The New Food Economy

Robyn O’Brien is, without question, one of my heros. I was first introduced to her after Finn was diagnosed with food allergies. I was determined to figure out what really was happening to his body and why he was rejecting basic foods. My pursuit led me to Robyn, and life has never been the same! Her first TED talk literally changed my life.

She recently spoke at TedxFrontRange. Her message is clear and her questions important, the most important being: “Are we allergic to food or what’s been done to it?”

With 1 in 13 children diagnosed with food allergies and 41% of Americans expected to be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime, it’s time we identify and fix the problem of health in this country. And I believe, that change starts with food.

The more I hear from Robyn, the more passionate I become about real food and making sure our family is as healthy as possible.  What do you take away from listening to Robyn?

Whole30: Wise Survival Recipes

Whole30 has been an incredible journey for me and our family. We’ve learned to eat cleaner and smarter. When I first committed myself to 30 days, I focused on all the things I could not eat instead of the wide variety of food I could eat. Along the way we found some new recipes and rediscovered old ones. Today I’m sharing our “go-to” recipes, as well as a handful of links that will keep variety flowing as you begin your 30 days.

Whole30 Survival

Breakfast

I mainly ate eggs, smoothies and meat for breakfast. As the kids ate something different most mornings (remember, Finn is allergic to eggs), Justin and I made breakfast for two. Justin was amazing and often made our breakfast, even making my smoothie first and then whipping his a little more to throw in almond milk and honey. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked well for 30 days.

Option 1: Bacon Egg Cups *

Option 2: Use your Vitamix or Blender to create a smoothie with the following ingredients: water, chia seeds, coconut oil, coconut flakes, raw almonds, frozen/chopped banana, mixed berries, and kale or spinach. Be sure to add enough water to liquify.

Option 3: Sauté green peppers and onions in ghee. Add two whipped eggs and scramble together. Add a side of pork sausage, if necessary. I always ate with 1/2 avocado and sliced tomato.

Option 4: Power Greens Breakfast Skillet (skip the parm)

Option 5: A variety of egg-based and egg-free recipes - 30 Days of Whole30 Breakfasts from Meatified

Lunch

Lunches are the hardest for me to “prepare” something. Between getting the kids lunch, picking up toys, unloading the dishwasher or car, and quickly checking messages, there’s little to no time before I need to clean the kids and the kitchen and put Evie down for a nap. Most of these lunches are quick! If I didn’t make one of these options, I often had leftovers from a dinner the night before. I usually added fruit and a raw veggie to my lunches as I have little time to “prep” or “cook” veggies at lunch.

Option 1: Slice a banana (length-wise) and add almond butter to the long sides. Top with crushed cashews and raisins. Add a side salad or baby carrots.

Option 2: Taco Salad using homemade taco seasoning

Option 3: Nick Sticks (turkey are my favorite), a LaraBar (double check ingredient labels as some are not Whole30-approved), and some veggies.

Option 4: Orchard Turkey Burgers (skip the brie and use EVOO and balsamic vinegar instead for dressing)

Option 5: Pan-fry a burger and top with avocado. Serve with fruit and veggies.

Option 6: For days you have a little more time to prepare lunch – think weekends – Meatified has 30 Days of Whole30 Lunches.

Dinner

As I’ve shared before, we all ate Whole30 for dinner because I’m not in the business of making separate meals for everyone! Here are some of our favorite and easiest recipes. I always serve dinner with a side vegetable. Options included: roasted or steamed broccoli, kale chips, roasted cabbage, side salad, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cooked carrots, etc. Vegetable side options are endless but you have to commit yourself to trying new things.

Option 1: Cilantro Lime Grilled Shrimp (we also did this to scallops)

Option 2: Hemp Crusted Baked Chicken Fingers

Option 3: Chicken Packets (no baby corn and used ghee)

Option 4: Healthy Homemade Chicken Fingers

Option 5: Chicken Bacon Avocado Salad with Roasted Asparagus * (use a high heat oil instead of butter to cook asparagus)

Option 6: Bacon Wrapped Meatballs *

Option 7: 30 Days of Whole30 Dinners from Meatified

Snacks

Whole30 really encourages three filling meals and to avoid snacking, but there were times (especially in the beginning when I wasn’t eating enough at meal time), I would be hungry and need a snack. Some of my favorites include:

  • unsalted cashews, raw almonds and unsweetened dried cranberries
  • almond butter and apples
  • almond or cashew butter with veggies (celery sticks and carrots)
  • mashed avocado and a spoonful of salsa with carrots
  • black olives and cucumber slices
  • Go Raw Original Super Cookies with almond butter
  • hard boiled eggs

Additional Links

Several bloggers have done an incredible job of documenting their journey with 30 days of recipes. Check out the following posts for more ideas:

Whole30 Eating Log from Good Cheap Eats
Whole30 Approved from The Foodee
The Round-up: 30 Days of Whole30 Recipes from Nom Nom Paleo
The Whole30 Recap: Every Single Day from Nom Nom Paleo (2nd Whole30)
A Month of Whole30 Dinner Ideas from Holly Would If She Could
30 Whole30-Friendly Recipes from The Clothes Make the Girl
30 Whole30 Slow Cooker Recipes from Meatified

If you are interested in starting Whole30, I encourage you to do the following:

  1. Purchase It Starts With Food.  Read it in full before starting your journey.
  2. Set a start date.
  3. Plan and prepare. Lay out the meals you will have (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for the next 7 days. Grocery shop and prep your food. Repeat.
  4. Find support. Join the My Wise Mom Whole30 facebook page for encouragement along the way.

