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The Art of Running in the Rain

"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift." -Prefontaine

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Whole 30 Week 4 Check In – Wrap Up

Hey everyone!

I’m a little behind on this final wrap up and I have to be honest with you it’s because I’ve kind of been dreading it. The reason being that I truly feel that the Whole30 didn’t really work for me. Although, in a way I can look at this as a win for science. Meaning, sometimes you can fix some things naturally (eating differently, acupuncture, exercising, etc.) and sometimes there’s a place for western medicine (medication, psychotherapy, etc.). My main concern coming into the Whole30 was my digestive issues, after doing the Whole30 nothing changed in that area. In fact, on occasion I felt worst. Turns out my diagnosis is Mastocytic Enterocolitis, a disease in which you have an increase in mast cells in the colonic mucosa (I know, more than you wanted to know, but honestly if sharing this story means someone else goes to an allergist and finds relief from the pain then I will share). Since my visit with the allergist (who had no idea what the Whole30 was) I’ve been on Cromolyn Sodium, and the effects have been instantaneous! I’m so incredibly happy that I sought out a gasteroentinologist, that I went through with diagnostic procedures and that I followed up with an allergist, WORTH IT! Now, the Whole30, I’m on the fence about whether it was worth it or not. Ultimately if you do it and it helps you eat more whole foods and less processed foods then all the power to you, but I’m a firm believer in the 80/20 rule, so I’m not sure if I’ll ever do something like this again.

Now, I’ll get into the food and then I’ll tell you my final thoughts…

BREAKFASTS

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Kale, sweet potato and egg scramble (I still eat this for breakfast/dinner all the time post whole30…so good)

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Homemade almond milk, walnuts, berries, almond butter.

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Chia pudding (almond milk, berries, chia seeds, ground flax seed, unsweetened coconut, almond butter).

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Broccoli and egg scramble with a side of blueberry-banana-coconut milk-chia pudding

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Fried eggs, avocado, and salsa.

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Another Pitaya bowl (not technically in the spirit of whole 30 but all the ingredients were compliant so fuck it)

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Scrambled eggs, potatoes, and blueberries (Whole foods hot bar is really good for Whole30 compliant outings, it was one of the two places dave and I ate out at during the month).

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Broccolini scramble, sweet potato wedges, and strawberries.

LUNCH/DINNERS (wasn’t as good at capturing these, sorry)

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Roasted red pepper soup with chilean sea bass. Dave was a huge fan of this dish!

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Grilled salmon on a bed of mixed greens with balsamic and olive oil.

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More salmon burgers, asparagus, and sweet potato wedges.

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This is what my ‘sweet potato wedge’ prep looks like almost every Monday. This is a habit I will maintain for sure!

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Avocado, homemade mayo, egg salad.

I figured the best way for me to analyze the Whole30 was to do a pro/con list.

PROS

  • Got me into some really good food prep habits.
  • Increased awareness of how much sugar is in almost ALL foods.
  • Decreased craving for sugary treats.
  • No break outs throughout the entire month.
  • Decreased eating out.
  • Observed a distinct negative reaction when introducing sugary treats (e.g., increased heart rate, anxiety, and a head ache).

CONS

  • Made my digestive system worst at times (I feel that this was in part due to the fact that I was trying to adhere to the no-snacking policy and in doing so increased the size of my meals and with my condition it’s better to eat small meals more frequently).
  • Social situations feel a bit awkward.
  • Almost unable to eat out at all.
  • Certain restrictions feel unhealthy for vegetarians (e.g., no beans of any kind, limit nuts, etc.).

I’m very happy for all the people that reached out to me and expressed their positive experiences with Whole30. In summary I feel as though my experience was neither good nor bad, but I can say I took away some positives from it, so I’m happy I did it.

Be well.

 

Whole30 Week 3 Check In

Checking in a day late because we’ve had a busy couple of days.  Thursday night was Pageant of the Masters.

