Any non-cooks having success with this program?


GAPeach

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Before I started Whole30 last week (with a few slip-ups) my diet was already boring and limited due to me being a picky eater and the fact that I don't like to cook so I'm not that great at it.

I cook mainly to survive. So being on a diet that is mainly centered around whole foods and doing your own preparation is challenging for me.

For the past two years I have been limiting my intake of grains and gluten but I always indulged in fast food whenever I was too lazy to cook. Pasta was always my go to meal but I cut that out once I learned about Paleo about two years or so ago. I never gave up my sweets though. They make me happy. Whenever I'm having a rough day its either buy shoes or sweets...sweets are cheaper so that's what I do/did.

Now that I'm on my quest for flawless skin, my limited and boring menu has become EVEN MORE limited and boring. I'm tempted every single day to eat a biscuit, a muffin, a bagel, a beef patty, or some fries and wash it all down with a nice big glass of chocolate milk! ha!

I started Whole30 last week but I slipped up a few times out of a lack of preparation. LIke today, I struggled to get up this morning so I didn't have time to make my scrambled eggs for my breakfast (I normally have a green smoothie but since I can't put my honey in it its just not sweet enough so I don't enjoy drinking them anymore). Since I didn't make my eggs I ended up going by the store I got a green apple, a Naked Berry Blast smoothie (tons of sugar in those things), and two tiny bags of cashews that has cottonseed oil in it. I was trying to avoid nuts but I'm so hungry that I have to eat something and fruit won't cut it. I picked up a honey bun three times before I just grabbed the smoothie and the nuts.

On my menu I have salmon, eggs, beef, shrimp, & veggies...I've eliminated nuts (today doesn't count) and I'm eliminating coconut (just in case I have a sensitivity to eat as well) I don't do other meats besides beef because I've never had them so don't know if I like them and don't know how to properly cook them. I don't want to do chicken or turkey because they are fed grains/soy and I really want to stay away from that as much as possible.

I'm not eating enough (I've never been a big eater I've been slim my whole life just recently I've started to thicken up I guess you can say) I know that I probably lost weight since I cant have potatoes. Potatoes and sugar kept my weight on, I'm sure. I lose weight extremely fast.

I find myself stressing out about what to eat now vs stressing out about the bumps on my face ha! I need simplicity but I also need a way to make sure I'm getting enough calories so I won't break down and eat potatoes just so I can feel full and not look anorexic!

I heard about egg muffins that I plan to try and I plan to make veggie fritters that I can cook up a bunch and freeze for quick snacks. But i need more options because I get bored with food sooo fast and if I'm bored then I'm tempted to eat out for variety and flavor. (I'm not good with seasoning my food ha!)

I know I'm probably making this harder than what it is but going from 20+ years of eating whatever I wanted when I wanted to restricting myself to the bare minerals all in the sake of clear skin is not easy for me especially when I have a roommate who eats everything I want to eat and has no weight or skin issues.

If you have suggestions that's great if not, it did feel good to write out my frustration vs keeping it bottled up inside :)

Have a blessed day everyone....

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I think you are making this harder then it needs to be :-) chicken can be pasture raised and not fed grains. Check your labels. All you need to do is put salt, pepper, garlic powder or Italian seasoning on it, put it in an oven around 375 and cook for about 30-40 minutes depending on the size. Easy peasy. You can do the same with other fish like tilapia, halibut, etc. I might also suggest picking up a cookbook from the library to get some ideas or try the Nom Nom Paleo app. Great fast, flavorful and quick recipes. Also you can eat sweet potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash to help keep your weight up and increase your fat through Ghee, coconut or other oils when cooking your food.

Check out the food list on the Whole9 site, so you can see just how many options you have. Nothing boring about the meals you can make on this plan. However, some cooking and pre prep is required. Cook a bunch on the weekend, so you don't have to worry about it during the week.

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thanks for responding Keianna. I have yet to see any pasture raised chicken in my grocery stores. I normally eat tilapia just haven't really had a taste for it lately. Never had butternut or acorn squash although I do eat yellow and green squash often. I only like sweet potatoes when its in a souffle which requires sugar. I don't like to eat them any other way. I was thinking of trying white yams because I read that they are a good white potato replacement. I like the nom nom paleo website. I have to find something that doesn't require a lot of time and ingredients.

