What have I been doing and how is it almost December?

Um...what the hell happened to autumn?

Um…what the hell happened to autumn?

Basically this is my apology in case you’ve noticed I’ve been a bit behind in the world of WordPress. Life has been so hectic it’s kept me from reading and writing as much as I would have liked these past four weeks.

One of the reasons for the madness is because a month ago I decided to embark on the “Whole 30.” If you’re unfamiliar with the program it’s essentially a thirty day eating plan/elimination diet that helps participants rethink their food choices, overcome cravings, heal their digestive track and eat 100% clean for thirty days. (I don’t want to bore you too much with specifics so if you want to read more about the Whole 30, click here.)

Basically from Oct. 23 through Saturday, Nov. 22, I abstained from all sugars (natural or otherwise), grains (even whole grains), legumes (except green beans and peas), alcohol and dairy. That sounds like an overwhelming list of “can’t have’s” but I did eat plenty of meat, seafood, eggs and vegetables with a limited amount of fruits, nuts and seeds added in for good measure.

For someone who eats lots of grains and is known to indulge in a few pints of delicious beer, I was very worried I wasn’t going to complete the challenge. In fact, I vowed not to mention my mission on this blog until it was over — just in case I threw in the towel. Not very confident sounding, I know, but hey, I’m realistic. I work in the food industry, my husband cooks everything with cream, butter and cheese, and the holiday stress level at work usually has me and my co-workers doing mid-morning shots by now.

But I made it and it feels really good to say that. I do eat fairly well in general so my cravings weren’t too bad and I didn’t suffer a lot of the detox pains that many people do the first week. What made it difficult for me was the struggle of time. On this program you have to make every meal — there is no convenience eating on days when you’re feeling overwhelmed. No English muffins for breakfast or ramen for dinner. Instead I would make huge batches of soft-boiled eggs, curries and roasted vegetables just so I wouldn’t be caught hungry and off-guard.

I could talk on and on about the results from the program and how I feel about it (and maybe I will in another post) but this was just to let you know what’s been monopolizing my time lately. I love to cook and I relish time in the kitchen, but I am really  happy to be able to heat up a frozen burrito after a late night at work!

But don’t think I ate in misery for thirty days. Check out all the good things I scarfed down:

A typical Whole 30 breakfast: eggs, kale and sweet potatoes

A typical Whole 30 breakfast: eggs, kale and sweet potatoes

Braised pork butt with Bibb lettuce, radishes and sautéed squash

Braised pork butt with Bibb lettuce, radishes and sautéed squash

My last Whole 30 meal: Steak with roasted brussels, kale and carrots

My last Whole 30 meal: Steak with roasted brussels, kale and carrots

Another thing that happened over the past few weeks is I finally painted my kitchen. After endlessly searching for the right shade of yellow (remember this post?), my husband and I finally found it! I really should post a picture of fireworks here to illustrate how excited I am that we finally found a color we could agree on. On a side note: please remind me to never again paint a room in my house while I’m on a sobriety kick — worst idea ever. All that hard work and not even a beer to celebrate…Sigh.

Yellowhammer Paint by Ralph Lauren Yellowhammer Paint by Ralph Lauren

On top of all that, I had family in town. Ten days ago my dad and stepmom flew in from Anchorage for a week-long visit. Who would have thought the day they arrived in Portland would be the day we would have severe weather warnings, school closures and freezing rain? It was actually warmer back in Alaska than it was in Oregon!

But we still managed to have a lot of fun — I took them to the International Rose Test Garden and to Multnomah Falls, two places I have never been in the winter. Let’s just say getting back into the car after each adventure was a relief!

Rose Garden in November, PDX

Roses and snow

The Columbia Gorge in winter

Seriously, Oregon?

We also manged to sneak in a few great meals, which were delicious even with my food constraints. One night we went to 23 Hoyt, the restaurant where my husband works, and he made us all kinds of tasty treats.

Black Cod Crudo with citrus and jalapeño

Black Cod Crudo with citrus and jalapeño

Seared scallops with roasted cauliflower

Seared scallops with roasted cauliflower

Elk tartare - I only ate a few bites of the meat itself -- no crostini for me. But SO good!

Elk tartare – I only ate a few bites of the meat itself — no crostini for me. But SO good!

So what’s happening next in my life? I’d love to say that the madness is behind me but unfortunately the holidays are a special kind of hell at my job — chefs can be a bit like high-maintenance divas this time of year — but I’m ready for it!

Well, I will be after I drink this beer…

And eat this cheese...

And eat this cheese…

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14 thoughts on “What have I been doing and how is it almost December?

  1. congrats on Whole 30, though I’m with scolgin–braised pork butt? Bring it on. Glad you’ve had a bunch of good busy. Good luck as you move into the holidays. And yay yellow! Looks fantastic. Bright and cheery 🙂

    • Wow! I am such a comment slacker — realized I never responded to anything on this post — I’m blaming my Thanksgiving turkey brain. =) Yeah, any type of detox that promotes things like braised pork butts is a good thing. But I was craving cheese like crazy. And beer, especially after the stress of painting. But hey, the kitchen’s done and I love it and now I can drink plenty of beer while looking at it. 😉

  2. Good job Jess! I’m still planning on doing the whole 30 soon. Trying to plan my meals out, I found some great stuff on it on Pinterest.
    And yes that elk tartare is amazing!!

    • Thanks! It felt awesome to have accomplished it — though it’s been a quick slide in old habits. It’s hard with basically a month of holiday eating! I’m excited for you to do it though — keep me posted on how it goes for you. Nom Nom Paleo and Meatified helped me tremendously. FB me if you need any support while you’re doing it! =)

    • Thanks! It was such a crazy ridiculously icy day. I was actually scared to walk across the parking lot with my camera because I was sure the wind and ice would be my downfall. But the pictures were totally worth it — I think the falls were almost prettier covered in ice than in the summer.

  3. I can’t believe you gave up beer for a month! At least you were allowed to eat meat. I could do a restrictive diet but only if it didn’t allow meat but DID allow pasta. And beer. It sounds like you’ve been crazy busy but having fun–how nice to get the kitchen painted!

  4. Pingback: Here’s to making more deliciousness in 2015 | Attempts in Domesticity

  5. Pingback: No tortilla needed: crispy carnitas find happy home in butter lettuce | Attempts in Domesticity

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