Our Whole30 is nearly coming to an end. My husband’s joint pain is gone (as is his horrible acid reflux), we’ve lost inches everywhere, we’re back to eating nutrient-dense food all the time, and sleeping soundly. Not too shabby for a couple week’s worth of effort.
I’d like to say that I’m sad about the final week being upon us, but truthfully, I really want to be able to go out with friends again and eat without all the rules hovering over my shoulder. Yes, this week I got a little fed up with food rules. It hit me like a ton of bricks that I was actually annoyed with having to think so hard again about what to eat, particularly about whether or not a recipe would be replicating junk food, for example. A case of the I’m so over this hit this week. Hard. And yet something really cool came from being in that place… My love for cooking was sparked again.
Taking a few minutes to reflect on the ups and downs of Week 3, I’m reminded about the importance of personal responsibility and one of the values that we learn from Whole30: learning to ride our own bike. Whole30 is meant to be a tool for us to learn what works best for us so that we can make informed decisions about our bodies for the rest of our life, certainly not about mindlessly following a diet™ program for the sake of following the program. In my brain, this somehow applies to the meals we’re cooking for ourselves, not just in terms of the foods we’re omitting. Who wants to eat food that sucks? When I put more effort into our meals, we loved them and didn’t feel like we were following any kind of perimeters. When I put in minimal effort and serve something half-assed or not well thought out, I am confronted by the limitations we’re working within. And I don’t like it.
So at the end of the day, choosing to take the time to prepare food that tastes great and agrees with our personal constitution wins again. Apparently I needed that reminder this week.
I was also reminded how much I love Scotch eggs and was super duper happy that I finally had a chance to make them. I shared a video on Instagram with a trick for getting evenly formed Scotch eggs. Do you know that using plastic wrap is the key? I’ll show you:
Here are the highs and lows from Week 3 with our family:
Week Three Non-Scale Victory
My non-scale victory this week was that I have totally fallen back in love with cooking again. I’ve been in a creative funk since writing The Frugal Paleo Cookbook (coming up with a hundred recipes in 3 months will do that to you!). Playing around in the kitchen again has sparked something that makes me want to spend my time the way I used to: experimenting with different ideas and learning new cooking methods. A funk from getting tired of the same old foods triggered something awesome. This week refreshed and inspired me. And that, my friends, is a big victory!
The High of The Week:
I had a blast in the kitchen last Sunday. I really wanted to ring in week three with some fun food. I ended up making Uova In Purgatorio for the first time and then grabbed a couple favorite cookbooks off my shelf. I made the Devils on Horseback from Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans and the Oven-Fried Salmon Cakes from Well Fed 2. I also threw together some braised chicken in a smokey pork stock that my dad gave to me. Which is a bit of a bizarre gift now that I’m thinking about it. Some girls get flowers, I get smokey pork stock? Fair enough. I seared sectioned chicken in avocado oil, then braised it in about of cup of the pork stock (since it had quite an intense flavor), a container of fresh tomatillo salsa, and a little bit of mushroom stock of all things. My fridge gets a little weird from time to time. No judgement! The end result was something spectacular. I think I was too busy doing dishes to have time to take pictures… You’ll just have to trust me that it was a delicious day of some of my favorite things.
The Low of The Week:
I realized that I made a mistake last week. Allow me to be your example as to why it is important to always read the details. I saw a recipe while thumbing through my copy of the Whole30 Guide for “Compound Butter” with a picture that looked exactly like the recipe I’m familiar with an just assumed it was made with actual butter. Except butter isn’t allowed on Whole30.
I just thought that it was something that got changed since the last time I read up on it. Nupe. I was wrong. And the worst part was an Instagram user pointed it out to me! No hiding this mistake.
We were at a crossroads. According to Whole30 rules, if something that’s off limits is eaten, followers have to start over from Day 1. Whole30 essentially functions as an elimination diet, so it’s important to keep “no” foods out of our system for the full 30 days. Which brings me to the crossroads: Do we start over or do we soldier on? We chose the latter, and here’s why.
The first thing is that neither of us reacted. We didn’t notice a difference that day at all — other than being super happy with eating a great breakfast. And I loved that I finally got a break from cooking. It didn’t occur to me that anything was wrong because nothing was wrong, if that makes sense. Having been a Paleo follower for about three years now, many of the benefits that come with this way of eating are in place: a solid gut, balanced hormones, inflammation that’s under control. Slipping up and having a bit of butter isn’t going to run me off my tracks. And it didn’t. So I’m OK with the accident being an accident and moving on with life. The second reason why is because it was a complete mistake. It wasn’t one of those moments where I was just dying for some Hollandaise sauce and was throwing the guidelines to the side. And the third reason is that come Day 31, I know I’m going to go back to having butter in my diet again because I already know that it’s something I can have.
I’m bummed to have made a mistake that has the potential to mislead others though. That’s the real low point for me.
So just remember: NO BUTTER.
I woke up on Sunday to four eggs and some Italian sausage, clearly the balance was off for making a frittata. Then I remembered that I always wanted to try making Uova In Purgatorio, or eggs in purgatory. Seriously what kind of Italian am I that I’ve never made this?! Thankfully, it’s quite easy to prepare and equally easy to enjoy. Flavorful, hearty, and a great way to use up leftovers.
And that’s exactly how I’d recommend using this recipe. If you have leftovers from spaghetti night, do yourself a solid and make this number for breakfast the next day. I know I’m not the only one who makes extra sauce for leftovers! Need a good bolognese recipe, by chance? I’ve got a couple on my site you can grab. This one is a bit more involved, and this one is pretty simple. Just use the ingredients and instructions that pertain to the sauce and disregard the rest.
When you’re ready to make the Uova In Purgatorio, pour the sauce into an oven-safe pan (here’s the one in the picture below) and crack a few eggs directly into the sauce. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for about 30 minutes or until the eggs have set.
Despite the fish tasting great, this was our worst meal. I have to whip up dinner right when I walk in the door from work and then eat, get changed, and clean up the kitchen before my friend shows up in my driveway to drag me out the door for our evening walk/jog with the kids. PS: You know you have a good friend when they show up whether you’re happy about it or not in order to help you meet a goal you know you won’t hold yourself accountable to on your own.
I toss the mahi in some seasoned arrowroot flour and pop it in the oven for an oven-fried thing, then start working on the potatoes. I thinly slice some fingerlings and lay them in a hot skillet with a fair amount of melted ghee in the pan. I’m going for one of those thin pancake kind of things, buuuuuut I wasn’t thinking and mixed it up by mistake. It ended up looking like potato chips!
It gets worse. So I resign to the fact that I’m essentially having baked fish (that is not browning like it needs to) and chips for dinner. Fantastic. I go to season the potatoes with just a touch more salt and accidentally dump fine grain sea salt into the pan. I mean like a quarter cup of salt. No fixing that! So I pick around the pile to salvage what I could, but ultimately the entire thing was a loss.
This picture below is just before I tried to force myself to eat. The non-salty bites were decent, but otherwise the potatoes were inedible. The fish however did recover. I made a quick fried garlic butter sauce (using ghee) which you can find in The Frugal Paleo Cookbook, and spooned a bit over the fish fresh out of the oven. THAT was dreamy delish.
We’re heading into our last week now and I’m excited to do a final look-back over the past month of a successful Whole30. We’ll be celebrating Day 31 on September 2!
- The Whole30 Handbook
- Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans
- Well Fed 2
- Stainless, oven-safe skillet
- Whole30 Program Rules