The Food Hangover Remedy {Plus A Deliciously Easy Dinner Recipe!}

It happened.

We’re tired, cranky, bloated, nauseated, feel as though we need to pop an ibuprofen, incredibly thirsty, craving a Jack’s gravy biscuit (OK, not really, but it seemed fitting), and there’s a lingering headache.

No, we didn’t spend our Halloween weekend in a bar…

But we did spend it indulging in candy, sweet potato fries, and ice cream.

 Rewind to a few months ago and the portion sizes of said candy, fries, and ice cream would have been close to my body weight in volume. Fast forward to the present, and over a three day span, I had around five snack sized bags of candy, not an entire plate of sweet potato fries, and a mini sized blizzard that I really didn’t want (Dearest Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Blizzard, you were worth it and don’t let anyone tell you differently. ❤ Mal’s taste buds).

Those treats (or tricks?) themselves are not bad. Indulging in them this weekend was not bad. I did not feel guilty. And I didn’t have regret.

Want a cupcake? Cookie? Candy bar? Candy corn? Chips? Okay, that’s not the end of the world. But, why? Are you tired, stressed, fresh out of an argument and it’s just an impulse decision? Is it simply a habit to eat a salty and/or sweet treat on Halloween or another holiday? Is it a way for you to cover up what you’re actually feeling…not good enough, not pretty, unloved, a bad wife, friend, employee? The food itself is not bad and these feelings themselves are not bad, but when we use that same food as a way to “push under the rug,” our feelings and emotions, choose not to deal with them, let them grow and grow, and keep feeding our stomach instead of our soul…that is when it is unhealthy.

So, wait a few minutes, a couple hours, or even a day, drink some water, and see if you still want it. Figure out why you want it and what you’re expecting to get out of it.

If you still do, have it. If you don’t, congratulations, you don’t have to eat it because it’s there and you have your power back. If you did eat it, how did it make you feel after? How much did you need to eat to be satisfied? OR did you eat the entire Costco sized bag of mixed candy bars??

{Someone made a comment in passing this weekend that stood out to me. God gave us taste buds. If he didn’t want us to enjoy food, he wouldn’t have given us taste buds. Food was not simply given to sustain us but He also gives it to us for our enjoyment. In order to enjoy something, you can not be bound to it in such a way that it produces negative consequences. It should never make you feel like less of a person, or disgusted with yourself, or as a means to find your value as a human being. If anything other than God himself does that on your behalf, you will never measure up. Even if you never touch grains, sugar, soda, and dairy ever again.}

Give yourself a chance to think about the “why’s” of your eating habits.

Personally, for us, it’s simply about how these foods make us feel in regards to our GI system, my skin breakouts, and energy. And because of that…

Needless to say, the game face is back on. Lance and I decided we are going to “Whole30” it for 2 weeks. I realize this is not a Whole30, but that’s not the point of what we’re doing. I do think people are sometimes shocked when they see me indulge in a bite of a brownie, because they say, “What are you doing?! That’s not Whole30! What happened to Whole30?!” It’s like I got caught red handed in a love affair with the brownie bite, and at any moment the Whole30 police sirens will sound and before I know it, I’ll be face down with someone reading me my Whole30 rights while handcuffing my hands behind my back.

And to this I say…

You’re right, it’s not Whole30. But the Whole30 is just that…30. Not Whole365. We did the Whole30. And as of today, we’re doing a bit of a reset and calling it a Whole14.

As I’ve said before, we’ve seen and felt the benefits from following that lifestyle, and 95% of the time that’s how we choose to eat. If nothing else, moments filled with sugar, dairy, and fried goods make me thankful for the way I feel the other 95% and remind me why it’s worth the effort.

Speaking of effort, last week I made an incredibly easy, successful, healthy, and satisfying dinner that I’d love for you to add to your, Five Minute Prep Dinner Menu!

I got the idea from this “One Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken Dinner,” by laughing spatula.

I chose to use

Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (on sale at Publix)

2 pounds red potatoes (Sprouts)

16 oz bag of baby carrots (Publix)

Less that 2-4 T olive oil

Dried rosemary

Dried garlic

Salt

Pepper

Cutting board

Knife

1 Gallon sized, resealable plastic bag

At the same time, I opted to separately roast a few sweet potatoes using my favorite recipe of coconut oil and salt so that I’d have some for the week.

