After Whole 30

This post concludes my Whole 30 journey. Thanks to everyone who has followed along and watched my daily Instagram stories. It was a lot of fun to document this challenge. Here are the last few days of the challenge and the goodies I ate AFTER.

July 19th was my Auntie Julie's birthday and her daughter Kristi has inherited her AMAZING baking skills (Praise The Lord). She made this blueberry cheese cake (my Nana's recipe) from scratch and it was a beauty. I couldn't eat it though. But according to the descriptions of EVERY SINGLE PERSON around me, it was THE BOMB. There were also home made scones. I wasn't tempted, but would have liked one bite of that cheesecake.

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We are all SO thankful for Auntie Julie and all the help she lends around the house (my Mom's house). She even changes poop diapers (of my kids)! Wow, talk about sacrificial.

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She snapped this picture of me playing with Tayah and I thought it was a sweet moment of joy.

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Back to the food. My FINAL week of Whole 30 I started out with LOTS of motivation to finish strong, even the desire to buy, shell and de-vein shrimp. This is not a pleasant job, but the payoff was worth it. I breaded the shrimp in egg and unsweetened shredded coconut flakes and then fried them in coconut oil. It only took a few minutes for them to brown, and then I dipped the crispy goodness in orange marmalade that was Whole 30 approved. I bought it on Amazon specifically for this dish. The coconut shrimp was delightful.

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Next, this egg picture was a beautiful savory breakfast I made, well, my husband made the egg for me.

That week, my nephew Hunter had VBS and one morning I took the youngest 4 kids to listen to the music. Hopefully they can go next year!

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For this dinner, I was eating leftover spaghetti squash pasta that was a bit lack luster, so I blended a cream sauce out of cashews, coconut milk and some spices. It wasn't bad.

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This little sweet potato hack was an A+ item. I sliced the yam really thin, put a little olive oil on the slices and baked in the oven for 35 min at 375 degrees. Crispy and sweet without any added sugars. Also, very filling. I recommend trying it!

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My go to breakfast here, before and after.

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I made quite a bit of cauliflower rice the last week, here sauteed up like a hash and then alongside some really good chili. I'd eat that chili again, it was full of flavor!

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Friday night, Tayah got a cold and was feeling all sorts of cranky and boogery. I still took the girls to church, but kept Tay in the ergo so she wouldn't spread her germs and could sleep. It was Chloe's birthday - Chloe helps out with the girls a lot and they love her like a big sis (Ate).

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A team that went to Peru shared their experiences with the church group on Friday. It's incredible to see young adults from the Bridge ministry, gonig OUT to share about Jesus around the world.

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Saturday morning I made a few more slices of sweet potato and topped them with almond butter and blueberries.

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That afternoon, we headed back to church for a wedding! Our friends Jade and Andrew tied the knot in a teary, God honoring ceremony. It was sweet and beautiful. We know them from church, both The Bridge and the children's ministry.

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Our three daughters were with Lola and Lolo, so Ant and I were on a date! We got to hang with so many of our church friends. Erica, holding the sign "I'm next" gets married in two weeks!

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Now hear me out here - SHHHH. I took my own dinner to the wedding reception. To start, I didn't know the menu (it was Italian) and secondly, I didn't want to be starving or only eating an apple. So, I brought a lunch bag with my own salad dressing and a bowl of chili and it was SO GOOD. (I ate it room temp). I felt bad about not eating the pasta, but it was a buffet so maybe someone else ate double their share to count as mine? And, I tried to be discreet about bringing in my own food. But in order to keep the Whole 30 rules in mind, I stuck with it. I'm glad I did.

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The friends we sat with were great: Ochaos, Costas and Wendas.

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The next day I whipped up a cabbage and brussels sprout scramble with some sausage I had pre-made. This was my lunch after church.

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Sunday dinner we drove to our friends house for a dinner date. I brought a kale salad and they grilled up some Thai bbq chicken. I decided ahead of time that I was going to eat their grilled chicken alongside the salad I brought (Whole 30 approved). It was a fine compromise and made it easier overall. I drank water and skipped dessert. 

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Jess and Chase are friends we met in Feb at a church retreat. We loved chatting about leading a team, serving as parents and balancing work, life and ministry. Jess is pregnant with her second son, due in a few months.

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The next week, the kids had swim every afternoon. Len and Cam (and their friend Kamryn) have been doing so great improving their swim skills.

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My dinner one week night, took five minutes. It was a microwaved sweet potato topped with sausage, tomato sauce and veggies. Filling and quick. The next day, I had leftover Thai salad and it was fresh and yummy.

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A few more go to's - frozen banana slices with almond butter (at 11pm) and an egg scramble the next morning for breakfast.

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My final lunch and dinner on day 30: orange chicken bowl with cauliflower rice and then a sausage zoodle dish (I had a lot of sausage to eat up). 

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Tues night (day 30) we had guys/girls small groups over and I avoided all pizza (with less temptation this week) and actually didn't even snack that night. I knew the next morning was my first day to eat bread again, ha.

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Wednesday, July 25th - Day 1 after Whole 30

And eat bread is exactly what I did the morning after I completed 30 days of no carbs, sugar, dairy or grains. I had been thinking about creamer with coffee and pb Dave's Killer bread for weeks. It was yummy.

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I then ate lemon bars that my Auntie made FRESH and my Mom's lasagne on a sour dough toast.

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Let me just mention here that this is not the proper re-entry that the Whole 30 plan encourages. However, I was feeling like enjoying some flavors I had missed, and decided to try to do it in moderation. By the afternoon my stomach hurt from eating bread and coffee creamer, so I went back to Whole 30 principles for dinner. Build a dish around protein and use lots of colorful veggies. That made my stomach feel better.

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The two days following, I ate a few more things such as yogurt, granola, cheerios with 2% milk, white rice, etc. It was all in small amounts and enjoyable while eating, but most of it left me with a slight stomach ache and feeling of being bloated. I also did two workouts this past week as I had missed that element of my day. I'm still trying to find my stride in food freedom and balance. When I would bite into a cookie, I would taste ALL the butter and sugar and not be able to eat the entire thing. At the same time, I want to enjoy a dessert here and there without guilt.

Ultimately I'd like to be a healthy, mindful eater, fill my plate with lots of greens and veggies and know I can enjoy toast, coffee and sweets as well. Moving forward I'll keep up with kitchen creativity and hope to try new recipes.

Will I do another Whole 30? Not at the current moment. For now, I'd like to focus on working out, and potty training Eden (shes 3). I'll put my energy there for now and see how it goes. But this past Whole 30 was a fantastic expereince and I highly recommend taking on the challenge.