Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One step at a time

After a guilt-free day off yesterday, I'm putting on my big girl pants and moving on. No more bullshit about knees and backs and not caring. Blood work does not lie and I need to show myself that I can counter any of it that was out of range. Here we go! I have diabetes; diabetes does not have me.

Nothing is better than my favorite breakfast - pancetta, asparagus, and eggs. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

The day after the eye opening weekend

I'm overthinking the fall off the wagon, but I've come up with more things I want to keep in mind - my knee was questionable from December 16 until March, and then there was the fall on my hiney/back that is still healing. I had some pretty heavy duty pity parties. Those need to stop. There are ways to not crash and burn when a situation occurs. This will be an interesting thing to figure out. But for today:

Leftover pumpkin souffle, cut and pan seared (is seared the right word?) in ghee, pancetta (a nice throwback to my paleo infancy), and asparagus. You can't go wrong with asparagus.

My plan today is to try to get a walk in before the rain begins. I believe I have plenty of time to do that. Abbey is napping, so she'll be ready to go out a bit later. My plan also includes remaining mindful and not beating myself up for past transgressions. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow and am going to 'beg for mercy' for one last 3-month period. I honestly believe and am in the process of making the lab work turn around. The lab work doesn't lie. It's a tool in my arsenal that shows me where I'm doing well and where I'm not doing so well. It is now up to me to incorporate that tool, and I'm doing that as we speak. I'm not counting days anymore. This is just the way I eat and that's that. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Control - Elusive or fixable?

I just read an article in Paleo Magazine about stress and the effects it can have on your body, desires, and life if you do not utilize it correctly. Not enough stress and we lose our fight or flight abilities. Too much stress, and we start breaking down physically, mentally, emotionally. I know two things in my life that I've not been doing up to par lately - avoiding drugs (i.e., pain meds) and sleeping (i.e., going to bed too late). Those are easily remedied. I no longer take the pain meds, so my mind is clearer. I have hobbies, I exercise, I have friends, I'm in a good relationship, and I generally love my life. The missing key is the eating right. That seems to take a back seat when the rest of the equation is off kilter. I can do anything I damned well set my mind to, and over the past year, I've been up and down with decision making. Processing the why will set me free.

Breakfast is a great start. I made a pumpkin/banana/egg casserole this morning. I put half of it away for tomorrow morning. The white stuff is coconut cream and the delicious crispy stuff is bacon. I added extra pumpkin pie spice to the top of the batter before baking, and it made a world of difference. I do love me some spices. I also had some dried apples later. So far, so good. Keeping it real.
This lunch was amazing. I spiraled a sweet potato and then cut it up. I put it in a pan with a chicken breast tender and sauteed both in ghee. I added garlic and whirled tomatoes along with some Sunny Paris spice and let that simmer for 20ish minutes. The sweet potato had the texture of rice and absorbed a lot of the tomato. The chicken was absolutely tender. Very good indeed.

Dinner was kind of okay. Tuna salad on shredded lettuce. I had one of Richard's Triscuits. It was as good as I remember, but not enough for me to have more. I have an apple on the counter for snack if I want it and will have either cheese or Virginia ham with it to add a protein to balance the carbs. (Gotta start thinking about that in terms of the diabetes.)

I walked for exercise today, hung out clothes, and in general, stayed as active as I could. I feel like I ate appropriately and am further empowered. The addiction behavior with eating seems to have slipped away now that I'm not taking pain meds. Interesting how everything is interconnected. It amazes me constantly that one small slip can turn into a huge snowball of eating willy nilly. I guess that makes me semi-unique. I'm not the only one; I know that for sure. I will continue working on the 'why' of things and try to counteract those whys with 'is what you're doing right now helping you to achieve your long term goal?'

A good weekend.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Unacceptable

Hemoglobin A1c = 10.9. This is unacceptable. Plus, my cholesterol indicators are up where they shouldn't be and down where they shouldn't be. I will understandably be on the hot seat when I go see Dr. H on Tuesday and well I should be. I am responsible, on one else. So what am I going to do about it. I am optimistically taking control, as I should every day. I am in a 'don't stop starting' state of mind. That's step one. I'll think on this addictive, all or nothing behavior of mine. I'll try hard to act on it. Here's what goes through my head:

You already had one, so why not have the rest? The damage is already done.
Your appointment is in a month, so you have time to rectify the damage; go ahead and eat shit.
One Diet Dr Pepper won't hurt.