It was absolutely amazing!  The first I’d heard of it was while watching this Gilmore Girls episode.  Then I was even more intrigued when seeing it in Arrested Development.  If you have any interest in seeing real people dress up and pretend to be paintings (extremely well, I might add), then you should go!

Last night we were checking out a friend’s live podcast, Doughboys. Although it’s difficult hearing about yummy foods  that I can’t partake in ATM, it was still extremely hilarious!  We didn’t get home until 2am, that’s late for this old lady!


Things have been pretty good in the Whole30 department.  As soon as I stopped feeling pain/bloating (roughly day 16/17) I got my second wind.   Dave and I have been discussing how at this point (day 20 for me, day 15 for Dave), it feels like second nature.  The planning/prepping are just a new way of operating, but it feels like something we could sustain, at least for the most part.  I definitely wouldn’t be as strict when going out to eat, that part just makes things socially awkward. I personally don’t like hearing about people’s food restrictions, so I sure as hell don’t want to explain mine to everyone sitting at a table.  Other than restaurants (which is it really so bad that we go out to those less?) I can’t think of another drawback.

On to the food…

BREAKFAST

Fingerling potatoes, kale (obsessed), smoked salmon, and poached eggs.

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Pitaya bowl from Nekter, they are very good about substitutions!!

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Potato hash, fried eggs, and kale (I swear I’m going to switch up my greens soon).

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Chia pudding – took a break from this a bit this week.

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Broccoli scrambled eggs, apple and almond butter, avocado with salsa, and blackberries.

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Fried eggs on a bed of kale, smoked salmon, and sweet/russet potatoes.

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Another Pitaya bowl, so yum.

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LUNCH/DINNER

Snack plate (avocado, cucumber, salmon jerky, olives, carrots, cashew cheese).

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Mashed potatoes and scallops (not pictured – salad).

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Spiralized zucchini with anchovies topped with fried eggs and potatoes.  I use this spiralizer and it’s pretty awesome!

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More Nori rolls this week (so yummy).

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Salmon burger on a bed of kale.  Dave made these burgers and they’re so easy; I’m going to make them again and share the recipe with you 🙂

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Breakfast for dinner – Fried eggs on a bed of spinach and a side of sweet potato wedges.

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It’s been a good week of eats, and I can’t say I’m sick of anything (even with all those repeats).

Prep for the week:

  • Homemade mayo
  • Pasta sauce
  • Sweet potato wedges
  • Almond milk
  • Zigzag butternut squash (Trader Joe’s product, so great for snacking)

Noticeable changes:

  • No more pain/bloat. YAY.
  • No strong cravings for the usual treats.
  • A few surges of energy during workouts, but ultimately increased fatigue during them.

The next time I’ll be checking in with you I’ll be so close to the end (or the slow steady re-introduction phase) that I’ll be able to taste it (pun intended). Until then 🙂

Be well.

 

 

Whole 30 Week 2 Check In

Hey friends!  Happy Friday, hope you all had a great week.  Mine had some ups and downs, but I’m happy to report, mostly ups 🙂

I’ve received some results from the biopsies and in a nutshell I could have 1 of 5 different things going on.  First things first, none are life threatening; however, because we can’t pin point the disorder, we really can’t know how it’s affecting other areas of my health.  I’m telling you MORE RESEARCH needs to be done in the digestive health arena in order to be more definitive in diagnostics!!!  I do have an appointment with an allergist, and it happens to be on day 29 of the whole 30.  All I can say is if he puts me on a more strict elimination diet I may punch him. Jk, but seriously tho.  I’m also on a couple of medications for the next two weeks, to see if I can stop feeling pain/bloating.  That parts a little frustrating, I read all these Whole30 success stories and they are all like, “5 days in and I am not bloated at all anymore,” I actually did feel better during the first 5 days, but then it went right back to my usual pain/bloat.  So because of these symptoms and the lab results I have decided to stick to the Whole30 low FODMAP foods.

