Monday, August 8, 2016

August Whole30 Week One...In the Books!

Here I am, on day 8 already...to be honest, the first week was fairly smooth sailing. I think that preparing a weekly game plan and really thinking out the meal prep process ahead of time really contributed to the ease of getting through the first week. I'll fill ya in on what I've done now for each of the first two weeks (I'm about 80% finished with my meal prep for week 2), from start to finish.

Around Tuesday evening or Wednesday, I begin thinking about possible recipes I'd like to make for the week. I'm aiming to prepare recipes that will give me a total of 6-8 pounds of protein for the week, and in addition to hot recipes, I try to assemble a salad as well. For week 1, I also made a soup, but decided not to for week 2. So by this past Wednesday night, I had 3 entree recipes picked, plus one salad: Spicy Tuna Cakes by Nom Nom Paleo; Layered Taco Casserole and Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken, both from the Whole30 Recipes Instagram feed; and Thai Yummy Salad, from Mel Joulwan.

As you see above in the picture, I list each recipe out, and then list the ingredients below each that I'll need to buy to make the recipe, sketching out a rough grocery list in the process. I add "A's" or "P's" next to each item, signifying where I think I'll have to buy each item - I aim to purchase as much of my grocery haul from Aldi as possible. Aldi is far more inexpensive than Publix, and has a great selection of both organic and conventional produce; in addition, they've got grass fed ground beef for less than $6/lb, and decent poultry products as well. Sometimes, however, they have limited quantities of items; for instance, when I did my shopping Friday night, they were cleaned out of sweet potatoes. Instead of paying $2.99 for a 3 lb. bag of sweet potatoes at Aldi, I ended up paying $1.29/lb. for them at Publix. So Aldi is always my first stop, then I follow up with a trip to Publix to fill in the gaps. I got this all done Friday evening.

I actually began some of my meal prep after I got home from the stores on Friday night, because those pieces of the prep involved using the Instant Pot. If you've never heard of the Instant Pot, let me fill you in: it's an electric pressure cooker, but actually can serve 7 functions in one pot - pressure cooker, slow cooker, sautée, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, and one other I've never used and can't remember. I love mine, and use it to make everything from whole chickens to pulled pork to bone broth, to even cooking sweet potatoes in 15 minutes. Which is what I used it for Friday night, along with converting the Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken to Instant Pot. So when I went to bed Friday night, I had one meal already prepped, plus the component of another ready to be used. Score!

I was away from the house for most of the day yesterday, so I made sure to eat a good, filling breakfast to keep me going; I had a double portion of the curry turkey bites along with a glass of iced Crio Bru and coconut milk right around 10:30. I also took my Yeti mug filled with my new current obsession: Grady's decaf cold brew coffee. You guys. I had heard all of the raving about cold brew, but hadn't been able to try it, because I can't have caffeine, and I never saw any decaf anywhere. Then Melissa Hartwig, co-founder of the Whole30, posted about Grady's decaf on Instagram, and I just had to give it a try. Verdict? AMAZING!

When I got home around 5, I was definitely hungry, so I ate the last portion of the paleo pad Thai, then got started on the rest of the meal prep. Assembling the layered taco casserole was actually pretty easy, and it smelled so good as it was cooking, I can't wait to try it! The recipe calls for topping the casserole with a layer of guacamole after it has cooled for about five minutes, but since I cooked it for meals to be eaten later in the week, I omitted that step for now; I picked up those single serving packets of guac at Publix, so I can add the guac each time and it not get all brown and yucky. The final recipe I prepped was the spicy tuna cakes, and I called it a night.
Unfortunately, my version did not come out as beautiful, but it was definitely delicious!! Photo credit: Living Loving Paleo

One final thing before I go for now...the Whole30 program is really big on "Nonscale Victories". In fact, one of the rules of the program is that you can't get on a scale for the entire 30 days, because the program is about so much more than weight loss. One of the best Nonscale victories I see each time I do a Whole30 is in the area of sleep. I rarely have trouble falling asleep, but rarely is my sleep deep throughout the night. The picture below is my sleep from Friday night/Saturday morning...only having five minutes of restlessness is a MIRACLE for me!
Sleeping the sleep of the RIGHTEOUS
Have a great week, guys!