My 68 Day Challenge: The Whole30 Day 2

Beware of labels!

Headlines this week all read “Americans Eat Way Too Much Sugar”.  Hello!  That’s not news.  Some, OK, most is no brainer stuff like soda and snacks.  Some is legitimately hidden in food that is made to appear like a healthy choice,  We are trying to be good and are tricked by the label.

A typical can of soda may have almost 40 g of sugar in it, and who drinks a can anymore.  You grab a Vitamin Water thinking you are making a better choice.  There is still around
30 g of sugar.  At snack time you choose a yogurt thinking this is the best choice and since you didn’t read the label you missed that your tiny little container of yogurt has 25 g of sugar in it.

My first Whole30 mistake was misreading a label on a jar of nut butter.  With the attention span of a gnat
– squirrel –
I read the portion of the jar that said “Contains: Sunflower Seeds”.  Perfect!  One ingredient and no sugar.  In the cart it goes.
Wrong!
When I got home and looked at the jar more closely what I read was not the ingredient list.
In the store I read what I wanted to see.  I was hoping for no sugar and there wasn’t any.  Unfortunately I was reading the warning for allergies and whatnot and not the ingredients.

If you want the soda, then buy the soda.  But, if you want the healthy alternative you must read the label.

MY 68 Day Challenge; Whole30 Day 1

You cannot improve in one area of your life without it having a positive trickle effect into other areas.

Testing the waters before “go” day we omitted cream in our coffee about a week ago.  This seemed a little more challenging than other sacrifices.  No rich creamy coffee goodness.  No grande non-fat latte frothing in  the green cup.

To pull a quote from The Whole 30 by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig

Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard, Losing a parent is hard.  Drinking your coffee black is. not. hard.  You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse…

Truthfully, it is a little hard.  We create these morning rituals to start our day happy, invigorated, and fulfilled.  Black coffee just isn’t as rich and delectable and yummy.  There is a  positive trickle effect to drinking it black …less coffee.  1-2 cups instead of 2-3 cups.

We can do this.
What is the 68 Day Challenge?  Check it out on Facebook:  68 Day Challenge

My 68 Day Challenge; The Whole30 Shopping

Today was an adventure.   Reading up on the Whole30 I wasn’t intimidated or discouraged at all about the plan.  We eat pretty healthy now.  Everyone in my family can cook and, except for mushrooms, we are pretty daring when it comes to food. The only piece that seemed to be a challenge is where to find the ingredients? There are no fancy grocery stores or health markets to find organic farm raised meats around here.  Today we went searching for one.  Since when is shopping not fun?

Stop 1, a large health food market.  It looked promising from the outside.
Inside not so much.  The produce was ok, but the meat choices were pretty much chuck roast, chicken and ground beef.  That won’t do it for 30 days.  Moving on.

Stop 2, Whole Foods.  Here we hit pay day.  The meat counter pretty much had all of the cuts an ordinary meat counter would have and it had this awesome rating and tagging system to figure everything out.

We were lucky.  We only had to go to two stores to find an easy and reliable store.  You may have to go to more but, don’t settle.  Don’t go for less.  Keep at it until you get exactly what you want.  Wait for the best.

My 68 Day Challenge; The Whole30

To successfully achieve a goal you should spend 80% of your time in planning to ensure that the 20% you spend executing can be done with excellence.  Planning on successfully completing the Whole30 program I started my planning by reading the book It Starts With Food.

After reading this book, with an open mind, I believe that adjusting your diet for 30 days can make you feel better, sleep better, think better, and perform better.  If you want to lose weight, that is an added benefit.

It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected WaysIt Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Dallas Hartwig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is absolutely fascinating.
To those who gave it very skeptical reviews, I ask . . .why did you buy this book in the first place? Did you not read the description first?
I will be gifting this book frequently.

View all my reviews

I’m doing the Whole30 as part of a great program sponsored by my employer The 68 Day Challenge.  It’s open to the public.  Check it out!

My Whole30 Challenge

The top reason I have stayed with the same employer for over 20 years (dating myself) is that it is so great to work for a company with tremendous opportunity that encourages you to grow as a person.  Several years ago they made it even more fun to do so with the 68 Day Challenge.  Check it out here on Facebook:  The 68 Day Challenge.

W9 Manifesto-for-FB-Cover NEWThe challenge I am taking on this year – the Whole30 Program.  30 days of cleaner eating for better health.  No grains, beans, dairy, added sugar, and alcohol for 30 days.  What is  attractive about this program?
First, anyone can do just about anything for only 30 days.  Next, I love this philosophy that eating healthy is easy, it’s the psychology that gets in the way.

So, the challenge is 68 days and the program is only 30.  No worries.  This isn’t a program to jump right into.  The first few steps that I am working on now:

  1. emptying my pantry of temptation
  2. reading It Starts with Food
  3. meal planning –  for family members on the plan and those not on the plan
  4. schedule planning  

This last one, schedule planning, has actually been the hardest part so far.  Why make this program more difficult by trying to do it when there is extra temptation and will power busters?  We’ve (I’m lucky that my husband agreed to go along on this journey) moved our start date from February 23rd (the day after my husbands birthday)  to January 4th (let’s stop talking and get started) to January 8th (really, you have 2 business dinners this week).

