Formation: A Story of #Whole30
So, you pull up to brunch— hungry, and I mean hungry. Your friends are all around you with biscuits, Benedict’s and mimosa. You’re at the table gawking at a menu with about 12/15 things you just can’t really eat. You stop looking and you go to your go-to: eggs, poached; bacon: if there’s no sugar; potatoes: only if they’re cooked in a certain oil and not fried. Is this madness? Nah. Just a part of the 30-day journey that you’ve opted into. A journey you decided to take to undo all of the things that you were conditioned to eat at the very table you’re sitting at. A journey that you’ve decided to stick to because you will grind till you own it.
This past Spring, my body was completely out of whack. I was breaching almost 190 pounds. Which might not seem like a lot to some people, but if you know me. I’m 5’8” and I’ve always been athletic. But, I have one of those body types that sits on the border between being really fit and just a tad too thick. The weight made it hard for me to do simple workouts advanced classes like SoulCycle, it was just hard to run and sometimes even walk long distances. This past February when I was in Paris, climbing a flight of stairs made me breathe harder. I felt physically uncomfortable in my body and it was evident that my body was working overtime. It was the exact opposite of a slay, so it was time to fix my most important situationship: the one with myself.
I decided to “reclaim my time” and challenge myself in a way that I’ve never have before when I decided to take on Whole30, a fad diet made by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig that is based on the sole elimination of certain food groups. The idea was to re-evaluate my eating habits, refocus my mind, and recharge my soul all through a disciplined journey of true clean eats for 30 days.
So, What exactly is Whole30?
Hartwig explains the Whole30 as “a 30-day experiment designed to teach you how the foods you’ve been eating are impacting how you feel, how you look, and your quality of life.” She’s one of those people who doesn’t use the word diet. Hartwig elaborates, “In essence, it is about your diet, in terms of the way you eat.. [but] I describe it as a self-experiment rather than a diet. It really is just an experiment designed to help you figure out what works for you.”
And you do— find out what works for you. You learn that 30 days of resetting your body actually does the trick.
So, What Can’t I Eat/Do?
No sugars (Real or artificial of any kind) - Ain’t no honey, no agave, no Splenda, coconut syrup, date syrup— zip, nada, zilch. You can eat fruit.
No grains - This includes corn. Read the rules or learn the hard way. No biscuits. So eating at Red Lobster might be hard.
No alcohol in any form - Think about how alcohol is made— look at this list. Then look at the item above this one… No Cuervo. Definitely no chasers.
No legumes - WTF is a legume? lol. A member of the pea family. No Beans. No soy. Thirty days of not bloating.
No dairy - You can eat eggs. That’s it.
No carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites - This speaks for itself.
No baked goods, junk foods, or treats even with “approved” ingredients - This falls into the rule of no comfort foods. The idea of Whole30 is to change the way you think about food and the way your body interacts with it. Having foods like pizza and protein pancakes still fits into that subconscious thought of comfort food. Hopefully your result is finding more creative ways to cook.
Don’t even touch a scale - Whole30 isn’t about weight loss. It’s about how your body reacts to certain foods and food groups. You’ll lose weight as a give in because you’ll be eating all organic and natural foods. But you should weight until the very end to weigh yourself to see the result of your clean eating. In my first week, along with consistently working out I lost 7 pounds.
What’s the hardest part?
Honestly, the rules. There’s so many damn rules that you really need to make sure you do your homework. It feels like you’re playing mine craft at first, but check out the lists and memorize them. Those are your bibles for this walk. But after you do it for about the first week, none of it is really hard. The second hardest part is making sure that you always have food that you can eat because the only thing worse than toying with how your body consumes food is being hangry.
Your mood will also go through drastic changes. Within my first week, I felt awful. I didn’t want to do anything. That’s because I subconsciously saw this as a boring diet at first. But, I’ve always loved cooking so my solve for this was diving into my creative side in the kitchen. The only way I survived was learning new recipes and re-creating things I’ve always eaten in a new way. Honestly, I worked hard and owned the fact that this was a choice I wanted to make and stick to.
What do you miss the most?
My favorite question from anyone and to anyone experiencing this journey because the answers always vary.
For me, it was ice cream. Secretly, I eat a pint a week so not having that saving grace to fall back on was tough. Next was donuts because Draughter loves a good donut. The most exciting thing was figuring out new ways to do things with potatoes (literally lifesavers).
What’s this look like from day to day?
Well, my journey was a bit different because I actually made a series of creole dishes over the course of my journey with Whole30 approved ingredients. I decided that if I needed to go back to the basics of cooking, I needed to do it with my roots and what I know in the kitchen. You can see some of my favorite recipes below. 🖖🏾
You’ll generally start your day off with eggs, fruit, maybe some unsweetened coffee/tea. Your lunch could be a decent salad with protein. Your would generally consist of protein and veggies and maybe potatoes/sweet potatoes.
Sounds boring, but tons of opportunities for experiments.
So what do you do after?
Well, after you eliminate everything, you’re supposed to ease food groups back in to see how your body reacts to them. For me, I learned very quickly what foods worked and what didn’t. Since completing Whole30, I’ve generally kept a pretty similar diet. You stray from time to time when you might have a craving, but overall I loved how light my body felt. I learned that feeding my body properly made it move, feel and work better. Once you find the foods that work for you, stick to them.
