6/05/2017

Whole 30: Week 5 | Continuing After 30 Days with Model Meals Prepared Food

I had mentioned last week that I might continue for another week of Whole 30 just because I hadn't been as strict as I wanted and also because I had a fresh delivery from Model Meals! You guys. This was a game changer. First of all, Model Meals served ONLY Whole 30 compliant meals. That means whatever I ordered off their menu was going to be a perfect fit for this way of eating. It was a no brainer. After weeks of visitors, it was so nice to just have the meals delivered and not even have to think about how to make it Whole 30 compliant. All the hard work was done for me. The team at Model Meals allowed me to order whatever I wanted from their menu (which changes weekly so you never get bored) My mom was visiting me from last week so I ordered doubles of most meals so that we could share. 

I got zoodles (zucchini noodles) with beef meatballs, deconstructed chicken pot pie, breakfast hash with eggs and sweet potatoes, and bacon asparagus frittata! I also ordered a steak salad that was so fresh and colorful - it was almost too pretty to eat! (Speaking of too pretty to eat -- look at the edible flowers included with the frittata below!) My mom and I still went out to eat so we didn't finish all the meals so I just froze them. So perfect and easy.



Check out the ingredients in that bacon asparagus frittata. So clean! And I love that Model Meals listed on their label that it does NOT include grains or dairy, refined or added sugars, legumes or soy, alcohol, GMOs or harmful additives and preservatives. It's just so, so perfect. 
If you're in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend ordering from Model Meals. (Check out their Instagram stories for behind the scenes of their kitchen - love that!)
Ordering was super easy and convenient - I just checked their website for the weekly menu, picked what I wanted, added to my cart and it was at my door Sunday night around 7pm.
I would suggest that you order early in the week though because the first time I tried to order on Friday (for Sunday delivery) and almost everything was sold out! 


Ohhhh, I forgot to mention - I also got Monkey Bites. Chewy delicious little balls of dates and bananas, coconut and nuts. The perfect treat to eat while being on Whole 30! I seriously couldn't be happier with Model Meals and will definitely order again! (I can't believe I didn't take a picture, but honestly they were done and dusted approximately 30 seconds after I received them....)

Thankfully Model Meals took care of most of our meals during the week so sticking to Whole 30 was a breeze. It's amazing what a difference it makes when you don't have to even think about what to eat. But my mom and I did go out to eat and again that takes preparation and willpower and all the things that got stronger during the past month I was doing Whole 30.

We went to Orange County to visit family and went out to a Mexican restaurant right on the water (so beautiful!) I ordered fajitas so that was easy -- just ate the meat, grilled veggies and salsa with no tortilla. But true confession time, I did have a few tortilla chips with guacamole. Oh man it was delicious!


And then we rode the ferry from Newport Beach to Balboa Island. So Cute. I couldn't get over that little seaside town! And Balboa island is known for their frozen banana treats so of course I ate one of those #sorrynotsorry

To recap, my experience with Whole 30 was amazing. I did a little Q&A on last week's Week 4 post so check that out if you have more questions about Whole 30. In general, I think this way of eating makes the most sense for me so I plan to continue a modified version!

If you have more questions about my experience, feel free to leave them below or DM me on Instagram and I'll do my best to answer them.

You can read about my entire month + on Whole 30 by checking out the series here.

Thanks for following along!!

Have you done Whole 30? Tell me about your experience!



5/30/2017

Whole 30: Week 4 | How To Survive, Will I Continue, Weight Loss & More!


Last week was my final week of Whole 30! I made it! It's no secret that the past few weeks were up and down for me. Again, that was because of the myriad of social commitments and visitors that I had. (Check out my full recap of my entire month of Whole 30 here.)

During week 4 I felt a little more at ease because I didn't have any visitors so I was able to catch up and meal prep. Meal prep is an absolute life saver. I could tell my body was craving simpler foods after a fun (but high-intensity) week of entertaining my cousin. So most nights of the week, I stayed in and cooked at home. I had lots of veggies (all organic! brussel sprouts, cauliflower & green beans) from my Milk & Eggs order. (Use code maebad for $15 off your order of $30 or more!) So I sautéed lots of different veggies in ghee and made chicken as well.

