Most Helpful Kitchen Items - Whole30 - DanaChirps

A Whole30 compliant meal at Chipotle. I clearly hated it.

A Whole30 compliant meal at Chipotle. I clearly hated it.

So before I get to my list, know that these are just items that helped me. Everyone's list is going to be slightly different, and they're certainly not a requirement. Many of them are kitchen/food staples, that you'll probably have! 

  1. Instant Pot Duo - Upon moving to Bermuda, I donated my beloved crockpot. So around the time I was looking to replace it, I had heard a ton of positive feedback about the Instant Pot and asked for one for Christmas. In case you don't know what I'm talking about it's a pot that has several different functions (the model I got, has seven): slow cook, pressure cook, yogurt maker, rice maker, steam, saute, and food warmer. If you decide to get one, I do recommending getting the biggest size. This comes in handy when you're cooking large food items like spaghetti squash, or chicken! 
  2. Immersion Blender - This device I used for things like making my own dressings, sauces, mayos, and soup. You might not need it often, but when you do, you're so glad to have it.
  3. Garlic Mincer - Get one. Trust.
  4. Ninja Duo - Smoothies are a no-go during Whole30, so I didn't use the blender component as much that month. But I used the food processor quite a bit!
  5. Good Knives - I'm so glad Brett already had really good kitchen knives. This can make or break you. lol. If you're on a tight budget, I'd say make sure you have one really awesome knife that can cut #allthethings.
  6. Multiple Cutting Boards - By chance, I had just gotten a three pack with different sized (hard plastic) boards. They ended up being far more helpful than I anticipated.
  7. Stackable Mixing Bowls - My stack of bowls all came with lids. The stacking feature really helps save space (a big issue in our "cozy" downtown condo). I use different sized bowls for different purposes - mixing up spices and meat, tossing and serving salad, holding grapes, using as a regular piece of tupperware, etc. 
  8. Ladle - Somehow we didn't have one. Had to get one!
  9. Zester - We didn't have a zester in the beginning so I was scraping citrus fruits with a regular knife. It's a miracle I have all of my fingers. The zester makes it so easy and fast, and it works WAY better than doing it the way I had been (shocker, I know).

The one thing I didn't have that I wish I had during Whole30 was a cast iron skillet. This is a skillet that you can use on the stove and in the oven. Many of the yummy looking breakfast hashes require one. But I've asked for one for my birthday, so hopefully I have one soon! :)  

Learn more about my first Whole30 here.

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Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Favorite New Things - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Doing Whole30 exposed me to a whole bunch of new foods, recipes, spices, liquids, powders, etc.! It was like tapping into a world I never knew existed. Here's a list of my favorite new things I tried and loved during my Whole30 experience. These are all things I have continued to use after I completed my round of Whole30.

  1. Nutpods - This is the coffee creamer solution for Whole30. They are why I was able to 100% commit to this program.
  2. Ghee - It's like butter, but better. I didn't even know a such thing could exist - a butter that tastes better than regular butter. But it does. And I LOVE using it to cook with. Different brands of ghee have slightly different textures. I really like the Organic Valley brand, and Trader Joe's brand.
  3. Sesame Tahini - When I tried it on its own it tasted like a really thick sesame paste - no bueno. But when I used it as the main ingredient to create a lemony garlic tahini sauce - it was outstanding. This is a great alternative to hummus. 
  4. Coconut Milk and Cream - This is one of those things I always saw at the store, but never knew what people used it for. It's now a staple in my pantry, and I've used it mixed into sweet potatoes, as the base of red curry, in pumpkin custards... it's such a versatile ingredient. I love the Thai Kitchen brand so much that I'm scared to try another brand! 
  5. Dates - Dates became my quick go-to if I felt like I was crashing from low blood sugar. I usually only needed one or two. I've also used them in recipes to sweeten a sauce. They're quite handy! I absolutely LOVE Thrive's brand.
  6. Larabars - When I needed something more than dates, I'd eat a compliant (not all of the flavors are) Lara Bar. The bars were sweet in taste, as they all had dates as a main ingredient. But they are pretty small - like 3 bites.
  7. RX Bars - And when I needed something more than a Lara Bar, I'd eat a compliant (not all of the flavors are) RX bar. These bars are dense, and reallllllly chewy. I liked the Mixed Berry flavor the best. I also liked that they had a good amount of protein in each bar too. But these I eat for a purpose versus enjoyment. 
  8. Thrive Market - Ok, so this is not a consumable per say, but it needs to be on this list! It's an online store that offers (major) discounted prices on healthy and clean foods. They often run deals (right now they have one where you get 20% off your first three orders, plus their standard free shipping for orders $49 and higher). You pay an annual membership fee of $59.95, but you'll easily save more than that if you purchase these types of foods.