Closing Thoughts 

This will likely be my last Whole30 dedicated post, as I believe I’ve answered most of your questions and shared our experience as a family and mine personally to date.  If there are things we’ve missed along the way, please reach out! And if you’re on your Whole30 journey, be sure to join us on facebook and keep me posted of your progress. I love hearing about your success!

I also love great recipes, so please share your favorite Whole30 recipe(s) in the comments!

* I found sugar-free bacon (Pederson’s Natural Farms) at Whole Foods. Be sure the look for the package that specifically says “sugar-free.”

Doing Whole30 Without Your Family

The Whole30 process is wild, to put it mild. Throw in another adult and two children who are NOT doing the program and meal time can get tricky… if you let it :)  Here are my thoughts and tips on successfully completing Whole30 while your family eats normally.

finished-the-w30-IG

1. Join in. If your family is willing to jump on the journey, let them! I have a friend who did the Whole30 with his entire family… wife and 3 children ages 5-9. What they experienced together was incredible. They were also at a point with some health issues for their kids. It was in the children’s best interest to address their diet and see if that helped before going down a deeper more invasive medical road.  By the end of Whole30, he told me their kids wanted to continue eating the Whole30 way and most of the medical concerns were healing. Inspiring!

2. Explain. If your family is not joining you, explain what you are doing and why, mostly to your significant other. They can’t support you if they don’t understand you. Although Justin wasn’t doing Whole30, he was incredibly supportive. He ate Whole30 along with me at dinner and make “Whole30 approved” smoothies for me in the morning. Take a deep breath if anyone gets defensive along the way or criticizes these 30 days. Until you go through the process, you can’t fully grasp the range of feelings and emotions (and sometimes hanger!) that accompanies you.

3. Prepare. If you are going to be making something different for your children, keep it very similar. Perhaps add brown rice or whole wheat pasta to their dinner, but don’t make a completely different meal, if possible. There is no sense in adding that much work to your plate. For example, I made meatballs several times. I ate the sauce and meatballs with my vegetables, but I made whole wheat pasta for the kids. They had the same meatballs, the same sauce and the same veggies.

4. Breakfast. Our kids ate their usual for breakfast (oatmeal is a crowd favorite).  I made their oatmeal with the standard Wise fixin’s (coconut flakes, chia seeds, honey, almond butter) and then made my breakfast. It wasn’t ideal, but you just make it work, especially due to Finn’s food allergies, he can’t eat a breakfast of just scrambled eggs. My breakfast usually consisted of eggs and/or sausage and veggies or a smoothie. (Favorite Whole30 recipes coming in a future post.)

5. Lunch. Our kids ate their usual lunches; however, I found myself making less and less “super butter” (almond butter) and jelly sandwiches.  In fact, it took us 3 weeks to get through a loaf of bread where between the 4 of us, it was usually gone in 5 days. I was amazed by this! Like breakfast, I found myself eating after the kids were fed and cleaned up which I will change next time.  It will plan better for lunches in the future because it’s an easy meal (for me) to snack and eat the kids left overs as opposed to focusing on quality protein and veggies.

6. Dinner. Dinner was Whole30. There was meat and a vegetable and sometimes fruit for the kids.  Occasionally I made some noodles for the kids (see #3) and just ate the meat, but they never asked for noodles or rice. Not once.  I was really intrigued by this.

7. Variety. Variety is going to be key for keeping your family engaged and not wanting to tear your eyes out! I think doing Whole30 in May was ideal as it’s prime grilling weather and there aren’t too many potluck/BBQs yet to tempt you. I was surprised that since I’ve completed Whole30, my kids have been far more open to different foods. Even if they don’t eat everything, they will try new things they wouldn’t have prior. Finn now asks for sausage in the morning which I’m thrilled with since it gives us some variety. He’s pretty limited on breakfast foods with his allergies. Both of the kids have ended their kale chip boycott and are back to shoveling them in. They also were very open to trying Larabars. Evie loved them and Finn was so-so. We are making homemade ones this weekend. This hands-on work always seems to draw Finn into eating something :)

8. Grace. No question, give yourself grace when it’s overwhelming. It’s hard enough to go about this process of creating meals for yourself, but throw others into the mix, and it can be a lot.  Do what you can and take a deep breath when necessary!

What else are you curious about when it comes to Whole30?