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Posts posted by Contessa

  1. May I assist in briefly straightening your crown?

    I was heartened a few years ago when Melissa (co-founder of Whole 30) came out with a blog post backing off the whole "it's not hard" tough-love mantra that so many of us had internalized. "Changing the way you think about food is hard," she says, and I agree. "[Whole 30] is a monumental transformation in how you think about food, your body, your life, and what you want out of the time you have left on this earth."

    I somehow find it heartening that there are SO many of us who do not have all these principles perfectly dialed in.

    Perhaps a Whole 30 isn't "getting off heroin"-level hard — but I certainly don't think it's easy.

    Your self-awareness is, as usual, admirable. If your day closes with some new insights and self-compassion, let's call it a win. ^_^

  2. 1/28/21, day 31:

    Well, here we are at the close of this Whole 30. This one has been an adventure, and I'm grateful for the chance to have this time at home. In hindsight, I probably did not put enough energy into cooking and meal planning this time around! Even with infusions from the soup goddess, I drove myself slightly nuts with the same meals every day! I do like what I like, except for when I have it 3x/day with little variety.
    Wishing my fellow W30 sojourners a satisfying close to this month's journey, a pleasure to travel alongside you.

  3. My older brother and I have been working on our Whole 30s together this month, and together, we seem to have accidentally inspired our mother to start a Whole 30 of her own. I have very mixed feelings about this. My poor mother seems to have been on a diet of some sort or another for her adult life (she is 75). She takes exquisite care of herself, isn't on any prescription medication, cuts a trim profile, and has a darned "healthy diet" as it is. I truly believe I have inherited some generational body image dysfunction/food obsession tendencies from her. Now she's all gung ho for a Whole 30 and excited to try it. Sigh. I am not letting this steal my joy or anything, but it's landing in a weird way today. The dynamic between mothers and daughters can be very complex! Joint stiffness has bothered her in recent years. I certainly appreciate her desire to get some relief from it and will cheer her on while continuing to pay attention to my own stuff.
    Probably Not a Good Time to Quit Therapy

    Food journal for days 25-27.... I just stopped recording food here for a few days, because it was all sort of melding into this river of sameness. But it was all Whole 30, and tasty.

    Food journal for 1/25/21, day 28:

    Breakfast: 1 scrambled egg plus the latest batch of Very Good Brussels Sprouts and veggies

    Lunch: Winter vegetable soup with chicken sausage from the soup goddess (wish I had the recipe for that one, it was dynamite)

    Dinner: Veggies + ground beef + sauce

  4. Lord have mercy, this week at work is just wrecking me. I'm trying to do the jobs of 2 people. The company has brought in a new person to help, which is good, but you know... onboarding a new person always slows you down at first. This is what's known as irony. I think that if I wasn't doing a Whole 30 right now, I would probably be rage-eating over how overwhelmed I feel, so.... yay for not doing that, I guess?

    Food journal for 1/21/21, day 23:

    Breakfast: Ground beef plus veggies plus sauce

    Lunch: Avocado-chocolate smoothie

    Dinner: Last of the coconut chicken curry with Very Good Brussels Sprouts* and balsamic aioli dipping sauce**

    *Friends, the secret of deilcious brussels sprouts is just nuking them within an inch of their little sprouty lives! This ultra simple recipe from Cooks Illustrated yields delicious sprouts with perfect tender/crispy texture. As with all Cooks Illustrated recipes, it's a tad fussy, but also worth the fuss.


    • 2 ¼ lbs  Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved    
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil    
    • 1 tablespoon water   
    • Salt and pepper

    Serves 6 to 8


    If you are buying loose  Brussels sprouts, select those that are about 1½ inches long. Quarter  Brussels sprouts longer than 2½ inches; don’t cut sprouts shorter than 1 inch.

    1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Toss  Brussels sprouts, oil, water, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in large bowl until sprouts are coated. Transfer sprouts to rimmed baking sheet and arrange so cut sides are facing down.

