A Whole30 July 4 Celebration

The Whole30® Program, created by Whole9

So, July 4 was Day 17 of my first Whole30. It turned out to be rather successful as well (even giving my husband the thumbs-up to bring beer, bread, and tortilla chips into the house . . . resulting in no temptation to me!).

Dinner consisted of a grilled grass-fed beef burger with caramelized onions, homemade guacamole, and a slice of fresh tomato; a roasted sweet potato; and steamed spinach. Dessert was a smal bowl of fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries).

Recipes after the jump.

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My Whole30

Wow! So, over one month has passed since my last post, but I return to say that I have successfully restarted! Today is Day 11 of my first Whole30.

The Whole30® Program, created by Whole9

As promised and as planned, I started gearing up towards the end of May and into the beginning of June (translation: began weaning myself off the occasional candy fix and tortilla chips at the Mexican restaurant). After returning from a brief business trip, my eating turned to business: enter the Whole30.

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Homemade Almond Butter

Almond butter is a staple in our household. Whether for a snack with apples, bananas, or celery or as a necessary ingredient in Coach Sarah’s paleo brownies, almond bread, or almond banana, almond butter is constantly disappearing from our pantry.

Here’s another thing: store-bought almond butter is EXPENSIVE – as in $10 or more per jar! Oh, and be careful, not all almond butter is just almonds – some have added oils, salt, or other unnecessary ingredients.

What’s a girl to do? Make her own (thank you, Vitamix). Although raw almonds are also expensive, I find that they are usually cheaper than almond butter (by quite a few dollars).

Ingredients

  • 3 cups raw almonds

Directions

  1. Pour almonds into Vitamix and replace lid plug with tamper.
  2. Turn Vitamix on variable #1 and quickly move through each variable speed before setting to high.
  3. Use tamper regularly to move almonds (then almond meal) through blades and eliminate air pockets.
  4. Vitamix motor will make unhappy sounds but continue blending at high speed until blade churns through butter and movement is visible. This process should take no longer than 1 minute to 1:30 minutes. Immediately turn Vitamix off.

Recipe Notes

Do not blend on low; following Vitamix directions, move quickly through variable speeds and blend almonds on high speed. Blending at a low speed for a prolonged time will cause motor to overheat and shut off (and it may take as long as 20 minutes for the blender to cool down enough to be usable again)

If the blender does overheat before almond butter forms, do not worry. Just let it cool and start again. I will often pause when the container starts to steam from the heat and then start again until I get the desired, creamy consistency.

 

What exactly IS Paleo?

I suppose I should take a step back … what is paleo? I am nowhere near an expert; I’m just starting on this journey myself. According to wikipedia:

The paleolithic diet (abbreviated paleo diet or paleodiet), also popularly referred to as the caveman dietStone Age diet, and hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years which ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and grain-based diets.

But perhaps the best explanation of paleo comes from the Whole9 – something it calls “The Whole9 Nutrition Elevator Pitch

I eat “real” food – fresh, natural food like meat, vegetables and fruit.  I choose foods that are nutrient dense, with lots of naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, over foods that have more calories but less nutrition.  And food quality is important – I’m careful about where my meat comes from, and buy produce locally and organically as often as possible.

It’s not a low calorie “diet” – I eat as much as I need to maintain strength, energy and a healthy weight.  In fact, my diet is probably much higher in fat than you’d imagine.  Fat isn’t the enemy – it’s a great energy source when it comes from high quality foods like avocado, coconut and nuts. And I’m not trying to do a “low carb” thing, but since I’m eating vegetables and fruits instead of bread, cereal and pasta, it just happens to work out that way.

Eating like this is good for maintaining a healthy metabolism, and reducing inflammation within the body.  It’s been doing great things for my energy levels, body composition and performance in the gym.  It also helps to minimize my risk for a whole host of lifestyle diseases and conditions, like diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

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