Indigo30 DAY 23: Favorite Finds A-Z, Vol. 2

I’d bet that a second alphabetical list of cool must-have/try stuff would just make your Day 23, wouldn’t it?

Let’s see if I can do it again!

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Favorite Answer – “YES, THAT’S COMPLIANT.”

Favorite Brooke Blog – The Poo Post. Yep. Still the winner by a shit-ton.

Favorite Cookbook – Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. I love this gal. She is funny, witty and her recipes and blogs are some of the best, often touted by Whole30 themselves. She has a few books out and is often featured in Paleo Magazine.

Favorite Dry Shampoo – Moroccan Oil and Evo’s Water Killer

Favorite Egg Recipe – Green Chile Beef Egg Cups by the Defined Dish

Favorite Food Processor – KitchenAid Mini 3.5 Cup Processor. It’s small and sweet and easy to use, better than the big one, which always feels like such a production! Plus mine is BLUE.

Favorite Grain-Free Dog Food – Blue Buffalo. My mutts are sooooo sensitive … they itch and scratch until the cows come home. If I go off-program with them (haha) even for one day, they are scratching themselves silly.image

Favorite Hack – Using rubber pet food container lids on canned items like coconut milk or olives.

Favorite Interview – Simon Sinek discussing the Millennial generation. You’ll never view our kids, their futures, our parenting and our futures, regardless if you are a parent — the same again — after you watch this. Simon is my hero. (Is he single?)

Favorite Japanese (compliant) Foods – Sashimi, shiitake mushrooms and green tea. Delish!

Favorite Knife Set – Cangshan Knives, available at Costco. A sharp, good quality knife is essential for your kitchen. A dull knife can be dangerous because it requires more force to use, so it is more prone to slipping and cutting where it’s not supposed to — like on your hand. The ideal kitchen knife will have a sharp blade that holds its edge well, good balance, a comfortable handle and durable construction. If you can’t get new ones, take yours to a sharpener — for around $40, you will feel like you have a brand new set. (Try Fort Worth Shaver & Appliance on Montgomery, that’s where I’ve always taken mine.  And, periodically Central Market does knife sharpening as well.)

Favorite Lipbalm (for right now) – Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lip Balm in Peppermint. Listen, I have about 5,000 other favorite lip balms, but Fresh Sugar’s Lip Caramel might be just a little too glossy and a little too caramel-y for some of y’all.

Favorite Mayo – Homemade. All day. Recipe in the W30 book. Cinch. But if you can’t whip some of your own up, Trader Joe’s has one that is sugar-free. Why, I ask you, why does anyone think mayonnaise needs sugar!!!!! (Imagine me losing it a little just then.)

Favorite Nut Butter – Mine is still Rx Vanilla Almond, but Kila loves NuttZo, which has cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and celtic sea salt! Wow! Now that’s a blend!

Favorite Oprah’s Favorite – Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Oven Air Fryer. Since Oprah knows all the things, I trust her when it comes to, well, all the things. Instead of deep-frying, opt for this Cuisinart air fryer that lets you get the crispy fried-food flavor without the added unhealthiness. PS: It’s important for you to know that O is a spokesperson for “WW,” or, “Wellness that Works,” formerly known as “Weight Watchers.” Thank you Alexa, for making sure I am properly informed of all the important news. (Alexa is also one of Oprah’s Favs. You’re welcome.) image.png

Favorite Pressed Spice –  Tumeric. I love to get turmeric shots at Juice Junkies, and combine one part (one shot) with 3 parts tart cherry juice. Tumeric is super amaze for reducing inflammation in the body. However, I hear the magic powers of Moringa are hot on turmeric’s heels!

Favorite Question – “Wine is technically a grape, so… I can have it, right?”

Favorite Root Veggie – Red and yellow beets. Roasted with evoo and mint.

Favorite Skin Product – Almond oil in the shower right before you get out. Coconut good too, Jojoba better, but it’s pricier. No lotion needed, skin smooth as silk.

Favorite Timesaving Tip – www.realplans.com – are you using this? WHY NOT IT’S THE BOMB.

Favorite Underarm Deodorant – Native. The best! Best texture, best quality, best effectiveness, best scents! Available at Indigo.

Favorite Vitamin – I prefer to take liquid vitamins from Tespo – I am much more apt to take them and absolutely apt to not feel nauseous when I do. Buy the cute little dispenser imageand get your custom vitamins sent by auto-ship. They will make up for the thousands of expired vitamins sitting in your cabinet.

Favorite Water Bottle – The Whole30 bottle, of course! Available on Amazon, of course!

Favorite Xylitol Substitute – Mint leaves. C’mon, you have to give me points for coming up with an x-word this time.

Favorite Yam Preparation – 5-6 minutes in the microwave! No joke! Super easy. No need for all that cooking drYAMa.

Favorite Zoup – ZUPA bottled soup. Whole30 approved and sent straight to your door!

There. I did it. Now YOU DO IT.

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Keep going!

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Indigo30 DAY 13: Time for adventures!

Welcome to Day 13, you are nearing the half-way mark! You should be very proud. Half way is a great milestone. But just like doing a yoga pose or even a long sequence of poses, there’s this little triumphant squeal of glee — Yay! We completed one side! — and then the overwhelming realization of — Omg, we’ve only completed one side …

So your work right now is to “stay in the river,” as many a guru has probably said over the years. Don’t swim faster and yet, don’t just tread. You still have a ways to go. Just stay in the flow, keep a steady pace, and let the natural rhythms move you forward. You are already seeing NSVs and progress — you have shared them proudly with your friends and peers. So imagine what’s coming if you stay the course! Adventure!

Food is the way to your friends’ hearts.

One of the funnest things you can do during your Indigo30 is get to know your comrades with a meal swap. You really cannot believe how much you will love this and learn from it. You are probably ready for some new dishes, or you are starting to tire from leftovers, or you just want a day off from cooking. Well, Indigo30 Superstar, it’s time to branch out and spice it up! I promise you will not regret this. It’s kind of like the old fashioned chain letter!

It’s pretty easy to do and you can do it with one pal or a whole group — or maybe a couple of groups. Then, coordinate your meal swap. The meal swap is better with a few people – 7 is ideal. Once you pick a time and a location, each of you can make a dish that has 7 image.pngservings or a big batch. When you get to your potluck, swap it all out and BOOM – you have one new meal a day for the next 7 days! (or you can freeze and save for even later!) Share your bounty, because your chili may be super fab today, but it’s not as good when you’ve eaten that gigantic crockpot full 5 meals in a row.

Is swapping with your pals not very convenient for your schedule? Set up a roaming brunch, lunch, or dinner party once a week. Each of you commits to hosting the others for one meal, sharing in the cooking (and, hopefully, the clean-up). It’s a great way to socialize over healthy food, share kitchen tips and tricks, and pick up some sweet lunchtime leftovers for the next day.

Try a new spot. 

image.pngDo you go to the same spot in the yoga room every day? Yeah, we know who you are. And we know what kind of temper tantrum you internally have when someone is in your spot. Yogis, yogis, yogis. I want you to use your new tools of mindfulness right this minute, and get present to what is actually happening when you walk into the room and someone is in your spot. Okay — all that is actually happening is some completely oblivious person who has absolutely no idea that you have this attachment to the outcome of your practice being based on where in the room your mat is, just put their mat down there. That’s it. Or, they are wrestling with their own attachment issues and just got there before you did. Now, pause, step back for a moment, and consider how completely, utterly absurd it is to get upset about a spot for your mat in the yoga room. (Got it? Are you smiling/laughing?) Then I want you to consider that there may just be a new experience waiting for you in a different spot … perhaps there is a cooler breeze up in the front. Or perhaps hiding in the back won’t work so well this time because the teacher decides to do the entire class facing the back. Or perhaps a new student (maybe even the one who stole your spot) looks over at you and says, “Hi, I’m new. I’m really nervous. How long have you been coming?” And you realize that your purpose, instead of getting your way, was to befriend someone who is scared and worried about being new and different. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s a good enough reason not to be attached to your spot.

