The Paleo Bride’s Guide to Surviving Whole30

Good Morning!

I know it has been a while since my last entry. I have been busy focusing on my new crossfit classes as well as surviving (successfully!) my first round of Whole30. Yesterday was my last day of Whole30 and although I don’t plan to continue to be as strict as I was, I will be taking a lot of nutritional knowledge from the program which I plan to continue to use. Whole30 was an amazing experience. Because I already followed a Paleo lifestyle before starting, I found the transition much easier than I think most people do. The removal of sugar and preservatives from my diet made a huge, positive difference in my overall health.

My non-scale victories (NSV) included the following: less stressed, less bloating, clearer skin, better sleeping habits, more energy, less IBS symptoms, better relationship with food, less sugar cravings, clothing fits better, and stronger nails.

It was crazy to me how many changes I witnessed over only 30 days. I believe I also saw some weight loss, however I am not positive since I never weigh myself. Nonetheless I found the entire experience to be a success! Readers, throughout the 30 days I picked up some tips that helped make the process all that much easier for me and I want to share them with you. So here are my top 8 tips to help you successfully complete your first round of Whole30.

  1. Plan Ahead: Plan all of your meals ahead of time! Why? If you have a plan of what you are going to eat you are less likely to fall to temptation. Yes, planning ahead does take some time, but if you cook in bulk one night during the week and then separate all of your meals into Tupperware, you will save yourself a lot of time (and frustration) during the rest of the week.
  2. Stay Positive: The 30 days can be super difficult, especially in the beginning. It is extremnely important to stay positive! If you begin to feel overwhelmed or frustrated, remind yourself why you are doing this. Focus on all the positives each and every day!
  3. Buy Pre- Made Foods: Pre-made compliant foods that is! Costco was my savor! Their pulled pork was great to have on standby as well as a bulk amount of Aidell’s Chicken Sausage and Holy Guacamole! Have these foods in your home in case you don’t have time (or energy) to cook something from scratch.
  4. Always Carry a Water Bottle: This is pretty self explanatory. Having a water bottle with you at all times will help you drink more water. The more water you drink, the less hungry you will be between meals. Plus, you’ll stay hydrated!
  5. Keep Busy: I don’t know about you, but when I’m home doing nothing, all I want to do is binge eat. When I’m busy, on the other hand, I’m too focused on what I’m doing to be bored/hungry. Stay busy! Try a new hobby for instance (like I did with Crossfit!).
  6. Have a Support Group: There are numerous groups on Facebook to help you get through the experience as well as answer any questions you have. I also followed fellow Whole30ers on Instagram. My family and friends were also extremely supportive of me which helped a lot!h
  7. Remind Yourself Why: Do this especially on those days where you are craving Chocolate Chip Cookies. Every morning I would wake up and remind myself why I am doing Whole30. After a couple of weeks, I no longer needed to remind myself why- my results were enough of a reminder.
  8. Don’t Give In- Not even a little! No cheating! At all! Just do it CORRECTLY for all 30 days. Once you give in, who knows what will happen.

So there you have it, my Top 8 tips to Whole30 survival. Honestly, my new eating ways and foods have become such a habit, that I plan on keeping with it (except on special days like weddings, parties, etc. where I will give myself a break). After feeling the best I’ve felt in years, I have no interest in going back to my old ways. I hope this entry has motivated or inspired some of you to consider or even start Whole30! I am always here to answer any questions any of you have. Good luck!

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Whole 30/Paleo Approved: Salmon Cakes

Ever have one of those mornings where your alarm clock is set for 8:30 but your body decides to get you up at 6:30 instead? No, just me? Well then here I am, awake, writing this blog for you today because I was given two extra hours!

Throughout my Whole30 journey, I have had the opportunity to try many different recipes that I may have never tried if it wasn’t for this process. Luckily, I have found some excellent recipes that I will continue to use as “go-to’s” once my 30 days are over. 

Thanks to Morgan, a girl I follow on Instagram and Facebook (you can find her profile here:  Living Fit with Morgan ), I found one of my all time favorite protein recipes which can be used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! So versatile! 

Salmon cakes. 

