Monday, January 20, 2014

Whole30: Days 12-15. Halfway there, with 4 recipes!

It's Whole30 day 15 -- half way through! Whole30 is continuing to work well for me. I have good energy while running and lifting, no GI problems while running, and the urge for between-meal snacks is dwindling as I figure out how much to eat at meals (pro tip: you can put olive oil on top of almost anything!).

I have had some acne around the edges of my jaw/neck for the last 6 months (since the last Whole30, in fact), and am now wondering whether it could be related to my increased almond consumption. Reading the Whole30 boards, most people's skin conditions improve on the diet, but for those who develop problems, almonds seem to be a common offender. I'm going to try cutting way back on them to see if that makes a differences. The other possibility is eggs. But honestly, I'd rather have a little acne than figure out how to give up eating eggs!

One visible benefit of Whole30: I'm looking different after two weeks of it. I noticed in the gym the other day that between regular core workouts and this, I now have abs! I think for the first time ever. It's pretty cool.

Pretty sure I once swore never to take a gym selfie. Oh well.
Whole30 food log, continued:

Thursday (day 11) continued:
Dinner: Polish sausage, peppers and onions sauteed in lard, oven-roasted cumin carrots and parsnips (recipe adapted from Well Fed -- this was way good and I will try again with other root veggies like golden beets).
I ate everything else before I could photograph it, but a few carrots and parsnips survived long enough for a picture.
I was still hungry after this, so after putting kids to bed I made a sort of random but delicious fried eggplant-and-egg creation.
The eggplant got very silky and creamy after some cooking.  Weird but pretty good.

Friday (day 12):
Breakfast: Omelet with 3 eggs, kale, and jalapeno peppers, cooked in ghee. Leftover carrots and parsnips. Black coffee.
Post-workout: Seward Coop salad bar raid! A little bowl with cooked chicken, sunflower seeds, two kinds of olives, marinated cucumber, artichoke heart, and shredded beets, with a little olive oil and vinegar. Delicious! Then black coffee and a small sweet potato.
Lunch: Tuna salad with green beans and roasted yellow pepper. Salad with lettuce, roasted red pepper, 1/2 avocado, a blood orange, olive oil, balsamic vinegar. (No almonds!)
Afternoon snack: A few pieces of dried pineapple.
Dinner: Braised pork shanks with tomato and olives, over a sweet potato and broccoli. Oh MY was this good. 1/3 c frozen blueberries with coconut milk.
Originally cooked 4 shanks, but, well, HUNGRY.
Recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything.

Braised pork shanks with tomatoes and olives (serves 4 hungry people):

4 pork shanks (beef, veal or lamb would also work), about 2-3 lb total
1 Tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper
2 c sliced onion (about 2 medium onions)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes (or 1 c diced tomato)
1 1/2 c good olives (we used Kalamata)

Preheat the oven to 350F (if oven braising -- you can also do it on the stovetop). In a large heavy ovenproof pan or Dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the shanks and brown on all sides, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Remove the shanks and saute the onion till soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and stir for a minute, then add the shanks and tomatoes. Bring to a boil then either cover and put it in the oven, or cover and simmer on low heat for 30 min.

Remove the lid, turn the shanks over, and add the olives. Add 1/2 c water or stock if it looks dry. Cover it again and cook at least 1 more hour, until the meat is very tender and falling off the bone.

Serve with a starchy and/or green vegetable. SO GOOD.

Saturday (day 13):
Breakfast: Omelet with 3 eggs, kale, and jalapeno peppers, cooked in ghee. Pumpkin (a friend had roasted, pureed, and frozen it and gave it to me. Thanks! It was delicious). Black coffee.
During the 2.5 hour run: About 8 dates.
Post-run: Seward Cafe! 3 egg omelet with kale, tomato, and mushroon, with tahini and jalapeno salsa on top. Side of grilled carrots. Black coffee.
Lunch: Leftover pork shanks, on a sweet potato. Yum.
Dinner: Farmer's sausage with purple cabbage. Also from Bittman's How To Cook Everything. This was tender and rich and delicious. The two of us ate it ALL. Also, a banana and a few pistachio nuts.
It did kind of turn the sausage purple, but what the heck.

Braised cabbage with sausage (serves 2-3 hungry people):

0.75-1 lb sausage, cut into bite sized pieces (he calls for kielbasa, we used farmer's sausage... pork, salt, pepper)
1 medium-sized head of cabbage, cut into thin slices (we used purple)
3/4 c chicken stock (he calls for a bottle of beer, which woudl also be good).

