whole30: week 4 meal highlights

I DID IT!  I made it through a Whole30 successfully and I couldn’t be more proud of myself!

I’ve lost weight and inches off my body, learned a heck of a lot about discipline and self-control, and experienced more health through food than I ever have before.  Coupled with my Made to Crave devotional, I’ve been seeking (and finding!) self-control and peace in my food choices by being disciplined to follow the Whole30 plan and obedient to God. More on all that in a separate post–for now, see below for what we ate, most of which came from Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed cookbook.

Sunday morning breakfast: A giant egg-veggie scramble topped with pickled jalapeños and salsa, with a sweet potato ‘bun’ and some almond butter.


Post-church lunch at Wegmans:  A spinach salad packed with shredded zucchini, yellow squash, beets and carrots, and sides of fruit, chipotle cauliflower and braised beef.  Dollop of gauc.


Monday breakfast: leftover chicken, one fried egg, veggies and guac and a clem.


Monday dinner: OMG.  Every part of this meal was absolutely delicious.  I made Mel Joulwan’s ‘the best chicken you will ever eat’ as well as her ‘creamy and spicy kale.’  They were both fantastic recipes, and ones I’ll be making again.  Served with roasted WHITE sweet potato fries.


Tuesday breakfast: leftovers!  Chicken and kale, and the last of the sweet potato buns with sunbutter and cinnamon.


Tuesday dinner: Egg Foo Young!  Another Mel Joulwan goodie, I prepped everything the morning of and simply make the ‘pancakes’ and stir-fried the veggies once I got home from work.  Topped with her spicy secret sauce and a clem.  Andrew and I were both a little non-plussed with our first few bites, but as we continued, we both agreed that this dish truly grows on you.  By the end, we were wolfing them down.


Wednesday breakfast: leftovers!  The previous night, I’d made a comment about how I didn’t think I’d like Egg Foo Young as a breakfast, but just like the flavor grew on us the night before, that morning I thought it sounded delicious.  I sautéed some fresh veggies with the last of the stir-fry sauce and called it breakfast. Last of the delicious creamy kale on the side.


Wednesday dinner: Meatza Pizza!  This dish was equally easy, delicious and unique.  Basically, you season some beef and pre-cook it as the crust, top it with seasoned tomato paste and veggies, then bake again.  Very fun and flavorful.  I would definitely make this again.  Another Mel Joulwan goodie.


Thursday breakfast: a simple 3-egg scramble with a banana topped with almond butter and cinnamon.


Thursday dinner: Mel Joulwan’s ‘Bora Bora Fireballs’ (meatballs made with jalapeños and pineapple), with roasted asparagus and a fried plantain. Fried plantains are so fun.


Friday breakfast: Melissa Hartwig’s Chicken Hash!  I’d been dying to make this recipe from the day I saw it in the Whole30 book, and with just 2 days to spare in my Whole30, I did.  Sweet potato, apple, kale and chicken.  A little hot pepper flakes for kick, although I might go easy on those next time and add cinnamon.  So good.


Friday dinner: Andrew was at taco night with the men at church, so I was on my own.  I hadn’t had eggs for breakfast that morning, so I decided an egg-veggie scramble with avocado and bananas and cinnamon sounded good.  Eaten on the couch watching Grey’s Anatomy.


Saturday dinner: My last Whole30 meal!  We ate at a friend’s house, so I brought a giant salad and topped it with the meat they were offering–ham and turkey.  So simple and so good.


Buffalo News Refresh Blog – April 2016


Try These Dynamic Food Duos to Boost Your Health

by: Holly R. Layer

You’ve heard the phrase ‘two heads are better than one,’ right? Well, there are certain pairs of nutrients that work better together in our bodies than they do alone. Read over the following dynamic duos and be sure to pair them for best results!

Calcium + Inulin = better digestion, strong bones

Inulin, which is a type of fiber, both increases calcium absorption and promotes healthy bacteria in the GI tract. Calcium is found in more than just milk and yogurt; the mineral is found in canned salmon with bones, almonds, kale and broccoli. Inulin is found in artichokes, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, bananas and whole-wheat flour. Tasty Team-Up: Whole wheat banana muffins made with yogurt, or make a salmon salad with plain greek yogurt, dill and chopped onions and asparagus.

Calcium + Vitamin D = strong bones

Vitamin D must be present in sufficient levels in the body to promote absorption of calcium, which is why a deficiency of the vitamin can lead to softening of bones. Pair sources of Calcium (above) with salmon, light tuna, sardines, egg yolk or fortified milks. Tasty Team-Up: Cooked fish and broccoli, or a two-egg omelet with cheese and kale.

Vitamin E + Vitamin C = better vision

Vitamin C helps make the Vitamin E (which helps prevent macular degeneration) you eat more ‘available’ in your body. Vitamin E is in almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and soybeans. In addition to citrus, Vitamin C is high in bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes. Tasty Team-Up: Add wheat germ to pancake mix, top cooked pancakes with peanut butter and sliced strawberries.

Iron + Vitamin C = increased energy

Iron carries oxygen in red blood cells all over your body, which helps prevent fatigue. Vitamin C helps iron from plant sources be absorbed in the body. Find iron in meat and eggs, as well as spinach, oatmeal, tofu, quinoa and beans. Tasty Team-Up: Cook quinoa and mix in orange segments, chopped bell pepper, black beans, drizzle with olive oil and orange juice.