Bullshit through and through. It's like smoking or alcohol drinking - one's too many, a thousand is not enough.

Moving forward.
I polished off the last of the breakfast/vegetable casserole, and added some Wellness Meats bacon to the plate. Half of that went to Richard; I thought it made the plate look nicer. 

We spent the best part of the day thus far working on the garden. We got 39 cubic feet/39 bags of dirt and got raised bed #3 filled, and all the holes in the cinder blocks where the marigolds go. We're expecting rain in the next few days. Once that has passed, I'll plant the remaining vegetables and the flowers. Richard saw a hummingbird. I made hummingbird food and now we have the two feeders up, and within 15 minutes of hanging the first one, a hummingbird was already there. Love those little stinkers. After hauling dirt and all that goes with that, we're pooped. I need to figure out what to have for lunch. I'm thinking filet and green beans. Yup. Picture later!
Changed my mind. Had shredded brussel sprouts with the filet instead. Damned good. 

There will be a challenge tonight as Richard is going out. I am shoring myself up to make sure that I don't fall into an old habit trap of eating when no one is looking. They don't have to look; they see it on my body. Truth is the detail of the day.

I grabbed some candy corn today, measured it out, put it on My Fitness Pal. Then, after it was gone, of course, my mind sort of shifted into another gear - "It's not the number of pieces of candy corn I ate; it's the fact that I ate any at all that counts!"  Whoa. That made me truly think. 

The concept was good, but it sort of sucked. It's my traditional Waldorf salad with chicken added. Instead of the organic mayo, I added coconut milk vanilla yogurt. Nope, not going to do that again. I ate it because I made it, but the yogurt was not a good idea at all. 

Day's done. I have grapes if I go nuts, but I'm going to try to make it without snacks tonight. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Hop on with me....good eating in a whole paleo world.

See that wagon? I'm on it. Let's go!

What better way to eat clean? Layers: Leftover cauliflower/broccoli/carrots squished into a layer at the bottom, zucchini (I had to cut the skins off; this batch had really thick skins that were not conducive to good eating), crumbled Wellness Meats sausage from last night, 2 eggs, and then a few small tomatoes sliced and placed on top. Baked for about 40 minutes at 350° in the toaster oven. I had half, but will probably have the other half at some point today when I get hungry for a snack. 

Lots of work today, so there will be a lot of ass time. I'll make room for a walk in there somewhere to try and stave off the spread. Yay for Fridays?

The last of my strawberries with a banana and some organic (expensive!) cottage cheese. I will not buy this cottage cheese again. It was not even close to worth the price. If I buy cottage cheese again, it will be Horizon; their organic products are pretty good.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Good day ahead?

Bacon ends from Wellness Meats. Pretty damned good if you ask me. Simple eggs and asparagus.

I had a couple of the chocolate chip cookies that I bought Richard. Oopsie, but I counted them on My Fitness Pal. The rest of today is planned without sabotage. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Relaxed Whole30 Day Forever

I'm just going to have to aim for a Whole30 day every day. I'm having a tough time sticking 100% to Whole30 for 30 days in a row, so I'm going to stop numbering the days. My long term goal is to sick as close to Whole30 as possible and after a while, have my Saturday day off. I think that shakes down to 80/20. I also need to go ahead and bump up my exercise now that my back is almost 100% and my knees are fine. No excuses allowed. I am in a pact for 3 days, but that doesn't mean I have to stick to 3 days only. I'm getting my running/walking shoes on Thursday in Richmond. I'll be curious to see how they change things, if at all. For today, though, Whole30 ho!
I spiraled a sweet potato and sauteed that with some onion in bacon grease until it was just about done. I added some Va ham all chopped up and let that warm up while the potatoes crisped. I couldn't help myself; I added the eggs directly to the hash. I'm hopeless. I just love stuff all mixed up. I only added pepper as the ham is salty enough. It was really good. The sweet potato taste was not overpowering and that's a bonus to me. I have a few breakfasts' worth of ham left and it will be gone. It's been really nice to have it. I'll probably buy it again because it's $20 that has gone a long way, including a chunk to Stefanie. It adds a completely different taste than bacon, pancetta, or sausage, and I love it.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Whole30, Day 1 - who's fooling who?