I had lot’s of adventures in fooding this week and I figure rather than go day by day I’ll share them with you based on meal.

BREAKFASTS

Kale, sweet potato, and egg.

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Chia pudding by the pool.

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More kale, sweet potato, and egg + strawberry.

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Potato hash and eggs.

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Sweet potato “toast” with eggs and avocado.

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Watermelon.

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LUNCHES/DINNERS

Snack plate for lunch (plantain chips, hard boiled egg, avocado, cucumber, cashew cheese)

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Nori wraps – this definitely filled the void of sushi hand rolls.

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Salad – this was the first day I felt like salad, it’s been so weird because I have always loved/craved salads but as soon as I started Whole30 I was like, ‘uh uh no way, no thank you salad man!’  But this one was delicious!

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Kung pao shrimp spaghetti squash.

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More salad.

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Work lunch – sweet potato wedges, carrots, plantain chips, olives, blueberries and the picture below.

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(work lunch continued) endive leaves with tuna protein salad.

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Mahi mahi taco bowls.

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Well those were the ones I thought were the best (orrrrr the ones I remembered to snap photos of).  I’m going to try and be better about taking pictures of what I eat, so I can share it with you guys.

The highlight of my food prep this week is my cashew cheese

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I used a modified version of this recipe so that I wouldn’t waste any of that cashew goodness after I had made cashew milk.

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We decided that overall we like the almond milk better, it’s just creamery and that wins for us.

We have some food prep to do this weekend –

  • Prepare kale so it’s easy to grab and saute
  • Homemade mayo (this stuff is delicious and so versatile in sauces- recipe from whole30 book, similar here)
  • Pasta sauce for zoodles
  • Almond milk
  • Hard boiled eggs

Noticeable changes:

  • At first the stomach pain and bloating had subsided, but in all honesty it has returned full force.
  • I do feel as though I have more energy and can exist without a cup of coffee.
  • Still having cravings for my favorite treats, but that has definitely died down.

That’s all for this week.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Be well.

Whole30 Week 1 Check In.

 

Here’s my pre Whole30 pic (they recommend you do this, the picture, not the pose that is).

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The first day started on a high note, I was feeling good about the prep I’d done so far and excited for the recipes I was going to try later in the day.  I was reminded of a few things I needed to grab from Whole Foods, so Dave and I dropped by to pick them up.  That was when it happened, I looked at the donut case and I turned to Dave and said, “I really want a donut!” That’s when I freaked out thinking, “if I’m already thinking about donuts and it’s only day 1, how on earth am I gonna do this shit????”  Luckily I have some pretty good self talk, and I brought myself down off the ledge.  I was reminded of the Whole30 book and how it explained that in the first week you will have strong urges to eat your usual treats.  I also enlisted Dave as my coach, in fact from here on out (until the Whole30 is over) I will refer to him as ‘coach.’  Coach gave me some good talk, and it helped!

Day 1 – eats

We picked up a nitro and I added some coconut cream, yum!

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Then I had a slice of the frittata I made topped with avocado and a side of strawberries.

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I had a bunch of appointments all throughout the morning, but being busy never keeps me from eating.  For lunch I had a sweet potato topped with a bruschetta of sorts, smoked salmon and a salad.

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Off to more appointments in the afternoon, coach came with me 😉  When we got home he got to cooking and whipped up a little spicy zucchini noodle shrimp dish.  It was delicious!

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There were a few snacks here and there (watermelon and sweet potato wedges), but all in all I tried to fill up during the meals and avoid the snacks.  All in all day one felt filling and delicious, no deprivation other than that donut moment (but I guess it’s not deprivation when you don’t need it).

Day 2 – nut milk & work

I’m not going to flood you with pictures of my every meal, but I will share the highlights, or at least what I think are the highlights.

