Gearing up for a Bear Family Whole30: Welcome 2017!

Happy New Year!

Yes, it’s that time of year again…out with the old, in with the new. The time for gym memberships and diets. The time for resolutions and promises and goals and dreams.

For the Bear Family it’s also time for another Whole30. Well, I guess the title is a little misleading. We certainly aren’t going to make Baby Bear adhere to a Whole30, although it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he did one with no trouble whatsoever. I have the blessing of a young one with an incredibly versatile palate – he eats smoked oysters and pickled okra and baby octopus and brussels sprouts…yet he runs away screaming when I serve cooked cherry tomatoes. Go figure.

Welcome-to-January-Whole30-blog-header

Anyway. Judging by complete lack of discipline and utter flakiness when it comes to this blog, I am going against the 2017 resolution grain and absolutely NOT making any outlandish statements I’m unable to keep – such as, “Oh, of course I’m going to blog about my Whole30 meals every day and keep an extremely detailed diary of my thoughs and feelings and sleep and tiger blood and yay!”

Right. I think we all know that’s not going to happen.

However, what I am going to do – for personal accountability more than anything else – is post my “If/Then” statements, as well as a couple of my standard Whole30 go to meals. The Whole30 program recommends taking a look at the next 30 days (or whatever 30 day time period you intend on completing your Whole30) and brainstorming every “off plan” occasion that might pop. Then you write an “If/Then” statement to create a plan of attack so you are prepared if or when that situation occurs. For example:

IF we don’t have enough time to eat dinner before wrestling practice, THEN I will pack a healthy “mini meal” to eat at practice instead. (example: chicken slices, carrot chips, green olives, apple slices)

IF Baby Bear wants to order takeout on a night when Papa Bear is that work, THEN I will make myself dinner at home and order something for the young one only.

IF we end up traveling or we are on the road when mealtime hits, THEN I will encourage my family to make good choices for food (ie. stop at a grocery store to hit up the salad bar instead of getting fast food) AND we will always have the following emergency snacks in our vehicles:

– epic bars or chomps snack sticks

– almond butter packets

-larabars or RX bars

– homemade trail mix bags

IF we go out with friends or out to eat as a family, THEN I will order club soda with lime and make the best food choices possible:

– steak, veggies, plain baked potato

– salad with no dressing (watch out for off-plan ingredients!!)

– bun-less burger with no cheese or ketchup, side salad instead of fries

 IF we have family come visit, THEN I will plan to cook a nice meal at home instead of going to a restaurant:

Roast Chicken and vegetables

Build your own burgers with oven baked potato wedges

Turkey sage meatloaf with butternut squash and roasted brussels sprouts

I suspect that statements 1 and 2 will end up happening more than anything else. Because wrestling practice is at the worst time possible it’s impossible to plan an actual sit down dinner, and by the time we get home I don’t want to feed Baby Bear a super huge and heavy meal, so we stick to smaller, easy, snacky things. (Full disclosure: this has manifested itself in the form of hot pockets for Baby Bear and usually something like a quesadilla for me.) By having a game plan for these occasions already in mind, I’m hoping I’ll be able to make Whole30 conscious choices and not fall face first into a McDonalds happy meal. (Or if I’m being honest with myself, a cookies and cream milkshake from Chil Fil-A. Those things are my kryptonite.)

The other thing recommended by the Whole30 crew is to have a list of easy meals that can be thrown together in 10 minutes or less, with ingredients that you always have on hand. It took a while for me to come up with a working list but that’s mostly because it’s been so long since I focused on meal planning and keeping good food on hand. We have been going out to eat A LOT lately. Once I got thinking about the things I normally have on hand, however, it became pretty easy:

Whole30 Go To Meals:

1. tuna with mayo or ranch dressing served with lettuce, cherry tomato, and banana peppers

2. zucchini “comfort noodles” with prosciutto

3. chicken strips with homemade ranch, baby carrots, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, pickles/olives/okra

4. Egg Salad over mixed greens

5. HB egg, cherry tomato, and avocado

6. deli turkey or roast beef roll-ups with mustard, red pepper, and spinach

7. Shrimp stir-fry

That’s literally a full week’s worth of dinners I can make with things I always have on hand in the kitchen! If you’re interested in my previous Whole30 experiences or want to learn more, check out my Whole30 archives and hop on over to the official Whole30 website.

Anyone else doing the #JanuaryWhole30? Good Luck! 

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Whole30 Day 13 – Give Thanks to the Lord

Give thanks to the Lord, Our God and King
His love endures forever

Psalm 107:1

This morning I woke up thanking God – despite being ridiculously tired, despite wanting to roll over and go back to sleep, despite the trials Kevin and I are going through right now…despite all of that, I thanked God this morning. Because when you really break it down – we’re not on this Earth to be happy and carefree all the time. Ever since the fall of Man in Genesis 3 there has been sin and trials and tribulation in the world. We are going to have hardships. We are going to have struggles. We are going to go through things that make us want to cry out to God, “why have You forsaken me?” But the thing of it is….He hasn’t forsaken us, nor will He. He is always with us, His love endures forever, and He is simply waiting for us to remember how to have faith.

L.B. Cowman writes in his devotional book, “Streams in the Desert,” You will never learn faith in comfortable surroundings. God gives us His promises in a quiet hour, seals our covenants with great and gracious words, and then steps back, waiting to see how much we believe. He then allows the Tempter to come, and the ensuing test seems to contradict all that He has spoken. This is when faith wins its crown. This is the time to look up through the storm, and among the trembling, frightened sailors declare, “I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me” (Acts 27:25).

Wow. How awesome is that, right? How strong (or weak) is my faith when God steps back to see how I’m going to handle what Satan throws at me? When I read those words it was like a light went on over my head. Everything I’m going through isn’t because God hates me or is mad at me or has forsaken me. I’m going through it because I need to remember to believe. To have faith. To let everything go and rely on God. On my Savior. On my Healer. On my Deliverer.

Amen, and amen.

I’ve decided to postpone my Day13 eats for later today. Right now I want you to close your eyes, relax, give thanks, and have faith in the One who loves you more than you will ever know. Have faith that He is there.