Sunday, June 26, 2016

Whole30, Days 22, 23, 24, 25: Stockholm Syndrome

Catch up on all the Whole30 posts by clicking here.

Alright. I went a bit rogue in my last post. Blame it on the sugar cravings. But this time I'm back to normal! Pictures of food, a regular eating schedule, and my uncensored thoughts on this whole Whole30 thing.

Now, before we get going, I should warn you, this post is full of oversharing about my bodily functions. You have been warned.


After going wild with cravings for the previous week, I woke up Wednesday feeling semi-normal. I didn't want to quit Whole30, and I didn't want cookies. Or at least, I didn't want cookies as badly as I wanted one earlier in the week. I definitely still wanted to eat a cookie.

Breakfast: Spoonful of almond butter
By Wednesday morning, Kenny and I were starting to run low on foodstuffs. The weekly meal plan told me I was supposed to eat leftover breakfast sausages, but I didn't want to eat that. So I had a spoonful of almond butter. Melissa and Dallas Hartwig would be so ashamed.

Lunch: Sausages with Avocado
By lunchtime, we truly had no food in our house, so I buckled down and ate the breakfast sausages. To make them more appealing, I sliced up an avocado to go with them. Surprisingly, it was very tasty. So then I regretted all the times I've eaten the breakfast sausage without the avocado. What a fool I was.

Once I had finished up, I accepted that we were out of food and that I need to just suck it up and go to the grocery store.

Snack: Raw Nuts with a side of Getting Pulled Over
Let me tell you a little story about my irresponsibility and ongoing hatred of the DMV. In June 2014, I moved to the lovely state of Minnesota. Minnesota requires that you get an in-state license within one month of moving to the state. However, I knew that I would be getting married and changing my name in November of 2014, so it seemed silly to deal with the DMV twice in six months. Plus, I'm a decent driver. So I figured that as long as I didn't get pulled over, everything would be okay. So, in November, Kenny and I got married. In February of 2015, once all the name-change paperwork had been filed, I finally went to the DMV and got a Minnesota license.

Unfortunately, although I filled out all of the paperwork corrently (I have the carbon copies to prove it) a clerical error/typo resulted in my new license getting sent to the wrong address. And the DMV will not forward mail. Of course, I didn't realize that the license had gone to the wrong address for a few weeks. Instead, I sat in our apartment wondering why my license still hadn't arrived after a full month.  By the time I called the DMV, figured out what went wrong, and waited an additional two weeks for my license to arrive at the correct address, the whole getting-a-license-process had taken 7-8 weeks. It was a nightmare.

So you'll understand, I think, that when I was offered a job at Macalester and moved to a different address in June 2015, I wasn't keen on updating the address on my license. I figured the position was only two years, I had had my license for less than six months, and I wasn't likely to get pulled over.

Well, problem is, the DMV uses the address they have on file for important things. Like mailing you reminder/renewal forms for your license tabs. And if you don't give them the correct address, they won't send these renewal reminders to you. And the post office won't forward them to you for security reasons. So when my tags expired in March, I  was clueless.

Fast forward to last Sunday, June 19, when my head popped off my pillow at midnight because I suddenly realized that it had been more than a year since I had messed with license tabs. Thankfully, Minnesota allows you to renew tabs online up to 10 months after they expire. Hooray! So on Monday, I got online to renew them.

Which brings us back to early Wednesday afternoon.  After eating lunch, I headed out to the grocery store to pick up food. I figured, Hey. I have been driving around with expired tabs for three months in blissful ignorance, and no one has pulled me over. I should be able to make a quick trip to the grocery store and back.

So naturally, on the way home from the grocery, I got pulled over for having expired tabs. And I also had an out-of-date license. And out of date car insurance because it had renewed the week before and the new cards were still sitting on Kenny's desk. It was a perfect storm of expiration.

On the bright side, the officer only gave me one ticket instead of three. (And yes, I did tell the officer that I had just renewed the tabs online, and yes I did show him the confirmation email, and no, he didn't care.)

And then I got home and ate some nuts.

Dinner: Chicken Burgers and Cauliflower Mash
By Wednesday night, I needed some serious comfort food - something warm and creamy and delicious. So while I whipped up some chicken burgers (using the meatball recipe in the Whole30 book), Kenny made some delicious cauliflower mash. It's no mashed potatoes, but it's still yummy and delicious.


Breakfast - I honestly don't remember
I assume that I ate something on Thursday. Maybe a larabar? Or maybe I skipped breakfast? I did have an early-ish meeting that day...

Lunch - Chicken Burgers and Mash
The chicken burgers were even tastier leftover. I'm telling you, this recipe is worth investigating even if you're not doing Whole30.

Shortly after eating those delicious chicken burgers on Thursday, my stomach started to feel weird - crampy and upset and just...not right. It was then that I realized it had kind of been a while since I pooped. (I warned you there were bodily functions in this post.)

Now, my digestive system has been kind of wonky since Whole30 started. I expected that in the first week or two (the book even warned me about it), but Thursday was Day 23, and I was ready to be back to normal. But I wasn't normal. I was constipated. And I hadn't been the bathroom since Sunday morning.

Frustrated and in increasing discomfort, I turned to the internet (naturally). And according to a "Foods That Help You Poop" Google search, my issue was vegetables. Or rather, a lack of them in my diet. I'm great on the fruit, fats, and protein front, but I just haven't been eating enough vegetables. (I had, however, been eating a lot of avocado, which is like number 2 on the poop list, but whatever. Clearly my body is pissed at me.) Conveniently, Kenny and I had already been planning a dinner heavy on the vegetables. So, knowing that relief was (probably) coming soon, I hunkered into bed and wallowed in my grumpy discomfort until Kenny came home.

Dinner - Chicken with Curried Vegetables
As soon as Kenny walked through the door, I hopped out of bed and turned on the oven. I needed vegetables, stat! Kenny and I set about dicing various root vegetables, tossed the veggies in olive oil and popped them into the oven to roast. Then, we turned our attention to the main attraction: the curry.

At some point in my childhood, I decided I didn't like curry. I don't know why and I don't know when. I just know that some foolish part of my brain ruled against it.

I also don't know why I thought it was a good idea to try curry again, much less while we were on Whole30. Perhaps I was feeling adventurous. Or maybe the picture in the Whole30 book just made the curry look a lot like delicious creamy cheese. Either way, we tried it.

And holy cow. I like curry. No, I LOVE curry. WHY oh WHY have I been avoiding curry for so many years? Oh my goodness this stuff was so amazingly delicious. Like, this may be one of my favorite foods. I don't mean on Whole30. I mean favorite foods ever. My iphone didn't know how to handle the dark blue of the cherry bowl and the bright yellow of the curry, so the photo is kind of junk, but TRUST ME. This was ohmygosh incredible. (If you've got a Whole30 book at home, it's the curry and roasted vegetables recipe. Make it.) How have I been living with out curry for so many years of my life?


Breakfast - Red potatoes
Unfortunately, the high of discovering my love of curry did not counteract my digestive issues. By Friday morning, I was exhausted (probably because my poop problems were preventing nutrients form getting to the rest of my body), I had a headache, and my digestive cramps had increased ten fold.

