Whole30 Round 2: Week 1 Review
It’s been 7 days already! Actually I’ve finished 8 and just started 9 this morning. I bucked the system and started January 1st. If you’ve been following me here or on my Instagram account (rockpaperskillet_tiu) then you know it’s my second round and HOLY HELL. What a difference a few years makes. I did my first Whole30 almost hastily. We drove back from Cape Cod on a Saturday and I started the next morning. No planning, no stocking of ingredients or specific food items, nothing. That was August 2013 when I was pounding white wine and ice cream. OMG, right now that sounds so foul. Like a digestion NIGHTMARE.
For my second round there was actually quite a bit of planning that went into it and that has served me so so well. I had initially wanted to do my second Whole30 last year, in 2016, but I couldn’t find a chunk of time where I felt I’d be successful. So as we wound down the year I started to look at January and I finally had a 30-day period of no travel and no obligations that I could work with. Plus I was in the mental space to do it. Once I knew my start date I began to look through my food journal from my last round and I was reminded of some of my favorite meals and shortcuts and made mental notes on those. And then I started to eat the fridge and pantry down. I finished the open bag of gluten-free pasta, had the last of the non-compliant marinara sauce. Then I got my sushi craving taken care of a few days before and had one last treat on New Year’s Eve: an excellent piece of cheesecake. I was ready.
The biggest lessons learned this week were:
- How to reinvent leftovers
- How to use spice blends to change a protein and enhance a meal
- How to keep it simple
- Read labels. All labels. Even if you have to do it online.
How To Use Leftovers
During this first week I’ve thought about food what seems like nearly nonstop. You might feel the same way. I’m planning or prepping or cooking or boxing up leftovers or cleaning pans and dishes. But I also feel like I know what I’m doing in a way. Instead of cooking 1lb. of chicken breasts for one meal I’ll double it and put a general seasoning on it. This way I cook once but have a blank slate protein for the next meal. Shred the chicken for lettuce wraps. Put it on top of cauli rice with coconut aminos and some veg. My Kitchen Sink Frittata could be my favorite reinvented leftover of all time. I can’t believe how good that was with so little hands on time! So take a minute to look in your fridge, REALLY look, and see what you have and then brainstorm what it could be. Fastest shortcut to reinventing leftovers? Throw it all in a bowl and douse it with a compliant ranch dressing (like Primal Kitchen or Tessamae’s) and call it a day.
How To Use Spice Blends
Salt & pepper on steak one night = one meal. Having beef another night that week? Change the spice blend. This way you don’t get stuck in a protein rut, making one thing one way and getting bored AF. There are excellent spice blends on the market from Primal Palate Organic Spices and Balanced Bites Spice Blends but you can also make your own. Both Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo and Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites have awesome spice blend recipes in their books and on their websites. If you don’t have either of their books then Prime that IMMEDIATELY. Practical Paleo is my handbook (there’s the 1st edition that I have and a just-updated 2nd edition) and Nom Nom Paleo is dog-eared and written all over and one, if not my most, used cookbook. Her Kabob Koobideh recipe blew my mind. And her Magic Mushroom Powder is such a staple in my pantry that my kids ask for Magic Chicken by name.
I think I wrote in my “preview” post that my philosophy this time around was going to be K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid. Because the last time I did the Whole30 I got all wrapped up in recipes and doing it perfect and I lost focus. I’m actually not sure if I ever had a focus except to get through it. And I did, but it wasn’t pretty. So this time I tried to plan for it without overthinking it. I started to make lists of what I knew I needed. Yes to homemade mayo but no to homemade ketchup and homemade sriracha and homemade clarified butter. Just no. Buy the ghee. Skip the sriracha and go with Frank’s Hot Sauce for a few weeks. And definitely get a large bottle of coconut aminos. One of our favorite ways to make salmon is to lay it on the baking sheet and douse it in coconut aminos and bake. That’s it. And you know what? IT’S DELICIOUS. My kids, who don’t even like salmon, ask for seconds. Cook down the coconut aminos into a thick sauce and coat cooked chicken in it. I almost always roast vegetables. But I’ll change up the spice blends and keep the flavor train moving.
Read All The Labels
I am totally on top of reading labels when I grocery shop but I totally screwed up on my dinner date this week. You can read about it HERE but the short version is I was out with my oldest at a burger joint that I had researched and felt really good about. I decided to mix up my never-ending water consumption with an iced tea. NBD right? DEAD ASS WRONG. I inadvertently had caramel color because the tea was commercial and it didn’t even cross my mind that there would be anything but tea bags and water in iced tea. The food industry is messed up. My real point though: If it’s manufactured then it has a label. Check it. Even if you can’t find it on the product and have to Google it like I did. You’re putting too much work in to this to be brought down by Coca-Cola 😒
Those are my nuggets of knowledge for you today, as you start your week. Today is Day 9 for me and I’m heading out to drop my kids at school and grocery shop in peace. Don’t be jelly.