On Saturday I ran my first half marathon, the Dietz and Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon. Not only was it my first race of that distance, it was also my first run of that distance, and I’m so glad I chose my new home as the setting.
For a less blurry version, click the word “course” below
The course was fantastic. The hills were few and far between, and we got to see so many of the city’s unique neighborhoods. People lined the streets with signs and noisemakers to cheer on the runners, and it truly invigorated both my soul and my body. Some fans would even read my name on my bib and shout, “Go, Emily!” My favorite fans by far though were my dad and sister, who were waiting about half a mile from the finish line. Seeing them gave me just the adrenaline boost I needed to make that last stretch my fastest. The Gatorade jelly at mile 11 probably helped, too.
As for my time, I had set a goal of finishing within two hours, which is just over nine minutes per mile. During my training though, I realized this was a modest goal. My average speed, even for 8, 9, 10-mile runs was trending higher and higher, and it seemed the colder it was, the faster I ran. So crushing my initial goal on race day was exciting, but not unexpected. My official finish time was 1:52:50, or 8:36 per mile. At most points during the race, I felt like I was flying. Between the competition and the cheering fans, I was motivated to push my body harder than ever before. My mantra was if it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you, which I read on a middle-aged female runner’s t-shirt a month or so ago. I have been changed (for good. . . Wicked, anybody?) and now I’m on a quest to find my next challenge!
My friend Maddie and me with the so-called Revolutionary Runner after the race
Last night’s culinary creation combined one new recipe with two old ones I picked up while on the Whole30 for a tasty dinner with Latin flair.
These chimichurri chicken drumsticks are, according to Greatist
, one of Whole30 Co-founder Melissa Hartwig’s 11 favorite recipes
. When I cook chicken it’s usually breasts, but these drumsticks, after marinating in chimichurri and spending the last few minutes in the oven under the broiler, simply can’t be beat. I use the chimichurri recipe from the Whole30 book, then cook the drumsticks at 375 degrees for about 55 minutes. Sounds scrumptious, right? But wait… there’s more! I use the Whole30 ranch for dipping! Melissa (Hartwig, keep up!) drizzles it over her chicken, but I found that unless I dunk my ‘sticks, the dressing slides right off. These are full of flavor, but I recommend saving some chimichurri and recoating the chicken if you plan to heat up leftovers; after a day in the fridge, the sauce kind of soaked in.
The new recipe I incorporated was plantain chips. I found this
particular recipe on Pinterest. I tried two different seasoning combinations for comparison: salt and pepper and sweet and spicy. The recipe says to bake your thinly-sliced plantains at 400 degrees for 16 to 20 minutes, flipping them after eight. Since the chicken was in the oven, I used the toaster oven for these, and they took a little less time and a little more monitoring. After about 14 minutes, I had tasty chips as addictive as any you’d find in the store.
One plantain made about a serving and a half. Only problem is they did not store well. I kept them in a Tupperware container overnight and when I went to serve them tonight with my leftover chicken, they were no longer crisp or flavorful. I plan on making them again, but I’ll have to be hungry enough to eat a whole plaintain’s worth at once.
Overall, this was a meal I will make again. Even if Mom asks where the green vegetable was.
I did something today I don’t think I’ve done since before my Whole30. I snacked between breakfast and lunch. The worst part about it is I bought something from the vending machine at work with very little, if any, nutritional value. Animal crackers.
I figured they would do less harm than a bag of greasy chips or empty carb pretzels. I haven’t restocked my desk drawer with healthy snacks yet, and I got hungry a good two hours before I planned on taking my lunch break. I’ll chalk it up to an earlier than usual breakfast and one that contained less protein than it should have. I had sweet potato toast topped with a single egg, strawberries and almond butter. I should’ve added the salami like I’d originally intended. I have to remember that my Whole30 breakfasts always kept me full until lunch, whereas what I ate before the Whole30 usually did not, most likely because of minimal protein.
Well folks, I think it’s quite ironic that on my last day of the Whole30 I felt bloated for most of the day and had a myriad of zits on my face, but así es la vida, as my high school Spanish teacher used to say. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. After all, neither of those symptoms is something I’ve struggled with before or during the Whole30.
But enough “oh woe is me;” I did it! I went 30 days without consuming any grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol or added sugar! I didn’t doubt that I could do it, but I’m proud of myself nonetheless. I really didn’t even miss the things I couldn’t have too much, which is good considering I still have a 10-day reintroduction period ahead of me.
As has been a recurring theme with my recent posts, I don’t feel all that different than I did before I started the Whole30. I’ll spend tomorrow taking inventory of any non-scale victories and weigh myself to see if there’s been a change there. But if you remember, what I was most hoping to take away from this is something I can’t test until I regain my food freedom. Once my reintroduction is complete and I can eat whatever my heart and tummy desire, I’m immensely curious to see which foods I gravitate toward.