Although I had initially planned to get up early to make breakfast, my beautiful husband got up and made roasted red potatoes in my stead. In an attempt to relieve my poop issues, I paired the potatoes with some raw spinach. Except the potatoes just didn't really go with the spianch, so I just stacked spinach leaves on top of each other and rolled them up into little cylinders and ate them like cheetos. It was just as sad as it sounds. But I needed greens if I wanted to poop. And I really wanted to poop.

Lunch: Leftover curry
You know how delicious the curry was on Thursday? Miraculously, it was even better on Friday. Apparently letting the curry sit for a day or two brings out the flavors. Gosh it was good. It's been two days and I'm still thinking about it. Make this curry. Or any curry. Just indulge in some curry.

Also, around 11:28 am, something glorious happened: I pooped.

Dinner: Turkey Burgers
On Friday night, Kenny and I wanted something fast and easy, so we pulled out the leftover cauliflower mash (I needed veggies so that I could continue this pooping trend), chopped up some watermelon we had sitting in the fridge, and made turkey burgers. The burgers themselves weren't fancy - just premade patties from the grocery. But we topped them with red onions and guacamole (Also store-bought. I'm still too scarred from the jalapeno incident to make my own.) and they were delish.


Breakfast: Red potatoes
Leftover potatoes and turkey burgers. Nothing to see here.

Lunch: Chicken Avocado Salad
For lunch, Kenny and I broke out the Chicken Avocado Salad recipe we love so much (you can find it here if you're interested). We made it earlier on Whole30, but the avocados we used were weird and so the salad tasted weird too. But this time, all the ingredients were perfect! We also reduced the chicken content a little bit so that it didn't over power the avocado.

Then, we put it on a bed of spinach because healthy digestive systems are important.

Dinner: Lemon Garlic Chicken in Slowcooker
For dinner, we tried out a Buzzfeed recipe with only four ingredients: a chicken, a few lemons, rosemary, and garlic cloves. We also tried out a slow cooker liner for the first time. I am now in love. I will never use a slow cooker without a liner again.

As directed by the video, we transferred the slow-cooked chicken to a pan and put it in the broiler. We discovered that either our broiler is extra intense (we've never used a broiler before, so we have no frame of reference) or the recipe gave bad timing, because after only five minutes, it started to turn black. (The instructions say 10 minutes.)

Luckily, I heard the crackling of the burning chicken, so we retrieved it before major damage was done. In fact, the skin ended up being the best part!

Stockholm Syndrome / Reasons Why Whole30 is Sucking Less

And thus ends Day 26. Somehow, inexplicably, I am starting to feel kind of positive about Whole30. Could this be Stockholm Syndrome? Maybe. Maybe I've just forgotten how delicious cheese tastes. A lot of my frustration from a few weeks ago stemmed from not getting the result I wanted from this program. I had really been hoping for the boundless energy that so many other Whole30 participants experience, but it just isn't happening. However, lots of other good things have been happening:
  • My skin is clearer
  • I am sleeping soundly and through the night more often
  • I no longer feel like taking a nap between 1 and 3 pm every afternoon
  • Kenny and I have been eating every meal at the kitchen table instead of sacking out in front of the TV
  • I don't feel heavy and gross after meals the way I used to (I have a theory that I have issues with soy, but we'll see what happens once we get into the reintroduction days)
  • I have far more confidence in my cooking abilities. For example, ingredients list that include more than three items no longer scare me. 
  • I know what an immersion blender is and how to use it.
  • I am no longer afraid of mystery vegetables thanks to the magic of olive oil. 

No, don't get me wrong. I am still very much looking forward to the first day of reintroduction when I can eat some ice cream. But my resentment is slowly fading away. Especially now that I'm pooping like a normal person again. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Whole30, Days 16-21: Just Give Me Donuts

Catch up on all the Whole30 posts by clicking here. 

I've been putting off this post. Not because Kenny and I quit (somehow, ridiculously, we are still doing this), and not because I have gotten sick of the blog.

No. I am just sick to death of food.

I mean, we have had a few yummy things. For example, Kenny and I found some grass-fed beef sausages (not hotdogs) that were pretty awesome. Expensive. But awesome. We put them in lettuce leaves and wrapped them up so that it felt like we were eating the sausages on buns. It sounds really sad and pathetic (and this picture of the unwrapped sausage especially does), but it wasn't, I swear. We weren't, like, imagining the lettuce as bread. It was just a tool so that we could hold the delicious meat and cram it into our mouths faster.

Kenny also made some breakfast sausages which look like lame blobs of meat in this photo, but which were actually quite tasty, especially when combined with avocado.

But other than that, we've been eating a lot of repeat meals: potatoes, pan-seared porkchops, pan-seared chicken, pan-seared porkchops, chicken salad, pan-seared porkchops, EGGS. Ugh. Every time I eat eggs I remember how much they need cheese. The green onion is a poor substitute.

I'll be honest with you - I didn't eat that peach. I just needed something colorful to fill the empty space on my plate so that my photo would look slightly more attractive. And unfortunately, I'm not allowed to eat bacon. So a peach was the next-best thing. 

Also I tried to make sweet potato fries (which I thought were off-limits - we aren't supposed to eat fries or chips of any kind. BUT I found this recipe on the official Whole30 instagram, so I took that as official Whole30 approval to make fries anyway), but they turned out kind of disgusting. Which is maybe why Whole30 approved them.

Don't let their fry-like appearance fool you. These were not delicious. 

So anyway, I just haven't really been excited to share our meals, because our meals have been kind of lame. You can only blog about porkchops so many times before it gets old.

Plus, lately, my mental energy has been far more consumed with craving food I can't eat than with the food I am actually eating.

My Brain is Sugar

See, my cravings have taken over my brain. I am no longer in control. Last week, while at the grocery store getting potatoes, I found myself surrounded by parents and young children. As I walked down the main store thoroughfare, one particularly adorable child caught my eye: a pale-skinned, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, two-year-old child with a ring of pink frosting around his mouth. He could have been a Gerber baby. And he was holding the holy grail of store bought cookies:

I'm not sure what these cookies are actually called, but my family has always called them disk cookies because they have a round disk of perfectly shaped icing on top. Kenny calls them crack cookies. For what I assume are obvious reasons.

Anyway, the innocent two year old was holding one of these perfect creations, happily munching away. 

And, when I saw him, I stopped dead in my tracks. I am talking full stop, no longer walking, staring at this cookie in the child's hands, dead in my tracks. I am not embellishing. I am not being hyperbolic. I literally stood in the middle of the grocery store and watched this child eat this cookie. My sense of self-awareness was gone. I just wanted a cookie so badly. 

I managed to snap out of it before the child's parent noticed me creepily staring at their son, but this episode started a string of similar incidents. I have stared at people eating cake, ice cream cones, donuts, and pizza. 

I have also been hit  by overwhelming cravings for things I can't eat. For example, Kenny and I went to a friend's outdoor party on Friday. As we sat out on the back steps, we were struck by what a perfect summer evening it was: a beautiful sunset, warm but with a slight breeze, all the plants were green and lush. A perfect evening, you might say, for a walk up to the local ice cream establishment. A Dairy Queen for example. And at this establishment, one might get a Dairy Queen Blizzard with Snickers. So, instead of enjoying the party, Kenny and I sat on the back steps and debated the pros and cons of quitting and driving to Dairy Queen immediately. 