    2. Cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until  Brussels sprouts are well browned and tender, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Transfer to serving platter, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.


    Put some mayonnaise into a fancy little bowl. Drizzle just a few drops of balsamic vinegar into the oil. Stir with a spoon. Dip sprouts and enjoy.

  5. 1 hour ago, stealthstitcher said:

    I'm also noticing how much pressure is off since I've decided to do this longer term. There's no, "in three weeks, I can eat ___" and trying to figure out how I'll manage to limit those foods to reasonable amounts and not end up back where I was. I know people say this isn't sustainable for ever, and I definitely see that perfect compliance isn't, but I feel that for me saying, "no, that's just something I don't eat" works better than trying to be moderate. 

    You have perfectly highlighted a mental tug-of-war I'm starting to get into. "After this Whole 30 is over, I'll have a boba tea." "After this Whole 30 is over, I'll put ice cream back in my freezer." It's depressingly easy for human beings to forget their past (even their very recent past — feeling low-energy and wobbly after carelessly consuming just such foods only a few weeks ago). I have thought for some time about simply cutting out some foods from my diet, period. I know people who don't eat "recreational sugar," for example, or friends who just don't go near white flour. It's a liberating thought. If we know we're going to feel terrible when we eat these foods, maybe let's just... not eat them?

  6. Hmmmm.... I wonder where my entry for yesterday's food went. It was all good Whole 30 stuff. I have so many tabs open on my browser this week that I've started to confuse myself and write over drafts. Alas! Will democracy be safe if it never knows that I spent yesterday eating protein, vegetables, and sauce?!

    Food journal for 1/20/21, day 22:

    Breakfast: Chicken plus veggies plus sauce; coffee with almond milk

    Lunch: Ground beef + shredded veggies

    Dinner: Paleo chicken soup from the soup goddess

  7. 33 minutes ago, stealthstitcher said:

    I wanted junk food out of grumpy laziness yesterday

    Just wanted to say that I relate to this state 100%! Good on you for staying on plan after a gnarly day.

    "Mom, did you know that almonds and leafy greens contain tons of calcium?"

    Hope today goes more smoothly for you :)

  8. Man. Grinding away over here. I wish my cravings were not as gnarly as they are, here on Day 19. I've really been honoring the program. Usually my cravings have been crippled by this point. And okay, watching Gilmore Girls this month has probably not helped my situation. That show is a serious junk food extravaganza. The pizzas! The Chinese take-out! The platters of burgers and fries at Luke's Diner! I hold Lorelai personally responsible for these cravings.

    Food journal for 1/17/21, day 19:

    Breakfast: 2 eggs fried in the coconut curry sauce from yesterday

    Lunch: coconut chicken curry with butternut squash and cauliflower rice

    Dinner: Ground beef with sauce, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli

  9. Today may have been the first time I've ever prepared a dish that made the taster physically step back and say, "Oh my GOD" in awe. Such was the feedback from ye olde boyfriend on the NYTimes' coconut chicken curry. With compatible oil and compatible rice/noodles, it's totally Whole 30! Cool!

    (Truly, I'm not sure if it was "Oh my GOD" worthy. It was good.... but for some reason, he really liked it.)

    Also, I just realized that yesterday's Day 17 passed without incident. For some reason, Day 17 is the point at which my enthusiasm wanes and my motivation goes missing. Day 18 feels so much farther along than Day 17, go figure.

    Food journal for 1/16/21, day 18:

    Breakfast: I slept in and missed it!

    Lunch: The aforementioned coconut chicken curry with spiral butternut squash and cauliflower rice (can we all agree that having access to mainstream, unsauced, free-of-a-million-processed- ingredients frozen cauli rice is really nice? Thanks, Green Giant.)

    Dinner: the everpresent chicken, veggies, and sauce

  10. Tonight I am prepping this coconut chicken curry recipe, which appears to be completely Whole30 if you substitute cauliflower rice for the traditional rice. I'll post taste test results tomorrow!

