I did (not do) a Whole 30!!

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I have been wanting to do a Whole30 for a couple years now, but the timing was never right, and there were always things I didn’t think I could give up. Coffee with cream and sugar, and cheese were my main concerns. And oddly enough, those were the least of my problems, as from the title, you can probably see that I didn’t complete the program. My timeline went something like this.

Day 1 -SO EXCITE!! I am DOING THIS!! Went to the grocery store to shop for stuff and learned 1. All bacon has sugar in it. 2. Most EVERYTHING ELSE has some form of sugar tucked secretly away in it and you have to be a detective/scientist to successfully grocery shop. What have I done?

Day 2 -What do you mean I can’t cook with wine or soy sauce or Worcestershire? Literally everything we cook has either one or the other. Not cooking with wine is stupid. The alcohol is all cooked out so it’s basically juice and juice is allowed. Fuck you guys, I’m cooking with wine. And soy sauce. I’m not buying your stupid $10 coconut aminos. It’s a racket and I would bet money there is a conspiracy there that I don’t have time to dig up right now. I can give up the Worcestershire. I can’t even pronounce it properly anyway.

Days 3-9 were a blur of exhaustion, emotions, painful headaches, inexplicable constipation despite eating LOTS of fruits and veggies, and wondering why I am even doing this. I had no “why.” The friend I was doing it with has great “whys” which certainly make it easier to stick to the program. My only “why” was “something to do” and maybe weight loss, but weight loss is never supposed to be the focus of the program.

Days 9-13 were a roller coaster of feeling amazing and full of energy, to feeling literal exhaustion to the point of falling asleep in the middle of the day and still needing to go to bed at 930, and continued headaches. I also couldn’t exercise like I usually do because I felt so drained, which led to more ‘why am I doing this?’These days the program also started to affect the rest of the family and I could tell my “diet” was a pain-in-the-ass for everyone around me, even though it didn’t really affect them. When people are eating yummy food and having adult beverages, having someone around who is abstaining from those things is annoying—even if the person isn’t making a display of it. Everyone can just feel it. Also, Lonnie does a LOT of the cooking for the family and he is watching his carbs and mostly sticking to whole foods as well, but having to know and cook by the whole30 rules was a stressor he was not enjoying.

So I decided to ‘kinda’ stop. I say ‘kinda’ because I am just going to loosen up a bit but still stick to no processed foods. I also won’t go back to putting sugar and cream in my coffee. I actually like the cashew-almond milk I’ve been using and it has more calcium than milk. This morning I was worried I would go off the rails with food knowing I was done with Whole30, but when I got on the scale for the this morning (weighing yourself is not allowed on whole30) and saw that I’ve lost 9 pounds, any of those concerns went out the window. Excited to learn to live my life mostly eating this way and keep seeing the weight come off and my energy come back!

Confession: I did eat a big cookie today while working at the hospital. And you know what? It was too sweet and I felt gross afterwards for couple hours. There is something to this thing for sure! Healthy food! WHO KNEW!!??

Also…. I haven’t even missed the cheese I was so worried about.

I like big spicy butts aka How to make Pork Carnitas

Caution: THIS RECIPE IS A PAIN-IN-THE-ASS. If you don’t actually enjoy cooking and spending time in the kitchen, you will hate this unless you can get someone else to make it for you.

We became addicted to carnitas in Mexico, and waiting for a year between eating it is not an option. Hell… we barely make it a week before we make it again. It’s even whole30 friendly only by using riced n’ spiced cauliflower instead of my usual rice bowl. Or a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla.

THE MEAT:

It HAS to be a butt or a shoulder. Trust me. Sale prices have encouraged us to try every cut out there. Butt is my favorite. I like big butts and I can not lie.

Cut your butt into 2″ish chunks. Season with salt and pepper and brown em up REAL good. BROWN them up. not GREY them up.

If you are totes adorbs like Lonnie and I and are cooking as a couple, while one of you browns the meat, the other can make the sauce.

Into the blender goes:

Juice of 4 limes, 2 oranges, 1 lemon

1 onion

2T cumin

2T chili powder

1T Mexican oregano

1t (or more if you like it super spicy) cayenne

Note: Sometimes we use 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce instead of the cayenne, or we use rehydrated guajeo peppers, but we live in Maine and finding the dried peppers called for in so many recipes we want to cook has been next to impossible (Yes. I know we could just order some.)

Spread your browned meat into a 9×13 or roasting pan. Pour the sauce all over it and squish it all around. Cover and bake low n’ slow, about 3 hours at 250.

At this point, you have 2 options. 1. Uncover, turn the heat up a bit and cook it more to reduce the liquid or 2. (Which is what Lonnie always does) Transfer it into a REALLY BIG frying pan to cook down the liquid. Your goal here is to cook down the liquid enough to then brown/caramelize the meat so it gets some DELICIOUS CRISPY BITS! It’s nearly impossible to do this with all the meat at once –in our kitchen anyway, so we usually cook down the liquid all in one giant pan, and then as we serve, we crisp the meat up in a separate pan.

THE WORST PART IS OVER!!!  You now have several days worth of AMAZING carnitas to use in rice bowls, tortillas, with your eggs for breakfast… whatever your is your jam. You do you, man!

Lonnie’s jam: Corn tortillas, and garnished with red onions pickled in red wine vinegar, pineapple, radish, and cilantro (This is usually how carnitas are served in Mexico. He’s a purist)

My jam: Rice bowl (or currently– a riced, seasoned (onion powder, salt, cayenne, cumin, chili powder) cauliflower bowl), topped with guacamole, radish, maybe some scallions. Sometimes (when I’m not whole30ing), I go with the typical, shredded cheese/sour cream/guac business/black beans and corn business that Chipotle has taught us to love.