Move It Monday – At-Home Yoga

In an ideal world, I would get to the gym, to my barre studio, or out for a run every day. I crave movement and feel my best when I get in some form of exercise on the daily.

But, life and work and motherhood happen – and sometimes my only option for movement is to do an at-home workout. And sometimes, my only window for exercise is in the wee hours of the early morning.

I live in a second-floor condo and while I may want to do a workout with lots of cardio and jumping, I try to be a courteous neighbor. Enter at-home yoga! I can move and stretch and sweat – all without disturbing those below me or my sleeping daughter!

For the past five years, I have been a devotee of Jillian Michaels workouts and one of my very favorites is her Yoga Meltdown DVD. This DVD has two workouts – Level 1 and Level 2. While some of the moves are more challenging on Level 2 (crow and wheel), I find Level 1 to be a harder overall workout.

Each workout is about 30 minutes and includes a warm-up and a cooldown. As you flow through poses, Jillian has you “rep them out” (do repetitions of movement in each pose) to get in some cardio in addition to the strength work of yoga.

I use a yoga mat but it’s not necessary to have one as you can do the workouts on any hard surface. No other equipment is needed!

I do these workouts often. So often, that I have pretty much the entire DVD memorized! But I love them! They get the job done when I am short on time and need to be relatively quiet while I exercise.

I also have Jillian’s Yoga Inferno DVD which I don’t do as often (but writing this post is reminding me to get back to this DVD!) The two 30-minute power yoga workouts – which Jillian and her crew do in some sort of desert, wearing sunglasses – are more fast paced than Yoga Meltdown.

The first workout uses body weight along with 30-second cardio intervals. The second workout incorporates light hand weights, “combining traditional resistance moves with classic yoga poses for a dynamic, flowing, and challenging practice.”

These workouts involve some jumping and high-intensity cardio moves so they will definitely have you sweating. But, they’re quick and before you know it, they’re over!

Looking for yoga that’re more portable? Since becoming a Whole30 Certified Coach, I have been introduced to TMAC Fitness, an online workout portal created by former college football player and ACE Certified Personal Trainer Todd McCullough.

For $14.95 a month, TMAC offers a library of 20-minute workouts (Cardio, HITT, Beginner) that you can do anywhere, anytime with no equipment. Recently, he added a handful of yoga workouts and I recently did one (via my laptop) while on vacation.

The workout I did was a 24-minute “Morning Flow” with Belden. It is labeled as “Moderate” in intensity and I found it totally doable. I didn’t sweat like I do during my Jillian yoga workouts but it was a great stretch and an awesome way to move my body without having to get to a yoga studio.

TMAC Fitness offers new subscribers a chance to try a month free – Use code WHOLE30 at checkout! There are no strings – you can cancel if you don’t want to subscribe past the month. We are not an affiliate here, just sharing the love of movement!

Another option for yoga-on-the-go is Yoga with Adriene, who has tons of free yoga workouts on her YouTube channel. I have not tried these workouts yet but they come highly recommended from my friend, fellow Whole30 Certified Coach, and yogi Dolly Sengsavang.

You can tee up these videos on your laptop, tablet, or phone – and get in some yoga wherever you are!

Do you practice yoga? Do you have a favorite at-home yoga workout or DVD?

Whole30 Style Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict – Serves one
2 sweet potato waffles, recipe below
2 ounces of Trader Joes Wild Sockeye Smoked Salmon
2 poached eggs
2 Tbsp of Hollandaise Sauce, recipe below

Lay out two sweet potato waffles, side by side, on your plate. Lay about 1 ounce of smoked salmon on each waffle. Top with a poached egg. Spoon a tablespoon (or more!) of Hollandaise sauce over the poached egg and enjoy!

Note: My sweet husband does not eat Whole 30 with me. But when he came out in the kitchen after I made these Eggs Benedict he said, “What? You made something this fancy and you didn’t make it for ME?” hmmmm…. maybe he should begin eating Whole 30 with me!

Sweet Potato Waffles – makes 6 waffles
1 medium sweet potato
2 eggs
Olive Oil for waffle iron

Peel your sweet potatoes. Grate them into a bowl. I use my KitchenAid with the grater attachment. My sweet potato ended up being about 4 cups once it was grated so I added 2 eggs. I usually add one egg per 2 cups of grated sweet potatoes. Heat the waffle iron. Spray with compliant oil. I used Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil non-stick cooking spray.

Fill a ½ cup measuring cup with sweet potato mixture. Somewhat pack it. Turn it upside down on the waffle iron. I found that it works better if I keep it in a lump and don’t spread it around. My waffle iron tells me when it’s done. So once the beep sounds, I lift off the waffle with a fork.

