Whole 30 – A Realistic Meal Plan – Week 4

I forgot to post this when I actually finished but I did the entire Whole 30! By the end of it I felt really good, lost 8 pounds, and changed my relationship with food. I was SO tired of cooking that I honestly didn’t eat as much just because the thought of cooking yet another meal was enough to keep me from eating. I will definitely keep a lot of these habits moving forward though. Following the whole 30 shopping guidelines and meal plans at home for the most part but being able to eat out occasionally would be sustainable for a long time. Overall, I would recommend this plan, definitely one of the best cleanses or detoxes that I have done over the years!

Day 22:
Breakfast – Pork Hash and blueberries
Lunch – Red Curry with Chicken (leftover)
Dinner – Tarragon Cream Chicken with sautéed broccolini

Day 23:
Breakfast – Apple with Almond Butter
Lunch – Tarragon Cream Chicken (leftover)
Dinner – Chili over a baked yukon gold potato

Day 24:
Breakfast –Pork Hash
Lunch – Italian Chicken Stew (made night before)
Dinner – Chili over a baked yukon gold potato

Day 25:
Breakfast – Pork Hash
Lunch –Italian Chicken Stew (leftover)
Dinner – Steak with Roasted Purple Potatoes and sautéed broccolini

Day 26:
Breakfast – BLAT “Benedict”… without the egg
Lunch – Italian Chicken Stew (leftover)
Dinner – Ate out – side salad with grilled chicken, no dressing

Day 27:
Breakfast – BLAT “Benedict”… without the egg
Lunch – Apple with Almond Butter
Dinner – Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Roasted Broccolini

Day 28:
Breakfast – Banana
Lunch – Ate out at a Paleo Bistro
Dinner – Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Purple Potatoes

Day 29:
Breakfast – Pork Hash with mushrooms
Lunch – Apple with Almond Butter
Dinner – Pot Roast Stew

Day 30:
Breakfast – Pork Hash with mushrooms
Lunch – Pot Roast Stew
Dinner – Steak with Roasted Purple Potatoes and sautéed broccolini

Whole 30 – A Realistic Meal Plan – Week 3

Cold-pressed black coffee may be my new favorite thing on earth…which means my taste buds are seriously changing doing this program! Also, I would say that while I don’t have crazy “tiger blood” energy, I DO have energy that last all day. After work I run errands, cook, do chores around the house, work on our Spain to-do list, and never notice my energy draining during the day, even when I’m ready go to bed. The hardest thing about the Whole30 is just cooking every single meal. That is the only real struggle that I’ve had – the only convenience I can find is if I planned ahead and worked for it. I’m 22 days in now though, there’s no turning back from here!!

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Day 15:
Breakfast – Pork Hash with Mushrooms
Lunch – Green Curry with Chicken (leftover)
Dinner – Italian Chicken Stew

Day 16:
Breakfast – Smoked Salmon with sliced tomatoes and blueberries (Gil had 2 boiled eggs)
Lunch – Italian Chicken Stew (leftover) and a nectarine
Dinner – Pot Roast

Day 17:
Breakfast –Smoked Salmon with sliced tomatoes and blueberries (Gil had 2 boiled eggs)
Lunch – Pot Roast Stew (leftover)
Dinner – Naked Chile Rellenos (omit cheese from original recipe) with tomato and avocado

Day 18:
Breakfast – Pork Hash with Mushrooms
Lunch – Pot Roast Stew (leftover)
Dinner – Tarragon Cream Chicken

Day 19:
Breakfast – Pork Hash with Mushrooms
Lunch – Tarragon Cream Chicken (leftover)
Dinner – Naked Chile Rellenos (omit cheese from recipe) (leftover) with tomato and avocado

Day 20:
Breakfast – Apple with Almond Butter
Lunch – side salad with shredded chicken, no dressing (out at an Italian restaurant)
Dinner – prime rib with roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus (family dinner at a Steakhouse)

Day 21:
Breakfast – Apple with Almond Butter
Lunch – Peach & almonds (we were moving so I went by a grocery store for lunch)
Dinner –Red Curry with Chicken

Paleo Pot Roast

Pot Roast reminds me of Sunday lunches after church with my family when I was growing up in Texas, serious comfort food. It still one of my favorite meals, this is serious comfort food!! I have adapted this recipe by borrowing ideas from quite a few sources and combining them all to make a gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, Whole30 compliant, etc. version of this traditional dish, and it’s still really delicious! Ina Garten’s Company Pot Roast is my primary source of inspiration for this, her technique is really great for thickening the sauce even without the flour, butter, and wine that she uses.

