Super Simple Baked Potato Fries

One of the parts of Whole30 I was looking forward to the least was the fact that the only carb I was going to be able to eat were potatoes.  Sweet potatoes, white potatoes.  That’s it.  I was a full-blown carb addict, so this wasn’t something I looked forward to.  But honestly, I loved it.  I had yummy potatoes every single day, and I never missed the other carbs!  Seriously.  I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t live it myself.

Potatoes are actually a great carb option because they don’t mess with your blood sugar in the same way breads and other carbs do, and it’s PACKED with some awesome nutrients.  It’s a carb that actually does your body good, and I’m planning on continuing to use potatoes (especially sweet potatoes) as my main carb of choice.

This recipe is how I fixed my potatoes most of the time, and how I continue to fix them!  This was great with sweet potatoes and white potatoes alike.  Plus, you can switch out the dressing for regular olive oil, melted coconut oil, or melted ghee and it’s just as delicious!

Super Simple Baked Potato Fries

1 medium potato, peeled and sliced into fries

1 tbsp Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic Dressing (or oil of choice)

1 tsp sea salt

Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Toss all ingredients together until all fries are completely coated.  Spread fries in one layer (preferably not touching each other) on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper).  Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, until browned and crispy (or your desired doneness).  Enjoy!

***I don’t personally love leftover potatoes, but you can make a huge batch and keep them in the fridge for a few days if you want.

Everyday (Paleo) Meatloaf

My husband LOVES his momma’s meatloaf.  I have never really been a huge fan of meatloaf in general, but I’ve tried several different recipes that haven’t been a traditional recipe to find something that he and I could both enjoy.  None of them have been hits with him, though, so I just haven’t made meatloaf in a really long time.  When I saw this recipe looking for Paleo meals, I knew I had to try it because I was pretty sure it would be a hit with everyone!

I am so glad I tried it, because I was right!  This is so simple and SO GOOD.  The original recipe calls for 1 cup almond meal and 2 eggs, but I went for the note of omitting the almond meal and just using 1 egg.  The original also calls for 6 tbsp tomato paste, which I didn’t have on hand, so I used some leftover marinara on top instead.  It was so good!

I’d love to try to add a few more veggies into this recipe to bulk up the veggies, but I may have to work up to that so my husband doesn’t know what I’m up to!

Everyday Meatloaf (slightly adapted from Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso)

2 lbs lean ground beef

1 egg

2 tsp minced garlic

1 red onion, finely diced

1/2 tbsp sea salt

2 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp dried basil

2 tsp marjoram

1/2 cup marinara

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients (except marinara) in a large bowl, using hand to combine until well mixed.  Put meat mixture in a lightly greased 9×13 glass pan and form into loaf.  Bake 30 min.  Top meatloaf with marinara, using a spoon to spread evenly over the top of the entire loaf.  Bake 30 more min or until meatloaf is completely cooked through (use an instant read thermometer to ensure it’s completely cooked–ground beef should be cooked to an internal temp of 160).  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 min before serving.

I served this with green beans and homemade sweet potato fries!  It would go well with basically any veggie.

 

Meal Plan 3.27-4.2

It’s my first full week post-Whole30 and I’m so excited!!!!  It’s so freeing to know how foods make me feel and to be empowered to make good choices.  Here are a list of meals I’m planning on this week, in no particular order:

Paleo Meatloaf (from Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso)

Garlic Bacon Avocado Burgers

Paleo Mexican Chicken Soup

Broccoli Cashew Chicken

I’m leaving a lot of space here for leftovers and potential eating out days.  I’d rather need to go to the store again during the week than have way too much food!

I’m also going to make gluten-free blueberry pancakes for breakfasts as I venture back into eating non-gluten grains, as well as experiment with adding oats back into my daily Shakeology like I used to do to see how it affects my body and how I feel.

I’m keeping avocados and fresh veggies like carrot, cauliflower, and sweet peppers around for snacking and as fresh, healthy sides for my meals.

For my fitness plan, I’m still following Insanity Max:30 for another week and a half, so I’ve got intense, 3o-min workouts Monday-Friday and rest days each weekend.  It’s getting close enough to the end of the program that I’m starting to wonder about what I should do next!  I never thought I’d be so committed to such a long program, and I’m really proud of myself for doing it.  I’ll have to evaluate how much closer I am to my goals on day 60 to know what my next steps should be.