I decided to go for the honest and accountable road and start the numbering over. I'm good with that.

A nice Easter breakfast of Va ham and eggs with a side of asparagus. All out of them for a while. It's gonna be zucchini for a few days! Black coffee and I'm ready to rock and roll. 

Pumpkin souffle with added shredded zucchini. It was amazingly good. I have half of it for later. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Whole30, Day 10

Starting on Day 10 because of some off road crap that I ate due to feeling sorry for myself. No excuse. Just telling myself why. I'm too old for this shit. I need to make off road a completely closed road and stop detouring. This was going to be my 30 days and I sabotaged myself. End of confession. Not looking back. Moving forward.

I made a beautiful pumpkin souffle this morning in the toaster oven. It doesn't get much better than this. 
A little Waldorf salad with chicken and a side of veggie chips, and lunch is done. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Whole30, Day 10

It was a morning for good food. I really am not happy with the last batch of bacon, so I cooked the rest of it this morning (I had to cut off skins, but cooked them in another pan for the dog and to season the asparagus). Two eggs, pretty much straight up except for the asparagus. The bacon was better with no skin, but I still won't buy it again.

A little bit of watermelon rounded breakfast out and now I'm full. 

Back/butt update: Better. It's going to be sore for a couple of days, but I'm not muttering obscenities today. Ibuprofen on board and that will help big time. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Whole30, Day 9, and a little fall on the deck

Here's an email I sent my sister this morning:

There's a layer of ice on the deck. I took the dog out and slipped in such a way that the next thing I knew, I was flat on my back and hollering fuck, fuck, fuck. I'm pretty sure I'm fine. My palms are ouching a little, but no scrapes. My lower back is ouching, but I think it's okay. My butt is not happy, but I don't think it's like it was when we drove to NC and I had the butt ache. At this age, it's wait and see. I don't think I fell in a weird way enough to hurt my knees and that's the big thing. I just kind of stayed flat for what seemed like an eternity (probably 30 seconds) and got myself up. Argh. I am not going to have a hurt back, dammit. I'll be up and walking around a lot today, so that should help. I just feel pretty stupid. And so, fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

It's an hour later and I'm a little sore in the upper butt/lower back area. Sigh..

Doesn't look like much, but it is! Eggs, Virginia ham, and whirled tomatoes. Who could ask for more? I had a banana earlier. I'm not sure why, but I wasn't hungry this morning, but made myself have a little something. Simple and elegant, and very tasty.

This is Stefanie's lunch, but I had the same thing. We had a fun morning of running all over Williamsburg for Whole30 food and candles. Fun! I made lunch - pineapple with cinnamon and coconut milk, egg salad with shredded lettuce. Yum. 

Butt/back update - Walking around and getting in and out of the car was probably a good thing. I don't think I hurt anything of great importance. Thank goodness. I refuse to be incapacitated again. I told Stefanie at Harris-Teeter that I was not going to be injured again, dammit!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Whole30, Day 8

Up a pound. Maybe too much fruit. Maybe just regular fluctuation. No biggie.

Leftover broccoli cooked in the bacon pan after the bacon was taken out and grease poured out of the pan. This is farm bacon and I am not a fan. It's way too thick and rendered more grease than I'll use in a month. I'll be glad when it's gone. Abbey enjoyed more of it than I did. I whirled eggs and poured them on the broccoli after it was warmed up and seasoned, cooked the mess to perfection, and amazing once more. 