Now, if you don’t like seafood/fish, this is probably not the dish for you. However, if you love seafood/fish like me, this is going to be one to add to your list! The recipe is super simple and then entire process took hardly any time! Below you will find the recipe as well as photos I took while cooking: 

I was able to make 10 cakes initially and have been able to include them in various meals over the week! I cannot say enough good things about this recipe. It’s affordable, easy to make, and delicious to eat!! 

Try these at home and let me know what you think! ūüėäūüćī

Perspectives at the Jersey Shore

Today I want to talk about perspective. It’s interesting, as I get older I begin to really understand how perspective really changed everything in this world. I tend to think that I have a very open mind when it comes to judging people and situations, however sometimes I am embarrassed to admit that I do find myself making critical judgments when I do not know the whole story. 

The challenge of keeping an open mind and being less judgmental is something every individual should strive for. 

That being said, the other day I went to the beach- it ended up being a super cloudy day, pretty much a waste of time. Even with the covered sky, I was determined to stay and therefore I stripped down to my bathing suit and gave it my best. While on the beach, an older gentleman approached me and struck up on conversation. Normally, I would have been hesitant, but it was clear to see that this man was just trying to be friendly and seemed genuine. I decided to keep an open mind. 

This man, who ended up being “Louie from Newark” was a very kind soul. He asked me questions about my life: do you like the beach? Do you come a lot? How old are you? Do you have a boyfriend? Do you work? Does he work? When’s the wedding? (While I’m listing these questions out I can see this may come across a little creepy but I swear it was not at all- remember it’s all about perspective!)

Louie had me laughing the entire time. He shared stories from his past as well as stories about all his travels. He even introduced me to his wife, Pat, who was just as genuine of a person. Normally I would have done anything to remove myself from this conversation so I could enjoy some more time alone, reading. For some reason though, I truly enjoyed sharing my time with this couple. 

Louie said a few things that really resonated with me. One thing he said was: “This girl’s doing it right. She’s got her whole life together.” Now this man has known me for all of 20 minutes at this point, but for some reason hearing these words from a mere stranger really made me realize how blessed I am in this world: I have a wonderful family, an amazing fianc√©, a beautiful home, a job I love, three of the cutest pets, and overall I have good health and moral values. 

If you would have asked me any time if I thought I had my whole life together I would have told you “no” or probably something along the lines of “almost”. To this man and his wife, I had it all together. This is what I mean by perspective. I think it is important to listen to others perspectives of yourself. It may make you realize just how lucky (or unlucky) you are in life. I left the beach that day realizing just how blessed I am and just how many things I have to be thankful for. 

I hope to see Louie and Pat at the beach again soon. It’s funny how you begin to look forward to people that just a few days ago, you did not know existed. 

I’ll end this entry with a piece of advice Louie gave me. He said “if you and your fianc√© look at each other in 50 years the same way you look at each other now, you’ll be exactly where you should be.”

Well, inspired by Louie, readers this is what I think: If you look at your life with the same open mind today and in 50 years, you’ll be open to some amazing, and beautiful perspectives. 

What’s for Breakfast? Paleo Edition¬†

One of my favorite parts about summer vacation so far, has been all the time I have had to experiment with new foods and recipes. I am on day 16 of Whole30 and I am extremely happy with the process overall. Foods I once craved I have forgotten about; on the contrary, I have developed a love for new foods and new tastes. 

Today I want to share with you some new recipes I have fooled around with lately. As I’ve previously mentioned, I do not like eggs. Not only do I not like them, they actually tend to make me very sick when I eat them. This egg intolerance tends to make breakfast very difficult for me. I made my main focus this week, breakfast foods. Here’s what I came up with: 

One of the first things I discovered, thanks to Costco, was Aidall’s Chicken and Apple Sausage. Holy moly! I have never eaten a sausage as delicious. One sausage, cut up and cooked on the stove, is more than enough to fill me up. I served that with a side of spinach and a peach. This was a great meal to start my day!

While buying already made foods has its benefits, there’s nothing better than a homemade meal. This week I experimented by making homemade beef breakfast patties (grass fed ground beef, garlic powder, salt, and pepper) as well as a breakfast hash (Brussel sprouts, parsnips, and onions). Absolutely anazing! The smells, the tastes, everything was mouth watering! (Am I the only one who loves the smell of parsnips?!) I added a nectarine to the side just to give the dish something sweet! 

