Here I sit on my 30th day of Whole30 eating my last Model Meals dinner, (ironically it’s Thai Drunken Noodle). Surprisingly, 30 days of no grains, legumes, dairy or alcohol was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I seldom thought I was giving up something. That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel hungry, but for the most part, hunger appeared just before my next meal, and a light snack of nuts or fruit seemed to make it go away. By the end of this experiment, I could say I might have even enjoyed feeling hungry; knowing the whatever I was about to eat was really needed by my body.
As an almost Whole30 veteran, I’ve learned a few things. And as a blogger, I feel compelled to share them, even if you don’t care. Here are my Last Supper missives.
I’m sick of eggs– Although I’ve always been a fan of poultry ova, and I’ve got access to the best of Pasturebird and Gonestraw, I just ran out of creative and exciting ways to eat them for breakfast. I scrambled them, hardboiled them, poached them, fried them, mixed them with pork, beef, chicken, spinach, tomatoes, avocado, salsa, even made a couple of frittatas with potatoes and onion. But by this morning, I was loathing the thought of firing up my cast iron skillet just to cook another sunny side up. Cereal has never sounded so good!
Sweat potatoes are your friend—I never had a bad thing to say about sweet potatoes and yams, but Whole 30 has taught me a whole new appreciation for these tubers. In my house, sweet potatoes were always reserved for holiday dishes. My family has a mean bourbon sweet potato casserole complete with molasses, pecans and marshmallows on top. NOT WHOLE30 APPROVED! I have also enjoyed the errant sweat potato fry—sort of Whole30 approved. But I had not truly explored all the fun, creative, and delicious ways to eat this food until I was introduced to Model Meals. I seriously considered writing a cookbook called Green Eggs and Yam, when I realized that there are already more than two dozen currently listed on Amazon.
Alcohol doesn’t equal relaxation–I’ve got three kids, a small business and a mortgage. Life has its stressful moments. For years, my go-to relaxation mode was to pour a healthy couple of fingers of my favorite bourbon over a lot of ice, sip and repeat. But I learned while on Whole30 that alcohol is not only a high-calorie way of unwinding, it also distracts me at my favorite (only) time of day with my kids, bedtime.
Stone cold sober, I found myself more attentive bedside, more willing to read that second story, and less likely to nod off whiling getting the playground low down, newest Minecraft hack, or adolescent gossip. I’m pretty sure I will carry this habit to the other side of Whole30, at least until the weekends when I can unfurl my party flag.
To boot, I learned that I sleep a whole lot better—and snore less—without that nightcap. Not only am I getting better Zs, but so is my wife.
Avocados are the perfect fruit (yes they’re a fruit) This isn’t the first restrictive diet I’ve tried, and it probably won’t be the last. My wife and I have done Weight Watchers, the Clean Diet, fasting, and shakes. Despite all the rules and regulations, one food has always been a constant—like a culinary Polaris. That green, supple goddess of guacamole, the Avocado.
I don’t know how I’d get through life without Guacamole. I customarily eat it with corn chips (which were missed during this Whole30 month) as a snack. In addition to its ubiquitous appearance when I eat Mexican Food, I’ve also been known to put it on my eggs, in a hamburger, and in a moment of desperation, as a substitute for marinara. Shoot, I’ve simply made a bowl and finished it with my fingers.
Thank you Whole30 for not taking this delicious staple away. I would have left you before I stood up the Green Goddess for sure.
Note: I was taught to make Guacamole by a little Guatemalan woman from Antigua (home of the original green bellies). No frills. No tomatoes. No onions. No garlic, and NEVER sour cream. Just avocados, a generous splash of lime juice, salt, and maybe a hint of dried oregano. Don’t even think about asking for a sprig of cilantro. It ain’t gonna happen.
Cauliflower rice is a thing: When I first saw this on the grocery list my wife had scrawled for me, I thought I was reading her handwriting wrong. Cauliflower…florets? …Raw? …Roasted? It hadn’t occurred to me that anyone would mistaken this cruciferous vegetable for a starch. However, I should have known that Cauliflower could stand in for my favorite grain. It’s been a successful stand-it for mashed potatoes, calamari, and even a highly passable ceviche at La Vegana Mexicana. I probably wouldn’t recommend buying cauliflower rice, though. As the store bought stuff goes bad quickly, and it is rather simple to make at home for cheap. But I strongly recommend the stuff for the Whole30 crowd or if you’re looking to introduce more veggies to your daily routine.
Model Meals is a godsend! At home, I do the cooking. I also do the shopping, the pantry inventory, the freezer rotation, inspection of the crisper, dairy expiration date examinations, fruit plate refreshing, sundries consolidation, and leftover management. For all intents and purposes, I am the Chef de Cuisine at home. I like it that way. I wear the nameplate with honor.
However, any deviation in diet puts a kink in my process that not only makes me more than a little grumpy—but more concerning to my household—it abruptly impacts my ability to perform my Chef duties in the kitchen. Case in point, the Cleanse of 2017 when my wife and I ate only shakes and soups for 28 days. The kids consumed more Trader Joes frozen meals that month than a college student with a four-foot bong.
So when a Whole30-approved, responsibly-sources, deliciously prepared, directly shipped, and already cooked meal arrives at my doorstep, I’m sold. This is the easiest meal plan I’ve ever used, hands down.
As I sit down for this last supper powered by Model Meals, I have to admit, I’d do this again. It was actually quite freeing not to think about what I was going to make for dinner each night. If you’re thinking there isn’t time to try Whole30, or you can’t imagine uprooting your routine for 30 days, rest assured, Model Meals is a great alternative to going it alone.
Plus, we’ve liked some of the meals so much that we’d eat them again. Even though I’m looking forward to my post-Whole30 lunch tomorrow, consisting of a Double Double and a goblet of Cab Sauv I could swim in, I could see myself keeping a couple of my favorite Model Meals in the fridge for the emergency lunch or healthy reboot of my eating habits.
A diet you want to stick with after it’s done? That’s a pretty good endorsement.