Have you ever thought about doing a Whole 30? I have started doing a Whole 30, twice, but I haven’t completed one yet. 🙁 I wrote a post about why I failed the Whole 30, it’s basically a rant about why the Whole 30 is a joke. Don’t read it for inspiration. Now I’m back and ready to try again. This time around, I am going to do better with meal planning and meal prepping, and I am going to stick it out all the way through. Are you interested in doing a March Whole 30 for yourself? Keep reading!
How to lose weight for free
I feel like everyone is always trying to sell something. If you post on Facebook or Instagram that you’re trying to lose weight/get in shape, I can guarantee that you’ll be bombarded by private messages. There are people selling supplements, wraps, teas, you name it, it’s probably out there. These products exist because there are people out there who are absolutely desperate to lose weight. When you’re desperate, taking any kind of shortcut to achieve your goals sounds appealing. I am not saying that these products don’t work, or don’t help in some way, that isn’t what this post is about. What I am saying is that you don’t have to spend a bunch of money to lose weight and get healthy, I promise. There are simple steps that you can take that to lose weight without buying a thing.
If you are on a health and fitness journey, you have probably wondered about counting calories. There has been a lot of recent talk about macros in the health community, and many wonder the differences between calorie counting vs. macro counting. Please keep in mind that this is just my opinion and what has worked best for me. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. I always advise doing a little trial and error and figuring out what works best for your personal heath and fitness journey.
I am moving to a house that’s about 2 miles from and ALDI and I am so excited! Who gets excited about grocery stores? This girl. <- Are you trying to save money on groceries? With the cost of groceries skyrocketing, who isn’t?! If you haven’t tried shopping at ALDI yet, you should! Click here to see if there is an ALDI in your area. I’ve been shopping at Aldi for most of my life, I remember going with my mom when I was little. I love ALDI for many reasons, and I want to share my tips for how to shop at ALDI with you.
Thrive Market Review
If you’ve been to my blog before, you may have seen a reference here and there to Thrive Market. I wanted to do a full Thrive Market review. I want to share with my readers why I chose a Thrive Market subscription, and why you should too!
If you don’t know about Thrive Market, they offer real, healthy and wholesome food at Wholesale prices. Another very cool aspect of Thrive Market is that for every subscription purchased, Thrive donates another membership to a teacher or a family in need.
Everyone probably knows by now that it’s best to limit exposure to pesticides. The Dirty Dozen by the Environmental Working Group let’s you know the the top 12 fruits and vegetables that currently have the most pesticide residue. The best option is to purchase these items organic, but sometimes it’s difficult to find organic products or just too expensive. This is my favorite way to wash conventional fruits and vegetables, but you can use it on organics too! For organics, I typically only rinse with cold water.
I will be posting a new gluten free recipe every Monday. Make sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter so that you don’t miss out!
Gluten Free Chicken Casserole
This gluten free chicken casserole is one my favorite slow cooked meals! It is inexpensive, simple to make, and the ingredients can be adjusted based on what you have in your pantry or freezer. I adapted this from a recipe that I found over at A year of slow cooking.
How To Go Gluten Free
Going gluten free can be incredibly challenging. I have been eating completely gluten free since early 2012, and I remember how difficult it was to start. There is gluten in everything! Today I am sharing 7 tips on how to go gluten free.
My story: I suspected that I was having some issues with gluten in early 2012. I had struggled with digestive issues for most of my life, and despite seeing more than one doctor, I was left with no answers. I decided to try cutting gluten from my diet in a desperate attempt to start to feel normal again. Although I didn’t get an official diagnosis until 2013, I knew almost immediately that gluten had been the source of all of my problems. It was hard for me to cut out gluten. I hear people say “I could never do that” but I assure you, if I can do it, you can do it. My diet was based around foods like pasta, bread, and more pasta.
Maybe you, like me, suspect that you have a problem with gluten. Maybe you have an official diagnosis from a doctor and are trying to figure out where to start. I want to share my best tips for how to go gluten free with you. It’s a difficult journey, but it has been so rewarding and worth it. Going gluten free changed my life.
