whole30

For years I wallowed in self doubt, self pity, self mutilation. I didn’t cut myself or hurt myself overtly. My method was to eat myself to death. I’d given up all hopes for a decent life. My wife didn’t love me but why should she? I didn’t have real friendships but who would want to be my friend anyway? I shut myself off from the world because I was no good to them anyway. I immersed myself in distractions to avoid my life defining belief:

I hated myself.

I’ve learned through this journey that I’m not alone. Those who I’ve coached or meet at events I’ve spoken at have shared their fears and pains and they are so familiar. So many of us, obese or not have such destructive self talk that we spend half our days on the verge of melting down.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

If you found out your best friend or mother was in an abusive relationship, what would you do? Chances are, you’d go over there and help her pack and get away from the dirtbag as soon as humanly possible. You wouldn’t support her and encourage her to “tough it out”. Why not? Because she is in danger and needs to get out right away.

It’s funny how we would never allow a loved one to suffer the kind of pain we would inflict upon ourselves without hesitation.

Are you in an abusive relationship right now with yourself? Would you speak about someone the same way you speak about yourself? For years, I was both the abuser and the abused of myself. Now here’s the good news: you can stop it today. Right now.

Blaise Pascal once said: “To understand is to forgive.”

It’s time to move forward. It’s time to believe. You aren’t perfect but you’re not your mistakes. Do and be and before you know it, you will become.

You may fall short of perfection but with self love and Pascal’s understanding, you will find in your perfection the start of a self-love affair that never has to end.

Don’t you deserve to be loved that way?

2

The first picture I weighed 186 and in the second picture I weigh 165. It’s only been 5 weeks and I’m sooooo proud of myself. I only ate whole and organic food and didn’t snack through out the day. It was so hard but totally worth it. I also ran 2 miles everyday. I’m so happy☺️ excuse my dirty mirror tho lol

5

Roasted Sweet Potatoes 

There are one million and one ways to make roasted sweet potatoes. They are one of the most versatile vegetables and can be dressed up in many ways ranging from savory to sweet. Here is just one way that I like to prepare these for meal prep. 

Ingredients 

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 

Seasoning blend: 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp black pepper, ½ tbsp lemon granules, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg, 1 tsp ancho chili powder, 1 ½ tsp Herbs de Provence, ½ tsp smoked paprika. 

Olive oil 

Directions 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange your sweet potatoes into a single layer. 

Drizzle a layer of olive oil over the potatoes and then sprinkle over the seasoning blend (you may or may not use all of it – if you don’t, save the rest from chicken, it’s incredible). 

Using your hands, toss the potatoes so that they are evenly coated. 

Roast in the oven until the insides are tender when pierced with a toothpick.

NOTE: For meal prep, I tend to “under roast” my potatoes because I do not want them to become too soft after reheating for a meal. 

Divide into meal prep containers after the potatoes have cooled. 

Enjoy! 

Healthy eating is a right, not a privilege.

I’m 21 days into Whole 30, and feeling great. I’ve eating nothing greasy, fried, sugared or processed. Nothing with additives, preservatives or artificial sweeteners. 21 days of fresh protein, fruits, vegetables, and natural seasonings and spices. And I am able to do this because I have a job and a life that allows me to go grocery shopping every week, and allows me the time to cook and plan meals. 

I’ve been reading varying accounts of other people who do Whole30, and it’s like” Oh, it’s so easy! It just takes time!” Well you know what, many people do not have that luxury. I can’t imagine doing Whole30 while going to school, or raising children, or if you work something other than a 9-5 job or have multiple jobs. And when you’re trying to get by and just stay above the poverty line, that last thing on your mind is figuring out how to make an olive oil-based mayonnaise using an immersion blender.

I had a similar reaction when I’ve done bootcamps at my gym. They outline a six-week program of calculating your calories, and as part of that recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day (so if you weigh 200lbs you drink 100 ounces). Now imagine living in Flint, MI and trying to do that. 

I am all for health improvement and weight loss through making better choices, like eating fresh foods and drinking lots of water. But it’s a fucking tragedy that those 1) those are choices that many in this country cannot afford to have and 2) that being able to make those choices is a mark of privilege. 

10

Indian Meatballs with Sweet Coconut Curry Sauce 

Flavorful. Amazing. Incredible. Whole30 Compliant! These are spicy, so this is your warning. There was no holding back, but the coconut curry sauce provides the perfect balance. Served with spiraled sweet potato noodles, and this is the perfect meal prep!

