Healthy Holiday Habits

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is over already! I finished my last exam in the evening on the 21st, so when I got back home on the 22nd I had to jump right into buying some last minute Christmas presents and making holiday treats. I didn’t have time to experiment with any of my own dessert recipes, so I made two of my favourite recipes from Running on Real FoodOatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls and Double Chocolate Raw Vegan Brownies. Both recipes were a hit! It was mostly just me and one of my aunts who enjoyed the desserts, but we got one of my uncles, whose favourite phrase is “gluten-free, taste-free,” to try the brownies and he said they were very tasty. Success!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Energy Balls

Yesterday we had a Christmas party with my dad’s side of the family, and one of my cousins is vegan. With the treats I made from Running on Real Food, I used honey as a sweetener (rather than the maple syrup called for in the recipe), meaning they’re not technically vegan. So a couple days ago I decided I’d give myself a little recipe creation challenge. I had a ton of dates left over from when I bought ingredients for Christmas, so I wanted to create a vegan Chocolate-Orange Energy Ball recipe, inspired by one of my fave Christmas treats, Terry’s Chocolate Orange. I was hoping I’d be able to share the recipe in the first few days of the New Year…but unfortunately it didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped. The flavour was good, but the texture could use a little work. Maybe I’ll give it another shot once I get back to school. I don’t think I’m going to try out any more dessert recipes for a few weeks. I never thought I’d say it, but my sweet tooth has been completely satisfied after the past week of celebrations.

With sweet treats everywhere and endless holiday festivities, it’s definitely been a challenge to keep up with the healthy habits I try and maintain while I’m at school. Coming into the holiday season, I had the best intentions to work out regularly, keep the treats to a minimum, and cook plenty of healthy recipes. It was a good plan, but somehow I still ended up elbow-deep in a giant bag of Jelly Bellies on Christmas Eve…

Christmas Cookies

The combination of having an abundance of less-healthy foods nearby, being home at my parents’ house, and on top of that being sick for the past few days, has thrown me off track with healthy eating and fitness – it’s been way too long since I last did something active, and I’m pretty sure there is liquid chocolate running through my veins.

But that’s okay! Taking a break is healthy, and enjoying sweet treats is part of the holiday season. However, it has been a good reminder that when I don’t eat well and stay active, I don’t feel very good. So while I’m not upset that I indulged a bit over Christmas, I’m definitely ready to finish out the rest of my holiday by getting back into some healthier routines.

Add, not subtract

Even though I’m eager to get back into ~health mode~ it’s not realistic (or enjoyable) to say something like “Starting tomorrow I’m not eating any more sugar and I’m going to stay away from all salty snacks.” Making a statement like this cultivates the kind of all or nothing mindset that makes it challenging to get back into a pattern of consistently healthy choices.

Instead of strictly “subtracting” all unhealthy foods from my diet, I’m going to get back into my healthy routine by adding beneficial habits back into my day. I’ll still have some chocolate and an afternoon snack of popcorn, but I’ll also be having some extra fruits and veggies.

New Year’s Resolutions

Usually I don’t set any definitive resolutions for the New Year. I like to set goals throughout the year on a rolling basis, so I don’t think it’s necessary to have one specific date to start working towards my goals. But this year, while I was spending some time with my cousins over Christmas, we all sat down and wrote out a list of our goals for 2018.  When I set goals, I love to make a BIG list. We’re talking 80+ items on this list. And something that extensive may seem a little overwhelming, but I like having everything compiled in one place. That way, as I’m going through my day, I can pull out the list and ask myself, “What am I doing today to work towards my goals?” If my schedule for the day doesn’t align with my goal list, then I re-evaluate my schedule. So while I don’t think you need a New Year to embark on new goals, it’s as good a time as any to start working towards things you’d like to accomplish. Many of the healthy habits that I’m trying to put back into my routine are also on my list of goals for the year. I’ll carry these habits into the New Year, and I plan to continue them throughout 2018.

Healthy Habits

Here are five of the healthy habits that I am adding back into my life as the holiday season draws to a close.

1. Stop hitting the snooze button

Ideally, I want to be getting enough sleep that I don’t feel the need to constantly hit snooze when my alarm goes off. But even when I do get 8 hours, sometimes I still wake up a little groggy and want to roll over and go back to bed. If I’m going to get 30 minutes of disrupted sleep during the time I’m hitting snooze, I really should just set my alarm 30 minutes later and get some extra uninterrupted rest.