What are you planning on for food and fitness this week?  I’d love to hear your meal plans, too!

 

 

Whole30 Results and Post-Whole30 Plans

Well, I did it!  I made it all 30 days of a strict, clean eating diet.  It was HARD.  I suffered through some sugar withdrawals, I had to take some extra time to prepare more food than I normally do, I had to think ahead a LOT more when I went to events and bring my own food, and I had to sit and watch other people enjoy foods that I wanted to eat, but had committed to not eating for 30 days.  Even on day 29 a few days ago, I thought about throwing in the towel and giving up!  Isn’t that crazy with just one day to go???  But I remembered what I had read on the Whole30 Timeline on their website–I committed to all 30 days, and I OWED it to myself to finish all 30 days!

I am so proud of myself.  Not only have I stuck to the Whole30 program (plus Shakeology), but I’ve also stuck to my workout plan as well.  This past 30 days has really been an exercise in self-discipline; I knew that my relationship with food had gotten really unhealthy and dysfunctional, and I needed something strict and structured to make that better to be the healthiest person I can be.  And I did it! There were days that I wasn’t sure I would make it, to be honest, but I was dedicated and committed.  I kept reminding myself about why I was doing it in the first place, and the benefits I’d be getting from being disciplined.  2 Timothy 1:7 was my mantra: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and SELF-DISCIPLINE.”  I knew that I could do it and that I NEEDED to do it, and I powered through with some prayers!

I have seen some amazing results through these past 30 days.

  • my acid reflux has gone from being a daily/nightly issue to virtually disappearing
  • my skin is clearer
  • my energy levels are up
  • I’m more satisfied with smaller amounts of food (because they are so nutrient-dense)
  • my cravings for desserts have pretty much disappeared
  • I am not using food as a coping mechanism for my stress/emotions
  • my midsection is flatter
  • I have less digestive issues
  • I don’t look pregnant after eating 1 meal
  • I have much less bloating in general
  • I got a cold and was only sick for a couple of days instead of the 5-7 days I would normally be feeling terrible
  • my patience and moodiness is better
  • my clothes are fitting so much better
  • my confidence is much higher than a month ago
  • my anxiety is much much better
  • my cravings for carbs have been almost non-existent!
  • My body image is better
  • My self-esteem overall is better
  • I’m not using the scale to measure my success with my health goals–the emotional attachment to whatever number it says is gone
  • I don’t wake up in the middle of the night anymore–once I’m asleep I STAY asleep
  • I haven’t been getting “hangry” even if I go 4-5 hours between meals
  • I’m not constantly hungry all day anymore
  • I’m reading the labels on my food and looking up ingredients at restaurants to know exactly what I’m putting into my body
  • I’m making mindful, intentional decisions about what foods I’ll eat instead of making mindless, emotional decisions
  • I have new, healthy recipes to add to my family’s rotation
  • I FEEL BETTER!

I lost about 7 lbs in my 30 days, plus a little over an inch from my waist and hips!


Several people have asked me, okay, that’s great you feel are feeling awesome–but what’s next?   Whole30 is not intended to be an all-the-time way of eating, but an experience to help you make mindful choices about how different foods affect your body, both positive and negative, so you can decide what will be healthy staples in your diet, what indulgences are worth it for you and how often you want to incorporate them into your life, and which foods just simply aren’t worth it for you.

With all that in mind, I’ve decided that going forward, I’ll be following a mostly Paleo diet.  This is similar to Whole30, but I’m relaxing a little with the “no added sugar” ever to make it simpler to get everything I need at my grocery store and to make it simpler to eat out with my family.  I will definitely be avoiding gluten and soy, and limiting dairy to just Greek yogurt.  I’m still in the reintroduction phase of Whole30, so some of this plan is up in the air as I wait to see how these different food groups affect me.  But if I’m feeling this good without all these foods, why would I want to go back to the way I used to eat????  That makes no sense to me.  Food is fuel, not comfort or celebration or self-worth, and I want to keep treating it as such.