In a large heavy pan or Dutch oven, brown the sausage, then add cabbage and chicken broth and stir. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 min. Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday (day 14):
Breakfast: Omelet with 3 eggs, kale, and jalapeno peppers, cooked in ghee. Pumpkin. Black coffee.
Post-run: Sweet potato hash (one baked sweet potato, 1/2 an onion, sauteed in coconut oil) with one fried egg on top. Coffee with 1/2 c coconut milk and a Tbsp of cocoa.
Lunch: 2 carrots, dipped in homemade mayo, and this:

Chicken curry in a hurry (serves 2 hungry people): 

1/2-3/4 lb boneless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (we used Trader Joe's frozen chicken breast tenders, but thighs would be even better)
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 a large head of cauliflower, cut into florets (or 1 lb frozen cauliflower would work)
1/2 a large onion, sliced
1 Tbsp Thai green curry paste (we used Thai Kitchen)
1/2-3/4 c coconut milk

In a large heavy skillet, heat coconut oil over medium high heat and sautee chicken till it's beginning to brown. Add the cauliflower and onion and cook, stirring, over medium heat till cauliflower is browned and tender. Stir in the Thai green curry paste, then add enough coconut milk to make it a little saucy.

Dinner: Taco salad! This was pretty amazing (but I failed to get a picture before we devoured it). A variation of it is one of our quick go-to meals.

Paleo taco salad (serves 2 hungry people):

2 large bowls full of salad greens
Optional: Other fresh vegetables (I added bean sprouts to mine, since I had some on hand)

Taco meat:
1/2-3/4 lb ground meat (we've used ground beef and ground pork with good results)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped (green is good too)
1 small can fire-roasted New Mexico chili peppers (optional)
salt and generous amounts of black pepper
1 tsp ground chipotle powder
1 tsp ground cumin
a few shakes of crushed red pepper flakes
a pinch of cinnamon

Optional: Whole30-friendly salad dressing, or olive oil + balsamic vinegar

2 small or 1-1.5 large ripe avocados
juice of 1 lime
1/2-1 jalapeno pepper, minced

Cook the taco meat: Saute the meat with onion and bell pepper till the moisture is mostly cooked off and the meat starts to brown. Add the canned chilis and the spices, stir, and taste to adjust the seasoning.

Make the guacamole: Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mash and mix vigorously with a fork.

Assemble the salads: Place greens and other veggies, if using, in salad bowls (we use mixing bowls). Put meat on top, then dressing if desired, then guac. Enjoy!

Variation: You could do this as lettuce wraps instead of a salad. Just serve the extra veggies, meat, and guac separately alongside big lettuce leaves for wrapping.

Monday (day 15):
Breakfast: Egg and sausage breakfast bites with chard (from . Pumpkin. Black coffee.
Post-workout: Seward Cafe! 2 egg omelet with kale, carrot, and mushroon, with tahini and jalapeno salsa on top. Black coffee.
Lunch: Lunch: Tuna salad with green beans and roasted yellow pepper. Salad with lettuce, roasted yellow pepper, 1/2 avocado, bean sprouts, olive oil, balsamic vinegar. 1/2 a baked sweet potato.


  1. You totally rock! Yep, it is official, the entire Høeg family is going on your plan starting next Wednesday.I just convinced SR :-). But OMG-- I ALSO have an acne outbreak and can't figure out why less simple sugars equals more acne either. I don't eat almonds so that is not the explanation in my case. Do you think it is increased estrogen or progesterone due to a healthier diet?

    1. Okay, that's an interesting question. I can't think of why a healthier diet would increase estrogen/progesterone -- got a mechanism? Also, does E or P cause acne, or is that just testosterone? (Maybe I'm making more T due to diet? But why?)

      Thinking about the hormone hypothesis: I have not noticed a change in menstrual cycle EXCEPT... that now that I think of it, I have been grumpy 1-3 days before start of menses during both Whole30s... and I NEVER have PMS type symptoms other times. Literally never. I was chalking it up to reduced carb intake (again no mechanism, but sometimes people with PMS crave carbs, right? so something something hormones something carbs...), but maybe it's something related to hormone levels.

      Do you think your acne could be due to increased consumption of some other common allergen? Eggs, shellfish, citrus, tomatoes? Just making wild guesses now.

      I'll be very interested to hear how the Whole30 goes for you guys. One of the keys to it (esp when starting out) is eating ENOUGH. You shouldn't feel deprived. I was surprised by how much lunch I need to pack!