Have you ever had a meal so good that you didn’t want to brush your teeth before bed because you never wanted the taste of delicious steak to go away? If your answer is no then you’ve obviously never been to Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf. (And incase you were concerned about my dental hygiene – yes I did brush my teeth that night). Last night Jackson and I went there for a dinner to celebrate my birthday and his new position on a prestigious choir, (ok we had the reservation before we realized those things, but it’s always more fun to go out for a celebration) and the whole meal reminded me why I truly love good food.
It’s officially the new year and everyone is talking about their resolutions – except for me.
Honestly, I hate new years resolutions for the sole fact that they stem from such negative feelings about ourselves. With the focus primarily on how much weight we need to lose, what we failed at in 2017, or the old saying of “new year, new me” the constant need to change ourselves year over year astonishes me. In fact, I’ve already seen posts from people beating themselves up because they already “failed” at their resolution. It’s been three days! There are so many opportunities to make things happen, don’t get down on yourself already! It may be a new year, but I am the same, self-loving me that you’ve known and (hopefully) loved all year.
While I don’t want to spend the year attempting to change who I am at my core, or resolving to change how I look, I do want to go into 2018 with some goals that I can accomplish. They’re not meant to change me, but they are some things that will help me grow as a person.
As many of you saw, I recently did a month of Whole30. Ever since finishing and sharing my experience, I’ve been flooded with messages from friends and followers saying they’ve been inspired to start a journey of their own. As you carry on throughout your Whole30, or begin to plan it out, here are some of my top tips to help make it as seamless as possible.
1) Find friends to do it with you
I cannot put in to words what a world of difference it made to have people on their Whole30 journey with me. I actually did not have any immediate friends doing Whole30 with me, but I joined a group led been Instagram babe Everything Erica, who organized a large group along with her friend Brett from Her Tasty Life. We had a Facebook group full of women supporting each other, sharing recipes, and venting through our experience. It made it so much easier to have people to talk to who understood what I was going through and could help me get through the tough times and celebrate the good ones. If you don’t have friends who want to join you, a supportive online group is the next best thing.
2) Meal Prep
Meal prepping is one of the best ways to stay on track with Whole30. By preparing all your foods, you’re able to control the ingredients and be certain that your meals are 100% compliant. Not to mention, it helps you feel empowered in the kitchen and fully in charge of your diet and life. I recommend setting a routine that works for best for you to do a grocery haul and prep for the week. I typically recommend Sundays for anyone who works full time because it helps you get ready for your weekday lunches, but any day can be prep day!
3) If you have to go to a party or happy hour, eat beforehand
This is one thing I learned early and fast. There is nothing worse than leaving work and heading to an event only to find there’s nothing you can eat or drink. (Well yes, you can have water, but it doesn’t look as fun as those fancy cocktails your fellow part-goers are sipping.) I would always head to these with a full stomach so that there was no temptation to try a small bite of anything.
4) Adjust your portions
Remember – you are cutting out grains, legumes, dairy and more. These are calories you’re used to consuming, and things that probably filled you up enough that your typical veggie portion was smaller. But on Whole30 you need to make sure you are eating enough to keep from getting sick or undernourished. There is a great guide that shares the recommended portion sizes, but a general rule of thumb is a palm sized protein and filling the rest of you plate with veggies. At first I couldn’t get the hang of eating so many veggies on my plate, and I could feel myself suffering for it. The first few days I felt sick and weak, but after re-evaluating my portion sizes I quickly bounced back to my energetic self.
5) Keep approved snacks hand
OK, so snacks are not necessarily coveted in Whole30 – you’re intended to strive for 3 meals a day, but sometimes things get in the way. You have a big workout, have kids to wrangle around and lack time for big meals, you’re used to six small meals a day, or something happens and you’re starving and need something to hold you over. This won’t ruin your Whole30, as long as you don’t indulge on things that aren’t approved. I kept a bag of cashews at my desk at work for emergencies. If I planned a post-work trip to the gym I’d eat a half a handful of nuts to get me through my gym since my dinner was now going to be eaten around 9pm. Or some days my lunch was smaller than I’d thought it was going to be and I just needed something to ease my headache. It’s better to have something available than to have no options and cave into something that isn’t approved. Another great options is to keep carrot and veggie sticks ready to go in the fridge. Add some Primal Kitchen Ranch and you’re good to go!
6) Find new ways to ease your emotions
One thing that Whole30 really opens your eyes to is how much our eating habits are driven by our emotions. You may celebrate successes with a big meal full of cocktails and treats. Or you may eat away sadness with a pint of ice cream. Whatever your vice, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have at least one emotional eating habit. Mine were celebratory margaritas, stress beers, and sad pints of Jeni‘s Goat Cheese and Dark Cherries ice cream. Now I celebrate success with present for myself (think manicure, new shirt, or new candle), ease stress with a massage (I love seeing what Groupons are available), and when I’m sad I hit the gym and work it out. Instead of having food as a crutch I’ve found new ways to replace healthier forms of wellness into my emotional responses.
Have you tried Whole30 yet? What is your biggest piece of advice for a first timer?
Whole30 had always been a name I’d heard thrown around, and a few friends of mine had taken on the “challenge” but in complete disclosure, I had no clue what I’d actually agreed to do until about 2 days before the process started. Let me backtrack.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had a constant case of wanderlust. Then again, I think just about everyone would be lying if they said they didn’t.
After years of putting off my trip because I didn’t want to take the time off work, I finally decided to take my biggest vacation in a long time: Taglit.
I love having a nearby spot that I can rely on for a solid meal every time without breaking the bank, and that’s what I got when I found Cemitas Puebla.
Cemitas Puebla is a fast casual restaurant that specializes in cemita sandwiches. Cemitas, which get their name from the seed on the bun, are sandwiches originating in Puebla, Mexico (hence the name Cemitas Puebla. In addition to the sandwiches they serve tacos, quesadillas, chips, guacamole, salsa, rice, beans and more. Everything they make uses fresh ingredients to help create vibrant, authentic flavors that make you feel like you’re being transported to Puebla.
Brunch can make or break a weekend. When eaten after a long night out it can cure any pain you’re going through, when eaten after a workout it can revive you, and when eaten with bottomless bloody mary’s it can set the tone for Sunday Funday. But the best brunches have three things in common: great food, awesome atmosphere and killer drinks. Saint Lou’s Assembly has all three.
Last night while walking through Greektown, my boyfriend and I stumbled by The Parthenon. What was once a popular, crowded restaurant – and a favorite of my family’s – was dark. I’d always remembered them being open late, and it was only just approaching 10pm, so I was a bit confused.
We walked over to the main door to see if they had changed their hours, but were instead greeted by a piece of printer paper in the window that read,
“Dear Valuable Customer,
After over 48 years in business we are sad to inform you that we are permanently closed.
We want to thank you for your support over the years and for the wonderful memories!”
If La Sirena Clandestina is the sultry date night spot of the West Loop, then El Che Bar is its sexy younger sister. A new addition to the West Loop, it combines fabulous cocktails, mouth-watering food, and delicious desserts together in an atmosphere matched by few.
A new edition to the West Loop, El Che Bar opened on August 1, 2016. Despite being only about 3 weeks one when I had the opportunity to dine there, it already operated like a well-oiled machine—something many restaurants struggle with for months, and something many restaurants never seem to achieve.