One night I was really craving breakfast for dinner (which doesn't happen that often) so I took full advantage and made 7 minute eggs (soooooo good! the perfect jam consistency) I used Vital Farms eggs (the only kind I buy! also from Milk & Eggs) I also fried up some nitrate-free bacon (omg, another amazing find from.... you guessed it: Milk & Eggs) then I sautéed brussel sprouts in the leftover bacon fat!! See photo above. #gamechanger 

Like I said, I took it pretty easy throughout last week so I was able to rest and catch up on sleep. I was supposed to have a delivery from Model Meals this week but by the time I got around to ordering, everything was sold out. So the team at Model Meals let me switch to the following week. So while my Whole 30 journey has officially come to an end, I'm going to continue this way of eating for another week because my Model Meals order came this past Sunday and it's an entire week's worth of meals that are Whole 30 and paleo compliant! I'm so excited to have food ready to go in the fridge! I'll share a full review of Model Meals next week!



So what's next? What happens after you complete Whole 30 and you change your eating habits for an entire month? Do I feel different? Did I loose weight? Will I continue? These are all questions that I've been getting through DM on Instagram. 

Does Whole 30 Really Work?

Let me address a few basic things. First of all, what does that mean: "does it work?" Work how? It's going to be different for everyone. Some might want to loose weight. Others might want to clear up their skin. For me, it's not a matter of does it "work" because that's so hard to measure. It's not a fad diet, it's a lifestyle change. I definitely felt very different! I could tell on the days that I wasn't 100% compliant or didn't thoroughly check ingredients, I could feel it. I was a lot more tired and puffy. Overall I would say eating a Whole 30 diet made me feel a lot better. I had more energy! As far as weight loss, I don't know. When I started my health and wellness journey last year, I decided this wasn't going to be about weight. This is about my health and wellness. Period. So while I do think I've gotten leaner from following Whole 30, I don't know about exact numbers.

The Next Steps?

As far as continuing with the Whole 30 lifestyle, my answer is yes. Kinda. As I've said throughout this entire month, it's hard to eat this way when you have a full social calendar. It takes a lot more planning and discipline. But as I've researched tons of different ways of eating and thought about how they all affect me and my body - I think this makes the most sense. Added sugar is bad. I truly believe that. I've seen people on Instagram claim that it's not, but from everything I have read - it's a deadly substance. So Whole 30 says you must cut it out. That's so logical. Grains and gluten are bad. I believe that too. So Whole 30 says you must cut it out as well. When you think about Whole 30 from a very logical standpoint, everything makes perfect sense. So why not continue? I understand the reasoning behind not having "treats" or desserts but I do still plan to have them occasionally. Again, with the cleanest ingredients possible. All of this to stay, I believe in this way of eating and lifestyle. 


What Am I Adding Back Into My Diet?

I plan to continue Whole 30 as closely as my social life will allow. But that doesn't mean I'm going to go out and eat chocolate cake and pasta everyday. That just means I'll allow myself a little more flexibility. And cheese. I'm definitely going to eat cheese again. Dairy doesn't affect me very badly. I know it causes inflammation, but I do not drink milk or creamer (I use DIY cashew / almond milk in my coffee) and I do love cheese so I plan to add it back into my routine in moderation. The other thing I might add back in is legumes. I don't eat a ton of them but I do occasionally have lentils for breakfast. I need to research more on legumes and the effect they have on the body so stay tuned. I may change my mind!

I hope this entire Whole 30 series was helpful for you all! A lot of it was my rambling thoughts and random notes throughout the week but I wanted to share it all so that you could get an honest perspective on this Whole 30 lifestyle. Overall, I think it's great and I will be incorporating aspects of it from now on. 
I would love to hear from you. 
Have you done Whole 30? What did you learn? 
Please share in the comments below and catch up with my entire Whole 30 experience here.