Hollandaise Sauce
3 egg yolks
½ lemon
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
½ cup homemade ghee, recipe below

Put the egg yolks into a pint wide mouth mason jar. Squeeze the ½ of lemon into the jar. Shake a bit of salt and pepper into the jar. Heat up ½ cup homemade ghee until it barely starts simmering. With an immersion blender running in the egg yolk mixture, slowly drizzle the hot ghee into it and blend until all is fully incorporated. Your sauce should be nice and thick and creamy. I found it was easier to heat the ghee up in the microwave in a glass liquid measuring cup so I could drizzle it in more easily with the lip on the glass measuring cup.

Ghee
I place 2 cups of Kerrygold butter into a sauce pan. Heat it up until it begins to boil. Turn it down low and simmer on the stove until the milk solids drop to the bottom of the pan and begin to turn brown. Maybe 10 minutes. I like it JUST when it starts to change color. Strain the milk solids out with a metal strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth. I store it in my cupboard in an empty store-bought glass ghee container.

Poached Egg
In a small sauce pan, heat water up to a simmer. Add a tsp of vinegar and gently swirl the water in a circle. Break your eggs into a glass custard cup and gently place them in the very center of the swirl of water. The vinegar and the swirling water help keep the eggs together so the eggs don’t spread out in the water. Barely simmer, don’t boil, the eggs for 3-4 minutes. Some people like to turn off the heat once you put your eggs in, put on the lid, and let it sit for 5 minutes. I haven’t done that method.

Vacation 2019 Food Freedom

Earlier this year, I completed my ninth (?) round of Whole30 – a Whole62. It helped me get back to feeling great after a holiday season filled with some sugar, alcohol, and miscellaneous treats. Coming off of the round, I transitioned into a Slow Roll reintroduction, really being mindful in my decisions to eat things that could potentially – to quote Melissa – “mess me up.”

I added back a little sugar (in sauces or commercially-made mayonnaise) and one day, tried a handful of chocolate chips melted on a banana. The chocolate was just so-so and didn’t really feel worth it in the end as my stomach felt a little off and my head felt cloudy the next morning. I also had some Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi, which have compliant ingredients but are not Whole30 due to the SWYPO factor, and I could really take them or leave them.

My reintroduction purposely did NOT include alcohol. I’ve decided that for now (whatever that means), alcohol is not something I need. I much prefer coffee and I look forward to my quiet early mornings when I work and write with a cup of coffee by my side. Alcohol sometimes would get in the way of those early mornings, and right now, isn’t worth it for me.

Fast forward a few weeks: It was time for my annual vacation to Charleston. For the past four years, my daughter and I have gone to this incredible city to visit my parents, who spend the month of March in downtown Charleston.

I was ready to flex my Food Freedom muscles and here’s how I handled my vacation…

Note: My parents rent a house and I have access to a full kitchen. I also have incredibly supportive parents, which is not lost on me.

  • Before my trip, I ordered some of my favorite Whole30 staples from Thrive Market and had them shipped to my parents’ rental house. I made sure I had The New Primal Mustard BBQ sauce, Primal Kitchen ketchup, Fourth & Heart ghee, Thrive Market almond flour, Primal Palate Meat & Potatoes seasoning, and more. This was a game changer and meant I had some basics on hand when I arrived.

  • In my suitcase, I packed a few other favorites including Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning blend, nutpods, raw cashews, travel packs of collagen peptides, Trader Joe’s Mixed Nut Butter, and Chomps. I also gave my mom a shopping list of a few things to buy, including GT’s kombucha, LaCroix, Whole30 compliant bacon (She picked up Applegate Turkey Bacon), sweet potatoes, eggs, avocado, mixed greens, and ground beef.

  • In the airport on the way to Charleston, our flight was a little delayed so my daughter and I got lunch. I got a burger salad from local chain Wahlburgers and asked them to hold the cheese. I did enjoy the homemade pickles and special sauce, both of which I am sure included sugar. I didn’t stress and enjoyed.

  • The first night in Charleston, I made four beef patties for myself and had one for dinner on a big pile of greens with roasted veggies, avocado, Primal Kitchen ketchup, and The New Primal Mustard BBQ. We also made some roasted vegetables and two batches of my favorite crispy veggies (based on this recipe from Low Carb Yum, using nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese.) I ate the rest of the burgers during our stay, rotating with eggs and bacon for breakfasts/lunches. I added veggies to each meal and fresh fruit/nut butter when I needed it.

  • We had one dinner out (my daughter is in an anti-restaurant stage) and I ordered grilled salmon, grilled asparagus and French Fries! They were delish and oh so worth it! I brought my own ketchup and Mustard BBQ sauce and it was nice to have a night off from cooking!