Kenny told me if we were going to quit we needed to sleep on it first. I told him that I only wanted to quit because I wanted a Blizzard RIGHT NOW, so if I had to sleep on it, I didn't want to quit. I'm all about instant gratification, baby. (Okay, not really. But like, sort of? If you're familiar with the marshmallow experiment, I would have been the kid who ate tiny little pieces out of the marshmallow, but like, inconspicuous parts of the marshmallow that the adults probably wouldn't have noticed so that I could still get my second marshmallow.)ANYWAY. We conquered our desire to get DQ Blizzards on Friday night. We went back home with dairy-free stomachs. 

And then we ended up at Kenny's parents on Sunday night where there was a big, giant, delicious-looking, fudgy, chocolaty cake. 

This is not that cake, but it looks like that cake. 

Kenny and I were overwhelmed with our desire for chocolate, so we had to go into a separate room and talk ourselves down. Kenny's mom told us that the cake made her feel sick, which probably wasn't true, but I chose to believe her for the sake of stamping out my craving. 

On Monday, the worst day of all, I was watching TV, and suddenly food was everywhere. ALL THE PEOPLE WERE EATING ALL THE THINGS. There were donuts! And cake! And yogurt! And cookies! And muffins! And cheese! And pancakes! And just...all the things. 

To pull ourselves together, Kenny and I have made a Freedom List aka A List of Things We Can Eat When This Blasted Program is Over. Here it is in its current state:

Please, feel free to share your own suggestions. Only the promise of apple pie is keeping me going right now. 

Today is Day 22, so Kenny and I are heading into the final week. I promise to do my best to return to the standard format in my next post - and I'll do my best to make yummy foods so that you don't have to stare at 10 pictures of porkchops. 

Until next time!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Whole30, Days 12, 13, 14, & 15: Why Am I Doing This To Myself

Catch up on all the Whole30 posts by clicking here.

Before we get started here, let me apologize for yet another late post. It is now noon on Day 17, a full 36 hours after I should have published this blog post. While I would normally chalk this up to good old fashioned laziness, this time we must blame my jalapeño-burned hand.  Jalapeño burns? you ask. YES. JALAPEÑO BURNS. We'll get there. Just wait.


Breakfast: Potato, Onion, Kielbasa Hash
Sunday started out calmly with a familiar meal of potato hash. It's a simple food, and we've had it several times already on Whole30 (first on Day 4), but it never fails to make me happy. It's just so delicious!

Lunch: Steak, Grilled Vegetables, Hashbrowns with Onions, Melon, and a Salad with Craisins and Pine Nuts

At lunch time on Sunday, Kenny and I ventured out of our little kitchen into the great unknown. We had been invited for a Sunday brunch at Kenny's aunts' house, and they had graciously offered to make a Whole30 compliant meal for us.

And OH. MY. HEAVENS. It was delicious.

Pam and Jane served us perfectly-done steaks with side salads, grilled veggies (squash, zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers), hashbrowns with onions, and tuscan melon (which is like cantalope on steroids). The weather was gorgeous, so we sat outside in the sunshine and enjoyed the breeze. It was perfect.

...and I forgot to take pictures. I am so sorry. The nicest, fanciest, most delicious meal we've eaten, and I took no pictures.

Dinner: Spaghetti Squash, Red Sauce, Chicken Meatballs, and the Hamiltonys

Kenny and I have made the squash and sauce several times already - we're getting to be pros at chopping open spaghetti squashes! However, the chicken meatballs were a new addition. To be fair, they were more chicken meatblobs than balls, but they were delicious nonetheless. (For those of you following along, the recipes for this meal can be found on pp. 294, 324, and 226 in the Whole30 book)

While we were cooking, I asked Kenny if he would mind if I turned on the opening number of the Tonys (I was hoping Hamilton would play a major role). I promised I would only watch the opening number and then come back to help him cook. And then I promised I would come back just as soon as the Shuffle Along performance was over...and then after the She Loves Me performance was over...and then suddenly it was after 10 pm and I had watched the entire award show.

Kenny graciously finished up dinner and joined me on the couch (he also didn't give me trouble for breaking the No TV During Dinner rule. Kenny is an angel.)

Also, if you haven't watched the Tonys, you should watch this:

And this:

You're welcome.


Breakfast: Leftover potato/onion hash
Monday proved to be a largely uneventful day with largely uninteresting meals. I ate some leftover potato hash for breakfast. No major excitement, and no photos.

Lunch: Leftover Spaghetti Sqaush with the Heavenly Meatballs
Lunch proved equally uneventful, though it did involve eating more of the fabulous meatballs that we made the night before. These meatballs are getting added to my list of favorite things. Like, right up there next to cheese. Whatever the results of Whole30 may be, these meatballs are staying with me for life.

Dinner: Meatloaf
On Monday night, Kenny and I opted to make a meatloaf. Due to a generous donation of almond flour (that stuff is expensive) from Pam and Jane, Kenny and I were able to make a meatloaf with an otherwise-normal recipe. We used leftover red sauce from our Sunday-night dinner, a variety of spices and a huge hunk of raw meat. Yum.

Unfortunately, no pictures of the cooked meatloaf. It turns out that meatloaf without a layer of ketchup looks pretty gross.


Breakfast: Chicken Tenders and Ranch Dressing
On Monday night, in addition to making meatloaf, Kenny and I made a batch of chicken tenders that we hoped to have for breakfast several times this week.

So we mixed up a bunch of spices (and way too much cayenne pepper)

and coated some raw chicken

and made an incredibly unappetizing meal of overly spicy chicken tenders with a soggy breading. Kenny enjoyed this very much. I thought it was disgusting.

And thus, my desire to quit Whole30 returned.

Lunch: Meatloaf - Pilates
Around lunchtime on Tuesday, I headed out to my Pilates class. I'm still pretty weak, but I'm making progress. This week I made it 25 whole minutes before I felt like death! Huzzah!

Tragically, when I returned home, I was greeted by this disgusting meatloaf.

Kenny likes this meatloaf. And I guess, by meatloaf standards, it is probably just fine. But day old meatloaf without ketchup is just wholly unappealing to me.

Dinner: Tuna Salad / Chipotle
After a disappointing breakfast and lunch, I really wanted to have a delicious dinner. Kenny had requested a big batch of tuna salad, so I opted to grab four cans of tuna, the rest of our homemade mayo and a bunch of diced onions.

After mixing it all up, I took a bite. And apparently, I don't like tuna anymore than I like spicy chicken tenders or day-old meatloaf.

This is not the meal I made. This looks more delicious than the meal I made. And this is cat food. 

In fact I hate tuna. My kitchen smelled like wet dog and dog breath and dog food had all been combined in a bowl and turned into a stink bomb that exploded in my kitchen. It was so awful. I threw it all in tupperware, closed the fridge, opened all the windows, and got the heck out of my kitchen.

