So, I made it! I may be unreasonably proud of myself, but I stuck to my vegetarian Whole 30 plan for the entire month of January. (I started on January 1, because it felt right with the new year…) I also stuck to my commitment to do yoga every damn day. (Okay – I did have to double up a couple of times due to illness or unexpected chaos. But I completed all 30 days of routines in 30 days!)
The result? My skin is a bit clearer, my IBS feels a bit more under control and…. I lost 9 pounds! Best of all, this all feels pretty easy now. Familiar, too… This is so similar to how I naturally ate in my late teens/early twenties. I gradually leaned harder on grains, pasta and cheese over the years. It felt good to reconnect with the way I once fed myself! (Although back then I ate a lot of tofu and not nearly as many nuts. Nutritionally a bit different, but same premise!) Over the course of the month, the only things I seemed to significantly miss were popcorn, corn tortillas and wine. LOL Not every day, mind you! But, I will admit the occasional thought of “I would really love a nice glass of Pinot Noir right now.” or “I would give my left arm for a giant fucking bowl of popcorn.” The thoughts, they passed.
I cook dinner just about every night, so that part of the plan wasn’t intimidating. But, holy heck if my vegan and vegetarian cookbooks weren’t chock full of grains! Since I had to hunt around a bit for some veggie friendly Whole 30 recipes – and since I had to please a carnivore and a 4.5 year old with my choices – I thought it might be helpful to share a list of our favorites from this month. In case anyone else finds themselves in this position.
Okay, here are the hits!
We love soup at our house. I can almost always count on my guys slurping down to the last sip. We found two new soups to add to our repertoire – and a chili for good measure.
I also got into a good groove in making something ahead for my lunch. A big batch of one thing could set me up for a few days of something delicious, nutritious and easy to grab for myself. I think this really factored into my success. (Pretty sure without the prep, I would have cheated just for the sake of convenience.)
My favorite recipe was this curried chickpea dish – this would be a dream over a bed of cauliflower rice (or jasmine if you are not on Whole 30!) Curried Chickpeas with Spinach and Tomatoes
I also tried to make our dinner leftovers last, using those for lunches, too. 🙂
My other go to for lunch? Veggie sushi. Literally just veggies rolled up in roasted seaweed. My favorite combo is avocado, sweet potato and cucumber – with a little chipotle cashew aioli. Yum.
This burger was a big hit. It’s super easy to make and you can season it any way you wish (it’s lentil and cauliflower based, so whichever spices you choose will dictate the flavor. I went with curry and cumin and it was so good!) Red Lentil Cauliflower Burger
I served this broccoli salad along side it. This is something I could eat every single day. It was so good! I omitted the raisins, but they would have been a tasty addition. The orange miso dressing is light and slightly sweet. And I am a big fan of raw broccoli – this was a big winner. Clean Broccoli Salad
Speaking of salad, this is absolutely the best vegan caesar salad I have ever had. (and the roasted chickpea croutons have now become a staple in our house for snacking! so freaking good!) Crowd Pleasing Vegan Salad
If I’ve learned anything this month, it’s that you can turn raw cashews into a hell of a lot more than I thought you could! This vegan alfredo was killer (like SteveKam even commented multiple times how much he liked it. if you don’t know him – that’s a big deal. haha) and it’s even oil free! We served it on zucchini noodles with a salad and it was heavenly. Vegan Alfredo Sauce
Another shocker? Vegan chipotle aioli. I made this recipe (omitted the maple syrup) and it was pretty dang satisfying. We used it on black bean and sweet potato tacos with jicama tortillas. (and in sushi, and on burgers, and….)
5 Ingredient Vegan Chipotle Aioli
And finally – snacks. Oh, snacks. I don’t snack a ton, but I realized over the course of thirty days, that I do eat a lot of fucking popcorn. Air popped. With a drizzle of olive oil. But still not good for you if the bowl is twice the size of your head. Sigh.
So, snacks! Here are my go-to’s….
– Apple slices + almond butter
– Strawberries. Forever strawberries. (I keep a ton washed and ready for Fox and I to grab for snacking. We can’t get enough. Ever.)
– Sliced banana + almond butter + coconut flakes (unsweetened)
– Lara Bars (Coconut Cream Pie and Cashew Cookie ftw)
– Nuts (I love cashews – and holy hell, I just discovered marcona almonds and they are ahhhhmazing)
– hard boiled eggs (I make them in my Instant Pot – so easy and fast! Check out the 5-5-5 method over here.)
I hope all this helps someone out there!
My plan for February is to soldier on – with a few rules relaxed a teensy bit. 😉 I will allow myself a bowl of popcorn every week. Because… I need it. But, maybe I’ll grab the smaller bowl… haha Also, I think I’ll have a glass or two of wine per week… because I enjoy it! And when we eat out (which is rare), I’ll make the healthiest choice possible, but not beat myself up if I end up having some rice or a corn tortilla. Because life happens. Especially in Austin and especially especially when your sidekick is 4.5 years old.
PS – curious about doing yoga everyday? Check out the Yoga With Adriene YouTube channel! True was this year’s 30 day yoga program – but she has a couple others from years past (that I intend to do now that I have one month under my belt!)