5/22/2017

Whole 30: Week 3 | The Hardest Week Yet + Finding Balance

I wish I had a better report for you, but Week 3 was H A R D. 

People often ask me: Is Whole 30 hard? My answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no. Whole 30 is not hard because it's some crazy and unrealistic diet, in fact in relation to other lifestyles it's quite the contrary. I think it's a rather reasonable way of life. Well, I should say, I think it's reasonable most of the time. If you read my recap post of Week 2, you may think that I was singing a different tune. And honestly, I was. I had so many social activities that I wasn't sure how sustainable this would be. But then this past week I was researching a keto lifestyle / diet and let me tell you -- THAT is strict. (Not going to stop me from doing it though....) So anyway, all this to say, in comparison to other "diets" - Whole 30 is easy. You can have fruits and alllll the vegetables. (I'll do a keto prep post soon, but basically no fruits! and no sweet potatoes!)

So what keeps making Whole 30 so dang hard for me is external factors like guests visiting and events. This past week my cousin was here visiting me and we had the best time! I loved having here, she's like my little sister but it's hard to entertain and also stick to Whole 30. I didn't go completely crazy, but honestly I didn't pay strict attention to making sure everything was 100% compliant.



We did a lot of touristy things and the coffee shops were the easiest to navigate while on Whole 30. I either got cold brew coffee and added my own homemade almond milk or I just got an iced tea like these from Intelligentsia in Silverlake. So good.

Our meals were of course a little trickier.
One night we had Thai food. I had yellow curry, which thankfully did not come with rice. And it was made with coconut milk so I think I'm all clear there. We did go to sushi one night and I got a California roll. I took off as much of the rice as I could but there were a few pieces of rice still stuck on it. You know what, I ate it anyway. We also had Persian food which was easy -- I just got grilled beef kabob with no rice. So that was fine. And one night we had burgers at Shake Shack and again easy -- because I had it wrapped in lettuce instead of bun. But I ate fries! I mean they're potatoes. I get it that fries are against the philosophy of Whole 30 but I consciously broke the philosophy.

I think that's the thing with lifestyles and diets. I understand that it helps tremendously to change your mindset as well. But part of that healthy mindset is balance. And I believe it's also about making conscious decisions about what you're putting in your body and how it's affecting you.

So anyway, I'm not going to call Week 3 a total bust, but just a mediocre week.
I'm so excited because for my final week of Whole 30 (I might actually extend one more week to make up for Week 3, but we'll see...) I'm partnering with Model Meals to have a bunch of prepared meals delivered to me! Ready to eat! Whole 30 approved! I CANNOT WAIT.

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I have loved getting to know Lindsey, the owner of Belcorva. She shared with me that Mae is a very common name in her family - how fun is that! Also, I encourage you to check out their Instagram and read Lindsey's story. She lost her younger brother and is honoring him through her company. (I also lost my younger brother so we bonded over that as well.) I'm so lucky to be able to connect and support other female entrepreneurs through my social media channels. So special. 

Save 10% on your Belcorva purchase by using code MAEBAD

I hope that you'll support Belcorva! Their leggings are so cute and *affordable*! 
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You can enter to win the giveaway below. Good luck!


5/15/2017

Whole 30: Week 2 | No Desserts! Parties & Events, What I Ate + My Experience

Well....Week 2 was hard! Not because of the Whole 30 program necessarily but because of several external factors. First of all, I had a lot of lunch meetings! And a lot of events that revolved around food! It was tough to resist temptation.  (If you haven't yet caught up with my journey and how to prepare for Whole 30, start with the recap of Week 1 here)

The beginning of week 2 started out with an easy breezy lunch meeting. I got a spinach salad with strawberries, pine nuts and salmon. I verified that the balsamic glaze didn't have added sugar and I was good to go! So delicious.



