Mediterranean love.

Monday is here, week one is done, and yesterday, you guys – we almost BROKE. We went to a trivia day at our favorite craft beer watering hole (looking at you Confluence Brewing) and it was TOUGH to not have a beer or two while we were there. They’re beer is delicious, we were hanging out with friends, but we held off. Would we have had a beer and started over fresh today? Probably. Would I have felt bad about it? A little. Is that my #foodfreedomforever? Maybe. (Melissa Hartwig has GOT ME this round of #whole30.) So we held off and had hangry breakfast for dinner instead.

And then we also did what I said I wasn’t going to do this round. Weigh myself. But I did it. Obviously feels good to drop a few pounds after cutting stuff out of your diet and your body… and in MODERATION, these things are all fine. And that’s what I’m planning to work on after this round… all things in moderation. Always.

But meals this weekend… GUYS. Melissa Hartwig’s Whole 30 Cookbook is AMAZING. This was a Christmas present gifted by my number one recipe tester (thanks babe) and I’ve already made a few BOMB.COM recipes from it. And the rest of the week I’m making a couple more! Mediterranean bison burgers (SO GOOD) and Greek-style lemon potatoes were ridiculous this weekend. I want to eat those potatoes with every single meal forever. And once we’re done with whole30 I’m putting feta cheese on top of them FO SHO.

So moving onto this week…

Meal Plan 2/13 – 2/17

  • Monday – Spicy Stuffed Plantains (courtesy of Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook)
  • Tuesday – Iowa Beef Steakhouse date night for Valentine’s Day!
  • Wednesday – Buffalo Chicken Casserole
  • Thursday – Shepherd’s Pie (the original Whole30 cookbook)
  • Friday – Moroccan Beef (courtesy of Melissa Hartwig’s Whole30 Cookbook)

Breakfasts this week again is a casserole – but I used the spice mixture from the Mediterranean burgers in the ground beef for the egg bake… YES PLEASE. (Not my idea – my sous chef/recipe tester thought this genius idea up!) Guys it is so good. And we’re both SUPER into Mediterranean food lately – the seasoning is ridiculous, the flavor is to DIE for… for realz guys – more Mediterranean food in your diets ASAP. And when you eat it, you don’t feel like you’re going to die after even if you did eat WAY too much. Which is pretty great. Lunches for the week are leftovers from the weekend and last week, and whatever we eat this week. Lunches are boring – but we’re in the swing of things for knowing how much you need to eat to stay full until dinner. First week – not so much. But we’re back at it.

Topic change. Have you ever gone glow golfing? I was REALLY excited about it. Like overly excited probably. There’s a glow golf place over near the mall that I’ve been looking at for YEARS, and was excited when there was a Groupon for it. What a FUN date that was pretty cheap, and for the two of us who are incredibly competitive, this sounds PERFECT. Wrong. Super disappointed. I mean I still won so there’s that – but I think we’ll try out mini-golf again once it’s nice out, and we can go to the big courses around the area. Much better idea. But again – I won… so there’s that. Not that I’m keeping track of who’s ahead in every game we play together… but I totally am. He’s ahead when we play Uno (I don’t even want to talk about THAT night), but I’m dominating in Skip-bo. Give and take right? That’s what makes relationships WORK. But also we’re a pretty fantastic team when it comes to games we play on a team TOGETHER. Over Christmas, we played that ridiculous game where you put the dental looking thing in your mouth and try and talk – and we did quite well at that. I guess when you spend six years watching each other talk, you’ll do quite well at something as weird as that.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and this will be the FOURTH year in a row that I won’t be attending any beer/wine and chocolate pairings. SO SAD. But I do get an effing delicious steak – so I think it’s a fair trade. Those of you who are in the Des Moines area, or even if you’re not – you should for sure take a trip to the Iowa Beef Steakhouse. It’s close to 801 Grand caliber, minus the price. And it’s SO.GOOD. You know what would probably be amazing to chase that steak down with? Cheesecake. Three piece cheesecake, to be exact. (I read that in the voice of whatshisname from Big Daddy… “You always order three piece cheesecake.” No? Mk then.) Or maybe a smoothie. Or a Lara bar. That should work too.

The weather in Iowa the past few days – and probably for the next 10 or so – is OUTRAGEOUS for February. We went for a four mile walk with the dogs on Saturday morning and it was GLORIOUS. That really shouldn’t be a thing. Am I mad about it? Nope. Do the dogs love it? Of course. They especially love running through the mud at the dog park. Because white dogs attract mud. Always. But now that the new week is here, I can spend some more time outside with a possible lunch hour run… MAYBE. Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Working out is bad for you – we know this. But we do it anyway. Sigh.

Make it a great day, or not – the choice is yours. Enjoy the weather kiddos – update later this week on my stuffed plantains and the number of times we’ve given the dogs baths after today!

Sugar Monster.

Day 5. I’m not sick of eggs yet, I think we’ve finally gotten over the Sugar-Monster-crabbiness, and the weird dreams have kicked in. Breakfasts all week have been our standard breakfast casserole with hashbrowns of some sort, pork sausage and eggs. Topped with Cholula – always. I somehow rarely get sick of that stuff too – probably because we switch it up each week so it’s not EXACTLY the same each time we make it. Lunches are full of leftovers from whatever we’ve eaten previously in the week. Dinners have been different each night – and actually prepared that night, instead of just shoved in the microwave and heated up. I attempted to cook spaghetti squash in the crockpot – not the best option when your squash is HUGE and the lid doesn’t even close on it. Normally I cook it in the microwave using this method, and it comes out steamy and soft and the “noodles” just melt into the sauce. This was definitely a lot more crunchy. Maybe that’s why I like the micro method more – because spaghetti squash is delicious and a little weird in texture for me?