Unfortunately, I needed to head to class, and I didn't have time to make any more food. So I stopped at Chipotle and got lettuce, carnitas, pico, and guacamole. And can I just share that Chipotle still charged my $9.65 for this? Even though I refused rice, beans, veggies, cheese and basically all the other salsas? Have they no common decency? No pity for a woman who is in a self-induced food hell?

Oh well.


Breakfast: Almond Butter
Our meal plan listed chicken tenders for breakfast, but I refused to eat them, so I just ate a bunch of almond butter instead.

Lunch: Meatloaf and a Bunch of Grapes
I tried to give the meatloaf one last shot, but after a full two minutes in the microwave, the darn thing was only hot on the edges and was still cold in the middle. So I picked at it and then put it away.

But I was still hungry. Hangry, in fact, given how little satisfying food I had eaten over the previous 24 hours. And all of my hangriness was directed at Whole30.

I wanted to get back at Whole30. I wanted to let Whole30 know how incredibly angry and frustrated I was with the whole stupid program. So I did something rebellious.

I ate too many grapes.

See, you are only supposed to eat fruit sparingly on Whole30. BUT I DIDN'T. I ATE SO MUCH FRUIT. I'm pretty hardcore.

Dinner: Porkchops, Guacamole, Roasted Potatoes
After recovering from my fit of rebellion, I decided to sit down and meal plan, then go to the grocery store to stock up on foods I actually like. I was determined to recapture my enthusiasm. As I assigned different meals to different days, I selected something that I knew both Kenny and I would find delicious: porkchops and guacamole. We loved it so much the first time, right?

So I headed out to the store to buy avocados and pork. If only I had known then that my pain-free hours were numbered.

At exactly 3:48 pm on Wednesday afternoon, I began finely chopping a japaleno. I cut this jalapeno with reckless abandon, slicing and dicing to my heart's content.

How delicious my guacamole will be, I thought naively. I'm so glad I decided to use the jalapeno like Chipotle recommends. 

Happily humming to myself, I dumped the jalapeno into the bowl, using my fingers to push every last bit off the chopping board.

And then, at about 4:23, I felt this weird tingle in my left ring finger. I ran some cold water over said finger.

Then, at apporximately 4:37, that tingle grew to become a slight burning sensation. I wondered if my finger had been hit by a grease splatter when I cooked the pork chops.

By 4:58 I was standing by the sink with my entire left hand under the running water, crying in pain.

Turns out, jalapeno oil can burn you.

You must understand, this is not equivalent to a burn you would get from a hot pan or from spending too long on the beach. This burn was the most unbelievably painful thing I have ever experienced. If I wasn't actively holding my hand under icy cold water, it felt as though my fingers were being held in an open flame or being pressed onto a burning hot stove top. I couldn't see straight.

Kenny and I even got in the car to go to urgent care because I just couldn't believe that it was normal for a human to feel so much pain simply because they cut up a jalapeno. However, in trying to figure out a way to be mobile, I discovered that holding my hand against an ice pack, numbing the heck out of all my nerve endings, was sufficient to keep me from death.

Of course, I couldn't do much or go anywhere with my hand submerged in a bowl of ice. Kenny had to take off my shoes, put toothpaste on my toothbrush, and help me put on PJs. (Have I mentioned he's an angel?)

But then it was time for bed, and the pain was too great to fall asleep. So I turned to the internet for remedies that would reduce the pain enough for me to get some rest.

And let me tell you, I tried everything:
1. Covering my fingers in a baking soda paste
2. Soaking my hand in apple cider vinegar
3. Soaking my hand in lime juice
4. Soaking my hand in lemon juice
5. Slathering my hand in aloe vera
6. Slathering my hand in aloe vera with menthol
7. Pouring sugar all over my hand
8. Covering my hands in oil
9. Covering my hands in dish soap
10. At the suggestion of one internet blogger, I even filled a glove with mustard and soaked my hand in ice water.

I stuck my hand in a glove full of mustard. OF MUSTARD. THAT IS HOW MUCH PAIN I WAS IN. 

Also, it didn't work. Nothing worked. None of these damned remedies worked. 

So, I filled a bowl with ice cubes, got in bed, and slept with my hand on ice all night. About every 30-45 minutes, when the cubes had melted entirely, I got up and got a fresh batch of ice, stuck my hand back in, and cried myself back to sleep. At about 12:18 am, my right hand started burning too, because apparently I wasn't in enough pain before, so then I stuck both hands in ice and slept like a seal until it was time to collect the next batch of pain-numbing tools.

It was lovely. 

By Thursday morning, only my left thumb still hurt, so that was a blessing at least. 

But Thursday is for the next post. 

P.S. We're half-way through!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Whole30, Days 8, 9, 10, & 11: Pan-Sear All the Things

Catch up on all the Whole30 posts by clicking here. 

I haven't blogged much in the past few days because, honestly, I think we might have turned a corner in Whole30. [Or rather, we found the corner, went back to Grumpytown on Thursday, and then returned in order to actually turn said corner on Friday.] But even though I have less hangriness to vent, I am enjoying the process of recording our Whole30 journey. SO, on to pictures and food.


After the nightmare that was Day 7, aka The Day We Almost Quit, Kenny and I decided to approach Day 8 with a better attitude and a fresh meal plan, packed with yummy foods. So, after eating breakfast together, I drove Kenny to work then headed over to the grocery.

I arrived at SuperTarget just before they opened, and I have to say, 8 am may be my new favorite time to shop at Target. There are almost no other customers to get in your way or to clog up the cashier's line. And you get to be the first person to stumble upon the home decor section that has been freshly covered in 50% off clearance stickers.

So in addition to the groceries I picked up, I also grabbed these adorable bowls for less than $8 total:

After my grocery trip, I headed home and set about getting life back in order - cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, etc.

Lunch: Pan-Seared Pork, Grapes, Carrots, and Chipotle Guac

As part of our new "Let's get over ourselves and have a better attitude about Whole30" initiative, I had decided to make and bring lunch to Kenny in downtown St. Paul.

I followed the Whole30 book's pork recipe (Pan-searing is my new favorite thing. How did I not know how deliciously tender this makes meat?) and chopped up some fresh fruit and vegetables as sides.

Once I arrived downtown, Kenny and I decided to eat at a table outside Chipotle. Except, we felt bad taking up Chipotle chairs without patronizing Chipotle, so - oh darn - we decided to buy guacamole to justify our presence. So far, the discovery that guacamole goes amazingly well with pork chops is one of my favorite Whole30 revelations. It's obvious in retrospect, but somehow it never occurred to me to pair these two things.

Bonus picture of Kenny looking cheery:

Dinner: Spinach Salad, Lemon Garlic Shrimp in Avocado

For dinner, Kenny and I made a recipe that we had had on our to-make list for nearly a week: shrimp sauteed in ghee (dairy-free butter), lemon juice and garlic, served in half an avocado. Honestly, the photo of the meal is kind of gross. The ghee made the shrimp look kind of slimy, and the lighting makes the shrimp look uncooked. But let me assure you, the shrimp was well-cooked, not slimy, and was utterly delicious. Whole30 is basically just becoming an excuse for me to test avocado and guacamole with various seafood and meats. I'm adding shrimp to the list of delicious avocado pairings.


