Saturday, January 23, 2016

January Whole30 Check-In

Lettuce-wrapped burger with cucumber, sprouts, and avocado, with sweet potato fries and garlic aioli.
Hooray for Paleo-friendly restaurants!

As you may know if you follow me on Instagram, I decided to kick off 2016 with a Whole30. There were three main reasons behind my decision.
  1. In the past few years, I have begun consciously choosing to do the hard thing. (Not that giving up certain food groups is necessarily "hard" compared to other hardships in life, but it's definitely not easy.) Doing the hard thing is not the same thing as being hard on myself; rather, it's recognizing the areas where I might be tempted to do what feels easy/familiar and consciously choosing to do the opposite, trusting that the challenge of it will result in growth. I knew the sense of doing something difficult and succeeding at it would make me feel even more confident and empowered in other areas of my life.
  2. Speaking of other areas of my life, I have big plans for 2016. I have a vision and set of goals that are aligned with how I want to feel. And pursuing those vision and goals takes energy: the kind that comes from taking radically good care of oneself. There are as many different and valid modes of self-care as there are people on earth, but I know for myself, personally, I feel unstoppable–like the absolute most badass version of myself–when I fuel my body with tons of vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, and clean proteins and simultaneously avoid grains, sugar, and alcohol.
  3. Two of my Core Desired Feelings are "luminous" and "nourished." I feel both of these things when I'm eating paleo, working out regularly, and getting lots of sleep. So, why not kick those feelings into overdrive with a Whole30 for structure and motivation?
But enough about that. Let's talk about what's important–the food! I thought I'd share a round-up of some of the meals we've been enjoying. (Yes, "we." My husband agreed to do it with me this time!) 

These have been some of our favorites:

Pork Carnitas (in a lettuce bowl with various garnishes like avocado, chopped radishes, scallions, cilantro, and jalapeno)
Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken (skipped the honey to make it Whole30-compliant, served with Smoky Romaine and Avocado Salad, minus the agave in the dressing)
Lamb Sliders (wrapped in butter lettuce leaves and served with a Greek salad of cucumber, red onion, olives, cherry tomatoes, and pepperoncini)
Slow Cooker Chicken Chile Verde (topped the avocado, scallions, and cilantro)

Breakfasts have generally been some variation on eggs and greens or eggs and sweet potato hash, sometimes with avocado or smoked salmon on the side for healthy fats. Lunches have been mainly leftovers from the previous night's dinner or cold cuts wrapped with lettuce, cucumber, onion, and Tessemae's lemon garlic dressing or mayo. We are spoiled with health-conscious Paleo-friendly restaurants here in Boulder, so we've even managed to eat out a few times. As you can tell, there's been no shortage of delicious food! 

The biggest challenge I've faced so far was traveling for work this past week. I was a little nervous about sticking to the Whole30 guidelines while on the road, but it ended up not being a big deal. I contacted the conference organizer in advance and she happily accommodated my requests for the catered lunches (I got a salad with grilled chicken both days). I was able to get an awesome spinach-packed frittata at the hotel's bistro both mornings and I dined on yummy sashimi and salad at the hibachi restaurant where I went with my colleagues one of the nights. I was super thankful that I'd packed a stash of Epic bars and almond butter when my flight out of Denver was canceled and I had to wait 5 hours at the airport to catch another one. I will say traveling for work while doing the Whole30 wasn't ideal (there's nothing like explaining to a group of cocktail-swilling co-workers why you're only drinking green tea), but I stuck to it and it all worked out fine. One of my co-workers even told me that I'd inspired her to eat more healthily after I explained the program to her.

Physically, I've been feeling really great. Luminous, nourished...and yeah, pretty badass. I'm planning to write another post about the overall physical experience and the meal-planning strategy I used, but I'll wait until I've actually completed the 30 days for that.

Have you done a Whole30? If so, what were your reasons for doing it? What was the toughest part? And how good did that glass of Cabernet taste after 30 days? Asking for a friend.