    Food journal for 1/15/21, day 17:

    Breakfast: 1 egg, pulled chicken, shredded veggies, mashed potatoes, sauce

    Lunch: Spinach-avocado turkey burgers (ground turkey = not as good as ground chicken!); oven fries

    Dinner: pulled chicken, shredded veggies, mashed potatoes, sauce


  11. Yep, food boredom is real. And yet I'm glad to be selecting from a limited menu. Today was an seriously bonkers day, with a doctor visit, work deadlines, conference calls, and unexpected errands. Oh, and the people in the apartment above mine are re-doing their floors. Apparently a lot of hammers are involved. I was harried all day but still felt great. It was a blessing to have reliable Whole 30 food to hang on to.

    Food journal for 1/14/21, day 16:

    Breakfast: 1 perfect scrambled egg, pulled chicken, diced spinach, shredded veggies, mashed potatoes, sauce

    Lunch: Chocolate avocado smoothie

    Dinner: Spinach-avocado chicken burger, sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, sauce

  12. Muscle cramps were back last night, but thankfully, they're decreasing in intensity/duration. Thanks @ShadowInTheKitchenfor the helpful tips on salt! I'm sure cutting out all packaged foods has curbed my sodium intake...  I'll try adding more salt to today's dishes. 

    Today I am missing crunchy foods... something besides carrots, I mean. Grilled toast... tortilla chips... come at me, crunchy foods.

    Food journal for 1/13/21, day 15:

    Breakfast:  1 perfect scrambled egg, pulled chicken, shredded veggies, mashed potatoes, sauce

    Lunch: Kettle & Fire coconut curry soup, supplemented with some additional chicken.... take that, sodium level! a glass of kombucha

    Dinner: Oven fries with compatible ketchup; pulled chicken, shredded veggies, steamed broccoli

  13. Muscle cramps are back! I don't know what the deal is. Beginning to suspect that bananas (too much potassium) are behind it. My boyfriend (who has a nursing degree in addition to a nutrition degree.... he's a darned handy fella) suggests laying off both bananas and Natural Calm for a while. I'll see if that helps.

    Almost to the halfway point with this W30. Truthfully, I've come close to bowing out of this Whole 30 a couple of times. My motivation isn't as strong as it has been for previous rounds. My experience would be different if I was experiencing an acute health concern, working to bring down my blood pressure, etc. My challenge, much more than eliminating problematic foods from my diet, is gently learning how to not eat every time I feel stressed/bored/frustrated. Those are 3 big "feeling states" that tend to spark self-destructive food behaviors.

    I don't know if W30 is really necessary for me right now. But I'm staying with it. It's always a moving target — finding the happy nexus where food enjoyment, satiety, nourishment, and embracing my right-now body overlap.

    I have no idea if this reflection makes sense to anyone else... but it makes sense in my brain, so I guess that's good enough. :) I did buy my first airfare today, for a client trip in February. And as I take a step back to reconsider these first 2 weeks of W30, I do feel grateful to have set aside this window of time to prepare for the airport food surely in my future.

    >>> Food journal for 1/12/21, day 14:

    Breakfast: Broccoli, frozen veggie shreds, pulled chicken, sauce, coffee with nut milk

    Lunch: Spinach-avocado burger, broccoli, mashed potatoes, sauce.... hurriedly gobbled down in a 6-minute break between meetings. Ugh! this week at work is really bonkers.

    Dinner: Stuffed sweet potato with spinach and bacon; 1/2 apple with almond butter

  14. Another peaceful night of sleep.... loving it! I'm working hard to re-stock my fridge this evening while my phone is quiet. Work is bonkers busy this month. I'm almost to the point where I need to start scheduling potty breaks on my calendar. The beginning of the year is usually like this for us. I'm falling back into predictably boring food. But it tastes good and is all Whole 30, so.... [shrug]

    >>> Food journal for 1/11/21, day 13:

    Breakfast: Frozen veggie shreds with pulled chicken

    Lunch: Avocado chocolate smoothie

    Dinner: Steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes, pulled chicken, sauce

    Natural Calm at night

  15. I'm so impressed with your walking intentions. I've had such trouble getting back to a regular exercise routine in the midst of Covid. Plus we're moving into the Decidedly Cold, Rainy, and Icky Season where I live. Just hard to self-motivate when it gets like this. You are wise to scale up slowly and keep the walks gentle for now. I heard personal trainers around the world cheer when I read that part of your update.