I had some almonds soaking in the fridge over night so in the morning I made almond milk – if you follow me on Instagram then you already saw this photo @nicolettaful (it literally took 5 minutes, I may do a post on how to make it).

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Lunch at work consisted of a tuna protein salad, sweet potato wedges (I prepped soooooo many of these, best.choice.ever.) and watermelon.  This was my first day at work on the program and  it went really well.  Because the program recommends that you don’t snack between meals (which I usually do a lot) I drank a ton of water, plus this lunch filled me right up, so I wasn’t super hungry.

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Day 3 – Dave’s birthday

No creative meals to report, though I have to give myself props on two accounts.  1. I went to get a donut for Dave as a birthday treat and I did NOT cave!!  I know what you’re thinking, “it’s only day 3 Nicole?”  But the temptation for donuts is strong! PS if you’re in the OC go.to.sidecar!! That is, if you’re not doing the Whole30. haha

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2. A girlfriend at work had her bridal shower and there were donuts, mini cakes, and fruit.  I ate fruit.  BOOM!

Day 4 – Salmon jerky & Cauliflower mash

Feeling really good about all the yummy eats I’ve had thus far, and man does my tum tum feel great!   I recently added this jerky to the mix and it has been super delicious.

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Coach and I decided that I made one of the best vegetable dishes ever.  The recipe is from the “Whole30” recipes, and it’s called “Cauliflower Mash.”  Due to copyright stuff I can’t share it on the blog, but I’ve seen millions of ‘cauliflower mashed potato’ recipes on pinterest.  The flavor was so delicious!

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Coach did a pretty good job on that salmon too!

Day 5 – Coach is in!

It’s official, I’ve enrolled coach, he’s doing the Whole30 with me!!!!  He’s mostly doing it to support me, but he says if he can recover faster from his runs then he’s excited.

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Portobello-cauliflower-fried-rice for the win!

So that’s my recap on my first five days of Whole30.  It hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be.  I kind of think our eating habits were 75% of the way there anyway.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything we’ve made thus far, and I was pleasantly surprised with how easy making nut milk can be!  The only struggle we’ve come up against is that we enjoy going out to dinner on date nights and I can’t seem to find somewhere that has a menu that’s accommodating (and better than something we can make at home).  I’ll have to report back on how that goes.

Be well.

 

 

 

I’m Trying Whole 30

I haven’t shared on the blog about the many digestive difficulties I’ve had throughout my life.  This is mostly because I hate when people talk about their ‘food issues’/intolerances when it hasn’t been asked for.  But, as this is such a big part of my life, and ultimately a major health issue I’m going through right now I thought I would divulge.

It all started when I was really little.

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Okay, younger than that, but you get the picture (also, shout out to my cousin Kate to my left)!

When I was a baby my mom would feed me and directly following I would cry and cry and cry.  I won’t go into too many details, but since then my life has been fraught with digestive upset leading to nights of severe pain and difficulty sleeping.  At certain points in my life I could pinpoint the upset to dairy, but as time has gone on there is no clear connection.  I’m still trying to get to the root of many of these problems, and one way was to test for allergies.  I’m happy that there seems to be more money allocated to research in digestive sciences, but in all actuality it’s still not great.  There are blood tests for allergies, but they often provide false positives.  Doctors have what are called “food challenges” and those have been found to be fairly accurate when identifying allergies and intolerances. The challenges consist of ingesting the food that your concerned there is an allergy or intolerance toward and if there is no reaction, gradually increase the amount, if there is no reaction you are declared allergy-free.

Now graduate school created in me some OCD and scientific tendencies that lead me to do certain things in my life with as much structure as possible.  Because I see the flaws in the ‘food challenge’ described above, predominately the fact that you may have ingested other foods recently which could be causing the reaction, I have decided to embark on a more structured ‘food challenge.’  After much research, the Whole30 is the way I’ve decided to go.

