Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Whole30 Resources

When Victoria did Whole30, I was FULL of skepticism...not that it would work, but that it was possible for someone who is no where near as dedicated as she is.

Amazingly, it wasn't hard. Once I made the decision, I only once or twice had the "ugh why I am doing this" feeling. Looking like this at the end was 100% worth it:

That red dress is tiny. I am wearing a slip under it, btw. And no, not spanx.

What I really DID love was all of the cooking. I recognize that I may be alone in loving cooking at night, but to me, there is nothing more wonderful than coming home, having nothing else on my plate to deal with, and spending time making a beautiful dinner. This is my recent, brag-worthy meal:

Seared halibut with broccoli, mango salsa, cauli-rice, and paleo aioli 

I am already a pretty good cook, at least, I like to think so. I've come a long way from making a too-lemony steak and only having about 2-3 staple dishes. Even better, I've gotten much faster in the kitchen. A good dinner doesn't take 2+ hours, and a quick dinner is sometimes the best food I can make. But even for those of you who are not yet amazing chefs, I think you'll find all of this to be pretty easy.

I rely on a few different cookbooks for inspiration. If you are interested in going Whole30, you should pick up the following resources:

If you follow that link, you can can a free 30 page PDF of the book. You can also check out the other recipes that Melissa has written. I love love love her cookbook and have made some of these dishes several times. Most of them reheat very well and make excellent lunches.

This cookbook has produced some of the best recipes (most notably the bacon quiche, the apple dessert, and the chicken "gumbo.") Again, very very easy. 

I've just gotten into this book and I already love it. I've had a miss or two, but some of the recipes are real winners.

My parents gave me this cookbook for Christmas and it is probably my most cherished cookbook. I have hoards of notes in it. This book convinced my that paleo was a) practical (ha) and b) delicious.

I'm still gathering and testing paleo cookbooks, so if you have one, please let me know!

Pantry Staples:
The stranger side of going paleo meant introducing new foods to my pantry as staples...things I figured I would NEVER use again. Wrong. 

1) Spices. I had a pretty serious stock of the normal spices, but halfway through Whole30, I found myself walking down to Georgetown to pick up almost $100 of spices from the Spice and Tea Exchange. I strongly recommend buying spices in bulk from a vendor like this (Central Market offers spices in bulk, which is very unfair for those of us living outside of Texas). 

Here are a few of the things I go through on a weekly basis:
- Cumin
- Paprika
- Chili Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
- Cinnamon
- Ginger
- Nutmeg
- Corriander

2) Non-Wheat Flours. I really like something sort of sweet after dinner. I love quiche. I want to bread things. Enter these new flours:
- Coconut flour
- Almond flour
- Potato flour

3) Coconut milk. This goes in so many things - from sauces and marinades to coconut whipped cream to...frankly, just eating the coconut fat out of the can. I have at least 4-6 cans of it at any time. Pro-tip: the blue can (I think goya?) SUCKS. Not nearly enough fat. Stick with the trader joes or whole foods brand.

4) Coconut oil. We'll never use butter or vegetable oil ever again. Seriously. Just go buy a jar at costco. It's all I cook with.

5) Produce. I go through onions, shallots, green onions, red onions, celery, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach like no tomorrow. Onions especially. They seem to be the base in almost everything I make. I have also been buying an untold amount of cilantro and parsley. For fruit, we're a little light since we try to stay away from sugar in most forms, but we try to eat seasonally - berries and apples right now. And PEACHES.

6) MEAT. Just...go buy all of it. I go to Costco for things like pork tenderloin and ground beef, as well as chicken. I get sausage at WholeFoods, as well as lamb, ground bison (delicious), bacon, steak and fish. The better the quality, the better the result. Btw, please stop freezing your steak. Do not make the mistake I made.

A brief note on the "expense" of paleo. First, you need to be buying high quality food. Go organic (even if only for the dirty dozen), buy free range, antibiotic free, and vegetarian-fed protein. Do you want to eat a chicken that hasn't moved and has sat around only eating another bird's shit until their next grain serving? No? Me either.

I am not a vegetarian because...no thanks. But I do believe in the sanctity of living things. I do my best to honor the animal that I am eating by choosing protein from providers that treat animals well. It's cheap to treat things poorly. It is expensive to care for the life of this earth. Do your part. 

Also - I KNOW it is more expensive in some cases. But if you bought a really nice car that required premium fuel, but you only fueled it with cheap gas....what do you expect would happen? Your body is a pretty expensive car. Fuel it with the good stuff.

And finally. If you cook in bulk, buy intelligently and seasonally, you'll probably come out on top.

Going back around on Whole30 a week from today when I get home from Colorado! Do it with me.


  1. Those photos are quite convincing but the meat is a non-starter. :(

  2. Yeah, it's very up front and honest about NOT being vegetarian friendly (soy products are not part of my diet and neither are legumes) so we have to get protein from meats.

    Everyone's bodies are calibrated a little differently - if yours is meant to be vegetarian, then there you have it!

  3. I think I might take you up on the Whole30..Do you have It Starts With Food? or Everyday Paleo? I'm thinking of getting those two next. I've become a Paleo book hoarder I think.

  4. mia, nice read. You do look great! :)