Some of you are like, “I really have no idea what she is talking about right now, I could care less where my mat is. Half the time I’m rolling in late anyway so I don’t even pay attention.” — To you, I challenge you to arrive early and go to the same spot each day and play with consistent routine. Stretch yourself by sharpening consistency. Bust through old patterns. Break through into new spaces, the same one every day for the next 15 days.

You now how to make both of these things a new, exciting pattern? Grab a friend, or your small group, and go together. This will keep things fresh and will keep you accountable.

Spicing it up with actual spices

I planted an herb garden a year ago and after all of this rain, it’s going completely bonkers. imageI have more herbs than I could ever use even if I cooked all day every day all week. They are fun to cut and give as gifts, and even if I don’t cook with it, just having the smell of basil wafting in my kitchen brings smiles.

If your cooking is feeling a little bland, take a spin around the world with some new spices. Chances are, if you are willing to step out of your ho-hum cooking box for a minute, you will discover flavors you didn’t even know existed! Just changing just one spice can turn an Indian curry into a savory Spanish stew. The right spices can make or break a dish, turning everyday ingredients into authentic ethnic cuisine.

But be careful with seasonings (mixtures and blends). They can be tricky and sneak the sneaky sugars in right under your spice sniffer. Check out the ingredients in this taco seasoning commonly found at chain grocers:

Yellow Corn Flour, Salt, Maltodextrin, Paprika, Spices, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Citirc Acid, Autolyzed Yest Extract, Natural Flavor, Caramel Color (sulfites).

“Taco seasoning” sounds innocent enough, but this spice blend is anything but innocent (or healthy). I’m sure you are looking at the list now and know exactly why these ingredients are not okay by Whole30 standards, but are they really okay by any standards? image.png

Sometimes, spices and seasonings intimidate people with their fancy-sounding names like Za’atar, Dukka, or Tabil. Melissa Joulwan (author of Well Fed), is a spice-a-holic and has an awesome list of spices and how to use them in this GREAT article.

Spice Hound is another great resource to help you identify Whole30-approved spices to fill your cabinet. A full 100% of their salts and spices meet Whole30 criteria, and 20 of their spice blends are also Whole30-approved.

Here is a complete list of all approved Spice Hound blends:

Adobo Seasoning Cajun Rub Chili Powder Blend
Chinese 5-Spice Powder Curry Powder Dukka
Fines Herbes Four Peppercorn Blend Garam Masala
Garlic Sea Salt Herbes de Provence Italian Seasoning
La Kama Panch Phora Poultry
Pumpkin Pie Spice Seasoning Sea Salt Tabil
Turkey Brine Za’atar

Though they last a long time, spices can be expensive. If your cabinet is empty, commit to buying one or two new spices a week, until you’ve collected enough to transport you to any foreign country (and cuisine) in just a few moments!

You’re considering a potluck with your new I30 buds, a different spot for your mat against all better judgement, and are about to buy Garam Masala. Now let’s try … some totally new foods! Here are some beginner and advanced “foodie” options that will keep your Whole30 from boring and snoring.

Beginner/Intermediate:

  • Ghee: Like butter, only better! A personal favorite is Bulletproof Grass-fed Ghee, but there are many great brands.
  • Coconut butter: My most favorite I30 find this go-round! Delicious by the spoonful straight out of the jar. (I could stop there, because I have done a lot of this lately) or as a slightly melted topping for sweet potato, apples, or berries. You guys, I nearly DIED when I took my first bite. Look for Nutiva Coconut Manna in the nut butters section. Tip: when you get it, it will likely be solidified in the jar. You have to dig it up and even out (I dug it all out of the jar, mixed it up good and put it back into two) because the oil will separate from the pureed coconut meat. I promise you, it is worth every second of effort! And as a reward, peruse the Nutiva recipe page — you will have loads of post-I30 treat ideas ready to roll with this magic manna from the heavens.
  • Jicama: A sweet, crunchy root that looks like a big, round potato. Peel, chop into sticks and top with lime juice and chili powder, dip in salsa or guac, or just eat plain as they come. Central Market has jicama tortillas and rolls, which are delicious with tuna fish mixed with W30 mayo rolled in!
  • Coconut Aminos: Soy sauce is off limits for your Whole30 (I’d like to see you bid farewell to this gut buster forever, but for now…) I will tell you, coconut aminos taste the same. They’re a healthy Whole30-friendly replacement for soy sauce in recipes, and perfect for dunking sashimi. Find them in the soy sauce aisle of your local health food market—or order from Amazon. Speaking of sashimi…. gosh that sounds good! Have you thought to add it into your restaurant options? Bring your coco aminos when you go! You can buy them in single serve packets!image
  • Sauerkraut: Raw and fermented, sauerkraut contains tons of healthy bacteria to keep your digestion happy with all of its natural probiotics. Purchase it at any of our local grocers or let Whole9 Envoy Extraordinaire Stephanie McCormack teach you how to make your own in this fun video. Sauerkraut has made a serious comeback!

Advanced Adventurer (Vegans and Vegetarians, kindly skip to the end…)

 

Okay my friends, my word count is way out of range, so in closing as always, KEEP GOING, and in the words of a wise little bear..

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Indigo30 DAY 10: Time savers, and by request — W30 hacks

Between reading labels, prepping food, researching recipes, shopping, planning when to go to yoga, chatting with your Indigo30 pals, scrolling Instagram pages and website and checking in on the Indigo30 page … and finally EATING (followed by lots of dishes and lots of smelly yoga laundry), you probably feel like this thing has consumed your life. Oh the days of unconsciousness… they were so carefree!

On top of it all, you are only one-third of the way through your program. (Gulp). But that should tell you something — that by the time you are nearing the end, you will have this thing down like clockwork, not having to think so hard and work so hard. Do you remember what the habit circle said? It said that by the time the habit is formed, the brain basically takes a break from that task, because knows that it’s ingrained, so it moves on to other things that need its focused attention. The result? You just do the things without too much deliberation or negotiation.

Also, because you are only a third of the way in, I also still have tons and tons of time-saving, super cool tips and info to share! Don’t feel overwhelmed; I will dole them out little by little. You ready?!

Post your menu. If you have a whiteboard or a blackboard or even a big piece of poster board — posting big and bold in or around your kitchen can help you stay on track. Post more than just the menu too! Whole30 recommends making three lists and a few other things:

  1. List #1: The first list should include 3-5 “go-to” dishes you love to eat — easy meals that require little prep and not much brain power. Take a picture of this list and keep it on your device so you can easily shop for a quick, delicious, healthy meal.653c17e5dece2106f2387c3aec942b2d.jpg
  2. List #2: The second list should include the foods you have ready to eat in the fridge (this is so genius): leftovers, cooked and raw vegetables, defrosting meat, sauces and salad dressings. This list serves as inspiration when it’s time to make lunch or dinner.
  3. List #3: The third list is for things you’ve run out of (or are almost out of), so you know to stock up the next time you visit the store. It’s easy to remember what you need for the meal, but dish soap will assuredly be an afterthought when you’re over the moon about finding the coconut butter.
  4. Your yoga schedule: write it up there. Better yet? Make buddy dates with your pals and write their names next to the classes you plan to attend.
  5. Motivation: whatever it looks like for you — inspiration, a compliment someone gave you, a goal you have set — something to remind you that you can do this.