Ingredients for Meatballs 

½ lb ground round (or ground beef)

1 egg 

4 cloves garlic, minced 

¼ large yellow onion, minced 

2 large tbsp cilantro, minced 

Seasoning blend: 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp garam masala, ½ tsp fennel seeds, ½ tsp Indian red pepper, ½ tsp tandoori masala, ½ tsp cumin, and ½ tsp cinnamon. 

Ingredients for Coconut Curry Sauce 

¼ large red onion, minced 

3 cloves garlic, minced 

1 tsp tomato paste 

1 tsp curry powder

7 oz tomato sauce 

1 can (14 oz) full fat coconut milk 

1 tbsp cilantro, minced 

½ tbsp arrowroot starch/powder or tapioca powder 

1 ½ tbsp date syrup (softened [pitted] dates pureed with water), more if necessary

Salt and pepper to taste 

Parsley and cilantro for garnish 

Olive oil

Other Ingredients 

Sweet potato noodles 

Directions for Meatballs 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with a small bit of nonstick spray. 

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. 

Using a small ice cream scoop or a large tablespoon, form balls – this mixture should make 6-8 meatballs. 

Once the meatballs have formed, place them into the oven and let them bake or 15-18 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 150 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Directions for Sauce 

In a large, deep pan or pot, heat a few tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. 

Add in the onion and the garlic and cook until the onion becomes translucent.

Once the onion has cooked, add in the tomato sauce and the coconut milk. Stir to incorporate. 

Bring the mixture to a simmer and add in the tomato paste and date syrup. 

Toss in the cilantro. 

Reduce the heat and let cook. 

Stir and add in the arrowroot starch to thicken.

Once the meatballs are finished in the oven, place them into the sauce and allow to finish cooking for another 5-7 minutes. 

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings and sweetness accordingly. 

Once the meatballs are fully cooked and the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, remove from the heat.

NOTE: sweet potato noodles are best when blanched. Do not eat them raw. 

Garnish and serve. 

Enjoy! 

Day six.

I’m not going to lie. I cheated a little on Whole30 today. I bought some Doritos and Coke Zero and sat down to enjoy both. I don’t know why. I shouldn’t have, but I did. Anyway, I started eating and drinking and suddenly said, you know what? This isn’t so great. I can do without. I don’t need this. I don’t even really want it. Why am I eating and drinking this? So, I stopped almost immediately and trashed both. I ate some of my meatballs with marinara and lived happily ever after.

Technically, I am supposed to restart Whole 30 now, but fuck that. I’m just going to keep on keeping on. Dust myself off, pick myself up, and go forward. I’ve got this.

It’s been 3 months since I started changing what I eat and how often. The results are hella and I’m so proud of myself. Since June 16th, I’ve lost 30lbs, dropped 4 pants sizes, and 2 binder sizes. I’m the lowest weight I’ve been in the past 5 years and I could cry I’m so happy. Only one more pant size til I reach my goal 🏆 If I can do it, so can you 💪🏼

Day 10… we’re 1/3 towards the end!!!

Wow, I can’t believe we are already 10 days into the Whole30!! The first week was actual hell with the detoxing, sugar cravings, & constant headaches! I’ve spent the last 10 days learning to listen to my body and relax when it needs it. Listening to my body started with embarking on a long yoga session one morning (despite my need for high caloric burn). The program I am following 500 calorie burn by Millionaire Hoy called for a “strength / yoga” day. Now, don’t let me fool you, I haven’t grown thattttt much, my husband still had to force me to stick with the program and listen to our bodies. Honestly though, it felt good to strengthen my muscles and take a breather – don’t tell my husband he was right though 👌🏼this was one of my favorite poses from the morning, it completing stretched my lower back and shoulders and released a ton of tension.

My 10 day results are:
1. Clearer skin (I actually got a compliment on how soft it looked)
2. Weight loss – I haven’t weighed myself but it is clear when I look in the mirror ( another coworker mentioned my weight loss.. yay!!)
3. Way way way less anxiety!
4. More energy all day and night
5. No more morning (or any) headaches
6. Less muscle pain, but still lingers in my lower back
7. Little to no cravings
8. Reduce in appetite


Also, I’m such a creature of habit so I eat the same meals multiple times a week and stay satisfied, so I’ll only update my new recipes! Basically I eat some type of egg frittata and fruit salad for breakfast, ground turkey with cauliflower rice and steamed veggies for lunch, and then my featured dinners.

I can’t wait to get my tiger blood, but I can feel it coming, yippie!!!


xxoo - Amy

7

Spicy Chicken & Sweet Potato Bowl

protein packed and freaking delicious. 

Ingredients 

2 lbs chicken breast, cut into chunks 

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks 

Seasoning blend: granulated onion, granulated garlic, ground ginger, Hawaiian lava salt, Mexican oregano, cumin, sweet paprika, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and chili powder. 