  • One day, I ate one lunch at The New Primal’s HQ during my visit there – blog post on that coming soon! The meal was amazing and made by Whole30 Approved Chef Valerie Skinner of Thyme & Joy. Everything was Whole30 compliant except for the plantain chips – which I enjoy in my Food Freedom without any consequence. Speaking of chips, I also had some Terra sweet potato chips from the plane – just potatoes and oil. These work in my Food Freedom – I can eat, enjoy and move on!

  • The last night we ordered dinner in and I got an ahi tuna salad – hold the wonton chips. The salad had oranges, greens, and cashews. I used a little bit of the dressing and the wasabi sauce that came with it – and called it a day.

  • During the week, we celebrated my mom’s birthday with cake and ice cream. Having store bought cake and ice cream didn’t seem particularly worth it to me because I know sugar makes me feel sick, cranky, and tired – so I passed and sipped some kombucha while my parents and daughter enjoyed.

  • My parents have a nightly glass of red wine. In the past, I would have wine with them some days but this year, it was easy to say no. I had my LaCroix and I was a happy camper!

  • I am an avid exerciser and I know I need my movement to feel focused, strong, and happy. I made sure to move each day and have some time for myself. Three of the mornings I went for a run (and threw in some push-ups and burpees for good measure) and our final morning there, I did a TMAC Fitness yoga workout on my laptop.

  • Lastly, the biggest gift to myself on this trip was SLEEP. I slept more than I have in a long time – and boy, did it feel good! I went to bed early – there were no school lunches to pack or things to do after my daughter went to bed. It was nice to take a little break from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind and I made sure to make sleep a priority.

As I wrote last year in a similar post, this was not a gourmet vacation focused on the incredible food scene of Charleston. It was a chance to rest and recharge for a few days – and despite a few 5-year-old tantrums, it served its purpose. Did it take a little extra work? Of course. But most things that are worth it, do!

In this season of my life, this is my vacation Food Freedom. Will it change and shift in the future? Of course. If this had been a girls’ weekend or a trip for work, things might have been different. For now, I used the tools I’ve learned from my multiple rounds of Whole30 and my past experience with Food Freedom to create a plan that worked for me.

And what did I do at the airport while waiting for our flight home? Meal plan, of course! Onward to a new week at home, filled with a renewed spirit and another notch in my Food Freedom belt.

How do you handle vacations on Whole30 or in your Food Freedom? Do you have strategies to help you enjoy while still feeling your best?

Organizing Your Whole30 Kitchen

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Who’s watched Marie Kondo on Netflix? You? If you haven’t, this tiny powerhouse shows you how to organize your whole home using her KonMari method. I’m a big fan and binged watched the series within a few days–it was worth the late nights. I’ve been purging my house of things that no longer spark joy ever since I watched it. Before, I even finished the series, I ordered her ‘The life-changing magic of tidying up’ book (it’s a must read!).

I’ve been stuck in a bit of a food rut lately where nothing seems to inspire me. Seeing that I’m in the kitchen A LOT cooking, I decided to reorganize my whole kitchen. Tackling my food rut from this angle (how I USE my kitchen) has put the spark back in my cooking. Last year, we replaced our counter tops and built up our back kitchen wall with cabinets and a pantry. I rearranged my kitchen then but looking back, it was nowhere near enough.

With my newly acquired organizational skills, I took a look at my kitchen a month of so ago and, holy cow, I had a lot of stuff. SO. MUCH. STUFF. Does anyone need four olive dishes with a cute little place on the side to put your toothpicks in? I had four. Three spatulas around the same size. Close to 30 mugs? Why? And, why did I own three French Presses, an iced coffee maker, AND a coffee maker? I don’t drink that much coffee!

SCAN YOUR CUPBOARDS/CABINETS

My rapidly decreasing cabinet space could be purged. I found my local Buy Nothing facebook page and offered my three French presses. They were scooped up by a neighbour pretty quickly and I didn’t have to do anything more than set it out on my front porch for them to pick up. I looked at everything. Extra wine glasses, extra mugs, pots and pans that were in my cupboard that I never used, extra tongs that I never used, little gadgets that I bought thinking that I’d used, and you guessed it, never used.

Just opening my cupboards up and taking a hard look at whether or not I needed it, was eye opening. I was storing a lot of stuff. I set out to get rid of it by either donating them, gifting them, or throwing them out. I have some empty cabinet space now…and I still have work to do!

Step two was to get some efficient storage. I got a couple of pull out shelves here. I have some deep cabinets that I’d have to get down and dig through to get a mixing bowl. It’s such a pain in the butt getting things so I found some pull out shelves that have been life changing–I love them! And, I loved that they were super easy to install! These two shelves are perfectly aligned and you’d never know they didn’t come with the new cupboards.