I find that when I spend time snoozing it’s harder to get a productive start to my day when I do get out of bed. Also, with a simple Google search I found many articles describing the negative health impacts of hitting snooze in the morning. They didn’t all give the same reasons, but the consensus was that it’s a habit you should kick. Here’s one interesting article from The Independent that provides a behaviourist perspective on the subject (I found this one interesting because it related to some of the psychology concepts I studied this past semester).

alarm clock

2. Drink at least 3L of water each day

When I’m away at school, I drink a lot of water each day, but for some reason I get out of the habit when I come home. When I’m being extremely diligent with my water consumption I probably get closer to 4L a day, but 3L is usually enough to keep me feeling hydrated and refreshed. Everyone’s water needs differ, so if you’re going to try this one out, don’t take 3L as your magic number. You may have to experiment a bit to see how much water you have to drink for your body to feel its best.

3. Stop eating after dinner

Whenever I eat after dinner, it’s not because I’m hungry, it’s usually just because I feel like snacking on something as I complete the last few tasks on my to-do list for the day. When I eat too close to bed time I don’t sleep as well, and I’m also more drawn to sugary foods at this time of the day. So it’s definitely a better choice to eat a filling dinner and then avoid food after that.

4. Drink lemon water

Lately I’ve been trying to get in the habit of drinking a glass of warm lemon water in the morning, before I have my breakfast. Adding lemon to your water in the morning provides an extra boost of vitamin C, is beneficial for digestion, and some studies have shown that it boosts metabolism. Drinking a big glass of water in the morning as soon as I get up will also help me meet my goal of having 3L of water each day.

lemon water

5. Do ten minutes of body weight exercises each morning when I wake up

This is a new habit I want to try out to see whether it helps me shake off some of my sleepiness in the morning and start the day on a positive note. Each day when I get out of bed, before I make breakfast or start the coffee machine, I’m going to set a timer for ten minutes on my phone, and do a few basic exercises until the timer goes off. This will consist of body weight moves like push ups, crunches, planks, squats, and lunges. I haven’t decided whether each morning of the week will have a different focus (like arms and abs one day and legs another), but I’ll play around with it a bit until I find a routine I like. Out of the five habits I’ve decided to add in to my day, this is the only one that I haven’t tried out in the past, so I’m interested to see how it will work out (pun intended).

bicycle crunch

If you think any of these habits would help you improve your health in the New Year, give them a try! And let me know in the comments how it goes.

 

Paleo Nacho Casserole

This nacho casserole is packed with delicious Mexican flavours and a ton of vegetables. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a healthier way to satisfy your craving for nachos, and you can load it up with plenty of toppings, including salsa, avocado, and green onion. I considered calling this recipe “Not-yo’ Typical Casserole” but decided that was a bit much…

I made this casserole on one of the last days of the Whole30. Although I don’t plan on sticking to a completely Paleo diet now that the Whole30 is over, I was inspired by a recipe for Paleo Spaghetti Squash Casserole, created by Alysia at Slim Sanity, and wanted to create a similar version with a Mexican twist! This recipe is a great meal prep option if you make it at the start of the week. I had three exams this past week, so I made the casserole on the weekend and ate it over the course of several busy days of studying. It’s easy to get into a pattern of unhealthy eating when you’re stressed during exams. Having a pre-made dinner in my fridge is helpful because it makes it less likely that I’ll go grab some take-out when I want to get back to studying quickly.

Spaghetti squash provides the bulk of the casserole. This squash is great because you can eat a large serving without adding a ton of extra calories. It also has a nice neutral flavour so you can enjoy it with different sauces or spice mixtures. For this recipe, the squash is mixed with taco-seasoned ground chicken, red pepper, onion, spinach, cherry tomatoes, olives, and a little salsa. I’d recommend choosing a squash that is on the smaller side – around 1-1.2 kg – so each bite has a balance of different flavours rather than being overpowered by squash.

If you want to keep this recipe paleo, you’ll have to find a sugar-free salsa. The salsa I’ve been using lately is this one by Herdez – I was surprised when I found it at the grocery store because it’s not full of additives like a lot of other salsas and it still tastes amazing! The only ingredients are tomatoes, onions, serrano peppers, salt, and cilantro.

When you’re making this recipe, there are a few different components to prepare before everything gets mixed together and spread into a casserole dish. The spaghetti squash has to bake, the veggies need to be sauteed, and the ground chicken needs to be cooked. I recommend using three pieces of cookware to prepare everything: a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish, one large pot, and a large frying pan.