Does anyone else have any breakfast ideas or recipes they would like to share? Let me know! I’m always looking to try something new!! 

Firsts: Leaving Your Comfort Zone 

Today I enjoyed my first day of summer vacation. Firsts are always enjoyable. First birthdays, first dates, first day of the  month…we, as a culture, always focus on firsts as the beginning of something new. How exciting! How freeing! Every year during this time, I set goals for myself and tell myself how I am going to accomplish so much over the next two months of summer. Usually, unfortunately, these goals fall to the sideline as I get distracted with daily monotony. 

My main goal this summer is to change that. My goal this summer is to try new things- things that scare me, things that push me out of my comfort zone. I even want to try the things that I’ve put off for years thinking I’ll do it “later when I have time”. 

Yes, I will still be working on my “Summer To Do List”, but while that satisfies the “organize and categorize” part of me challenging myself through breaking out of my comfort zone satisfies a whole new part of me. Let’s call this part of me the “adventure and dare”. 

This weekend I decided to dare myself by trying crossfit. I can honestly say I’m already hooked. I had taken a class with a friend of mine a couple years ago and while I did like it, I didn’t really have the best mindset at that point. 

Now is different; now I am ready to leave my comfort zone. I am ready to challenge and dare myself. 

Readers, what are you willing to do to leave your comfort zone? I promise you that when you leave, you will come across some amazing opportunities. I am excited  to find new opportunities and rewards this summer. I hope you are too. 

Why NSV are more important than the Scale.

I feel like I have abandoned my blog lately- I am so sorry. It’s funny how my stress level has heightened with my absence. Writing has always been therapeutic for me and this blog has only proven that fact. Life has been very hectic lately. Between graduation practices at work, and wedding invitations at home, I have barley had a chance to write, let alone, think about what I want to write.

So how about an update?

I have successfully completed 8 days of Whole30 and am currently working on day 9. Some days have been easier than others, but I’m happy to say that so far my “experiment” has been enjoyable. I am getting a lot out of this: I am now much more aware of what I am eating as well as being much more open to eating/trying things I never enjoyed before. While I do not think I have lost any actual weight ( I never weigh myself in general so I’m not really caring that I can’t weigh myself during these 30 days), I have noticed a lot of other changes that are putting a smile on my face.

I’ve realized that there are a lot more “wins” in health than weight loss; actually, weight loss isn’t really that big of a win! Since beginning my switch over to a Paleo lifestyle my focus as been on Non-Scale Victories (NSV). By focusing more on these NSV and less on the number on my scale (aka my gravitational pull on the Earth), I have been a lot happier with myself and life.

Here are some NSV that blow “weight loss” out of the water:

  • Clearer Skin
  • Better Mood
  • Clothes Fit Better
  • Better Sleep
  • Less Sugar Cravings
  • Less Bloating
  • Less IBS Flares

No wonder I’m happier- my overall health is better than it’s been in years. Some people ask me why I switched to a Paleo lifestyle or why I’m doing Whole30. “You’re skinny already”, they say. Well, it’s not about being skinny. It’s about feeling good for the first time in years. It’s about not feeling bloated or nauseous¬†after I eat. It’s about not feeling guilty for eating something I know will make me sick. I have always weighed more than I “look” due to muscle and I have finally accepted that. I remember having an argument with a doctor a few years ago when he told me I need to lose weight because I was “heavy” for my height (5’5″). I was livid. Here I was, probably around 140 pounds or so, wearing a size 4 jeans, working out almost daily. How dare my¬†doctor think this was an appropriate comment to make. For the longest time I focused on this negative comment and took it to heart, thinking I needed to lose weight to match the number the doctor told me I “should be”. Now, I still wear a size 2/4 jeans, I am still 5’5″, and I probably weigh the same as I did a few years ago, but today I feel better than ever. Today I feel more confident than I did then because I know I am healthy and I know I am enough.

Non- Scale Victories allow people to focus more on their health and less on being a specific “number”. When I look back on my life someday, I want to know that I took care of myself and lived my best life possible. I don’t need to look back and know I was a certain weight or size or anything like that. As long as I feel good and am comfortable in my own skin, I know that I am being successful in my lifelong health journey. I hope that eventually everyone can stop focusing so much on the number and more on how they feel everyday when they wake up.

