5 Whole30 Approved Foods For Flat Abs

We are one week down for Whole 30, and it has been a challenge. We don’t miss cheese and bagels as much as we thought we would, but it’s been a learning process. If nothing else, this challenge is teaching us to be more aware of the decisions we make regarding food and allowing us to carefully think about what we are putting in our bodies.

With one week down, and the last(?) weekend of 80 degree bikini-wearing weather approaching, here are 5 Whole30 approved foods for flat abs:

1. Apples. Apples are a great source of fiber and also help keep you full. Plus – ’tis the season for apple picking!

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2. Dark leafy greens. Here is another amazing in-season option. Dark leafy greens such as kale are a some of the healthiest foods you can eat. They contain fiber which will help to keep you full and regular, and are full of nutrients. Add your greens to salads, stir fry and smoothies!

Heart-shaped formed by fresh Black Kale

3. Salmon. Fatty fish such as salmon are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for your health. Salmon promotes fat burning and boosts metabolism. Grill, pan sear, or broil for a delish addition to salads or veggies.

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4. Berries. I can’t get enough berries these days. Berries are full of fiber and antioxidants which is pretty key for keeping your abs flat. Add a handful to your smoothie or just have a few as a healthy afternoon snack.

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5. Green tea. Green Tea is full of antioxidants which helps boost metabolism. AKA: perfect fat burning drink.

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Whole30: Day 1

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We are starting Whole30 today, which means yesterday was prep day. The LAST thing we wanted to do after an eventful long holiday weekend was food shop and prep, but it turned out to be a soothing and productive way to launch ourselves into a new week. After making a list of approved foods, we shopped and began cutting and chopping and cooking.

Today’s menu:

Breakfast:

  • Green smoothie (recipe here). I added half a packet of vanilla protein powder that was approved and helped keep me full.
  • Hot water with lemon
  • My new JavaBabe coffee, black. (post to come soon).

Snack:

  • Roasted, unsalted almonds

Lunch:

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  • Grilled chicken with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, onion powder, and olive oil marinade.
  • Roasted red onion, zucchini, carrot, yellow squash, red bell pepper.

Snack:

  • Grapefruit

Dinner:

  • Sweet potato (roasted with olive oil and cayenne), asparagus, pan seared salmon.

Don’t worry, we won’t overload you with our journey, but will be sure to share fun and delicious recipes that surprised us, or satiated us.

Whole30: How We Are Preparing

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We love a good challenge. It keeps things interesting. That’s why, post-labor day drinking, burgers, pizza, and celebrations, we decided to embark on 30 days of eating whole, healthy, unprocessed foods. You can learn more about what we are getting ourselves into on their site.

Here’s how we are preparing:

1. Take inventory of what we have. So that we don’t spend our entire paycheck shopping for these things, we are going through to see what ingredients we already have that could be useful. Most of them are non-perishable like spices, oils (evoo, coconut), and a few perishable (eggs and egg whites).

2. Eliminate what you won’t be using. I’ll admit, this is one I have been doing in a slightly different way. Trying to eat what we won’t be able to have during the Whole30 (orzo, cheese, spring rolls). It’s tempting to want to use these things up or save them for another time. I am hoping to make this into a slow and steady lifestyle change, so I am opting to eliminate things not on the plan.

3. Make a list of meals and a grocery list. Using this shopping list, we are stocking up and planning out our meals. I am planning on lots of roasted veggies on organic greens with grilled chicken and fish. Yum!

4. Prep lots of veggies. Veggies are a huge part of Whole30. For ease, it’s best to take some time to get these cut up so they are easy to grab and use. Some things we will be doing:

  • cut broccoli and cauliflower into florets
  • trim carrots into sticks or coins
  • cut celery sticks and slice cucumbers
  • prepare salad greens
  • chop tomatoes and onions

We are planning to store these in individual containers so that we can easily make salads or other vegetable dishes. Veggies are a good “legal” Whole 30 snack when you really need one.