Earlier in the week as I was getting ready for work, I came to the realization that there’s a few things I do during the #whole30 that I don’t normally do on a regular basis – and probably should. Or maybe I do them and just am not aware of it as much? Who knows. Like – for example: flossing. I know I know, you should floss every day, brush your teeth twice a day, wash you face twice a day, shower daily (but NOT wash your hair daily), etc.etc.etc. But normally – I do not. Gross? Probably a little. Things you learn about yourself during #whole30 can certainly be an eye opening experience, whether you like it or not. I also work out more regularly. Is it because I need to keep myself busy so I don’t dig through the cupboards trying to find a snack? Or because I have more energy? Or because I normally coincide #whole30 with a yoga challenge? Probably a little of each. I’m not partaking in the 20/30 challenge this year, but I am trying to make it to yoga at least once a week going forward. Like I said before, I want to mix it up this month.

I’ve also noticed that my kitchen tends to stay cleaner during this time – even with the massive amount of cooking that’s happening. Wash all the dishes before bed, put them away in the morning or before I start cooking again at night. I DEFINITELY run the dishwasher more (thank goodness for little miracle inventions that wash dishes for you!) so I don’t have to wash 4000 tupperware containers EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. because I bring my breakfast and lunch to work as well as some snacks. But this year I have upgraded to Pyrex glassware rather than my plain ol’ plastic Rubbermade. LIFE.CHANGER. They stay clean and nice even after you use them a million times, they never melt or get stains, there are a ton of different sizes so you can use them for basically anything. Dear Black Friday Sales, I love you. Love, me.

Week one recap though: I was CRABBY. All week. Basically until this morning. That Sugar Monster was a real biyatch this round. And both of us felt it. Both of us were snapping at each other, being rude for no reason, and even a lot more quick to get angry with the fur babies. Not cool, Sugar Monster, not cool. Week one is full of temper tantrums and no energy. But it’s picking up. And tonight I’m pumped for bison burgers and Greek potatoes. Greek food ALWAYS gets me in a great mood. (OPA! Sigh – wouldn’t mind some flaming cheese right about meow though…)

I’m currently working on the meal plan for next week… I know for Valentine’s Day we’ll be heading to the Iowa Beef Steakhouse, I think this is our 4th year we’ve done that? Because who doesn’t want to eat steak on the day of love? Plus that day, the pups have daycare so that means they will be completely exhausted all night long. And hopefully that will also mean that they will take adorable Valentine’s Day pictures to send us in their report cards because I will DIE from cuteness. (This paragraph got off topic real quick.)

Before I leave for the day I wanted to thank everyone for eating pizza and bagels for me yesterday. I’m sure it was extremely difficult for you to do – but I so appreciate it. #pizza4lyfe

Lastly, a little snippet about the week in a nutshell.

  • Favorite Meal: Chicken Taco Lettuce Wraps (with homemade seasoning!), Mexican Cauliflower Rice, Avocado Mash, and Cholula
  • What I’m Reading: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (currently reading), Fat Girl Walking (just finished for book club – a week late)
  • Weekend Plans: staying OUTSIDE as often as possible since it’s February in Iowa, and also 50 degrees! Muddy dogs, here we come! Plus – a mindf*** solo movie trip!
  • Next Week’s Outlook: an outdoor run, yoga, new recipes (let’s break them down!) and a clear head from the detoxed Sugar Monster out of my system!

Happy Friday kids – enjoy the weekend and the spring weather in mid-February!

Back in Black {Coffee}

And I’m back. And what better way to get back into the blogosphere than with a post about my newest round of #whole30! Tis the season amirite? After completely overindulging since… um… vacation in Mexico (before Thanksgiving)… I needed a system reset. Like bad. So here we are – day one of #whole30 – and completely under prepared.

We’ll say it’s because of the Super Bowl last night… and that’s probably part of it. I mean we went to the grocery store and have everything we need for this round… but that whole “food prep” thing just didn’t quite happen. SO. Thankfully I’ve done enough of these that I know what I can eat to make me full until I can really get things prepped tonight… and I’ve got enough (too much) coffee in my system that I should be set for the day and be super ready to have a big ol’ bowl of beef and sweet potato chili tonight to fill in the holes that breakfast and lunch left me with.

Breakfast today was an apple, blueberries and grapes topped with cashew butter (for real my lifesaver) and black coffee (obvs.) Black coffee has been my norm for a while actually – before my first whole30 (like… 4 years ago maybe??) I put creamer in my coffee EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. And not just a splash or two. I’m talking a couple glugs. (That’s an actual measurement, you guys.) So it was basically creamer with a splash of coffee. Not cool. Once I weaned myself off that sugar monster, black coffee actually tastes great to me. Who knew.

Lunch will be easy… and super boring. Three scrambled eggs, a can of tuna, salt and pepper, and Cholula (because you put hot sauce on EVERYTHING during whole30. And not during whole30. #cholula4lyfe) Because planning kind of happened yesterday, I didn’t have lunch planned for today… because I was thinking about the giant vat of chili for tonight. Silly me. So tomorrow will be 100 times better.

So yeah – dinner – beef and sweet potato chili. Sounds delish. Too bad I can’t top it with cheese or Fritos. It’s fine – I’m such a chip monster it will do my body GREAT to not have that huge ingestion of sodium. I love chips.