    Day 5 is often a tough spot... hang in there and keep the faith! 

  16. Thanks for the good feedback on magnesium! Very happy to report that I finally got some good zzz's last night. I'll chalk it up to Natural Calm.

    My boyfriend (who has a degree in nutrition) says magnesium sometimes takes a while for the body to absorb..... so I'll try to keep taking it for the rest of this W30.

    Had some more hard-core cravings today. Managed to work through them all. Fed the boyfriend a new batch of spinach-avocado chicken burgers, which he loved. "This crazy diet I'm on isn't so crazy!" I said with a wink.

    >>> Food journal for 1/10/21, day 12:

    Breakfast: Broccoli, sweet potato, pulled chicken, 1 perfect poached egg, sauce

    Lunch: Mashed potatoes, butternut squash spirals, spinach-avocado chicken burger; blueberry mint kombucha

    Dinner: Spinach-avocado chicken burger with oven fries

     Natural Calm at night


  17. More intense muscle cramps in my legs last night. They woke me from sound sleep 3 times! I wish I knew what this was about. I wonder if stress may be a factor. There's been so much happening at a national level and in the micro "Contessa's world" level. I'm hoping tonight is different!

    Food journal for 1/9/21 - Day 11:

    Breakfast: Applegate farms sausage + kale + eggs

    Lunch: Grilled chicken nuggets from a fast food restaurant (sort of an emergency food situation)

    Dinner:  Spinach/avocado/chicken burger with mashed potatoes and broccoli

    A bit of Natural Calm and warm water before bed

  18. Slept poorly last night and was awakened with painful muscle cramps in my legs — felt like shin splints. I definitely have not been doing any burpees or box jumps lately, so I am not sure what that was about. Poor hydration? Too much/too little potassium? Magnesium deficiency? Not enough gentle stretching? Not sure. I may try a little dose of Natural Calm tonight.

    What an intense week. I'm glad it's drawing to a close.

    Food journal for 1/7/21 - Day 10:

    Breakfast: Chocolate avocado smoothie

    Lunch: Shredded veggies, steamed broccoli, mashed potato, pulled chicken

    Dinner: Chicken fingers, fries, sugar free ketchup

  19. Man. This week. A colleague asked today, "There are literally so many things that are flying around, and everything seems urgent! Do you feel like your hair's on fire like I do?" Yes, beloved colleague, I do. Today is a day that would have absolutely knocked me off my W30 if I didn't have a ton of meal building blocks ready to go in the fridge. Thank the goddess for meal prep.

    I had some pretty gnarly junk food urges today. It doesn't help that I discovered (just before starting this Whole 30) that the new grocery store down the street has a bakery that makes very good chocolate chip cookies. Yes, I do consider myself a connoisseur of chocolate chip cookies. I ate half a bag before the W30 started, but then had to throw the rest in the garbage, because I was ready to start my W30. Thinking of you, chocolate chip cookies, and knowing I'm better off tonight without you!

    Food journal for 1/7/21 - Day 9:

    Breakfast: Steamed broccoli, last of the butternut squash, mashed potatoes, 1 perfect poached egg.

    Lunch: Paleo chicken soup

    Dinner: Thanks to @Amy_Michigan  – I scored one of these nifty Birds Eye bags of shredded potatoes & sweet potatoes with broccoli & cauliflower florets. Find 'em in your frozen food section, folks. This item is completely compatible with W30 and makes the work of meal prep very easy. Dinner involved about half a bag of these with some pre-made pulled chicken. A satisfying and lightning-quick dinner! No, I am not being paid for this endorsement ;)