All the {food} feels. Day 16.

Well I’ve made it over the hump. I’m currently on day 16 of the #whole30 and I feel great. I knew I would – I did last year so I knew it would happen again this year. Except the difference with this year – I want to keep it up. I won’t follow it COMPLETELY – because I love beer – but steering clear of dairy won’t break my heart. In fact – it will probably help. One thing that has happened each #whole30 that I’ve done, is my face has cleared up. Not from adult acne (which is the worst) but from the redness going away. I think I have a mild case of rosacea (self-diagnosed of course) and whatever I’m eating normally, seems to cause inflammation and redness on my face. It’s not cute guys. I hate it. And I don’t like wearing make up to cover it up… I’d rather just have it gone. I sleep like a rock and have hella vivid dreams. I’m sure it’s a combination of the deep REM cycle I make it to more often, as well as not having a “foggy” memory from going to bed after a few beers.

At a break during #foodprepmonday yesterday we did some research as to WHY you’re not allowed to have grains or legumes or sugar or dairy or alcohol during the #whole30. Basically – it’s all hard to digest, it causes inflammatory issues in your body, and even the “whole grain” healthy stuff you’re eating, is still processed and you lose so many of those nutrients – those you can easily find in fruits and vegetables. It’s interesting to really pay attention to what you put in your body – rather than just stuffing your face and never looking at a label. There is sugar in EVERYTHING and it totally boggles my mind. Don’t get me wrong – I love candy and cookies and creamer in my coffee – but it is just DESTROYING our insides. And that breaks my heart because I would love a little chunk of chocolate right about meow.

A couple follow ups from the weekend… Friday night I made some lemon pepper tilapia on a bed of spinach wrapped in foil in the oven with a baked sweet potato on the side. The fish was a little moist (I hate that word – but it was) so the next time I try that I think I’ll use a “meatier” fish. I ate it all so I guess I didn’t hate it too much. For Valentine’s Day, we decided to mark a couple things off our 2015 Bucket List (the Des Moines version) which included lunch at HoQ, some coffee from the Village Bean to warm up, and a visit to Graziano’s. If you haven’t been to that glorious place, GO NOW. Literally drop whatever you’re doing, get in your car, drive over to the southside, and go inside. The smell ALONE will make your stomach growl – and it’s not even FOOD that you smell. It’s the fresh dried herbs that are instantly in your nose the moment you walk through the door. The place is WONDERFUL… and full of so much I wanted to eat. While we were originally shopping for our trifecta of meats for homemade meatballs, we walked out with herbs, olives (not for me), prosciutto and capicola. My mouth is watering right now just THINKING about those noms. Since we had to be #whole30 compliant on our marinara (aka gravy) we went to Gateway to pick up our meat and sauce there. After a slight mini-disappointment on their meat selection, we grabbed our sauce and almond flour and left for our third grocery store trip of the day. Dahl’s saves the day! A pound each of ground pork, veal and beef came home with us. And my Italian man got started on the meatball prep. First off – we had to simmer the sauce to get it started. Second of all – I realized I need a MUCH larger pot. The meatballs smelled AMAZING. Since we couldn’t add any Parmesan or bread crumbs to our meatballs we ended up with almond flour which surprisingly had the same texture and acted as a binding agent. Now – we’re all friends here right? I did NOT do most of the work for these meatballs. This was 90% his doing. Maybe 95%. He hand-mixed the Holy Trinity of Meat together, added in the seasoning, and mixed it until it was my turn to help with the meatballs. Almost 60 meatballs later… it was time to start cooking. First you need to get a crisp outside on the meatballs before you toss them into the simmering nomlicious gravy. After these were done, it was time for us to head to yoga (for the second time). By the time we got back, our place smelled SO GOOD and it still wasn’t ready to cook. This is where I came in. I used my new “zoodler” (as I lovingly call it) and noodle-fied three zucchinis. They had to dry out a little bit (which I will let dry even MORE next time) and then I heated them up in a pan, covered them with meatballs and gravy and holy cannoli… AMAZING. The meatballs were soft and delicious and sooooo tasty. I’m having the leftovers for dinner tonight. I also had some on Sunday night. Glorious little gems. Highly recommended.

The prosciutto went on to make two dozen egg cups – one for the weekend’s breakfasts and one for breakfast this week during our #foodprepmonday. The capicola got sent away to Cedar Rapids this morning (if he hasn’t found it yet… he will be PUMPED to read this and snack on it with those olives later.) A batch of sweet potato hash was cooked up for the week as well as some crockpot salsa chicken. That is literally ALL that’s in the recipe: chicken and salsa. Again – MAKE THIS RECIPE. Step one: pour salsa into crockpot. Step two: put chicken in crockpot. Step three: turn on crockpot on high for four hours. Step four: shred chicken and put back in salsa mix. Step five: EAT IT ALL. I haven’t had anything in the crockpot that I didn’t like… so I highly suggest making anything in the crockpot you can. Genius invention. For dinner last night I tried out some baked avocado eggs – and they were pretty delish as well. You half an avocado, take out the pit, and put an egg in each side. Next time I may need to make the hole a little larger so the egg doesn’t spill out onto the top of the avocado… but now I know.

I love food. I love talking about food, reading about it, watching shows about it. Food blogs are a new passion and I love finding new, easy (or difficult) recipes to try. I could read cookbooks all day long. Pictures of food and how it’s supposed to look, the process to get it there – those get me excited and thinking “I can do this.” Also – it’s total food porn for me. Do I have a healthy relationship with food? I’m not sure. Somedays are better than others I suppose – but going through this #whole30 process (again) has really taught me how important it is to put GOOD things into your body. This body is the only one we’ll ever have – we need to take such good care of it. Keeping it hydrated, nourishing it with whole, REAL food – keeping its mobility in top functioning condition. These things are all so important to keep yourself alive and healthy and functioning and beautiful.

Does this mean I’ll never have another piece of pizza or beer or piece of chocolate? Absolutely not. Does this mean that I’ll think twice before eating a King Size Kit Kat bar in one sitting while I have a couple cookies later because it’s someone’s birthday? Definitely. Food is delicious. I will ALWAYS love food – but after making it through this challenge, I hope it increases it’s love for me back.

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