I’m happy to announce that I have completed the Whole 30 for the month of June Time flew by pretty quickly and after a rough week 1 start due to headaches, it was smooth sailing from there and though I’ve had a little twitch here and there, it went away super fast and I didn’t have to take any NSAIDs! During week 2-4, I also noticed that I did better doing my daily workouts plus I had more energy and didn’t feel tired or lethargic at all especially in the afternoon.
I was able to eat out and enjoy with family and friends because I planned ahead and I didn’t really feel like I missed out on anything. Not to mention I enjoyed all the summer fruit available right now so I never felt deprived. Post-whole 30, I am incorporating back food that I usually eat such as white rice, potatoes and safe starches. Still avoiding nuts and dairy until I can work on balancing out my hormone levels.
Today I’m sharing the Loaded Hasselback Sweet Potatoes that I posted last week. I was experimenting with a vegan version of cheese using nutritional yeast since dairy is off the table for a while and I was happy with how it came out. Even my husband likes the vegan cheese I also used the Garlic Lover’s Seasoning by Flavorgod but you are welcome to tweak it and use any type of seasoning that you want. This is SUPER easy and if you can handle dairy, make this with raw cheese instead of the vegan one to achieve that gooey consistency that you get with cheese!
* Raw smoked gouda, mozarella cheese or even goat cheese would go well with this in lieu of the vegan cheese. Also, to substitute for the Flavorgod seasoning if you dont have it, use 1 tsp garlic powder + ½ tsp onion powder + ½ tsp paprika + ¼ tsp salt + ½ tsp black pepper.
2 large sweet potatoes
1 tbsp garlic lovers Flavorgod seasoning (*substitutions above or any seasoning you prefer)
½ pound ground beef
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 portobello mushroom cap, chopped
¼ cup sweet bell pepper, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
2 tbsp ghee, melted
2 tsp parsley for garnish
For the Vegan Cheese (if using):
1 tbsp ghee
¼ cup coconut milk
1 tsp tapioca starch
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
⅛ tsp turmeric powder
Preheat oven to 375F.
Prepare sweet potatoes by holding onto one end and with your knife perpendicular to the sweet potato, create thin slices (about 1cm) until about ¼” towards the bottom. Make sure the knife does not go all the way through so the sweet potato will remain intact. It should look like a mini accordion once you slice from one end to the other. Coat it with 1 tbsp of melted ghee and sprinkle 1 tsp of seasoning on it. Place it on a parchment lines baking sheet and bake it in the oven for 35 minutes.
Remove sweet potatoes from oven and coat with the remaining melted ghee making sure it reaches between each slice. It should start to fan out at this point so bake it for another 15 minutes.
Check it again and its ready once the exterior is lightly browned and the inside is soft. Set it aside while preparing the topping.
Prepare the topping by sauteing the ground beef and bacon on a cast iron pan over medium high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Add portobello mushrooms, onions, bell peppers. Saute together with the beef and season with the remaining 2 tsp of seasoning. Cook until vegetables are soft. At this point, adjust the seasonings according to taste.
Spoon the ground beef mixture evenly on top of the cooked hasselback sweet potatoes. Top with your cheese of choice and return it to the oven to cook for 5 more minutes until the cheese melts.
Top with chopped parsley and let is rest for a few minutes before serving!
(To make Vegan cheese)
In a small saucepan over medium low heat, combine ghee, coconut milk, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder and turmeric.
Whisk together until it starts to simmer. Once it has thickened, removed from heat and use like regular cheese.
I am on the last stretch of my Whole 30! This past week has come and gone pretty fast and it was the same as week 2 - my meals and work outs have been consistent but I think I’ve started to reach the point where I just want the 30 days to be over so I can finally eat rice again. Oh, and make dairy free ice cream and pancakes as well. lol
Even if the Whole 30 is strict, the good thing about it is that I can enjoy as much fresh fruit as I want. Especially now that summer is here, I have been eating mangoes, lychees, pineapples, cherries, blueberries and strawberries whenever I can so I haven’t felt deprived at all!