I cannot tell you readers, how amazing it feels to wake up every morning now and not feel sick. This is something I took advantage of for a very long time, and it is now something that I appreciate every time my alarm goes off in the morning.

 

When Opportunity Knocks, Answer the Door

I’ve been thinking a lot about my passions lately. In her book,¬†The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin discusses how our passions usually stem from our childhood. “Do what you do,” she writes. Do what I do? At first this question seemed to be overwhelming vague. I do a lot of things, I thought to myself, but they are not all my passions. For a while there were activities I wished were my passions, things I thought¬†should¬†be my passions so I forced myself to go and enjoy them.

As it turns out this is not a good idea. Actually, this is a horrible idea. You end up resenting the activity as well as yourself and those involved. For instance, I look working out and being active, I really do, but it is not my passion. I repeat: working out is not my passion. For the longest time I forced myself to go to the gym six or seven times a week, hours and hours I would spend at the gym. Did I enjoy it at times? Of course, but then it slowly became torturous to me. My workouts became less and less successful as I became more and more resentful for spending all of my time doing something that I liked, but did not feel passionate about.

This is when I decided to make a change. Now, instead of spending six or seven days at the gym after work, I spend maybe four days at the gym, trying new workouts each time, and not forcing myself to do something I don’t really want to do. My resentment for the gym has faded, and I now enjoy going again. Instead of feeling like I “have” to go, I do because I want to go. That makes a huge difference.

So what are my passions? Well, I can name one right away: Writing. Writing has always been one of my passions, and it was not until I started this blog that I really realized how influential writing is to my overall happiness. I love everything to do with writing: the thought process, the actual motion of writing (or typing), buying new journals to write in, reading others’ writing… Just thinking about any of it makes me smile. My mom always said writing was my “gift”, and that I should cherish it and help it grow. I think I finally understand what she means.

Passions lead to opportunities. Since I began writing this blog, I have already had two other blogs contact me to write a “spotlight blog” for them, or in other words a guest blog. Yesterday, I was contacted by someone I know who told me to apply for a blogging position at their job because she thought I would be the perfect fit. Back during my “need to discover my passions” faze I most likely would have brushed it all off, but now after realizing that writing is my true passion, I have decided to grab on to the opportunity. I never thought of myself making a living from my writing, but why not try? I have given up my “fear of failure”, after all, if I write for myself and I love what I do, I’m not really failing, am I?

I spent so much of my life recently trying to find something to be passionate about, and I feel like a fool. I realize now that you do not have to search for your passions- they are already part of you. Writing is just one of many things I am passionate about. I do not have to force myself to do it; I do not have to think too much about it in order to get it done. I just write.

Readers stop searching for your passions, just open the door. Because when opportunity knocks, it’s usually waiting hand-in-hand with passion right outside.

Stress Cooking: The New Stress Eating 

I have felt very stressed lately. With the school year ending and wedding planning overwhelming me, it’s been hard to find a moment to just relax. In the past, I would have found relief in eating a bag of chocolates. Honestly, I would love to be eating a bag of chocolates right about now. Instead, I lately find myself cooking when I’m stressed.

This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge.(Not familiar with this page? Check it out here!  This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things, such as cooking away the stress! This month is hosted by Susan and Mike at Simply Sundays. Check them out here: Simply Sundays

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The theme this month is Tastes of Summer, so I decided to share this blog where I talk about two of my new favorite recipes, as well as how they help me deal with stress!

Cooking away the stress, although it may sound funny, has been extremely beneficial. By only am I channeling my stress and frustration into something I enjoy, it’s also something healthy! I am challenging myself to try new recipes that fit the strict guidelines of Whole30, which has been enjoyable thus far!

Today I tried two new recipes, one a lunch/dinner idea and the other a breakfast/lunch idea. I can honestly say after cooking both I feel a lot less stressed and a lot more relaxed. Some may say I was “hangry”, and while that may be partially true, I think most of my frustration stems from my “to do” list feeling like a little more than usual.

To challenge myself, I took on two ingredients I normally do not like: chicken and eggs.

The first recipe I made was a Chicken recipe. In a pan with olive oil, I cooked the chicken using garlic and seasoning. Next, I cut up and prepared some mushrooms, red pepper, onions, and garlic and sautéed these in another pan. Once they were cooked pretty throughly, I added in some spinach to cook for the last minute or so! Such an easy dish! I added some salt and pepper to taste and there you have it! A quick and easy meal!


