Embracing Simple Eating

Since I’m currently hooked on the topic of simple living and being more intentional about the things I allow in my home, why not be more intentional about the things I allow in my body?

Years ago, my mom tried the Whole 30 plan and crushed it! She said she felt great at the end of the 30 days, so I decided to try it for myself.

I was a freshman in college at the time and I was living in a dorm room, so I didn’t have a kitchen to cook in. Instead, I had a meal plan at the dining hall and the options there weren’t the healthiest. The types of foods I was allowed to eat on the Whole 30 plan were few and far between. I remember for one Whole 30 meal at the dining hall I ate sliced deli turkey meat on a bed of spinach. It was as bland as it sounds, and I quit the plan the next day.

I have a friend who recently completed the Whole 30 plan and she said she’s never felt better. Her success has inspired me to give the plan another try (Thanks, Emily!) And now that I have a kitchen of my own and can cook whenever I get the itch to, I’ve found that Whole 30 is a much easier feat compared to the time I attempted it in college.

The thing about Whole 30 is that there’s a lot of foods you’re not allowed to eat — foods that I eat every day! You can’t eat added sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, consume alcohol, carrageenan or MSG.

After I read this list, I was a little worried considering I have a major sweet tooth, I’m the queen of carbs, chili with beans is a food group itself in my diet, I consume some form of dairy every day and I occasionally partake in an alcoholic beverage.

So far, though, I’ve found that Whole 30 approved foods are pretty realistic and accessible. They are foods I eat often and I don’t have to go to a fancy, expensive grocery store to get the ingredients to make the meals. I’ve been able to find everything I need at Aldi or Kroger, and my grocery bill is the same as it was before Whole 30.

Here are some meals I’ve made so far on the plan:

Lunch

Baked tilapia with ghee, and salt and pepper, cooked kale drizzled in olive oil, half an avocado with a pinch of sea salt, cashews and dates. I ate a few more dates than this picture shows and a Larabar (not all Larabars are Whole 30 approved, so read the ingredients) because I was already having sugar withdrawals! Lots of healthy fats on this plate and I felt full after this meal. The worst thing about “dieting” is that you constantly feel deprived. I didn’t feel deprived at all after this meal, so that was a good sign.

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Dinner

Taco bowls. I sautéed onions and garlic in a skillet with olive oil and a little bit of ghee. I then added ground beef and once it was cooked, I separated the beef into two skillets — one portion for me and one for Daniel. In Daniel’s skillet, I sprinkled some taco seasoning over the meat. I read the ingredients on the back of the packet and saw that it contained yellow corn flour, corn starch, added sugar, wheat starch and soy flour, so it wasn’t Whole 30 approved for me.

For the beef in my skillet, I added some plain spices that are Whole 30 approved: ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.

I sautéed cauliflower rice, baked a diced sweet potato sprinkled in olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper, sliced the other half of my avocado I had for lunch, as well as some cilantro, and then added some salsa.

This meal didn’t vary much from taco bowls I’ve made in the past, other than the cauliflower rice and using plain spices in place of taco seasoning. Pre-Whole 30 me would have added black beans, shredded cheese and a big dollop of sour cream on top.

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After dinner I snacked on some figs and an apple. My sweet tooth was kicking in again, so eating dried fruit was the closest thing I could get to a sweet treat.

Breakfast

For breakfast the next day I drank black coffee with a little bit of coconut oil mixed in, and ate a banana with cinnamon and some dates.

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I plan to make stuffed bell peppers for dinner tonight. My plate will likely feature another avocado 😉 Spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs are also on the menu this week, and I see lots of eggs in my future!

Have you tried the Whole 30 plan before? If so, what are some meals you loved and what was the hardest food for you to give up?

Visit The Minimalists blog for more inspiration on healthy eating and living.

Featured photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Embracing Simple Eating

  1. Oh, yum………….MAJOR YUM! I’m coming to your house for dinner!!!! Another tip I got one time was this: “If we ate like the proverbial “cave man” ate, we would not have a weight problem and fewer health challenges”. Meaning, if you could walk out your back door for some fresh meat, pick your vegetables out of the ground, pick your fruit and nuts off the tree, grind your own flour and gather some eggs on the way in….voila. This hit home to me because that’s largely how we ate on the farm. Went off track when the homemade pies, cakes and cookies hit the table, though!

    • I think our society doesn’t eat that way anymore because of convenience. It’s so much easier to grab a box of plastic wrapped junk at the store instead of putting in the work of tending a garden. But you don’t even have to have your own garden to eat healthy! It’s about making smart choices at the store. I’ve heard people say that it’s more expensive to eat healthy. That’s not necessarily true. Daniel always tells me he’d rather spend a little more at the store to eat healthy than spend thousands of dollars on medical bills later on down the road because we chose to eat cheap junk food. You get what you pay for!

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