My frying pan storage was a royal pain in the butt. They were all stacked on top of one another and my husband would, and this is annoying, put them in the cabinet when they were not quite dry. I NEEDED a cookware organizer. For the sake of my sanity, I NEEDED this! The pull out shelves and cookware organizers are both from the same company, which I wanted so it would have the same look/feel to it. You can get the pull out cookware organizer here.

SPICES

After I got rid of everything extra and installed the pull outs, I needed to do something quick and easy that felt like a win. All this decluttering and purging is tiring! Reorganizing my spices and seasonings did the trick. I got it done in no time–I got rid of the duplicate spices, the way out of date spices, and almost empty bottles. It’s so great to cook when you can just open a door and grab something! You can see in the first picture how easy everything is to grab. With a couple of spice organizers, found here, I can keep everything nice and neat. Definitely key when you’re cooking as much as you do on Whole30.

FOOD

How does your fridge look right now? Tidy or a holy mess? I won’t lie, mine is always a work in progress. I cleaned it today after it had turned into a bit of a leftover/science experiment. The week got away from me and it had become untidy. I gave it a good clean today and refilled the plastic storage bins I have in the fridge with snacks for the kids and my Whole30 stuff. I’ve found keeping some of my stuff separate in storage bins helps me have what I need on hand and I don’t have to dig around the back of the fridge–just pull out the bin et voila, my stuff is all there!

I also have a shelf dedicated to my Whole30 stuff. Non-compliant stuff doesn’t touch that drawer! My husband has never done a round with me but knows he can grab anything from that shelf and it’s okay to cook with when he’s making a Whole30 meal. Whole30 meals are so easy to cook and I love that he’s willing to grab some almond flour instead of regular flour when cooking for us.

UNCLUTTER YOUR DRAWERS

This was the last thing I wanted to do yet it was once of the most useful things I did. I put it off until I did most of the kitchen. My utensil drawers didn’t need much work but I had a drawer full of all my odds and ends cooking stuff that was just thrown in (I moved the knives there!). Turns out I didn’t need three sets of measuring spoons after all! Everything that I use often is in there–you wouldn’t believe how much use I get out of my citrus squeezer! It’s one of my must have kitchen items!

So, this is how I’ve organized my kitchen so far. It’s a work in progress but, right now, it feels efficient and fun to cook in. I like fun! I feel all chef-like when I have everything at hand and things are organized. It’s also super easy to clean, which is a big plus! Even today, I got rid of a two paper shopping bags of stuff and am continuing to declutter. IT FEELS GREAT!

What are your tips to keeping your kitchen clean?

Move It Monday – A Week in the Life of an Avid Exerciser

My fitness journey began in 1995, when I was 18 years old. I came home from my freshman year of college with an extra 15 pounds and knew I needed to do something about it.

These were the low-fat days LONG before Whole30 so I cleaned up my diet as best as I could per the times (and yes, that included a lot of diet soda – ugh!) and began a regular exercise routine.

I started with power walking, which eventually turned into jogging and then, running. And then eventually yoga, barre, strength training, and so much more!

Fast forward 24 years, 10 marathons, 24 half marathons, a million yoga and barre classes, one stint as a personal trainer and one child later, and here I am at 42 years old! While I no longer run marathons or take regular 90-minute hot yoga classes (I wish I had that kind of time!), movement and almost daily exercise remain a foundation of my life.

To me, moving my body is one of my top four priorities, along with caring for my daughter, prepping healthy food, and focusing on my job. Although I am a busy, working mom with a long commute, I make time to move. It’s not always easy – and sometimes means I work out when I’m not in the mood – but I get it done.

How do I do it? I belong to a gym that’s across the street from my office, which is expensive but worth it for me. At the start of each week, I look at my schedule and plug in workouts like appointments on my calendar. We all know that life happens so sometimes things don’t go as planned but I try to stick with it as closely as possible.

The other key to my success as a regular exerciser is that I get up VERY early. Like 4:30/5 am early – Sometimes I use these hours to move via a DVD at home. Other times I use the early morning to get work and blog stuff done so I have time to get my workout in later in the day. I make every moment count!

Here’s a look back at my movement from last week and a little bit about how I made it happen. On the days I go into work, I walk about 3 miles in my commute and take the stairs up and down to my desk on the 8th floor. If there’s a way to move my body, I will always take it!

Sunday: My daughter was with her dad but nonetheless, I was up at 5 am to meal prep and then worked on decluttering and reorganizing my house from 7-10 am. Before I picked her up, I went to a “Define and Align,” a combo heated yoga and barre class at my local barre studio. Workout done, and then I was back in mom mode!