Begin by preparing the spaghetti squash and putting it in the oven at 375°. Although a spaghetti squash can be baked whole, it saves cooking time if you cut it in half first. But I’m not going to lie, this can be a bit of a struggle. Usually I get my knife stuck in the squash and then I’m left trying to yank it out sword-in-the-stone style. Not ideal. I told my housemate the other day that if I ever get a cooking-related injury it’s probably going to be when I’m trying to cut a squash in half. So, that being said, be careful! Use a sharp knife and go slowly. I’ve had a bit more success starting at one of the ends and cutting it open from there. Also, if anyone has any hacks for easily splitting a squash in two, please share!

Once you’ve got the squash open, scoop out the seeds, drizzle it with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake the squash in the oven in the casserole dish with the fleshy side down (in the picture below I’ve just flipped it over after removing it from the oven.

While the squash is baking, you can prepare and cook the other ingredients – stir fry the veggies and spices in the large pot, and stir fry the chicken in the frying pan until brown.

After 40-45 minutes, the spaghetti squash will be cooked and you can remove it from the oven. At this point, add the chicken and squash to the big pot with the vegetables, plus an egg and some salsa, and mix everything to combine. I actually don’t have a giant pot in my student house because there aren’t too many occasions where my housemates or I need to make a large recipe. So instead of mixing all the ingredients together in a pot, I used a large bowl to combine everything before baking. Then, pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish (the one that was already used to cook the squash), and bake at 400° for 15 minutes.

When the casserole came out of the oven I topped it with green onion and added some avocado and salsa to each serving.

Pin for later:

Paleo Nacho Casserole

Print Recipe
Paleo Nacho Casserole
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Toppings:
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Toppings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Cut open the spaghetti squash lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the squash face-down in a 9x13 inch casserole dish.
  2. Bake the squash in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until a fork goes through it easily. While the squash is baking, prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Heat a small amount of cooking oil in a frying pan. Add the ground chicken, and stir fry on medium heat until brown - about 15 minutes. When the meat is cooked, add taco seasoning and stir to coat.
  4. Heat cooking oil in a large pot. Add garlic and onion, and stir fry over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add red pepper and all spices and continue stir frying for a few more minutes, until the pepper begins to soften.
  6. Add black olives, cherry tomatoes, and spinach. Stir until the spinach begins to wilt. Remove from heat.
  7. When spaghetti squash is cooked, remove from the oven, and turn the oven temperature up to 400° F. Using a fork, scrape the flesh of the squash into a bowl.
  8. Put the spaghetti squash, chicken, salsa, and egg into the large pot with the cooked vegetables. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
  9. Pour the mixture into the 9x11 inch casserole dish used to cook the squash. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. When the casserole comes out of the oven, top with green onion, and serve with avocado and salsa.

Garlic-Tahini Rainbow Trout (Whole30)

It doesn’t get much better than a rich, creamy garlic sauce – and this one is dairy-free! The recipe is also gluten-free, Paleo, and Whole30 compliant. The sauce comes together with a few simple, wholesome ingredients, and is spread on a fillet of rainbow trout before baking. I love to pair this dish with roasted veggies, but it would also taste great with some pasta or zucchini noodles on the side!

Well my friends, exam season is here and that means I’m craving warm, hearty comfort food. I had my first two exams today, and I still have two more before I head home for the holidays. The good news is, I’m finished the Whole30 tomorrow, so I can stuff my face with pasta to numb the pain of studying! Just kidding. Today is the last day of the elimination portion of the Whole30, so I’m starting the reintroduction phase tomorrow. I’m planning to reintroduce gluten-free grains first, so tomorrow I’ll have oatmeal for breakfast, some quinoa on my salad at lunch, and gluten-free pasta with turkey meatballs for dinner. Then I’ll be back to the full elimination diet for a few days to see if the newly-introduced foods have any effect on my body.

This rainbow trout recipe has been one of my favourite dinners over the past 30 days. It’s so easy to whip up and so delicious! Also, I’m a huge garlic lover so the creamy sauce is PERFECT. All you need to make the sauce is tahini, a clove of garlic, lemon, onion powder, and salt – then you simply mix it all together, spread on your fish, bake, and enjoy! This recipe makes enough sauce for two fillets of trout, so if I’m just cooking for myself, I’ll cover the leftover sauce and save it to make more fish the next day.