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I purchased the book this weekend and it has been so interesting, I’ve had a hard time putting it down.  In essence, for the next 30 days I will be eating whole foods consisting of vegetables, fruits, fats and proteins.  The idea (for me) is to rid my system of foods that I may be intolerant/allergic to, and the ten days following the program I will systematically re-introduce foods that are often associated with allergies/intolerances (e.g., legumes, dairy, gluten-free grains, grains containing gluten).  In all honesty I’m hoping to determine that it’s food related, because the other options don’t seem great :/

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I’m in the process of ruling out any major ailments through medical procedures, but I know that if there is something medically wrong, then the Whole30 won’t hurt.

I’ve already done some food prep from the Whole30 book, I made my own ketchup and mayo, as well as a frittata (recipe to come).

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I do feel a little nervous/excited.  I’m nervous because I’m very much a moderator, and I love occasional treats….donuts 🙂  Whenever I withhold food I’m taken back to a bad time in my life when I had disordered eating.  Because of this I’m going to proceed with caution and analyze only to a point that is enjoyable and rewarding.  I am very excited as well because I feel the Whole30 staples are in line with many of the foods I already enjoy eating.

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My goal is to do weekly recaps on the blog, both to assess my progress (specifically how my stomach is feeling) and to maintain some accountability.  I also plan to share some of the recipes that I create during the program.  Hope you enjoy!

Be well.

 

As I Sit Here Missing Seattle

I can’t help but think of one of our favorite places to eat there, the Korean Tofu House.  It combines two of my favorite things about a good food spot, cheap and delicious! In fact so much so that I included in my 10 inexpensive date ideas post.  Now, it’s definitely been too long since we’ve been there, but reminiscing about it might help me fill that void!  Or just long for that tasty delicious goodness!!!

It’s located right off the Ave, and for those of you who know Seattle you know that’s college student central.  I personally love being around it, takes me back to my scholarly days.  The restaurant itself is just what you would expect of a cheap quirky University area Korean place, and it’s UH-mazing!

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Always good company ❤

Korean App

Before every meal you will receive Banchan, which translates to ‘side dish,’ but I always think of it as an appetizer and it’s delicious!  I especially love the potato, kimchi, fish cake, and Korean pancake….okay, I guess I like it all! Haha.  The cool thing is that it often changes, so you never know what you’re gonna get….Omnomnomnomnom.

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Dave and I both get the Bibimbap frequently, I usually get mine with tofu (this place is pretty great about any substitutions you may need/want).  This dish is served in a stone dish that is extremely hot (Seriously. No touching), and before you eat it you are suppose to stir all that yummy goodness together.  As you are stirring the raw egg in the middle cooks, everything becomes evenly dispersed, and the rice gets crispy and delicious!

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Dave likes to put his gochujang (savory, spicy, fermented sauce) on before he mixes it, this makes for equal distribution of taste and some have said leads to flavorgasms.

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Now, Tteokbokki (say what?) is one of my favorite FAVORITE dishes!   It’s made of rice cakes, fish cakes, and that yummy red sauce, gochujang!  This restaurant usually serves this dish with meat, but again they are very flexible.

Now I’m not sure if this post actually satisfied anything in me or created a deeper craving.  Either way I hope you enjoyed it!

Be well.

Savory eggy oats

Hello everybody!

****cut to pretty much the best movie ever****

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  Ours was pretty eventful, but I’ll get to recaps in upcoming posts.  Today I wanted to tell you about a breakfast that Dave and I eat quite a bit, it’s called “eggy oats.”  We tend to use the recipe from ‘running with spoons,’ this girl knows her oats.  The best part about this recipe is that it’s a base and you can do so much with it depending on your preference.  I’ve had it sweet with banana or berries along side some sort of nut butter, but I have to admit that my favorite way to have it is savory.

