Here! I made it out alive the first week of the Whole30 diet. I have to state first and foremost, I am not sponsored by Whole30. I only pimp out things I truly believe in. And I’m not pimping out Whole30 diet yet, I will tell you what’s up after I’m done. 🙂 Anyhoo, with the help of the Whole30 book and the Whole30 cookbook I chose to start it on the new year day. I highly recommend for making January your Whole30 month, cos at least for me, January is very quiet social-vise. No parties then, and many Finns would have an alcohol free month on January anyways so not as many temptations. And I’m lucky enough to spend the first week of the year still on my Christmas holiday, plus I also have my rest week between workout programs. The odds were in my favor! And it was a glorious week of delicious breakfasts and so much cooking! First, let’s take a little look in my fridge and pantry.
It’s super strange to have as many bottles of vinegar as I do different oils. And my pantry is hardly ever this clean. I cleaned the week earlier: threw out stuff that went old without me knowing, gave away things I probably never going to use again and put away those that I might still use after January but are as of right now on the naughty list. I actually hide those things in a blue Ikea bag and moved it to the corner of shame in my little kitchen. I bought tons of fruit, for emergency hunger pangs. And then there was just meat and veggies. Grocery shopping has never been easier. But more of that next week. Let’s get into the most important meal of the day and also my favorite meal of the day – breakfast.
I didn’t take a picture every morning, mostly because I forgot. 😀 But you might get the idea. My first breakfast of the year was on the picture on the most left. It was actually a recipe from the Whole30 cookbook, the bacon spinach tomato salad with a red wine vinegar sauce. And there were also avocado slices and two eggs. There are lots of eggs in Whole30 recipes, I sure hope you like them. I personally do. The recipe said poached eggs, but since I’ve never actually made poached eggs and didn’t want to risk ruining the first breakfast, I just made soft-boiled eggs with a runny center. The vinegar sauce was made from bacon fat, chopped onion fried in said bacon fat, then whisked in some red wine vinegar, dry mustard and salt and pepper. The warm sauce slightly wilted the spinach and it was hands down the best salad I’ve ever had. The combination of crunchy bacon, the creamy runny egg yolk, the acidity of the vinegar, it was perfect. Except! And that kinda concerns all of the Whole30 recipes, there was too much oil to my taste. Because in that sauce, in addition to the bacon fat, the recipe said olive oil too. Maybe it’s just me, I’m not used to food that oily, so I’ve been cutting the oil in half in all the recipes I later made according to the cookbook. Then there was an omelet with paprika and spinach filling, with freshly made salsa on the side and crunchy bacon bits. Then another recipe from the cookbook – sweet potato stacks which was pan fried sweet potato slices, fried spinach, bacon and a poached egg on top. And the recipe looked so yummy that I popped my poached egg cherry and it was a success! It was so so good, and I’m absolutely in love with the fried sweet potato slices. Then I bought a pack of cold smoked salmon and made some scrambled eggs, tomatoes and avocado with that. I made my scrambled eggs with ghee, and decided that I’m not a big fan of ghee. I guess I should just live without butter for a month. As the week closed to an end, I started to clean my fridge, so the last picture on the right looks a little messy. But it’s mushroom and paprika and onion fry, fried egg, avocado, and the rest of smoked salmon. And not one morning did I missed bread. I did miss my cream and sugar in my coffee though. It took me a whole week to perfect the new coffee regimen. I used to drink very strong coffee, cos I can cut the bitter edge with cream and one cube of sugar. But now that I have to drink it mostly black, I have to reduce the coffee grind to a human level. Black coffee is still not my thing, so I bought a can of coconut milk. And you know how coconut milk is all separated in their cans, so I had to warm it up a bit, mix it back up, and then distribute the milk to an ice cube making tray. Luckily I had a very cute and nerdy one, I made coconut milk Avengers ice cubes. Cos, you know, coconut milk doesn’t keep well after you open it. So freezing it is. Every morning now, I just drop a cube of coconut oil to my cup into which my coffee drips and voila, coffee that’s just the right temperature to drink right away, thanks to the ice cold milk cube. It’s sugar-free coconut milk, of course, and it’s not that creamy but it’s just enough to make black coffee bearable. But now, let’s move on to real food. 😀
For the first week’s weekday dinner, I made a chicken dish straight from the cover of the Whole30 book. Because it looked absolutely delicious – chicken cacciatore. It’s chicken thighs with a tomato-based sauce, almost stew-like. It had mushrooms, paprikas and chilis to make it delicious, plus an ingredient that I don’t use very often – capers. Together they great a delicious chicken dish that I totally adore. I can’t believe with ingredients so simple, I could make a dish that was that tasty without any sugar or things like soy sauce. Just chicken, veggies, cooking oil and chicken broth. And capers. 😀 With just salt and pepper for seasoning. I was happy just eating that, it didn’t even leave me wanting something on the side. I’ll be definitely making this recipe again, and adding more veggies to the original recipe. I figured sweet potatoes would go beautifully with this too. And olives!
