Guest Post: My Whole 30 Experience

I am beyond excited to share this guest post from someone so incredibly special to me: my mom. Recently, she finished her very first Whole 30. As someone who has been supportive of me in all I do, I am beyond proud of her. I asked her if she
could share her experience with you all. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, my mom. P.S. please feel free to ignore the amount of non-food related pictures of my mom and me, I just love her to pieces.🙂


I was never planning on doing Whole 30, ever!  I do not like to deprive myself and I was quite happy eating whatever I wanted, thank you very much.  Of course I was overweight and struggling with an autoimmune disease, but still was not motivated enough to try and change my eating habits.  I bit of history.  In my first year of marriage I put on 50 lbs without hardly even noticing it!  I struggled to try and loose weight over the next five years, but nothing I tried ever worked. Then I had my first daughter and put on a few more pounds.  Five years later, I had my second daughter, and even though I hardly put on any weight during that pregnancy, I put on more weight after she was born.  For the next 20 years while raising my girls, I just could NOT loose weight no matter what I tried!  So by the time I was diagnosed with RA in my early 50’s I just thought – I am in pain daily, I am going to eat whatever I want!  And I did.

When my oldest daughter was diagnosed with PCOS in her 20’s I realized that I had all of the same symptoms. By this time, I had had a complete hysterectomy and was trying to deal with all the fun things that go along with that!  Hello hot flashes, weight gain and chocolate cravings!!

So where does Whole 30 come in?  My oldest daughter had started cooking AIP and I thought she was crazy!!  Giving up all those foods, cooking everything from scratch, so.much.work. I encouraged her from a distance, but that was NOT for me!  Then my youngest daughter discovered that she had a gluten intolerance, and when she cut it out of her diet along with sugar, she saw a huge improvement.  So with both of girls seeing so much success by trying an elimination type diet, I started wondering if I could be helped by doing the same thing.

Well, that is when the research started! My family knows that I am the queen of research, and until I have checked out EVERY possible option, I cannot start anything.  I knew I did not want to do AIP, and that is when I found whole30.com  At first it looked daunting, but then I

found the wonderful website of Mellisa Joulwan and her cook books Well Fed and Well Fed 2. Between these two websites I gathered a wealth of information and all my questions were answered. On Mellisa’s site she has a very helpful shopping list and prep list that I followed, and it  REALLY took the guess work of how to get started.

So, now that I was armed with all my information and research, I had to convince my husband, that for the next 30 days we would not be eating any sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, soy and alcohol!  I decided to  used two strategies. 1. I eased into it, and  2. I didn’t tell him!  The week before we started Whole 30, was vacation time for us.  We had planned a week long “Staycation” and this is when I tested some of Mellisa’s great recipes.  I just presented them to my husband as “new” recipes I was trying.  He loved them.  We both loved them.  That was the moment I thought to myself, “I think I can do this, at least for 30 days”

One of the things that the Whole 30 recommends is that you take a week or so to prepare yourself and your kitchen for the start of your 30 day reset.  This was the best advice.  I stocked up on meat and veggies and eggs.  Oh, the amount of eggs we went through was truly astounding!  The other thing I did, was buy a nice insulated lunch box for my husband.  After all he was going to be carrying a full lunch with him everyday to work, and if I went to the all trouble to prepare it for him, I wanted it to stay cool and edible! This worked like and charm, and every evening I would package up leftovers into containers and stack them in the fridge for the night and then throw them into his lunch box in the morning along with some cut up veggies and some fruit.  I also got up and made him a simple breakfast of eggs, sausage and fruit EVERY MORNING, knowing that if I did not do this, he would eat nothing at all as he has done for years!  So, yes there was a lot of cooking and prep to do, but I did batch cooking on Sundays and that made things SO much easier.    It’s one thing to have  all the ingredients for a recipe in your fridge and cupboards, but it is a WHOLE ‘nother thing when the actual meal is cooked and sitting there in your fridge ready to just pull out and heat up!

The first week was a little rough, especially for my husband because he was missing his coffee and tea, badly.  Coffee and tea is allowed on Whole 30, but with no sugar or creamer.  According to my husband, tea or coffee without sugar or cream is just NOT worth having, so we just gave them up altogether.  I drank some herbal mint teas and I made mint iced tea with mint from my garden.  I would say that by keeping our menus varied and interesting, with a lot of new recipes, we did well through the first two weeks.  We felt more energetic, and I definitely felt much lighter.  That is the wonderful thing.  I was eating a lot of food at every meal, but I never ever felt stuffed.  By week three and four we were in a rhythm and were not even craving sweet things anymore.  I had successfully eaten out with a friend twice and stayed on track.  It felt really good.