AFTER all your ingredients are gathered, (feel free to substitute other vegetables, but for simplicity of using one pan to cook at one time, I’d choose similar root vegetables. For example, broccoli will definitely burn if you follow this recipe), preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

WASH and cut your red potatoes. I like mine cut into four parts each.

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ADD cut potatoes and baby carrots into the gallon sized plastic bag.

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ADD in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic, salt, and rosemary to taste (you can always add more once in the baking pan.)

Per usual, like Taylor Swift…shake, shake, shake. 

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Tip: While you are shaking to mix ingredients, leave air in the bag, fold down the resealable portion of bag and hold the folded down portion while shaking. Otherwise, the bag may open, sending your oily vegetables flying…on your freshly mopped floor. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

ONCE combined, place those veggies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and start preparing chicken.

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There were four thighs per package, and it came out to around $1 per chicken thigh with TONS of flavor pay off…thank you very much. 

REPEAT the same method for chicken as you did for the vegetables.

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It’s not pretty, but it’s effective! (These plastic bags are from ALDI. I can’t bring myself to use my brand name bags for this method)

PLACE seasoned chicken thighs on top of the veggies placed on baking pan.

COOK in the oven for the recommended 40-50 minutes, (40 minutes for me), and before you know it…

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Dinner is served!

Last week, I made this Tuesday evening and again on Friday evening. Lance and I went to the movies Friday, but didn’t have time to grab dinner before (and let’s be real…movie/dinner dates are SO expensive overpriced these days!), so I packed this up and we ate it in the car 🙂 Fancy, I know.

I had it for lunch today as well, and it’s still just as good.

How we’re getting back to our new normal

Following a splurge weekend, like I said before, we are ready to feel “Whole30-fied” again.

So, on the menu for the week is this new crockpot butternut squash soup that is “crock potting” as we speak. I left out the sage (simply because I didn’t have it), added cinnamon, and subbed canned coconut milk for almond milk. Fingers crossed it’s edible!

I’ve already prepped the walnuts, spices, and de-thawed the pork for this old faithful of a recipe, and I plan on roasting some broccoli with this as well.

As sure as the sun rises and sets, I’ll be making cubed sweet potatoes with coconut oil and salt at some point.

From last week I have a couple more servings of the above chicken thigh recipe and some cooked ground deer meat. Yum!

Sidenote

If you are concerned about the fat of the chicken thighs, don’t be. If you are eating a healthy diet that doesn’t include grains and processed sugar, the healthy fats and their calories are what keep you satiated, full, and also energy filled.

I always say that I’ve eaten more fat from ghee, raw and seasoned nuts, avocados, and oils than I have my entire life. AND guess what????

My jeans fit better than ever. 

Yep!

{Healthy} fat in moderation doesn’t make you fat!

Now, if you’re eating too many almonds or pecans, and having too many spoonfuls of almond butter because “it’s healthy,” so, “I can eat as much as I want,” and using ghee for cooking while still munching on fries, ice cream, chocolates, bars, chips, etc…your jeans won’t fit better…even if the waistband is elastic.

Soooo, there’s that. 

P.S. My sweet, cute, fun, beautiful, and new to being a mom friend, Lexie, posted a blog today with a sweet potato shepherds pie recipe that I can basically guarantee is delicious! And it’s paleo/Whole30 approved 🙂

Whole30 With Half a Brain (And a Side Of Homemade Chicken Salad)

You know the saying, “I woke up on the wrong side of the bed?” Yes, well, this morning, I don’t think there was a “right” side of the bed.

After being greeted by Mr. Coffee Pot, I opened the refrigerator doors to take out some chicken sausage for a pre-workout snack, and like the Hoover Dam breaking loose, it hit me right in the face. We’re almost out of food. Shut the front door! (No really, shut and bolt it. No one else is getting in to eat the food I cook!) How are we almost out of food? I could have fed an army after food prep Sunday?!

Chicken Fajita Meal? Gone.

Mashed Cauliflower? Empty.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes? Also gone.