Summer lunch even though it's not summer - cucumbers, hard boiled egg, and a pineapple/strawberry/coconut cream salad. I ended up having some Mediterranean chips (compliant if used as a coating) for crunch.  
I picked up a very small Virginia ham at Fresh Market. I ate a few ounces of it while I was cutting it up to put pieces away. Oh my word, it was so good. So, for dinner, I cooked up some pancetta and asparagus, then warmed up last night's broccoli. 

Reflections: I did well today. There are a couple things in the kitchen that I am not touching - Richard's chocolate chip cookies and the creamsicles in the freezer. I've done well avoiding them. It made me think of some of my go-to goodies when I really want something:

Grapes with cinnamon
Cucumber slices with salt and pepper
Organic fruit twists

I'm not sure why those are my thing, but they are. 

My Wellness Meats order came today, including some salami. I am hoping that the addition of that and the Virginia ham will make the next few days interesting. I have some great fruits and vegetables to go with them, and I'm looking forward to breakfast!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Whole30, Day 7

Looks a lot like yesterday, doesn't it? These cherry tomatoes are the bomb. I sauteed some mushrooms in ghee and poured the eggs on for a nice scramble/fritatta. The bacon was shared with Abbey; she likes it when I make too much. This was the end of the package that my son gave me from his farmers market. I suspect tomorrow's breakfast will look a bit like this. I want to make sure those tomatoes don't go bad! 

One week in and down 6.2 so far. I know that's a lot for a week, and I totally expect that to slow. 

I didn't a) feel like lunch and b) didn't feel like cooking, but I gotta eat, so strawberries, egg salad with lettuce it is. Nice big ole glass of water and I'm done. By the way, I put cinnamon on the strawberries and they were super good!

A nice simple, steamy dinner - chicken and broccoli with ghee. I had a banana after and may or may not have strawberries with coconut cream later. 

Who finished day 7?
That would be me!



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Whole 30, Day 6

Throwback breakfast. My first Whole30, I often whirled tomatoes and poured them on eggs since I was jonesing for ketchup. It wasn't the same. But today when I made it, it wasn't because of a desire for ketchup; it was for a desire of tomatoes. Much better. It's funny how expectations interact with the taste of our foods!
Farmers market bacon from Ronnie cooked with the zucchini. I took the bacon out and drained the excess fat (there's a LOT with the fresh bacon) and added a couple eggs. I cracked the yolks when the eggs were about half set. After that I turned it over whole. A folded it on the plate and poured the three cherry tomatoes on top. As mentioned, since I wasn't expecting a ketchup taste, it was amazingly delicious. Everything was great. I see a good day ahead.

I just wasn't hungry for lunch. That's been happening a lot lately. But I have to eat, so I grabbed a banana, cut it up, and "spread" some cashew butter on them. By the way, spread is less of the right word than forced it off the knife with my thumb. That stuff is thick! When it's gone, I'm going to try almond butter. I don't use it enough to buy a lot of it. 

Steak, mushrooms with onions, and a mash of cauliflower and rutabaga. Good dinner.

Reflections: A trip to the 7-11 proved to be extremely difficult. Will it ever get easy to be in the presence of crap that is readily available and cheap? I'm thinking the answer is no. I have these stupid arguments with myself about how I could buy this or that and no one would know. But then I remind myself that I would know! How fucked up is that? No problem in the long run. I didn't buy a thing. Yay for small victories. I don't want that stuff. And yet.... 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Whole30, Day 5 (1/6th of the way there!)

I had to have the pumpkin souffle again; it was go good yesterday. Today, I whipped up some coconut cream and added some peaches. It was a great topping and added a whole different element to the dish. Pumpkin is my new best friend.

Good lunch. Shredded lettuce bulks up everything, so I put a handful in my egg salad and then added an avocado. Apple rounded it out and you can't have apple without cinnamon!

I have heard that potatoes are going to be allowed on Whole30 with the next update. Knowing that, I had a small serving of shredded potatoes with my burger and asparagus. 

And there you have it, day 5. 


Friday, April 11, 2014

Whole30, Day 4 (Recipe - Pumpkin Souffle & variation)

This is the original pumpkin souffle recipe:

Large scoop pumpkin (probably 1/3 cup)
2 eggs
Pumpkin pie spice
Generous scoop of almond butter or coconut butter
Smashed banana, the riper the better

Whisk eggs, add pumpkin, spices, almond butter and mashed banana.  Mix well and put into a bowl. Microwave 4 minutes until "souffle" like.