More than anything else, this experience has taught me how to know the difference between hunger and cravings. If I feel like eating something but the thought of having, say, chicken and vegetables doesn’t sound satisfying, it’s probably a craving and will pass. If I determine I’m truly hungry I should opt for a mini meal that contains at least two of the three macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs).
Thanks to the Whole30, I’ve gained a new, healthier relationship with what I put in my body, and I hope it lasts well beyond the 30 days it took to acquire.
With just six days left of my Whole30, I think now would be a good time for reflection. Many of you have asked me how it’s going, and my answer has been a lukewarm “fine” or “pretty good.” The thing is, I’m well past the difficult days, but I don’t feel much different than I felt before I started. I can’t deny that I snack much less than I did pre-Whole30, and I now eat to satiety, or fullness, at every meal. But I still sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. And I haven’t gone for a run recently (thanks to Old Man Winter’s late arrival) to see whether my stamina has increased. So I guess what I’m saying is, I feel kinda jipped of the so-called Tiger Blood phase the majority of Whole30ers experience.
That being said, I’ve really enjoyed trying out new recipes and can honestly say I have not grown tired of the food I’m eating. Here’s a sample of a few of my favorite meals. As always, if you want a recipe, just ask!
Scrambled Eggs Over Sweet Potato Hash
Banana and Egg Bowl Topped With Coconut, Apple and Almond Butter
Chimichurri Chicken With Seasoned Kale Chips
Coconut Shrimp With Cauliflower/Broccoli Rice
Today marked two weeks since I started my Whole30, and it was notable for several reasons. Around the two-week mark is when most people doing a Whole30 start to feel the negative side effects subside, and when I woke up this morning I felt more refreshed than I have in a long time. Despite having difficulty falling asleep last night (thanks to a late afternoon coffee), the second my alarm went off at 6:45, I was alert and ready to start my day.
An even more fascinating phenomenon that occurred, and another that is common around this time for Whole30ers, is I had my first dream about off-limit foods! If I weren’t doing the Whole30 it would have been inconsequential. I dreamed I was eating Fritos and dunking them in assorted dips. It’s bizarre because I can’t even tell you the last time I ate Fritos (why choose Fritos over Cheetos?) and because my friend Taylor told me a few days ago that when she did her first Whole30 she dreamed about DORITOS, which she rarely eats! Anyhoo, I viewed this dream as a rite of passage, and I hope tonight brings something sickeningly sweet to my dream tummy.
My tummy IRL is happy because I made pie tonight… shepherd’s pie, that is. The recipe comes straight from the Whole30 book, but I’m going to repost it here. I can’t say I’ve eaten a lot of shepherd’s pie in my life, but I was drawn to this recipe because it’s a one-pot meal and because I haven’t yet used ground beef as my protein source on the Whole30.
Here’s what you need:
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and large-diced
- 4 cups cold water
- 4 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee (the ghee I used has coconut oil in it)
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped (I plan to use two next time to double the vegetable count)
- 1 pound ground meat (I used beef)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme (or use a sprig of fresh thyme, but I didn’t)
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano (or use 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, but ditto)
Ok, I decided I’m not going to post the recipe because it’s a lot to type, and my “L” and period keys are broken. That being said, if you want the recipe or want to fix my broken keys, just comment below or send me a message.
We need to talk about buns. Not that kind of bun, and not the bread kind either. The Whole30 cookbook has recipes for buns made of mushroom caps and slices of eggplant and sweet potato.
Photo of Buns Taken From the Book
Tonight I decided to try a sweet potato bun to complement my turkey burger. After all, when I make turkey burgers, which is pretty often, I tend to make oven-baked sweet potato fries as a side. So this wasn’t going to be a far cry from my pre-Whole30 go-to dinner.
I think I might’ve cut the sweet potato slices too thick. The recipe says to shoot for 1/2-inch, and mine were closer to 3/4-inch. So when they didn’t get soft after three to five minutes per side in olive oil, I wasn’t that surprised. I transferred my not-bun to the toaster oven, set it to 425 degrees and then made the turkey burger, and by the time that was done, my bun was soft! And once topped with meat and veggies (and a dollop of homemade mayo), it made for a BEAUTIFUL burger.
Don’t hate me cuz I’m beautiful
And then this happened.
I’m hideous! Don’t look at me!
Yes, after just a couple bites, my masterpiece fell apart. What’s the point of a burger if you have to eat it with a fork?! Where my Whole30 people at? Does this always happen? Is it me or my buns???