Thursday, July 3, 2014

After the Whole30…Now What?

As this is also a lifestyle blog as much as an avenue for showing off my culinary skills, I thought I would share my experience with the whole30 and how it has changed my life.

So it officially ends today…what next?  Before I get to that, let me tell you how I feel after 30 days of NO Sugar, Grains, Dairy, Legumes and Alcohol.  In one word - FANTASTIC!

Here is the low-down of how "fannytastic" I feel…

1. My energy level is through the roof!  These days, I find myself awake till about 11 ish - whereas prior, I would be in bed by 9:30 pm.  My hubby would say " pretty soon we will be that couple that went to bed at 8".  Mind you, I get up at 5:30 to workout every morning and despite the late night, I no longer get the "mid afternoon slump"I used to get all the time usually around 2 pm, before this experiment.  Sleeping early would be nice, but hey, I will take having energy over being so doggone tired when I get home from work after at least an hour's commute.

2. My skin feels healthier, brighter and tighter.  Here I am with my beautiful 19 year old daughter, with minimal make up, on our way to dinner.

I am 46 years old so I am all about fighting the inevitable aging process - naturally!

3. What do I do now with the multiple bottles of excedrine I keep everywhere - my office, my purse, the bathroom and my bedside…?  I have not had a migraine or a headache in 30 days and I would like to keep it that way.

4. This is HUGE!!!!  I am beyond thrilled to not have to use my nasal spray or take a claritin every morning from March - October to relieve my allergy symptoms. This happened around week 2

5. I no longer wake up in pain every morning!  I suffer from a degenerative disk in my lower left back that flares up often because of my intense workouts at Foundry Fitness( a little plug for Foundry) I would ice my back every night while watching TV- no more icing beginning mid-week 2.

6.  Now this is pure gravy as losing weight was never a priority for doing this, but I can't say I am not thrilled about it.  I have lost 7 lbs in 30 days without counting calories or food portioning.  I ate when hungry till I felt satiated.  How liberating is that!  I normally wear a size 2-4 but on a recent shopping trip, had to go down to a size zero on a pair of linen pants and a linen blazer - WOOHOO!!!  I have noticed my body getting leaner and more toned in areas that weren't so prior to my whole30.  I may just have to post a picture of my mid section sometime:-)


So there you have it…now what?

I will be doing a mini experiment of incorporating sugar, dairy, grains, legumes and alcohol back into my diet while away on vacation for 10 days.  Perfect timing no?  The Hartwig's, authors of It Starts With Food and proponents of the whole30 program, suggests doing it in stages and not incorporating all at once - say in one meal - which would probably make me ill.  So, I think I will start with the alcohol, after all, we are going to be visiting Belgium and Dublin and nothing beats an ice cold glass of Belgian ale while noshing on moule et frites.

I will be keeping notes on how I feel and will share this on the blog.  I am looking forward to starting round 2 of another whole30 on July 14 with a great group of people for morale and support.  I can't wait, as I am sure I will need another body reset post vacation.  After that, it will be living a Paleo lifestyle all the way with whole30's or whole 7's sprinkled in between, for I can't imagine feeling less than GREAT on any given day...




Take Me to Bora Bora

The recipe I was most excited to try from the Well Fed cookbook was Bora Bora Fireballs.  Let me tell you - they did not disappoint!  With flavors like pineapple, succulent pork and sweet coconut - it made me think of Palm Trees, Tiki Torches and Ocean Breezes - what's not to be excited about!  Juicy, spicy, meaty and sweet - these meatballs are addictive.  I especially love the nice crunch the coconut breading gives you when you first take a bite.  I've made this 3 times now during my whole30 experiment.  I brought some to work and as an appetizer to my gym's summer palooza party recently and now the recipe is being requested.

I concocted my own special dipping sauce to go with this recipe.


Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp plus 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp plus 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup crushed pineapple, no sugar added, packed in its own juice
2 T coconut aminos (I buy these from Amazon to replace soy sauce )
1 1/2 tsp dried ginger
3 cloves garlic minced
3-4 scallions, white and green parts very thinly sliced
1/2 fresh jalapeƱo, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced
2 large eggs lightly beaten
2 pounds vegetarian fed ground pork

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Heat a large non stick skillet over med - high heat, then add the coconut.  Toast, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until golden brown, about 3 min.  Remove from het and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.

Drain the cup of canned pineapple in a sieve placed over a bowl to catch the juice.  Press the pineapple pulp against the sieve with the back of a spoon to extract the excess moisture.  Place the pineapple in a large mixing bowl and save the juice for later.

To the pineapple, add 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp cayenne, coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, scallions, jalapeƱo and eggs.  Beat with a wooden spoon until combined.  With your hands, crumble the pork into the bowl and knead until all the ingredients are incorporated.  (at this point I usually will take a small piece and cook it in the microwave to test my seasonings - season according to taste by adding more salt if needed)

*Now comes the fun part

Arrange the bowls of pineapple juice, spiced toasted shredded coconut, and seasoned pork for easy access.  Measure a level tbsp of pork to make a meatball, lightly douse it in the pineapple juice, then roll it in the coconut, pressing the coconut shreds into the meat by rolling the ball between your palms.  Do not overdo it with the breading!  Line up the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart.

Slide the meatballs into the oven and bake for 25-30 min, until sizzling and golden brown.

Serve with my special dipping sauce

Ingredients:

Left over crushed pineapple
Juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup left over juice of pineapple
1 Tbsp ghee or clarified butter (To clarify butter, melt unsalted organic butter in a pan until it runs clear and you will see the milk solids separate from the fat - strain the milk solids with a fine sieve and you will be left with clarified butter)

Directions:
Puree all of the ingredients except for the ghee in a blender or food processor
Heat a small saucepan over med-high heat.  Add 1 tbsp ghee or clarified butter to the pan.  After about 30 sec. add the pureed pineapple.  Stir to combine and add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.  Bring to a boil then lower heat and continue to simmer until sauce begins to thicken about 7-10 min.  Mix in 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar.  Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.  Serve with meatballs.