Recipe Rundown:

Jamaican Jerk Raspberry Chicken with Plantains - I loved the chicken, but wasn't crazy about the fried plantains. This has everything to do with the fact that when I typically order fried plantains, they are covered in cinnamon and honey and butter.

Spicy Cacao Orange Almonds - These were a tasty snack! 

Sesame Chicken - This is definitely one of my new favorites!!! The sauce is unreal. 

Chipotle - THEY HAVE A COMPLIANT OPTION!!!! I wish I had discovered this sooner! Pork carnitas over lettuce with green salsa and guacamole. I thought it was going to be "meh" because it was substantially less extravagant than what I used to get (pre-Whole30), but it was actually delicious. To the point where it is going to be my go-to from now on. YUM!!!

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Reintroduction Observations - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Cheese on cheese with a side of cheese - reintroduction - whole30 - danachirps

Cheese on cheese with a side of cheese - reintroduction - whole30 - danachirps

I survived the reintroduction phase! Whoo hoo! I'm a free woman! I thought it might be interesting to share what observations I made when I began to reintroduce certain foods back into my diet. 

Legumes

  • Ate: Chickpea pasta and soy sauce (in cauliflower rice).
  • Results: I'd consider this category to be neutral. It didn't make me feel bad at all, and I also didn't feel like Wonder Woman. I don't typically go out of my way to eat legumes (except if we are going out for sushi - edamame and soy sauce!), so I feel fine with this result. I don't intend on making any changes to my legume eating habits. 

Gluten-Free Grains:

  • Ate: GF Quinoa flakes (similar to oatmeal), and brown rice cakes.
  • Results: I already knew I had a serious corn and popcorn sensitivity, so I did not feel the need to test that out (note: corn byproducts seem to be ok... probably because it's not really corn at that point). After eating a serving of quinoa flakes, I felt fine, but a little too full/bloated. I was pretty surprised because I wasn't expecting a noticeable difference. I certainly didn't feel "bad" eating them, but I think this is a category of food that I'm going to be mindful of consuming in the future. 

Dairy:

  • Ate: Cheese wrapped in prosciutto, and whole milk. 
  • Results: Let me just say I seriously PRAYED for no issues on this one. I.love.cheese. Back when I lived in Richmond, I even used to attend a monthly cheese class. My mom and I LOVE to make charcuterie boards with a massive variety of cheeses. Blue cheese, brie cheese, goat cheese cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese... I love it all. So thank-you-sweet-baby-Jesus, my prayers were answered... cheese didn't give me any issues after eating it. However, I didn't feel like a million bucks either. In the future, I know I need to eat limited (rather than excessive) amounts of cheese. What I found to be interesting is that although cheese played nice... milk was a whole other story. I had a glass of whole milk and it wasn't long after that when my stomach began to do those apocalyptical gurgles, and I felt nauseous. It's worth mentioning that prior to Whole30 I rarely drank regular milk (and instead consumed almond, cashew or coconut milk). I also recalled how before Whole30 whenever I ordered a latte or a cappuccino that my stomach would get very upset - I now know why. After Whole30, I certainly plan to continue to drink alternative milks, and will limit how much regular milk I drink. I think in small amounts, I'd probably be ok. But ideally, I'd like to avoid it.

