Not only did I survive visiting my parents, but I made it through Week 1! Yay me! Quite an achievement given that it took me 3 days to complete Day 1. 😉 My food bill is certainly feeling the effects – for the better! Many people complain about Paleo being more expensive, but per kg, veggies – even the organic ones – are still cheap relative to many packaged goods and they’re certainly a lot healthier. As I’m not eating dairy, the lovely expensive cheeses and deli goods I tend to succumb to are no more. I’ve cut my meat intake down a bit too … I’ve realised that I don’t actually need much to sustain me – I’m finding about 100g twice a day is plenty and at a max price of $30 per kg (that’s just what I buy) that’s less than $3 per meal. As I’m not allowed to create substitute foods while doing the Whole30 (like paleo cookies or pancakes) I’ve stopped buying the ‘little’ things that seem to add a lot to my bill, like maple syrup, dried fruit and chocolate and I’m not using as many nuts.
I’ve been following a few key principles this week to ensure I stay on track and don’t consume any contraband as well as try to eat 9 cups of veg (3 green leaf, 3 sulphur, 3 colour) each day.
- keep it simple – eat the same easy to prepare meals repeatedly. This was a key principle of the 4 Hour Body. I like to vary when I eat them though for a bit of variety and I often eat what’s most convenient at the time.
- make as many meals as possible in advance. I don’t like to keep pre-made food for more than 5 days, so this means cooking at least twice per week, but it doesn’t have to be difficult stuff. Fire up the bbq and put on some burgers or chicken or steak. Serve with salad or steamed veg (can pre cook these too) or soup. Pre-making meals means that you wont eat ‘other’ (i.e. non paleo, non Whole30) foods if you don’t feel like cooking dinner.
- plan ahead. When I visited my folks, I knew there would be a pantry full of temptation. I mapped out what I would eat, reminded myself of what I wouldn’t eat and double checked what their intentions were for dinner so I could be sure I had something suitable. Turns out Mum wanted saudi baharat bbq chicken which made things nice and Whole30 compliant. 🙂 Likewise when arranging to check out the new local coffee shop, my friend suggested we have breakfast but as I had no idea what would be on the menu I ate some food at home beforehand so I wouldn’t be starving and tempted if there was nothing Whole30 friendly. In the past I’ve taken my own food (usually activated walnuts, coconut flakes and maybe some goji berries) to social events just in case there’s nothing suitable to eat otherwise (granted I don’t take food to a cafe or restaurant!). Most major event venues wont have suitable options so I eat a big meal beforehand and take enough snacks to cover me until I can eat a proper meal again. Most cafes and restaurants will accommodate you if you ask nicely (and don’t be afraid to suggest an allergy if they’re being difficult – gluten and dairy intolerance is so common nowadays and most places have at least one suitable option).
- Breakfast: 1 cup cantaloupe, 1/2 cup bolognaise, 1/2 grapefruit, 1 tablespoon beetroot hummus, handful of snowpeas, coffeee with cardamom
- Lunch: 1 banana, handful of snowpeas, ~120g corned beef, 1 cup grated carrot
- Dinner: 1.5 thighs saudi baharat bbq chicken, 1 cup cos lettuce , 1 cup orange capsicum, olive oil and balsamic dressing, 2 cups watermelon gazpacho
- Breakfast: 1 cup kale pesto, 2 egg omelette (cooked in ghee), 1/2 bbq cold chicken thigh
- Lunch: 2 cups gazpacho, 2 plums, 100g cold beef and 100g bbq chicken, 1 cup cos lettuce, 1/2 cup orange capsicum, 1 tablespoon home-made sunbutter
- Dinner: ~90g Hopkins River Heston Burger (I cut a whole patty in half, they were just under 200g each). These are the best burgers I’ve ever had. 30% Black Angus Chuck, 30% Black Angus Brisket, 30% Black Angus 30-day dry aged short-ribs, 10% Robbin’s Island Wagyu. The taste and texture are just superb. Available from Skinner and Hackett if you’re in Melbourne. Accompanied beautifully by 1 tablespoon of beetroot hummus (when the beets are still warm from the oven, this is the best snack/side dish – it’s pretty damn good cold too) 2 cups mixed lettuce/bitter greens (olive oil and balsamic dressing), 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 zucchini sliced,olive oiled and bbq-ed, 1 cup grated carrot with grated turmeric, macadamia oil and hemp seeds.
- Breakfast: Zucchini fritters (2 eggs, other 1/2 of the bbq zucchini from last night, 1 cup almond meal, handful basil), fried in ghee, sprinkled with salt. Nom nom nom. 1/2 cup blueberries. Coffeeee with cardamom.
- Lunch: 1.5 cups kale pesto, 1 large grated carrot (approx 1.5 cups) with grated turmeric, hemp seeds, lemon juice and macadamia oil. Avoid getting the turmeric on your hands. They’ll be yellow for the rest of the day otherwise.