Fast food Indigo30 style. With the daily blog, the Tuesday Posting Parties, and all of your friends chiming in, surely you have adopted a few new tricks to prep and eat quickly if needed. Here are a few more:

  • The Art of Freezing. Melissa Joulwan, author of Well Fed and The Clothes Make the Girl, says, “When I just can’t bear to pack one more work lunch (and I’m feeling really lazy), I don’t even bother to cook my food. Just put two servings of frozen vegetables in a microwaveable container, then drizzle with olive oil and a good shake of garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add a microwaveable protein (grilled chicken, frozen cooked shrimp), cram on the lid and shove the container in your bag. At lunchtime, microwave the whole shebang for three minutes and voila! Instant lunch with no real cooking time.” (I love how dramatic she is.)
  • Speedy Spinach. Whole30 has one idea about Speedy Spinach, and it’s remarkably similar to my beloved Pret a Manger protein pots and veggie pots I get in the U.K. on teaching trips that I always try to recreate when I come back home. They’re so simple it’s silly. Put some spinach leaves in the bottom of a container. Add an egg. That’s it. Drizzle with evoo and salt when you are ready to eat. It is astonishingly delicious for as basic as it is and it’s a million times better than just an egg. The other one I love, the veggie pot, has spinach, hummus, radishes, carrot chips and sprouts, but that’s for post I30. Whole30 has a good spin on it too: spinach in the bottom, when ready add hot food containing meat and veggies over the top — the residual heat will lightly wilt the spinach leaves, creating a super-yum, hearty lil’ bowl of goodness.

HACK: Vital Farms pre-boiled eggs come 4 to a box but individually packaged with 2 eggs, salt and pepper. Eggs aren’t hard to boil, but you do have to peel and stuff… and sometimes, there just ain’t time. And you can count on happy chickens laying quality eggs with Vital Farms. 

  • Veggies on hand. Carrots, celery, snap peas, zucchini, sunburst tomatoes, thick cut mushrooms, watermelon radishes — all great in snack-size ziplocks and ready to roll when you are. Another favorite of mine is to steam a good amount of baby Yukon gold potatoes. So easy to heat up and so divine with evoo drizzled and kosher salt sprinkled. Extra good paired with some asparagus and a boiled egg (and more evoo). I learned of that little trio in Italy. My dear friend made it for me for lunch one day and I’ve been hooked ever since. Molto bene!
  • Chop till you drop. If you are chopping up vegetables, don’t be afraid to chop more to use as on-the-go snacks, recipe adds and quick-dish readiness. The worst that can happen is the leftovers hit the compost (you have one, riiiight???) or your pet rabbit gets treats.
  • The brown paper bag trick. A brown paper lunch bag will ripen fruit and veggies faster than leaving them out. Bananas, peaches, pears and avocados will all fast track in the bag (fast track is about 24 hours to ripen.)
  • Les Onigons et Le Mirepoix. Whole30 suggests teaching yourself how to chop an 90741-mirepoix.jpgonion like a pro with a video… that’s cool. And for about 50 cents more you can buy all that stuff pre-chopped. Fifty cents is worth my hands not smelling and my eyes not watering. It’s also worth the 5-10 minutes it would take me to chop. If you don’t know what Mirepoix is, it’s AWESOME — it’s a chopped up blend of white onion, carrot and celery — the basic staples of bone broth, soups, stirfrys, you name it! Trader Joe’s of course.
  • Speaking of bone broth … For the love of God, get over your Instapot-phobia and just use the damn thing! IT’S NOT THAT HARD. REPEAT: IT’S NOT THAT HARD. It goes like this: put the stuff in the Instapot, put the lid on, hit the button. I’m not trying to be a smart ass. That’s actually what you do. Bone broth is my most common creation — I’ve tried a few other things but honestly my go-to that I use it for the most is bone broth. It’s PACKED with nutrients and minerals. It’s also rich in amino acids not found in meat, and chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, the compounds sold as supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain. As if that’s not enough, since everyone is jumping on the collagen train right now, you will be delighted to know that the soup bones that are used in bone broth include collagen, which is a protein. BB aids in healing leaky gut and regulating digestion, muscle repair and growth, it helps balance your nervous system and strengthens your immunity. You use it all the time in soups and recipes. It’s delicious by itself when you feel crummy. Should I keep going? Go to the grocery store, ask the meat department for some bone broth bones, get the Mirepoix, add all the herbs and water and throw it all in the pot and hit the button. Two hours later, you will be the proud producer of about 6-8 mason jars full of this magic healing elixir.

HACK: Buy your Instapot at Bed Bath & Beyond – www.retailmenot.com will always have a 20% coupon you can use. Otherwise, just ask them for a discount and they will find you something! Plus they have easy returns. 

HACK: Pour bone broth into ice-cube trays and freeze. Anytime you need to fry something up or sauté a pan of wonderfulness, just toss in a cube or two! 

  • My favorite thing of all – Daily Harvest cups! Oh my, nothing makes my heart sing like a Daily Harvest cup. They come shipped to your door in a box lined with protected dry ice. They are flavorful and FAST. Smoothies, bowls
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    Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

    and soups are compliant (they have other things like lattes, sundaes, overnight oats and chia cups but those are for post I30). Dump some of your homemade bone broth if you want a clear soup, or bone broth and coconut milk for something heartier. Add protein (I love to add shredded chicken or pan-seared scallops) Straight from D-H, here is the list of compliant cups:

All of our cups are gluten-free and vegan, and the following cups are also Whole30 compliant being grain-free, legume-free, and free of any added sweeteners:

Acai + Cherry Smoothie
Apple + Greens Smoothie
Banana + Greens Smoothie
Blueberry + Hemp Smoothie
Cacao + Avocado Smoothie
Carrot + Chia Smoothie
Chai + Coconut Smoothie
Chocolate + Blueberry Smoothie
Cold Brew + Almond Smoothie
Dragonfruit + Lychee Smoothie
Mango + Greens Smoothie
Mango + Papaya Smoothie
Mint + Cacao Smoothie
Pineapple + Matcha Smoothie
Watermelon + Cucumber Smoothie

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Cauliflower + Leek Stew
Coconut + Carrot Soup

Chocolate + Hazelnut Sundae

HACK: Use this code to get a free cup with purchase: https://daily-harvest.com/r/RE-D4D7S7K

  • Lightning Fast Foods. Frozen vegetables as mentioned, pre-packaged vegetables (Central Market, Whole Foods and Tom Thumb have exceptional PPV sections), pre-made salsa, guacamole, canned pumpkin, canned squash, canned butternut squash and packaged broth — all awesome. So many wonderful, organic, sugar-free and preservative free options. Just read those labels!

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So I know I have equipped you with a ton of ideas for saving time, but promise me that you will use these tips wisely, not to cut corners or rush through your meals. My hope is that they allow you to spend more time doing the things you love and less time in prep and planning mode. Coming soon: “Weekend Take-Your-Time Recipes” that will take lovely, sweet, drawn out time, that you will, once you eat the deliciousness, understand why the process is SO WORTH IT! Yay!

Have a great day 10! More tips and hacks to come!

