Tag Archives: whole30 prep

Where’s the Food?! (Part 1)

I had a very important Whole30 epiphany this morning as I woke up thinking about melty contraband cheese:  there are essentially two ways to look at Whole30 eating.

Option 1: I can’t eat ANYTHING. Where is the damn food?!
Option 2: Look at all this brand-new-to-me food! I get to try eating all this weird stuff!

Survival depends on choosing option two.

Some of these foods have just entered my universe with the start of the program. Others are items I frankly thought would be boring or gross… but by necessity (and curiosity) I’m now frequently finding them on my plate. Here’s a roundup of some Week One discoveries:

Most surprising(and most versatile): Ghee

My initial thoughts were “Wtf is GHEE? How do I even pronounce that? Why is this butter shelf-stable? This looks disgusting.” In reality… ghee is great! It’s pretty much like butter with all of the dairy remnants (not an official description) taken out. Another term is clarified butter, but I have to admit I haven’t bothered figuring out the difference.

PFGhee

How I’m using it: Sauteing, mainly. Ghee is  ideal for when you want that butter flavor. My favorite use so far was my Day 3/Meal 3 sauteed shrimp as a garlic butter sauce. A few tablespoons of ghee + 3 gloves garlic + juice of one lemon = me licking my plate. I’m planning going to put that shit on everything.

Where to Find It: By the Indian/Asian foods. I couldn’t find it at Super Target, so I went to Lakewinds and picked some up there. Most coops should have it. Also available on Amazon.

 The little nut that could: Macadamias

I would tell you my previous thoughts on macadamias, but I never had any. I literally forgot they existed. Couldn’t have picked them out of a nut lineup. But they are one of the few “best” eating fats and holy crap are they delicious!

macadamia

How I’m using it: Great on salads but even better all on their own. These little guys are deceptively amazing.

Where to find it: I got these at Super Target and was thrilled to see they didn’t include any added oils, sugar etc. I hear Trader Joe’s is the place to go for larger bags at a decent price.

Most borderline-acceptable item: La Croix

From what I’ve seen, this item is a hot topic for debate on whether or not it’s Whole30 compliant. Whole30 has a whole “sex with your pants on” (SWYPO) food metaphor and many people think La Croix fits into that bucket. I say a big ol’ SCREW IT. I gave up pop almost two years ago – I’m not using LC as a diet coke habit stand-in. The ingredient list check out so it’s staying.

lacroix

How I’m using it: To keep my sanity when I just can’t drink another glass of plain water. I also plan to use as an alcohol stand-in at a birthday party this weekend. So far I’ve only tried coconut but plan to get a few others this week to keep it interesting.

Where to find it: Again, mine’s from Super Target but you can get this anywhere.

Best long-term potential: Almond Butter

I’m tardy to the almond butter party. I was too busy getting my peanut butter groove on. I have always loved peanut butter. My family loves peanut butter. Crunchy peanut but makes me think of my dad, without fair. He taught my sister and me that there’s nothing better than being the first to dig into a jar of peanut butter; that smooth surface reserved just for you. One of his favorite breakfast foods is perfectly brown toast with peanut butter dunked in a tall glass of milk, and drinking the milk with all the little floaty bread bits (don’t pretend you don’t like it). So clearly, I’m emotionally invested in peanut butter so I never gave almond butter a shot. Until Whole30.

Almond butter is so similar to peanut butter! I was shocked. The taste is very close, but it isn’t quite as thick.

almondbutterHow I’m using it: Primarily as a dip for sliced veggies. I’ve also been known to eat a spoonful straight up.

Where to get it: I’ve only tried the Target Simply Balanced brand. I like it a lot but plan to try another brand when I run out for comparison.

A huge benefit of this program has been the exposure to foods that sit outside my comfort zone. I have a few others in the pantry that I’ll experiment with and discuss next week!

Helpful Links

SWYPO Theory – from Whole30. Explains when and how to make Whole30-compliant versions of your favorite foods.

 

Somewhat-Necessary Disclaimer: Yes, I work for Target. No, that has nothing to do with my food choices or my decision to write about Target products. My blog is in no way affiliated with my employer. But I do like to use my employee discount, RedCard & Cartwheel so that Whole30 doesn’t make me go broke.

 

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Shop Till You Drop (and the Last Supper)

The past couple days have been all about prep for our Whole30 that starts TOMORROW. And by prep, I mean spending a lot of money and fitting in a lot of “last minute” foods. To be clear… the book does not recommend doing that. We are going to majorly be paying for it by Tuesday or Wednesday. Whatever. Beer.

I spent my Saturday morning shopping for our new Whole 30 approved foods. Since I’m a Target team member (and no, this blog has nothing to do with my Target affiliation; I don’t speak on behalf of TGT, yadda yadda yadda) I wanted to do as much grocery shopping as possible at my local Super Target. I decided that whatever I couldn’t get I would try to find at the new Lakewinds Foods Coop that opened not too far from us.

So, I’m going to level with you. Grocery shopping took me almost 3 times as long as it normally does which was hard on me since I have my shopping down to a T. I won’t go into TOO much detail, but I will say this… read your labels!!! There were SO many foods that I thought would work for Whole30 that didn’t. On my list was canned sweet potato, but Target only sells one brand of this during the summer months, and this brand added cane sugar syrup so that was out. Citric acid in my usual brands of canned tuna. Even the organic chicken broths were a no-go. However, I could not be deterred! I was on a mission, and I was going to leave loaded and ready for tomorrow, damnit.