So this round of #whole30 is going to be the same as the rest I’ve done… but it’s the post-whole30 that I’m looking forward to. Reintroduction of SOME things. No introduction of others. Like – how many times have I done this… and I have greasy pizza the day after. Literally every.single.time. And then the next day – or even like 15 minutes later – I feel like trash. I love pizza – I seriously do. I could eat it for every single meal for the rest of forever (if that whole “I’d weigh 4000 lbs” thing wouldn’t happen) but it hurts my body SO MUCH. Same goes with pasta. Like last night for example. We went over to the Italian side of the family to watch the Super Bowl and to eat homemade meatballs and sausage and pasta. It’s delicious and amazing. And I ate too much and too fast and thought I was going to DIE because I was so full. It wasn’t pretty. I unbuttoned my pants during the game so I wouldn’t throw up. Because I have ZERO SELF CONTROL when it comes to carbs. WHY. Because they’re delicious and bad for me? Probably. Because my mentality is occasionally (often) that of a 17-year-old and I think that the pasta I’m eating is to help fuel me for five volleyball games or three softball games in the 90 degree heat and I NEED that extra energy. Yeah – no. I don’t need that. My metabolism hasn’t stopped yet – but if I keep eating like I’ll be at a three hour practice, when instead – I MIGHT take the dogs on a few walks that day – then it may just go and reverse completely. Getting older is fun, you guys.

So my goals for this round of whole30… I’m actually going to make some this time… are going to vary. I know you’re not supposed to weigh yourself during this time, and I’m actually going to follow that. I weighed myself this morning (and wanted to cry) and I won’t weigh myself again until my last day – March 10th – and see how I did. I already know my clothes will fit better and I will FEEL better. And I’ll sleep so amazing and my face will clear up and I won’t be so blotchy… and I’m so looking forward to it. Another goal will come with reintroduction – cut WAY down on carbs (sub in veggies), steer (mostly) clear of soft cheeses, and QUIT IT with binge snacking. Binge snacking is something I’ve probably always done – but it never did anything to hurt me. Because again – 17 year old inside me – could practice for 3 hours, eat half a pizza, drink a bunch of Mountain Dew, candy, etc. and still feel fine and not gain a pound. Seriously all through high school I hovered in between 130-135 lbs. Let’s just say that’s not the case now. Not even close. And I’m really not sure I could get down to that weight again and be HEALTHY. Another thing – EAT MORE VEGGIES. Like at least one with every meal. Fruit is great, sure – but it does have a lot of natural sugar that kind of defeats the purpose of the whole30. And another – one new recipe per week. (Look out honey – I’m getting creative!)

I’m also working to improve my working out. The last few weeks I’ve been super lazy about my workouts. I’ve done them – I’ve earned that gold star, I’ve burned calories – and then I go home and eat a HUGE meal and sit on the couch for three hours binge watching Shameless. (Which is SO GOOD you guys – definitely go watch it.) So while I’m in the “fat burn zone” for 4.5 hours (thanks FitBit), I still have done nothing for my body. Or at least it FEELS like that.

And that’s where I need YOU. I’ll be posting to help hold myself responsible for what goes into my body, what I do to make significant and lifelong changes in my body, because I don’t want to be unhappy with the way I look and feel. Plus – posting will give me something to do with my hands, rather than running to the break room to grab a bag of chips or making a bag of popcorn and grabbing a beer on Sunday afternoon just because I can. (Although – as an adult, isn’t the best feeling EVER, doing something you want to do JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN?? Just me? Definitely not just me.) So this is going to be a safe haven for me to complain about eating eggs, how working out is bad for you, the naughty things my pups have done, the new recipes and the fails to go along with them, the books I’ve read, the things I’ve done, the memories I’ve made, the debt I’ve paid down, etc.etc.etc. Get excited!

Meal Plan 2/6-2/10

  • Monday: Beef and Sweet Potato Chili
  • Tuesday: Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos
  • Wednesday: Sausage and Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner
  • Thursday: Italian Sausage and Spaghetti Squash Casserole
  • Friday: Mediterranean Bison Burgers and Greek Lemon Potatoes

Weekends tend to be up in the air… but I’ve got ideas – and new recipes coming! Thanks for the support (yeah I’m asking this early) and if I bore you – sorrynotsorry – and if I inspire you – you’re welcome. And if you’re just reading through blogs because it’s what you do every morning and you stumble across mine – even better! Have a good one kids – stay tuned and here’s hoping for new habits!

30 days – check

Today is day 30! HOORAY I’M DONE – wait… what? We decided to do a #whole45 instead?! Gah. Fine. Another 15 days it is.

That’s how I felt when I woke up today. All PUMPED because it was my last day of the #whole30… and then I remembered. Oh well – it’s fine. I’ll live. Another 15 days won’t kill me. Hopefully.

This round has been a little bit different for me – I don’t feel the Sugar Demon creeping up on me at all hours of the day, food prep is EASY, and I started sleeping well probably on the third day (maybe that was the Nyquil talking… but either way – zonked out like a baby.) I’ve eaten LOTS of red meat and LOTS of breakfast for other meals besides breakfast. I’m learning that I (almost) like black coffee more than I like coffee with creamer in it. Unless of course it’s Sweet Italian Cream CoffeeMate… then we have an obvious winner. Also – I don’t miss cheese like I did the last go-around. Maybe it’s because my dairy ingestion has dropped SIGNIFICANTLY since last year when we started – meaning I haven’t bought cow’s milk in over a year, not that I’ve ever been a real big milk drinker, but still. Of course I still ate plenty of cheese, but I’m not missing that as much as I had before. Pasta and bread are something I do still miss, and I probably always will. I don’t feel like I’ve overindulged on eggs this time (hooray!) because I’ve eaten them so many different ways that I forget I ate eggs in a breakfast casserole that morning, and some eggs over-easy smashed into hashbrowns for dinner. We’ve tried lots of different recipes, and eaten a lot more gamey meat this round – veal, lamb, etc. I made my own breakfast sausage (not the best, not the worst) and I finally caved and made my own mayo. WHICH WAS A LIFE SAVER. Why haven’t I done that before? It’s so EASY. An egg, EVOO, S&P, lemon juice, garlic. Immersion blender that shit together and BAM – mayo. (Do I sound like Emeril there? I should – we just got his pots and pans and I LOVE THEM.)