This recipe takes some time, but you won’t need to be in the kitchen the entire time. You’ll need about an hour for chopping, searing, and stirring during the afternoon and then it needs to cook for 2.5 hours after that. You’ll then need about 15 minutes to finish the sauce and serve. So if you want to serve dinner at 7, get started around 3:15.

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Ingredients:
3-4 lb. grass-fed chuck roast, tied
2 yellow onions, chopped

1 leek, chopped (white and light green parts)
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups small yellow potatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
4 cups organic beef broth
28 oz plum tomatoes in pureé
sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees fahrenheit and begin chopping all of your veggies, I chopped mine a few hours ahead to speed up cooking time.

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Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with salt and pepper. In a large, oven-safe Dutch oven pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes on each side as well as the ends, until nicely browned all over. Remove the roast from the pan.

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Add about 2 more tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, mushrooms, leeks, garlic, more salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all of the veggies are tender but not brown, like the picture below.

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Add the beef broth and deglaze the pan (scrape all of the brown bits off of the bottom) then bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the potatoes and then put the roast back into the pot, try to make sure the liquid is covering almost all of the roast and veggies. Bring to a boil once again, cover, and place the covered pot in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender.

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Remove the roast to a cutting board. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. This is really important part: transfer quite a bit of the sauce and vegetables to a blender (enough to fill up a fairly large blender) or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pureé until smooth. Pour the pureé back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Taste for seasonings and let the sauce continue to simmer. Meanwhile, remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it. The sauce is so good that my husband was literally drinking the extra sauce off of his plate!

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For leftovers, I cut the rest of the meat into bite size pieces and add them back into the sauce and serve it as a stew, seriously tasty! Hope you enjoy this one as much as we do!

Italian Chicken Stew

This is one of those meals that was a complete experiment and it actually turned out really well. It’s kind of Roman Chicken meets Seafood Cioppino…kind of. However you describe it, it’s delicious and hearty and an excellent Whole30 compliant meal and (bonus) it’s really easy too!

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Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 yellow onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
6 baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can organic petite diced tomatoes
1 cup organic chicken broth
2 cups of fresh kale, chopped
oregano
salt and pepper
olive oil

Heat olive oil (just enough to cover the bottom) in large pot over medium heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken then place in oil in bottom of pot in a single layer. Be careful putting the chicken in the oil! Cook about 3 minutes until starting to turn golden brown, turn chicken and cook 3 minutes on the other side, then remove from pot.

Add onions and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften and become translucent. Add red pepper and cook for another 4-5 minutes. You can add a little more olive oil also, if needed. Next, add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Add garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes until you can smell the garlic but it isn’t yet burning.

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Add chicken stock and deglaze the pan (scrape the brown bits off the bottom and into the stock). Add a sprinkling of oregano, salt & pepper and stir. Add tomatoes and return chicken to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add kale and mix into the liquid well, then simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sauce is the consistency you want. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Tarragon Cream Chicken – Whole30 Compliant

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This is one of the only recipes I actually like that is based on a master recipe from the Whole30 program. I followed their directions once and tweaked it the second time and I preferred that version, which is here. To be fair, I haven’t tried all of their recipes (after 2 bad ones I completely gave up and have made up all of my own since) but of the ones I have tried, this one and a slightly modified version of their chili which I will post soon, are the only 2 I’ll make again.

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts, sliced

1 tbsp tarragon (fresh is best)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup coconut milk (culinary, in the can)
8 oz mushrooms, I like baby portabella, sliced
1 green onion (including the green part), chopped
extra virgin olive oil

sea salt & freshly cracked pepper

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle sliced chicken with salt and pepper then brown in a single layer for about 3 minutes per side until golden brown, remove from pan.

Add 2 cloves chopped garlic to the pan as well as the sliced mushrooms and green onions. After about 15 seconds, add 1 cup of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of coconut milk and deglaze the pan (scrape the brown bits off of the bottom).  Allow mushrooms to cook for a few minutes until soft and then add tarragon and chicken back to the sauce and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until sauce has reached thickness you want, I like it to just coat the spoon when I pull it out of the sauce. This dish is great with roasted veggies or potatoes as a side. It’s also really good heated up for lunch the next day which makes lunch at work a little more enjoyable than just a salad. Enjoy!