I had been craving sugar though. Well, just dessert in general. I was starting to feel a little sick from all the meat and veggies. You know how you just feel heavy after a meal? I felt like I wanted something to cut the taste. So I decided to sauté an organic apple in Fourth & Heart Vanilla ghee, added some almonds and golden raisins and topped with Barney Butter sugar free almond butter. It was PERFECT. Exactly what I was craving and just hit the spot. I had that for dinner one night early in the week. Well sure enough, I got a ton of messages from you guys that it's not technically Whole 30 compliant. I just couldn't understand why all the ingredients individually were Whole 30 compliant but mixed together they were not. So I reached out to Whole 30 on Instagram. This is the answer they gave me! 



So basically, Whole 30 does not permit desserts or treats because it is feeding old habits and perpetuating the problem of us being reliant on sugar. Makes total sense. I still loved eating that apple though ;)

I had lunch with my good friend Britney from FittyBritttty on Instagram (if you're not following her, you are missing out! She is such an inspiration -- she lost 80 lbs! And is just a ray of sunshine!) We walked to Whole Foods and made salads from the salad bar. That is the *perfect* solution for Whole 30. Then we walked to a park and ate in the beautiful LA weather! Woohoo! Here's my salad, it doesn't look that great but it was amazing: spinach, romaine, broccoli, tomatoes, roasted potatoes, tuna, chicken, artichokes, peas and balsamic dressing.


I stopped by the Whole Foods salad bar a few more times throughout the week. It's just so easy and convenient. It's not the most affordable to eat there every day, I realize that. 

As a side note, one of the most common questions I get is how to eat healthy on a budget. I get it, organic, healthy food can be expensive (not to mention all the potions, etc -- that adds so much more!) Check out my YouTube video for all my very best tips on how to eat clean affordably -- it definitely is possible!

If you can't make it to Whole Foods, try Sprouts -- they also have a great salad bar and it may be a little cheaper! I loved this meal that I put together from the Whole Foods salad bar:


Once again roasted potatoes and chicken. Plus mushrooms and salad with shredded rainbow carrots, watermelon radish and spring mix dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I also picked up a GT's kombucha. It is the only kombucha I've found that is Whole 30 compliant because it doesn't have added sugar. The only sugars come from the fruit juice they add. So I think it's ok. I can't give up my booch!

So the end of the week is when things got tricky! I attended a gala party with the City of Beverly Hills and was faced with so many delicious food options. It was tempting but I was able to stay away from carbs, gluten, sugar and dairy! Just ate lots of chicken! ;)

I was invited to attend The Eat Show in DTLA as an influencer. I was SURROUNDED by so much good food! But I did a pretty good job of weeding out the things that were not compliant. I'm amazed I made it out with my Whole 30 intact! Haha :)

Then my cousin came to visit and once again we were hitting the town and eating out! I had a smoothie for breakfast at home so that was easy. At coffee shops, I once again brought my own cashew milk. We also went to the Farmers Market for the most delicious, fresh food. I posted this photo on Instagram but I wanted to share here as well. 


So on Mothers Day, we were strolling the Farmers Market and we came across Cumin Restaurant at the Farmers Market and John, the owner, was the kindest man!
He runs a cash-only operation and of course I only had a credit card, so he let me just take the food and told us to come back some other time to pay him. How sweet is that?! I feel like people never do that anymore. It was so fitting that that happened on Mother's Day. My mom is the nicest, sweetest gem of a human being. She spreads so much love and happiness wherever she goes in this world and treats everyone with so much kindness. I feel like I am just reaping the benefits of her goodness! We had such a great day, eating the most deliciously seasoned chicken and potatoes and spending time on the beach in Santa Monica. It was so special to spend time with my cousin, who is like my little sister, while our moms were together (in another state) and celebrating us being together and happy :)

I finished up the weekend just grateful I survived all those events and curveballs that were thrown my way. I love Whole 30, but I just don't know how to do it when you have a normal social calendar or even just work. So far, it seems like you have to completely hide out! But, I'm excited for Week 3! And even more excited about Week 4 because I'll be working with a special company I can't wait to tell you all about soon! 