Non-scale victories… let’s see. The obvious sleep improvement – even when I only sleep for 6 hours, I feel so refreshed when I wake up it’s amazing. I have energy to work out, I feel great during and after my work out, I feel focused during the day and not “fuzzy” or sleepy, my pants fit better, my workout spandex fits better, my face feels less bloated, I feel like I’m (usually) in a good mood (except for the few times I get hangry… sorry about that babe) and I just feel overly GREAT.

So… now what? Where do I go from here? After these next 15 days, do I go back to my shitty eating from before? Do I keep cutting dairy out but go back to pasta? Do I stick with wine or vodka and steer clear of beer? What happens next?

Honestly – I don’t know yet. The last two years I tell myself that I WILL stick to it and I WILL do the gradual reintroduction of foods back into my diet. And the last two years, I’ve probably had pizza the very next day. But guys – how do you say NO to pizza? It’s so damn good. The main reason I DON’T want to go back to pizza and beer that first day, is I know how shitty I’ll feel when I’m done. And especially the next day as it’s making its way through my body trying to kill me. Ideally, I’d like to slowly reintroduce the current non-whole30 foods back into my system, and see how it makes me feel once they’re back in there. See how some rice, pasta and quinoa sits in my system after a few days. If that’s all good, keep my portions small and occasional and I’ll be fine. The same goes with dairy, legumes, alcohol (that will probably be less gradual but who knows), and sugar. The sugar is the one that will mess with me the most. Because I am a candy monster, through and through. All kinds of candy – I’m not picky. Chocolate, gummy, straight sugar – you name it, I will eat it. And I will eat it quickly, without thinking, until my teeth hurt. Because I am a child and have ZERO self-control. Guys – I am 29 years old. And I cannot control myself with candy when it’s in front of my face. This is something a first grader has issues with during Halloween or someone’s birthday party. Yet here I am – the year I turn 30, and I still have issues with sweets. Embarrassing. SO. That being said, I feel like I need to kick out candy unless it’s for special occasions. Like baked goods, Starbursts, KitKats, jelly beans (damn you Easter Bunny and your delicious jelly beans that are ONLY around during Easter!), Swedish Fish, cupcakes (my sister is the WORST for stopping by with “some cupcakes for you” – aka probably 6 dozen cupcakes), cookies, Caramel Macchiatos (this one will be occasional – because who doesn’t love a Venti Skinny Iced Caramel Macchiato on a hot day?! Or even a cold day really…), and – although these aren’t sweets, CHIPS. LOVE me some chips – literally any kind. If they are in my house, I will sit and eat them until they’re gone. And I’m not picky. Doritos, Jalapeno Kettle Chips, Cheese its, etc. etc. GONE in no time. Ridiculous really. Tell me again how I’m a grown-up? Sigh.

Okay – now that I’ve verbal diarrhea-d all over the place about things I really WANT to eat but can’t… I need to go finish eating my breakfast – an egg bake with spinach, asparagus, and whole30 approved Italian sausage. Sigh. This green juice sure doesn’t taste like the sugary treat I really want. Guess I’ll just slather some cashew butter on my banana and deal with it. PS have you ever tried cashew butter? It’s seriously AMAZING. And almost better than almond butter. Or peanut butter. Almost.

Pants v Squoodles v Weird Food

After traveling two weeks in a row, I’m finally back home and back in a routine. Not to say I don’t LOVE to travel, but sometimes I just have that “homebody” feeling of wanting to sleep in my own bed, shower at my own house, and if we’re being honest – NOT WEAR PANTS. Because I think that’s a rule – “home is wherever your pants are not.” Maybe this needs to be printed and hung in my new place. Either that or “Pants off at the door” but then that would feel weird when the UPS man delivers something. Maybe I’ll just keep it as a silent reminder for myself. (**Sorry this got weird. But I hate pants**)

Sunday this week was the opposite of a rest day. I was allotted a little extra time to sleep in (if you call 8:30 sleeping in – and as an “adult,” that’s exactly what I call it) and then got going with the day. Breakfast and coffee – and then we parted ways. Him: yoga #alldamnday. Me: grocery shopping, baby shower, cleaning #alldamnday. I may have overexerted myself in attempting grocery shopping before I needed to get ready, but I made it in plenty of time to celebrate my pretty little friend and her baby bump.

IMG_8672 After the shower, I hit up my second grocery store for the day and headed home to get after it. Luckily for me, I found a Law & Order: SVU marathon so I switched that on and got to work. But not before dropping an entire beer on the floor and shattering it. The worst thing to clean up. (Sidenote: there was almost a throw down before bed when the roommate stepped on the tiniest shard of glass and claimed he “always steps on the glass pieces when something breaks.” Crybaby.) So I blew through laundry like it was my job, and food prepped like a BOSS. #foodprepsunday is totally a thing and this week I dominated.

I picked up some new bamboo cutting boards which I was super pumped about – so I got to break those bad boys in during #foodprepsunday. They clean well, they keep nice, and they don’t dull my knives. Major plus. <– I cannot believe how adult-like that just sounded. Go me!!

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Then I brought out my Paderno and had veggie noodles coming out my ears. Not really – but it felt that way. I cut up some butternut squash noodles for dinner (which I promptly nicknamed “squoodles” and intend to keep using that term FOREVER) and a HUGE sweet potato (patoodles) to eat all week long.