Tahini

If you haven’t used tahini before in your cooking, it’s a creamy condiment made of ground sesame seeds that has a nutty taste. I use it as a base for a lot of my salad dressings and lately I’ve been using it in stir fries too. It’s a great ingredient to have on hand, as it’s incredibly versatile, and a good source of protein, healthy fats, and B vitamins. Lately I’ve been experimenting with energy ball recipes using my food processor, and tahini has appeared in a few of them. I’m still trying to get the ingredient ratios just right, but if you buy some tahini now, hopefully I’ll have another recipe posted soon that uses it!

Side Dishes

In the pictures for this post, I paired the recipe with some roasted carrots and boiled broccoli. If you haven’t tried roasting your carrots before, I highly recommend it. I never used to be a big fan of carrots until I started tossing them in a little olive oil and garlic salt and roasting them. I find them much more flavourful when they’re cooked this way, rather than boiled. When I’m not following the Whole30, I’ll likely have this recipe with gluten-free pasta and tomato sauce, or some rice. If you’re looking to get more greens in your diet, try serving the rainbow trout on a bed of spinach, or adding the fish to the top of a salad!

 

Print Recipe
Garlic-Tahini Rainbow Trout (Whole30)
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat a conventional oven (or toaster oven) to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, tahini, garlic, onion powder, and sea salt. Mix thoroughly until a smooth sauce forms.
  3. Place the fillets of rainbow trout onto the baking sheet. Spoon a generous portion of the sauce onto each fillet.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce is golden brown and the fish is flaky.

Race Recap: Tannenbaum 10K

On Sunday I ran my first 10K race – the Tannenbaum 10K! The race was in Toronto and it was a lovely route along the shore of Lake Ontario. Unfortunately it was a very foggy day so there wasn’t a great view of the lake, but it was still a great path to run on.

Here’s what race day looked like for me:

7:00am – Woke up

8:15am – black coffee and baked sweet potato with a poached egg on top for breakfast. This has been one of my favourite breakfasts lately – simple, but delicious! I just pierce the skin of a sweet potato with a fork, and bake in the toaster oven at 400° for about 45 minutes (or until a fork goes easily into the potato). Then I slice the potato open, add a little coconut oil, garlic salt, and pepper, and top with a poached egg. Usually I’ll have two poached eggs for breakfast, but I didn’t want to feel weighed down during my run, so I just stuck to one today.

8:45am-9:00am – I got dressed in my running gear and packed up. I wanted to bring as little as possible to the race, so I just stuck my bus pass, my phone, and some gloves in the pockets of my running jacket. I meant to put a LARA bar in my pocket for after the race, but I ended up forgetting it at home.

What I wear for cold weather running

I love running in the cold weather because it lets me get dressed up in all my favourite running clothes! When running in cold weather, layers are your best bet. I like to wear a long sleeve with a cotton t-shirt on top, and occasionally a quarter zip on top of that, followed by my running jacket. Other most important thing: gloves – always wear them, even if you step outside in the winter to test the temperature and think you might be able to get by without them. If you don’t actually need the gloves you can throw them in your pockets, but if you leave them at home there will likely be some REGRETS.

Here’s what I wore for my race:

  • Nike running headband – absolutely love this one. I’m not sure if they sell this particular style anymore because I couldn’t find it on the Nike website or on Amazon, but it’s a reversible headband that says “Run” on one side and has the Nike logo on the other.
  • Long sleeve (not pictured) – I layered this under all my other clothes.
  • Cotton t-shirt (not pictured) – this was another layer on top.
  • Quarter zip – the purple shirt in the picture above. It’s from Old Navy’s active wear line, and I got it last year during their 50% off active wear sale.
  • Running Room Jacket – ie. my favourite piece of clothing EVER. I love this jacket. It’s just the right length, it’s roomy, so you can put lots of layers underneath, and the pockets are huge. It also has zippers in the side of the jacket for ventilation, so I’ll open those up if I’m running on a warm rainy day.
  • Leggings – I love this pair of Old Navy leggings because they’re warm, and they stay on properly! I find that so many other leggings tend to slip down, but these always stay in place. I think it’s because the material has a softer feel to it, rather than the smooth, slippery texture that a lot of leggings have.
  • Stretchy black pants – I layered these over my leggings for extra warmth. I think they’re from the Forever 21 active wear line.
  • Under Armour Socks
  • Gloves – nothing fancy, just got these at Dollarama.

The day of the race wasn’t that cold, and I was a little overdressed, but I’d rather be a little too warm than too cold. And I was glad I had the layers after the race was over and I wasn’t generating as much heat.

9:00am – drove to the race.