Gluten Grains

  • Ate: Bread, and whole wheat pasta.
  • Results: So this one was a BIG surprise to me. I thought I'd have zero issues with gluten. Shortly after I ate it (and similar to gluten-free grains) I didn't feel "bad," but did not feel as lean as I do when I eat meat and veggies. I also felt a little sluggish afterwards. Then the next day (within 12 hours of consumption) my stomach was in knots. This is another food type I'm going to be quite mindful of in the future. 

So, now that reintroduction is over, now what? Well, I personally have enjoyed eating Whole30 foods. I have benefitted in so many ways from this program, and I'd hate to stop feeling as fantastic as I do. So my goal is to maintain as close to Whole30 as possible. I'll loosen the reigns a little with added sugar to give myself some more options. And when I go "out of bounds" my goal is to make those choices deliberate. Meaning, if I'm going to indulge in a decadent dessert, it's going to be worth it. 

 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Results Recap - Whole30 - DanaChirps

strawberries-1396330_640.jpg

I did it! I survived Whole30! No alcohol, no added sugar, no legumes, no dairy, and no grains for 30 days! And now I'm in the reintroduction process. But I figured I'd go ahead and share my results with you! 

  • I feel way more empowered when I'm grocery shopping for food. I read every ingredient on every label of every product. I've also gotten financially savvier with grocery shopping for clean food.
  • I know how to make insanely tasty healthy meals! Seriously though... I've been exposed to, and have made so many foods I never would have tried otherwise. I now have an inventory of go-to meals to make.
  • My energy has increased which is crazy, because I thought I was pretty high octane before... but now I feel like my energy levels are evenly sustained all day.
  • I fall asleep -and stay asleep- so much easier now.
  • My skin looks awesome - I literally had an 18 year old ask what products I use after she complimented my skin. (She thought I was younger. And she's essentially my new favorite person on planet earth now.)
  • Digestion has improved.
  • I feel less anxious and less stressed. 
  • It's not that I was against fat before, but I feel like I really have experienced the benefit of consuming good fats and am a full fledged fat lover now. 
  • Unhealthy food cravings have decreased, and are much more manageable.
  • Did not get sick or catch a cold during this experience. Considering I had a hectic work trip where I was in airports, and around hundreds of people during flu season - I'm going to take this as a positive indicator with regards to my immune system!
  • My weight dropped 2-3 pounds. I wasn't big to begin with, but I had sort of mysteriously gained a few pounds that weren't muscle. So although it wasn't a concern, I wanted the extra to be GONE - and it is, and I feel great. 

These were my goals when I first started. I think it's safe to say I cleaned house on the benefits of eating this way.

It's also worth mentioning that when I started this program, I had also started a challenge at the gym I had just joined and have been going very frequently. I would say that the one-two punch of healthy eating, and endorphins has been really powerful and played a large factor in the mental/mood related benefits I've experienced.

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2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Reintroduction - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Whoo hoo! I'm on my last day of Whole30! But the program is not quite over yet. The next phase of Whole30 is called the "reintroduction phase." This is where you slowly add back foods from the no-go list to see how your body reacts. This part of the Whole30 program is essentially the whole point of doing it. It teaches you which foods your body may have a sensitivity to. By the end of it, you should have an understanding of what foods make you feel awesome, and what foods make you feel not so great. The way reintroduction works is that you add a food from the no-go list back to your diet for one day, and then go back to eating strict Whole30 for two days... those two days will give you time to decipher how your body reacts (if it does at all). You can't have foods from multiple categories (like peanut butter and jelly on bread) until the entire reintroduction phase is completed.