Back to School Cooking; Mac -n Cheese

9 days!
In 9 glorious days the kids go back to school.
Today, I did my back to school Costco run.  The first of a few.
Let the freezer cooking begin . . . .

With school and work and soccer and marching band and … and…. and…. it’s way easier to have awesome homemade dinners ready to go in our freezer.  Today I made mac -n- cheese.  This recipe is also perfect for sports banquets, graduation parties, and tailgating.

Macaroni -n Cheese for The Team

Ingredients

  • 3 1 lb boxes macaroni noodles
  • 56 ounces shredded cheddar cheese ( 1 1/2 Costco bags)
  • 14 cups milk
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 cup flour
  • 8 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika

 

Instructions

  • Boil water in large pan and cook noodles for 7 minutes
  • In very large saucepan on medium heat melt the butter. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add seasoning and flour. Stir until it is stiff.
  • Add milk.
  • Stir until it almost boils
  • Add cheese slowly and stir until it is melted
  • Put noodles in giant pan or multiple cooking dishes
  • Top with cheese mixture
  • Stir until noodles are coated
  • Bake at 375 for 45 minutes

Sober September

The sobering fact; I’ve put on 14 pounds since this time last year.

At a business meeting Friday someone said “LT you’re looking thick“!  I know he meant it in a good way.  I’m sure of it.  But, for my type A self, it troubled me.

On the flip side, 14 pounds lighter, a different friend said “LT, you’ve got a great looking body . . . for an 8 year old boy“. Ouch!

Somewhere in between “thick” and “boy body” is the answer.
 How this happened?  A year of indulgence.  A beautiful new house, more time on the golf course, and … the wine cellar pictured here. Try a bottle, store a bottle, try a bottle, store a bottle. Repeat.

Each Fat Tire on the golf course – 160 calories
Each glass of red wine – 125 calories

Munchies afterwords – priceless

I resolve to find that in-between-ness by breaking up with Fat Tire and Red Wine for 30 days – Sober September.

Does anyone else have a goal this month?  Share it in the comments section below.

Cook Chicken Once for Four Easy Meals

“I wanted to figure out why I was so busy, but I couldn’t find the time to do it.” 
― Todd Stocker

Busy families like ours can still eat great with a little planning.  With one great ingredient and some creative thinking you can go far.  By pure accident I found my new favorite chicken marinade.  I was all set in my mind on how I was going to marinade chicken and at the last second my hubby cried out, “don’t put an acid in the marinade”. Crap!  I was going to use citrus.  What now?

I had just found a new salad dressing I had never seen before, Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avocado Yogurt Dressing, with only 40 calories per serving.  What the heck, I thought, I might as well try it.

It’s a new favorite!

At night:

Slice 4 chicken breasts horizontally into strips.
Place in plastic bag.
Pour in Cilantro Avocado dressing
Marinade over night.

The next day:
Using a grill pan and medium heat, grill the chicken. (the small pieces only take about 2-3 minutes per side)

Lunch one:
Chicken sandwiches.  I would totally play up the flavors in the dressing and top this sandwich with fresh avocado.

Dinner one:
Chicken tacos or quesadillas.

Lunch two:
Use the chicken to top your favorite salad

Breakfast:
Chicken hash topped with fried eggs

Chicken Hash
Printable Version

Ingredients

  • Chicken breast – cut horizontally into strips
  • Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avocado Yogurt Dressing (for marinade)
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Slap Ya Mama seasoning (spicy creole seasoning)

Instructions

  • Marinate chicken overnight in dressing
  • Grill chicken in grill pan on medium heat
  • (I make extra chicken and use it in many meals, then just use the leftovers in this dish)
  • Cut potatoes into cubes
  • Heat olive oil in fry pan – medium high
  • Add potatoes
  • Cook until brown on all sides
  • Season with Salt and Slap Ya Mama
  • Add peppers and onions
  • Cook until veggies are soft and onions begin to slightly caramelize
  • Serves 4
  • Top each serving with 2 fried eggs

Sofa to 1/2 Marathon in 65 Days Final Post

It’s race week.  It’s time to rest the legs and prepare for Saturday’s race.  If you feel like you haven’t gotten in enough training runs or if your legs feel great – stay off of them.  You can’t cram for a race like you crammed for a test in school.
From Stephen Covey:  
“Can you imagine “cramming” on the farm? Can you imagine forgetting to plant in the spring, flaking out all summer, and hitting it hard in the fall–ripping the soil up, throwing in the seeds, watering, cultivating–and expecting to get a bountiful harvest overnight?Cramming doesn’t work in a natural system. That’s the fundamental difference between a social and natural system. A social system is based on values; a natural system is based on principles. In the short term, cramming may appear to work in a social system. You can go for the “quick fixes” and techniques with apparent success. But in the long run they just don’t work.”
Monday – off
Tuesday – 2 miles
Wednesday – 2 miles
Thursday – off
Friday – off
Saturday – Race Day

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