This Labor Day Weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting about a hundred friends at the house for a little BBQ and potluck. I took care of the BBQ, with a 37 lb. Rancho Llano Seco porchetta, some buttermilk-brined Pasturebird chickens and a few dozen Stemple Creek burgers. My neighbors know how to bring on the potluck.
The food table was spilling over with a bacchanal feast of Americana picnic fair: macaroni and cheese, pasta salad, watermelon, corn on the cob, fresh baked bread, chocolate chip cookies, and a three-tier layer cake. And of course, there were plenty of canned micro-brews (thanks to my buddy Andy at Last Name Brewing) and cases of rosé chilling in the Yetis. I needed a few aspirin when I woke up the next morning.
I don’t know about you guys, but turning 40 threw me a big curve ball. My entire life, I’ve been a physically active guy, but never a gym rat. I’d much rather backpack through California’s Gold Country than show up at Gold’s Gym. However, after 40 trips around the Sun, and with three young kids in tow, the back country workout regime has been a little less practical and less frequent. Consequently, I’ve thought more about my physical fitness and health in the last two years, than the previous 20. I wish that also meant I’d been more diligent.
I’ve always eaten a rather balanced diet, lots of proteins (duh, I own a butcher shop), not a lot of carbs, plenty of veggies and fruits. My biggest vices are portion control, a great taste in wine, and a borderline obsession with celebrating with food. Labor Day parties like this weekend are not unusual in my household. I like to break bread with friends over long, plentiful meals.
I’ve also not tried a lot of diets in my life. I’m not the most disciplined person, and I hate routine. But I did have some success with Weight Watchers in the early 2000s (wife and I trying to get svelte before our wedding photos), and somehow my wife convinced me to do a cleanse in 2015, which I still remember as four weeks of Dante-like hell. That starvation diet left me the leanest I’ve been in 20 years, but also the grumpiest. I still remember my malnourished body’s reaction when I broke the cleanse with a grass-fed hamburger washed down with an ice cold Pomona Queen. It was something only the Buddha could have described. And that beer is still my favorite to this day.
I think I mentioned that turning another decade hasn’t been the healthiest experience for me, and being a small business owner doesn’t help. So when the beautiful and savvy Danika Brysha of Model Meals, mentioned that September was Whole30 Month, and that I might want to consider giving their way of life a try, I was game. It also didn’t hurt that I qualified for the friends and family discount!
For those of you that don’t know Model Meals, they are a no subscription required, 100% Whole30/Paleo-approved, ready-to-eat, meal prep service. Did I get that right? The meals are ordered online. The menu changes weekly. The ingredients are impeccably sourced, and delivered right to your door in sustainable, eco-friendly packaging. It also doesn’t hurt that most of their proteins are brought to you by your favorite neighborhood butchers, Electric City Butcher.
I’ve watched for years now as Chef Claudia and her team cook every single meal from scratch, and package them by hand. On delivery day, half the people scurrying around 4th Street Market are employees of this scrappy and dedicated company.
Over the next four weeks, I’m going to be participating in Whole30 Month. Yeah, I know I’m not technically starting on September 1st, but I wasn’t going to miss that BBQ people!
That means no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no sugar, and NO ALCOHOL. I’ll give you the good and the bad, but if my Eco Butcher ranting gets ugly, don’t blame it on Danika’s food.
Here’s to a whole new me?
Check out all the details on the Whole30 diet designed by Melissa Urban & Dallas Hartwig