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Looking forward to a new year with the Whole30 challenge!

I have been rather absent from this blog but I have also been fairly absent from eating and living primally. The holidays have mostly got the best of me: endless sweet treats on the break table at work, chocolates in my stocking, and just general laziness when it comes to cooking. I would say we have maintained at least 50-75% paleo however, which is better than nothing!

Since we have been having such a hard time getting on paleo and sticking with it, it has been decided that it is time to pull out the big guns! I got the idea from Primal Toad who is planning on undergoing the Whole30 going into 2012. Whole30 is a very strict paleo regimen with not a lot of wiggle room for neolithic badness. The idea is to cleanse your system and cut out any potential trouble foods. This in turn helps you get over those gnarly cravings. It’s 30 days of strict paleo and then after that if you want to reintroduce some more neolithic stuff like butter and whole whipping cream then it is all good.

A quick synopsis of the Whole30 menu is you basically eat only whole, unprocessed, real food (paleo food!)  like meat, seafood, veggies, and fruit, and cut out all grains, dairy, legumes, as well as all added sweeteners (real and artificial, good-bye Diet Coke, wah!). The newest version does include some concessions such as clarified butter and ghee, so we might mess around with making our own clarified butter from pastured butter, and certain legumes, like green beans.

If you are interested in paleo and what it can do for you the Whole30 challenge seems like a good program for taking it all the way to really see what kind of results you can expect. What I hope to get out of the progam is to permanently be fixed on a paleo/primal eating regimen by the end of it, lose some weight, and be stronger, healthier, and leaner.

So as for how it has been going lately (the past few weeks or so)…

At least 1 or 2 meals a day have been home-cooked and basically paleo (since we only buy paleo groceries). We have had some fast food, but the positive thing about it is that we are pretty much disgusted by it every time we eat it (and yes, we eat it anyway) so it is getting easier and easier to prefer home-cooked paleo over fast convenient yuckiness.

So we haven’t made an incredibly drastic change yet, but I think we are realizing that we feel better when we eat clean paleo food compared to how we feel when we eat lots of junk/fast food. And this is a good change. Maybe only a couple of months ago I could eat fast food all week long for say every other meal. I mostly felt like crap but I was used to feeling like crap so I didn’t really think about it. Now after eating fast food a couple of times in a week and it makes me cringe to even think about eating more of it. Give me a big plate with a heaping pile of meat, a heaping pile of veggies, and fill me up on coconut oil and grass-fed butter!

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot of cravings. My man is tired of hearing my yearnings for chocolate (which is on a pretty regular basis) and I did pretty much fail at just saying no to all the holiday temptations (though I did better than usual and did resist a good bit of it!). I am not all the way there but there is definitely a difference and a growing preference for clean, whole, paleo foods, that’s all I’m saying.

Lately we have also gotten to try some new recipes and some new paleo foods we hadn’t had the chance to before. Two biggies are grass-fed butter (found one store in town, Sprouts, that sells it), and coconut oil (reasonably priced at Sprouts). There are few options in my hometown as far as grocery shopping goes, no Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, but Sprouts has some pretty good options. The coconut oil is their store brand and is even organic and less expensive than the stuff at Market Street United. Sprouts is the only place locally that I’ve found pastured butter. They carry two brands, the Irish Kerry Gold and Humboldt’s (I went with the less expensive Humboldt’s). We also got some local raw honey from my sis and I will probably be saddest about not having that for 30 days (right after Diet Coke, of course.)

Everything I have heard and read about grass-fed butter is true. It is wonderful, and every time I take it out I slice off a little bit and eat it just as it is. I’ve tried that with non-pastured butter and it sucks by itself, but not so with grass-fed! Yum!

Coconut oil is also now a necessary staple in our kitchen, we love it, and it is great to cook with. The kale chips I made were tossed with melted coconut oil, laid out on a cookie sheet and sprinkled with sea salt. I will probably take about 5 mins off the cooking time next time (they were VERY crispy) but OMFG they are delicious. And tossing them in coconut oil resulted in them being VERY filling. So this will be an often-made treat in our home I think.

And BTW, baked sweet potatoes with grass-fed butter, raw honey, and a sprinkling of cinnamon are ridiculously delicious and I eat way too many of them (being that I want to lose weight too).

So I will close with a little slide show of a few of the  paleo meals we have had over the last few weeks. We have been having leftover Christmas ham and eggs for breakfast the past couple days. The next several posts will probably mostly pertain to our experience with the Whole30 Challenge. I have been reading up on other people’s experiences with it and have found it all pretty helpful, so maybe my experience will do the same for someone out there. 🙂

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Some other topics I hope to cover in future posts as well include paleo for pets (my dog eats grain-free, as she should), paleo snack foods (a very important topic to a busy full-time student such as myself), and hopefully some more research heavy stuff eventually about various paleo nutrition topics.

Have a happy, healthy new year everyone!

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