When the end of the 30 days rolled around, we weighed ourselves.  Astonishingly, we had both lost about 15 pounds!  That was the most weight I had EVER lost on any program, any time!  We were thrilled, and without even saying anything out loud, we just decided to keep on eating this way!  I have introduced a few things back into our diets. I have added back a little honey or maple syrup into my homemade salad dressing and we are eating a little bacon now and then.   We are still grain free, but I am starting to experiment with some alternative flours for baking.  We love the way we feel and probably will continue to eat this way for now.  We are both hoping to loose some more weight, and I think the way we will achieve that, is to cut back a little on the fruit and up the veggies!

For me this has really been a revelation.  Never in a million years did I think I could stick to this for 30 days!  Also, I never believed that my cravings for sweets and chocolates and bread could just disappear, but they did. Some other “non scale victories” as they are called in the Whole30 program, better sleep and  more energy.  I even took a short hike with my youngest daughter in the woods!  What!  My husband and I now try and go on more walks around the neighborhood. He even dug his bicycle out of the shed and goes for short rides on the weekends.  My advice if you are thinking about doing Whole 30, is,  do your research, find support (there are a LOT of Blogs and Instagram) have a plan and then, JUST DO IT!  It’s only 30 days!

Carrot, Parsnip, & Collard Green Ribbons (AIP, Low-FODMAP, Paleo, Whole 30)

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I am all about the veggies right now it seems. Which is probably a good thing, because vegetables should be 2/3 of your plate for each meal. Just take a look at this AIP Food Pyramid by Phoenix Helix. You should be consume 6-14 cups vegetables per day. To make that possible, the 2/3 rule of thumb will help you accomplish this goal.

Carrot, Parsnip, & Collard Green Ribbons

Ingredients

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 medium parsnip
  • 6-7 collard green leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup bone broth

Instructions

  1. Wash the carrots and parsnips and then peel off the skin and discard, unless organic, then you can use the skin. Using a vegetable peeler. Continue to peel the carrots and parsnip to create ribbons.
  2. Rinse of collard green leaves and cut out ribs. Fold leaves in half lengthwise, and slice horizontally in ½ inch strips.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  4. When plan is hot, add in carrots and parsnips and toss to combine and coat in oil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Add in collard greens and cook for another 2-3 minutes. or until the greens change to a brighter green color. Toss in the sea salt and stir to combine.
  6. Pour in bone broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cover and cook at a simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove lid, toss and let cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until liquid has been soaked up.
  8. Enjoy!

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Carrot Diakon Mint Risotto (AIP, Low-FODMAP, Paleo, Whole 30)

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This risotto brings in some new rice options for those who can’t have or don’t like cauliflower rice. The mint adds a nice fresh element as well. Plus it is fun to use ingredients like, diakon radish, in ways you never thought to.

Carrot Diakon Mint Risotto

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Ingredients

  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 ½ cups peeled, diced diakon
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped bone broth
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup finely chopped  fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh lavender

Instructions

  1. Add carrots and diakon to food processor and blend in short bursts, about 2 seconds at a time until it is fully riced.
  2. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add riced carrots and diakon to pan and cook for 5 mins.
  4. Pour in bone broth, sea salt, mint and lavender to pan and stir to combine.
  5. Turn down heat and simmer in uncovered pan for 20 minutes. Most of the liquid should absorbed.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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Balsamic Cherry Pulled Pork & Sweet Plantain Romaine Boats (AIP, Paleo)

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For some reason I always struggle to decide how to serve pulled pork. You can obviously just serve it on it’s own, but it always felt like something was missing. It is that starchiness and support of a roll to shovel the goodness in your mouth I just couldn’t find. Good news, I have found a solution: fried plantains and romaine leaves.