When Thursday dawned, my bad attitude had returned. To understand why, I should explain a little more about Whole30.

On the surface, Whole30 is just about the food you eat: no grains, legumes, alchohol or dairy for 30 days. But Whole30 also seeks to break unhealthy food habits you might have. So, for example, even though french fries are technically allowed in Whole30 (potatoes are okay, as is cooking oil), they are banned because they promote mindless overeating. Same goes for things like chips, smoothies, and banana-egg paleo pancakes.  Snacking is also discouraged, though permitted in the first week or so as your body adjusts to new energy sources.

Well, my unhealthy eating habits revolve around boredom. When I am bored, I snack. When I am home alone, I snack. When I am bored and at home alone, I snack A LOT.

So, tell me if you see the problem: I am in the midst of two weeks of freedom. My spring classes have ended, but my summer classes have not begun. My internship ended for the school year and the musical I'm in has not yet begun. So I sit at home all day, without Kenny, twiddling my thumbs.

And I. Want. To. Snack.

Thursday was essentially just me staring at a wall growing angrier and angrier that I couldn't snack on peanut butter.

Breakfast: Leftover porkchops and guac
I ate this, and it was yummy. However, my frustration that I couldn't have peanut butter limited my enjoyment.

Lunch: Leftover shrimp, avocado, and spinach
Once again, delicious. No peanut butter.

Dinner: Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
By the time Kenny got home, my boredom-fueled anger had reached such incredible heights, I had gone on hunger strike. If I can't eat peanut butter, I won't eat ANYTHING. How DARE this program take me away from my precious peanuts!

Kenny opted to be the more mature partner and whip up some scrumptious chicken salad. We (yes, I calmed down enough to eat) wrapped the chicken up in lettuice leaves so that we could eat it like a burrito. However, a lettuce burrito doesn't make an exciting picture, so I photographed this yummy salad pre-wrapping.


Breakfast: Leftover Tilapia (from The Day We Almost Quit)
On Friday, I realized that my boredom was sabotaging me, so I decided to get out of the house. After a quick breakfast of tilapia (which tasted more like lake water than I remember), I headed out. 

On my agenda:
- toiletry restocking at Target
- picking up a check from TurnStyle (a consignment store)
- stopping at Michaels / Barnes & Noble / Staples / Blick Art Supply to get materials for a bullet journal. 

The shopping trip was a wonderful success, and my TurnStyle check covered the cost of the bullet journal - so no money was lost! I may or may not blog about the bullet journal, but if you're curious to know what it is, Buzzfeed has a pretty great synopsis. 

Also, here are some pictures:

Lunch: Leftover Chicken Salad
I returned home to chicken salad and a better attitude. No longer bored out of my mind and craving peanut butter, I settled in to work on creating my bullet journal.

Dinner: Burgers in Lettuce Wraps, Cauliflower Mash

With our renewed attitudes, Kenny and I set about making dinner. Kenny focused on the burgers, which turned out splendidly:

So much delicious onion and mustard.

And I set about making the cauliflower mash. I have been pretty pumped about this recipe ever since it started popping up in my Pinterest feed a year ago. It's fairly simple to make too, at least if you plan ahead. I did not plan ahead. So when the time came to add the ghee, coconut cream, and chicken broth, I realized I had none of these things.

But I refused to give up! (Also, the cauliflower itself had already been mashed. I was committed.) So, I quickly clarified butter on the stove, threw some coconut milk in the fridge (it separates out into coconut cream), and grabbed some beef broth as a substitute for chicken.

In the end, our dinner was delayed about 45 minutes, but the mash was delicious. Kenny and I can't get enough.

Also, I got to use my new bowls:


Finally, we arrive at Saturday, which was a simple and photo-free day, so I won't drag it out.

Breakfast: Potato, Onion, Kielbasa Hash
Lunch: Leftover Burgers and Cauliflower Mash
Dinner: Fresh Chicken Salad on Lettuce, Bananas with Almond Butter (a love letter to almond butter is coming. just wait.)

With 11 days under our belts, I am starting to feel pretty okay about Whole30. My energy levels are consistent throughout the day (no 2 pm slump for me!), and I am sleeping fairly well. My skin has cleared a little, and I think I'm even losing weight? It may just be that my body composition is changing (fewer deposits of flubby fat), but either way, my clothes are fitting better, and that's pretty cool.

Best of all, I am starting to build versatile kitchen skills. I am no longer afraid of raw meat, unknown vegetables, or recipes that require an immersion blender. I have even started shopping for a cast iron skillet.

Baby steps.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Whole30 Days 6 & 7: We Almost Quit

Catch up on all the Whole30 posts by clicking here. 

You may be wondering why this post didn't go up yesterday. After all, today is Day 8, not Day 7. Well, friends, that because I wasn't sure there was going to be  a Day 8. Yesterday, I almost quit. Like, full -blown, throw-all-this-damn-produce-in-the-trash-and-go-buy-a-cheeseburger quit.

In order to understand how I arrived at that place (and by place, I mean facedown on my bed yelling about how I never want to see an egg again in my whole life), we must start at the beginning: Monday morning.


When I went to bed Sunday night, I had big dreams. I will get up early on Monday! I will make those delicious-looking twice baked sweet potatoes. I love sweet potatoes! I will be able to send Kenny off to work with a delicious warm breakfast. He will be the envy of all the other kids at work.

Then Sunday night happened.

If you will recall, the last stage of Whole30 was titled Kill All the Things. However, despite Whole30's prediction, I was firmly in my own Sleep On All the Things stage. That is, until Sunday night when I was hit with a brutal case of insomnia.

So as I lay in bed, staring at my ceiling at 12:47 am, knowing that I had an alarm set for 5:50 am to make these sweet potatoes, I decided to bail. The potatoes could wait, right? I changed my alarm to 6:50 am instead, played on my phone until my eyes were finally tired, and finally conked out around 1:30.

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs / Larabar
When the alarm went off, I didn't feel great, but I at least had enough energy to get out of bed. Although I abandoned the sweet potatoes, I still wanted to give Kenny a hot breakfast that wasn't just three hard boiled eggs. So while he was in the shower, I  made scrambled eggs - faster than hard-boiled and 8 times yummier. I plannned to make some for myself as well, but my stomach was too upset from the lack of sleep to eat eggs and I had a morning meeting, so I couldn't wait until 10 to have an actual breakfast. Instead I grabbed a larabar and headed out.

Lunch: Leftover Tuna Boats, Apple
When we had tuna boats on Sunday, I was so excited. But when I looked at them on Monday, sitting forlornly on my plate, the avocado slightly browned, I was filled with revulsion and dread.

So instead of eating the sad boats, I began making a mental list of all the foods I would rather eat:
Five Guy's Little Bacon Cheeseburger
A tub of vanilla ice cream with snickers mixed in, covered in magic shell
A strawberry milkshake
Brie - just...all the brie
Cinnamon rolls
Chinese food
Quiche Lorraine
Hot chocolate
A croissant

And then, mental list complete, I ate the darn tuna boats.