Monday: We were whacked with a snow storm Sunday night so I didn’t get into work on Monday and missed my usual Body Pump class at the gym. I had all intentions of getting in at-home yoga workout but between getting my work done, caring for my daughter, shoveling, and taking her out sledding with some neighbors, I was spent. I decided that the time I spent out in the snow was my movement for the day and I collapsed into bed at 7:30 pm.

Tuesday: Back to the office today! I went to a lunchtime “Press” class with a colleague. It’s a 45-minute class that builds strength and utilizes a variety of equipment to sculpt all major muscle groups. There’s nothing like feeling strong in the middle of the work day! After the workout, it’s back up the 8 flights of stairs to my desk, where I eat my lunch.

Wednesday: Although I stayed up late on Tuesday night catching up on “The Bachelor,” I got myself to a 6 am barre class at my local studio. It was hard – and just what I needed and wanted to start my day!

Thursday: I was SUPER cranky at work today – so much so, that I almost talked myself out of moving. My colleagues (who know me well!) gave me a little pep talk and I rallied for the gym. I was too late for the Tabata class I was going to take so I did some old school cardio instead – 3.1 miles total, 2.6 miles of running on the treadmill and 0.5 miles on the elliptical. Done and done!

Friday: I exhale a little each Friday because I work from home and I save so much time without my commute. Today, I hit up an express lunchtime barre class at my local barre studio! Onward to the weekend…

Saturday: Saturday was busy for us with Hebrew School for my daughter, chores, errands, and a playdate. I knew that if I didn’t get it in early, my movement wouldn’t get done. I got up and got in a 30-minute Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown workout before my daughter woke up. I’ve had this DVD for five years and I love it. It has two workouts on it and I alternate between them. I get a good sweat and stretch every time and I feel good for the rest of the day when my movement is done!

Sunday: I had all intentions of making a 5:15 pm Community Hot Barre class at my studio (a class with a new instructor that only costs $5 cash!) But, the schedule changed with my daughter and she didn’t go to dinner with her dad as planned.

I did not get up super early for my workout because we turned the clocks ahead (so my usual 5 am would feel like 4 am to me!) and I was up twice in the night with my daughter. It’s also snowing so there will be shoveling in my future today. Tired mama over here!

Mid-morning I decided to get it done and I set my daughter up with a show while I did a workout from Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred DVD. Not my first choice today but I got my movement in and honored my commitment to myself.

How will you move this week? Do you schedule it on your calendar? How do you keep yourself accountable?

Whole30 Crazy Dreams

You’re almost halfway through your Whole30 and you’ve just woken up from one of those crazy Whole30 dreams. Was it real? Did I really eat that chocolate cake…all of it, with a mountain of whipped cream on it? Yep, those crazy dreams can feel SO REAL and we hear about it all the time. We’ve collected some of them for you (we don’t want you to feel alone if you’re dreaming too!).


“I dreamt I ate a bottle of pink cake sprinkles. Not the little bottles you find in the grocery aisles but the 2 pound bottles I had access to as a cake decorator. I ate it all. I was so devastated when i woke up. Feel free to use my whole name”. – Julie Allen (full name!)

“Not exactly on topic but I dreamed I DIDN’T ruin it because my husband was putting mustard on chocolate, so that was gross and not one bit tempting.” – Kat I.

“I had a dream that I was eating a chocolate chip cookie and after eating about half of it decided to look at the ingredient list and was shocked to find that my chocolate chip cookie had sugar and flour and non-compliant ingredients in it. I woke up feeling so sad until I remembered it was a dream.” – Larissa F.

“I kept dreaming that I ruined it by eating chips and salsa. The third time, I realized it was a dream, and didn’t freak out. I woke up, heard a crinkle in the bed next to me, rolled over… and there was a bag of chips! OMG! How did they even get in my house? Did I sleepwalk to get them? How did I get downstairs? Then I REALLY woke up. Inception, Whole 30 style!” – Kristen Y.

“I have been on a round since last Friday and have had a recurring dream about going out for Chinese food and eating a whole order of crab Rangoon’s and having to call Kelsey M. to tell her I had to restart my round.” – Annya M.

“I dreamt I was at a party and accidentally ate something that wasn’t compliant and started spitting it out in the sink. Everyone was staring at me, I was trying explain to them it wasn’t compliant.” – Amanda G.

“In my dream, my in-laws invited us over for a Whole30 dinner. My MIL served us a lovely salad with a hamburger in a lettuce wrap. I took a huge bite of the burger only to find she’d stuffed it with cheese. CHEESE.When I was like “WTF?”, she shrugged and said “Oh, it’s only a little dairy!” I woke up so angry at my poor, innocent mother-in-law!” – Jennifer N.