Berries? Barely hanging on.

By the grace of God, there were a few turkey meatballs and a couple servings of crockpot chicken. For some reason, in that moment, I became so overwhelmed with figuring out how to feed this army Lance. 

Then came the crazy eyes. If you saw me today, and I looked a bit frazzled, dazed, or let’s be real, just outright crazy, It’s because I was…am?

Where do you go to feed a human that needs to consume his body weight multiplied by 37 in calories?? Dear Lord, please let Lance’s stomach shrink. Soon.

Costco!

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I dare him to eat all of this. (But, really, please don’t 🙂 )

Once home, I decided to make a compliant mayonnaise for a chicken salad. After putting in all ingredients and completing the recipe, unfortunately the next step was to taste. Ugh. Apparently, the recipe called for “light” olive oil and not “extra virgin.” Who knew there was a difference?! Now I do. So, I took my incredibly irritated behind to Publix where I proceeded to get stuck behind every slow walker in the universe. At checkout, I used a gift card (remember when I returned $22 of almond butter 🙂 ), and there should have been $22 on it. There was $7. Not OK, not today, I want my money. And my sanity (and control).

I strolled to the customer service desk where the employee spent 10 minutes trying to figure it out. Even after 5 minutes behind a locked door, where I’m assuming Publix magic happens, he couldn’t. He called someone to him over the loud speaker. She arrived and they tapped around on the keyboard a bit before calling headquarters. “Headquarters can look up every purchase on the card.” Five minutes pass and I wonder if they know I’m on the Whole30, cooking for a man who eats 75,000 calories a day, and I haven’t had gelato in 10 days…so I’m ill. I decide they don’t and just keep smiling.

He hangs up the phone, obviously to give me what’s mine, my 15 missing dollars.

“Ma’am it looks like on the day these items were returned there was a $15.11 purchase made as well and placed on this gift card.”

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhh. 

“Would you like me to look into it further?”

Ummmm…no. Thank you.

If he knew that I’m on Whole30 and due to lack of chemically laden, sugar-filled foods, now have half a brain, surely he’d understand, right?

I didn’t wait around to find out. I apologized for taking his time and told him that I’m crazy but very appreciative of his efforts. I bought some groceries the day I returned said almond butter. 

I let the thought of having the perfect Whole30 completely stress me out! Sort of like the weight of all the world’s vegetables were on my shoulders.

The Whole30 for me is supposed to help clear brain fog, not create it. It’s suppose to relieve anxiety, not cause it. And I believe it will, it’s just a process.

I got home, put on my big girl panties and got to work.

The Fixings

A double portion of this fajita recipe.

A double portion of this mashed cauliflower, adjusted to be Whole30.

2-3 cups of this almond butter.

Early this AM, I placed a beef brisket in the crockpot with some sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, and a few seasonings. It just seems too good to be true, but I’ll let you know if it’s any good 🙂

I did peel, chop into cubes, cover in coconut oil, cinnamon and salt, 3 sweet potatoes for breakfast and lunch carbs.

The Main Attraction

Whole30 Chicken Salad

I’ve never made chicken salad. Never. I used to eat my mom’s in high school but that’s been a few (hah!) years 🙂

First up: Mayonnaise.

Here’s the lineup:

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 and here’s that recipe! Please go to your closest grocery store and get “light” olive oil before you begin. Please.

Next, the “salad” portion:

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Top, left to right: 4 T chopped chives, 1 T parsley, 1/4 t dried dill, 1/2 t dried basil, salt.

Bottom: Juice of 1/2 small lemon, 1 C mayonnaise. (I didn’t use it all.)

And, of course, no chicken salad is complete without the star of the show:

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I had 3 chicken breasts that I seasoned with salt and pepper on each side, placed on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and baked at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, turned them over and cooked for 15 more minutes. After letting it cool, cut each breast into quarters and started pulling away, which was oddly therapeutic.

Mix it all together and BAM:

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You have Whole30 chicken salad.