So, I’m prepping for a Paleo/gluten-free lifestyle and keeping my options open with dairy, legumes, and non-gluten grains to see how my body reacts to them as I reintroduce them.  Overall, the main goal for this experience for me was to improve my dysfunctional relationship with food–to stop using food as a coping mechanism and source of comfort–and staying away from sugary sweets and gluten will help me continue this healthier relationship with food.  I’m not struggling with cravings, and I want to keep it that way!

I was afraid of Whole30 for a really long time–over a year, in fact.  I avoided making this commitment because I was afraid that it would be too hard and that I would fail.  But now that I’ve actually done it (!!!), I wish I had started this sooner.  God does not intend for us to be a slave to food and our food cravings–He wants to set us free from that!  If you are struggling with these issues like I was, take heart that YOU CAN change it.  I’d love to be a part of your journey to food freedom!  Comment or email me to start chatting about a transformation.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Waffles

Before I was even halfway done with my Whole30, I had already decided to be gluten free in my post-Whole30 life. This is not something that I took lightly, especially considering that my husband is a bread salesman!  I love bread, and I love that bread supports my family, so it feels a little messed up to not eat gluten, but I am feeling so much better without it that it just doesn’t make sense to me to go back to what I was eating before.  That kind of negates the whole process of going through Whole30 in the first place!

Since I made the decision to be g-free, I’ve been looking for different GF recipes that I can try once I’m done with my 30 days of no grains at all (check out my Pinterest board here).  This waffle recipe looked amazing, and it’s been tested and approved by my gluten-loving husband AND toddler!  That’s a definite win in my book.

These were easy to throw together, and cooked up nicely—thick and crisp like a waffle should be.  You could bump up the blueberries and forgo any syrup if you wanted to lower your sugar, or you could be normal and bring on the maple syrup!  My guys had these both ways and loved it either way.

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Waffles (slightly adapted from Gluten-Free Homemaker)

1.5 cups gluten-free all purpose baking mix

1 cup unsweetened vanilla cashew or almond milk

2 eggs

2 tablespoons butter, melted (I used ghee, and you can also use coconut oil)

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup blueberries

Preheat waffle iron. 

Mix all ingredients except blueberries until fully incorporated.  Gently fold in blueberries.  Pour 1/4-1/3 cup batter into waffle iron for each waffle and cook to desired crispness/until fully cooked throughout.  If desired, top with more blueberries, sliced bananas, diced pecans, and/or pure maple syrup.

Cooked waffles keep well in the freezer, so feel free to make a double batch to have some on hand for a quick breakfast!

Insanity Max:30 Halfway Update

I haven’t really been posting much about my workout plan lately, but I’ve been doing Insanity Max:30 for the past month.  I’m 5 weeks into the 60 day program, so a little more than halfway, and I am loving how I feel and how my body is changing.

Insanity Max:30 is a high-intensity cardio program that uses just your own body for resistance.  It’s so nice to not have to worry about using any equipment or mess with switching out weights!  Each workout is 30 minutes long, which works well for me because I have a MUCH harder time being consistent with my workouts when they are longer than 30 minutes.  This program is very intense–definitely a step up from 21 Day Fix/21 Day Fix Extreme and T25 that I did at the end of last year.  Thank goodness for modifiers!  I modify a lot of the workouts, honestly, but there’s no shame in that game.  I’m pushing myself and seeing some great changes, not to mention feeling awesome!

The intensity of the program is easier to deal with since it’s 5x/week with two rest days on the weekends.  There have been weeks when I’ve taken one rest day in the middle of the week and then another on the weekend (instead of doing all 5 workouts in a row), but I haven’t skipped any workouts!  I do get sore, of course, but I drink the Beachbody Performance Recover post-workout within 30 minutes of finishing my workout and it helps the soreness so much!  I have been abstaining from my Recover during the Whole30 since it’s a source of stevia, and I really miss it.  I can’t wait to finish my Whole30 at the end of this week (!!!) and add my Recover back into my routine.

This is the same pair of jeans in December and in March. I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m moving in the right direction!

When I finished the first 30 days of Max:30, the workouts switched and upped the intensity.  I’m excited to see more changes in this last phase of the program, and I’m considering doing it all again when I’m done and working on my endurance!  I would love to be able to do this program with fewer modifiers, so that is definitely a goal for 2017.

