Exercising regularly is hard. So is eating healthy. And maintaining a restful sleep schedule. Even though I would rather be doing these things, it’s hard to find the motivation to make healthy decisions after a long day at work.
But, I’ve noticed something else. Making the healthy decisions gets easier (really!). A healthy lifestyle requires building a whole new set of habits. However, one of the reasons that the Whole 30 can be so difficult is that it takes a lot of time to build new habits. When I started my first Whole 30 last year, I had very few go-to meals that were Whole 30 compliant. So, I started with the basics. I always liked scrambled eggs with ketchup on them. Obviously, Heinz ketchup was not allowed because of the added high fructose corn syrup or sugar. Thus, one of the first Whole 30/paleo compliant things I made was ketchup — Homemade Ketchup with a Kick, specifically. As it turns out, really liked that particular ketchup (most likely because of the curry) and I still make it every couple of weeks.
Now, after several months of following Paleo/Whole 30 bloggers and slowly trying their recipes, I have an arsenal of go-to meals. I slowly went through all of my non-Paleo ingredients in the pantry and slowly replaced them with gluten-free, nitrite-free, and sulfate-free alternatives. I bought a Ninja Master Food Processor* which has become the most important thing in my kitchen beside an actual range, oven, basic kitchen cookware, and utensils.
This past weekend is a great example of how far I’ve come. Sam and I were actually brave enough to host a Whole 30 dinner party. I wish I had taken photos, but we were too busy prepping and then eating! We served white and sweet potato fries cooked in lard (white potatoes are allowed on the whole 30), Game Day Wings, Nom Nom Paleo’s Chile Lime Chicken Wings, and The Clothes Make the Girl’s Bacon-Jalapeno Burger Balls, including the awesome sauce and homemade relish. For our own meals this week, we made Mojo Grilling Marinade, Kickass Ketchup, date paste, Smoky Hot BBQ Sauce, and The Best Steak Marinade in Existence (subbing coconut aminos for soy sauce and skipping Worcestershire sauce). All of this does require some extra time in the kitchen, but our meals have become a lot more delicious and equally more healthy.
If you’re just starting out on the Whole 30, you probably aren’t going to try to make all of those recipes in one day like I did. But, you can start by trying to incorporate one or two new recipes per week. Start with a basic homemade mayo, like The Clothes Make the Girl’s homemade mayo. Once you have making mayo down, you can turn it into awesome sauce, ranch dressing, or various aioli or hollandaise sauces. Or maybe you want to start with finally learning how to make a good pork chop that isn’t tough and try. Don’t worry, someone else has already figured it all out for you: see The Kitchn’s tutorial on the perfect pork chops here.
What new recipes or cooking techniques have you mastered lately?
*I’ve noticed that some models of the Ninja food processors have nearly doubled in price since I bought mine a few months ago. I do see them occasionally on sale on Woot, Amazon daily deals, and I even saw one marked down to $35 at Macy’s recently. Shop wisely!