Vitamin K + Fat = healthy heart

Healthy fats (monounsaturated and omega-3’s) help us lower our cholesterol and absorb certain vitamins, like K. ‘Good’ fats are all kinds of nuts, olive oils and avocado. Vitamin K is high in greens (spinach, chard, kale), broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Tasty Team-Up: Halve Brussels sprouts and roast with olive oil, toss onto a kale salad with walnuts and dried cranberries and balsamic vinaigrette.

Vitamin A + Fat = good skin

Vitamin A is another vitamin that needs fat to be absorbed in the body, and it promotes healthy immune and reproductive systems as well as clear skin. Sources of beta-carotene (which turns into Vitamin A) are orange fruits and vegetables, like carrots, apricots and sweet potatoes, as well as kale and spinach. Tasty Team-Up: Toss spinach leaves, shredded carrots, cubed cooked sweet potatoes and chopped avocados with olive oil and lemon juice.

Zinc + Sulfur Compounds = better immune system

Zinc plays a role in wound healing and a healthy immune system, and sulfur compounds found in onions and garlic increases the body’s absorption of the mineral. Whole wheat, brown rice and legumes are good sources of zinc. Tasty Team-Up: Cooked brown rice tossed with chopped garlic, onion, black beans, tomatoes and green peppers dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.

BONUS: Mitigate Your Mistakes!

Too Much Salt, Have POTASSIUM

Perhaps you had a canned soup for lunch, or Chinese take-out for dinner. Both of these meals are very high in sodium, but by eating potassium-rich foods, you can lessen the effects on your blood pressure. Lots of fruits and vegetables are high in potassium, but the best are spinach, sweet and white potatoes, kale, Brussels sprouts, winter squash, artichokes, bananas, grapefruit, apricots, avocados and beets. Fish, milk and yogurt are also high in potassium. The Fix: Pack a banana along with a low-sodium canned soup for work, or make your own stir-fry at home and load it up with veggies.

Too Much Bread, Have VINEGAR

Just 2 teaspoons of vinegar can help lessen the rise in blood sugar after eating foods high in carbohydrates. If you have or are at risk for diabetes, consider adding a bit of vinegar to each meal with lots of carb-y foods, like breads, cookies and crackers. The Fix: Use a vinaigrette on your salad or as a dressing for cooked chicken.

Adapted from a Nov. 17, 2011 Women’s Day article by Joy Bauer, RD.


Holly R. Layer is a Registered Dietitian and provides nutritional counseling to students at Buffalo State College, and teaches fitness classes at the Southtowns YMCA. She has a B.A. in Journalism from Penn State and a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from Buffalo State College. She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related.  An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy.  Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive!  In addition to writing for the East Aurora Advertiser, you can find her at www.thehealthypineapple.com.



whole30: week 3 meal highlights 

Happy Monday!  I can’t believe I’m already into my LAST WEEK OF WHOLE30!  This month has flown by.  When I started this journey, I secretly feared how hard it might be, or how long it would feel, or how much I would hate it.  In reality, this month has sailed along and I feel better than I ever have in my life, all because I’ve been giving my body 100% real, healthy food.  It’s incredible, folks.  And I was a relatively healthy eater to begin with (or so I thought).  Imagine how good YOU might feel if your diet and exercise routine aren’t the best…

Here’s a recap of what I enjoyed last week!

Sunday morning: bacon (!!!), eggs, veggies and Sunshine Sauce to dip!


Sunday lunch: Andrew and I wanted to enjoy the weather outside, so we hit one of the only places in town with (open) outdoor eating: Wallenwein’s Hotel.  I chose an antipasti salad (without cheese) and was able to make the leftovers into two lunches!  Seltzer and lime to drink.


Sunday night’s pork tenderloin and salad was a HUGE home run with Andrew.  Seasoned pork topped wit walnuts, kale and spinach greens with roasted sweet potato, apple, red onion and homemade balsamic dressing.



Monday breakfast: leftovers!  Pork on salad – yum!


Monday night dinner: homemade bangers (seasoned sausage patties instead of store-bought links), mashed sweet potatoes with a little coconut milk and caramelized onions. OMG.


Tuesday breakfast: salad with two poached eggs and leftover mashed sweet potatoes with almond butter.  I *almost* felt guilty eating the mash and almond butter because it tasted like DESSERT.


Wednesday night dinner: taco salad! Browned beef over greens with homemade pico de gallo, black olives, green onions, avocado and pickled jalapeños.  Fried plantains on the side!


Thursday breakfast: a quick clementine and two hard-boiled eggs.


Not pictured: Friday night dinner out at Riley Street Station. Chicken Marsala with green beans and baked potato.  Delicious.

Saturday morning breakfast: leftover taco meat sautéed with greens, topped with scrambled eggs and other taco fixin’s.


Saturday night dinner: Fiery jalapeño burgers with sweet potato ‘buns’ and homemade (baked) French fries and broccoli. Burger and bun recipe from Practical Paleo.


Later that night, Andrew and I decided to grab a Redbox movie and some snacks.  He’s totally abandoned the Whole30, but I stuck to my guns and was pleasantly surprised at what kind of ‘compliant’ snack items I could find.  I’ve been dying to have an excuse to spend $5 on a bag of seasoned pumpkin seeds to top salads, so I chose the spicy version, which didn’t have added sugar.  The freeze-dried fruit clusters seemed almost too ‘candy-like’ to me, so I only had a couple.  I was also able to find roasted coconut flakes dusted with cocoa!  No added sugar or oils!