Reintroduction - Whole30 - DanaChirps

My reintroduction plan:

  1. Legumes (peanut butter, black beans, hummus, soy sauce, edamame, peas)
  2. Whole30 for two days
  3. Gluten-Free Grains (quinoa, oats, corn, popcorn, rice)
  4. Whole30 for two days
  5. Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, froyo, sour cream, butter, coffee creamer)
  6. Whole30 for two days
  7. Gluten Grains (bread, bagels, pretzels, pasta, crackers, muffins)
  8. Whole30 for two days
  9. Alcohol
  10. Whole30 for two days
  11. Sugar (honey, maple syrup, cane sugar)

There's are couple of categories that have foods that I might break up - I might do a variety of legumes, and then peanut butter separately at the very end of my reintroduction phase. I'm also considering breaking up alcohol into wine, cider, and vodka (that's what I drink 90% of the time). For some reason I find the reintroduction plan to be more nerve-wracking than full throttle Whole30! Wish me luck! 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Days 25-29 - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Seared Scallops with Ginger Blueberry Sauce and Asparagus - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Seared Scallops with Ginger Blueberry Sauce and Asparagus - Whole30 - DanaChirps

I'm at the last stretch of Whole30, and I can't believe it is almost over! Overall, this program has been much easier to implement than I ever could have imagined. Below are my thoughts on the process of doing Whole30... I have a separate post coming to discuss results.

The hardest parts:

  • Traveling for work - I had to really plan and pack a tonnnnn of compliant food. But by doing so, I successfully avoided eating noncompliant food. However, I was glad the trip was a short 3 days. Had it been longer, I'm not sure if it would have been feasible. 
  • Going out to eat - This was tough. We barely went out to eat because most restaurants didn't have compliant options. The few times we went out, I hated having to spend money (or have Brett spend money) on something bland/compliant. On the plus side, I'm sure we have not spent nearly as much as we typically do wining and dining out.
  • Time - You spend a lot of time dealing with food. Reading labels, researching recipes, meal planning, grocery store trips, cooking, and Lord have mercy - the dishes - SO many dishes! But this does get easier as time goes on because you naturally learn which recipes are going to be a bigger time investment.

The best parts:

  • I feel way more competent in selecting the food I buy. I read every label!
  • The food. It is SO.STINKIN.GOOD! I tell people that even if they aren't doing Whole30 to buy a Whole30 cookbook just for the sake of having awesome recipes. I have sincerely loved nearly everything I've made. 
  • I've learned to appreciate and enjoy cooking. This is the first time I've really been adventurous in the kitchen, and I've really gotten into it. 
  • Picking recipes. Even though it takes a little time, I love meal planning. I think it is fun to select the yummy foods I'm going to make. Brett and I tag-team grocery shopping, and I actually enjoy this process more than I thought I would. I typically plan 5 days at a time. This is largely due to the fact we have a smaller fridge/freezer, so space is limited. 
Cherry Chipotle Chicken Thighs - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Cherry Chipotle Chicken Thighs - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Recipe Rundown:

Asian Sesame Meatballs Over Zoodles - This one was ok. I think I would have really liked this one more with less zoodles. 

Seared Scallops with Ginger Blueberry Sauce and Asparagus - Um, yes x1000. The scallops with the sauce... so flavorful!

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Chicken Thighs - This was a giant hell yes kind of recipe! It has a little kick to it, but the cherries are seriously like these flavor bombs that are so scrumptious.

Spicy Pineapple Steak and Chicken Kebab - I think we just love all things kebab'd... another winner!

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Days 18 - 24 - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Bison Burger - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Bison Burger - Whole30 - DanaChirps

It is Day 24, and I'm coasting now! At this point, the key is to not get burnt out. I'm countering this by making and planning a mix of of simple recipes that I've made before, plus new/exciting recipes. 

Our friends Alex and Amanda came over to watch the Patriots game last weekend. It was my first time cooking Whole30 food for friends. We did veggies, and plantain chips to dip in guacamole, and buffalo chicken sweet potatos with a homemade "dilly dilly ranch." I whipped up a buffalo cauliflower rice version for Amanda because she's a vegetarian. I also made compliant chili lime drumsticks, and offered a few noncompliant foods (and drinks!) for our guests as well. It was a ton of fun to cook for other people, and they seemed enthusiastic (or REALLY polite) about the food I made them.

Another noteworthy recipe was one I made for Brett and I - Chimichurri Beef and Chicken Kebabs. This is easily one of our new favorites, and will likely become a regular meal here!