Balsamic Cherry Pulled Pork & Sweet Plantain Romaine Boats

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Ingredients

  • 1½ cup pitted cherries (fresh or frozen), roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 5-6 pound bone-in pork shoulder roast
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 4 yellow plantains (not yet black, but can have a few spots)
  • 1 head of romaine

Instructions

This recipe uses an Instant Pot, however, I have included modifications at the bottom for those using a slow cooker.
  1. In a small bowl, combine cherries, vinegar, and coconut aminos, set aside.
  2. Pat dry pork shoulder, and cut in to 4-5 even pieces.
  3. Set Instant Pot on sauté and add avocado oil to pot. When pot is hot, brown all sides of pork. You may have to do this in a few rounds to make sure there is enough room for each to brown.
  4. Once pork is browned, place back all pieces into instant pot and cancel sauté function
  5. Pour bone broth over pork, then the balsamic cherry mix, and lastly, sprinkle sea salt, ginger, and rosemary all over.
  6. Set Instant Pot on manual and use the “+” to set it to 75 mins. Close the lid and make sure the valve is on steaming.
  7. When pork is done, turn off the pot and let pressure release naturally.

While the pot is releasing pressure you can start working on the plantains.

  1. In a medium cast iron skillet, warm coconut oil over medium heat.
  2. Peel the plantains, and cut in thirds, then slice lengthwise, so they are about a 1/4 inch thick.
  3. When oil is hot, add plantain slices in a single layer to pan, don’t over fill the pan.
  4. Cook on one side for 2-3 minutes, or until it gets a nice brown color, flip and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side.
  5. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined plate. Continue until all pieces have been cooked.
Now the pork should be ready so time to shred!
  1. Remove pork from pot and place in large deep baking sheet or dish. Using two forks, shred pork and remove bone.
  2. Add shredded pork back to pot and stir to combine with juices and cherries.
Time to assemble!
  1. Take 3 medium romaine leaves, wash and pat dry and set on serving plate.
  2. Place 2 slices of the fried plantains on each leaf.
  3. Spoon shredded pork and cherries on the plantains.
  4. Enjoy!!
**If using a slow cooker you can make the follow modifications: use a large frying pan over medium heat to brown the pork and cook pork and cherries on low for 6 hours.**
Serves: 8
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Yuca con Mojo {Cassava with Garlic Sauce} (AIP, Paleo, Vegan, Whole 30)

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Long before I discovered the Yuca Slayer, Jennifer Robins from Predominantly Paleo, I remember buying my first yuca (cassava) root because it intrigued me. Having no idea what to do with it, I did what I always do when at a loss with a new ingredient, I googled it. The one recipe that stuck out to me was yuca con mojo, aka yuca (cassava) with garlic sauce.

After trying many different variations of this recipe and making a few tweaks of my own, I found a recipe I truly loved. It is a traditional Cuban recipe that uses yuca (cassava) root, lime, garlic, and olive oil. However, my personal taste buds didn’t care for the lime, so I have chosen lemon for my recipe, steering it a little from tradition. I make this recipe pretty often and love to eat it as side with anything really, but I really enjoy it with chicken and big pile of kale.

Yuca con mojo {Cassava with garlic sauce}

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb yuca (cassava root) fresh or frozen
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons plus + ¼ cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • ½ garlic cup sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Prepare yuca
    1. If using fresh yuca, cut of each end, and cut in thirds. Then, cut off the outside peel. Once peel is removed, cut up into bite size pieces.
    2. If frozen, let sit out for a few minutes until you can cut it down into bite size pieces.
  2. Add cut yuca onto a medium size pot and add enough water to cover it. Add in ½ teaspoon of sea salt and 1½ teaspoons of lemon juice.
  3. Bring yuca to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25 mins (or until yuca is tender but not mushy)
  4. Combine garlic and ½ teaspoon of sea salt in a small dish
  5. When yuca is done, drain, and sift through to remove hard center core. Even the frozen sometimes has a little left over. Set aside.
  6. Return saucepan to stove top and set to medium high heat. Add red onion, olive oil, ¼ cup lemon juice, and garlic salt mix to sauce pan. Cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Lastly, add yuca to the saucepan and cook for another 5 minutes.
  8. Serve and Enjoy!

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Stuffed Pattypan Squash (AIP, Low-FODMAP, Paleo, SCD, Whole 30)

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Recently, I met my first pattypan squash. They were so cute and look like little pumpkins, what is there not to like about them? When I picked these up the other day at my local farm stand, I immediately knew I would stuff them. The question was, with what?

Through my research online, I found most recipes used rice as a main ingredient in the stuffing. Of course this wouldn’t work, so I had to get creative. On top of that, I couldn’t use cauli-rice again, because the hubby said he won’t eat it anymore (whatever, I could eat it every day, but to each their own). So what to rice? After looking through what I had in the kitchen, I settled on diakon radish because it basically my new favorite snack. I am super excited how well these turned out, and even the hubby approved!

