Whole30 Two Weeks In

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Whole30 guys, it’s a thing. The hubs and I have been on the Whole30 plan for nearly two weeks now (12 days to be exact). Time for a little update!

We started the program as a means to reset our diet and build a stronger food foundation. We are a health conscious family with a taste for good food and good flavors so we were already eating pretty well. But I was battling a strong sugar addiction and Simeon wasn’t particularly feeling at his prime.

So we committed to the program. No sugar, dairy, grains, soy, corn, beans, legumes, or alcohol for 30 days. Ahem. Yeah.

And you know what? Here in Vermont during the abundant harvests of summer this is actually very, very easy to do-–and super delicious, too! There’s so much amazing produce available all the time that we’re fortunate to be in the very opposite of a food dessert. So, what’s it been like these past two-ish weeks, really?

Days 1-3: Yay, no cravings

I found the first few days to be unlike I expected. No cravings! Nope, no strong desire for toast, cheese, or muffin. Though it was a bit painful to see an unwrapped cut of Alpha Tolman cheese from award winning local cheesemaker, Jasper Hill, just sitting patiently in the crisper. Actually that was really, really painful. But as long as it was out of sight it was out of mind. (And then we got to happily share it at our son’s first birthday party; win-win).

Days 1-4: Cooking!

Besides a lack of cravings I also found myself diving into cooking. Simeon and I usually unevenly share dinner cooking duty, about 70/30. But these days, it’s been more like 60/40 in my direction –-or so it feels for this non-cook, Sim might disagree, he would know better. Nevertheless, I have really enjoyed meal planning and selecting what recipes from the Whole30 book we might try. And so far, so fun! This is a tremendous benefit for our family. Not only has the kitchen always intimidated me but being married to a professional chef hasn’t exactly helped. (He’s just so much better at it than me, what’s the point?, pouts my ego). But now, I feel like I’ve conquered the stove and am prepared to take on any recipe! Maybe not Julie-and-Julia style, but you know, basic dinner or breakfast. And for his part, Simeon, as much as he loves to cook, isn’t always keen to come home from a day in the kitchen to spend more time in the kitchen. So ya, we’re all pretty happy about this development, I think.

I think we’ve even found a few new dinner staples we’ll be adding to our regular rotation once the month is over so we aren’t automatically falling back on pasta as an easy go-to on nights we’re out of meal ideas. So far, this past week we’ve enjoyed stir fry, coconut curry, cauliflower rice with bolognese, green salads, eggs all which ways, green and fruit smoothies (and smoothie bowls like you see above!), steak and veggie salad with sunshine sauce, and more.

Days 5-7: Hm, that would be so good right now

Though the addictive cravings seemed to have disappeared, there were a few thoughts of how nice it would be to enjoy a crisp cold beer after a long day. Or how nice it would be to enjoy a cup of coffee with cream. Or how annoying it is that aaallll the hot dogs and aaallll the bacon include some form of added sugar (I think there is one or two brave brands out there that doesn’t but they aren’t sold at a store near us).

It’s just annoying to find added sugar in your mayonnaise, you know? What the hell, Hellmans?? At this point it felt like we should just throw up our hands and say, oh well. But we committed to the month, and so we carry on.

Days 8-10: Cleaner gut

By the evening of Day 8 and into Day 9 I suddenly felt ragged. My energy was at an all time low and I felt like I was recovering from major fatigue or illness. My stomach was constantly queasy and I could barely move without feeling like total crap. Which is probably exactly what was happening. I was getting rid of all the leftover crap! ‘Nuff said.

Days 10-12: Reaping some rewards

Woohoo! The other side of that fatigue and nausea was just as beautiful as I imagined! Let me count the ways… Of course, my energy is way higher, my mental acuity seems to be sharper i.e. words come to me faster and I have more mental stamina, the fine lines in my cheeks are less visible, my eyes are shinier, my gut is cleaner, and my clothes are the tiniest bit looser.

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I’m looking forward to how the next couple weeks will go and curious if the cravings will reap their ugly heads one more time or if we’re slowly killing them off without noticing.

I did have dreams about food last night, which was something the authors of the Whole30 program said would happen. How weird is that? We humans are a funny animal.

