

I'm happy to report that my back is still feeling pretty awesome after last night's Pilates class, which makes me feel like I'm moving in the right direction. I'm also hoping that the Whole30 is also playing a part - by removing inflammatory foods like sugar, dairy, and grains, I'm helping to heal the inflammation in my back. It's amazing how we feel is so closely intertwined with the nourishment we put into our bodies!

That's about it for tonight, hopefully I'll have more interesting foods to report back tomorrow!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Kicking Off Whole30 Week 2!

No, I did not perform this move today...
First, a quick recap of what I ate:

Breakfast: the last of the Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup (tear!), a banana, and a square of the Almost 5-Ingredient Spaghetti Pizza Pie.

Lunch: Diced grilled chicken thighs with green beans and tomatoes, seasoned with my tex-mex blend and a dollop of guacamole.

Afternoon snack: Baby carrots and cucumber slices with paleo ranch dressing for dipping.

Dinner: Went to the boyfriend's after Pilates, and he graciously shared one of his paleo meal delivery meals - grilled pork tenderloin and steamed cauliflower. Not the most flavorful meal, but beggars can't be choosers!!

So back to the Pilates...I had my first session in about 6-7 years tonight! The class ended up being a semi-private, only one other woman in the class besides me. The classical movements came back to me fairly easily, but that doesn't mean they weren't challenging - my inner thighs were on fire during a few of the holds! For those of you unfamiliar with Pilates, the practice was originally created by Joseph Pilates (hence the name) for injured dancers; the foundation of the practice is to strengthen the core muscles.

Mat Pilates, which, as the name suggests, is performed solely on a mat, shares some similarities to yoga. Pilates that is performed with equipment - the Reformer (which is the equipment in the picture above), Tower, Chair, or the Cadillac - is a very unique practice. Most classes either center around one piece of equipment, like the Reformer class I took tonight, or is a circuit class, in which the participant rotates through each piece of equipment throughout the class. Through the use of pulleys and springs, the participant uses his or her own body weight to strengthen and lengthen different muscle groups.

Pilates is a much gentler practice than the Crossfit I've been doing for two and a half years, and I think it's what my body has been asking me for (even If I do miss being completely wiped out by a workout). After class, I actually felt like my back felt more elongated, and it's felt pretty good all evening. I really want to get back to a second class this week, if I can work it out with the class schedule. We shall see!

That's about it for today - oh wait! I joined the Whole30 forum, August 4 start group, so if any of you are stopping by from there...thanks for stopping by, and let me know what you think!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Whole30 Weekend 1 Draws to a Close

I did it! I made it through my first weekend on the Whole30, and I even ventured out to eat, twice today! First, I have to share my delicious meal from last night:
Surprisingly delicious!

This was my riff on Well Fed 2's Deconstructed Hamburger Salad, and Mel Joulwan wasn't kidding when she exclaimed, "Holy sh*! this is good!" For my version, I sautéed onions, browned ground beef and added chopped dill pickles to the baby kale leaf salad dressed with red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. I also drizzled a mix of homemade mayo and tangy BBQ sauce over top. So good!!

This morning, I had a cup of silky gingered zucchini soup and a banana for breakfast before heading off to church (I ran out of time for protein, whoops). After church, my sister and I joined a friend for lunch at Offerdahl's, a local cafe; I ordered my usual, Jonny's house salad with grilled chicken, but nixed the chickpeas, raisins, and feta cheese, and subbed olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the very yummy (and most likely sugar-laden) house vinaigrette.

My boyfriend came over late afternoon, and we rode our bikes over to the beach. We decided to stop in at The Whale's Rib, a well-known local spot that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, known for their seafood. I ordered a spinach salad topped with blackened dolphin (mahi), and dressed it again with olive oil and balsamic. I was pretty proud of myself, though, for eating out twice in a day and sticking to the Whole30 guidelines, woohoo!

I ended up eating a baked sweet potato topped with diced grilled chicken drizzled with sun butter later in the evening, because we ate at Whale's Rib around 5:30. And that about wraps up my weekend! Here's to another good week!