Dinner: Chicken Avocado Salad on Greens, Cherries
Monday evening, Kenny and I opted to keep the guacamole train from the weekend rolling and make chicken avocado salad. If you're unfamiliar with this delicious recipe, I will explain: basically, you put all of the ingredients for guacamole into a bowl. Then you put all of the ingredients for chicken salad into the same bowl. Then you mix them together. It is very sophisticated. You should be impressed.

Before we could actually make this recipe, I had to make mayonaisse. After experiencing the store-bought paleo mayo that reeked of vinegar on day 1, I was determined never to use it again. So, I bravely cracked an egg into a little bit of oil and started blending. Low and behold, it turned into mayonaisse! Like real, honest to goodness, weirdly jiggly mayonaisse. I made mayonaisse!

Anyway, with our mayo finally ready, we dumped all the ingredients into a bowl, and mixed them together. Then, because we felt like we should have some sort of green thing in our meal (avocados fall into the fat category, so they didn't count), we put the chicken avocado salad on a bed of lettuce and washed some cherries. It was delightfully yummy and comfortingly familiar.

Highlights of the Day:
THE FRITTATA IS FINALLY DEAD. Kenny rejected the final slice so we gave it an unceremonious burial in the bottom of the compost bin.

Also, we succeeded in using a full bunch of cilantro for the first time in our whole lives. Never have I ever used all the cilantro. I always have to throw at least a little bit away.


Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Leftover Chicken Avocado Salad
Tuesday morning started out so delightfully. I made scrambled eggs for both Kenny and myself. Normally when I make breakfast, I stare longingly at my bed before reluctantly sitting down at the kitchen table (Whole30 strongly recommends that you have every meal at your kitchen table rather than in bed or in front of the TV). I had developed a pretty strong habit of eating breakfast in bed, so eating my eggs at an actual table is rather difficult for me. But Tuesday morning, when I glanced at our little 2-person table, I didn't feel reluctance - I felt happiness! I wanted to eat at a table with a placemat and a napkin and a chair in front of the sunny window. It was so beautiful! I grabbed some leftover chicken avocado salad to go with my scrambled eggs and settled in.

And this, my friends, is where the awfulness begins.

12:05 pm: Pilates
At noon, I headed out to go to my weekly Pilates class. I took a few months off last semester to focus on grad school, so I knew going in that I would be a little out of shape. The Whole30 book also warns you that your athletic performance will drop in the first two weeks or so as your body adjusts to getting energy from fruits and veggies instead of sugar. So I expected to be a little winded.

But I was so. weak. The class lasts an hour. I was ready to leave about 7 minutes in. I ultimately lasted the hour, but gosh, I don't know how.

Lunch: ha.
I think the ghost of the dead and buried frittata is haunting me.

As soon as Pilates ended, I headed home to mix up a yummy, protein-packed salad. I was ready to eat all the things! But when I got home, I realized that none of the salad things I had dreamed about were available. We didn't have any leftover chicken, so I would need to thaw and cook some. We didn't have any dressing, so I would have to make some from scratch. And, heaven help us, we were out of avocadoes.

Then I opened up my pantry and had a brilliant idea: I'll make those twice-baked sweet potatoes I have been putting off for days! The recipe only takes 50 minutes, so it won't take much longer than thawing and cooking chicken would, plus this way I'll have a yummy breakfast to send with Kenny in the morning! How perfect! I thought.

I was a fool.

The recipe told me to poke the potatoes with a fork and put them in the oven for 40 minutes. I did this. Then, the recipe told me to dice onion. Dice it. I checked the internet, I checked the Whole30 book. I checked all of my resources to triple, quadruple check that I understood how big these chunks of diced onion were going to be, okay? And my onion was appropriately diced.

Then, the recipe told me to cook the onion with some garlic until the onion was translucent. I did this.

Finally, the recipe told me to take out the sweet potatoes, cut them open, and scoop out the innards. I was supposed to mash the innards of the sweet potato into the skillet with the onions and garlic. That is what it said to do. Well, I put the potato in the skillet, but I couldn't mash it. Partly because there wasn't all that much sweet potato and partly because the interior of the potatoes still weren't cooked. They were hard! Even though I cooked them for five minutes more than the recipe told me too!

Now, the recipe says that if the potato isn't fully cooked, you should place the skillet on the stove and cook them until they're mushy. Well, yeah, okay, recipe. I did that and it didn't make my darn sweet potatoes any mushier. NOT AT ALL.

So finally, I gave up and just scooped it all back into the potato skins. Unfortunately, the volume and size of diced onions in this nightmarish hash was all wrong. Remember that I followed the instructions. I used the amount of onion I was told to use and I cut them into the size I was supposed to cut them into. And yet what I was scooping in the potato skins was not mashed sweet potato with a few chunks of onion. It was a pound of onion with a few small chunks of sweet potato.

At this point in the recipe, I was supposed to make a little indention in each potato half and then crack an egg in each. Well, there wasn't room in my potatoes to do this. The onions were hogging all the room. But I refused to give up! I had come this far, and I was going to have a sweet potato even if it was disgusting! And who knows, maybe the oven would save these undercooked potatoes. Maybe.

So, I pushed two skins together to make a larger work area, made my indention, cracked an egg, and put it back in the oven.

Before I show you what came out of the oven, let me show you what they were SUPPOSED to look like (plus some bacon, which we can't have because sugar):

And now, I can show you the monstrosity that came out of my oven.

Nailed it.

Then I tried to transfer it to a plate, at which point it fell apart. So this is what my potato looked like by the time I finally ate it (and yes, I did eat this horrible thing):

Did I mention this also took 45 minutes longer than it was supposed to? I didn't eat lunch until 2:45 pm.

Dinner: A plate of anger with a side of resentment
Okay, so imagine this:
A young couple enters the kitchen ready to make dinner. One of these two people had an unbelievably awful sweet potato disaster for lunch - or whatever meal you have at 2:45 in the afternoon. The other person just found out that Wednesday would be both treat day and the annual company picnic at work - neither of which would serve Whole30 offerings. Both people have been growing angrier and angrier all day about their inability to eat cheese.

This was us yesterday.

So we walked into the kitchen, prepared to make baked salmon and steamed broccoli. It was the last dinner on our list before going to the grocery store. We had no other lunches or dinners planned.

I pulled the salmon out of the fridge as Kenny prepared a baking dish. I cut open the packaging, spread the salmon out on the baking dish, and paused. Huh. This doesn't look like raw salmon, I thought. But it also doesn't look like cooked salmon.

"Kenny, is this salmon already cooked?"

"I don't know. It's still that, like, deep pink color. Isn't that the color of raw fish?"

"I don't know...Kenny....this package says smoked salmon. I don't think you can bake smoked salmon."

" your mom."

Turns out, friends, you can not bake smoked salmon. And according to the internet, there are only three ways to really eat the smoked salmon:
1. With cream cheese on a bagel (I wish)
2. With capers (We do not like capers. We really don't like capers.)
3. Ripped up and sprinkled on eggs. (I am done with eggs. Go away eggs. I do not want to eat you for a very long time.)

Also, more importantly, Kenny and I do not like smoked salmon. We don't. And I know that makes us uncultured heathens, and I know that we should have delightedly eaten the salmon, but we didn't want it.