9:20am – 9:40am – checked in and picked up my race kit. Inside was a long sleeve shirt, a Clif Bar, a single serving packet of hemp protein powder from the brand Manitoba Harvest and a variety of coupons (free tea from David’s Tea, free class at a nearby yoga studio, etc.)

9:40am – went for a slow jog to warm up, did some leg swings, high knees, and calf stretches.

10:00am – the race started! I took the first 5K at a slow pace because I didn’t want to burn out. I tried to keep an eye on the “pace elves” ahead of me that were holding signs with their time on them, and worked towards catching up to them. My legs started to get a little tired around the 5K mark, but once I pushed through that I got going at a faster pace. I worked on looking at people ahead of me and slowly catching up. I wasn’t really treating it too much like a race because I was just in it for the challenge of running a 10K, but I still wanted to push myself.

Just before 11:00am – finished the race! My time was a little over 58 minutes. I ran the first 5K in a little over 30 mins, and the second 5K in just over 27 mins. When I crossed the finish line I got a medal for finishing, and I headed to the re-fueling station, where I had a banana and some water.

While I was standing in line waiting to check my time, one of the race volunteers came up to me and said I’d been selected to win a prize! I got to choose from a table of prizes, and got a little bag with the name of the race on it. Here’s a picture of the long sleeve shirt I got, my medal, my race bib, and the bag I won:

I spent the rest of the day relaxing and EATING LOTS OF FOOD (which I unfortunately forgot to take pictures of). Before I took the bus home I stopped at a nearby grocery store and found these Pressed by KIND Fruit Bars. I’d never had one before, but it was delicious! The only ingredients are pineapple, banana, apple, kale and spinach, so they’re Whole30 compliant.

Training

Honestly, I didn’t do any specific 10K training for this race. I signed up on a bit of a whim because running a 10K has been one of my goals for a while. I usually run 2-3 times a week for about 30-45 minutes, so I didn’t actually run the race distance during training. But in addition to my runs, I also go out and play basketball for an hour or two once a week, which is a TON of running, and I use HIIT training when I go to the gym, which definitely helped me develop my endurance. When I started the race, I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to make it through the whole thing without taking a walking break. But I had an awesome playlist that I made the night before, and once I started, I just wanted to keep pushing myself.

Now that I’ve run one 10K, I really want to do more! In 2018 I definitely want to run another one and try to improve my time. Every aspect of the Tannenbaum 10K was an amazing experience – it was really well organized, the volunteers and the other runners were so kind, and the route was fairly flat, with a nice view. So if you’re in the Toronto area I definitely recommend trying it out next year!

If you’re a runner, what’s your fave pre-run meal? What about a post-run snack?

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What I Eat During the Whole30

21 days ago I started my first Whole30. For those of you who have not heard of this program, the Whole30 is a dietary “reset” that is 30 days long. After the 30 days are over, you slowly reintroduce the foods you cut out during the program in order to determine how specific food groups affect your body. You can read more about the specifics on the Whole30 website, but essentially this diet plan involves removing refined sugar and sweeteners, dairy, all grains, all legumes, soy, and alcohol from your diet.

I had several reasons I wanted to give the Whole30 a try. First, I was hoping it would be able to help me control my eczema, which has flared up lately. I was also hoping I’d be able to reduce my sugar cravings, increase my energy levels, and finish the program with a clearer complexion.

So, what’s happened so far?

Well, first, I feel great! I went through a couple low energy days last week, but for the past few days I’ve been feeling very energetic, and I move through the day with the feeling that my body is functioning optimally. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any improvement in my eczema, but I’ll see how it goes in the next nine days. If nothing changes, I may have to try another dietary experiment next month. Despite my lack of success with improving my eczema, I have noticed a little improvement in my facial complexion. My skin seems slightly clearer and definitely less inflamed; however, this could be because I recently started using gentler and more natural skin care products, so I’m not sure how much of a contribution my diet is making. In addition, I’ve definitely been having fewer sugar cravings. Early on in my Whole30 the cravings were fairly intense, and I realized how dependent my body was on sugar prior to cutting it out. Fortunately, I’ve stopped thinking about cookies ALL THE TIME. Besides cutting sugar, I didn’t find the other dietary changes very challenging – I already do not eat dairy and gluten, so going a step further and cutting all grains as well as legumes wasn’t very difficult for me. One thing I did find early on is that it was difficult to stay full for a long time. It seemed like I’d eat a meal, and then an hour later my stomach would be rumbling again. But as the program progressed I became more aware of the amount of food I had to eat to get from one meal to the next.