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

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Ingredients

  • 8 small pattypan squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 2 cups diakon radish, cubed
  • 3/4 cup bone broth
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup frozen spinach

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place cooking sheet in oven to heat as it comes to temperature.
  2. Wash and dry squash, and slice the top off about a ½ inch from stem. Level out the bottom of the squash by cutting of a little so it sits flat.
  3. Scoop out the squash seeds and flesh, leave about a ½ inch shell. Reserve the flesh.
  4. Lightly coat the cut parts of the squash with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
  5. Remove cooking sheet from oven and place squash on the sheet, opening side down.
  6. Roast for about 15 mins or until it is tender and the flesh side is brown.
  7. While the squash heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan.
  8. Once pan is hot, add ground beef and brown.
  9. While meat is browning, place cubed radish and squash flesh in a food processor or blender, and pulse in 2 second intervals until it is riced. About 5 times.
  10. When beef is browned, add in the riced radish and squash flesh and bone broth.
  11. Bring to boil and let simmer for 5 mins or until most of liquid is gone.
  12. Add spinach and sea salt and stir to combine. Cook for another 5 mins over medium heat.
  13. Remove from heat when done
  14. When squash is cooked, remove from oven and flip them over so opening is face up.
  15. Spoon stuffing mixture evenly into the squash rounds.
  16. Serve and enjoy!

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Pan Seared Boneless Pork Chops (AIP, Paleo, Whole 30)

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As as simple week night meal, these pork chops are used frequently in our meal rotation. My favorite part about pan searing pork chops is that it keeps in all the juices. It comes out perfect every time and never dry, which let’s face it, often happens when cooking pork. This recipe is super easy and is another one of our go to lazy meals. I pop the pork in the fridge in the morning and it will be defrosted by dinner time. From prep to serve time you are looking at around 15 mins.

Pan-Seared Boneless Pork Chops

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Ingredients

  • 4 center cut boneless pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

Instructions

  1. Pat dry pork chops and set on a cutting board or plate.
  2. Mix together all spices in a small bowl.
  3. Cover pork chops all over with spice mix, be sure to pat it down to stick.
  4. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.
  5. Once oil is hot, add pork chops to the pan.
  6. Cook for 4 mins. Don’t touch it at all, just let it cook away.
  7. Now flip and cook for another 4 minutes on the other side. You will want a nice sear on both sides by the time it’s done.
  8. Remove from pan and let rest for 2-3 minutes on cutting board.
  9. Slice only when you are ready to serve or serve as a full chop. It will keep the juices in the pork longer this way.

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Guest Post: Why You Should Meal Plan


I am so excited to welcome Leslie from The Whole Life Balance to the blog today! Leslie’s blog covers balancing life, happiness, health and more. Her Monday Mantra series has really helped me start off each week by focus on myself and not getting overwhelmed by the craziness life can be at times. Once you read this amazing post she has share today, I know you will adore her blog as much as I do!


Hey there! My name is Leslie, and I run The Whole Life Balance blog, which you can check out at www.thewholelifebalance.com. I’ve been following the Paleo lifestyle since December 2013, started my blog back in February of this year, and have been following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) since April of this year. My boyfriend and I own a dog and a cat, and we love getting outdoors in our city to take our dog on walks and hikes on nature trails, as well as to ride bikes or get out on the water. Before I get into my post, I want to ask that you please be sure to check out Alex’s guest post on my blog­­ she shared a great recipe!


You probably guessed this from the name of my blog, but I like to talk about finding balance in life. A lot. For the last several years, my life has been very lopsided in one direction: focusing too much on school and work. I’m only a couple of years out of grad school, so my school days aren’t too far behind me, and as you might expect, they dominated my life much of the time while I was in it. That being said, I know how hard it is to want to take the time to set yourself up for success. When you’re so consumed with one thing, very often any energy you have for doing anything else is quickly zapped. For those of us in the Paleo and AIP lifestyle, and especially for those who are new to it, that loss of energy has a domino effect. We don’t have the energy to meal plan, so we don’t know what to have for dinner. Because we don’t know what to have for dinner, we maybe grab something on the way home from work, go out to eat at a restaurant, or make something at home that’s less than nutritionally desirable. Since we ate something “unhealthy,” we get mad at ourselves and feel bad about how we look, about the regression in our progress, or about letting ourselves down. Then what? The cycle repeats. Where is the balance?