We wanted cheeseburgers. And pasta. And goshdarnit, it was 7 pm and we were both so hungry and all of our meat was frozen and we didn't want to wait ages to thaw it because our microwave can't defrost things and I couldn't eat another egg if my life depended on it and just thinking about sweet potatoes filled me with shame.

And that is how I ended up facedown on my bed, starfish-style, loudly cursing the existence of eggs, sweet potatoes, everything green - even avocados, whatever nincompoop invented smoked salmon, the Whole30 book, myself for thinking Whole30 was a good idea, and basically anything in this world that is not cheese.

But even after all my angry cursing and yelling was over, I still didn't have food. And Kenny and I needed food.

So, we braved the kitchen one last time and found some frozen tilapia that we had forgotten we purchased. We thawed it out, which took about a half an hour, covered it in lemon juice, garlic, and dried parsley, and baked it for 30 minutes. Kenny steamed some broccoli. And then, we finally ate.

After dinner, we resolved to not quit. We may only be seven days in, but we had still put in a whole week. And we had purchased all this food and told people we were doing this, so we were going to do it, darn it.

So first, I read the section in the Whole30 book titled, "The Hardest Days," which predicts all of the things you will feel on the days you want to quit. And unlike me and the sweet potatoes, the Whole30 authors nailed it:

"You are cranky. You are impatient. You are a grown-up person who can eat cheese if you decide you want to eat cheese. And the Whole30 is just some stupid challenge anyway."

Then, after being reassured that this too shall pass, we planned new meals for the next four days, focusing on dishes that we were excited about and that had yummy things we enjoyed eating, like shrimp, avocados (I had already forgiven them. I love avocados too much to stay mad at them long.), potatoes (NOT THE SWEET ONES), and chicken salad.

Finally, we tackled Kenny's company picnic issue. We decided that we would eat breakfast together Wednesday morning, then I would drive him to work before stopping at the grocery store. Once home, I would cook up a delicious meal, pack a picnic basket, and meet him downtown for our own picnic.

And then, slightly less cranky than before, we went to bed.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Whole30, Days 4 & 5: Kill All the Things

Catch up on all the Whole30 posts by clicking here. 

According to the Whole30 book, days 4 and 5 were supposed to fill me with a grumpiness so strong, I would want to kill all the things. But, alas, I couldn't kill all the things because I was too busy sleeping on all the things. And craving all the things. (Dear God, please send me a Five Guys Little Bacon Cheeseburger with ketchup, mustard, mayo, and raw onions. Please.) [Pro Tip: Don't google image search for pictures of Five Guys Little Bacon Cheeseburger to spruce up your blog post. It will only make those cravings worse.]

For the past two days, I have just been so. tired. On Saturday, I slept until 10 am (a full 11 hours of sleep), took a 90 minute nap in the afternoon, and still went to bed at a normal bed time. Sure, I was a little grumpy, but my grumpiness only stemmed from not being in bed sleeping. How dare you ask me to make food when the comfy bed is less than ten feet away?

So anyway, tired, not murdery. I may have wanted to gently grumble at all the things, but I certainly didn't feel driven to homocide.

In spite of my grumpiness, I made food because a girl has to eat. Here is the account of that food.


Breakfast: Potato Hash with Bell Peppers, Onions, and Kielbasa
After rolling out of bed at the early hour of 10:30 am, Kenny and I set about making a breakfast potato hash with bell peppers, onions, and kielbasa. Well, not kielbasa actually. It turns out that all kielbasa (at least all the kielbasa at our grocery store) is made with sugar and/or corn syrup. Darn you, kielbasa-making factories. Instead, we bought organic grass-fed beef hot dog...things, which proved to be a suitable substitute for our beloved kielbasa. I find it ridiculous that I can eat hot dogs (even organic, grass-fed hot dogs) on Whole30 but not kielbasa. Whatever.

See: hot dogs.

At any rate, this is a recipe that Kenny and I love even when we're not on Whole30, so we unsurprisingly enjoyed it quite a bit.

Lunch: Leftovers
Due to the volume of tupperware filling our refrigerator, we opted to eat leftovers for lunch. Although, we ate at 2 pm, so I'm not sure you could call it lunch. And I'm not sure I should say "we" ate. Kenny ate. I had a banana and then slept for an hour and a half. Have I mentioned that I was tired?

4:32 pm
I awoke craving corn chips. Specifically, Chipotle corn chips with a satisfying crunch, a bunch of salt and a hint of lime.

Dinner: Seared Chicken with Guacamole and Carrot Sticks
Due to my overwhelming craving for Chipotle chips, we opted to make guacamole for dinner. Unfortunately, guacamole by itself does not consitute a meal (ridiculous, I know). So instead we brainstormed various vehicles for guacamole and landed on chicken and carrots.

We seared the chicken in a bath of ghee for 3 minutes, then baked it in the oven for 10 minutes. Or rather, we would have baked them for ten minutes, but we apparently bought the ginormous monster chicken breasts from Trader Joe's, so we had to cook ours for 20 minutes. Our chicken must have been doing Crossfit or something. My word it was big.

By the way, when I say we made guacamole, I don't mean we used some weird Whole30 guacamole recipe. We made real, full-blown Chipotle guacamole. Using the Chipotle guacamole recipe. At it tasted like Chipotle guacamole. It was good. So. Good.

Guacamole, pre-mixing

Anyway, chicken, guacamole, carrots. That's what we had for dinner. The plate looks a little underwhelming as far as food volume goes. Rest assured, I ate a lot more guacamole and chicken before the meal was over. And then more guacamole later. And I dreamed about guacamole over night.

Also, if you're finding yourself saying, But Ellen, that chicken breast looks like a normal sized breast.. It isn't doing Crossfit, then you should know that this is half of one chicken breast. HALF.

[Side note: If you're intrigued by the food we've been making, check out the Pinterest board where I've pinned many of the recipes.]


Once again, I slept until 10:30 am. If Kenny hadn't been poking me, begging me to get up and eat a meal, I probably would have slept for another hour or two. Somehow, Kenny has remained full of energy throughout this particular stage. Yesterday, he wasn't even grumpy or murdery. He wanted to kill none of the things.

Breakfast: Guacamole
I was too tired to eat food, so I merely kept Kenny company. (Or maybe I took a shower? I legitimately don't remember what happened this morning. I must have still been asleep.) Kenny, however, had various leftovers, including the rest of the guacamole.

Lunch: Tuna Boats and Roasted Butternut Squash
For lunch, we basically had guacamole with tuna.

Tuna Boat Filling, pre-mixing

Following a recipe in the Whole30 book, we mashed up avocado with tuna, cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper, chili powder, green onion, and jalapeno. (Can I just say that I had no idea that I liked jalapeno before doing Whole30? Or tuna?) Then we put it in endive leaves to make little boats. It was both adorable and delicious, if not particularly photogenic.

Also, the roasted butternut squash was quite yummy.

3:52 pm:
In addition to craving chips, I began craving Dove ice cream bars. And Dairy Queen blizzards. And sundaes from Culver's.

