January Whole30 Week 1 Recap

It’s been six days since I gave up sugar, dairy, gluten, beans and alcohol. I’m sure there are other things, but these are the big ones. It’s my second Whole30. We did the last one in June 2016. That was a fun time…to give up beer in the hot of summer.

This time has been better. Same detox symptoms. But better because I know what to expect. It’s funny. Now that I’ve done it before, I know I can do it. And do it well. And I can say without a doubt, the food and preparation in Round 2 has been on point. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but it’s true. Good food tastes better. The reason junk food tastes so good is because it is tricking your brain to think it’s better than it actually is.

It’s addictive. Junk food is addictive.

Hi, my name is Ashten, and I’m addicted to melty cheese, small chocolate candies and consuming the occasional glass of wine…or margarita.

That having been said, I know my psychological response to certain foods is what keeps me from living my healthiest life. That, and the fact that I don’t run as much as I use to. But I digress.

When I did Whole30 the first time, I was not prepared mentally, physically or emotionally. I know it seems crazy. It’s just food. But food is everything. It makes your mind tick and your muscles strong and you emotions stable…when you don’t abuse the foods you eat.

I could preach on this all day. I believe it. To my core being. But I’ve also done my research. I’ve read the Whole30 book and It Starts With Food. But it wasn’t until I finished It Starts With Food until I realized just how unhealthy certain foods can create negative biological and psychological and emotional responses AND increase overall chronic systemic inflammation. It’s fascinating and completely terrifying.

My advice is to read It Starts With Food. The science makes so much sense. And it helps you understand why eliminating delicious foods for a 30-day time period is important to learn more about your overall health.

But enough of that.

I know you came here for the food pictures and the recipes.

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Day 1 Breakfast: Two Egg Scramble with Broccoli and Orange Bell Pepper topped with lots of Wholly Guacamole. Super easy.

When I have time to make breakfast, which is usually on the weekends, I make something like this. During the week, it’s two boiled eggs with an avocado or a side of whatever veggie I had for dinner. The thing about scrambled eggs is you can add whatever you have on hand, and it’s almost always delicious. I suggest you make this as often as you can because of said deliciousness.

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Day 2 Lunch: No Fuss Salmon Cakes on a bed of fresh green with a drizzle of Tessemae’s Creamy Ranch and a squeeze of lemon.

This recipe came straight out of the Whole30 book (see link above to get yourself a book). But I didn’t have canned sweet potato or almond flour so I improvised. I had roasted four huge sweet potatoes in the oven so I mashed up some of those. The recipe called for almond flour so I chopped up some raw cashews and called it done. Y’all, these little beauties are so freaking good. And the ranch is Whole30 approved and absolutely amazing. Get some of the ranch, promise me.

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Day 3 Dinner: Chicken Cacciatore with Roasted Broccoli and Sweet Potato

For the win. This is so good. I adapted the recipe out of the Whole30 book. I had chicken cutlets, not bone-in chicken thighs. I had most ingredients, but not all. But my kitchen smelled amazing. And it tasted just wonderful. The broth/sauce/juice is heavenly. I mean it. Remember those sweet potatoes I roasted on day 1? They fed us for two days. Not too shabby when you live in the land of I-work-full-time-and-commute-and-don’t-want-to-be-a-slave-to-my-kitchen-yet-want-to-be-healthy.

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Day 4 Dinner: Taco Salad

I browned some ground beef until almost cooked, and then I added diced green bell pepper, onion and half a can of Whole30 compliant diced tomatoes and their juices. I created my every own taco seasoning using ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, chili powder and a few shakes of cayenne. Now, I don’t measure anything (sorry, I know that doesn’t really help you) but you can still make your own. Just add those things together until you get a blend you like. Be smarter than me, and write it down. I topped a bed of mixed greens with the taco meat. And then added all my favorite things. cherry tomatoes, crunched up plantain chips, Wholly Guacamole, Tesserae’s Creamy Ranch and Cholula’s Hot Sauce.

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Day 5 Dinner: Lemon Pepper Chick with Sautéed Kale, Garlic and Onion

Simplicity is key. And this one is simple. Lay some lemon slices down on your baking sheet. Put the chicken breasts on the bed of lemons. Season the chicken generously with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Squeeze half a fresh lemon over the top. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked throughout. While the chicken cooks, tear the kale from the stalk. Heat a large pan with coconut oil on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until onions begin to soften. Then add the kale and splash of Whole30 approved chicken broth. The broth will help the kale to wilt. Season generously with salt and pepper. And I want to say I threw in a little squeeze of lemon, but not much, as well as a couple shakes of cayenne pepper. When chicken is done and the greens are done, plate it up and enjoy.

I plan on posting recaps each week of Whole30 Round 2, but you can follow the @whenigrowupiwanttobeachef Facebook page and Instagram to see what I make throughout the week.

Happy Whole30 Journey to you!

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