If you’ve ever gotten to a point where you desperately want to unstick yourself out of a funk or just need to find a way to give yourself a new perspective, I urge you to try this. It’s extreme and aggressive, yes, but it really shows you how your body reacts to what you put inside of it, but more importantly, it shows you how to take care of the most important relationship you can ever have: the one with your body, mind and soul. You’ll be amazed that the food we’ve been fed is really some Illuminati mess, but take a journey and challenge yourself for 30 days. Guarantee you’ll look good, your skin will pop like never before, and best of all, you’ll slay. Go get in formation!
Hey, Draughter’s #Whole30 Recipes
If you wanna do this, you’re gonna have to get down in the kitchen or you’ll be miserable. My thing is, be healthy and be seasoned. Taste goes a long way ;)
Days 1- 10
Cauliflower shrimp and grits
Prep time: 20 min
Cook Time: Around 35 min
Ingredients: Head of Cauliflower, Pound of Shrimp, Onion Powder, 2 Tbspn Ghee (Clarified Butter), Trinity Seasoning (Onion, Bell Pepper, Celery), Almond Milk, 2 Tbspn Avocado Oil, Garlic Powder, Salt, Black Pepper, Additional Spices
Wash cauliflower and chop into quarters, boil for 10 min in pot with water
Drain cauliflower and chop fine— you’ll blend or food process this to get it down to the consistency of grits, not too smooth but not too choppy
In separate skillet, sauté trinity seasoning with Ghee and season with salt and pepper to taste, add Paprika, Old Bay and Cayenne Pepper to taste
Transfer Cauliflower into pot and cook on Medium heat and season with salt and pepper to taste, add Ghee and dash of Almond Milk
Top with Shrimp and You’re done.
Savory Mashed w/ Blueberry Compote
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Ingredients: Sweet Potato. Blueberries, Ghee (Clarified Butter), Vanilla Bean, Cayenne Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Pepper, Paprika, Turmeric, Pepper, Salt
Peel potato and cut into sections, boil for 20 min
Mash potato with Almond Milk
Season with Cayenne Pepper, Salt, Black Pepper, Giner, Turmeric to taste
In separate skillet, take spoon of Ghee and cook down a half pound of blueberries, add vanilla bean stem
Spoon compote over mashed. Sprinkle with paprika (ooh)
Guac deviled eggs w scrimps
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Ingredients: Eggs, Shrimp, Avocado, Tomato, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Lime, Onion, Salt, Pepper, Spices
Boil Eggs, Remove Yolks
Take Avocado and mash with tomatoes, onion powder, onion, salt, pepper and lime to taste
Fill eggs with guac (yum)
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Ingredients: Almond Flour, Salmon/crabmeat, 1 Egg, Trinity Seasoning (Onion Bell, Pepper, Celery), Avocado Oil Primal Kitchen Avocado Mayo, Lil Salt, Lil Pepper, Additional Spices
Sauté Trinity Seasoning in dab of Avocado Oil, season with Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Cayenne Pepper
Once cooked down, let cool
Add egg and 1.5 Tbspn of Avocado Oil Mayo
Mix in egg, mayo and trinity seasoning
Add crab meat or salmon chunks to this mixture
Add in a dash of Almond Flour, additional spices and mix in
The flour helps form them into cakes
Spoon cakes into skillet with Avocado Oil, cook till brown and golden
Matty’s Mini Sweet Potato Nests
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Ingredients: Sweet potato, Eggs, Bacon, Spinach, Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Parsley, Cumin, Avocado Oil, 2 Tbspn, Ghee
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
Shred Sweet Potato and fry in pan until brown with tab of Avocado Oil and Ghee, Season with Cumin, Salt, Pepper to taste
Add handful of spinach leaves
Fry bacon in pan. Make sure it’s sugarless bacon, save grease
Once bacon is crispy to your liking, chop finely
In a muffin pan, coat with avocado oil and layer with sweet potato/Spinach hash on the bottom, bacon, and crack an egg on top
Salt and pepper the top and sprinkle Cayenne Pepper
Cook in oven for 10- 12 min.
Top off with parsley
Butternut Squash Soup
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Ingredients: Butternut Squash, Coconut Cashew Milk, Ghee , Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Turmeric, Ginger, Nutmeg, Paprika, Parsley
Wash and cut up your squash into cubes
Boil the squash in a pot with 1.5-2 cups of coconut cashew milk for 15-20 min
Pour squash and milk into blender/food processor and purée until smooth
Transfer soup mixture back into pot and cook on low-medium heat
Add spoon of Ghee and seasonings to taste
Top off with parsley
Chicken Tenders w Chipotle Mayo (mhm)
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Ingredients: Chicken, Almond Flour, Eggs, Spices, Primal Kitchen Avocado Mayo, Chipotle Chili Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Salt, Oregano
Rinse ya chicken because unwashed chicken is nasty.
Prep your flour mixture with a cup of almond flour, and add spices because unseasoned chicken is also nasty
Prep your egg wash. add a lil salt and pepper if you like.
Cut your chicken into strips. (if you want flavor marinate them in pepper, paprika and a dash of salt overnight)
Dip ya chicken in the wash and the flour
Fry ‘em. I use an air fryer. But you can also fry them in a pan with Ghee