Squoodles v Patoodles. All. Day. Long.

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Plus my usual hard boiled eggs. Always eggs. I wish I had just a smidge more counter space – but it was kind of fun to have ALL THE THINGS on the stove at once. Chicken apple sausage (for realz – thebomb.com), pineapple brat burgers (thanks HyVee for this deliciousness), and some Italian chicken (spices courtesy of Graziano’s.)

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My plan for dinner (which NEVER goes according to plan) was to work off Ali’s Roasted Red Pepper Butternut Squash Noodles with Chicken. But alas, sometimes reading directions are hard, and I didn’t have enough red peppers to make this. So I did what I do best when it comes to cooking: ditch the recipe and throw stuff together. I roasted the red pepper in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees, until there was a good char on it. I let it cool for a while and tossed the butternut squoodles (it’s literally becoming my favorite word) with olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic powder, put them on a pan and popped them in the oven for about 10 minutes. Then I started working on my “sauce.” I’m not even sure you could call it that – I mean it was delish and it was a liquid-ish consistency, so yeah – we’ll call it sauce. Again – my method of cooking is to throw it together and hope it works out. I cut up the roasted red pepper and put it in my food processor, along with olive oil and coconut milk. Once it was to a good consistency, I poured it into a pan on the stove, mixed in some chili powder and paprika, and heated it up. Once the squoodles were done I plated them and topped it with a pineapple brat burger. While those melded flavors, I (attempted) cooking a couple eggs over-easy (one broken yolk, one a little hard and a little runny) to top the burgers with. And on top of that – the roasted red pepper sauce. Served up with some asparagus (tis the season!) and bam – dinner is served. I got a high-five halfway through dinner letting me know it was a recipe I “should never forget” and then that plate was licked clean. Not really – but basically.

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So that was my weekend. Friends and shopping and food. Always food. And back on that (mostly) #whole30 train. I just feel better when I eat GOOD food. And I want to tell people about my awesome recipes without hearing “I could never eat that” or “you eat such weird things.” It’s not weird… it’s REAL food. And it’s delicious. And I’m going to keep making my “weird” food and make all you weirdos eat it. You’re welcome.

Food Blog Fantasies

So I’m back from New York and working on getting my sleep patterns back to normal. Being in a different time zone when Daylight Savings came through was a little rough – while we were waking up at 5 am to get to the Today Show on Monday it was really 3 am here. My body was not super impressed with me. It also didn’t help that I’d gone HOG WILD while I was there and ate enough sugar to keep a three-year-old running around for hours. But now I’m back. And I’m back to eating (mostly) #whole30.

**New York post to follow at a later date**

On Sunday (normally #foodprepsunday) I wasn’t home but I got a little heads up for what was on the docket for the roommate and his food for the week. I honestly couldn’t help but feel a little jealous and left out. About FOOD PREP. Is that weird? Maybe a little. But I also had a feeling that when I got home late Monday night, I would be incredibly unprepared for my breakfast/lunch/dinner on Tuesday. I barely had time to hard boil some eggs that morning (I know I said I was done with them… but I think now that I don’t HAVE to eat them and have the choice to eat something else, I don’t hate them as much) and threw some random stuff together for lunch. I was ill-prepared and hungry – which is not a good combination. Tuesday night I had planned on stopping by the store on my way home to pick up some food for the week, but by 11 am I had “that 2:30 feeling” so I just went home instead. I drank a couple beers on the patio, soaking in the 70 degree weather, and realized I hadn’t eaten yet – so I made a bowl of popcorn. And that’s ALL. I. ATE. That’s outrageous is what it is.

Yesterday morning I woke up regretting my {lack of} dinner – knowing I hadn’t given my body the proper nourishment it needed to be fully functional all day long. I had coffee and cashews for breakfast but then redeemed myself with zucchini noodles and pasta sauce for lunch. I picked up some good food for the rest of the week over my lunch hour so when I got home I got to work. I browned some hamburger with red peppers, spiralized two sweet potatoes – one for dinner and one for the rest of the week, I spiralized some zucchini (because you can literally NEVER have too many zoodles), I hard boiled eggs and peeled them so I wouldn’t have to fight them when it was time to eat. And then I made a bomb-ass dinner. Sweet patoodles (probably the best name ever), topped with a flame-thrower burger, topped with a couple eggs (I messed them up but they were still delish), TOPPED WITH avocado slices to cool it all down. I need to work on my presentation skillz, but once I snapped the pic I cut it all up, mixed it all together and ate the sh*t out of it. And not all of it – so guess what I’m having for breakfast today. LEFTOVERS. Love me some leftovers you guys. FOR REAL.

This weekend I’m attempting some butternut squash noodles (for what – I still don’t know) and then on Sunday I’ll be back at #foodprepsunday. I’m traveling for work next week so it will be interesting to see how that works… I can bring food but I’ll also have to plan around what everyone else will be doing/eating there. Wish me luck in that arena.

During an email thread with my fellow whole30-follower, we both came to the conclusion that the lack of food prep is somewhat anxiety-ridden. It’s hard to just “grab and go” during whole30 so while you needed to be prepared for EVERY MEAL during the week, it was comforting knowing you always had something to eat. It was healthy, it was whole30 approved, and it was delicious. Plus – you could reach in your fridge, pull out a Tupperware full of something you made, and be good to go. Do you know how many times at home (ie. Tuesday night) I look through the cupboard and just grab something random to eat? I don’t look what it’s made of, I usually can’t pronounce 2/3 of the ingredients, and I just eat it mindlessly? TOO MANY TO COUNT. And now that I think about it and look back, that is not the way food is meant to be eaten. It is meant to be enjoyed. Food is meant to be tasted and savored – it’s supposed to make you want to ENJOY each bite rather than eating it as fast as you can without thinking about what is going into your body. Food is fuel, and although it is sometimes overwhelming to make – it’s worth it in the end.

