Friends, I have made it to Day 25. I only have FIVE MORE DAYS of Whole 30. I actually had to go back and count just to make sure, but the last day of my Whole 30 is Valentine’s Day. I was kind of hoping that my Whole 30 would be over by Valentine’s Day so that I would be able to indulge a little (no sweets on Valentines?!), but it looks like I’ll have to wait until the 15th. Some older couples in our small group have offered to watch the kids (ALL of the kids-and there are six in all under the age of three in our small group) on Valentine’s Day so that some of the parents of littles can have a night out on the town. And I’m really looking forward to it, even if it means eating out Whole 30 style!
This past week, I’ve been searching for some convenience. Because let me tell you, Whole 30 is not convenient. While my body has adjusted to eating this way (pretty much in the first week), I’ve still been feeling daunted each night by all of the chopping and prep involved in each meal. I’ve found a few ways to remedy that.
- Frozen Veggies: Particularly, many stores carry bags of “recipe starters” that are full of fresh frozen chopped veggies ready to be thrown in the pot. When I discovered that I could just buy bags of chopped onions at Walmart for $1, I was all in. I quit buying regular onions (unless I needed them raw for a salad or something) because I HATE chopping onions, and slicing my finger with the knife on accident, and crying those stinging onion tears, etc. Each $1 Walmart bag contains about two chopped onions, so I just buy a few of those each week and I’m good for most of my recipes! They also have bags of soup base–chopped carrots, celery, and onion mixed, which eliminates like 20 minutes of prep time when making soup or spaghetti sauce–perfect!
- Classico Marinara Sauce: Speaking of making spaghetti sauce, I’ve been making spaghetti (or some pasta dish) about once a week forever, and I have continued that during Whole 30 (just using spaghetti squash instead of pasta). But I am getting tired of making my own sauce. My Whole 30 book warned me that it would be difficult to find a Whole 30 approved sauce because most brands add sugar to their recipe–and they were right! I was surprised to read label after label of all sorts of brands (even “organic” brands) adding sugar to their sauce. But finally I stumbled across the Classico brand, and I found a sauce that has no added sugar! I’m not sure if every Classico sauce is sugar free, but the tomato/basil flavor that I purchased had all good ingredients. Anytime I can simply heat up a jar of sauce instead of stirring a pot for an hour while my children scream in the background is a win for me.
*By the way, can I just say…I’ve never been much of a label reader before. And I’m not sure how healthy (long term) my diet will remain after I’m done with Whole 30, but I think one permanent change that I’ll take away from this experience is that I’m a label reader now! Can I just say, I was shocked when I was looking for vegetable stock the other day–I couldn’t find any that didn’t contain cane syrup! Why do we need cane syrup in vegetable stock?! Here you are, trying to make healthy choices, and they’re sneaking sugar into your food without you even realizing it! It wasn’t just one brand either–it was ALL of the brands. I finally found one brand that only had the normal stuff in it (carrot, celery, onion, etc.), but I had to pay a much higher price for it. And we wonder why Americans are so fat! (Okay, end rant. :-P)
- Larabars: I feel like this might be cheating, a little bit. Because strictly speaking, on Whole 30, they really discourage “snacking.” Don’t get me wrong, they are all for people who need to eat several small meals throughout the day to keep their blood sugar going, but it’s the idea of snacking that they’re against. Snack foods, for one, have a negative connotation. And the idea of just snacking because you’re not really hungry enough to sit down and have a meal but you want something to eat–is another mentality that the Whole 30 authors are battling. Basically, if you want a snack, they recommend either doing something else to take your mind off of food, or if you are actually hungry (not just craving or munchy), sit down and eat a real meal with protein and veggies. So I wonder if Larabars are cheating. But ingredients-wise, these bars are totally legit because they are made with just fruit and nuts–no grains or added sugar. And they taste like dessert. So I’ve been using them to curb my sweet tooth just a little bit. I’ve been trying ALL of the flavors, and my favorite is Apple Pie. 🙂 But just one a day! Because eating multiple bars would be something that former-Whole-30-Rachel would do, and I’m trying my best to make a positive change here.
- Frozen Meals: To be honest, I’ve been getting a little worn out on eating salad for lunch every day. I can only do so much salad, and when I reached my salad limit, I started looking around for another convenient lunch solution. Generally, I like to eat last night’s dinner leftovers for lunch. But when my Green Chef meals didn’t yield enough food for leftovers, I got myself into the salad rut. Most frozen meals are packed with all kinds of unpronounceable preservatives, but these Paleo meals aren’t, so they peaked my interest. I’ll be honest, I’ve had so many dinner leftovers lately that I haven’t had a chance to try this Paleo meal yet, but I’m a little nervous about it. One of my friends has tried them before and she says they’re gross. Any brands that any of you can recommend?
I can’t believe there are only five days left! If I strictly follow the Whole 30 program, then I am supposed to slowly reintroduce “forbidden” food back into my diet to assess how it makes me feel and determine if I want it in my diet at all anymore. So while I feel a big temptation to just go nuts and eat all the things on Day 31, I think I need to start planning a careful exit strategy now so that I finish this thing on the right foot. 🙂