Thrive Market Review
I wanted to post a full Thrive Market Review because my first order has arrived! I made another post here comparing prices on Thrive Market vs. Amazon Prime. I did share my exact order in that post but I wanted to share a few pictures of the items after they arrived. I am currently doing a Whole 30 and it is important to note that some of the items that I ordered are NOT Whole 30 compliant, the Bob’s Mill white rice flour, Bragg’s liquid aminos and Enjoy Life mega thunks, while delicious and gluten free, are not allowed on the Whole 30. I did purchase them because I they are things that I would buy anyway and the price on Thrive Market was the best that I have found. If I do another order while I am on the Whole 30 I will order compliant products because those chocolate chunks are too tempting! I paid just over $50 for all of the items listed before. If you purchase any of these items regularly, you know that’s a great deal! Thrive Market was running a promotion at the time which included a free bottle of coconut oil and the 5-day detox book. Since I am currently doing a Whole 30, I don’t really need the book but it could be useful for someone who is brand new on a healthy eating journey. Thrive regularly offers freebies with your purchase, so far I have seen coconut oil, almond butter and plant-based protein, so keep an eye out and see what freebie is available!
Thrive Market Review.
I do apologies for the horrible picture. I am good at taking pictures of people, not items. I am pretty excited to try to ghee. During Whole 30 2016 attempt #1 I made my own ghee. I’m not sure if I did it right, but I wasn’t crazy about it. I love butter and I hope that I like the ghee better than my home-made version.
I do have to stop for a second and tell you about the coconut aminos. If you read my original Thrive Market vs. Amazon Prime post, you will see that I was hesitant about this product. I am happy to say that I have tried and actually ENJOY the coconut aminos! This is a big deal! I can do without soy for the most part, and I may be able to eliminate it completely (even after the Whole 30) using this product. The taste is a bit sweeter than soy sauce, and it definitely has a flavor that is all it’s own. That being said, I did enjoy it. If you’re wanting to eliminate traditional soy sauce, GMO soy or non-organic soy. I would recommend switching to Bragg’s liquid aminos. We haven’t used traditional soy sauce in quite some time, it tastes just as good but is much healthier as it is lower in sodium and made with non-GMO soy.
I have tried to toothpaste and I really like it! I am going to continue to purchase it from Thrive since traditional toothpaste is just disgusting. Thrive Market also has the best price that I have found on Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap. You can also read about my top 12 uses for Dr. Bronners and my favorite household items from Thrive Market.!
I was really impressed with the packaging from Thrive Market. All of the packaging is made from recycled materials, and can be composted or recycled. Everything was packed very well, as you can see above. My order did take a little longer than expected to arrive. I received an e-mail apologizing for the delay. They told me that they had a higher volume of orders last week. I also received a coupon code for $10 off my next purchase. I expect to make another purchase early next month, and the $10 definitely makes up for the extra day or two!
As I mentioned in my last post, Thrive Market makes it very easy to shop by your values. If you are a vegan, following a paleo diet, or any other kind of protocol or allergy-friendly diet, it is very easy to search for foods that will work for you. There is even a section for moms! Overall, I am very happy with my order and with Thrive Market customer service. If you’ve been thinking about joining Thrive Market, click the link below to get 20% off your first order! Don’t forget that you can get a 30 day free trial, I saved over $70 on my first order, so I am definitely going to keep my account after the 30 days is over!
Whole 30 Day 2
Day 1 went pretty well! I was a little tired, but I have some sinus issues going on that are not Whole 30 related. On to Whole 30 day 2, we’ve had some CRAZY weather here lately. It was in the 70’s (and 80’s in Oklahoma City last weekend) and today we have SNOW. Yesterday the meal plan went well, I snacked a little but much less than usual. I did try the Apple Pie Lara Bars and I have to say they are much better than I was expecting! My little one and I shared, he loved them too. The kids ate what we did yesterday, with the exception of having some organic ketchup with their chicken at lunch.
I feel like my Whole 30 “failure” last time was due to a lack of planning. I have our entire meal plan lined out this week, and I feel much more relaxed having a plan set in place! Just like last time, I recommend checking out the Timeline when you are doing your own Whole 30. Since I am starting over and didn’t go very far off course, this time is easier for me than when I started back in January. I am still feeling the “hangover” that happens around days 2 and 3. This is more like day 3, but since I had a few non-compliant bites on Monday, I am counting it as day 2. Here is my Whole 30 day 2 food log.
