My 68 Day Challenge; The Whole30 Recap

My 68 Day Challenge; The Whole30 Recap

Boom!
Done!
We did it!
We completed the Whole30

We did this as part of an amazing program sponsored by my employer called The 68 Day Challenge.

Reading the book, It Starts With Food before beginning the Whole30 is definitely the way to go.  The authors give you everything you need to be successful.

Even tough love.

One struggle I had while reading it is that each chapter begins with a testimonial on how the program is “life changing”.  Not to be cynical, but really, a 30 day meal plan life changing?  How can eliminating certain foods from your diet for just 30 days be all that?

And then,
at about day 15
it happened.

My husband and I were both feeling so good that we said “I am never going back”.  What does that mean, never going back?  We are not going to kid ourselves that we are going to be Whole30 all day every day, but we are going to do our best to be Whole30 80% of the time.

Why?

We feel that good.

Specifically, we both experienced these benefits:

  • Better sleep. This one matters most.  It’s amazing how many other parts of your day are better when you get better sleep.  Better sleep = better performance.
  • Wake up easier.  Definitely a result of the first benefit, but it is important to point out.
  • Running and workouts became easier,  Tiger blood is a real thing and we really experienced it.  Once your body adjusts to burning fat instead of sugar – look out gym! 
  • No afternoon slump.
  • Better looking skin.  Smoother and brighter.
  • Weight loss.  The incredible part about the weight loss is  . . .
The dirty details, I lost 10 pounds and my husband lost 15.  To be completely transparent, some of that was holiday excess and would have dropped off anyway.  Or, maybe not.
There was only one negative to this program, and no it wasn’t going without our wine for 30 days.  If you go pastured, organic, grass fed, all natural, etc.
IT. 
IS. 
EXPENSIVE.  
This is what writer Eric Gillin had to say about that in Epicurious
IT HELPS TO HAVE TONS OF MONEY AND FANCY GROCERY STORES When did tree nuts and almond butter start to cost as much as uncut cocaine? 

 Our tips for your success:

  • Do it with a partner.  It’s so much easier when you’re not the only one passing on dessert.
  • Cook once and eat many times.  Making things like a beef brisket made meal planning for an entire week much easier.
  • Learn to love eggs.
  • Journal what you eat and how you slept.   This will give you small celebrations throughout the 30 days.
  • Don’t give up on yourself – you can do this.  Our mantra was . . .”It’s only 30 days”
My 68 Day Challenge; The Whole30 Day 17

My 68 Day Challenge; The Whole30 Day 17

Feeling like a rock star!

They call this stage of the Whole30 Tiger Blood and I know why.  For two weeks I went to spin class
and felt a diabolical force resisting the movement of my legs and feet.  The harder I tried to pedal the more resistance there seemed to be.  Like I was getting sucked in by quicksand.  I’ve gone to class after, well, let’s just say more than a few glasses of wine and done better, felt better, rode better.

This week; I owned it.  There was no quick sand holding my legs down.  In fact, it felt like there was no gravity.  Like I was spinning on the moon and could spin forever.  It was awesome!

We are in this very strange place in the Whole30 process.
We count down every day like it’s a victory.  Day 11 – defeated.  Day 12 – defeated. Day 15 – we are 1/2 way there.  And at the same time, we keep telling each other I’m never going back.  I feel too good.  I like how I feel.  I want to feel like this every single day.   Sure, I’ll have ice cream and treats and wine, of course we’ll have wine, but I’m never going back.

Last night we cooked cilantro lime shrimp.  I would say this was my favorite meal of our Whole30 journey, but OMG – it did not compare to the leftover shrimp and spinach omelet I had for breakfast today.  I felt like I was having breakfast at a Ritz Carlton in someplace very exotic (1/2 of that was how good the shrimp was 1/2 was the Michigan winter blues).  When you make this recipe be sure to make enough for your omelet the next day.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

printable version

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. deveined shell on shrimp (15 to 1 pound)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs cilantro, minced
  • 1 lime
  • coconut oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

  • Toss shrimp, garlic, cilantro, and juice from the lime in a bowl
  • (If you are prepping other dishes do not add the lime until you are ready to cook the shrimp)
  • Salt and pepper the shrimp
  • Melt the coconut oil in a skillet on medium high
  • Carefully place the shrimp in the skillet so that they are in a single layer
  • Flip after the first side turns pink (about 3 minutes)
  • Remove from heat when the second side turns pink (about 3 minutes)

My 68 Day Challenge: The Whole30 Day 10

Days 10 and 11 are the biggest quit days for people on the Whole30.  We are on day 10 and are feeling too good to consider quitting.