The left is day 1 and the right is day 30. There is a lot of difference in my midsection!

I’ve been taking progress pictures in my summer bathing suit for a couple of different reasons: first, I like to take progress pics in the same outfit to get a true comparison of how my body is changing, but I also have the summer as motivation to keep getting fit!  We go to the pool a lot, and I want to feel confident!  Plus, I have a wedding in August that I want to look great at and feel awesome in the pictures.  I tell my challengers to take tons of pictures during their transformations because they are so much more reliable than the scale!  I haven’t been weighing myself on the Whole30 but instead have been focusing on how I feel, changes in my body, and how I fit in my clothes.  I have been really motivated and encouraged by what I’ve seen!

Do you have some summer events that you want to look and feel awesome for?  My March accountability group is starting in exactly one week!  I’d love to take you under my wing and help you reach your goals.  Send me an email at wweaver0@gmail.com and we can chat!

Tips for Eating Clean on a Budget

In every 5-day clean eating group I host, people are always concerned with the cost of eating healthy.  And they are right to be concerned–healthy eating can be really expensive.  But the key word there is CAN be–it doesn’t have to be, and there are many ways that you can eat clean and still be on a budget.  Ya’ll, I’m a stay at home mom–we have a budget, too!

These are my top 10 tips for eating clean on a budget in terms of grocery shopping–if budget AND health are priorities, you need to be eating at home.  The cheap restaurant foods are almost exclusively unhealthy, so that isn’t a solution for you if optimal health is one of your goals.

  1. Drink more water. It’s free!  You don’t need to buy sodas or energy drinks or coffees out on a regular basis–they will not help you get healthier and you will save up more than you may realize over the course of a month.
  2. Make a meal plan/grocery list before you go to grocery. If you know what you’re getting before you go, you’re less likely to randomly buy stuff you don’t need and spend more money than you wanted to.
  3. Look at the sale ads to make your grocery list so you can take advantage of the lowest prices. This is a huge one because you can use these sales to make your meal plan to ensure you are getting the good deals.
  4. Utilize online coupons. If you shop at Kroger, you can load digital coupons directly onto your Kroger Plus Card to get more savings. If you shop at Target, you can use the Cartwheel app to get more coupons. Other stores have similar apps, so check the store you shop at.
  5. Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s has some great prices on fresh produce and other products–if you have one local to you, take some time to check them out and price compare. If it’s a better deal, go for it!
  6. This one is HUGE: Be willing to be flexible—if you wanted burgers but chicken is on sale, save some money and switch your plan around a little. You can do this with meats, veggies, fruits, etc. Pay attention to sales and be willing to switch up your plan to save money.
  7. Be willing to do some work in the kitchen! If you can learn how to chop your veggies instead of buying them pre-chopped, cook and butcher a whole chicken, etc., you can get your food cheaper. The more a store has prepared the food for you, the more expensive it is (pre-chopped veggies, salad mix instead of whole lettuce, chicken tenders instead of a whole chicken, etc.)
  8. Buy frozen and canned fruits and veggies. You can get them cheap and they last much longer than fresh, so you don’t have the worry about them going bad before you can use them and having to throw them (and your $$ away).
  9. Find some meatless meals you like—meat can be expensive and making 1 or 2 meals a week without it can help your spending.
  10. Ask around at your store to find out what kind of regular deals or bargain bins they have.  For example, at my regular grocery, there are produce bargain bins with produce that’s on its way out–you can buy that produce at a really low price, and then chop and freeze it yourself to keep it fresh.  My grocery also offers boneless chicken breast directly from the meat counter at $1.99/lb, which means I can get chicken at around half the price of the prepackaged chicken breast.  Do some digging at your store to see what kind of regular deals you can take advantage of.

Pinterest has an almost endless supply of healthy meals for people on a tight budget–utilize that to your advantage!  If you can be persistent in researching and finding meals you love that fit your budget, the planning and prep work will become like second nature to you.  It’s a lot of effort at first, but you get better and better at it, and soon it won’t seem like a big deal.  Keep going and keep focusing on how your healthy eating is making you feel better–that is great motivation!

What are your favorite healthy eating tips for people on a budget?  I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!