What I eat in a day

If you’re starting the Whole30, especially if you’re coming to it from a Standard American Diet, it can be difficult to figure out what to eat. Before I started, I wrote out a rough plan for what I was going to eat over the four weeks of the program. This changed a little as I went, but my initial plan helped guide my weekly grocery list.  Below is a sample of what I ate in a day earlier this week, along with my suggestions for food choices that will help you make it through the Whole30.

Breakfast

Egg and veggie scramble – 2 eggs, leftover roasted broccoli, onion, orange pepper, avocado.

Roasted potatoes – I tried out a new method of preparing these potatoes. I parboiled them first, then put them in the toaster oven to roast. Using this method, I was able to make crispy potatoes without using oil to roast them. Now, there’s nothing wrong with oil – when you choose a healthy variety like olive, avocado or coconut it’s a great source of healthy fats. But I was also having avocado with this meal, so I wanted to cut the oil to ensure I wasn’t having a giant portion of my daily fat intake at breakfast. Then, I added a little bit of salt and pepper before I ate them.

My favourite Whole30 breakfast options are apple and nut butter, baked sweet potato with poached eggs on top, and any kind of egg and veggie combination. Occasionally I’ll have some chicken or salmon and roasted veggies for breakfast. In the beginning, it was always difficult to decide what to eat for breakfast. My go-to breakfast was eggs, but occasionally I’d want to have hard-boiled eggs on the go for lunch, and then I’d have to think of another breakfast idea so I wasn’t eating a huge number of eggs every day. One of the mindset shifts that helped me with this dilemma is that I stopped thinking I had to have typical “breakfast foods” for my first meal of the day. When you just think of breakfast like any other meal, it opens up your options for what to eat.

Lunch

Salad – chicken, boiled sweet potato, celery, cucumber, kale

I took this salad with me on the go for lunch on campus and enjoyed it with a dressing I made that combined tahini and apple cider vinegar. Salads are definitely a convenient option during the Whole30 – you can fit in a lot of greens, and top it with protein to stay full. Often I’ll add avocado to my salad for some extra healthy fats. As for other lunch options, I’ve been a big fan of smoothies lately. I’ll add some hemp seeds to my smoothie for protein and fat, and chia seeds for fibre. I have an awesome recipe for an ultra-creamy chocolate smoothie that I’ll share on the blog next week! Roasted veggies and some kind of protein option is another lunch favourite – usually it will be fish or chicken, with any combination of potatoes, carrots, broccoli or zucchini.

Snack

Fruit salad – half an apple, half a banana, grapes, part of an ataulfo mango, clementine 

Usually for my afternoon snack I’ll have a piece of fruit, some chopped veggies, or a handful of nuts and dried fruit. If I’m fairly hungry, I’ll whip up something more substantial like fruit salad or some celery with almond butter and raisins (“ants on a log”).

Dinner

Baked salmon with garlic-tahini sauce (recipe up on the blog soon!), boiled broccoli, roasted carrots and potato.

Fish and veggies is a fairly typical dinner for me during the Whole30. When I roast my veggies, I toss them in olive oil, pepper and garlic salt, and bake on a baking sheet at 400º. If I’m just using root veggies, I’ll mix them all together and roast them on one pan, since they all take about the same amount of time to cook. Other dinners I’ve made in the past few weeks include chicken taco bowls (which I plan to make again next week), and this Turkey and Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce, which I enjoy on zucchini noodles.

What’s next?

Over the next nine days, I still have some things I want to work on as I finish up the Whole30. Mainly, I want to focus on moderation. Since I haven’t been eating refined sugar, I’ve been having A LOT more fruit. Of course fruit is amazing and very nutritious, but I need to make sure I’m not overdoing it and simply substituting one craving with another. Also, I want to be more cognisant of my intake of nuts and dried fruit. Because these foods provide the perfect combination of sweetness and crunch, I’m often tempted to overeat when I have them in the house. In addition, I want to make sure I’m sleeping a sufficient amount, and minimizing stress (which is a little difficult because exams are starting!). I know that lack of sleep and stress contribute to my eczema and cause my face to break out, so I don’t want that to interfere with seeing results from the Whole30.

Once the 30 days are over and I complete the re-introduction period I’m going to write another post on my results, so stay tuned for that!

Disclaimer: This post is not a recommendation that anyone should begin the Whole30, this is simply a dietary experiment I am doing to see how it affects my health. Make sure to complete your own research before beginning any new eating program, and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.