I have the shopping guide but like I said, I haven't experimented with a lot of different foods I haven't had that much success when I did, mainly because I didn't cook it right or something not sure. As far as cooking a bunch on weekends I thought about doing that but I am limited to how much I can cook at once because of limited storage area in fridge and cabinet space. I have a roommate. But I will try to do at least a week in advance if storage permits.

I'll get it together but right now all I can think about is a burger lol with a bun!

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I love cooking and am really good at it (if I do say so myself). My first whole30 I was so excited to try new recipes and was cooking all the time.

My second whole30, on day 25 now!, I was determined to keep it simple. In most cases, I have!

Proteins:

Chicken thighs - salt, pepper, baked at 425 degrees. I wish I could tell you how long but I use my meat thermometer!

Hamburger patty - hot pan, salt, pepper, cook burger

Shrimp - in shell, put desired serving size in about 1 inch boiling water. Cook until done. You can tell done when the shrimp curl and the tip almost touches the tail and they are pink all the way through.

You do have to do some planning. I always have hard boiled eggs ready to go or a can of tuna in case of emergency. Failing to plan is like planning to fail!

You can do this!

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I think a crockpot is a non-cook's best friend. You throw stuff into it in the morning and you have a large pot of food to eat from for a couple of days. Also, you can at least get organic chicken in most markets. Truly free-range birds will NOT have a label that says "all vegetarian feed" because truly free range chickens eat bugs and worms. If you have a farmer's market you can get those magnificent ladies for the crockpot.

But supermarket organic birds are at least a step in the right direction.

Here's my top crockpot "recipes":

1. Season a whole chicken well with salt and pepper, garlic powder, paprika and/or turmeric or whatever other spices and herbs you like. Put it breast side down in the slow cooker and cook 6-8 hrs on low or 4 hours on high. Voila. Chicken. Eat it with a green salad enriched with avocado and olive oil or steam a bag of frozen veggies and dress with plenty of ghee or olive oil.

2. Buy a chuck or bottom round roast and throw that in the crockpot, well-seasoned, along with a bag of baby carrots and a thickly sliced onion, a bit of water. Add other root veggies if you feel adventurous, like parsnips or turnips. Cook 8 hours on low or 5 hours on high, or until tender.

3. Lamb shanks: throw a couple of lamb shanks into the crock with veggies as for the chuck roast and you've got a savory meal.

Good luck....I like to cook and some days I find it challenging to keep all this good food around.

Pea

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thanks Pea I have thought about getting a crockpot just didn't know which brand was the best to get..I may have to look into that. I need as many starchy root veggies as possible so I can keep my weight up or I may have to add potatoes back into my diet since I'm not a fan of sweet potatoes....

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Parsnips are nice and sweet, and plantains are great, too! There are two kind of plantain fries you can make:

1. Ripe, soft plantains with black in the skin make "maduros": sweet fried plantains just like sweet fried bananas. Fry 'em in ghee.

2. Unripe, yellow-skinned plantains make "tostones". Simply slice the plantain into 1/4 inch slices, fry on one side until brown, flatten a bit with a spatula, flip and fry the other side. These are great salted.

Also, yucca! Yucca is a fair amount of work if you buy the brown-skinned whole root. But Goya offers yucca peeled and frozen into the right size for cooking. These are great cooked until soft, and then mashed. Makes a nice polenta substitute.

My next crockpot is going to be a stainless steel one, but you can pick one up today at WalMart for about $30 or less.

Pea

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I would buy the book Well Fed. Her recipes are delicious and not complicated. The books well set out and you just follow it step by step. She gives ideas for variations witha lot of her recipes and tells you what each one goes with. I swear that book is brilliant and such a help - every recipe bar one dessert is W30 compliant.

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I leave for work at 7am, and don't get home until 5:30pm. I then work out when I get home. If I'm making a meal from scratch, I may not get to eat dinner until 6:30 or 7:00pm. And honestly, I find my crockpot to be amazing. Basically anything you throw in there will be tender and flavourful by the time you get home.

