Yes, I Can Cook (or Whole30 Round 3)

Despite the rumors, I can actually cook. Or really, I can follow a recipe. I just don’t like to cook. Since I’m single, I tend to do what I call “lazy eating”—sandwiches, take-out, frozen meals, more take-out. Anything that’s quick, easy, and requires no thought, but that also tends to be unhealthy and fattening. The Whole30 Program forces me inspires me to cook because I have to think about what I’m eating instead of lazy eating. And since I have to think about it, I have to plan in advance. And so I meal plan and buy real vegetables, fruit, and meats, not frozen and processed food.

 

mealprep

Part of this week’s meal prep.

 

 

The first time I did Whole30 from mid-July to mid-August, I lost 8 pounds and 2% body fat. The second time, from mid-October to right before Thanksgiving, I lost 11 pounds and 2% body fat. (Read about Rounds 1 and 2 here and here.) Since Round 2, I have maintained the weight I lost. YAY! Even over the holidays, I used the lessons learned from Whole30 and ate mostly healthy. That’s not to say I haven’t had the good stuff (chocolate, alcohol, bread), but I overall have made better choices.

So now that the holidays and my birthday are over, I’m prepping for Whole 30 Round 3 starting tomorrow. I’ve found that doing Whole30 once every quarter is a good way to keep my sugar intake down and keep on track. And I am *this* close to going down another pant size (I can zip them up, but they’re just a wee bit too tight—I like to breathe), so I’m super motivated. Plus, I’m planning a trip to the Caribbean in the fall (hello bathing suit!), so I have even more motivation.

So I thought I share my food prep for this first week:

Egg Breakfast Muffins

(recipe adapted from I Heart Naptime)
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I discovered these during Round 1. So yummy, so easy, and so adaptable. You can put anything you want in them. Feel more southwest? No problem. Add peppers, onion, chili powder, and maybe a dash of cayenne pepper. Love bacon and potatoes? Easy. Cook up some bacon, dice some potatoes, and BAM!

Today, I browned ground turkey (spiced with turmeric, chili powder, paprika, and ground black pepper). I used 9 large eggs, whisked, and added finely chopped sweet potatoes and the browned ground turkey. Easy-peasy and very yummy. They freeze nicely, and I have 2 every morning with a piece of fruit.

lemondijon.jpg3-Minute Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

(recipe from Laughing Spatula)

It really did only take 3-minutes. Just dump everything in the blender. How easy is that?

I will use it to marinate some chicken breasts that I will cook for dinner one night.

Zesty Chicken Bites

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(recipe from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen)

I didn’t have red pepper flakes, so I used chili powder instead and I also added turmeric, which in addition to being tasty is an antioxidant.

Very yummy and super easy to make. I’ll definitely make these again. This week, I’ll eat these as a snack along with the bag of tangerines I bought.

Easy Roasted Lemon Chicken

roastedchikveg(recipe adapted from Laughing Spatula)

I again substituted chili powder for the red pepper flakes and again added turmeric. (Yes, I’m on a turmeric kick this week.) I didn’t have fresh rosemary, so I used dried. I’m not a food snob, so dried is okay with me. Then I used sweet potatoes and parsnips instead of baby red potatoes.

This baked for an hour, then once it cooled, I divided it into 4 portions for easy reheating as this will be lunch Monday-Thursday. I love single pan meals. They’re easy and flexible.

Do you have any favorites easy recipes? Share your favorites in the comments below.

 

 

 

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Post-November Updates

Wow. Has this year flown by or what?! Here we are already a week into December and since I was writing furiously last month, I’ve been lax on posting. So let’s catch up on what’s been happening.

National Novel Writing Month

As I wrote last week, I successfully completed NaNoWriMo on November 28. My final total was 50,100 words. And it took a week for my hand to recover.