Happy Hump Day! Here’s to Lance’s stomach and appetite shrinking immensely…Cheers! (With an approved LaCroix, of course.)  🙂

Prep School || Whole30 Style

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.
-Alexander Graham Bell
We’ve all heard Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Truth. Smart man, that Albert. So, if we know that quote to be a truth, why do we still talk about wanting to feel, look, act, sound, move, live differently and somehow wake up each day and make the same decision(s) over and over again like a bad version of Groundhog Day…still. Stuck. Maybe it’s not physical for you (although I’m confident we all struggle here), and its emotional or relational.
 Make a change. It’s OK to want more for yourself. It’s OK to demand more for yourself. You may feel silly, weird, out-of-place and that’s OK too! 
I’ve found that when I’m making this change because of the desire for something more, 10 out of 10 times, it involves putting myself out there, being vulnerable, open to failure, open to rejection, but also open to the possibility that it could be more than I ever imagined.
The “What if?” Game
What if I put myself out there, make plans to change known? Plans to eat better, get off meds, feel better, lower cholesterol, improve sleep and well-being, be stronger, live longer for my children? We ALL want this! The fear of failing and not being enough keeps us stuck right where we are, BP meds and all. What If I start going to the gym, try to eat healthy, but fall of the wagon and then everyone knows I failed? People will think I’m incompetent. They’ll think I’m not good enough…and I believe them.
It’s OK to think, “what if,” but don’t let that stop you from being a better version of you! Don’t let fear keep you in a tiny box where you’re comfortable letting your insecurities keep you contained. Be bold. Be unordinaryBe the best you.
 He will give me (and you) strength to replace pride with humility and proceed. Growth. 
Fear is a crazy powerful thing.
…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7
(My recent growth involves publishing a blog called RealigningRhodes 🙂 )
Pride Goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
Likely, you’ll be stepping outside of your comfort zone to better yourself, otherwise you would have done it long ago. Good. That allows growth! God created us. God loves us. God didn’t design us to live miserable lives. He designed us to live joyful lives. Joy can be found even in the midst of affliction, pain, sorrow, and discomfort, as well as times that aren’t so difficult. BUT joy is a choice. choose to find my joy in Him and His truth. He defines me. He makes me whole. 

Speaking of whole, back to our regularly scheduled blog now 🙂 Hah!

Whole30 Prep School
 Preparation IS the key to success in basically every aspect of life, {If you’re type A, like myself, preparation is the only option for success and all the other non-preparers out there just confuse us.}
I’ve been making these salads on Sundays for as long as I can remember. It’s so easy, pretty quick, and makes lunch much simpler throughout the week. You’re guaranteed a salad each day and you’ll be out much less denaro than buying one pre-made elsewhere, plus YOU control the ingredients! Control? Sign me up!
Needed
Cutting board
Knife
Containers to store mixed salads
10-16 oz of organic greens (spring mix, spinach…) ($4-$7, organic)
Small, pre-cut or shredded carrots ($0.99, organic)
Pre-cut celery ($2)
Grape Tomatoes ($1.50, organic)
Mini bell peppers ($1.75)
(get creative here, anything fresh can go)
Sprouts are fun
Cucumbers also a great choice
I love adding beets as well!
Gather
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Cut
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Mix
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Marvel at Your Makings
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Salad greens for the gold!  Seriously, how easy is that?? You can easily get 6-7 salads out of 16 oz spring mix container!
Grab this, some meat left over from dinner, 1/4-1/2 avocado and you are set!
You can eat healthy, give your body what it needs to feel great, feel stronger with each wise decision made and be the best you! For yourself and others! For me, that’s why I’m doing The Whole30.
Preparation always precedes success, remember that!

{Hot Topic} Black Coffee. Will It Be the End of Me and My Whole30 Journey?

Black

*(of a period of time or situation) characterized by tragic or disastrous events; causing despair or pessimism.

*(of a person’s state of mind) full of gloom or misery; very depressed.

*full of anger or hatred.

*very evil or wicked.

These are definitions of black, straight from Mr. Google himself. AND they match my drinking-black-coffee-emotions perfectly. Or, they did 🙂

I’m not lying when I tell you that this whole, “black coffee,” thing talked about in the Whole30 was the dark cloud looming overhead and the sole reason I didn’t start sooner. No CoffeeMate creamer, no honey, no truvia? No can do.