That pretty much sums up how the past week of my Whole 30 has been. It has become part of my daily routine so I don’t really agonize over each day anymore Now on to this recipe that I wanted to share – today I am guest posting on the Paleo Parent’s blog with my take on how to jazz up regular Brussels Sprouts. I have always admired Stacy and Matt and enjoyed reading stories about their family life on IG and on their blog so I am excited to guest post for them again.
Head over to Paleo Parents for the recipe to this perfect summer side dish that is both Whole 30 and 21 DSD compliant!
My week 2 has come and gone and I realized I forgot to post a recap at the end of it (whoops!). I’m happy to say that it has definitely gotten easier. My meals have been pretty spot on, i’ve continued to dedicate 30 minutes a day to working out and that nasty headache from the 1st week was finally gone!!! I also feel more energized when I’m working out and I have been lifting heavier weights and pushing myself each day.
Of course i’ve had a lot of challenges along the way but since I always plan ahead of time, I was able to deal with sticky situations. Monday nights are always reserved for dinner with D’s parents so that means yummy non-paleo Filipino food and ricceeee! So I prepared some cauliflower rice and vegetables ahead of time to take with me and share with everyone. I told my in-laws I was eating healthy (explaining paleo would be a little complicated) and they were so sweet to buy me some grilled fish to eat They thought I was weird for eating cauliflower rice but they tried some and mixed it in with their regular white rice. lol
Thats a good example on how being prepared is important especially when doing the Whole 30! The same scenario happened for Father’s Day when we ate out for dinner but I had my eye on the prize and ordered some grilled catfish and vegetable skewers.
My love affair with plantains continues and since I always have a few pieces on hand, I’ve decided to share my recipe for making Tostones. I also made some Mofongo which uses Tostones as a base and is mashed with garlic and EVOO. Enjoy both with some garlic infused ghee on the side and I can guarantee you won’t have a problem finishing the entire plate!
I find that pre-soaking the plantains result in more evenly cooked tostones. When pressed for time, this step can be omitted.
2 green plantains, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
3 cups cold water
¼ tsp salt
1 cup coconut oil
¼ tsp coarse ground sea salt
3 tbsp ghee
3 cloves garlic, minced
Mix together cold water and salt to a bowl until the salt is dissolved. Add the sliced plantains and let it soak for 30 minutes.
Drain plantains and pat dry with a paper towel.
Add coconut oil to a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add plantains one by one making sure they are not touching each other so it cooks evenly. Fry for 5 minutes. Flip to the other side and fry for another 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.
Grab one piece of fried plantain and using the flat bottom of a small bowl or drinking glass, gently press onto the plantain in a clockwise motion until it is flattened to about ¼” thick. Do this for the rest of the fried plantains.
On the same pan that is kept on medium heat, fry the flattened plantains for a second time, about 2 minutes each side. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Season with some coarse ground sea salt.
While the tostones are cooling, melt ghee in a small saucepan on low heat. Once the ghee is hot, add minced garlic and cook it for 2 minutes. Stir frequently so that it does not burn and stick to the bottom. Remove from heat and drizzle on top of the tostones or serve on the side as a dip.
Okay, so I guess I got way over my head thinking I can do a daily post of my Whole 30, lol! I think its much better to do a weekly one for my sanity and to not be annoying by sending daily updates to your inboxes
I finished week 1 on a very positive note since I was able to eat clean when D and I went to Downtown Disney last night to have dinner before watching Maleficent (which btw was a great movie!). I could smell freshly baked bread (my weakness) the whole time we were eating dinner and of course since its Disney, everywhere I look people were eating ice cream, churros, popcorn, etc. but you know what, I did not feel tempted or had any cravings at all! Looks like nourishing myself with the right amount of fat and protein at each meal does promote satiety and prevent cravings.
The only thing that I struggled with this first week was the lingering headache that I had for 3 straight days. Thankfully its not a migraine so I do not have to take my prescription meds but usually when my head starts to throb, I cave in and down a couple tablets of Alleve (NSAID) which has always worked wonders for me. I wanted to start weening myself from my dependency on NSAIDs so I sucked it up that first day and just used a menthol stick from Taiwan (forgot the name) and rubbed it on my temples, did some deep breathing exercises, drank some herbal tea and slept half an hour earlier. It went away gradually and I’m glad that it did naturally.