So what’s next? Well, I wrote a novel, but it’s in complete chaos. I may or may not edit it. I haven’t decided yet if I’m treating this year’s writing as practice. Or if I actually want to try to make this into some semblance of a novel. I’m leaning towards putting it in order, cleaning it up a bit, and letting someone read it. But that won’t happen until after the holidays. So more on that later.

The important thing is I did finish. In 9 years of participating, this is only the second time I’ve “won” NaNoWriMo. And I still haven’t done anything with the first novel I wrote. So . . .

Whole 30 Round 2

As I wrote back at the end of October, I decided to do a second round of Whole 30. The first round I lost 8 pounds and 2% body fat and that was without any kind of working out other than walking.

After round 1, I did start working out doing basic strength training moves at home with my 5-pound weights. As that got easier, I moved into the gym and have been lifting consistently more weight.

So Round 2 ended right before Thanksgiving. And the results . . . drum roll . . . I lost 11 pounds and 2% body fat! What does that mean? This time I lost a bit of lean muscle in addition to fat pounds. In other words, because of my increase in exercise, I really should have eaten more. But I never once was hungry.

Round 2 overall was much easier. I kept many of the eating habits I established during Round 1 – primarily, I’ve kept my sugar intake down. So this time, no headaches. And at the end of Round 2, I can honestly say I feel even better.

While I have reintroduced grains, sugar, and dairy back into my diet again, I’m still trying to keep those to a minimum. And I will say that it is hard for me to eat more than a bite of sweets. I had s’mores and hot chocolate last weekend and felt almost immediately sick from all the sugar. So I’m keeping sweets to a minimum. And since sweets are my downfall, that is all sorts of good. The challenge will be getting through the holidays.

Not Not Drinking Coffee

My blog prior to this one was called Not Drinking Coffee—I had a whole post about my years of trying and failing to drink coffee. In short, I always found coffee too bitter. I ended up making it more sugar and milk than coffee, which defeated the purpose. So eventually I gave up trying to drink coffee.

But now, after 40-something years, I have started drinking coffee. Since detoxing from sugar (thanks to Whole30), I now actually like the taste of coffee. Now lattes have become my chocolate/sweet substitute. Although I’m pretty sure that me liking coffee might be a sign of the apocalypse, I will recommend the eggnog latte at Starbucks.

Dating at Forty-Something

And my last bit o’news is that I actually broke down and created an online dating profile a couple months ago. I swore I’d never do online dating again. Just goes to show you that you should never say never. But D.C. has a rather decent dating pool, so I’ve been on several dozen dates. But they have ranged from Why did I agree to meet this person to Hey, I kind of really like this person and there might be something there.

Dating at forty-something has been refreshing. It’s not nearly as hard as it was at twenty-something or thirty-something. I think a lot of that has to do with really knowing myself and being comfortable with who I am. I don’t feel the need to go over the top with trying. They will either like me for who I am or not. I make no apologies. I am who I am. And quite frankly, I’m pretty awesome. So if they don’t see that, well, then I don’t really have time for them.

Overall, I’ve had a blast. It’s been a long time (7 years) since I actively dated anyone. And I admit, I never get tired of being taken out to dinner and complimented. That never gets old.

And who knows? Maybe one of these days I’ll actually settle down and get married. Of course, I think that really will be a sign of the apocalypse, so I’m not counting on it.

What’s Coming Up

I have so much going on in December! Last Friday, my friend AM & I kicked off December by going to see the National Zoo ZooLights (where we had the s’mores and hot chocolate and then almost instantly regretted ingesting all that sugar).

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The rest of December is going to be just as awesome. Here’s what else is already on tap:

I’m still narrowing down what I want to do on NYE. First, I need to confirm a date, but I’m hoping to do one of the many, many masquerade galas or one of the dancing parties. So many options. And then, well January is my birthday month so the awesome will continue into the new year.

So stay tuned for what happens next.

Tell me, how was your November and what are your holiday plans? What fun things are you doing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.