Bowl ingredients of your choice. I used purple cabbage, sweet peppers, Roma tomatoes, avocados, cilantro, lime, and Whole30 compliant taco sauce or salsa of your choice. 

Safflower or coconut oil for cooking. 

Directions 

Par-cook your potatoes for about 5 minutes in the microwave until they are fork tender. When ready, crisp in a pan with a small amount of oil. Use some of your seasoning blend to season the potatoes. 

Heat oil over medium heat. Once hot enough, cook chicken chunks and season liberally.  As a matter of preference, you can cook the chicken in the sauce or just add it at the end. 

Once potatoes and chicken are both done, assemble bowl however you’d like.

Enjoy! 

Day 18… so on fleek!

Tiger blood, positivity, & action oriented are the best ways to describe how I am feeling. I wish the world would give whole 30 a try so they could even begin to slightly understand the effects of the poison food we put in our bodies day in and day out. It’s a strange place to be in right now because I feel like I can be very open with my whole30 tribe, yet I am protective with who else I speak to about the radical changes that I’m experiencing on whole30; for I know the judgement that will ensue simply because others won’t understand, think I am crazy, or in turn feel poorly about themselves (this is the last thing I want to do to someone).

Anywho, my energy levels are at an all time high, I find it difficult to sit down without accomplishing something. Prior to whole30 I would get home, cook dinner with wine in hand, and sink into the couch. Nowadays, I conquer the world and YOU CAN TOO!!

So with all of my energy and motivation, I took a step I’ve been dying to take for a REALLY long time! I signed up with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I am going to be a Certified Nutritional Holistic Health Coach, YAY! I couldn’t be more excited to begin transforming myself in order to start helping others be the best version of themselves.

Taking the plunge back into school has been a long time goal and I believe that NOW is my time. A little over 5 years ago, I found myself in a dark place. Fresh out of graduate school, 40 pounds heavier, low self-esteem, depressed, and a life full of toxic unfulfilling relationships. I avoided the scale and just started to settle into “well if I just stay this weight for the rest of my life, I’ll be fine”. I avoided mirrors, deleted “fat” pictures off Facebook, and simply tried to pretend it wasn’t happening. I didn’t workout because when I tried it was beyond discouraging, what do you mean my ex-cheerleader, gymnast, & softball player self couldn’t barely run more than 1 block without dying! I was so unhappy, with no will to change. I figured I was so far gone that it was beyond repair.

I’ll never forget the moment of clarity, I looked at myself in the mirror in the tj maxx dressing room, as the clothes I was trying on didn’t fit and I thought who is this girl and how did it happen. I began to cry happy tears, in a sense, as this was my moment of awareness and change. Mind, body, and soul nutrition became my priority and I was going to get my life back!!! I started eating a 90% raw until dinner diet 5 days a week, only associating with a positive peer circle (these are some of my favorite people in the world now), started practicing yoga, & and pushing myself to workout no matter how difficult it was. I’ve spent the last 5 years of my life educating myself on wellness, experimenting with food and fitness, sharing my knowledge with friends and family, and offering advice to anyone who will listen. I feel incredibly empowered when I help others with their wellness as I remember how I felt 5 years ago to how I feel today! I have so much more to learn and give, and I can’t wait for my new journey to begin! Plus, how serendipitous, after making my school registration official, I pull up to my first meeting of the day, look up, & see this sign….

xxoo – Amy

2

Crispy, Juicy Chicken Thighs – Meal Prep 

A quick recipe for your meal prep needs 

Ingredients 

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs 

Seasoning blend – 1 tsp of each: kosher salt, black pepper, lemon granules, dried oregano, granulated onion, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, and ancho chili powder 

Freshly minced parsley or cilantro 

Olive oil

Lemon juice  

Directions 

Using the seasoning blend, fresh herbs, and lemon juice, and olive oil, create a marinade for the chicken thighs and let marinate for about 2 hours in the fridge, removing 30 minutes prior to grilling. 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and heat a cast iron pan over medium high heat. 

Sear the chicken thighs on each side to develop a crispy skin and finish in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Slice and portion for meal prep. 

Enjoy! 

4

I MADE PALEO PIZZA LIKE I SAID I WOULD AND IT WAS SO DANG GOOD.

Like holy crap, guys. I didn’t even miss the cheese. I ate ¼ of the pan because yum and I do not regret it at all even though it definitely messed up my macros. I put Frank’s on it which I would highly recommend. Day 27 rocked and I got to cook all my meals!

2360 cals and 268g carb | 105g fat | 94g protein.