My goal today is to help you understand why you need to meal plan. Does that domino effect above sound familiar to you? I figured as much. Do you enjoy it? I didn’t think so. People who commit to this lifestyle for a long time can often get by without too much effort, or their systems and routines are so instilled that they do them without a second thought. But what if you’re not there yet? How do you get to that point? That’s what I want to talk about today, and it’s something that will most definitely help bring some balance back into your life.

So, what is meal planning? Meal planning is the act of planning out what meals you will eat each day for a period of time, most commonly one week. You find or create a calendar­like template (here is a link to mine), and you write down everything you plan to eat for each meal. (Pro tip: Use your meal plan to help you create your grocery list so that you make sure you have everything you need.) Here are some FAQ’s that you might have about meal planning:

  •  Do I have to plan different selections for every meal? No! In fact, I suggest you batch prepare and cook whenever possible. I’ll talk more about this later, but essentially, you can plan to make a big batch of one meal and portion it out in glass storage containers to take as your lunch every day of the week, as one example. This not only saves you time, but it also saves you money so that you aren’t buying more ingredients at the store. 
  • Where do I come up with meals to plan? When I first started out in the Paleo lifestyle, I had no Paleo cookbooks, so I relied on the Internet a lot. There are some great Paleo and AIP recipes out there, even more so now. However, I now have a large collection of Paleo and AIP cookbooks. Use what you have, and don’t think you have to come up with meals in your own brain. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel here ­­just hop online and search “Paleo crockpot beef,” for example, and see what comes up. 
  • Do I have to stick to my meal plan? While I strongly recommend sticking to the meal plan, if something comes up that you can’t, then don’t be too hard on yourself. When I end up skipping meals on our meal plans, I often just recycle them onto the next week’s meal plan, which makes it a little easier! Also, I sometimes switch around which nights I decide to cook things. Maybe I planned taco night for Friday night, but I actually want it on Wednesday night, so I just make it then and put off Wednesday’s planned dinner until Friday. 
  • Can I find meal plans that are already created? Yes, you sure can! Once you start buying Paleo cookbooks, many of the authors generously include weekly meal plans (with recipes from the cookbook) in the back. You can also search online. For example, Civilized Caveman Cooking has a few pages of his blog dedicated to weekly meal plans that he creates. Find them here

    Now that we have a better idea of what meal planning is, I want to take some time talking about why you do it. There are actually a few reasons why meal planning is extremely beneficial, even if it seems time­-consuming and tedious.

    1. It saves you time. Wait…what? Didn’t I just say that it’s time­consuming? I sure did, because I usually feel like meal planning takes me longer than it should. However, it saves me time in the long run. Once it’s done, and once I’ve bought all of the groceries I need for the week to make everything on the meal plan, all I have to do is look at it to find out what meal is planned and in which resource I can find it (e.g. which cookbook or website). I don’t have to waste time browsing my fridge and pantry trying to decide what to eat. I don’t have to waste time going back and forth with my boyfriend about “What do you want to eat tonight? Do burgers sound good? No? Okay, what about chicken thighs?” Look. Find. Cook. It’s that easy, and now you have a little more time to spend doing the things you want to do. 
    2. It saves you money. Not having a meal plan often leads to impulse buying. Why? Because you have no idea what you and your family might want to eat, so you buy a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and before you know it, you’ve dropped a couple hundred bucks on groceries. When you meal plan, you’re much more likely to only buy the groceries that you need, based on your meal plan. You’re also much more likely to skip on eating out at a restaurant or grabbing something on your way home from somewhere. Additionally, if you batch cook like I mentioned earlier, you’re buying a little extra of one small group of ingredients to make it last for a few days instead of buying lots of different ingredients to make up something on the fly. 
    3. It’s a stress reliever. I bet that there are a lot of you who feel stressed out by eating. When to eat? What to eat? What if I don’t have the ingredients I need to make what I want to eat? Meal planning takes all of those “what ifs” away. You know exactly what you’re going to eat on which day(s), and you have the ingredients stocked in your fridge or pantry to make that meal.