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Indigo30 DAY 9: The Traveling Indigo30 Show

d9.pngDay 9! Reason to triumph! Think of all the hurdles you’ve cleared, the obstacles you’ve dodged, the success you have already encountered! Scale? What scale? Who cares! You’re on fire and have your cravings corralled. Bravo! Now let’s tackle some tougher topics likely to be headed your way.

I’ve already had a few panicked text messages, “I have to travel for work this week, what do I do? How will I eat? What if I can’t practice?” Or, “I have a dinner I have to go to, I’d rather not but it’s for _____,” (insert occasion.)

Indigos, I feel your pain. I travel a lot for work as well, and there is nothing easy about maintaining stellar health on the road. Well first of all, don’t panic. There are tips and tricks. And don’t stress. The whole point of this thing is to decrease your stress levels, not create more. So before you go wheels up, let’s take a few minutes and make a plan. You don’t need to recluse into your home and renounce all restaurants. Imagine how badass you will feel when you not only master your food and yoga choices at home, but out in the big wonderful world as well!

Here are a few tips to start you thinking:

Daily on-the-go tips:

  • Plan plan plan, prep prep prep.
  • The glorious, wondrous egg. Boil them and bag them. They are the absolute best in a pinch for staving off ravenous hunger. I literally (this is so weird, I can’t believe I’m telling you this) keep olive oil and salt in my car to drizzle and sprinkle on them for this exact reason… I bet I use it at least once a week!
  • Olives are a really great salt fix. We like the small packets of “Just a Handful of Olives” from Trader Joe’s. Packed in evoo, the fat and the salty flavor always hit the spot. The only bad part? The handful size has to be measured by a toddler. Because one pack is usually just a tease.
  • There are more health food stores popping up everywhere, and even most large grocers are getting on the Paleo/Whole30 train and offering compliant items. You’d be surprised, so alway ask.

Eating Out

The timing of this blog is perfect because just last night I was in one of these classic situations. I had to go to a benefactors dinner for my boys’ school, at a very nice restaurant in town. I sat with some old acquaintances and was having lovely conversation about our children and life. No alcohol was served, which was AWESOME. It’s particularly easy to not drink when there are no drinks. The dinners of course were all the same — salad, beef tenderloin, chicken, veggies and potatoes. I mean, could I ask for anything better? Not really! And…the dressing on the salad surely had sugar in it; the sauce on the tenderloin absolutely had sugar in it; the chicken had a light breading thing on it and the sauce with it had sugar in it; and last but not least, there is no way those delectable mashed potatoes weren’t loaded with cream and butter. So here is what I did — because for me (it may be different for you) no elimination diet is worth making the servers’, who didn’t take special orders in this case, lives difficult. For me, potentially insulting the people who paid for my lovely dinner and that of 100 others isn’t worth it. And mostly, making the people at my table uncomfortable by being an overall high-maintenance princess isn’t my thing. So I took the responsibility for Whole-30-ing my plate the best I could. I confidently passed on all the bread and delightful baked goods slathered in butter with ease. I ate the greens, avoided the dressing coated portions, and didn’t eat the goat cheese and the candied pecans (I wanted to, but I didn’t.) I ate the tenderloin, and just tried to move the sauce off. I ate some chicken and gently scraped the breading off. I had a few bites of the potatoes until I realized that they were not just potatoes. I waved off dessert with a smile and a pleasant, “no thank you.” And then I set my fork down. It was no big deal. I did the best I could.  When given coffee, without thinking, I said yes to cream and the server poured like 1 teaspoon in, which typically I would have laughed hysterically at and asked for the rest of the carafe. But, I didn’t. I had a few sips and it was fine and good. The win here — I remained unoffensive and I ate less than I usually would have at this enjoyable restaurant. When the evening ended, I left without a buzz, my pants didn’t make me feel like a sausage in casing, and it was only 8:30pm, enough time to get home and lucidly, energetically write more thrilling content for you and get to bed by 10:30. I walked the Middle Way in a social scenario with genuine know-how.

Now, this morning I woke up with a splitting headache. So there you go. Thank you sugar laden-sauces that I tried valiantly to SCRAPE OFF. DAMN YOU!

Here are some tips if you are able to have more choices when going out and have the ability to customize your order:

  • You may just have to channel your inner Sally here, and not worry about what the server thinks and order it exactly how you need it. Don’t let them bring you bread just to keep from being embarrassed to say “No bread please.” — I mean, one or all of three things will assuredly happen: you will either eat the bread and feel badly, or you will eat part of the bread, wasting the other part and feel badly, or you will waste the entire thing, letting it sit there only later to be tossed in the trash… and feel badly.
  • Ask what ingredients are in the sauces, spices, soups, etc — do not feel silly asking, a good server will know what the food is made of/with, and a new server will be/should be grateful to learn if they don’t know. Sometimes just telling them — “I’m doing the Whole30 right now (it’s a common term, most everyone knows of it) and I need to have my meal be compliant. Can you help me make that happen?”
  • Skip the charcuterie. Don’t even tempt yourself. Most of the meats are cured anyway, and you could potentially graze the aged cheddar and then it’s game over (because that stuff is delicious.)
  • If you are a pork eater, here is a good tip: always ask if the pork is pastured pork, sourced from a local farm that treats their pigs well. It’s a reasonable question. My vegetarians are poking holes all over that statement, but listen, it’s a topic that infiltrates our food industries all over this country. My kid even did a huge project on how horribly our chickens are raised. That’s what prompted us to raise our own chickens!th-3.jpeg
  • You can always sub out anything grain-based or legumes (polenta, pasta, rice, beans, quinoa, etc.) for vegetables or salad. If your’e feeling innovative, you could browse the pasta sections and see if any of it could be made to put over greens. Again, maybe sounds a little unusual, but it’s not unreasonable!
  • Check out this Whole30 Restaurant Survival Guide Podcast on Real Food with Dana
  • Practice. The more you do this, the less daunting it is. I find that if I help the server help me, they are often really interested to know more about it!

Traveling

I’d like to tell you this is easier, but it can be real tricky. Airports, restaurants, hotels — and if you travel internationally, the lure of trying new things and being adventurous is one of the best parts! So dcc48b7e78918f5c_shutterstock_154420184.jpg.xxxlarge_2x.jpgtruthfully, I do not recommend doing the I30/W30 on an international vacation-trip. JUST ENJOY IT WITH NO WORRIES unless you know for sure that certain foods leave you helpless in the bathroom. Remember, W30 is a reset — so it’s best not to schedule it when you are jet-setting off to Paris for your 10th wedding anniversary. The good news is that most of the tips I’m providing in this blog work well when you travel afar, too. Have your emergency snack kit on you: snacks (include some with protein), water, tea bags, Doterra Peppermint Beadlets (sold at IY, online or from a rep). Or, do what I do when I get to my destination, which I find fun and interesting — go grocery shopping! When I go to London to teach several times a year, one of my very favorite things to do is hit up M&S , the Borough Market or Waitrose and stock up my little hotel room with compliant things and personal U.K. faves. It can truly be something to look forward to.

