Late last year I was getting VERY frustrated with my progress to be a fitter and healthier me. I had hit a wall (figuratively!) and I began getting very frustrated. I was working out HARD and I thought I was eating healthy. But my scale wasn't moving and my clothes weren't getting looser. Nothing was changing except for my frustration level.
Then my friend Susan started sharing her experience and success with Whole 30. I was intrigued and inspired. I read more about it and started slowly (read: baby steps) adjusting my eating habits in the Whole 30 direction. I finally started seeing some changes. So I decided to go full boar and I started my first Whole 30 on January 6, 2012. When I completed it I was surprised by the results. I had HUGE successes mentally and physically. No more cravings for sugars. No more emotional eating. Discovered a will power I didn't know existed. Lost over 10" off my body. Lost over 7 pounds. Gained a shit ton (isn't that the technical term?) of muscle mass. Increased endurance and performance during my work outs. I was sleeping better. I started having more energy. I simply felt BETTER.
So what is this "Whole 30" you speak of?
First, let me explain what the Paleolithic diet is. It isn't a "diet" like a meal replacements, or some crazy ass lemonade cleanse. It's really more of a lifestyle change with the added benefit of losing weight (if there is weight to be lost). The thought is that our optimum health can be reached by eating like our ancestors did during the Paleolithic era (eating lean meat, fish, vegetables, root vegetables, fruits, and nuts). It excludes processed foods, grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugars, and some people cut out salt. There is a lot of debate over the premise of the diet (mimicking our ancestors, etc.) but I'm not getting into that. I'm just summarizing the basics.
Now, Whole 30 is something a little different. It's similar to Paleo but it's more strict. It's a 30 day program designed by the nice folks at Whole 9. They explain it best as a "short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food." Basically, during the 30 days you do not consume under any circumstances: added sugar of any kind, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, white potatoes, processed foods, and certain types of oil. The idea is that all of the aforementioned food is inflammatory to our systems. So by removing it, you allow your body to heal and start working properly again. Plus, all the added benefits of putting an end to cravings, bad habits, etc. Sounds like voodoo, I know! But it just works.
Since I ended my Whole 30 in February I've been trying to stick to a Paleo/Whole 30 lifestyle. I've been trying to keep my ratio to about 80% on, 20% off. Lately, I feel like I've been more 60/50. Not really where I want to be in order to reach my goals. That's why on April 1st I'm starting my next Whole 30. And no this is not a bad April Fool's joke. har har.
And that, ladies and gents, is why majority of the food/recipes posted on this website will follow the paleo, and or, Whole 30 guidelines. Whew, sorry if that was long!
Now onto food!
One thing I've had a hard time finding is a decent Stuffed Bell Peppers recipe. I've tried a couple and they were all lacking one way, or the other, and were just...gross. So I created my own. Here it is.
Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Bell Peppers
1-2 tbsp Coconut oil
1.5 lbs Italian Sausage (removed from casings)
4 (or more) Bell Peppers, tops removed, seeds and membrane removed
10 oz Baby Spinach (or chopped Kale)
1 medium Onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup bell pepper, diced (use the tops)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
*2 tbsp Tomato Paste
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 30 secs then add the diced bell peppers and spinach. Sauté mixture until spinach is wilted. Let mixture slightly cool.
- In a large bowl combine sausage, egg, and spinach mixture.
- Stuff the peppers!
- Place peppers in a casserole dish and bake in the oven 45-60 mins (until cooked through and peppers have softened).