Needless to say, I was very hungry and it was too early for dinner, so Kenny and I both ate an Apple Pie Larabar. Despite being called an Apple Pie bar, the Larabar, tragically, had no pie in it.  Instead, it was full of dates, almonds, apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon. While certainly not equivalent to a Turtle Pecan Cluster Blizzard®Treat from DQ, it at least took the edge off my hunger for 45 minutes.

Dinner: Potatoes.
By the time dinner rolled around today, I was so delirious with dreams of corn tortilla chips and Kenny was too far gone in his own version of Kill All the Things (which basically just consisted of some mild grumpiness and slightly less smiling) that we were uninterested in cooking. Also, our enthusiasm for cooking is waning. (Which is not good. We're only 1/6 of the way through this thing.) So, instead of the salmon we had planned for dinner, we had baked potatoes.

While not especially original or exciting, they were delicious and they involved only 5 minutes of prep, so it was a win in my book.

Looking Forward

Remember those sweet potatoes with eggs I mentioned at the end of the previous post? My exhaustion this weekend prevented me from making them. However, I'm going to get up tomorrow bright and early to make them before Kenny leaves for work. Let's hope this is the start of a glorious new sunrise breakfast trend and not a repeat of the Frittata Disaster of June 1, 2016. Pray for us.

Also, tomorrow begins the fourth stage - the one the Whole30 authors titled, "I just want a nap." If there is a stage that somehow involves even more exhaustion than this one, heaven help us. I might just sleep through it entirely.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Whole30, Day 2 & 3: The Hangover


I woke up Tuesday morning feeling like death. Of course,  I expected this. Days 2 and 3 of Whole30 are titled, "The Hangover." To quote the book, "the amount of suck you experience in this phase is directly proportional to the amount of junk you consumed before you began the program." And let me tell you, I ate a lot of junk. (Parmesan-covered ramen, how I miss thee.)

So anyway, when I woke up Tuesday morning feeling like death, I wasn't surprised. I was however, surprised by the incredibly vivid dream I had the night before. Apparently vivid dreaming is a side effect of Whole30. Let me recap:

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (as in the chair of the Democratic National Committee) gave me a $5000 check and a greeting card telling me that she thought I was great but would like me even better when all the hipsters, millenials and I finally got over our Bernie-love and voted for Hillary. Then Bernie Sanders called me to ask what I thought of how he was running his campaign but I couldn't hear him because my brothers were yelling in the background (of the dream, not real life). Also there was fire? And ice cream? And girl scouts? It was weird.

Breakfast: Anything But Frittata
On to breakfast. I was too tired to truly make food for myself and the thought of eating that godforsaken frittata filled me with dread. (Kenny liked it though!) Also, I had too little energy to even exist. So I ate a pear and climbed back in bed with my phone. 

At about 8:45, the pear finally hit my system and I mustered the energy to get up and make some actual food: a baked potato. 

Although I used to eat baked potatoes consistently, I haven't made one in ages. After the lameness of the pear, I wanted to make sure my baked potato was both flavorful and filling. So rather than relying on my college-self's microwave technique, I did something crazy and actually baked the thing in an oven. I also slathered it in olive oil, salt, and pepper. 

Once again, I failed to take pictures of my meal because it was too delicious-looking (and I was too hungry) to wait. I covered the heavenly potato in ghee, green onion, salt, and the tiniest bit of ranch dressing from yesterday. Maybe I was just really hungry, or maybe these fresh ingredients really are better than cheese (blasphemy, I know), but that potato tasted better than any potato I've ever eaten. 

9:54 am
Once I finally had food in my system, I felt up to the task of preparing dinner: a beef brisket with sweet potatoes, butternut squash (the infernal butternut squash), and a bunch of carrots and onion. 

This should be easy, right? Just dump everything in the slow cooker and walk away. 

Well, the directions say to trim the brisket. And I am apparently Amelia Bedelia because I do not now how to trim a brisket. Rather than asking the internet and actually learning what to do, I attacked the fat with a knife and hoped for the best.

At least my brisket doesn't have ribbons on it.

Except it was really hard to cut off the fat. Like, really hard. And then I started to worry that I shouldn't be removing the fat at all. So I removed about half of it and put it in the slow cooker. I figured that either I was supposed to take off the fat and I succeeded partially or I wasn't supposed to take of the fat and I kept myself from making a complete mistake. I was either half right or half wrong. I'm living the dream here. 

After throwing the half-trimmed brisket in with the onions, garlic, thyme, and ghee, I retrieved the butternut squash. Well, half of the squash. Because I worried that if I put the entirety of the diced squash in, there would be no room for the brisket. The Whole30 book told me a full squash is necessary, but I don't believe you, Whole30 book, I don't believe you

Sweet potatoes and carrots also made their way in. 

In fact, there are so many carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes in this meal that I fully expected the brisket to turn orange. Like Arnold on Magic School Bus.

The look of  carrot-induced guilt.
Image Source: 

Lunch: Scrambled Eggs, Avocado, and Cherries
Since I had lunch for breakfast, I decided to have breakfast food for lunch! I whipped up a few scrambled eggs with ghee and salt, sliced up an avocado, and washed some cherries. It was delicious. And it was the first time I have felt full and just...normal after a meal since Whole30 began. So that was a treat. You know - feeling normal.

Dinner: Beef Brisket with squash, sweet potato, and carrots
Well, that darn butternut squash was freaking delicious, though I'm still not sure it warranted 40 minutes of dicing. Regardless, this was a delightfully yummy meal. I enjoyed it mostly because it reminded me how amazing sweet potatoes are. So thank you, slow cooker brisket, for reintroducing me to the magic of sweet potatoes.


I woke up this morning fully expecting to feel deathier than yesterday, but surprisingly...I didn't. In fact, I felt so full of energy, that I braved the final serving of left over frittata. Nothing could keep me down!

Breakfast: Leftover Frittata
But alas, even a solid night's sleep and a burst of energy could not help me make it through this stupid frittata. I ate half a slice before I just couldn't go on. I subbed in peeled carrots and ranch dressing so that I would at least consume enough calories to tide me over to lunch. 

Lunch: Leftover Brisket
I have found the secret to Whole30 and that secret is leftovers. If I hadn't been so averse to eating frittata, I may have discovered this sooner. But now that I've accumulated a million food-filled tupperware containers, I no longer have to prepare a fresh, hot meal three times a day and that is a glorious thing, my friends. For lunch today, I filled a bowl with leftover sweet potato and brisket and put it in the microwave. A meal in 3 minutes. Miracles do happen. 

Dinner: MORE Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce
In case I wasn't enthusiastic enough on Wednesday, I would like to take this moment to formally thank Whole30 for introducing me to spaghetti squash. Kenny and I had sauce leftover from our first supper, so we baked another squash to go with it. It's just so delicious. If you are not a regular consumer of spaghetti squash, I recommend trying it. Target is currently selling squash for 99 cents. Just FYI. 

Also, I restrained myself enough to get a picture this time. I even added decorative parsley for your viewing pleasure. 

Do you see that sauce? We made that on Wednesday. From scratch. Did you know that you can make tomato sauce? It doesn't just come in jars from Target? 

Tomorrow begins the third stage of Whole30: "Kill All the Things." Hopefully the drool-worthy sweet potatoes we're making for breakfast will help curb our murderous tendencies. See you on the other side. 

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