Now, yoga. What to do if you are on the road:

Surprise! If you are traveling, you can still do yoga. You can do yoga anywhere! It may seem like it’s not the same, but even just getting down on the floor at your hotel and doing some sun salutations, a headstand, a pigeon and some spinal twists IS BETTER THAN NOTHING. But, if you can, search out the following:

  • I have some videos on a site called Mat2Mat — they are old (filming class videos is just something I’ve never really had a calling for) but, they will work. There is a 20, 30 and 60 minute lesson on that site. There are plenty of other teachers on Mat2Mat as well. Another great class subscription site that I personally use is YogaGlo — many master teachers, wide variety and they are constantly updating.
  • Get yourself a travel yoga mat. They are light, can roll or fold, and will remind you to take a few and stretch it out. I prefer the Lululemon’s lightweight “Un” Mat but image.pngManduka also has a great travel mat that we sell at the studio. You can fold it easily and that is sometimes better for packing than a long rolled up mat.
  • If you prefer an Indigo-like experience, look for Baptiste Affiliate Studios all over the country and the globe. They will greet you with open arms when you say you are from Fort Worth/Indigo!
  • If there is no Baptiste Affiliate a look up “heated vinyasa yoga” in whatever city you need. There are studios on every corner these days — there is sure to be something where you are going!
  • And like I told one of you this week who is traveling, if all else fails, go down to the sauna or steam room and crank out a few sun sals in there. I have been known to do that on many an occasion myself, and it ain’t bad.

Finally…

If you do have a vacation planned, get real with yourself. Is it worth it to stay on the Whole30? It might be. Gelato in Italy, fish tacos in Playa, pan au chocolate in France … gosh. These are not things to pass up. These are some of the most beautiful experiences in life if you are lucky enough to have them. So, if you decide to take a break, be prepared:

  1. Depending on where you are in your program you may have healed and changed enough things about your health that off-roading may lead to discomfort. You may need to pack Advil and Tums and be ready for a mighty hangover.
  2. Like I shared above, if you do go off-menu a little, don’t go head first. Make the best choices you can, and eat off-menu items in moderation.
  3. If you decide to partake in adult bevs, be sure to hydrate. Your system and brain are not used to it anymore and will react more quickly. Yes, congratulations, you have become a lightweight! The upside – it’s cheaper!
  4. Be prepared to come home from your trip not feeling 100% — you may return feeling tired, bloated and yuck overall. But guess what you can do? Start over. Because you know this stuff works and it’s always here for you.

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No matter what happens, I can’t stress enough that you should never feel your program is a failure. If you complete this thing even having learned one new thing, then it is a success. And I am certain you will have learned many new things. I mean, how will you ever forget all the crap you learned in the Poo Blog?

Keep going.

B

Indigo30 DAY 3: Whole30 v. Paleo v. Keto

So many diets, so little time.

Welcome to Day 3. You’ve triumphed through two days of no sugar, no alcohol, no beans, no grains and no dairy. BRAVO! Give yourself lots of back pats today, my friends. You have trekked up the mountain a good distance; basecamp is just barely in sight.

All the literature about the Whole30 says this is one of the toughest days. And we’ve been talking quite a good bit about what is going to be difficult so far, to prepare you. So instead of continuing to shine a light on what’s hard, let’s divert our attention to something that is of interest to many of you: the difference between Whole30, Paleo and Keto. But before I dive into the battle of the diets, I want to give you just a little bit of Indigo30 motherly love. Today you may feel pretty rough. So if you can, go easy on yourself. If a nap is anywhere possible for you, take one. When you get on your mat, downshift a gear, take a few extra child’s poses. If there’s a chance at a longer savasana or as we call it at Indigo, “extended rest,” then seize the rest. Your body is detoxing, quite literally. It is starting to heal from the damage done by your old less-healthy food choices and perhaps an inconsistent yoga practice. Acne, rashes, fatigue, digestive distress, mood swings — all normal. Not fun, but normal. You may even feel like you are coming down with something. Again, normal. But, don’t reach for the saltines; drink some club soda or sparkling water, lie down for a bit, have some bone broth to comfort or some peppermint tea to soothe. It’s all going to be okay, pumpkin!

So now let’s learn something today. I want you fully and excitedly equipped with useful information from this program.

A popular question of late is, “What is the difference between Whole30, Paleo and Keto?” All three approaches have gained worldwide momentum, and it’s a great topic to break down so that you know which works best for you.

Obviously you are choosing Whole30 now, but knowing about Paleo and Keto for later may suit you in a lovely way for the long term. All have distinct similarities, most notably that they are low-carbohydrate approaches to nutrition. Keto is structured to be extremely low-carb. Paleo and Whole30 are just naturally low-carb because they eliminate all processed food, grains, and refined sugars, which are naturally carbohydrate-dense. All three approaches encourage a move toward clean, whole food eating and educate followers on the importance of knowing where their food came from and what is in it.

The best way to understand each is to examine what you can or cannot eat and some of their specific nuances.

PALEO

The Paleo diet focuses on eating whole, healthy, natural foods, avoiding (but not necessarily eliminating forever) inflammatory and processed foods. Paleo takes out foods like breads, flour, rice, corn, other grains, legumes (including soy and peanuts) and dairy. This approach is particularly good long-term for people who have gluten sensitivities, celiac, and/or wheat and nut allergies. Refined sugars are also eliminated on the Paleo diet, but many recipes use maple syrup, honey or stevia to sweeten. Alcohol, although obviously not encouraged in quantity or consistency, is not off limits.

Paleo is notorious for having amazing recipes with all-natural, compliant ingredients that mimic typically “unhealthy” food; you’ve probably all heard about the infamous Paleo Banana Pancakes, or the muffins, or my personal favorite, the Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (sorry, I know that’s painful to read right now.) Because of the flexibility and modifications Paleo offers, many find it to be the most suitable approach long-term.

WHOLE30

The Whole30, first and foremost, is a 30-day elimination challenge, or reset. It is not a diet and it is not meant to be done nor is it really even realistic to do long-term. The Whole30 eliminates sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy and legumes. At the end of 30 days, a “reintroduction” allows you to determine which of the 5 groups mentioned above cause you sensitivities. The Whole30 takes Paleo a step beyond by not allowing any kind of “SWYPO” (you can to read the Whole30 book to find out what that acronym means) or imitation/modified versions of junk foods, baked goods and treats. The Whole30 (and Paleo) do not restrict food intake, or track/count macros, calories or carbs. It discourages the use of the scale and encourages the acknowledgement of “non-scale-victories,” or NSVs.

The Whole30 is most certainly restrictive and “all-in,” which is a really great approach for those who are wanting and willing to drastically clean house and pinpoint food reactions and intolerances. It’s motivating, it teaches followers to think differently about food, it has a remarkable global community and is an overall great reset.

(Can you tell I’m partial?)

KETO

The Ketogenic Diet, or “Keto” diet, can be considered the strictest of the three options. It is a strict low-carb, high-fat (let me be clear — high “good fat”) approach to dieting and most specifically, weight loss. The goal of the diet is to achieve, by way of diet, a state called nutritional ketosis. In ketosis, your body shifts from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning from fat reserves (simply because there aren’t enough carbohydrates to fuel your metabolism.) It requires significant carb restriction and a significant increase in fat consumption. Many low-carb diets are high-protein and low fat, but Keto is high-fat and moderate-protein. img_0019

One specific differentiator between Keto and Whole30/Paleo is the tracking of macros (daily intake of carbs, fat and protein) or following a detailed meal plan to keep your carb count in the 20-50 grams per day range. Some keto dieters also test their levels of ketones with urine strips. Keto can help people become very aware of how many carbohydrates they are consuming, but because of the restrictiveness and the diligence of macro tracking, it can be difficult to maintain long-term.

In Conclusion

Now you know the difference. In a nutshell, one is a reset (W30), one is long-term (Paleo), and one is primarily for weight loss (Keto), although it has a lot of other great benefits too; however, it is neither a reset nor an easy long-term approach given it’s strict and restrictive nature.