I did it a little differently. I put all the ingredients (about a tablespoon of cashew butter) in a bowl and used my hand blender with the wire whisk attachment to blend, de-lump, and aerate the mix. I poured that in a small baking pan and baked at 350° for about 30 minutes so the eggs would fully set. Here's the finished product.
An excellent breakfast whit great flavor and spice. I put a tiny blob (about a teaspoon) of coconut cream on top and feel like I'm eating gourmet for breakfast. Yum!

Lunch was wonderful. Damn, I'm a good cook. I sauteed cabbage and onions in bacon grease until almost done, then put a thin boneless pork chop in and cooked until done. Serve with applesauce and voila, dazzling!

I was able to get my herbs planted on the deck. I have a few more to plant and then it's time to address the raised bed  in the yard. I have a good feeling about the gardening this year!

I present to you dinner. Oh my, it was good. It's a deluxe Waldorf salad - lettuce, celery, raisins, pecans, apples, cinnamon, mayo, and crumbled bacon on top. Nuff said. 

Reflections: It's been another good day. Four days into this and I'm a bit of a crank. I wasn't expecting that, but here it is. I've been more active than ever the past four days and hope to keep that up. It's spring and going outside is amazing right now. I've worked on the garden, planting herbs, moving dirt, and will be buying the rest of the dirt for the raised bed garden this weekend. I want to get my squash in the ground and have ordered seed tape for the rest of the vegetables I want to plant. I am a forever not-good gardener, but I keep trying! I hate getting my hands dirty, though; I'm a glove wearer. People laugh when I mention the no dirty hands thing, but hey, it works for me. Sorta. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Whole30, Day 3

The food was still steaming when I took the picture. Looks kind of weird, but it was amazeballs, as the youngsters say. (Get offa my lawn!) After the pancetta was done, I put last night's broccoli in the pan and warmed it up. That would have been good enough, but I went a step farther. I added 2 eggs that had been beaten in the Magic Bullet and let that set on one side. I was hoping it would turn in one piece, but it didn't. Didn't matter! I salted the broccoli and didn't season the eggs, and that was the right thing to do. It all blended well. So very good. I'm thinking, as I posted on Facebook, this is one of the best breakfasts I've ever made. Brava me!

I have had many Day 3s so far, but the one that counts is today's. The first day 3 is as important as this one, and it was fun to go back and read it. I was so scared that first time around. Here it is for comparison.

Those grape tomatoes made this lunch just the best. They burst with the heat and were wonderfully flavored. The green beans and mushrooms worked well with the filet. It's day 3 of not being hungry, so lunch is being had at 3 p.m. Argh. I've got a little scratchy throat and am hoping it's not related to the tomatoes. I had them earlier in the week without a problem. Pfft. Lunch was delicious and I'm not going to worry about it!

I whined about this on Facebook already. Rather than rewrite it, I'm copying an email I sent to my son:

I almost called  you while I was shopping to talk me down. It was a really hard shopping trip. I got paid today, so ordered some pork products from Wellness Meats (pork without sugar!) and went shopping for all that stuff I need to have around. Diet Dr Pepper was on sale 5 for $10. Argh. I didn't go to the dairy section except to get eggs, but the cottage cheese was calling me way too loudly. I didn't buy. Walking by doughnuts, cookies, oatmeal cakes, and seeing the ice cream case (my bugaboo, so I didn't walk by it; I saw it turning down another aisle). I also didn't go toward the bread. It was like sending an alcoholic to the liquor store, but I made it.

This is day 3 and I'm determined. I made a chicken breast and had it with a kiwi. It was amazingly delicious together. 

Okay, thanks for listening. No one else would get it.