4

BakingWithBooks Does Whole30 - Red Curry Shrimp with Cashew Broccoli Slaw & Homemade Almond Sauce 

I was craving something spicy with peanut sauce (and Whole30 says no peanuts) so almond sauce it was. 

Ingredients for Curry Shrimp 

Jumbo shrimp (the amount is up to you), peeled, deveined, tail off

Red curry paste mixed with a small amount of light olive oi 

Kosher salt and pepper for seasoning 

Ingredients for Almond Sauce 

¾ cup almond butter 

½ can coconut milk (unsweetened) 

2 tsp red curry paste

2-3 pitted Medjool dates 

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 

Pinch of kosher salt 

Water - to thin it out to your desired consistency 

Additional Ingredients

Broccoli slaw

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Cashews, chopped

Directions  

Marinate shrimp for approximately 30 minutes. While shrimp is marinating, prepare your sauce. 

In a large bowl, combined all of the ingredients except the dates and water. Taste and adjust the flavor before adding everything to a blender, adding 1 date a time until you reach the desired sweetness. Use water to thin out the sauce to your desired consistency [though it should not be runny; it should be just thick enough to dress the slaw] 

Heat a small amount of olive oil over medium high heat. Cook the shrimp until they start to gently curl. Do not overcook or else the shrimp will become chewy. They are done when they turn pink and the flesh is white. 

Toss your sauce with the broccoli slaw, add in chopped cashews for crunch. Top with your shrimp, another drizzle of almond sauce and serve. 

Can easily be made vegetarian or vegan by omitting the shrimp! 

Enjoy! 

New start.

Tomorrow I’m starting something I attempted some months ago, but - as usual - didn’t see through. It’s not going to be easy because 1) I suck at cooking, 2) I am not a fan of most vegetables. But I need a reset and I need to prove to myself that I can see something through to its end. Something that requires effort. Something I don’t necessarily want to do. And why not try it now? I don’t have a significant other or a social life or any obligations other than work and Spencer. So, now it is.

7

BakingWithBooks Does Whole30 - “Tandoori” Roast Chicken with Coconut Curry Sauce and Cucumber Tomato Salad

This is a Whole30 compliant version of Tandoori chicken. It is by no means authentic because there is no yogurt, and I don’t have a tandoori oven, but trust me when I say that the flavor is incredible. 

Ingredients for the Chicken 

1 whole chicken - about 5-6 lbs 

2 tsp chili powder 

2 tsp paprika 

2 tsp turmeric 

Equal parts: ground ginger, garam masala, granulated onion and garlic

1-2 tbsp tomato paste 

Juice from a lime 

1 lime, quartered, 2 whole cloves garlic, and ½ onion for stuffing inside 

Extra virgin olive oil and more kosher salt and pepper 

Kitchen twine for tying the legs

Ingredients for the Coconut Curry Sauce 

½ of a 13.5 fl oz. can of coconut milk 

1 ½ tbsp red curry paste 

2 sprigs of mint, finely chopped 

Juice from ¼ lime and ¼ lemon

½ tsp kosher salt 

2 pitted dates 

Directions for Chicken 

Clean the chicken, removing any giblets and kidneys from the inside and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. 

In one bowl, mix the chili powder, paprika, turmeric together. Add just enough lime juice so that mixture becomes a paste. 

Make gashes (not deep) in the chicken skin and slather the paste all over the bird. Each part of the bird should be covered. If you need more paste, feel free to make more. 

Marinate in the fridge for about 2 hours. 

Make another paste (without lime juice) with the garam masala, ginger, granulated garlic and onion with the tomato paste. This is going to give the chicken incredible flavor along with the intense red color that Tandoori chicken is known for. 

Slather this paste all over the front of the chicken and return to marinate for another hour. 

Remove the chicken from the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 30-40 minutes, and preheat your oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Season the inside of the chicken very generously with kosher salt and pepper. Stuff it with the lime, onion, and garlic, and tie the legs with kitchen twine. 

About 5-10 minutes before your bird is ready to go into the oven, heat extra virgin olive oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat. You want it to sizzle when a dash of water is added. 

Once the oil is heated, add the bird, breast-side up into the skillet and let sear for about 4-5 minutes. 

Place into the oven to roast. Take it out when the breast meat reads 155 degrees Fahrenheit and the thigh meat reads about 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Let the chicken rest before carving for about 20-25 minutes. Make the sauce while you’re doing this. 

Directions for Coconut Curry Sauce 

Combine all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. 

Strain through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your likeness. The sauce is meant to be rich, slightly spicy, and very faintly sweet. 

Garnish with cilantro. 

The cucumber and tomato salad is lightly dressed with sea salt, pepper, red vinegar, and light olive oil.

Carve your chicken and serve. 

Enjoy!