Whole 30 – A Realistic Meal Plan – Week 2

Week 2 was a crazy week at work for me, so you’ll see a lot of the same things over and over. Not very creative, and Gil has now vetoed roasted broccoli for at least a week, but this is real life. We’re crazy busy but still making it work with the Whole 30.

Side note: Week 3 is already shaping up much better, my menu plan is a lot more creative and it was actually even cheaper than last week despite me buying everything at Whole Foods because I didn’t have time for 2 separate grocery trips.

To give you an idea of approximately what this meal plan costs, for all meals for Week 2 combined I spent $66 on organic produce, spices, coconut milk, etc. at Sprouts Farmers Market (I choose which veggies and fruits we will eat for the week based on what is on sale in the circular since, for the most part, all of my fruits and veggies are interchangeable in my recipes) and $78 at Whole Foods on grass-fed, organic meat and wild-caught fish. I bought some higher end proteins like swordfish steaks so it is possible to spend even less if you choose less expensive fish and cuts of meat. So I spent a total of $144 on groceries for 21 meals for 2 people which comes to $3.43 per person per meal. So not only is this meal plan really healthy but, even with high-end organic meats from Whole Foods, it is literally cheaper than eating at McDonalds.

I still need to write up some of these recipes, I’ll get them posted as soon as I can.

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Day 8:
Breakfast – I felt too bad to eat (migraine) but I had planned to eat Pork Hash with Mushrooms
Lunch – Mexican Chicken (leftover) with a peach
Dinner – Swordfish Steak with Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli, Green Beans, and Mushrooms

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Day 9:
Breakfast – Pork Hash with a peach
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole and Burger Patties
Dinner – Tarragon Cream Chicken with Roasted Asparagus and Green Beans and Mixed Potatoes

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Day 10:

Breakfast – Pork Hash with a slice of tomato (Gil also had 2 boiled eggs)
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole with Tarragon Cream Chicken (leftover)
Dinner – First attempt at eating out – Sea Bass with Spinach and Mushrooms at True Food Kitchen

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Day 11:
Breakfast – Smoked Salmon with Blueberries
Lunch – London Broil with Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli
Dinner – Chicken Sausage with Roasted Broccolini and Sliced Tomatoes

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Day 12:
Breakfast – Peach and almonds before working out
Lunch – Chili on a bed of spinach
Dinner – Apple with Almond Butter (we went to a dinner party and didn’t eat and were starving when we got home but it was too late for a meal)

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Day 13:
Breakfast – Smoked Salmon with Blueberries (and Scrambled Eggs for Gil)
Lunch – Chicken Sausage (leftover)
Dinner – Chili (leftover)

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Day 14:
Breakfast – Pork Hash with a slice of tomato (Gil also had 2 boiled eggs)
Lunch – Green Curry with Chicken (my own recipe and it’s delicious! post coming soon)
Dinner – Chilean Sea Bass with Sautéed Broccolini and Roasted Purple Potatoes

Whole 30 – A Realistic Meal Plan – Week 1

My husband and I have decided to give the Whole 30 Program a try. A lot of people find this program intimidating because you do have to cut so many things out of your regular diet and they don’t provide a set meal plan, just a shopping list and some basic master recipe suggestions. I have tried a lot of various eating plans and cleanses and I have to say that the lack of specific instruction is exactly why I am loving this one so far. I can use so many of my normal recipes that our meals almost seem normal other than not being able to have any sugar or the occasional glass of wine.

General idea of the Whole 30 Program is 30 days without:
Sugar or sweeteners (real or artificial, including honey, agave, etc.)
Alcohol (not even for cooking)
Dairy
Grains
Legumes
MSG or sulfites
Soy
Replacement baked goods or junk food (GF, DF, Paleo, etc.)