Background - I used to drink Diet Dr. Pepper by the gallon and that particular price would have me buying 20 or more 6-packs to have on hand. My son is also doing a Whole30, so I knew he'd understand. I survived, but it was tough. Not quite touch-and-go, but close. And now for my beautiful chicken dinner.
I'm not sure what possessed me to buy a kiwi, but I'm very glad I did. The chicken was baking while I was shopping, so I knew I wouldn't go hungry and need junk food to compensate. Okay, it wasn't that desperate. 

Reflections: I'm very proud of making it to and through day 3. I'm bothered by my trouble at the grocery store. Maybe I'm making more of it than I should, but those were some strong feelings. The shit side of me is always saying "just this once is okay." Well, that's just plain wrong. Better days ahead. Just this once, I'd like to move past my addiction and go with the flow. And so, it will be.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Whole30, Day 2

I make so many good breakfasts that it's kind of disappointing when they don't turn out exactly as I would have hoped. During my first Whole30, I would blend up tomatoes in a mini food processor and pour that on my eggs when they were done. This time, I added grape tomatoes to the eggs in the Magic Bullet. It was a little too liquidy, but tasted okay. The tomato taste went well with the broccoli slaw that I had cooked with the bacon. That's the other thing; the bacon was pretty blech. Too fatty and didn't get crisp. I shared a huge portion of it with the dog. Abbey loves bacon mistakes! She got most of the fatty parts and I got the meaty parts. Overall, it was an okay breakfast. One bad breakfast is not going to stop me in my tracks. This is day 2 of feeling like I can conquer anything and I'm going to hold onto that. 

I wasn't hungry and didn't feel like cooking, so I whipped up a Waldorf salad - apples, celery, raisins, chicken, pecans, and cinnamon. Funny thing is, it takes almost as long to make this as it does to cook a little something. Paleo logic!

Sausage (farmers market), broccoli with ghee, and mushrooms sauteed while the sausage cooked. So good! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Whole30, Day 1

I love, love, love ketchup on eggs, but it's a no-no on Whole30. I stocked up on avocados. They bring an amazing taste to eggs. It's not ketchup, but it works. Add asparagus and farmers market bacon and you have a great meal 1 for this go-round of Whole30. 

Whipped coconut milk/cream with raspberries. 

Roast beef rolled around a mash of avocado and tomato. 
(Update: I later learned the roast beef has sugar in it, so I won't be eating any more of it.)

Lunch is done. I took an impromptu 30-minute walk with the dog earlier and now I'm bushed. No time for a nap that I can see today. Oh well, plow ahead, right? 

Fail. Blech. I tossed cauliflower with lots of garlic and a bit of olive oil in a baking pan, then added a seasoned chicken breast. The house instantly reeked of garlic. I didn't like what I was smelling, so I added a small container of cooked carrots to the mix, thinking that would bring the taste down a bit. But it just wasn't very good. I ate it, but I won't make it again. Half of the chicken is off the bone for tomorrow. Let's hope it tastes better than it did tonight! I also partially blame the ick on the cauliflower, which was a week old. Meh, can't win them all!

Reflections: I am in this Whole30 for a lot of reasons and I want to make it work. I feel empowered today and confident, but there is ice cream in the freezer and I suspect it will be my nemesis for a few days before I totally forget about it. I'm playing the "eat it and get it out of here" game in my head countered with "don't take a bite." I don't want to obsess, but I will for a few days at least. Food = the stepping blocks to living well and feeling good. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Serious W30 Day -1

Off track today. It's fully planned. Tomorrow begins my second serious real Whole30. I've made several attempts and have started and stopped, but I'm not alone this time. My niece, Kelly and my son, Ronnie, and I are going to do this together. Kelly is doing her first. Ronnie and I are old hands at this. The challenge is to keep it real and be as cautious and serious as we were the first time.

I'm ready.