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I just realized that you can’t see the eggy oats at all in this photo.  Believe me, they’re there, under all those delicious toppings.  We like to make our eggy oats savory by topping it with a quarter of an avocado, some cheese, an over easy egg, and a little bit of salsa (season to your taste with pepper-this photo doesn’t reveal it, but I’m a pepper fiend).

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Once you break into it, the yolk makes everything that much more creamy and delicious.  Plus there is so much protein in this dish, when I have it for breakfast I’m always full until early afternoon.

Let me know if you make it, and if you have any suggestions or feedback.

Be well,

Nicole

Strascinati Pugliesi ai Broccoletti

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I was really excited when I found this pasta at Marshall’s, I love trying new-to-me types of pasta.  I especially loved that the label indicated which region this type is typically found in.  This type is from the Apulia region, which is just south of Abruzzo the region my family is from.  I have yet to visit Italy; however, I find that learning about my family history, attempting recipes (like Dave’s Uovo en raviolo), and teaching my dog commands in Italian makes me feel like I’m in my own little Italy.

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Have I told you all about nonna’s peppers?  “Nonna” is Italian for Grandma, and let me tell you, mine is an amazing chef!  If you like spicy then you would love her hot pepper sauce (aka ‘nonna’s peppers’).  I’ll have to ask her if she minds me sharing the recipe 🙂 until then, I’ll just have to tease you with this delicious image.

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This recipe was adapted from serious eats

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Strascinati Pugliesi ai broccoletti

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 16 oz bag Strascinati Pugliesi
  • 12 oz Trader Joe’s pre-cut broccoli
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 7 fillet anchovy
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1-2 tbsp Nonna’s peppers

Directions

  1. Begin by boiling 1 qt of salted water.  While water is coming to a boil cut the excess stalk off of the broccoli pieces, cut off rough parts, and cube.
  2. In a skillet heat olive oil and add broccoli stalk, onion, garlic, nonna’s peppers, and anchovy.  Saute on medium-low heat until onions are translucent.  Place to the side.
  3. Once water has come to a boil add your pasta, cooking for 17 minutes.  4 minutes before your pasta is done add the broccoli florets to the boiling water.
  4. Drain the broccoli & pasta and add to the skillet.  Add butter and half the parmesan and gently stir to coat.
  5. Plate and add a sprinkle of parmesan.

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Recent Eats

I’ll admit it, I love seeing a glimpse into the daily eats of the bloggers I follow.  I’d love to know the psychology behind my interest in knowing what people put in their face holes, but alas all I can tell you is that the curiosity runs deep!  I also think I just like looking at food, putting it in my mouth, and taking pictures of it.  So it seems the logical next step would be to share them with you, here are all the things I ate yesterday.  A burrito was involved, so yup, it was a good day.

  • The day started off with a massive glass of water along with a piece of toast topped with a fried egg, avocado, and chipotle salsa.

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  • I made Dave a smoothie and my OCD makes me feel like I should only put 15 almonds in it, so I had these three left over in my hand that I needed to eat.

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  • I was in need for a mid morning snack so I had some peaches and soy milk topped with unsweetened shredded coconut.

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  • Dave whipped me up a soy latte (using All City Coffee espresso); buh, he do a pretty gooda job! **she said with an Italian accent**

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  • I’m not gonna lie, I felt snacky all day, so I grabbed some Beanitos and salsa/cottage cheese mixture.

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  • As soon as I started feeling more snacky I decided it was time for tea-intervention, it totally did the trick and my hunger was staved off until dinner (BTW, this tea is amazing, super creamy and delicious)

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  • Once dinner rolled around it was decided that we needed burritos in our bellies.  Perla’s Taqueria is auh-mazing!  We still haven’t checked out taco Tuesday (though we hear it’s great), but the chipotle fish burrito is to die for!

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Good day of eats, I hope you enjoyed.  Also, I hope you thoroughly feel as though you need to go get a burrito!!!!!

Be well.

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