Scrambled eggs Boiled eggs + mayo & spinach smoothies (the kids had scrambled eggs and kiwi)
Leftover meat lovers chili + rice for the kids
Meat balls, spaghetti squash, paleo noodles
One Apple Pie Lara Bar, 2 spoonfuls of Justin’s almond butter
Food prep for the week:
Whole 30 Day 1
I had a few slip-ups during my original run at the Whole 30. Looking back, I can see that those things happened mostly because I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t prepared with emergency snacks, and my meal planning was very lacking (or non-existent.) For a successful Whole 30, I think that meal planning is absolutely essential. We went on a weekend trip to Oklahoma City and I decided that I would completely start my Whole 30 over when we got back. Yesterday I did a meal plan, went grocery shopping, and I am waiting for my Thrive Market order, which should arrive today or tomorrow. Yesterday was day 0. It was supposed to be Whole 30 day 1 but I had a few bites of non-compliant food. Nothing too bad but I didn’t want to technically start over again until today. This time, I am going to keep a food diary on here. I will detail what I eat, and maybe add some pictures! I am really excited to have a friend doing the Whole 30 at the same time (she started yesterday) because I really think that having a support system is very important during the Whole 30! I am also including any food prep that I do, because I feel like that’s an important.
Enough with my rambling, here is my food diary for the Whole 30 Day 1!
2 cups of black coffee
3 boiled eggs and homemade mayo + some leftover stir fry carrots
Paleo Chili (stew meat, ground beef, sweet potatoes)
1.5 Apple Pie Lara Bars (my little one and I shared)
Food prep done today:
Made a double batch of homemade mayo
Made a double batch of homemade ranch
Made strawberry applesauce for the kids (and husband)
Whole 30 Mayo Recipe:
1 pint bottle of extra light tasting olive oil
2 room temperature eggs
2 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp salt
juice of one lemon
Put the eggs, lemon juice, mustard powder, salt and some of the olive oil (maybe 1/8 to 1/4 of the the jar) into a blender. Pulse on low just to mix all of the ingredients. Now SLOOOOOOOOOOWLY add the rest of the olive oil from the top. Seriously, slowly. Take 2-3 minutes to slowly drizzle the rest of the olive oil in while you pulse the blender on low. The ingredients will start to take on a whipped consistency. That’s it! It’s very easy and so good!
My Favorite Gluten Free Bread Recipe
Let me start off by saying that I am not great recipe-sharer. I typically just throw things into a pan and hope for the best. 🙂 I’m obviously not a great chef or anything like that, but I have learned a lot in the last 4 years since discovering that I had Celiac Disease. I hope that some of my gluten free tips can help you too!
I don’t know if you’ve bought gluten free bread at the grocery store, but it’s expensive. After realizing that pre-made gluten free bread was either disgusting, expensive or both; I went on a mission to discover my own gluten free bread recipe. I wanted something that would taste good, and not cost a fortune. This is what I came up with!
2 cups rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons fast rise yeast
2 tablespoons butter
3 egg whites OR two whole eggs, beaten slightly
1 teaspoon vinegar
*You can add a couple of teaspoons of Xantham gum if you choose to do so. I find that Xantham and Guar gums give some people bloating issues so I personally do not use them unless I use a pre-made blend where they are already included. I also use real butter, and I have tried the recipe with both three egg whites and two whole eggs. It turns out fine either way!
I mix the flours and salt together first. Then I mix the sugar into the water and add the yeast. I let it sit for about 5 minutes then I put it all into the mixer plus the egg whites/eggs, butter and vinegar and mixed on “high” for a while. I use a normal loaf pan, which I spray with olive oil or coconut oil spray. I let the bread rise for about 25 minutes and then bake it at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
It smells good, it looks.. okay. I haven’t made this recipe recently (since I am doing a Whole 30) but I plan to try to tweak it a bit later and see if I can get it to look better. It tastes like plain white sandwich bread. I have tried many gluten free breads and this is just as good, if not better, than any of them! If you’re on a gluten free diet, it’s much more cost effective (and probably healthier!) to make baked goods yourself. The ingredients that I linked today are from Thrive Market (check out my first Thrive Market order here!) because they’re the best price that I have found. You can order them on Amazon or find them at most grocery stores. Gluten free baking can be difficult and it takes a little bit of practice, but if I can do it, you can do it! If you tried this gluten free bread recipe, let me know how it went! As always, I love it when you share the love through Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest!