“I dreamt about being a hawk.” – Kelly L. (A compliant hawk, I wonder! – Jenny)

“I dreamed I ate apple pancakes with syrup and scrambled eggs with cheese for breakfast. Then was so mad at myself for blowing it! I was so relieved when I woke up!” – Pamela B.

“Eating a mouthful of Cap’n Crunch cereal and spitting it out horrified that I slipped up and ate a pancake and woke up completely beside myself thinking I had ruined it.” – Kelly L.

“I dreamed my friend handed me a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch with milk and whip cream on top and I ate it. And then thought, OMG, I’m doing Whole30, I can’t eat this! And woke up. This was my first night of my first round.” – Morgan S.

“I dreamt I was eating cupcake after cupcake, all while thinking ‘damn it now I have to start over, might as well have another!’ And just inhaling them. Then I woke up.” – Megan S.

“In my dream, I took a bite of a chocolate covered maraschino cherry (which I don’t like at all) and woke up very upset that I broke my Whole30 round with something that was SO not worth it! Also, I dreamed I took a bite of a moldy, crusty slice of white bread.” – Rebecca S.

“I had a dream where I was eating a bagel I found under the seat of my car. I didn’t know how old it was…just that is was a bagel from “Bagel World.” If you are from my area, you know how good those are. I was driving down the road, sneaking it in before I picked my daughter up from school. Then I realized, “wait! I can’t have bagels!!! I was on day 10! Now I have to start over!” It was so vivid!!! Reminded me of the sneaking cigarette dream when I quit!” – Phyllis S.

“I dreamed there was a zombie apocalypse and I was freaking out…because of my lack of access to compliant foods…” – Cathy T.

“Last night, I had a dream I ruined by Whole30 by having a protein shake. A PROTEIN SHAKE OF ALL THINGS! I don’t even like them!” – Jen S.

and, last but not least….

“I had a dream the other night that the new leather boots I was wearing were not Whole30 compliant and I had to start over again. Day 15. It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine.” – Kate B.

What was your craziest Whole30 dream? Leave us a comment.

Spinach, Mushroom & Onion Meatloaf

This is an easy and flavorful meatloaf recipe that is comfort food at its finest. It’s so tasty – There’s no need to add gravy or douse with ketchup or other sauces. And the best part is – You get two meals for the effort of one! Make one today and freeze one for later!

Spinach, Mushroom & Onion Meatloaf
(Makes approximately two 1-lb. loaves or one 2-lb. loaf.)

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs. ground meat (I use 1 lb. ground chuck and 1 lb. ground pork)
10 ounces frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/3 c. onion, finely diced
1 c. mushrooms, finely diced
2/3 c. carrots, shredded
2 jumbo eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c. almond flour (see notes)
1-2 T. house seasoning (see below)

DIRECTIONS:
Thaw spinach and squeeze out excess water. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients well. Take care to not overwork mix.

Freezer Instructions:
You can make one 2-lb. loaf or two 1-lb. loaves. I like to prep two loaves to freeze. For this, place plastic wrap in two 1-qt. baking pans/casserole dishes and divide the mixture evenly. Place the loaves in the freezer and freeze for 1 to 2 hours. Remove from freezer and remove from pans. Wrap in aluminum foil, freezer wrap, or place in freezer bags. Label and return to freezer. To prepare, remove one meatloaf from freezer and allow to thaw in refrigerator.

To Bake:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake 40 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes.

NOTES: I make my own almond flour by processing whole almonds in the food processor until it resembles slightly coarse flour.

You can also use ground chicken or ground turkey in this recipe. Adjust cook time for leaner meats. This meat mixture also makes tasty meatballs.

You can use an all-purpose seasoning blend of your choice but I highly recommend my flavorful blend.

**Kelly’s House Seasoning**

4 t. sea salt
1 t. black pepper
1/2 t. onion powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. rosemary
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. paprika
1/8 t. cayenne
1/2 t. dill
1 t. parsley

Combine all ingredients together and store in airtight container. Stir before using as settling occurs.

This seasoning is so good on everything! Beef, pork, chicken, seafood, veggies! Make it rain!

Quick Weekend Meal Prep – Whole60 Edition

I am on the final days of my Whole60 (!!) and wanted to keep my meal prep game SIMPLE this weekend. I didn’t want to dedicate a big chunk of time to getting set for the week ahead so I chose easy ideas and spread out my prep into little pockets of work.

Here’s how I broke down my weekend to fit in meal prep — without spending hours in the kitchen!

I got a head start to the weekend by making sure I did my laundry and changed my sheets on Friday/Saturday morning so I could cross that off my to-do list. When I get these chores done, my mind is clearer and able to focus on the food prep part of my weekend.

