Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Whole30 - Crushed It!

That's a wrap folks! I survived week 4!  It was spring break so I was home most of the time and it was a challenge not to want to eat my way through the week.  We also started house hunting so that created challenges with late dinners and such.  I was glad that I had done some meal prep or we would have been in a real bind. 

This past Monday, the hubs and I finished our first Whole30.  I'm so incredibly glad I did it.  It was difficult at times but so worth it.  I ended up losing a total of 11.2 pounds and I feel great.  My clothes fit better, I feel more awake and I'm not dealing with constant bloat which is awesome.

Now that it's over, I'm a little apprehensive.  I started the 10 day reintroduction plan just so I know how things like dairy and gluten affect me but overall, I plan to stick with eating Whole30 most of the time.  (I'll post more about the reintro next week when I'm done).  I liked that I didn't constantly feel hungry and that I was eating real food instead of all processed food.  Even Julia started eating better along with us which is an added bonus. This eating plan really works for me and my diet is way better than it probably ever has been.

Things I loved: 

- My instant pot - This made my life so much easier.  I could through some potatos and sweet potatos in it and 'bake' them in less than half the time it takes in the oven.  I could also poach frozen chicken breasts in 10 minutes!  It was nice to have that option when I needed to throw something together quickly; some poached chicken and salsa on a salad is a fast and yummy dinner.

- Hazelnut Nutpods Creamer - Now I know in one of my previous posts I said I was pretty meh about this.  However, at that point, I had only tried one flavor.  The Hazelnut flavor is actually really good and even the Original one is good (French Vanilla not so much).

-Le Croix water - I don't think I would have survived without this stuff.  It really helped me cut some sweet cravings and it was nice to have an option other than plain water.

-Pinterest - There is so much information about Whole30 and so many recipes on Pinterest.  It was such a great resource to have.

I'm not ready to go out and eat all the cookies right now but I am kind of looking forward to my first sweet treat.  I read Melissa Hartwig's Food Freedom Forever and I found it super helpful as I move forward.  I definitely plan to follow her plan for life after Whole30.

I posted all of the recipes I tried in my weekly posts but below are my favorites.  The two recipes I made over the weekend were absolutely delicious and definitely make my favorite list.

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Baked Buffalo Wings 

Mini Egg Frittatas


Roasted sausage, peppers and potatos 

Paleo/Whole30 chili 

Easy Paleo Pot Roast

 I'll be back next weekend with updates on the reintro process!

Check out how each week went:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mailbox Monday (72)

Hey y'all! Today is the last day of spring break for me and Julia so I'm having a lazy, relaxing day.  It was a much busier week than I expected so spring break flew by.  I only had to work one day this past week but I worked from home a lot and we started house hunting which was a wild ride.  I'm kind of glad to go back to work and get back into our routine.  I did manage to get caught up on a lot of reading so overall, not a bad week.  

I picked up some books from the library and a few kindle deals so I'm linking up with Mailbox Monday again today.

From the Library (physical books):

From the Library (ebook):

I love this series and I think this one is my favorite book so far!

Purchased (for kindle):

Have you read any of these? What books did you get this week? 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Quick Review: "We Were the Lucky Ones"

From Goodreads:  It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety.

As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working grueling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere. 

My Thoughts:   This was quite the story!  I almost don't know where to start.  We Were the Lucky Ones follows every member of the large Kurc family throughout the course of World War II.  There story is an extraordinary one and I was shocked to see how it all turned out for them considering the circumstances they had to overcome.  Each chapter was told from a different characters' point of view and since each one was living somewhere different and experiencing their own unique struggles, it made for a very exciting read.  Sometimes jumping around between characters can get complicated but I think the author did a good job of creating a smooth transition between each chapter.  At times, it felt like the story dragged on a bit but I think it was necessary because there was so much happening.