Chimichurri Beef and Chicken Kabob - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Chimichurri Beef and Chicken Kabob - Whole30 - DanaChirps

This week I had a major challenge of juggling a three day work trip while remaining on Whole30. With a lot of determination, and preparation, I managed to succeed in staying compliant! I packed a ton of food, and thank goodness I did because there was next to nothing at the hotel that was compliant. I packed: bananas, grapes, boiled eggs, sardines (yes, really), dried mango, pistachios, almond butter, prosciutto, RX bars, chomps, and Lara bars. Although what I packed was delicious, I'm glad I only had to do it for three days. By the time I got home last night I was so ready for some real food. 

And although I was able to remain compliant at the event I worked, I had an accidental slip up at the airport on the way there. I consumed the Bare brand of toasted coconut thinking they were compliant because I had looked at the "Contains" list instead of the ingredients. I was pretty pissed to have fallen for lackluster labeling, and tossed the bag out immediately. I probably had about a half cup total, and it is likely I will never buy their products again. It turns out there have been quite a few other folks who have been fooled by this, meaning, it's not just me.

Deceptive Marketing - Whole30 - DanaChirps

A Whole30 purist would say that a breach of any kind means you have to start all over. I don't think I'm going to go with that plan mostly because I know I have stuff coming up in the next 30 days that would not make Whole30 feasible. But I may reintroduce sugar last - more on that later.

Recipe Rundown:

Chimichurri Beef and Chicken Kabob - Sweet baby Jesus. SO good... and maybe my favorite recipe I've made. It's definitely Brett's favorite! 

Chili Lime Drumsticks - These were pretty good... the chicken was more moist than I was expecting, but I wish I had been able to marinate them a bit longer. I also think I'd like to try wings next time instead of drumsticks because I feel like you could get more of the chili lime flavor. But Brett really liked the drumsticks because they're (obviously) more meaty! 

Bison Burgers - Ohhhh were these tasty! I wasn't sure if I was going to like bison because I really dislike how beef tastes and makes me feel. But This recipe was a definite hit!

 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Days 10 - 17 - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Veggies - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Veggies - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Whew! I'm over halfway through my first (ever) round of Whole30! I'm still going strong, and have stuck to the plan rigidly. I think I've been successful at doing so because of my meal planning, and some good old fashioned will power.

I spend a good amount of time picking out recipes for the upcoming week that I think Brett and I will enjoy. This has been a key element of my success because I genuinely look forward to the food I make! Once I select what I'm going to make, I write a shopping list of everything needed for the recipes, plus any other staple items that may need replenishing. Generally, it takes 2 or 3 grocery stores to get everything we need. It seems like a lot, but it's honestly not that bad. I only get a few items from the local natural grocery store because they're the only ones that carry them - so I'm in and out of there fast. Then it takes one or two stores to get everything else. I'm finding that I stick to the list a lot more when I shop this way, too. With each week and meal plan, it gets easier and faster. I also now know to look at a recipe and assess how many pots/pans/mess it will make (see my note about the enchiladas below).

Recipe Rundown is below! You'll notice I didn't take as many photos of my food this time... that has to do with either the fact the meal was not photogenic, or because it was so tasty I ate it before I could even turn my camera on. 

Melissa's Chicken Hash - So I had high expectations for this meal... sweet potato noodles, chicken, apple, walnuts... not sure what happened but I did NOT like it. This is the first thing I've made since starting Whole30 that I haven't not enjoyed eating. Brett liked it enough to eat the leftovers, but it's not something I intend on making again. 

Sardines - YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT. I was a BIT apprehensive to try them... but they're honestly just a food with a bad rep. I ended up enjoying my sardines, right out of the can quite a bit! I actually like that I can eat them straight without adding anything, whereas with canned tuna, I have to add mayo or avocado. Brett thought he was going to die by the scent of them... luckily he survived, but I'll have to be mindful of when and where I eat those salty delights! ;)

Buffalo Sweet Potatoes with Homemade Ranch - OH.EM.GEE. This was a phenomenal meal, and it was also crazy easy/fast to put together, too. This is definitely a keeper!