6 Best Apps for Fitness and Weight Loss
There are so many fitness and weight loss apps out there! Newer iPhone and Android devices even have health and fitness applications built right into them. I rarely use the built in “S Health” app on my Galaxy Note 4, but I have previously used the step counter to track my activity. Now that I have a Fitbit, I don’t need to use it as much. I also find the food journal confusing, and not as user friendly as MyFitnessPal. All the apps linked below are for Android, but they are all available in the iTunes store too!
- MyFitnessPal – This is my favorite food and activity tracker. There is a paid version but the free version has always worked for me. I am not currently using MyFitnessPal, since you don’t track calories or activity during the Whole 30. Back in 2012 I lost about 18 pounds after having my second child and I used MFP to track everything. When you have to keep track of everything that you eat, it makes you more mindful of what you are putting into your body. It can also help with mindless eating, or eating because you are bored.
- FitBit – This one is only free if you have a FitBit tracker, but it’s worth mentioning. I don’t like using the built-in step tracker on my phone, because I am not always carrying my phone! I have a FitBit flex (Black Friday at Wal-Mart, $79) and I am very happy with it overall.
- Couch25K– If you’d like to start running, but are completely lost, Couch25k is a great way to start. This app guides you from not running to being able to run a 5K in just 8 weeks! There are several C25k training apps, this link goes to one that I have used before.
- Blogilates – I love Blogilates videos, and you can connect to some of them through the Blogilates app. There are some features that are not included in the free version, but overall the free app is very helpful.
- PlantNanny – My husband makes fun of me for this one, but I love this app. You choose a plant and you “water” the plant whenever you drink water. You enter your information into the app and it comes up with a daily water intake goal for you. Of course, water intake needs will vary based on your day, but this app is pretty close. Once the plant is finished growing, you can put it in a garden and pick another one. I think it’s cute! You will also get alerts on your phone when your plant is thirsty (a reminder to drink water!)
- Instagram – No, Instagram is not a dedicated fitness app. However, you will probably be able to find a lot of support in the Instagram community. If you are a vegan, eating paleo, love yoga, a runner, or working on Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guides, there is a community on Instagram for you! Search hash tags, use them in your posts, and you will be amazed at the support that you will find for whatever journey you are on!
Have you used any of my favorite 6 best apps for fitness and weight loss? Are there any other apps that I should check out? Let me know in the comments!
15 Things I learned in the first 15 days of the Whole 30
- The first few days are the worst. They really are. Days 3-5 are a big mess. You’re going to want to give up, don’t. It gets better.
- You can only eat eggs so many ways. I have eaten scotch eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, egg drop soup, and a whole bunch of hard boiled eggs. I really do love eggs, but there are only so many ways to be creative with your eggs.
- Home-made mayo and ranch are GOOD! I love the home-made ranch and mayonnaise that I have learned to make. I plan to keep making them after the Whole 30 is over. You are using much healthier ingredients than traditional ranch, and the cost is about the same or less than purchasing the processed stuff.
- There is added sugar in everything. EVERYTHING!! Lunch meat, nut butters, dried fruit, chicken broth, it’s ridiculous.
- Meal planning is very important. I did much better at meal planning the first week. The second week I was throwing things together last minute. If I do the Whole 30 again, I will probably make a more detailed plan and also do some freezer meals. I am going to try to do better with meal planning for the rest of my Whole 30.
- It’s okay to drink black coffee. I never, ever, EVER thought I would say this. I love coffee creamer, I used “healthy-ish” coconut milk creamer, and I loved it. Two weeks in I am drinking my coffee either black or with a very small amount of compliant coconut milk. It really tastes fine. My husband is drinking his coffee black and he has gotten used to it too.
