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 servings 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.
Do 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. I 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?
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:
||Chili Powder Blend
|Chinese 5-Spice Powder
||Four Peppercorn Blend
|Garlic Sea Salt
||Herbes de Provence
|Pumpkin Pie Spice
||Seasoning Sea Salt
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.
- 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!
- 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…)
- Chicken livers: Nothing will ever make me eat these things, so I will just past the baton to Melissa Joulwan once again … try her crispy spiced chicken livers, chopped chicken livers, or aromatic chicken livers.
- Bone marrow: Buttery, and well paired with a dairy-free pesto. Make sure it comes from grass-fed, organic bones, and check this Mark’s Daily Apple article for cooking instructions.
- Grass-fed beef heart: I really can’t believe I’m adding this, but I’m pulling it from a newsletter because, hey! Adventure! “An elderly retired country doctor said, ‘Beef heart and liver from grass-fed animals were two of the most important organs for maintaining excellent health—and one should consume with enthusiasm for longevity.’ Order from your local farm or US Wellness Meats, and check this grilled, marinated beef heart recipe.”
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..