Prepare to be overwhelmed with food porn and maybe some brain farts. I'm doing this thing!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Eating Out During Your Whole30

First of all, whether you eat at home, at someone else's home, or a restaurant, be armed with your Whole30 knowledge. Become familiar with Can I Have...? A Whole30 Guide from Whole9life.com.  Use your judgment, choose wisely, and ask questions. One of the biggest bug-a-boos about eating out is the oil used in the professional kitchen. For that reason, do ask about oils. Whole30's official position on canola oil is:

"Canola Oil: Yes, reluctantly (because sometimes, you have to dine out)

While we don’t think vegetable oils are a healthy choice (understatement of the century), we don’t expressly rule them out on the Whole30. If we did, you’d never be able to eat outside of your own kitchen, because all restaurants use them in cooking. We wanted to create the healthiest program possible, but we also need it to be do-able for those who travel for business or pleasure, or simply want to dine out during the month.

Tip: Eliminate the consumption of vegetable oils at home, even if you’re not on the Whole30, and make sure the rest of your diet is focused on the most nutritious choices possible, especially if you dine out frequently."

Chaarg.com has a good article about eating out on Whole30, as does BadassFitness.com - Eating Out While on the Whole30 and  Whole30 Week 2, Eating Survival Guide. I'll try not to repeat too much of what they've already covered.

Never hesitate to ask your server questions. On a recent trip to Kona Grill, I weighed all options after talking with the server, and settled on sea bass and 2 sides of asparagus. The Saki in which the sea bass was marinated was not Whole30 compliant, but I erred on the side of what was available. I suggest you try harder than I did, but at the time, I was comfortable with my decision. My beverages were hot tea and a glass of water. We asked that they not bring bread to the table. Most restaurants are willing to comply with special requests. If they are not, perhaps that's not the best choice for the next dining out excursion.

One thing I do that helps with successful choice making is to consult a restaurant's menu online. There is a restaurant in Williamsburg called Old Chickahominy House. It's a local favorite for ham biscuits, stew, pies, chicken and dumplings, and other yummy foods. But if you're doing a Whole30, you do need to choose wisely. On checking their luncheon menu, you can see there are sandwiches, and all sorts of foods that don't quite fit right. Their fruit salad is great, but it has mayo and cheese, so you'd have to order it without those, or go for either of the other salads. The ham and Brunswick stew surely have sugar in them. I would ask about the stew. You could order it if it's sans sugar, but you will have to avoid the corn and potatoes in the broth. The deluxe hamburger plate might work. Ask for the burger without the bun and no fries or chips on the side. I chose this restaurant at random and you can see that though there are challenges, you could eek out a Whole30 meal.

Almost all restaurants have avocado. Ask for one sliced as your side dish and you can use it as an accompaniment for a steak, grilled chicken, or seafood. It sounds odd, but avocado also goes well with sweet potato as a butter substitute. If you have homemade mayo, take a small container with you when you eat out. Transform your mayo to a salad dressing too; you can order a plain salad or go to a salad bar and dress it yourself. Get some hard boiled eggs at that salad bar, add some of your dressing for an impromptu egg salad, and have it with tomatoes, cucumbers, or other items of your choosing.

Having said all of the above, please know that cooking for yourself is really the only way to know for sure if ingredients are handles and seasoned the way you want them to be. Along the way, I've cooked what I consider to be restaurant quality food. There are two reasons for that - I have changed how I buy food. I purchase high quality ingredients, focus on organic and farmers market items, and make several trips to the store to keep fresh vegetables and fruits on hand. Second is I'm a good cook! I've learned to cook low and slow, and I rarely cook things in a screaming hot pan. There are exceptions, but in general, I take it easy and enjoy what I do. I get into the chopping, spicing, cooking, and eating from beginning to end.

Eating out is often about the company rather than the food. Consult menus before you go, enjoy the people you are with, drink a Perrier if others order cocktails or beer, and think of all you're gaining, not what you are giving up.

My second true Whole30 starts Tuesday, April 8. I'm ready. I have the mindset, the references I need, and always have my copy of It Starts With Food.

What suggestions do you have for eating out while doing a Whole30?

Edit: The official word regarding eating out from the folks at Whole30 can be found on their site. 

Every day's a new day

Never Stop Starting

And a good start it is. Zucchini in those eggs. Yum. 

I felt like something different for lunch. I cut up some strawberries and a banana, added some coconut cream I had just whipped up, and for fun, added a bit of organic honey. Not bad. I wish it had chicken or celery, and next time, I'll add one or both of them.