As I’ve said {many times} before – I love all things having to do with food. I can read through cookbooks like I’m reading something for book club. I can sit FOR HOURS watching the Food Network/Cooking Channel just watching food be made. I love all steps leading up to a meal – the search for ingredients (ie: Chopped), the preparation involved (thanks Chef Anne Burrell for teaching me what mise en place means during a binge marathon of The Worst Cooks in America), the final product and presentation, and then of course – the tasting of the dish. If I could be there to take just one (or five) bites of the finished product – I would be one happy (and fat) camper. But alas – the only tasting of the final dish will be at my house… and usually, it ends up okay – sometimes AMAZING. And I want to keep working at perfecting my knife skills and making eggs over-easy like a boss. I want to not worry about whether my chicken is undercooked – or about my fish being overcooked. I want to continue trying new recipes with food I’ve never eaten or at least never cooked for myself. I want to read ALL the food blogs and make friends with these amazing people who just started out cooking for fun – and then turned it into a lucrative career path. I want to write about food, read about food, and LIVE food. I’ve got a lot of work to do if I want to be like Ali or Kristen or Lexi. It’s going to be a fun and delicious ride. With hopefully not too many hiccups along the way. Brace yourselves friends… it’s happening.

Day 30 + Zoodle Love + Whole9 Factors

Happy DAY 30 y’all – we made it! Well – I have two more meals for the day and THEN I will have made it. Two #whole30s down and with this one, significant lifestyle changes will come with. Last year after I finished, I had PLANNED on easing my way back into eating regular foods – so I could see how my body reacted. I think I tried it for a day and then I had a pizza and beer binge. I felt terrible after – but it just tasted SO GOOD. For the remainder of the week I plan on continuing down this #whole30 journey. I’ve made my food for the week so I don’t really want to leave that delicious food to waste. I’ve got a couple bowls of The Best Chicken Zucchini Noodle Soup, Ever sitting in my fridge just WAITING to be devoured – plus another three zucchinis just WAITING to be zoodled. Plus, this month Ali challenged her readers to a #30DaysInspiralized challenge – and I plan to do as much spiralizing as I can over the next 30 days, and beyond. (Why can’t spiralize be entered into the dictionary yet?? I’m tired of Microsoft Word telling me it isn’t a word when it CLEARLY IS.)

On #foodprepsunday I did my usual mass hardboiled egg making and then decided to double up on #inspiralized recipes – making the chicken zucchini soup (see recipe above) and for dinner I whipped up some Hearty & Healthy Beef Stew with Zucchini Noodles. I omitted the Worcestershire sauce as it is not #whole30 compliant, but other than that – delish. Mine wasn’t as “stewy” as Ali’s and I ended up spilling broth EVERYWHERE (more than once) but still – a major hit. I also learned a very important lesson during this process: be sure you cut down your zoodles after you’ve spiralized them. They literally come out in one long ribbon of zucchini goodness – and it makes it hella difficult to eat. Did we still eat it? Of course. I just steered clear of using my manners and ate it like an animal. I was starving, it was delicious, and no one was judging me (I don’t think.)

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After discussions this weekend of keeping (mostly) on track with our clean eating habits, I visited the Whole30 website to read up on what people do AFTER they’ve completed their 30 days. From there I did some reading up on the Whole9. Something different than #whole30 – but still very, if not MORE, important. The Whole9 focuses more on lifestyle than JUST your eating habits. Melissa and Dallas Hartwig (authors of It Starts with Food and founders of the Whole30 and Whole9) focus on 9 factors (Whole 9 – get it?) that they believe, when properly balanced, will lead to a “healthy, vibrant, balanced life.” Ummm you got it. Tell me MORE. A community built with its focus on health, fitness, balance and sanity is pulling at my brain telling me that THIS is what I want to do next. What I NEED to do. These nine factors (nutrition, sleep, healthy movement, fun and play, stress management, socialization, natural environment, personal growth and temperance) are about creating balance in your life. You can eat healthy and exercise all you want – but just think of everything you’re leaving out. That was one thing that was discussed during this year’s #whole30 experience. We were HELLA anti-social. If I couldn’t have a drink, I didn’t want to go out to dinner with my friends. If I had to network with other young professionals and couldn’t have any snacks – there was no way in hell I was going. I had a couple choices to meet friends out – and just didn’t. I’d go to yoga because I didn’t have to talk to anyone for more than a couple minutes before or after class, and then I’d go home and cuddle up with Toby, my book, and whatever meal of sweet potatoes or eggs I had planned for the night. That just worked for me. But for the long term – I don’t think it will. I miss my friends when we can’t gather over food or drinks – but balancing out friend time, me time, and other time is something I need to work on and will continue to work on.

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I finished up my 20 classes last week for our 20/30 challenge. I was pumped about it – especially because last year I finished 19 classes. Like – WHO DOES THAT. I’ve surpassed 20 classes now, with a few more days left – but I still want to continue going. My shoulders are toning up from a thousand downward dogs in the last month, and my waist is slimming down. My yoga booty is tightening up and I’m getting more comfortable being upside down. I say this every time I go through one of these challenges – but I feel SO GOOD while I’m practicing more often that I always tell myself to KEEP doing it so often so I keep feeling that good. I also don’t want to overdo it. This week my wrists are a little sore so I’m backing off – probably a combination of volleyball and yoga. I’m honoring my body by not practicing. I could go balls to the wall and get in 30+ classes (sidenote: a guy in the barre class I went to over the weekend – I’m also still sore from it – was taking his 43rd class. My body says no to that) in – or I could hold off and just reap the goodness for how I feel. I got my gold star, I don’t need to overdo it and hurt myself just so people can congratulate me on going above and beyond.