And — you may find something really useful and helpful in all three approaches, perhaps using each of them at different times of the year depending on your needs and desires. I know many people who adopt a little or a lot from all three for custom blend that works great for their needs and lifestyle. Often I hear, “I’m about 80% Whole30 about 80% of the time. The rest of the time I’m more Paleo. And like 2% of the time, I have a cupcake. And I love it.”

I love that approach. Even though the math doesn’t actually work, I still love it.

The great news about all three is that they encourage us to eat unprocessed, whole, natural foods, educate ourselves about that food and inquire with ourselves on our relationship with it. Great news indeed.

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Brooke’s Besties!

RECIPE: My infamous “Tajin Almonds”

I was taught this recipe from a dear friend who lives in Monterrey, Mexico. Her housekeeper made these for us when visited a few years ago. She gave me a handful and said, “Try these, you are going to die.” And I did. I’ve shared them with every Indigo30 group since then, and they have become a signature snack and best kept Indigo30 secret!

Ingredients:

Raw Almonds, Orange Juice, Lemon Juice, Kosher Salt, Tajin Seasoning (available anywhere)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with non-stick tin foil. I always get a big bag of raw almonds at Costco (best price, great quality). Dump them all in a big bowl and pour orange juice over until they are barely submerged. Then add some lemon juice (I don’t have exact quantities, the housekeeper just told me, in Spanish, what was in them, I watched as she made, and I have since guessed!) Let the almonds soak for about 3 minutes. Don’t soak any longer or they will get too soggy. Drain the juice by straining. Return almonds to the bowl and thoroughly coat with kosher salt and Tajin. Stir up really well. Line the baking sheet and bake for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, gently turn over/around the almonds (add more seasoning now if you want!) Return them to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Let them cool. As they cool, they will get crispy again. Best stored in glass jars. ENJOY!

And, keep going.

B

Indigo30 DAY 2: Your brain on Indigo30

“The only way out is through.”

My teacher, Baron Baptiste, has been quoted to say many things. But this is probably in his top five. And nothing could be more true. You probably read in the books, and saw on the calendar that today is Day 2, but it’s Hangover Day 1. And for most of us, we know what that means; the only thing that will make it better is time. It may seem like more of what you used to eat would make everything better, but if we are using the analogy of a hangover, then we know where more of what’s not good for us eventually leads…

I know that may seem dramatic, but the parallels are not that far off. Reaching for food to numb out, to self-soothe, to distract, to fill a void — these are not new concepts in any realm of addiction. And even if you know nothing about the topic, you do know that the only way out is through. So this is where you have to dig in deep, and find the fighter within, and not cave to the crave.

As I have mentioned before, this program is about a lot more than food and meal planning. It’s also about education. So to understand the stripped down basics of what’s happening neurologically on Days 2-3, let’s look at how the brain forms a habit.

Humans — our brains, actually — do not like uncertainty. Even reading the word, uncertainty, probably makes you feel a level of stress. To deal with this anxiety, the brain will begin looking for something — a cue — that gives it a sense of pattern. A cue is a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and choose a habit you have already formed. It could be the time of day, the route you drive, the way a co-worker speaks to you or it could be breaking up a fight between your kids for the millionth time. It could be the grade you get on a test or if/when your partner texts you, “Good Morning!” After imageyour brain identifies the cue, then it has a routine, which can be emotional or physical. The time of day — hearing the alarm, for example — is the cue, and the routine, perhaps, is to moan and groan and hit snooze, even though you know that hitting snooze will make you late. The brain isn’t stupid… it’s only doing this routine bit for one thing, and that is a reward (in this case, more sleep and the potential satisfaction of being able to complain about having to get up). A reward helps your brain figure out if the whole song and dance is even worth it. Worth what, you ask? Worth remembering. 

As time goes on, this “habit loop” becomes default; it becomes so automatic that no actual consideration on our part at all is needed. The cue and the reward become so enmeshed that something new is created — anticipation. And from that anticipation comes craving, and not just a oh-yum-thats-good craving, it’s an I-NEED-THIS-NOW craving. And, eventually, a habit is born.

This all sounds kind of bleak. But remember — just like most things in life, there are usually two sides to things. There are good habits and bad habits. All habits can be changed, ignored or replaced. It’s important to understand the loop — the process behind how a habit is formed — so you can be more aware when one is forming or … as you will discover today, tomorrow and maybe even on Day 4 … when you are letting one go. What will be a game changer for you is a basic truth about how your brain works: when a habit is created, your brain takes a break. It literally stops fully participating in decision making. It says, “Oh cool, her habit has this. I’m going to go focus now on the stuff that isn’t automatic.” So unless you deliberately break a habit down, like you are going to do today and maybe even for the duration of your Indigo30 by experiencing and adopting new routines, the pattern will simply be your default. Knowing this about yourself will ultimately make the habit easier to control. Knowing this means you now have the keys to the kingdom. So the bigger question is, will you use them?

The first thing you can do is just acknowledge where you are. “The amount of suck you are feeling today is in direct proportion to the amount of junk you ate before your Whole 30 began…” (Melissa Hartwig, Whole30 Day by Day). And, “the amount of suck you may feel in your yoga practice is in direct relation to the amount of junk you ate before your Indigo30 began, and the amount of time you did or didn’t spend on your mat before your Indigo30 began.” (Brooke Hamblet, Day 2 Hangover Blog). So here’s the thing … either beat yourself up about it and waste a bunch of time or just don’t. Cutting yourself down is a habit too, and one that is not doing a bit of good for anyone, anywhere. There is absolutely nothing inspiring about self-deprecation or self-beat. In fact, it just makes everything harder and more uncomfortable for you and those around you. So, the second thing to do, instead of throwing the pity party and the flirting with the give-ups, is say this to yourself:

“Self, you got yourself here. Now it’s time to climb out, and on the way out, PAY ATTENTION: there are lessons everywhere.” Like this one: your “hangover” is actually a miraculous transformation — it is an absolutely normal and expected experience as your body starts to transition from being sugar-dependent to being a fat burning power machine. image.pngAnd what’s even better is this: it won’t last forever. So if you feel terrible, you have two choices: you can either complain and be a victim to it, or you can realize that your body is actually HEALING ITSELF. Then you can talk to your brain and say, “Brain, listen up. I’m not playing your BS habit game anymore. I’m onto you, and guess what, I’m not feeding your dumb loop any longer. You either take care of the good loops or we will have to go through this all over again UNTIL YOU GET IT.”

One last thing. Melissa Hartwig mentions, in the Whole30 Day  By Day Journal, that “habit experts say the key to staying motivated and feeling rewarded by your efforts is setting small mini-goals — achievable daily goals that give you the feeling of a ‘win.'” This, my friends, is the magic of the star chart at our studio. That little sticker is not just a sticker — it is a badge of success. And it’s not just the sticker that is the win;  it’s the action of putting the sticker on the chart, where others can witness your hard work — that makes the sticker so powerful. If it works for you at Indigo, have one at home (you can get them at any hobby or teacher supply store, or make one — or have your kids make you one!) that helps you take the program one day at a time, not 30 in one gulp. Small wins every day add up. That is how you build a healthy loop with a healthy cue, a healthy routine and a healthy reward: a lifetime of strength, vitality and inspiration. And by the way, your kids (even the ones who aren’t yours) are watching you and your habits. Make them proud.

Keep going.