And to the victor belongs the spoils! (Sorry, I was too lazy to do any photo editing. You get the idea.)

Pantry foods. And no, those olives certainly aren't for me.

Pantry foods. And no, those olives certainly aren’t for me.

Protein, protein, protein... and I'm actually not positive that this is enough.

Protein, protein, protein… and I’m actually not positive that this is enough.

Produce! This excludes what I got via our CSA on Thursday.

Produce! This excludes what I got via our CSA on Thursday.

All items above were found at Super Target, with the exception of the pom juice, ghee and coconut amino in the first image. Honestly, I was pretty impressed.

Overall thoughts? Well dang, this is EXPENSIVE. My Target bill was just about $285, and that includes my team member discount, Red Card, Cartwheel AND I happened to have a Pharmacy Rewards discount to add on top. I’m definitely wondering how I can afford to keep this up. I’m hoping that the cost is somewhat offset but the savings in alcohol (we like spendy craft beer) and limiting our eating out . And honestly, I feel really proud of myself. Grocery shopping was a ton of work but the fact that I pulled it off felt like a great success. Tomorrow starts the hard part: day one of the program, as well as food prep for as much of the week as possible.

And since I’m sure someone will ask, what did Tim and I do for our “last suppers”? Well, breakfast for me was a trial run of eggs and swiss chard (big fail; I dont understand chard), lunch was a Clancy’s roast beef sandwich, and dinner was Noodles & Co whole grain tuscan linguine. We also spent the afternoon at Excelsior Brewing Co enjoying wonderful craft beer.

More to come as Day 1 starts tomorrow!

Here’s a full grocery list, should anyone be curious interested.

Produce:
3 containers of organic greens (baby spinach, mixed baby greens, arugula)
3 zucchini, 2 yellow squash
1 spaghetti squash
2 limes, 2 lemons
Garlic, shallots
4 green bell peppers, 3 colored peppers (this probably won’t be enough)
1 bag of red onions
4 avocados
1 container of strawberries
4 bananas
1 bag of baby cucumbers (this was a stupid impulse buy. wtf are baby cucs for?!)
1 bag of broccoli florets
1 bag of sugar snap peas
1 bag of green beans
5 sweet potatoes
1 bag of frozen butternut squash
1 bag of brussel sprouts

Protein:
2 dozen organic eggs
2 lbs of ground beef (all beef is grass fed organic)
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb stew meat
2 bags of frozen raw shrimp
1 bag Alaskan sockeye salmon filets
2 family sized packages of chicken breasts
1 flank steak
1 package turkey deli meat, 1 package roast beef (all natural, organic)
1 package Applegate bacon (pretty much the only Whole30 approved, widely-available bacon)
2 cans of salmon
2 packages of wild-caught tuna

Dry Goods/Pantry
1 bag pistachios
1 bag macadamia nuts
2 bags coffee (splurged for the good stuff since we have to drink it black)
2 cans coconut milk – full fat
2 boxes Larabars (meant for emergencies)
1 jar Kalamata olives, one jar green olives
1 container ghee
1 jar red curry paste
1 jar almond butter
1 jar sunflower seed butter
1 jar coconut oil
1 bottle coconut amino
1 bottle EVOO
6 pack of club soda
1 jar pure pomegranate juice

Whew!

The Hot Sauce Stands Alone (Kitchen Clean Out)

Last night I started my first official, no-turning-back-now Whole30 prep: cleaning out the kitchen. I dedicated the entire evening to going through every pantry, fridge and freezer shelf to remove or hide any non-approved food item (I’ve been calling it contraband for added dramatic effect).

I knew this would be time consuming, so I pulled out a soon-to-be-illegal beer (or three, whatever) to enjoy during the process. I grabbed some boxes and shopping bags and got to unloading. Okay… I knew a lot of items would have to go. But I still maintain that Tim and I have been eating pretty healthy, so how bad could it really be?

Here were my self-imposed rules for dealing with Whole30 violating foods:

a) If it’s insanely processed, it goes in the garbage. No matter what.
b) If it’s somewhat healthy, unopened and shelf-stable I’ll keep it for possible food shelf donation.
c) If it’s a food we might decide to reincorporate and it will keep for 30 days (i.e. brown rice), it goes into a bag/box for the basement.
d) Hide all of the refrigerated/frozen food that can’t go in the basement in opaque bags. Out of sight, out of mind?

I should also note that I threw away a ridiculous amount of expired products. I actually found a jar of pickles that expired in October 2012… #yuck. I feel like cleaning the kitchen out of expired products was worth it alone.

So, what were the results? I’ll let the whole “a picture is worth a thousand words” cliche do the majority of talking for me:

Refrigerator contraband! Yes, those bags are full of beer.

Refrigerator contraband! Yes, those bags are full of beer.

Goodbye, pantry foods.

Goodbye, pantry foods.

Sad, lonely pantry.

Sad, lonely pantry.

The results were eye-opening, to say the least and I have to admit that it was a liberating experience. It felt good to take concrete steps towards a new lifestyle and better health. Uncharacteristic amounts of willpower were required to put a food that I really enjoy in the trash, but I was able to do it without much remorse. Overall, I think this was a big win and made me feel way more empowered to kick this off on Sunday.

Whole30 Kitchen Clean Out Resources:

Meatified: Prepping Your Kitchen for Whole30
Video: Cleaning Out the Kitchen

Next up… I try out a CSA and attempt Whole30 grocery shopping!