Enchiladas Wrapped in Cabbage with Cashew Cream Drizzle - So these were very tasty, but I practically had to use every appliance I own, and every heating method known to man. They were good, but I'm not sure if they were worth the time and the clean up! The cashew cream I was sort of "meh" about when I tasted it on its own, but loved it once I put it over top of my enchilada... sort of has a ricotta vibe to it.

Pork Butt a La Crock Pot - I put a 2lb pork butt in the crockpot for 10 hours, and the flavor was outstanding! The meat itself was unsurprisingly fatty (as it should be). Next time I may try to find a leaner cut. I lovvvved the seasoning though, and it smelled sooooo good.

Banger Sausage Patties and Sweet Potato Mash with Caramelized Onions - This recipe caught me off-guard because I can be pretty picky with meat, and I didn't have high hopes. But those bangers were UNBELIEVABLY good. As in, no condiments needed. As in I'm making them again this week. As in, there were no leftovers. Same with the sweet potatoes... this is a major feat because I'm not a huge potato person, and have been just sort of forcing myself to eat them in this program for sustenance. But I actually ENJOYED them.  

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Days 6 - 9 - Whole30 - DanaChirps

Whole30 - DanaChirps

So I survived the first full week of doing Whole30! I am shocked at how much I am enjoying this experience. I thought it was going to be a dietary form of torture.

It's been extremely eye-opening to read the ingredients of every single thing we buy. It was cumbersome at first, but it's getting pretty easy. At times I have to look up a foreign sounding ingredient, and if I can't find the answer I err on the side of caution. It's shocking to realize the sugar and junk that companies sneak into our foods!

The hardest part of doing Whole30 isn't the diet, it's the social aspect. It is hard to go out to eat because most foods are prepared with off-limits ingredients. The good news is that because I'm new to Portsmouth, I'm not exactly getting a ton of invites just yet, so it's perfect timing to do this program.

And honestly, it's not impossible to go out. For example, when Brett and I went on a last minute double date at The Library, I was able to quickly look up the menu prior to figure out what I could eat. I ended up having shrimp cocktail with lemon for an appetizer, and ordered the lump crab meat (which is technically an appetizer) and put it on top of my house salad that I dressed with balsamic vinegar. It wasn't what I would have eaten otherwise, but it was still pretty good! And more importantly, Whole30 didn't prevent me from attending a fun dinner with wonderful people.

The social situations Whole30 brings are actually quite fun. I recently met these two friendly girls through my neighbor and one of them hosted us for a ladies' brunch. She knew from social media I had started Whole30, and was so thoughtful to let me know that there would definitely be food I could eat. I was so excited to cook something to share, too. I made a breakfast pumpkin custard recommended to me from a pal in my Whole30 group. Yummy! There was also fresh fruit, and sweet potato hash with eggs over top! The only thing I had to pass on was the bacon because I wasn't sure what the ingredients were, but I was plenty full anyways. Regardless, high five to my will power for turning down bacon! But the three of us had such a fun time discussing Whole30 vs. Paleo (one of the girls follows that diet) vs. too much ice-cream. Food, and "diets" are such a fantastic topic of conversation!

Below are my food highlights. I don't have as many to share because Brett's been out of town, so I've been eating a LOT of leftovers!

Basil-Avocado Baked Salmon - This is a HOMERUN meal, and hands down my favorite quick and easy recipe. Loads of healthy fat to help me stay fuller longer! 

Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce - Holy cow. This stuff is good on pretty much any/everything, but I love it on top of veggies.

Butternut Squash Soup w/ Black Truffle Salt + Black Pepper - This was pretty good, but now I need to take a break from squash because I had so much of it!

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Days 1-5 - Whole30 - DanaChirps

So I started Whole30 on January 3rd. It's an interesting date for me personally. It's the same date that as a 13 year old, I went "in-house" (term for staying overnight) for a longgg time at MCV to get my stem cell transplant. Perhaps it is the Big Man's way of reminding me when I'm whining about not eating cheese, that it pales in comparison to what I've already been through. Really, it's a joke comparatively. Perspective. 