- You can find support out there, even if it isn’t at home. I am lucky enough that my husband is participating (mostly) in the Whole 30 with me. Even if your spouse/parents/kids/roommates are not participating, there is support out there. Check out the forums on Whole30.com or use the #whole30challenge hashtag on Instagram or Twitter. You can find support for your Whole 30 if you look for it!
- You will get to the point where nothing sounds appetizing. Somewhere around days 10-12 you will just get bored. Nothing sounds good. This seems to be completely normal and will pass soon. On day 12 I ate boiled eggs and almond butter, and drank green tea and water. Just eat whatever does sound good, and drink a lot of water. Your appetite will come back.
- Going out to eat is really hard. It’s possible to go out to eat on the Whole 30, but it’s difficult. If you are struggling with your Whole 30, I wouldn’t risk going out to eat. If you need to go out and you know there won’t be any compliant food, just eat beforehand. You can always have some tea, coffee, or water at the restaurant.
- Most people aren’t going to understand. This kind of ties into number 9. Most people won’t understand why you are doing a Whole 30. You can try to explain, but it may be a lost cause. Don’t listen to the people who aren’t supportive. If someone is telling you that it’s okay to eat something “just once” or that “you don’t need to be on a diet” then they really don’t understand what you are doing or why.
- You need to have emergency snacks prepared. You are supposed to eat three meals and limit snacks during the Whole 30. That being said, having a Whole 30 compliant snack is much better than quitting your Whole 30 because you are hungry. Make sure to keep boiled eggs, carrot sticks with compliant ranch, some nuts or fruit, or even compliant Lara Bars handy for emergency snacking purposes.
- You don’t have to eat “breakfast” food for breakfast. If leftover Paleo chili sounds good for breakfast, eat it! Typical “breakfast” foods are definitely not Whole 30 approved, and like I said in #2, you can only have eggs so many ways. If you start to get bored with Whole 30 compliant “breakfasts,” try to mix up what you are eating and eat something else in the morning.
- You’re going to learn new recipes that you love. I know that I have stumbled upon a few Whole 30 compliant recipes that are really good! I plan to make these recipes even after the Whole 30 is over. I made egg drop soup for the first time ever, and it is so easy and so good!
- Cauliflower rice is disgusting. Okay, so this is just a personal opinion. I kept seeing rave reviews on cauliflower “rice” on Pinterest, Whole 30 forums, and all over the Paleo world. I made some and it is so gross. No one ate it. We like spiralized veggie “noodles” but cauli-rice was just a big NO.
- It works, and it’s worth it. Sometime during the middle of the program you really that it really works. Maybe you feel better, or you are sleeping better. Maybe your skin has cleared up, or your clothes are feeling loose. I don’t know anyone who has done a Whole 30 that hasn’t seen benefits from it in some way or another.
So there you have it, that is 15 things I learned in the first 15 days of the Whole 30! If you have any tips or suggestions, or disagree with me on cauliflower rice, let me know in the comments!
What to do when you mess up the Whole 30
Why am I writing about this? Well, lucky day 13 didn’t go very well. Actually, it was a complete disaster. It wasn’t an accident, I made the decision to eat things that were definitely not within the program guidelines. I paid for it last night and this morning. It started with eating a few of the kids (gluten-free) crackers. After that, I had a few sips of red wine, and then we ended up going out to eat at a Japanese steak house. The only good thing is that I am very careful never to eat gluten, and I did not have any dairy either. However, I know that I had soy, sugar, alcohol, rice, and probably corn. It wasn’t a good day. I woke up around midnight feeling sick to my stomach, and it hasn’t improved much in the eight hours since.
So, what do you do when you mess up the Whole 30? The guidelines here are pretty clear. You start over. My plan of action is to continue the program for longer, something that I was thinking about doing anyway. When you talk about “starting over” it seems so negative. For me, thinking of it as extending the program just seems like a better idea. I realize that it’s exactly the same thing. When you extend it, you still have the same results and don’t feel like you have failed. Something that I ate is bothering me, a lot. I plan to do the slow reintroduction so that I can see exactly what it is. I suspect corn and soy, but doing the full reintroduction process should help me narrow it down for certain.
My plan of action for today is to drink a lot of water, and hopefully start feeling better at some point. I think that it’s important to get back on the program, and not give up. If you’re doing a Whole 30, comment below with which day you are on and how you are feeling!