On Saturday morning, I sat down and made a rough meal plan and shopping list and took out a pack of Thrive Market ground beef from the freezer to defrost.

On Saturday afternoon, I made sure to hit the supermarket (with my 5-year-old in tow) even though we were tired after a morning playdate. It’s not always easy to get up and go but we did it, and it wasn’t all that bad!

When we got home from the supermarket, I asked her to help me in the kitchen, and she obliged! Together, we made a batch of Whole30 mayo and she helped me cut a potato for a sheet pan chicken sausage dinner. I added Coleman’s Natural apple chicken sausage, diced potatoes, onion, broccoli, light olive oil and Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel spice. That cooked while I gave her a bath. One meal done!

Sunday morning, I got up at my normal 5 am time while she slept in! Since I knew I was going to have a chance to hit up a workout class in the evening, I used my early morning hours to do some quick prep. I made a batch of 40 Aprons Egg Roll in a Bowl and also spiced up the mayo I made on Saturday with some Frank’s Red Hot and salt to make it like the creamy chili sauce in the recipe.

I also turned my pack of ground beef into meatballs. I mixed the beef with chopped garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, parsley, Italian seasoning blend, salt and pepper, nutritional yeast, and an egg. I popped those into the oven and while they baked, I sautéed some sweet potato noodles I bought yesterday in avocado oil with salt and pepper. I have a jar of Whole30 Approved Cucina Antica sauce I will use with the meatballs and veggie noodles. Easy peasy!

When my daughter woke up and before our Sunday playdate plans, I enlisted her help to make two batches of my favorite Crispy Green Beans (based off of this recipe from Low Carb Yum – I use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese.)

I shared some of the Egg Roll in a Bowl, the crispy green beans, and the sweet potato noodles with my neighbors and at some point this week, they will share a Whole30 dish or two with me which adds variety to my meal plan!

I have lots of eggs to eat throughout the week as well as frozen burgers to pop into my Air Fryer for quick protein for a weeknight meal. I also have to finish up a little bit of food from last week – which I will do sooner than later – so I know that will get me through another meal or two.

While at the supermarket, I bought two packs of chicken tenders, which have become my go-to easy protein source. Later this week, I will likely turn one pack into Michelle Smith’s Grain-Free Popcorn Chicken, from The Whole Smiths’ Good Food Cookbook.

The other pack will probably become pulled chicken in my InstantPot and finished with either The New Primal Classic BBQ sauce or Buffalo Sauce.

I will do these when I have a little time – either early in the morning or in the evening when my daughter is asleep. I squeeze it in when I can!

To keep my veggie supply up later in the week, I will make a bag of cauliflower rice from the freezer and roast some sweet potatoes, onions, and the leftover broccoli from my sheet pan meal.

I know that I have enough “emergency food” to get me through and in a super duper pinch, I can always grab a Whole30 compliant salad at Sweetgreen toward the end of the week. I don’t think it will come to that but it’s nice to know I have a back-up if I need it.

And there you have it – quick and easy meal prep that didn’t take over my weekend or cause me serious stress. I kept it simple and I know I will finish my Whole60 strong!

Do you have any favorite easy meal prep hacks? Do your kids ever cook with you?

Move It Monday: Let's Get Moving

You’ve rocked your Whole30 and are eating veggies and healthy foods left and right. What about exercise? No time? I have a list as long as my arm about why I couldn’t do any exercise. Realistically, with two young children, a full-time job, and a husband with crazy work hours, I’m not going to get out of the door and set foot into a gym. It’s not happening. Me + Gym = NO!

I’ve wanted to get moving and do something but kept putting it off. It’s so easy when you’re super busy. I mean, the amount of time we spend cooking and cleaning the kitchen alone is a feat itself on Whole30! That’s gotta burn a calorie or two, right? Time was my first excuse.

My second excuse is that I’ve always been self-conscious exercising. It’s not particularly motivating when you need a ‘system’ to hold the girls in and they’re packed in like a uniboob, your back isn’t feeling great, and you can’t find a shirt that doesn’t hang like a potato sack. Oh, the list goes on. During my last annual physical, I asked my doctor about a breast reduction and she said I’d definitely qualify and that my insurance would cover it. WHAT? Really?

I went in and got the consult with the surgeon and the date was set. The surgery went well and the recovery was easy. Fast forward six and a half weeks later and I’m a C cup. A very happy C cup! Do you know how much they took out? 2 lbs. on one side and 2.5lbs. on the other. Yeah, that’s how much extra weight I was carrying in my chest area–no wonder exercising wasn’t fun. I feel like a new person. That tired lower back pain is gone–I didn’t even realize how much this was affecting my back. I want to move!