- Afternoon snack: 1 tablespoon sunflower butter, 1 cup cantaloupe
- Dinner: 1/2 HR Heston Burger (see Day 4), 2 tablespoons beet hummus, 2 cups mixed lettuce with olive oil and balsamic dressing, 1 cup leek and broccoli soup. Soup made by cooking 3 leeks in 2 tablespoons of ghee over low-med heat for about 8 mins (until soft), then adding 1 chopped broccoli, a chopped zucchini and 1 litre store-bought but Whole30 compliant chicken bone broth – brought to the boil then removed from heat. I used a hand blender to whiz it all into a fairly smooth slurry (my food processor is tiny – if you’ve got large one use it). The soup tasted AMAZING. Then I added lemon juice and parsley it didn’t taste AMAZING anymore as the lemon killed the lovely buttery leek flavour imparted by the ghee. It still tastes ok .. but next time I’m not adding anything but the ghee.
- Breakfast: 2 eggs hastily scrambled in not enough ghee so they stuck to the pan and dried out a lot. Meh. 1.5 cups cold leek and broccoli soup (see Day 5) – cold with lemon tasted better than hot with lemon, though maybe that’s because the memory of the AMAZING original no-lemon version was no longer fresh in my memory. Coffeeee at St Ali North (their chilled coffee is rather tasty).
- Lunch: 2 cups home-made sauerkraut. It tasted ok and I didn’t die afterwards. First attempt at sauerkraut passed the ‘tastes ok and didn’t kill me test’. Yay me! Need to chop the cabbage finer and into smaller pieces next time as will be easier to eat. Must remember this for coleslaw too for same reason. I’m a messy eater at the best of times and making things difficult with oddly shaped, lengthy vegetable fragments does not help matters at all. 1/2 Heston Burger (see Day 4), 2 tablespoons beet hummus, 3 tablespoons kale pesto, 1 plum.
- Afternoon snack: 1 tablespoon sunflower butter
- Dinner: 1/2 Heston burger, 2 tablespoons beetroot hummus, 1 cup gazpacho, 3/4 cup watermelon, 1 cup purple cabbage cooked in ghee and a little home-made bone broth. To make the broth I put a whole chicken (1.3kg) in a large pot, covered it with water (about 5 litres) added 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (helps release the bone goodness), a sprinkling of fennel seeds, about 20 peppercorns (lightly crushed), 2 fresh bay leaves, 4 parsley stems + leaves). No salt – apparently that inhibits the release of the bone goodness. I brought all that to the boil (this took about 20 mins on high heat), then gently simmered the chicken for 40 mins until it was soft/didnt ooze pink when I stuck it with a knife and the meat was falling off the bones. I removed all the lovely flesh (which only worked out to be about 450g chicken … where did all my chicky go?!). The bones got put back into the stock, and simmered over a very low heat (I have an induction cook top which has numerical settings from 1-9, and this was at 1) for 24 hours. Then I drained the stock, first through a fine sieve, then through a muslin/chux cloth (rinsed first to remove any nasties) lined sieve to get rid of some of the fat and any fine hard bits. Then I added about 3 tablespoons of pink salt flakes to the still warm broth. I ended up with just over 4 litres of stock. I’ll freeze half of it. It should last 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Will drink it on its own and also put into the next batch of leek and broccoli soup.
- Breakfast: 2 egg omelette, 2 cups purple cabbage (see day 6), coffeeee at St Ali North again. I ordered a long black first, and found it tasted quite bitter so I ordered another of the chilled filter coffee (still good). And after 2 proper coffees (as opposed to my regular at home stove-top percolated version, where two cups is the caffeine equiv of one proper espresso) I was BUZZING! Wowwee I need to remember to stick to only 1 cup of espresso in one sitting.
- Mid morning snack: 1/2 cup poached chicken (from the bone broth recipe day 6), 1 tablespoon sunflower butter
- Lunch: 2 cups gazpacho, 1/2 Heston burger, 1 tablespoon beet hummus
- Dinner: 1/2 Heston burger, 2 cups leek and broccoli soup
- After dinner snack: 1 cup yellow kale chips
So as you can see, the menu doesn’t vary too much. It’s quite repetitive but I’m still finding it to be highly appealing especially as I’m adding different fruits in here and there. There’s a few things I need to tweak – my variation of Elana’s kale pesto wasnt as good as the version I made NYE (which was way closer to her actual recipe) and the cog ended up with most of this batch (she thought it was awesome). I’ll add more broccoli to the leek and broccoli soup (extra sulphur veg) and of course leave out the lemon and parsley. I ran out of sherry vinegar, and while this changes the flavour of the gazpacho considerably, I also added extra watermelon, so it was sweet rather than tart (I do prefer the sherry vinegar version though). I’m still trying to work on getting 3 cups of leafy greens, 3 cups of sulphur and 3 coloured each day. Getting 9 cups total of veg isn’t that hard, but as things like snowpeas don’t fit those categories, and starchy veg like beets don’t count, I don’t always make the numbers.
Bring on Week 2!