B

Indigo30 DAY 1: The Three R’s – Rules, Recommendations and REVIEW.

Day 1: What do I eat? Why do I eat it? Is it a hard rule or an overall recommendation?

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Sep-W30-share-post-4-300x300It’s here! At long last, the first day of the rest of your life! (It’s fun to be dramatic about it.)

I think you are ready. I think you have been ready all along! However, readiness sometimes requires review, so today, let’s be great students of the program and review the rules and recommendations. Grab your Nutpod-laden coffee, and have a seat for a minute. Let’s review this thing one. more. time. Because this first week you are going to experience a lot of shift. The more you know your map, the more you can navigate the pot holes.

I AM FOLLOWING THESE BASIC PROGRAM GUIDELINES:

  • No added sugar or artificial sweeteners
  • No alcohol
  • No grains
  • No dairy
  • No legumes
  • Yoga for 30 days
  • No recreating baked goods, junk foods or treats (not even Paleo goodies)
  • Stay off the scale (and no measurements, either)

WHY I AM ELIMINATING THESE FOODS:

Because they do not meet the four good food standards, which are to:

  1. Promote a healthy psychological response.
  2. Promote a healthy hormonal response.
  3. Support a healthy gut.
  4. Support immune function and minimize inflammation

WHY I AM DOING YOGA FOR 30 DAYS:

  1. Because people go places in groups they won’t go by themselves.
  2. To strengthen, stretch, detoxify and empower my physical body.
  3. To strengthen and sharpen my mental focus and discipline.
  4. To regulate my emotions and hormones.
  5. To create a healthy habit.
  6. To increase my vitality and energy.
  7. To support my friends and make new ones.

RECOMMENDATIONS (NOT HARD RULES):

  • Limit snacking – your call, ultimately. Just watch when and why.
  • Limit fruit intake – remember, it’s still sugar, but it’s your call.
  • Limit dried fruit and nut bars. Are you just trying to re-create a candy bar? If so, it’s your call. If not, it’s your call.
  • Try as hard as you can to buy organic and grass-fed. We know this can be hard and expensive. Just educate yourself. And it’s completely your call.
  • Homemade is ALWAYS best. It’s not always possible, so it’s your call.
  • Limit smoothie consumption. Read my blog! And then it’s your call.
  • Starting over if you accidentally ate off plan or missed yoga – this is your call.

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BROOKE’S BESTIES – some of my favs!

RECIPE (one of several, but this one reigns) — Grilled Coconut Curry Chicken, Whole30 book, pages 230-231image.png

GADGET The Egg Central by Cuisinart

YOGA TIP Add in a child’s pose after upward facing dog to pace yourself throughout the practice – remember, you have 30 days of daily yoga in front of you – it’s like a marathon. Don’t sprint out of the gate! Slow and steady WINS THE RACE. 

MOTIVATION (by Portia Nelson)

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Keep Going!

B

Indigo30: T-1. This is it!

Are you worried? Are you nervous? Are you excited? Are you ready?!

I hope that all the things we have done in the last week have adequately prepared you for tomorrow and the next 30 days. We have learned that the Pre-Program Meeting and the week of preparation is vital to the success of the program. If there is any lingering questions or concerns, we are here for you!

IMG_3297No matter what you’re feeling, on this day before go-time, I hope you smile and laugh and realize you are one lucky rascal, to have the time, resources, mentorship and opportunity to do the Indigo30. No matter what it took to get here, you are here now, and your canvas is blank. Your path is clear. You are worth this investment, this commitment. You are worth my pouring into you, all the things I’ve learned over the years. You are worth the support of this loving community. You are worth another chance at taking control of your life — one of greatness and strength. You are worth a massive triumph, a big win.

Today my message is short and sweet. After you read this, sit down, close your eyes and let gratitude wash over. Feel your feet and your hands and your heart beat beneath your chest. Let your nerves remind you that you are alive and that you care deeply about your what you are doing. (This is actually called “meditation,” but we can talk about that more later. For now just “sit and breathe and smile.”)

Then, get your butt to yoga. Do not put it off until tomorrow. Jumpstart this sucker. Show ’em WHO’S BOSS.

I will see you at the start gate TOMORROW!!!!

GAME ON!

BIMG_3309

 

Indigo30: T-2. The Great Smoothie Debate

The rubber is about to hit the road … you’re two days out from your official Indigo30 Launch. You have your shopping tackled if not at least planned, you have some ideas on hand, and you have loads of people cheering you on. So let’s take a moment and look at some of the sneakier sides of the program. I have found that over the years, one of the hottest topics of debate is the SMOOTHIE.

Why would I dedicate an entire blog to the innocent little smoothie? That sweet little pick-me-up, that delicious little day-saver, that wonderful little blend of 100% compliant, nutritious ingredients?

Well, because the hardline/bottom line is that they are not encouraged on the Whole30. But before you smoothie-lovers ask for a refund, let me tell you the why. And then, I will give you some things to consider before you are free to make your own, educated choices.

As I mentioned in my the “It’s Not All About Food” blog yesterday, food is a very sensitive topic. We can be totally confident that people who find the Whole30 have done other nutrition programs, diets, crash diets … probably all of their life. A lot of their focus and likely their main goal will be weight loss. In many cases, they equate their weight with their self-worth and many, if not all, of their decisions are dictated in some way by what they eat, how much of it they allow themselves to eat, and the resulting weight gain or loss. This is very real for a lot of people. It’s also safe to say that there are a fair amount of people who live with this way of operating on a somewhat of a “low-grade” level. Perhaps it doesn’t dominate their thoughts, but it is always there, informing food decisions and our self-worth grade on any given day.

This all brings me to the why behind the “we’d rather you didn’t” answer in the Whole30, when participants ask about smoothies. Whether they are for snacks or breakfast or even meal replacement.

“This is a very popular question with a very unpopular answer. Smoothies (generally made using a lot of fruit) are technically compliant on your Whole30, but we strongly recommend against them. Food that you drink sends a different satiety signal (more on satiation and satiety in a later blog) to your brain than food that you chew. So when you drink your meal, your brain isn’t getting the feedback it needs to tell your body that you’ve eaten — and you get hungry again fast, even though you just ingested plenty of calories (mostly from sugar). Plus as they are generally fruit heavy, a breakfast smoothie sets you up for cravings, hunger, and volatile energy throughout the day. In summary, skip the smoothie, especially for breakfast.” – Whole30, page 72.

Okay, you have to admit. This makes sense, and I bet we can all agree on these points. So truly let them distill before you decide to keep your morning smoothie run routine on deck during the Indigo30. Additionally, part of the commitment during these 30 days is to allow ourselves to be educated in new ways — to set aside all of our old patterns for just 30 days in order to see if something proven to be a healthier actually works better for us. Part of that commitment is to take a month and learn to appreciate real food, how it tastes, the satisfaction you get from preparing your own, and most of all, learning to see that the food we eat fuels our bodies and brains for work, exercise, parenting, communication and overall vitality.

And on the other side of the coin …

We lead incredibly busy lives. And there will be times when you may end up going all day without eating because you don’t have something prepared and waiting for you, or you are running from one kid drop off to the next meeting to the next errand, back to pick up the kids and off to baseball practice (or something like that) – and you look up and realize, you have had nothing except black coffee all day. I have gone days where I even do have plenty of things prepared but have been so busy that I didn’t even get to them until I was literally starting to see stars. In these cases, especially if you are still on deck to get to yoga class, I say, if it’s an option, swing by Clean JuiceJuice Junkies, or Boulevard of Greens and get something that is made W30 compliant. Don’t you dare walk into a hot yoga class not having eaten a thing all day! A smoothie will digest quickly so that you don’t have reflux during class. The point here, is to not make it a habit.

