Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Whole30: Prepping for Round 2!

I'm doing my second round of Whole30 from January 2 - 31. (Less than a week away!) I think the best thing about doing a second round of Whole30 is the confidence that comes with knowing that I've made it through the 30 days previously. I can do this.

Another great thing about Round 2 is that I know a lot more people doing it this time. A few colleagues, friends, and friends of friends. One of our friends has already coordinated a Whole30 dinner party for mid-way through.

As we near the start of Round 2, I've been in planning mode and I've also noticed that I'm getting more questions from people. I thought I would compile a list of tips/reminders for myself and anyone else embarking on this adventure.

I included some tips in my recap of Round 1. I'm reiterating those, as well as some additional thoughts, here:

Before: Plan. It. Out.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. I know. It's cliche. It's also the truth. Especially for Whole30. With this in mind, you can't possibly plan for everything that will happen over the course of the 30 days. 
  • We plan our meals out about a week in advance. I typically do this on Thursday and then my honey or I go grocery shopping on Friday. This allows time for food prepping over the weekend. Meal plan, grocery shop, food prep. Rinse and repeat. 
  • Having a few "emergency" meals and snacks on hand is important. Our go-to "fast food" is Chomp Sticks and RX Bars. They sell both at our local Trader Joe's. (Just note that not all RX Bar flavors are compliant. Read your labels.) Also, having compliant sausage, a few potatoes, and a green veggie on hand are great for a quick and easy meal.
  • If you find a recipe you like, and it works for leftovers, double the recipe. Here are eight of my honey and my favorites, that have remained in our meal rotation: 
Lastly, before you start, don't forget to weigh in, take measurements, and snap some before pictures.

During: Trust the process.

That's it. I found the first week to be the most challenging, in that I was so preoccupied with doing the Whole30, what I was eating, what I wasn't eating, what other people were eating, etc. However, once I got through that first week, things got much easier.

Take things one day and one week at a time. It's 30 days. Which is not a lot of days in the whole scheme of things. You can do it.

If you find yourself struggling, or even if you think it is a breeze, I recommend checking out the Whole30 website. There is more information than you will need there, including a forum where you can find frequently asked questions and support from others. Oh, and Googling "Can I eat                on Whole30" is still a frequent Google search for me.

After: Celebrate!

Except not with drinking and eating everything you didn't eat while doing the Whole30. That really isn't the point. While Whole30 is not a Whole365, it is an opportunity to shift your relationship with food. Take your time with reintroduction and if you didn't miss something, don't add it back in just because you are now "allowed" to.

Take measurements and some after photos. Weigh in, if you'd like. Reflect on the last 30 days and how you feel. Hopefully, we feel a whole lot better than day one. I think we will.


Disclosure: Everything above is my own opinion, I paid for all the products with my own cash money, and I am not receiving any sort of compensation. I'm mentioning specific products because they helped me to be successful, and to me that's worth sharing. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Recipe: Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash

We eat a lot of zucchini noodles (zoodles) in our house. However, sometimes I want a pasta-substitute with a little more bite to it, a little more structure to hold onto a delicious sauce, and a little less water content to water down said sauce. Enter spaghetti squash.

While I'm a fan of spaghetti squash, I always dread cooking it because one of my least favorite things is slicing a spaghetti squash in half to prepare it for roasting. I'm always one slip up away from losing a finger.

Yesterday, I consulted with Google about the possibility of cooking a spaghetti squash in our slow cooker. People said it could be done. Some recipes called for water, others did not. I decided to try the no-water version, in hopes that it wouldn't get too soggy. Well... I can now add this to the "I can't believe I never tried this before!" list.

All you need is a spaghetti squash and a slow cooker.
Three and a half hours on high was perfect for al dente squash. You will want to keep an eye on yours, as I imagine cooking time varies depending on squash size and slow cooker. I checked mine with a knife and once I was able to insert it fairly easily, I knew it was good to go. If you like softer spaghetti squash, just let it cook longer. Once cooked, it sliced SO easily. I'll be cooking my squash like this from here on out.

An ice cream scoop is my seed removal tool of choice.
To put the "spaghetti" in spaghetti squash, grab a fork.
Our sauce of choice for lunch yesterday was a simple meat ragu from Skinnytaste. Another favorite is Mel Joulwan's (Well Fed) Paleo Pad Thai. Her sunshine sauce is one of the best things ever and we've mixed and matched proteins and green veggies with great success. Really, any sauce you enjoy over pasta works with spaghetti squash.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash

The size of your squash will determine how much cooked squash you get. A large squash will lend ~8 cups cooked squash.

  • Spaghetti squash
  1. Stab the spaghetti squash a few times with a sharp knife. 
  2. Place in slow cooker. 
  3. Cover and cook on high for 3.5 hours. 
  4. Remove from slow cooker. Slice in half and spoon out seeds. (I like to use an ice cream scoop.) Scrap the squash with a fork to pull out the spaghetti-like strands. 
  5. Top with your sauce of choice and enjoy!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

My First 10K!

Three and a half years ago, I ran my very first 5K. On Thanksgiving, I ran my first 10K!

I ran it with my honey and a friend. My primary goal, like most of my runs, was to finish without passing out or throwing up. I also wanted to finish it at an 11-minute mile pace.

My honey was thrilled before the race. Obviously.
Not only did I fulfill those three goals, my official time was 1:04:25! Well under a 10:30 minute mile pace!
My FitBit app was a little more generous. I trust the official time.
It was a nice, mostly flat course and a good mix of street and trail. There were lots of volunteers who smiled, cheered, kept the route clear of cars, and provided high fives. While it was pretty cold out (40º F), I think it was a bit warmer than last year when we did the 5K. I was finally nice and warmed up by 1.5 miles or so in. Also about 2 miles in, I had to do my first bit of walking, because of a side stitch. (Boo!) Happy that it passed quickly and the only other time I did some walking was at the second water stop... and just so I could drink water before picking up my speed again. The 5K and 10K folks all started off together, and at a certain point, we diverged. I felt a great deal of pride veering off towards the 10K part for the first time. I have worked hard for this and I'm glad that I challenged myself to go beyond my 5K comfort zone. Overall, I really enjoyed the run and felt great afterward. I certainly intend to continue this turkey day tradition.

After the 10K, I enjoyed stuffing my face at our family friends' house. YUM.
When I first started running 5Ks a few people commented, "pretty soon you'll be running half marathons!" I told them to slow their roll. I told them to let me get some 5Ks under my belt. Now that I've got a dozen 5Ks and one 10K checked off my list, I finally see a half marathon on the horizon.

I am registered to run my second 10K in February... and my first half marathon in May! I mapped out my training on the calendar, and realized that I can do accelerated versions of the Couch-to-5K and 5K-to-10K training apps and then work my way through a half marathon app. (I liked Active's apps for 5K/10K, so I opted for their 13.one app.)

Stay tuned for more on my running and racing adventures!