Hi everyone! I’m super excited about today’s post, because I have A LOT to talk about! Week 1 of the Whole Life Challenge is complete and I feel like a totally different person than I was a week ago. For those of you wonder what on earth I’m talking about, I decided to do an 8 week healthy lifestyle challenge (more details here) and last week I spent a lot of time prepping mentally and physically for life without cheese, milk, bread, pasta, and sugar. My first two days on the challenge were rough (catch up on how they went here), but things have been going so well since then!
The biggest change is how much I’ve been cooking! When you’re eating only whole foods, almost everything needs to be made from scratch. While this can get annoying at times (like when you’re starving AND JUST WANT A PIZZA), it’s actually not as bad as I thought it would be. My husband and I have been splitting up each meal – one of us preps the meat portion while the other preps the sides. It makes things go really quickly and I’ve been learning lots of new cooking techniques. I think my favorite thing so far was spaghetti squash – it’s so much easier than I thought, and I swear it’s exactly like real pasta! I never cook and I’m the worst at trying new things, so this has helped me get out of my boring food rut. That being said, I’ve been sticking to some main staples that I know and trust – like banana to sweeten things at breakfast and new chicken dishes for dinner. I’ve been searching blogs for paleo recipes and just cutting out all of the honey and maple sugar because I can’t eat those. I’ve also been making sure that at least half of my plate is made up of veggies at each meal – even breakfast! I plan on sharing the new recipes I try each week with all of you in case you want to try something healthy and new! Here’s a list of some of my favorite recipes from this week:
5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats – These were awesome and very sweet just from the bananas!
Applesauce Overnight Oatmeal – I ended up heating these up in the morning. Pretty yummy and fueled me for my long run!
Paleo Pancakes – Oh my god guys. These were AMAZING! I almost fell over when I tried them. I swear to you, they don’t need any syrup and they’re still super sweet and filling. These are happening every weekend from now on!
Almost 5 ingredient Spaghetti Pizza Pie – This was absolutely amazing! It was my first time cutting and cooking a spaghetti squash so I was really worried, but it turned out great! I might eat this once a week!
Simple Sausage Butternut Squash Soup – I made this without the bacon because I can’t find sugar free bacon anywhere here 😦 But it was still really delicious!
Chicken Basil Meatloaf – We also couldn’t find ground chicken, so we made this with turkey instead. It was awesome with some avocado on top and some spinach on the side!
Crispy Chicken Dippers – This was my favorite dinner so far! These are better than real chicken fingers and were so easy to make!
Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries – I’m a big sweet potato fan so I love that I can use these to carb load the night before my long runs. Mine never get crispy, so I need to work on that!
One thing I was really afraid of was the sugar withdrawal, but honestly it has not been too bad. I think Sunday and Monday were the worst for me, but since then I’ve been feeling so much better than I usually do. I don’t feel that typical mid-afternoon crash that I used to get (and used to “fix” with candy), and I actually stopped drinking coffee during the week! I have also learned to enjoy black coffee and doubt I’ll go back to sugary coffee unless it’s a special occasion. I’m honestly so happy to be off added sugar, especially since my husband and I watched Fed Up, which is available on Netflix streaming. It was really eye opening and made me realize just how much sugar is in everything we eat. I’m thinking I’ll stay as close to sugar free as possible after the WLC ends! But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up sweets. In fact, this week I found quite a few recipes that were really yummy and sweet – and all using fruit as the only sweetener! I won’t be eating a ton of these every day since they’re high in natural sugar, but if I’m truly preparing for a healthier lifestyle after the challenge I’m going to need some delicious desserts in my life. I highly recommend you try these out, even if you’re not doing the challenge – they’re healthy and delicious!
2 Minute Baked Brownie Balls – these were my first WLC compliant desserts, and OH MY GOD. So good. If you didn’t tell me these were made without sugar I’d have no idea!
No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites – I made these last night, and they’re delish! They remind me of the Peanut Butter Cookie Larabars, but with cocoa powder. Once again, they taste like they have tons of added sugar but they don’t!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Milkshake – This literally tasted like a milkshake. I was in shock! I might never have a real milkshake again because this was so much better than the ones made with ice cream and I didn’t want to die after eating the whole thing!
Other than food, I had my work cut out for me this week with meditation. That’s still a work in progress, but I think it’s a practice that I’ll keep up on a regular basis. I’m also doing well with my Vitamin D supplements (I’m super deficient), water intake, and stretching and exercising daily. And believe it or not, I’ve already lost 4 pounds! I think it’s from cutting out processed foods and all that sodium and bloat, but I’ll take it! I’m also feeling better than I’ve felt in a while, and never feel gross or tired after a meal.
Next week, my goal is to get better at having food prepped before I even need it. This week there were a few times where it was time to eat but I didn’t have anything prepped, so I got a little hangry. I’m also hoping to have some easier breakfast options because right now I’m really missing cereal. I’ve got a few new recipes that I’m going to try this week, and I’m hoping to have tons of leftovers for easy lunches at work! I’m still looking for some awesome recipe suggestions, so if you have a favorite paleo blog/website let me know!
Have you ever tried to give up sugar? What food item would you miss most if you were eating clean? If it’s pizza, you may be my new BFF 🙂