If you like pasta, I have found spaghetti squash to be a good substitute (Been using it for months instead of pasta). I doesn't have the same texture, but it works well enough with a tomato sauce (didn't like it with alfredo). You can easily make up a batch of tomato sauce (add in compliant ground beef to make it a meatsauce), all you really need are some cans of crushed tomato with nothing added and some cans of just tomato sauce/paste, some herbs (Fresh or dried. I like fresh basil personally. Bay leaves are also handy for this). Throw in some ground beef, turn on slow cooker for 8 hours on low (mine automatically switched to warm once the timer is up), and then when I get home I just cut a spaghetti squash in half, spoon out the seeds, stick it in the microwave for 10 minutes, fork out the squash onto my plate and spoon the sauce on top. And with my slowcooker I can make a big batch of sauce that can be frozen, and can easily last me a month or 2 if you have it once a week.

Likewise, chili is easy to do in a slow cooker as well, and make up a big batch. Same start as pasta sauce, throw in stewing beef and ground beef and some different spices, and whatever veggies you like, and when its done you have a meal on it's own, and again, with leftovers you can freeze to take for lunches or dinners for weeks.

Slow cookers are great for lots of things. You can make your own broth & soups in it, you can make full beef or pork roasts, and everything you make in it, you can make in large batches and freeze for later to have leftovers. If you do 2 slowcooker meals a week you will quickly find yourself with lots of options in the freezer, and rapidly running out of space. And while it might take 8 hours to cook, it only takes maybe 15 minutes of prep work and clean up.

In my opinion, starting the whole30 is a good opportunity to try new meats & veggies you otherwise might not try. Instead of not trying lamb or pork because you've never cooked it before and aren't sure how, maybe try to pick some up and try something with it. Or maybe try some different types of squash or veggies. You'll never know if you don't try it.

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Zucchini is another good pasta substitute, if you slice it thin, salt it and let it drain overnight first.

I'm a terrible cook, in the sense that cooking takes me a long time and makes a huge mess. I'm hoping that will improve with practice. I've also realized that I don't have a lot of storage containers. I'm going to pick up a bunch so that I can prepare more things on the weekends and have less to do during the busy part of the week.

If I can make an observation, you make a lot of declarations about only liking certain things with sugar. Your tastes are very likely to change, so be careful that you're not holding onto the sugar thing in your head. Check back on those foods in a couple of weeks - you might be surprised.

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thank you guys for your suggestions!!! I'm definitely going to look for a crockpot today....I don't have a walmart in my area but I will check out Kmart and Target if all else fails I'll just order one online. I would hope to get one before the weekend.

I sometimes get home late due to having to run errands after work so being that I want to free up my evening hours to focus on building my writing career not having to spend hours standing over a stove would be ideal....hence why a crockpot could be a great investment for me!

I took a peek at the Well Fed book and it did pique my interest so I may buy that...I also saw a cookbook called Paleo slow cooker or something like that...

I like the idea of one pot meals. :)

thanks again for chiming in!!

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Someone on the message boards suggested Cooks Illustrated's Slow Cooker Revolution. I have this cookbook & use it every weekend to make meals that we can eat from all week. I'm a terrible cook so no one was more surprised than me that I can actually make really, really good meals in the slow cooker.

One of the best tools I've ever used is the Foreman grill. We don't have a gas or charcoal grill so the Foreman was our only choice if we wanted to grill. It's basically impossible to ruin anything on this grill and believe me, if anyone could it would be me! One of our favorite quick meals is boneless, skinless chicken thighs sprinkled with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Throw them on the grill for maybe 15 minutes or until golden brown & delicious. Make a salad while the chicken's cooking and dinner is ready. Make extra and tomorrow's lunch is ready, too!

If you need to improve your cooking skills, Cooks Illustrated website has some great tips with very thorough, step by step instructions. Practical Paleo also has step by step instructions with clear, easy to follow pictures. But, most of all, cooking is like any other skill that's worth acquiring. You need to practice, practice, practice and if necessary get some professional instruction. Once you get a few basic skills, everything becomes much easier!

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Confidence goes a long way in the kitchen and the CI magazines, shows & website have helped me out tremendously.

It seems like we're always trying to get the most done in the least amount of time but I'm realizing that when I invest time in planning, preparing, and cooking, the payoff is huge. Meals taste better, we all eat better quality food, mealtimes are more enjoyable, and we experience new things all the time which helps keep things interesting.

Expecting to make mistakes helps take the pressure off and as you gain more practical experience you can usually figure out how to fix the situation. Many of us are not natural cooks but we can all improve with practice!

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