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I know I won’t be perfect this weekend – I just won’t. But knowing the ratio of what I eat to how much I move, and to how it makes me feel (do I feel guilty for eating that piece of pizza/brownie/beer or not) will help me move into a more balanced and healthy life that I want for myself moving forward.

Spiralizing 101 + A Surprising Proclamation**

You guys – I’m in love. Well I mean I’m obviously in love – but this time… it’s with a kitchen gadget. That’s right… the spiralizer is my new kitchen love. On Valentine’s Day we made our delicious homemade meatballs and zoodles (zucchini noodles) and I bought my first “zoodler.” The one I bought was the simple, handheld one – easy enough for zucchini and made a delicious “noodle” base for our meatballs. I didn’t wait long enough for them to dry so they were slightly soggy… but now I know. And then this weekend my plan was to make sweet potato noodle waffles. I’ll admit – I got a little overzealous and was pretty impatient because I wanted to eat them NOW. So rather than eating delicious sweet potato noodle waffles, we ended up with sweet potato noodle hash. Still good – but also disappointing. Ah well. Next time.


After stumbling across an awesome Instagram page I was immediately hooked and wanted a spiralizer for my own. So I so I emailed foodie and food blogger extraordinaire to see which one she used and loved and once I heard back, I ordered it immediately. Spending the extra money was totally worth it (not even that much more) and I now want to use it for EVERY SINGLE MEAL. The website to go with the Instagram account is wonderful – and Ali is a genius when it comes to spiralizing anything and everything. And now there’s a cookbook – which I’m currently on the fence about… but more than likely, it will be in my possession. And become a new obsession.

I’m bummed I didn’t get this glorious gadget earlier on in the #whole30 challenge – but since we’ll be sticking to quite a few of the food rules moving forward, the majority of her recipes are #whole30 friendly – or at least have the option to swap out ingredients to make it so! Last night I decided to try out one of her recipes – just to see how it would work. And I will tell you – I (nor my two dinner buddies) were disappointed.

IMG_8252We tested out Foil-Pouch Sweet Potato Noodle Chicken Fajitas. Sound like a mouthful? It was – a DELICOUS mouthful. (See what I did there?) So I started out with the sweet potato noodles. I followed the directions (kind of) and was not getting noodles. Then I ACTUALLY read the directions and it started working better and it was SO MUCH FUN!! I told the roommate that I had never had so much fun cooking (except for the homemade meatball making). I assumed that we would need two potatoes for three people. And then a giant FULL plate of noodles came out with my one sweet potato. It was amazing. I mixed up the fajita seasoning and tossed it over my veggies and chicken, then piled the mix on top of some noodles, made a foil packet and popped them in the oven. 20 minutes later – boom shaka laka – DONE. I was so full I couldn’t finish mine – but the other two foil packet meals were demolished. I’d say it was a HUGE success. And I plan on making more spiralized meals all weekend long.

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With six days left on this #whole30 journey, I’m cruising through. I’m cutting down my egg consumption (even though we still have a 60 count carton sitting in the fridge) and I think I’d like to add (some) sugar back into my diet –things like honey or agave nectar… not coffee creamer or candy. Yes dear friends – you read that correctly. This self-proclaimed (and lovingly nicknamed) Candy Monster will be taking a SERIOUS HIATUS from sugary snacking.** I miss the sweet – but I can get that in other ways. I don’t think I’ll miss it too much – because during the last four weeks, I have not ONCE craved Starbursts/gummy worms/Mike & Ikes. Every now and then a cookie or a brownie looks good (like today – when we have caramel brownies in our office for lunch – bruleed with bourbon to make it extra yummy) but I haven’t wanted to eat a box of Girl Scout cookies or six cupcakes either. The more sugar I cut out, the better I feel. Natural sugars are great – but occasionally I do want a little Dove dark chocolate bite. Maybe filled with caramel. HOWEVER. I don’t want or need a whole bag like I’d done in the past.

I’m interested to see how I’ll feel a month from now. Keeping up (mostly) with this nourishment change and also my yoga (or any workout) can only make me feel better. I like waking up after a great night’s sleep – and also not waking up in the middle of the night. I like getting a good workout in and feeling sore the next day – or two days later. I like having clear skin, brighter eyes and a clear mind. I like when my pants fit and I don’t have to buy new clothes. I like how my bank account shows a SIGNIFICANT drop in food and drink purchases. I like having energy to clean the house or run errands or workout. I like being able to stay OFF the struggle bus on Saturday mornings when I head to the studio to work. I like being able to wake up in the morning and do my hair before going to work. I like the positivity flowing THROUGH me and radiating FROM me. I love that I’m happy right now – and small annoyances that would have tortured me before, roll off my shoulders like it ain’t no thang. And if I can do all these things to make myself CONTINUE to feel this way – then why would I ever change?


I’ve got beer staring at me every time I open the fridge. I was just gifted an additional 12 beers yesterday. I want to taste them – to try the delicious seasonal flavors. I want to enjoy a pint (or two) when I can relax and not have to worry about how many more days until I CAN have a drink. I like to think I’d drink LESS beer… or maybe just counteract it with a run earlier in the day. I want to be social again – instead of staying home to stew about how I REALLY want something fried. Do I really want something fried or do I just want to NOT eat something healthy? While I was reading through Ali’s weight loss story, she talked about how she didn’t want to go out with her friends after she’d had a bad, binge eating day because she didn’t want them to see how she looked. But even after a great eating day, she didn’t want to go out with her friends because she didn’t want to ruin her good day. I totally get that. And I feel like a jerk for doing it. I passed up a couple great outings with friends during my #whole30 just because I knew I couldn’t eat what they were eating. So I stayed home like a hermit instead. It’s easy enough to stay out of the bread bowl or only order one glass instead of splitting a bottle with someone. Baby steps are what works – but isolating yourself does not.