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And if you’re curious and would like to more about the whys and hows of the Whole30 program (or just want to know exactly what we’ve gotten ourselves into) more information can be found at http://www.whole30.com.

 

 

Outstanding in the Field

photo 5-11A couple weekends ago, Simeon and I were lucky to score four tickets to Outstanding in the Field. Along with our friends, we were treated to a most incredible dining experience–one that I won’t soon forget.

photo 3-17We arrived and mingled with other guests, enjoying the cocktail of the night, local beer, and delicious appetizers. A reporter from Heritage Radio approached our little group to interview us and Simeon and I got to plug our new venture, Folklore Catering.  After introductions made by the Outstanding founder and the Shaker Village head farmer we were guided on a tour of their gorgeous farm. It could not have been a more perfect day to explore the grounds.

photo 1-19Simeon made a friend!

Back at the famously long table set out amongst the vegetables, we sat down to dine. Food came out in abundance. Four courses later, we couldn’t have been more satisfied.

photo 3-18Summer salad – my favorite of the night.

photo 2-17Half of the table, with the Shaker’s famous round barn serving as a most elegant backdrop.
photo 2-18Our happy dinner companions. This is what a fantastic meal does to people!

photo 4-13Chef Brian Alberg, of the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, really outdid himself. We stayed long after dusk had settled until our bodies shivered in the cold and we couldn’t possibly stuff one more bite into our mouths. It was epic. Thanks for everything, Outstanding! You really are.

Green Juice

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I came to green juices by way of green smoothies about 5 years ago. I first started making green smoothies (way back when) while researching the raw food diet. Eating only raw didn’t work for me, but the green smoothies certainly did.  Blended greens gave me the energy to move mountains and made my cells come alive in ways I’d never felt before. The high was unlike a caffeine jolt or an alcohol buzz; it felt so much better.

Flash forward to 2012 and after working a regular job with a regular paycheck for a few months I had finally socked away enough to splurge on a Breville juicer. Best. Decision. Ever.

Since then, green juices have become a regular thing – morning, noon or night. And I can say with certainty that whenever I drink my greens, I become a better version of me. Happier, braver… more aware, more patient… less lethargic, less grouchy… I could go on.

Green juice has become quit the trendy food these days too – and I think the world is better for it! If you haven’t caught the green bug yet or aren’t ready to jump for a juicer of your own – fret not, friends. There are so many wonderful companies cropping up to take care of your juicing needs. With wonderful flavors full of fresh deliciousness, you won’t go thirsty.

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So, what’s an average juice for me? I tend to stick to the green stuff though magical elixirs can be made with nearly any mix of fruit and veggies. Usually, my recipe comes from whatever is in my crisper and on the counter and I play off a few favorite must-haves. Here’s what I drank for today’s afternoon pick-me-up.

The Garden Green Juice

Spinach, 1 large handful

Dark leafy greens, 3-4 leaves, these happen to be mustard greens

Carrot, 1 large

Celery, 2 stalks

Apple, 1 small-medium

Lemon, 1 wedge (without the peel)

Ginger, 1/2 inch

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In it goes!

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And out comes… well, it’s an interesting green color because of the carrot 🙂 but the carrot also adds an extra layer of sweetness. The spice of the ginger and the mustard greens adds some flair and the lemon gives it a citrus kick. SO YUM.

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This recipes makes about 10 oz. I sometimes put the pulp back through with a little water and come out with 2 extra oz.  Perfect for a snack or early breakfast. Cheers to our health.

Lately

Lately it’s been early mornings and early bedtimes. In my new incarnation as a bread baker I rise pre-dawn, heave on heavy layers of wool and down and walk the 6 minutes from my house to the brand new bakery on the main street of town. The head bakers and I shrug off our coats and we are immediately to work. The huge bags of flour are lugged from the walk-in where they’ve been cooling to the prep table; scales, shovels, pans are at the ready.

Taking a quick glance at the first recipe, I double check my counts. Soon I’ll have memorized how many ounces of salt to how many pounds of bread flour but for now I check.

Yeast and water are added to flour then set aside. The yeast, still alive, has work to do. Our invisible employee.