The biggest gripe I had with the Whole30 program was giving up my beloved flavored creamer for my morning coffee. I've tried on numerous occasions to take it black or with almond milk, but drinking it that way literally make me gag. By chance, I saw on social media a person who was using nutpods as their compliant creamer. I checked them out, and was able to get some at my local health food store. When I got home, I made Brett bear witness to my ceremonious pouring of what was left of my Bailey's White Russian Truffle flavored noncompliant creamer down the drain. RIP dutiful creamer. That was the moment I became fully committed. As for the nutpods, I can say that it ain't flavored creamer, but it ain't bad either! Victory is mine.

I'm still finding the need to eat in between meals. Whole30 encourages eating just at meals, but says if you need to have a snack, then do so. Per the suggestion of Jeanne who is leading the Whole30 group I'm in, I am going to try to incorporate more healthy fats within my meals to see if that helps hold me over longer. As snacks I've had Chomps (compliant beef jerky that is de-friggin-licious), compliant flavored Lara/Rx bars, or if my blood sugar is too low, I'll eat one or two dates for a fast pick-me-up. 

Now let's talk about the food. People act like Whole30 is some horrible and depriving experience. But I am honestly loving it! I am making the best (as in delicious) meals I've ever made, meals I'd make regardless of being on Whole30 or not. I'm being way more adventurous than I ever have been in the kitchen - this is what is making it so fun for me.

Quick rundown on some of the food I've had:

The Stuffed Peppers - This recipe was from the Whole30 guidebook, and one of the best meals I've ever made, EVER! I subbed the beef out for turkey (I don't eat red meat), and it was outstanding!

Balsamic Pear-Peach Chicken via Crockpot - Brett loved this one. It is such a cozy, savory meal.

Roasted Veggies with Chicken Sausage - An easy but satisfying meal to throw together. Loved the roasted beets in particular.

Orange Chicken with Cauliflower Fried Rice - I liked the "rice" way more than I thought I would. The chicken was very flavorful, despite not nailing the thickening agent for the sauce (arrowroot powder - the Whole30 compliant corn starch).

Breakfast Pumpkin Custard - It tastes just like pumpkin pie sans the sugar and crust! Yum.  

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Here we go! Whole30 - DanaChirps

Whole30 compliant coffee - DanaChirps

Whole30 compliant coffee - DanaChirps

Today is Day 1 for my first ever round of Whole30! For 30 days there is absolutely NO: added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, or dairy. ::cue panic music::

Nah, I'm actually really excited to do this. I've been wanting to try this diet for a while, but hadn't started due to the timing. It is a full 30 day commitment, and sort of an all-or-nothing mindset. My motivations for doing this are: 

  • To see if this helps improve my immune system. Ever since moving to NH, I've been sick or with some nasty cold easily 80% of the time. I had no health issues in Bermuda, and was only sick once in the four years I lived in South Florida. I do think the dry air and brutal cold weather is playing a role. But I see this as an opportunity to do more. 
  • I have randomly gained 4-5lbs. And it ain't muscle. So those need to go.
  • To learn to make more healthy and DELICIOUS recipes. It's cold here. Cooking is a fun and indoor hobby, why not? This is the reason that makes me most excited.

Throughout this dietary challenge, I'm participating in a really lively Whole30 Facebook group with other Whole30'ers. The person leading the charge is my dear friend from JMU (Go Dukes!), Jeanne! Jeanne has been at this Whole30 game for a good while, and is formally educated on the subject. She is an amazing resource, and has a blog of her own that is insanely helpful with breaking some of the harder concepts down. So if you have questions beyond the basics, I'd send you to her at this point since I am still learning. But the support in the Facebook group has been incredible, and is making it really social and fun. 

Have any of you ever done Whole30? I'd love to hear your experience! Or have any of you thought of doing it before - what's stopping you? 

 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.