My husband had a business introduction meeting this week.  I thought for sure he would cheat.  No way was he going to be introduced to new business contacts at a restaurant and tell them about the plan.  He surprised me.  He had no problem telling them about the plan, in fact, it was a great icebreaker.  Ordering compliant from the Italian restaurant they were at was no problem too.  The server was more than ready to help.  Awesome!

It’s funny, but not surprising, that our keys to success with this plan are pretty much keys to success for anything:

  1. Open communication – tell people your needs and vision and they will help get you there.
  2. Look for ways to make it work – sure you can find a million reasons why you can’t, but focus on why you can.
  3. 80% planning 20% execution – don’t get caught unprepared.  Plan!
  4. Try new things – if you keep doing what you’ve always done you will get what you’ve always got
We are doing the Whole30 as part of the 68 Day Challenge.  Join thousands of people looking to make 2016 their best year yet 68 Day Challenge.

My 68 Day Challenge; Whole 30 Day 9

The authors of the Whole30 say that most people give up on days 10 and 11.  The novelty has wore off, food fatigue, temptation.  A whole lot of reasons.  Being on Day 9 it doesn’t feel like I’m ready to quit tomorrow or the next day.

How are you doing on your 2016 goals?  Need some motivation?  ET always does it for me.  Check out this video

Making the Whole30 fun by being able to be creative has been our focus.  By just focusing on making it through each day until you get to 30, I could see how you might give up.  If you focus on trying new things and being creative then you look forward to each new experience and don’t even count the day you’re on.

I’ve never even eaten a chicken burger before.  That didn’t stop us for cooking them up for today’s brown bag lunch.

Chicken Burgers
Printable Version

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs minced mint
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix to incorporate.
  • Divide into 4 parts
  • Form into burgers
  • Heat non-stick skillet to medium high with a small amount of cooking oil.
  • Gently place burgers on skillet. After 4-5 minutes flip.
  • Cook until done – about 4-5 more minutes

If you have a bacon griddle press, burger press, or a panini press they work fantastically to cook these through. Place on top of the burgers once they have been flipped

Dead Arm Mayonnaise

Many homemade mayonnaise recipes require power tools and face it, many kitchens do not have them.  I love this recipe because it doesn’t require any tools except good old arm power and it doesn’t make too much.  This is a concern because homemade mayo doesn’t have a long shelf life.  You need to use it up quickly.

Homemade Mayonnaise
Printable Version

Ingredients

  • 1 egg yolk (reserve the white and add to an omelet, scrambled eggs or a frittata)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp ground mustard
  • dash white pepper
  • 3/4 c avocado oil

Instructions

  • whisk the egg yolk and spices
  • very slowly – painfully slow – add the avocado oil and continue whisking
  • continue whisking until thick
  • *by painfully I mean “how long could this possibly take” not “oh my gosh, this is killing my arm”

This recipe is Whole30 compliant.  I’m on day 6 of my first Whole30 as part of my 68 Day Challenge.

Beef Brisket with Endless Possibilies

Busy households need easy solutions.  What could be easier than cooking once and making 4 (or more) great meals out of it?

As part of the 68 Day Challenge, a great “your best year starts here program” my husband and I are doing the Whole30.  In a nutshell:  meat, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats for 30 days.

Slow Roasted Beef Brisket

printable version

Ingredients

  • 1 beef brisket
  • 1 small box portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced thick
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • cracked pepper
  • salt (adjust this depending on the sodium content in your broth)

Instructions

  • heat oven to 325
  • put all ingredients in a dutch oven
  • cook until meat is fork tender – approximately 3 hours
  • let stand for 30 minutes
  • slice and serve
Meal 1 – dinner:  serve with oven roasted potatoes and roasted root vegetables

Meal 2 – breakfast: substitute beef brisket for hash in this great recipe Chicken Hash

Meal 3 – lunch: Make brisket tacos or quesadillas (this is the only non-compliant meal for the Whole30)

Meal 4 – dinner: open face brisket sandwich.  Serve on Texas Toast with mashed potatoes (or left over oven roasted potatoes)

Meal 5 – lunch: pulled brisket with bbq sauce

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