The Kurc family's Holocaust experience is a very unique and unusual one and what I enjoyed most about the book is that it was based on true events.  The story is about the author's grandfather and his family and she wrote an extensive author's note at the end of the book explaining her writing process and the extensive research she did.  I've seen a lot of hype surrounding this book and I definitely think that the story lives up to it.  4 stars. 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mailbox Monday (71)

Today is the first day of Spring Break for me...yay!  My daughter's daycare is closed all week so I'm only working on Tuesday.  I have to work from home a little bit but for the most part, I get a break.  I'm looking forward to sleeping and getting caught up on my reading.  Goodreads keeps telling me that I'm behind on my reading goal so I'm hoping this week will help.

I won an Amazon gift card in a raffle so I've been stocking up on ebooks this week.  Because I totally need more books!

Purchased (for Kindle):

From the Library (ebook):

What books did you pick up this week?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Whole30 - In the home stretch!

Just finished week 3 of the Whole30!  I can't believe I only half one week left.  I'm really looking forward to being done but I'm also super nervous about it.

The Good: I know you aren't supposed to weigh yourself but I have been doing it anyway.  I've lost 8 pounds!  My clothes fit so much better and I have so much less bloating.  Yesterday I wore an outfit that had been snug for a while and it was nice to be comfortable in it and not feel like a stuffed sausage! 

Also, I found a Lara bar that doesn't taste like dirt.  Score!  (Coconut Cream Pie - winner winner,chicken dinner!)

The Bad: There was a ton of temptation at work this week. My office had a pie day celebration on March 14 and there was a going away potluck for a colleague.  There was so much yummy food that I had to ignore.  It wasn't as hard to say no to it but it still sucked to have to eat my healthy apple instead of big piece of pie.

The Ugly: I'm very nervous about the reintroduction period after my 30 days is up.  I'm worried that I'm just going to go nuts and eat a bunch of Easter candy until I'm sick.  I've been reading Food Freedom Forever which is written by one of the Whole30 founders and it's helping my mindset some but I still don't know how I'm going to handle things when it's over.

Recipes I tried this week:

 Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Verde

Whole30 Breakfast Casserole

Paleo/Whole30 Chili

Easy Paleo Pot Roast

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mailbox Monday (70)

This is the last week before our spring break.  It will be a busy week but it will make it easier to get through it knowing that spring break is almost here!

This past week was a slow reading week for me.  I've been reading the same book for a long time and finally finished it.  I'm hoping now I can start getting caught up on my reading again.  Goodreads says I'm two books behind schedule so I need to get on it.

I picked up a few more books this week and now I"m kind of overwhelmed.  I need to stay away from NetGalley for a while.

Purchased (for nook):

I love this book so much! I read it years ago and have been wanting to do a reread for a long time.  I couldn't resist the $1.99 price tag!

For Review (from NetGalley):

What books did you pick up this week?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Whole30 - Half way done!

Today is day 15 so when I go to bed tonight, I will be half way done with the Whole 30!

So in week 1, I felt really good.  Week 2, not so much.  Week 2 was really hard and I'm not sure why.  The calendar I have does say that days 9-11 are the worst and I would agree.  I just felt sluggish all week and had some mild stomach issues.  Also, the recipes I picked for the week didn't turn out as good as I expected.  There were some winners but some duds too.  It's bad enough not being able to have a cookie but then eating bad food just makes it worse.

That being said, I felt better by Saturday and the scale is still saying nice things to me.  My clothes seem to fit a bit better and I really love that I don't have a constant bloated feeling.  I know you're not supposed to weigh yourself for the entire 30 days but I really need the motivation that the scale provides to keep me going.  Also, this week I started to not need to snack so much.  I usually eat 3 meals a day with a morning and afternoon snack.  With eating real filling food this week, I haven't needed those snacks (most days).  That's a huge deal for me.  I'm usually always hungry and now I'm seeing that it's probably because of all the junk I ate.

I ran on the treadmill three days this week and even though it's not as much as I wanted to do, I'm really happy that I'm fitting exercise back into my life.  I've definitely missed it!

Things I'm loving: Sweet potatos, Gala apples with almond butter, Tessamae's barbecue sauce (made my BBQ chicken soooo good!) and roasted cashews.  I also found compliant bacon and andouille sausage at Natural Grocers and they are AMAZING.