On the plus side, I am no longer bloated! My tummy is flatter and I am attributing this not only to the Whole 30 but also to the 21 Day Fix exercises that I have been incorporating each day. I really wanted to work on defining my abs plus a stronger upper and lower body so I can do better at obstacle course races and finally get up that darn rope. It will take time and probably 3 rounds of the 21 Day Fix exercises to really see some progress but I am determined to do it
Here is what I ate when we dined out last night while I’m on a Whole 30 – grilled salmon with baby greens, tomatoes, onions, mangoes, strawberries and fennel with balsamic vinegar on the side. Yes it is possible to go out with friends and family and still have a great time! Just make a conscious effort to make the best choices and don’t be shy to ask for modifications or substitutions to your meal.
Before I committed myself to the Whole 30, I dusted off my copy of It Starts With Food and refreshed my memory on the rules of the program. One of the main points they emphasized was to avoid snacking as much as possible. If you feel the urge to snack, it means you did not eat enough fats and protein for breakfast/lunch or almost always, its a mental thing. I do not really snack in between meals a lot unless i’m really hungry or I needed some pre-workout fuel.
So instead of snacking (or grazing between meals), I like to enjoy some dried fruit and plantain chips immediately after eating dinner. These are both approved during the Whole 30 BUT should be eaten in moderation (one bag is not one serving!) For me, a handful of dried baby pineapples combined with some plantain chips and I’m all set. I eat it slowly, enjoy it and once my handful is gone, I feel happy and satiated. Next week I’m going to change it up a bit for variety and to avoid getting bored with eating the same thing day in and day out.
Below is a visual guide of how much a handful is. Do you snack while on the Whole 30? Or do you eat post meal treats like I do?
Okay, yesterday was pretty rough – working through lunch while I inhale my food to make it through a really tight deadline at work = massive headache. This article on the Whole 30 site pretty much explains it as “The Hangover” phase. Still, I pushed through it, worked out, cooked dinner, drank a lot of water, did some blog work and then fell asleep 15 seconds after my head hit the pillow.
The good thing about living an 80/20 Paleo lifestyle pre-Whole 30 is not having to go through a big adjustment phase. No kicking and screaming because I want some treats, bread, soda, etc.
To feel like I am giving myself a treat the same time hydrating my body with the right amount of water, I like to infuse a bottle of water with some citrus and fruit. Now doesn’t this look refreshing?
To keep things exciting and avoid getting bored with the same flavors day in and day out, I like to use different citrus, fruit and herb combinations. And if I’m feeling extra fancy, I will use a bottle of sparkling water instead
Second day into my Whole 30, I was already faced with a challenge because the leftover halibut and vegetables that I packed for lunch tasted off after I reheated it (boo!). Instead of eating it and risking a stomach ache, I ditched it and looked for an alternative. We have El Pollo Loco at work (aside from Carl’s Jr. and Subway) so I made the best possible choices based on what is available to me. I had a grilled chicken breast, skin removed, spicy salsa and some steamed broccoli.
I also started the 21 Day Fix workout program by Beachbody which I am totally committed to finishing this time! I’ve had 2 false starts last month because I got sick but now that I am on the Whole 30, I am 110% committed to completing both successfully!
I snacked on some smoked oysters (saw this on Steph’s IG post -Stupid Easy Paleo) before working out and had half a sweet potato with ghee and cinnamon as my post work out fuel.
Dinner was another recipe experiment on a healthier version of Tuna and Spinach Casserole (remember those Hamburger Helper days?) that I ate with a handful of plantain chips on the side because well, I like plantains and they are Whole 30 (as long as I don’t eat the entire bag!). Sorry to be a tease on Instagram but its not perfect yet and its slated to go in a project that I am currently working on (so stay tuned!).
Here is my Whole 30 day 2 recap! If you’ve done the Whole 30 before, how was day 2 for you?