So next week – we’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll eat pizza and drink beer until I’m sick. Maybe I’ll have eggs for dinner and some almond butter and an apple for a snack. I guess time will tell. I’ll keep you updated.

**This was the “Surprising Proclamation” in case you weren’t surprised enough

I’m over eggs. I want bacon. Let the countdown begin.

You guys. I have a week left of this #whole30 challenge. I’m excited – and a little nervous. I love the way I’m feeling – but I miss pizza. After a hard day at work sometimes I just want to have a beer (or three.) I’m getting hella sick of hardboiled eggs. I am enjoying the new recipes and the search for substitutions to make some of my favorite foods #whole30 approved. I like that I’ve had someone at work as well as someone on my volleyball team tell me that I’m losing weight. My pants fit better, my spandex-filled yoga clothes make me feel more comfortable, and although I have really vivid, odd dreams at times, my sleep is second to none. I feel GOOD in the morning and have energy throughout the day. Of course I want to nap sometimes – but who doesn’t?

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I’ve been a little anti-social, mostly because many dinners and   nights out include drinking – and I just don’t want to be tempted. And being around drunk people when you’re sober isn’t the most fun I’ve ever had. But because of that anti-socialism, I’ve gotten a lot of reading done. I’ve also cleaned out my closet, organized my dresser drawers, and done A LOT of yoga. I’m on class 19 after today – and I still have a week to go for the 20/30 challenge. My practice feels strong although my legs and shoulders have been super sore. Not that I’m surprised – spending a considerable amount of time in Warrior 2 and Crescent Lunge will strengthen and tire your legs out in no time.

Non-scale victories have been considerable this time around. Like I mentioned before, my pants and spandex fit and feel better, I’ve had two mentions of looking thinner, the redness in my face is near gone, I have more energy, I sleep better, and I don’t want to punch people (as often) in the face when they irritate me.

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But I’ve also had some downfalls. The first week sucks – I wanted 25 beers after work on the first Monday we started because work was just full of shenanigans. I wanted creamer in my coffee. I wanted an effing chocolate bar. And for God’s sake give me a Casey’s taco pizza. And then all of a sudden – I was out of my haze. I felt good, I wasn’t hungry all the time, and food prep was getting way easier. And then all of a sudden last week, something hit me and I wanted the ice cream in my freezer SO BAD. It was ridiculous. I’m not even a big ice cream eater – but for some reason I needed that. So what did I do? I took it out of the freezer, opened it up, grabbed a spoon, and dumped it down the sink. It was such a sad site to see – but I knew I had to do it. I’d never had one of those moments where I wanted and NEEDED something SO BAD that I was willing to screw it all up by just having a bite. So now, that ice cream with chocolate chunks and caramel is in ice cream heaven, slow-clapping me for not giving in. (I assume that’s what is happening anyway.)

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So what happens next week? Next Wednesday is my last day of #whole30. And after that, what are my plans? I’ll be honest – I really have no idea. A few things that I know are a permanent change in our house – cutting out a lot of dairy. After trying coconut milk early on, it seems that it would be a good and easy switch from regular cow’s milk. I’m not a big milk drinker as is, but sometimes I do want a bowl of cereal with milk. (I’m not sure how I just now decided to do this – I’ve never been a milk-on-my-cereal kinda gal. Thanks Mom.) Coconut milk and almond milk seem like a good switch for us. It can be used as a coffee creamer as well – and with far less shit than is in the actual coffee creamer. And the less shit I put in my body, the better. I’ll significantly cut down on my egg intake – at least for a while. But will I go back to eating oatmeal in the morning? Or a bagel? Or toast? I really don’t know. I like the idea of eating three meals a day as prescribed by #whole30 – and I also like that it’s set up as Meal 1, Meal 2 and Meal 3… rather than breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve eaten eggs and avocado for dinner, while I’ve had hearty meat and (sweet) potatoes for breakfast. I love the way I feel without all the extra sugar in my body from coffee creamer, candy, and literally ALL THE OTHER FOOD I eat on a daily basis. It’s just amazing how much sugar is in EVERYTHING. I used to think reading labels was for that person who just “wants to lose 5 pounds” and is only looking at the calorie or fat intake. But really, reading labels has opened my eyes to how much garbage is put into processed foods. I’ve adapted the “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t put it in your body” mentality when looking at labels. I feel like I’m a pretty good reader so being unable to pronounce something that I’m putting in my body to fuel it seems pretty outrageous.

So. Long story short – I’ll decide what I’m going to do next week, when next week gets here. I may have a piece of pizza and a beer to celebrate. Or I may hold off and keep going. You just never know. Plus I have so many new #whole30 approved recipes from the amazing paleo blogs I follow – I can’t wait to see how those turn out! Pictures to come. As always. Sorry if you’re sick of my Instagram account. I looked through the other day and realized that 95% of my pictures revolve around food, drinks and Toby. I’m not even mad about it.

Maybe I’ll do a #whole45 – or maybe I’ll make some small changes but stick with it. Maybe I’ll say “screw it I want McDonalds” and feel like trash for a week until that garbage gets out of my system. Maybe I’ll eat some pasta and realize I hate the way I feel after I’m done eating. I love carbs – and I like carbs with my carbs. But maybe I can ease back into it and cut that love of carbs in half… you just don’t know. So stick with me for another week – and we can find out together.

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.