Things that make me go 'meh':

- Nutpods creamer - It's better than nothing but it definitely isn't as good as I'd hoped .
- Cauliflower rice - It's not bad but it's definitely one of the weirder things I've eaten.
- So much cooking. - Tonight we had to eat a quick dinner and even just trying to prep some veggies with leftovers was a hassle.  I really want to keep eating this way after the 30 days is over but man, I feel like I'm always in the kitchen.

 Recipes I tried: 

While I didn't love everything I made, I thought I would share them all because everyone has different tastes.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Korean Beef Bowl

Loaded Taco Breakfast Casserole 


Roasted potatos, peppers and sausage

I'm looking forward to the next week!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Mailbox Monday (69)

I got way too many books this week so I am linking up with Mailbox Monday again!  I haven't had much time to read lately but I'm hoping to change that this month.  I think I have more books than I know what to do with but it doesn't hurt to have options!

My daughter was sick all last week so I've been mostly cooped up with her and I'm actually glad to be back at work today!  She was pretty sick so except for trips to the doctor and Walgreens, we were pretty much home bound.  I'm glad that she's finally feeling better, it got a little scary there for a bit.  

March will be busy at work but it will be fun too so I'm ready for the challenge.  Here's to a good week and month! 

From the Library:

For Review (from NetGalley):


Purchased for Kindle:

Ebook Freebies:

What books did you pick up this week?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Whole30 - Week 1 in the books!

I really want to start posting on this blog more.  I promise to keep it mostly about books but I want to include some posts about what's happening in my life too.

Last Sunday, I started the Whole30 program and have am now on my 8th day of following the program.  If you haven't heard of it yet, you basically give up dairy, gluten, legumes, sugar, alcohol and processed foods for 30 days.  There are a lot of reasons that I've been wanting to do this program but I would be lying if I wasn't hoping to lose some pounds along the way.  The main reason I'm doing this is because my diet is terrible!  Even when 'dieting' I mostly just eat low calorie processed foods and very few (if any) fruits and veggies.  I'm hoping this will give me a kick in the pants to start eating better food.

How was the first week?

Not nearly as bad as I thought.  I did have a headache for the first couple of days but otherwise, I've felt fine.  I feel a ton less bloated and the scale says that I've lost a few pounds (though I'm sure they're mostly water).  The food has been really good too!

Is it hard?

It has been a somewhat of a challenge.  I used to cook a lot more before I had Julia but most of what I've been cooking have been easy, dump in the crockpot meals.  I have had to deal a lot of meal prep on the weekends to make sure we have food for the week.  I've been making a lot of recipes I've found on pinterest and the nice thing is that, so far, they make a large quantity so we can eat them for lunches or other dinners throughout the week.  (Our dinner last night made enough for 6 meals!)

One of the hardest things has been looking at my mindset.  My daughter was sick last week and so I was home with her for four days; usually when I'm at home, I mindlessly snack.  I also had to make a million trips to Walgreens and I used to not leave the store without a soda and a treat of some kind.  It felt weird not partaking in these 'normal' rituals for me but I realized that these things are all mental and not things I do because I'm actually hungry.  I'm hoping to continue to have a better mindset with food when all is said and done.

What have you been eating?

I now have a new love of cashews!  I found some roasted 'compliant' cashews at Natural Grocers and they are delicious.  A few go a long way to filling me up!  I've also been embracing my love of sweet potatos.  My husband hates them so I usually don't make them but I ate them a lot last week.  They cook up so well (and so fast) in my instant pot!  We've had things like 'spaghetti' with spaghetti squash instead of noodles and fajitas with lettuce wraps.  Super yummy!  I have also made the recipes below and all were really good.

Crockpot Hamburger Stew

Mexican Chicken Soup

Mini Egg Frittatas

 Is it expensive?

It has been a bit expensive but since we aren't eating out much, stopping at the snack shop or making ice cream runs, I'm not too sad about it.  Aldi has been a lifesaver with their inexpensive produce.  I'm going to try to shop at Wal-Mart instead of Target next week and see if that helps.


I'm pretty happy with the program so far.  Yes, I would still like a big cookie but I can handle it.  (I made cookies yesterday for a family dinner and it was pure torture!)  I'm looking forward to the next week!
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