First Timer - started Jan 28

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This is the mini meatloaf recipe we use --
I've used zucchini and yellow squash in them, and they've worked interchangeably for me. The squash is completely hidden in the meat, so even my 14yo loved it. Incidentally, the Whole30 ketchup recipe mentioned/linked in there is the one I use for my ketchup-type condiment. My 14yo does NOT like that (nor does my husband), but my mom and dad enjoy it as much as I do :) The meatloaves are really easy to do a double batch of and freeze however many (uncooked) to pull down and cook for a later meal. I know the program rules say not to weigh your food, and I totally get the reasoning behind that, but I DO actually weigh these little guys only to make sure they're all about even and will cook at about the same rate.

I'm not a big avocado lover either, and coconut flakes are great as an ingredient but the use is limited (for me)... olives I love, and could eat a jar at a time if I let myself (ignore the fact that I'd get a stomach ache afterward, though!). If none of those work for you, though, maybe it could work to incorporate some compliant mayonnaise, use coconut or olive oil to moisten things like starchy vegetables, or make sure you have a mayo- or oil-based dressing for when you eat salad. One of those is generally how I get my fat in (I couldn't tell you if I'm really doing enough on that front, but I don't usually feel too snacky and often go too long before I'm feeling hungry and have a desire to eat, so maybe I'm doing alright, haha).

Prepping potatoes is just a different sort of effort, because you have to cook them a little first to avoid having the black spots. You can get away with just cutting and freezing a great many vegetables (despite the typical instructions of blanching them first), but you absolutely do need to blanch potatoes or you won't want to use them after they've been frozen (trust me, made that mistake!).

Things are going fairly well for me. I'm still struggling against the head cold/sinus issues, but it's not quite as bad as it was the other day and I'm feeling more of an appetite than I had when I first started really feeling sick. I have been trying to keep up with the log, but if you write it down somewhere else that's fine... the important part is to have a record, something you can look back on and use to see patterns in how you felt and what you ate, etc., and to help you work through reintroduction when that time comes. The log can also help you identify some of the habits you might never actually think about (like snacking!) or to see where you're giving in to cravings without realizing it. So as long as you've got that somewhere, it'll be good reference and it doesn't matter much if you put it up where the rest of us can see :)

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Thank you once again, Jihanna.  I feel like I'm really taking advantage of your knowledge.  I read your re-into log, and you are soooo busy!  I appreciate the meatloaf recipe - it looks like a pretty easy one and I like the idea of mini meatloaves to have on hand for a quick protein and vegetable option.  

I went to Lidl today, opened the app and got $5.00 off $30.00.  They had some good beef specials, so I got some, as well as other meats.  The prices were good.  The produce section was smaller and there was less variety than Aldi. They also did not have many healthy options for sugar-less meat or cooking ingredients.  I think I will probably stick to Aldi and Sprouts for most produce. 

What brand of spiralizer do you use?  With arthritis in my hands, my little manual one takes me awhile.  I'm thinking that I want to invest in one with a turn handle or something electric with an attachment.  I don't want something that is going to break in a second, though.  I'm checking reviews and Amazon.  Will see what I find.  I am using my 25 year old Cuisinart food processor for more different things than I have in years.  It is a dream for shredding potatoes for hash browns :) 

I hope your head cold/sinus issues are on the downhill side.  I really hope nothing like illness, extra stress or anything else pops up for me until I'm at least done with the 30 days of this.  I don't think I could keep up the cooking if I had too many distractions. Your schedule sounds much too much!


Feb 17, Day 21

I can't figure out how to just keep writing, and since I started with this area, I'm going to keep going, even if it isn't a reply to you, Jihanna. You don't have to read it, it's just kind of my journal, more like a stream of consciousness.

Later last night I felt like I wanted something.  I visualized eating a cookie or some other dessert-like thing and it wasn't that I was craving anything sweet or salty, and I wasn't hungry, I just wanted to eat something.  This is the time when I would usually go grazing in the cabinets and refrigerator and find something to snack on.  Last night, about an hour after this started, at about 9:30, when I realized it was happening, I thought about having some camomile tea, but I already get up about 3 times a night, so didn't want to drink more.  I ended up going to bed at about 10:30, and that's one way to stop it, but I realized that this late night grazing is a really bad habit and I need to remember the rule of not eating after dinner being just as important as the don't eat sugar or dairy rules,, and break the habit.  Maybe some other tricks, too.  Maybe brushing my teeth and flossing earlier, not just before bed, that usualy stops me from eating more.  

I've also been thinking about the future.  My manager sent me a package of treats for Valentines Day and there was a packet of M&M carmels, a packet of snapfish and a packet of movie popcorn. I put the whole package away in a cabinet. Well, since my husband awakened his sleeping sugar dragon a couple of days ago, he had the popcorn while we were watching Lorena on TV last night, which really didn't bother me, because I hate how popcorn sticks in my teeth and I didn't want any, and then this morning I saw that he ate the M&Ms.  I'm glad/not glad.  I'm glad they're gone, but he shouldn't be eating stuff like that either, but it's his choice.  Sometimes I think the women get blamed for their husband's eating habits and therefore their health issues, so I tend to take responsibility for that, but, that's dumb.  He had the same chicken and squash that I did for dinner, that's good enough. He's a grown up with perfectly good reasoning skills.