What you always have to request when ordering is that there is NO SUGAR added. Occasionally there may be a smoothie made with oats, but those are pretty rare. Keep the rules about the protein shake in mind though: almost all protein powders contain off-limit ingredients like whey, casein, soy, pea protein, rice bran and added sweeteners. We aren’t talking about formulated or processed meal replacement shakes right now, but it’s still worth mentioning that they are always off-limits and just kind of horrible in general because, well, they are processed. They all include off-plan ingredients like pea protein, rice bran and stevia. On this note, make a wide circle around Smoothie King. I know the kiddos love that place, but it is a sugar factory. I jokingly call it Sugar King!

The bottom line is this: we are trying to teach ourselves to eat in a really solid, healthy way and create better patterns for ourselves. If you have had emotional struggles with weight and food, then I highly encourage you not to replace meals with smoothies or juices. Meal replacement and fasting is not what we are doing on the Whole30, and will not meet your Good Food Standard of promoting a healthy psychological response. But if you feel strong in your emotional relationship with food and find yourself simply on the run and calorie/nutrient deficient, then fuel your machine fast with something from one of our trusted juice partners.

As your leader of this thing, you may think I have it all together and do it all perfectly and with no struggle. Oh that is so not true.

I was a gymnast growing up. So I stayed pretty fit and active as a kid. Then in the fourth grade and sprouted up to be the tallest kid for at least 2 years. I quit gymnastics because I was too tall and just kept getting hurt, which just led to being scared to do it at all. Although I was an athlete all through high school, playing volleyball in the winter and golf in the spring and summer, sports soon gave way to, for me, work. I worked full time, every day after school and every weekend as a junior and senior in high school. In college I also worked full time to get myself through and pay for it — three jobs. (One of which was waiting tables at a Korean restaurant, so I can tell you about kimchi ALL DAY!) I was not only taking a full load of classes but was President of my sorority, which, contrary to likely belief, is a lot of work. My adolescent life, starting at 14 (you can work and drive at age 14 in South Dakota), became a model for the rest of my life. 60-70 hour work weeks are average for me. And there have been many years where nutrition and working out just didn’t make the priority list over making rent and paying tuition. Weight gain crept in and on, and even though my height managed it somewhat, I always had that 10-15 pounds on me that didn’t feel good. The worst was when someone would say, “You are just a big girl!” (gnassshh) Fatigue was my worst enemy, even though I knew most of it had to do with my food choices, not just that I was busy. I say that like it was in the past — I still spar with it from time to time. When I am worried or stressed, overwhelmed or feeling alone in the world, I continue to work at a mad pace – and – I drink too much creamy, sugar-laden coffee, eat on the run (I won’t eat fast food, but I also won’t take the time to really think about the true nutrition of what I am eating), crave sugar like a fiend, and tend to make “winding down” more like “WINE-ing down.”

So I get the challenges here. I’m not immune just because I’m the Indigo lady and a Whole30 coach. I’m right here in it with you. But what I do know for sure is that the more I learn about it, the easier the decisions become. The more I take the time to understand my own triggers and patterns, and learn tools for resetting versus reacting, the less I fall into the traps of the last 44 years. Transparency and willingness are key.

If you have to have a smoothie, have one. It’s not a deal breaker. It’s better than my grande breve latte with 2 pumps of peppermint and 2 pumps of vanilla. Baby steps forward all day, my friends. Because even though they are small, they are going in the right direction.

Keep going.

B

Indigo30: T-4. Meal Planning & The Middle Way

You eat 84 times a month. That’s 84 times you may get stuck without a plan, and 84 times you might reach for a latte and a cake pop instead.

Some of you are planners; you plan every moment of every day, and are not very happy when life skews off of your checklist. Others of you are tumbleweeds, rolling along and adapting to whatever turn or bump comes your way. Most of us are somewhere in between, shifting around between OCD and whatevs. All of us probably want to be better at finding that middle road — having a plan, not feeling unprepared, but fluid enough to be able to adapt if needed. That is really the heart of this program and what our goal is not only with our nutrition, but with our yoga; to find the Middle Way. One of my teachers, Tias Little, says this: “The Middle Way is a place free from extremes, extremes that polarize, isolate and cause imbalance.”

Free from extremes that polarize.

One way I can help you safely and comfortably walk down the middle of this program is by teaching you to think ahead with enough enthusiasm that you aren’t left having to be a victim to your reactions.

A wonderful tool I have learned to use is a platform called RealPlans, a partner of the Whole30. I really continue to be blown away by this company – not only do they have live support to answer pretty much any food question you can imagine, their meal planning software educates, organizes, checklists, inspires and graduates you from flailing overwhelmed newbie to power-shopping chef. There is just no reason at all one should ever feel at a loss for what to make, unless you are just plain feeling lazy, (which we all do sometimes.) But even then, so many of these recipes make more than needed so leftovers can seriously save the day. There’s even a filter for “freezable” dishes that you can make in quantity and freeze for those times when you can’t rally your inner Julia. There’s an app, there are downloadable shopping lists, there’s even a live chat link that you can use if needed. And with your RealPlan, you even get an hour-long tutorial on how to use the platform. If you think something like this would help you stay organized and excited about meals, check it out here.

But again – it’s important not to go so overboard with this that you have ALL 84 meals planned out for the next month… because no one cooks three meals a day for 30 days. You don’t want to buy too much and then have life come up, only to waste good, fresh food. Pace yourself and be reasonable with your shopping and ambitions – remember – the Middle Way!

Some other great tips for shopping include:

  • Don’t shop when you are hungry. Cardinal grocery shopping rule #1.
  • Since you’re in the pre-program clean out days, make a pantry inventory list of the things you do have, so you don’t accidentally buy double. This list could be saved in your RealPlans platform!
  • If budgeting is a concern for you, use cash only for your grocery purchases. If you have a budget and you run out of cash, then it’s time to get creative with what you have and the recipe resources on hand. You can put in the ingredients and items you DO have on hand at home into the RealPlans site, and voila! It will crank out recipe options for you in seconds.
  • Remember – this is not a Pinterest contest (although Pinterest is beautiful, flirtatious suckhole of about a million Whole30 shopping tips and recipes) – you will find that the simpler you cook, the faster you will come to create the habit. Simple routines will become your best friends.
  • Buy your meat in bulk – Costco is truly your go-to here for bulk meat. They carry USDA Prime and Choice Grade beef. (USDA Prime is the best beef and not sold in many places.) Keep your freezer stocked AND set reminders on your phone to lay it out to thaw in the morning so it is ready to cook when you get home.
  • Take pics of your shopping cart, so you can stay inspired, share with others, and remember some of your great finds. As a group we will all discover so many new things together, that’s most of the fun!

Above all, remember this: nothing will happen if you don’t “get it right.” I was having a lovely conversation with a student tonight after yoga class, who was somewhat fearful that she may not get parts of it right. I reminded her that no dark angel will swoop down and doom you to an uncertain demise if you miss the mark. The worst thing that will happen is that you’ll probably just end up with gas. So rest easy, Indigos. Your character is not being questioned. Your life is not at risk. It’s just yoga and food. Let yourself stroll down the middle of this beautiful little road, taking in all the nuances, learning new things and exploring new spaces, knowing that none of us are going to let you fall into the ditch.

Keep going.

B