      Do you see where I’m going with this? You should meal plan because it helps to bring some balance back into your life. When I don’t meal plan, I feel a little lost, and I don’t prioritize making sure I eat enough meals per day (i.e. I often skip lunch in that case). Without structure, we fumble, and, ultimately, we might fail. And failing leads to…the domino effect above. It’s not a fun game, and it’s time to take control. I have some tips on how to get started with a meal planning routine.

      • Choose what day of the week you’ll meal plan. I prefer to do mine on Thursdays because we usually go grocery shopping for the following week on Fridays. 
      • Choose what day of the week you’ll go grocery shopping. Do your grocery shopping either the same day that you meal plan or the next day. Stock up for the whole week to avoid extra trips to the grocery store and potentially having to spend unnecessary money (which you’d be doing anyway when you consider gas usage in your vehicle). 
      • Decide whether you’re interested in doing any food prep, and if so, decide what day you want to do it. Food prep can mean two things: 1.) taking the time to prepare your ingredients so you can just grab and cook them whatever day you need them, like chopping all of your veggies for a meal and storing them in a baggie or container until then. 2.) taking the time to batch cook your meals ahead of time and portioning them out into storage containers so that they’re just grab­-and-­go for the week. (Side note: Batch cooking is when you take a few hours one day to cook up all of your meals for several days or to cook up necessities, like bone broth, gummies, or freezer-­ready breakfasts so that they’re ready when you need them. I used to batch cook both my breakfasts and lunches for the entire work week every Sunday.) 
      • Decide how many meals you’re going to plan. I used to only plan out our dinners, but eventually I started planning out all of my meals. Think about your lifestyle and what works best for you. Maybe you’re not big on breakfast, or maybe you have a cafe near your work that serves compliant food that you like to patron for lunch. Only plan the necessary meals. 
      • Gather your resources to help you get meal ideas. This could be sitting down at your computer to surf the Internet or grabbing a pile of cookbooks (or both). 
      • Complete your meal plan. Write it in pencil if you like, so that you can change things around if you need to. The meal plan template I created for myself includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, and in each box I can write the cookbook and page number where I can find the recipe later when cooking it up. When I’m batch planning, I often just draw an arrow from the first box down through the next few days. 
      • Put your meal plan in a visible place. I use magnets on our fridge to hang our meal plans right on the freezer door so that they’re in plain sight all the time. 
      • Reuse your meal plans. I personally don’t do this, but I would recommend to anyone starting out with the meal planning process to save all of your old meal plans rather than getting rid of them. Then, you have old meal plans you can reference for inspiration or for meals that you really loved without digging through cookbooks or the sinkhole of the Internet! 

      Are you excited to get to meal planning? I’m excited for you! Think of how much more time, money, and happiness you’ll have with this skill under your cap! Thanks so much for reading today, and I hope you find my suggestions useful. Until next time!

        Pressure Cooker Pot Roast with Root Vegetables (AIP, Paleo)

        So in a moment of truth, I have no idea how I acquired my pressure cooker. I think it might have been an old roommates, maybe? It has been in my kitchen for at least 7 years, and yet, my first time using it was only a month ago.

        It is an old Presto Pressure Cooker, that I wasn’t even sure if it worked, but it still followed me around. I finally decided to see if, first, I had all the pieces, and second, if it would still pressurize. It totally worked! My first trial recipe came out great, and now I am kicking myself for waiting so long!!!! One day I do hope to get an electric pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, but this little pressure cooker works just fine for me. You can get a new pressure cooker like mine for around $40-50 online, or you may even luck out and find one at thrift store.

        This recipe is the definition of comfort food. Even it is summer for us right now, this dish still was so delicious and filling. It also freezes really well, so you can make up and save it for later.

        Pressure Cooker Pot Roast with Root Vegetables

        Ingredients

        • One, 3-4 lb chuck roast
        • 3 teaspoon garlic powder
        • 2 teaspoon onion powder
        • 1  teaspoon sea salt
        • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
        • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
        • 1½ cup bone broth
        • 4 garlic cloves, whole
        • 4-5 bay leaves
        • 4-5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
        • 2 medium Korean sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
        • 1 medium onion, sliced
        • 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch, plus a little water