Back to my future - this morning, I was thinking about my refrigerator and freezer, and how I don't think it has ever been this full of meat and produce before.  I tend to be a "few-days-ahead" grocery shopper, but now I need to make sure I have enough options available so that we don't get something out.  I started thinking, oh, but I will always need to be doing this, because this isn't a diet, it's a change in eating habits for overall health.  I don't know why that just became evident to me, maybe denial?  Then I thought, I'm OK with that.  I know I will get more into the routine and get more organized eventually.  Right now the thought of pasta hurts my stomach.  I don't really miss dairy, other than putting cheese on things like casseroles, I'm not a big dairy-by-itself liker.  I don't like milk by itself, I don't really like ice cream, it feels sticky in my throat, or a bunch of cheese, by itself, but I do like snacking on cheese and crackers.  Sugar hasn't been that hard.  With sugar and chocolate, it's always been kind of an: if I don't eat it I'm fine, if I start, I want it all the time. It will probably be hard to say no to an apple fritter once in awhile, though. I do think grains will be hard.  I like toast with fruit in the mid morning, and having a protein breakfast first thing isn't my favorite.  In fact, it's 10:00am  and I haven't had breakfast because I do some pet-sitting occasionally and I got up this morning and first thing went to take care of a kitty, then I came home and made coffee and was thinking while I was driving, etc. and wanted to write about this.  Which is really weird, because I am not normally a journaler. I also like sandwiches.  When I think of having leftovers, like chicken, turkey, brisket, etc. I think of putting them in a sandwich. I've been on diets before (that's an understatement, I've been on diets all my life) and when I stopped the actual diet, I thought that a potato chip or any other packaged snack like that would never pass my lips again, but sure enough, I would gradually have some now and again - when it "went with" something like sloppy joes, or Fritos with chili. Maybe I'm old enough now, that I won't have time to revert back to my old ways.  Plus, one of the things your body does in your favor as you age, is revolt against bad food.  Lots of things are not worth the after-effects, and I already eat pretty plain to avoid acid reflux and other unpleasant consequences. 

Those are my morning musings. I wanted to be able to look at this later and see how/if my thoughts have changed. 

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This is the spiralizer I got:
It's my very first one, so I can't attest to how good it is compared to any others, but I did read a bunch of reviews before finally making the purchase (reviews on this one and a few others). I did see some who said that this one is much better for them after having a tiny one you hold and twist with your hand (which I'd looked at), and I knew I wanted something hand-operated because I didn't want to have to plug it in just to get my veggies done (it also gives me more options on where to do it, in case two of us are working in the kitchen). I usually hold the slicer end in place with my left hand, pushing just slightly toward the right as I spin the hand-crank with my right hand; that's done more to make sure it stays in place and continues as much as possible with one spiral/noodle, not because it's difficult to turn.
-- yellow squash and zucchini go very easily, as do cucumbers
-- carrots are extremely easy too, but they spiralize differently because they're not as thick around
-- daikon radish is probably my favorite thing to turn into noodles, and pretty easy to turn
-- potatoes and sweet potatoes also haven't given me any difficulty so far
-- eggplant I've tried to do twice and never could get it to work, so figure it'll have to just stay sliced or cubed
The only difficult part of using it, for me, is pushing the "butt" of the veggie hard into the piece that stabilizes it while you turn the crank; it's not painful to do, but you do have to push a bit to make sure it's on there or it might fall off. Some reviews talked about how larger veggies can't be done with it, but that's silly - I just cut them in half to make them fit :P

I'm glad you checked out LIDL and could see if it would work for you. I prefer ours to our Aldi, but ours actually has a pretty nicely stocked produce section and I'm able to get good meat deals there... but I still always keep my eyes peeled for the deals at Aldi, too, because those definitely come in handy! I basically get 90% of my produce between Sprouts and LIDL, and probably 75% of my meat at LIDL (at least until I've got a steady roll-over budget that I can use to go back to my favorite butcher), with the rest of the meat and my eggs from Kroger. Each area is a little different, though, and each person has to figure out what works best in their situation :D

I totally understand you wanting to journal here, since you've been here the whole time already :) I hope you don't actually mind if I do read through them, though, because I do enjoy seeing how you're doing (and sometimes it helps to smack me in the face with something I've not thought about). One thing I can suggest as you get into the groove of things, if doing a full week of planning and shopping feels like it's a bit too much, I'd suggest trying to make sure you keep enough MEAT on hand for a week (or more, if you find a great deal) of cooking and then maybe plan to go after fresh produce every 3-4 days. That would help you make sure you don't have things sitting in the fridge for too long (or requiring you to prep them before they go bad), too, which could help overall. Just a thought :) and it's something I'd do for my own situation, if I didn't have so many mouths to cook for :D

Also, since you asked -- yes, my head is doing a bit better. I've actually been breathing clearly through my nose all morning, without any meds needed (not even a cough drop), and I don't feel like I've got a bunch of gunk in my throat anymore, either. Sinus pressure is also a bit better, and my ear doesn't feel completely battered now. I think this might be the first time I've ever gotten that type of cold without the congestion falling into my chest and causing misery for a week or three... and it's the first time it's been February before I got sick (2 years ago it was December, and last year it was early January). So, improvement by leaps and bounds this time! I'm happy to give credit to my diet on this one :) 

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