I did some research on Whole 30 blogs and people’s meal plans but I honestly don’t know anyone who has the time or energy to cook 21 different homemade meals in a week.  I certainly don’t want to do that, and I love to cook!  Also, most Whole 30 meal plans are heavily reliant on eggs and I am allergic to them. So, I just read the book and created my own meal plan. I say that this is a realistic meal plan because it includes real life strategies like using leftovers and eating the same thing for lunch and breakfast more than once in a week. For example, on Day 1 I made a Pork Hash, something I made up and had never made before, and my husband has requested it for breakfast every day this week. We’ll get tired of it soon but since I can’t eat eggs, I’m guessing you’ll see a lot of variations of hashes in my breakfast meal plans. Although it is really good, we are getting a little tired of this same salad so we have been trying to switch it up with different meats but I have already decided that Week 2 will feature a lot of dinner leftovers for lunch.The key to lunch for us is having something tasty that is easy to pack to take to work with us. Also, we have found that with eating healthy, substantial meals, we aren’t always hungry for 3 big meals per day so you’ll see the meals where we chose to just eat some almonds and fruit to tide us over to the next meal because we just weren’t very hungry.

I’m going to blog each week about what we actually ate and I’ll link to recipes that I created to be Whole 30 compliant (links in bold, I’ll add more recipes as I can get them posted). Since I already exclude a lot of ingredients from my diet, my normal recipes are fitting in very nicely to this plan. For those of you who don’t normally deal with food restrictions due to allergies, I can imagine that it is a much bigger transition so hopefully you will find this helpful! I’ll also include where I added eggs to Gil’s portion so you have the option of doing it with or without eggs. (Although, I have to say that if I could eat eggs, you would definitely see an omelet or scramble or frittata for breakfast quite a few days).

Drinks: We have had 1 cup of pressed coffee with a teaspoon of coconut milk each morning and other than that we have only had water. I did make infused water by putting a few slices of lime, cucumber, and some crushed mint leaves in a pitcher of water. We leave this in the fridge and grab a glass any time we are wanting something other than water to drink and it really does help satisfy that craving.

For portion size of all meals – the protein should be about the size of your palm and the rest of the plate should be produce, mostly veggies.

Day 1:
Breakfast – Pork Hash & half of a peach
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole and Grilled Chicken
Dinner – Tilapia with Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Caprese Salad (pictured below)

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Day 2:
Breakfast – Pork Hash (leftovers) & a plum (Gil also had 3 boiled eggs) (pictured below)
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole and Grilled Chicken (leftovers)
Dinner – Tarragon Cream Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Green Beans

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Day 3:
Breakfast – Raw Almonds, a nectarine, and 3 strawberries (Gil also had 3 boiled eggs)
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole and Grilled Chicken (leftovers) (pictured below)
Dinner – Yellow Curry Chicken with Broccoli and Cauliflower (this was a recipe from the book and it was awful, I’ll work on a tastier adaptation)

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Day 4:
Breakfast – Pork Hash & 3 strawberries (Gil also had 2 scrambled eggs) (pictured below)
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole and Sautéed Salmon
Dinner – Raw almonds, a plum, and a banana

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Day 5:
Breakfast – Pork Hash (leftovers) & half of a peach (Gil also had 2 scrambled eggs)
Lunch – Dry roasted almonds & a banana (Gil also had 2 scrambled eggs)
Dinner – Sirloin Steak with Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Green Beans (pictured below)

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Day 6:
Breakfast – Smoked Salmon with Roasted Potatoes and a peach (Gil also had 2 scrambled eggs)
Lunch – We had a late breakfast so we weren’t hungry and just ate dinner a little earlier.
Dinner – Chimichurri Steak Kabobs (from Whole Foods, I checked all ingredients) (pictured below)

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Day 7:
Breakfast – Smoked Salmon with a handful of blueberries (Gil also had 3 boiled eggs)
Lunch -Chimichurri Steak Kabobs (leftovers)
Dinner – Mexican Chicken with Roasted Asparagus

Is is worth it?
So far, we are feeling great and I’m honestly not really missing anything very much eating this way. Gil is missing bread very, very much but is feeling pretty good and still on board to keep going. Other benefits: I have found that I love spending more time at the meat counter at Whole Foods getting high quality meats and I really love having a refrigerator full of healthy produce and actually eating all of it. We’re also saving a lot of money even though everything we ate last week was organic, grass-fed, pastured, etc. and was purchased at either the Farmer’s Market or Whole Foods. We do usually eat out quite a bit so not only are we saving money by eating at home, but we are finding that it feels like we have a lot more time together since we are working on the meals together and always at home after work. We have also found that we already have more energy and are getting a lot more things done on very long to-do list before we move to Spain (Read more about that here).

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the Whole 30 Program and this meal plan is simply my personal interpretation of the recommendations found in their book.