        Instructions

        1. Mix garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, and ginger in a small dish.
        2. Pat dry chuck roast and then rub spice mix all over roast.
        3. Heat pressure cooker (or frying pan) to medium heat and heat olive oil.
        4. Brown roast on all sides. If you used a separate pan, add roast to pressure cooker once browned.
        5. Add bone broth, garlic and bay leaves to cooker with roast.
        6. Seal lid and bring to pressure over high heat. 
        7. Once it is pressurized cook for 25 minutes. You can prep the carrots, sweet potatoes and onion at this time.
        8. When roast is done let pressure release naturally, this should take about 10 minutes.
        9. Add veggies to cooker once the pressure has released.
        10. Return cooker to heat and pressurize once again over high heat.
        11. Once pressurized, cook for 10 minutes.
        12. Again, allow the cooker to release pressurize naturally, which should take about 10 minutes.
        13. Remove veggies and roast from cooker into separate bowls. Yes a fork to shredded the roast.
        14. You should have the drippings left in the pressure cooker to make a delicious gravy if you would like. To do so, simply warm up the drippings over medium heat. In a small bowl mix 2 teaspoons of arrowroot starch with just enough water to make a paste. Whisk in arrowroot starch mix into drippings until it begins to thicken. If it gets too thick simple cut it with water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Gravy is ready when the recipe is the consistence you desire. I prefer a thick gravy, personally.
        15. Enjoy and serve!

        Cherry Turnovers (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

        It’s cherry season on east coast and while I could eat them by the handful on the their own, I thought it would be fun to try something new. With the discovery of Otto’s Cassava Flour, the Paleo baked good game has really changed. I know I’ve gone on about this flour before, but it is seriously my favorite. When testing, I have been able to successfully sub it 1:1 with regular flour. which is more than any other options out there. Ok, enough about the flour, it’s time to get to these yummy treats.

        These cherry turnovers are actually pretty easy to make, though they do take some time due to allowing the dough to rest. My favorite part is that the filling uses no sweeteners at all, not even natural ones.

        Cherry Turnovers

        Ingredients 

        Shell
        Filling
        • 1½ cups cherries, pitted and quartered
        • ½ tablespoon arrowroot starch/flour
        • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
        • 1 teaspoons lemon zest

        Instructions

        Shell
        1. Combine cassava flour, arrowroot starch, and sea salt in a food processor. Just a few pulses to combine.
        2. Cut up palm shortening into small pieces (about a teaspoon each) and add to food processor with the flour. 
        3. Plus mix a few times, 1-second a time, until it is a mix of crumbled flour.
        4. Transfer mix into a large bowl.
        5. Added half the ice water and mix until just combined. Add in remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time until it can be clumped by your hand.
        6. Transfer mix onto a clean work surface such as a granite counter or parchment paper lined counter top. Your mix should look crumbly.
        7. Slowly, one bit of a time, use the bottom of your palm to push and drag out the dough in quick movements. This will help it slowly come together. Do this all the way through twice
        8. Once you have made it through the dough, gather it and mold it into a small loaf.
        9. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge for 45 mins.
        10. Place dough on a parchment paper lightly dusted with cassava flour.
        11. Roll out into a rectangle. The dough should be about a ¼ thick.
        12. Fold the dough lengthwise into thirds, then following the narrow edge, roll the dough into a circle. It will fall apart a bit, just mold it into place.
        13. Press down the dough into a rectangle and then repeat the process from step 11 once more.
        14. After you coil the dough once more, press it down into another loaf.
        15. Wrap in plastic and place in fridge while you prepare the filling. You can make the dough about to a day ahead or you can freeze the dough for later use.
        The method above is based on the one found here.

        Filling
        1. In a small bowl, mix cherries, arrowroot starch, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well combined.
        Turnovers
        1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
        2. Pull out dough from fridge and roll it out until it is around 1/8 inch in thickness.
        3. Cut out circles. I used my Pyrex 2-Cup Round Dish, which is about 4½ inches in diameter to cut out my circles.
        4. Pull and roll out dough as needed to get circles. Using my dish, I got 8-10 circles.
        5. Place circles on a parchment paper lined baking dish.
        6. Carefully spoon filling into the center of each circle, you will use about a tablespoon or so in each. 
        7. Lightly wet the edges of the dough and fold over to crease the middle edge. It will come a part a little on top but that’s ok. If it doesn’t use a knife to make a few slits on top. You can crimp the edge with a fork if you like, but I personally liked the open look.
        8. Place in oven for 25-30 mins, or until the edges start to brown and the filling starts to pour out.
        9. Cool turnovers on a baking rack.
        10. Once cool enough to eat, enjoy on their own, or drizzle with a little melted coconut butter.