Dry prepared, wet mixed, then baked, cooled, and finally, eaten. It’s such a simple act this bread baking. And yet…I’m finding myself reverent of it’s long history as humanity’s constant companion. One of the bakery’s best selling breads is the pain a l’ancienne which means bread of the ancients. So apropo. What is more a part of history than bread? 

When we break bread together we are doing more than eating food. We are communing, with one another, with the source of our ingredients, with ourselves at the nourishment we are receiving. It is an essential act, to eat. But with attention it becomes an act of connecting to the world and our place in it.

It’s a lot of ask of a loaf.

Friendsgiving

Over the weekend I attended (what I shall deem) the first annual Friendsgiving of a sweet (also renegade, uproarious, gorgeous) group of freinds from the Berkshires. Everyone brought something yummy to share, the wine was flowing, and the laughter was contagious. Even some non-human family members were in attendance. Im so grateful this year so many profound moments, small moments, blessings, lessons and more. But especially, for the community of people I have come to know and love in this little corner of the world.

Thanks again for being the hostess with the most-ess Becca 😉

Dinner theater?

Getting our greens on!

“Now where did I put that dog?”

It took many hands to make this a memorable meal…

Sideshow antics

Full house

So much deliciousness right there.

Hi, George!!

Cheers!

xo

Natanya

I voted!

Did you??

Last night I was so filled with anxiety about today’s election that I pulled out my trusty Green Market Baking Book and picked a delicious and (nearly) sugar-free recipe to calm my nerves. This book is a great choice for anyone interested in naturally sweet treats and it also showcases some really great sweet vegan options as well.

Green Market Baking Book

With soothing on the brain I chose the scrumptious sounding Honey-Chocolate torte. I had the graham cracker crumbs (leftover from another baking project) and butter for the crust, so all I had to get was chocolate for the filling. In order to make it a little more healthy I substituted ghee for some of the butter. Ghee is my new favorite–on anything. Broccoli? Ghee. Toast? Ghee. Desserts? Ghee. Delicious and in Ayurvedic terms, totally good for you. Plus the caramel flavor is absolutely divine. Win win!

Speaking of winning… now with voting done I’m going to eat and wait. Luckily my friend Monica invited us over for a results viewing party at her place so I’ll be bringing my sweet chocolate torte to share and won’t have to eat it all myself.

Go Obama go!

Love,

Natanya

Only once. Only today.

Fresh pies cooling in the window at Chile Pies in San Francisco, CA. Photo by Natanya Green

That’s all it takes. I only have to choose not to eat sugar once.

And then, (and this is the part most of us forget, screw up, give up on, etc) make the same choice again tomorrow. And every day thereafter…

Yesterday at Kripalu one of our top nutritionists gave a lecture about the dangers of sugar and the problems associated with our cultural addiction to the stuff. It inspired me to seriously consider a sugar detox and when my good friend Alex mentioned she was going to start her own sugar cleanse I jumped at the chance to join her. But the excitement faded when my mind raced ahead to the future; a future where I felt totally deprived of everything I craved. In the moment just before this thought everything had been fine, but in my future vision–the one without my regular sugar intake–I was a mess!

So, I did what any other well meaning addict would do. I ate a cupcake for dinner.

I ate it not because I wanted it now, but because I was afraid of what would happen when I didn’t get to have tomorrow. The problem with all of this is that living in the future isn’t getting me where I really want to go – it may be that I’m “protecting” myself from the ugly feeling of deprivation but the health I seek is being lost in the process. What I need to is be present with what’s happening now. And now there is only one decision to make: Do I eat the sugar stuff or not?

That one question (and it is only one question) is  much easier to answer one day at a time. I know alternatives are available (for instance I followed up my cupcake dinner with fresh fruit for dessert), I have friends to talk to about the process and keep me motivated and I have tools to help reduce the feelings the sugar most certainly masks.

Only once. Only today.My new mantra.

Whose with me?! Anyone else want to join the sugar-free revolution? You might be interested in these articles about sugar, weight loss, aging, and money!

Dr. Mark Hyman on your sugar addiction

Sugar makes you older quicker

Denmark’s sugar tax

Here’s to a sweet [sugar-free] week!

xo,

Natanya