I did it! I completed the Whole 30 and actually did whole 32. It was an amazing feat that I feel so empowered about. Toward the end of the 30 days I felt amazing! I mean really amazing. I was full of energy and life. Nothing felt unachievable. I also had an appreciative decline in pain in my knee and weight. Well worth it. And the truth be told that even though I was scared to do it, I actually ended up liking it! Who would’ve thunk?
Then…slowly but surely all the foods I didn’t eat that 32 days crept back in like an evil villain. It is amazing how easy it is to fall off the wagon even with how wonderful I felt. So easy. It is the most incredible phenomena that even though I felt the best I had in months, maybe years, I still had to eat that blueberry cream cheese roll. (It was pretty darn good, I must admit.)
The really good thing about this is that I went back to eating paleo and it was relatively smooth. I didn’t expect that. It was like getting on a bike, I just picked it right up. I immediately felt better and realized I hadn’t lost my fat burning abilities……yet. Yesterday did an 18 hour IF (intermittent fast) without hardly blinking. (But with a few tummy growls for sure!) It feels so good to be back.
I think one of the biggest things that worked to keep me on (and back on) the Whole 30 is making of different foods every week that are full of flavors and spices. The third week of my Whole 30 I had a bad few days and really wanted to eat off plan. I realized I hadn’t made anything interesting all week and I.was.bored.
So I whipped up some shakshuka (without the honey) and instantly felt happy and satisfied. Shakshuka is a traditional breakfast dish served all over the mid-east. In Israel, it is said to rival hummus and falafels as national favorite. According to food historians, it is an ancient dish originating in the Ottoman Empire and still beloved today. I can see why they love it, it is delicious! The moral of the story; don’t be afraid to try something new every week, you might just like it!
Shakshuka, bell pepper and tomato stew with baked eggs
This dish is often served with a spicy Middle Eastern sausage called merguez. If you would like to add sausage, choose a spicy sausage of your choice and sauté it up with the onions and garlic till done then proceed with the recipe. Serves two very hungry people.
1/4 olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup of thinly sliced roasted green peppers (about 2 peppers)*
1 cup of thinly sliced roasted red peppers (about 2 peppers)*
1 teaspoon of smoked or sweet paprika
1 teaspoon of cumin
½-1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (depending on spiciness you like)
1 small bay leaf
1 teaspoon of honey (omit if on Whole 30)
1 cup of canned organic chopped tomatoes with juice
4 farm fresh eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
In an ample ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) warm the olive oil over medium heat on the stove. Add the onion and the garlic and cook until they become fragrant and translucent, about 5 minutes. Toss in the green and red peppers and cook for an additional 2-5 minutes. Add the spices and honey then continue to simmer, stirring occasionally for a few minutes until the fragrance lifts you up. Add the tomatoes, juice and all, and bring the heady mix to simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down, about 15-20 minutes.
While that is cooking, preheat you oven to 400 degrees. Season the skillet contents with the salt and pepper then bring the heat back up on the mix to medium low. Fish out the bay leaf then make little wells in the shashuka mix and then crack the eggs into them, tuck the skillet into the oven to bake. Bake till the eggs are set to your liking about 7-10 minutes. Take out of the oven and serve up immediately. We like eating it right out of the skillet. Bon appetite!
*To roast the peppers, put under the broiler in the oven, (or on a hot grill) rotating with tongs, till black and blistered. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes then peel and seed the peppers. Voila! Roasted peppers.*