Every night, Lance prepares our coffee and works magic, so that when we wake up in the morning, the anticipation of being greeted in the kitchen by the blue light of Mr. Coffee Pot, saying, “I’m ready, come drink and bask in my wonderful goodness,” is as good as waking up and finding a pot of gold at the end of our rainbow bed.

For me, coffee + hazelnut creamer go together like movie + popcorn, or white + rice. You simply can’t have one without the other. Or can you?

Mr. and Mrs. Hartwig, authors of The Whole30, say that you can.

Is coffee allowed on The Whole30? Yes.

Yes, you can drink coffee. You’re welcome. You can drink it black, add compliant coconut milk or almond milk, or add cinnamon or ground vanilla beans to the brew. But remember, Whole30 guidelines exclude milk, cream, non-compliant milk substitutes, and any form of added sugar or sweeteners. And (tough love aged), if you “just don’t like”  black coffee, you are either not buying good coffee or you actually don’t like coffee-you just like the sweet, creamy stuff you typically add to coffee.

Flavored Coffee. Read your labels.

Some flavored coffees use natural ingredients like cinnamon and vanilla beans to lend some excitement to their beans, and those are fine on the Whole30. However, avoid coffees flavored with extracts (usually alcohol based), artificial flavors, added sweeteners, or chemicals. Ingredients lists aren’t always printed on your bag of beans, so you may have to contact your favorite coffee company for more details on their process.

Almond Milk. Read your labels or make your own.

Though it does exist, compliant commercially produced almond milk is hard to find. Ingredients like added sugar (in any form) or carrageenan will render most store-bought almond milks off-limits for your Whole30. The alternative is to make your own-but remember, no added sweetener!

(FYI: Carrageenan is used to thicken processed foods, and is found in everything from deli meat to yogurt to chocolate. Carrageenan is inflammatory if it gets through the gut lining into the body. It’s actually used in laboratory studies to create inflammation in animals.)

Did you feel your stomach turn a little bit when you practically audibly heard them say, if you “just don’t like” black coffee, you just like the sweet, creamy stuff you add to your coffee? I basically saw them looking at me with tough-love eyes. Ugh, Fine. 

Can it be done? Yes.

I’m very happy to report that I’m alive and well. I do now indeed drink my coffee and drink it black. At first, I added in a couple spoonfuls of coconut milk (prior to starting Whole30 in preparation), but realized because it has, “potassium metabislufite,” listed as an ingredient, It is not Whole30 compliant. Since I can’t find a compliant version at Publix or Aldi, I looked online and found this compliant option:

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Found at Whole Foods.

*Well, driving down 280 for Whole30 approved coconut milk did not sound appealing, so I drank it black. And I lived. And I actually enjoyed it! (I immediately looked out the window to make sure pigs weren’t flying.)

Suggestions

Several people add ghee, coconut oil, vanilla beans (vanilla extract is a Whole30 no-no as they all contain alcohol or sugar alcohol), and/or cinnamon and enjoy that as well.

What if (gasp) you just don’t enjoy coffee anymore? Thats OK! Swap to hot tea in the morning if you’re still wanting the hot beverage routine we’ve all come to love, OR, (bigger gasp) get off caffeine.

Lance and I have done this before for a Daniel Fast and wowza! It was intense. I’ve never detoxed from drugs, but I felt like I was for 3 days. Don’t they have a special rehab for coffee quitters? No? They should. Now, we used the cold turkey method, and I wouldn’t do that again, but I would use this method if I decided to quit caffeine completely.

Personally, after all of this, I feel slightly silly for dreading the black coffee change. It’s not a big deal. I did like the sweet & creamy concoction that was the highlight of my morning routine and the thought of not having it really did make me anxious. So, I asked myself if the creamer was hurting and/or helping my body? Is it making me healthier? Helping me reach my goals?

Nope.

 I’m not doing the Whole30 and putting all this time and effort into succeeding, bettering myself and my body, to let a plastic filled jar of liquid take me down. Nope.

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RIP Hazelnut Creamer! You really weren’t that good to me and now I’m not even sad to see you go!

*I will be making a drive for approved coconut milk because it’s a necessity for the Whole30 in recipes such as Mashed Cauliflower. Worth it.