So, my second excuse is gone. My first excuse, time, is what I needed to figure out. After thinking a lot about it, I realized that I could carve out 30 minutes a day somewhere in my day. Obviously, that means I’m not leaving the house to exercise right now. I found some videos and have been working out at home. Some days my six year old daughter is my workout buddy. She’s quite keen on exercising with me–so, climbing on my back while I was doing a move today wasn’t in the video, but hey, we were laughing and the time flew by. Sometimes you just have to roll with it and get it done.

Grab a DVD from Target. Got Amazon Prime? You can get free fitness videos there. Search online–there are plenty of online fitness plans. If you don’t want to do videos, just get moving. Park a little further away from the store (possibly when getting a workout DVD at Target!), take a walk on your lunch break, or take the stairs. Making little changes add up over time. You’ve put so much time in fueling your body with good food–you are ready to move!

What are you doing to get moving?

How To Work Whole30 On A Budget

Most of us don’t have money trees growing in our backyard (and if you do, I want to be friends and I want your address!), so budgets and food costs matter while on Whole30 and in your post-Whole30 life of Food Freedom.

It is also important to be able to afford to live your Food Freedom the way you need and want to. I am all about working hard to stay on a budget and have been since the beginning. We are a family of five (three hungry growing kids and two adults) and we definitely have a food budget. Since being introduced to Whole30 in Fall 2016, I have been trying to find ways to follow Whole30 (and bring many Whole30 meals to the dinner table for the rest of my family) while not breaking the bank!

Over time, I’ve learned some tricks to continue cutting costs which has allowed Whole30 and Food Freedom to be a part of my life for the long haul. Here are my best tips and tricks – I hope they help you save some money while living the Whole30 life!

Avoid pre-packaged

I am lucky enough to stay home with my kids which allows for a little more prep time in the kitchen. Prepping your own food, sauces, and other basics is a game changer for the budget savvy. It’s rare for me to buy veggies already prepped (chopped, diced, cubed, washed, spiralized or generally tied up with pretty bows etc.) Occasionally, if there is a sale, I will buy pre-riced cauliflower as a back-up veggie. The only thing I buy already prepped is the large containers of spring greens and baby spinach to use for salads. I eat salads with most of my meals (including breakfast!) I find that if I don’t have my greens ready to grab and go, I don’t eat enough veggies.

Make your own nut butter

Nut butters are amazing but can be IMHO so expensive when on a budget. I get a large bag of compliant almonds, use the food processor, some coconut oil and some salt. A few minutes later, I have several jars of compliant delicious fresh almond butter! It’s that easy!

Make your own bone broth or stock

Making your own nutritious and delicious bone broth is inexpensive and easy! I tend to use a fair amount of bone broth in cooking and also for drinking, especially in the winter months. Put water, chicken bones, veggie scraps, bay leaf and an onion chopped in half, salt and pepper in a crockpot and voilà – you will have bone broth after 24 hours!! If you don’t have chicken bones, you can often get them at a butcher for very little cost or even free. The recipe I use for bone broth is here.

Make your own sauces like dressing, mayo and marinades

Prepping your own stuff doesn’t stop with veggie! Homemade dressings, sauces and other basics are huge money savers. Every single week I prep homemade mayo and a salad dressing (usually dump ranch or a Waldorf type salad dressing). I love having them on hand to add as a fat or to make a sauce.

Buying pre-made marinades, salad dressings and mayo that are Whole30 compliant can quickly increase the grocery bill. Mayo literally takes about 1-2 minutes to make and marinades can also be quick and packed with flavor to mix-up the food boredom blahs mid-round. My personal favorites for dressings are Whole Sisters dump ranch and Waldorf dressing (although I use it on all salads). For marinades, I enjoy balsamic glazed chicken found here and for mayo use my own recipe found here.

Choose where you shop

I have a Costco membership and find that I often buy items in bulk because it saves tons of money. I buy most of my chicken and organic ground beef there along with coconut oil, Extra light EVOO and almonds. Check out this Costco blog post for tips and tricks.

Thrive is also a fantastic cost saving membership. You can get so many Whole30 and Paleo staples there along with other fantastic deals. You are able to get 25% off your first order when you sign up for a free trial membership with our Everyday Whole affiliate link.

Use what you buy

I used to totally overbuy when on a round of Whole30. I would have so many great recipes, get all the stuff and run out of time to make everything. I have found that when this is the case, I’ll plan a different recipe that isn’t as time consuming. I save veggie scraps for stock, chop up veggies that are on their last leg for frittatas, or get creative and put my ingredients into Google to see if there is another recipe I can make without wasting ingredients.

How do you save money while on a round of Whole30? Share your best tips in the comments!