The second and last meal I tried tonight was a Spinach and Mushroom Frittata. Frittatas are key for Whole30! First, I preheated my oven to 375 degrees. Then I mixed six eggs, some spinach, some mushrooms, and salt and pepper to taste in a mix of bowl. Then in a greased (ghee or coconut oil) baking pan, I poured the mixture and baked it for 25 minutes. Now for someone who doesn’t like eggs, I found this surprisingly good! Maybe now I’ll actually enjoy having eggs in the morning!


How do you overcome stress? Are you doing it in a healthy, productive way? If not, what can you do to change your ways?
Now that I’m feeling more relaxed, time to go read! Goodnight!

Whole30: Day 1- Planning is Everything

Today I took a step forward in my health journey; I began my first round of Whole30. For those of you who are not familiar with Whole30 I will give you the basics:

  • You are not allowed to weigh or measure yourself.
  • You may not have any sugar.
  • You may not have any dairy.
  • You may not have any grains or legumes.
  • You may not have any soy.
  • You may not have any alcohol.
  • You many not have any gluten.
  • You may not have food with any sulfates (unless they are naturally occurring.)

Now I know this just seems like a long list of “no”, but because I already live a Paleo lifestyle, this list does not seem so overwhelming to me. I am actually really looking forward to seeing the changes in my body as I go through this journey: clearer skin, less headaches, less dark circles, possible weight loss, etc.

The first thing I learned about doing Whole30 is the importance of planning. Like many things in life, planning is key to being successful with Whole30. With my birthday being yesterday, I knew I wouldn’t have time to plan at all, so I prepared everything for this week over the weekend.

For this week I have the following meals and snacks planned:

Breakfast: Spinach Frittata and a side of fruit (nectarine most likely)

Snack/Lunch: Stawberries; Flank Steak with carrots, onions, mushrooms, and parsnips

Snack/Dinner: Bell peppers; Grilled Chicken with mixed vegetables (vegetables depend on the day!)

By preparing my meals and snacks ahead of time, I am not scrambling around my kitchen in the morning looking for food to take to work. In order to conquer food boredom, I plan to change my major three meal choices weekly, this way I will not get frustrated eating the same thing over and over again.

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While I know the next 30 days will be challenging (I have about three family BBQ’s to get through while sticking to these guidelines) I know the outcome will be worthwhile!

Readers: What are you willing to do to challenge yourself? What are you willing to do to step out of your comfort zone?

An Unhealthy Relationship with Being Healthy

I’ve wanted to write this entry for a long time but wasn’t sure which direction I wanted it to go in. I knew what I wanted the title to be, but was stuck when it came to the “ending” of the entry. Now I know. 

I will be beginning my first round of Whole30 on Tuesday, the day after my 26th birthday. As most of you know, I already love a Paleo lifestyle so I imagine my transition to Whole30 will not be as dramatic as it would be if I was not coming from this healthy lifestyle. I am extremely excited to try this program and am going into it with an extremely positive attitude.

This wouldn’t have always been the case, however. I pride myself today on the fact that I know I will be able to achieve great things over those 30 days- things I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish even just a few months ago. Today, I am going into this new journey already in love with myself and my body. It has taken me months, years even, to get here. 

It all started with me taking the advice of writer Gretchen Rubin, when she wrote to “act the way you want to feel”. I am acting, I am feeling, and I am living. 

I look back at the struggles I have faced over the year with my unhealthy view of “healthy”: calorie counting, anorexia, body dysmorphia, binge eating, boredom eating, etc. I now know that all of these “behaviors” were created due to stress and negativity I felt over my body. I was acting ashamed, therefore I was feeling ashamed. 

I know now that I had nothing to be ashamed of; I still have nothing to be ashamed of. 

So how am I acting today?

Proud, happy, content

How am I feeling? 

 Proud, happy, content.  

I know that I am enough and I am overjoyed to finally having a healthy relationship with my health. 
So readers, please take my advice and start acting how you want to feel. It makes more of a difference than you could ever imagine. 

Also! My fellow Paleo/ Whole30 followers, please feel free to share some of your favorite recipes with me! I’ll be posting some soon!!