5. Have things on hand for easy, quick meals to replace takeout. It’s easy to want to grab takeout, but nearly impossible to make sure there are no added foods that are a no-go. Here are some easy meals we are planning to use.

  • omelets
  • lettuce wraps
  • salads
  • soup
  • stir-fries

We have a lot of work to do, we’ll keep you updated on the journey.

Cashew Milk: If You Haven’t Tried It You Haven’t Lived

I’ve fallen in love. Ever since I discovered the iced coffee with cashew milk at our local gym’s juice bar (Nourish Your Soul), I can’t stop thinking about it. At $5+ for 16oz, I ventured to make it myself. Not a fan of milk? Neither am I! I promise you – this is different.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 4 cups water (divided)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey or agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Dash sea salt
  • Pinch cinnamon
Instructions

1. Soak the cashews in water at least 4 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator. Drain and rinse until the water runs clear.

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2. Add the cashews and two cups water to a blender. Start on a low setting and increase the speed until the cashews are totally pulverized. This could take 2+ minutes.

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3. Blend in 2 cups more water, your sweetener of choice, vanilla extract, sea salt and cinnamon. If your blender can’t totally break down the cashews, strain the milk through a fine mesh strainer.

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4. Store the milk in a covered container in the refrigerator. It should keep for 3 to 4 days.

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Notes
  • Yields about 5 cups cashew milk.
  • For thicker cashew milk, use less water!

p.s. Cashew milk is full of redeeming nutrients, like magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and zinc. The fat in cashews is mostly unsaturated and they are a good source of protein.

9 Tricks For A Better Homemade Salad

I don’t know about you, but salads I make myself never taste as good as when I order out. They seem pretty straightforward, but come lunch time I am never excited to eat them (I am much more interested in the two boxes of pizza and cake in the work kitchen). Here are 9 tricks that have helped me make a tastier homemade salad.

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1. Wash and dry leaves thoroughly. Use a salad spinner to completely dry leaves, dressing won’t stick to wet ones. (Tip: after the first spin, empty water and spin once more – lay out on paper towels and store in ziploc for fresher leaves, longer)

2. Salt the dressing. I am no stranger to salt (I keep a bag of Maldon salt at my desk), but this is a common mistake many people forget to do!

3. Use varying textures. Use contrasting textures like crunchy nuts, creamy cheese, chewy dried fruit, etc.

4. Balance Flavors. Try to include salty, sweet, acidic, and bitter flavors. For instance, this salad.

5. Use seasonal ingredients. Ingredients that are in-season will taste better – plain and simple. Check your local farmers market to see what is in-season.

6. Toast the nuts. Toasting nuts boosts flavor and texture. 2 for 1.

7. Experiment with different oils and vinegars. My current favorites are this Roland Balsamic Glaze and champagne vinegar.

8. Don’t forget herbs! There is nothing like fresh basil, cilantro, or parsley to freshen up a salad

9. Add a luxurious topping. Sometimes I treat myself with a perfectly poached egg or prosciutto and blue cheese from Monica’s Mercato.

*Photo above is an amazing salad I had recently at the Beat Hotel in Harvard Square. Hippie salad with Faroe Island Salmon (lettuce, organic sprouted greens, farros, chickpeas, raisins, herbed dijon vinaigrette)

Lively Up Yourself Breakfast Bowl

Breakfast can sometimes be my favorite meal – especially after a morning workout. I struggle with new options aside from smoothies and oatmeal that are filling and keep me satisfied until lunch. On a recent trip, I had this bowl and was blown away by how much I enjoyed it – it is super easy to make, not to mention vegan, gluten AND dairy free. Extra points for being pretty – Enjoy!

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Lively Up Yourself Bowl: sprouted buckwheat granola, homemade vegan coconut yogurt, banana, local honey, cinnamon, and papaya.