Next, I made a lunch dish for my weekdays, and I chose a beef chili recipe from the cookbook. And all you see in the picture on the left was all that went into the chili. Onion, sweet potato cubes, tomato, chicken broth, beef cubes, garlic, fresh chili and dried chili powder to make it extra hot. The recipe said minced meat, but I usually like more texture on my meat so I bought a large cut of stew meat and cut it up into small cubes. I made it according to the recipe but I had to add something extra to tweek it a bit, cos there lack a bit of flavors. The spicyness was there, it was super hot, but it lacked something to mellow it out. So upon re-heating the chili on the days after it was made, I added some coconut milk, and it made it better. But I doubt I would make chili according to this recipe again, I’m going to make my own next time.
Then on the weekends I wanted something grander for my main meals so I fried some liver steaks. I usually eat liver once a month, right after my period. Cos according to my mom who is very Chinese when it comes to food, us ladies lose blood during periods so we need some iron rich food to treat our bodies afterward. I’m not sure if they really help with that, probably not, but I like liver anyways so here’s a good reason to eat them monthly. Here I fried up some liver that was seasoned with salt and pepper and dried garlic, plus a little bit of potato starch and sesame oil. Sesame oil is very good at covering up unpleasant smells, in the case of liver it’s the iron smell, and in the case of seafood it’s the fishy smell. And whenever I talk about sesame oil, I meant the Asian version, the toasted sesame oil. I once mistakenly bought a bottle of non-toasted sesame oil, and it was disgusting! Anyways, then some fried broccoli and my first attempt at copying Sir Atticus’s roasted potatoes. It pains me to admit that His were better. Then I made the traditional bacon and onion fry to accompany the liver. I even attempt to make lingonberry sauce with frozen berries but without sugar, it can’t be done properly. But at least it looked pretty on the plate. 😛
The recipes from the cookbook are huge! They kept me full and on many occasions, I had to reduce the amount of food in the servings. Three meals a day were more than enough to keep the hunger away but I found myself just wanting to snack on something, although I wasn’t hungry. But I was so used to eat something whenever I watched TV or a movie. But fortunately, I anticipated that and spent a little fortune in a pick and mix nut and dried fruit store. I also spent so much time there looking for sugar-free and otherwise Whole30 compliant versions of things. I ended up with walnuts, cashews, pecans and almonds, plus some sugar-free raisins and dried cranberries that were sweetened with apple juice. It was a tough chore but this little power snack is worth the time and money. So each time I want to snack on something, I just scooped up 1/4 of a cup of the mixture and munch away. And wanna know something? The flavor combination of walnuts and raisins, so creamy and delicious!
Okay, here are all the food stuff of the week. I can’t believe I didn’t crave anything sweet or salty. I do want to give a couple of tips for those who are interested in giving Whole a go, or actually just any kind of diet/lifestyle change a try. So let’s end this super long post with tips of the week. 😀
Tip 1. Keep you kitchen clean. I was very hard-working the past week, I cleaned my kitchen right after I messed it up. So it was a joy to make a new breakfast every morning. So no matter how tired you are, and how big of a food coma you’re in after dinner, cleaning your battlefield is definitely worth your while.
Tip 2. Take your time at the grocery store. It took me a long time on my first week to read every lable in the stores to make sure that there’s nothing naughty in anything. Bacon took me most time. I’ve heard many people having a mental breakdown about not able to have bacon cos most brands have sugar as their ingredient. I, however, am able to find four different brands, all giant supermarket chains’ own brands, that don’t have sugar or anything naughty in their bacon! And they are the cheapest brands too. This is the situation in Finland, so maybe give cheap brands a look at your country too, and maybe you can have bacon after all. Because life, especially a dieting life, is no life at all without bacon!
Tip 3. Follow Whole30 on social media. I follow their Instagram and I found their daily updates very helpful. They would address the issues and concerns you might have around those days, so you don’t have to worry. I mean, in their book, they did mentions about headaches and tiredness during the first days, and especially around Day 6-7. And just like clockwork, I had a giant headache on the 6th and I slept for 12 hours that night. And on Day 8-10, as in today, they said to expect some feelings of being bloated and that I did indeed today. So anything positive on the forecast, you ask. 😀 Well, I’m supposed to feel very energetic very very soon. Can’t wait!
And good luck for all of you whole promised themselves to be healthy in the year 2017. We’re on week in, don’t give up yet! 🙂 See you next week with new food and mood.