Have you done Whole 30? What was your experience? Any tips you can share?
I'd love to hear all about it, please leave me a comment here or connect with me on Instagram @maebad
XOXOXO



Just in case you missed it, here's the recap of Week 1 on Whole 30 plus how to prepare, cheat sheets and more! 


And here's my YouTube video on how to eat healthy & affordably on budget: 


5/10/2017

Whole 30: Week 1 | How To Prepare, Cheat Sheets, What I Ate + My Experience

What a week! Earlier this year, I decided to try Whole 30 but honestly, I wasn't taking it too seriously. I thought that the Whole 30 philosophy was how I was eating anyway. But I quickly learned that was not the case. Whole 30 requires a shift in mindset. So I decided that Monday May 1 was going to be the perfect day to start the program and be strict about it!

Here's a look at my first week of doing Whole 30 -- May 1-7, 2017 -- how I prepared, what I ate, what I learned and more!

HOW TO PREPARE

My friend Bari lent me a copy of Melissa Hartig's book, It Starts With Food. That lays out the entire Whole 30 program and lifestyle. And it is just that - a lifestyle.

I also started following Melissa on Instagram as well as the official Whole 30 account and Whole 30 recipes. Several of my favorite Instagrammers share Whole 30 recipes already as well. Search the hashtags #Whole30 #Whole30Approved and #Whole30Recipes for more. I have also started sharing my Whole 30 food journey, recipes and meal ideas over on Instagram. Follow along @maebad over there!

I also checked out Pinterest for so many amazing recipes! And Whole 30 Cheat Sheets!






There's a lot of the Whole 30 philosophy. And while it can't be reduced into just few simple lists, I still found these very helpful for a quick and handy guide. The basics that I was the most concerned about: NO SUGAR, NO DAIRY, NO GRAINS, NO LEGUMES.

Changes I Made

I realized that there is SUGAR in EVERYTHING! No more maple syrup which I love. I had a big jug of it so I hid it away so I wouldn't be tempted when I saw it. I made a shopping list and hit up Whole Foods, Sprouts and Trader Joes. I made my own nut milks (almond and cashew). I cut out all condiments and salad dressings. I switched out my Vital Proteins Collagen Whey (because of the milk proteins) to regular Collagen Peptides.

WHAT I ATE


During the week, my meals pretty much looked like this. I did a lot of meal prep on Sunday. I made the perfect 7 minute soft-boiled eggs. Seriously the yolk tasted like jam! So delish. I also roasted a lot of veggies, steamed broccoli and sautéed salmon with turmeric, Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel seasoning and lime. I packed my lunch every day!


EATING OUT
I wanted to make sure that I was living my super fun life and not sitting at home all the time because I was afraid to eat out. At the end of Week 1, I went to TWO brunches with my friends over the weekend. It was super easy to stick to Whole 30 while eating out! I just had to be prepared. Duh. I checked the menu of the restaurant before I went to see what I could eat. And I knew what my substitutions were going to be if I had to ask for them and I was prepared to pay the difference. Now, I did have to bring my own DIY Cashew Milk. No problem though I just reused an old Kreation glass shot jar with a lid and stuck it in my purse. None of the restaurants minded at all! My DIY Cashew Milk was made with dates (which are allowed! Phew!) so it was a little sweet. But I did not add any other sweeteners to my coffees.

Saturday Brunch
I went to brunch at Blu Jam Cafe in Sherman Oaks. If you've never been you must go next time you're in The Valley. I ordered The Breakfast Burger, subbed the bun for lettuce and got all the sauces on the side. It came with roasted potatoes (which I'm still surprised are ok to eat but yay!) There was also an egg on the burger which made it even better! A quick note about the food quality. I shared this on Instagram but it bears repeating. I have been trying my absolute hardest to eat the absolute best quality food I can -- which means organic vegetables and fruits and grassfed meats. Now, I am also trying to maintain balance. So I have no idea if that burger meat was grassfed. I don't know if the eggs were from pasture raised chickens (I wish they were from Vital Farms - my favorite company!) But you know what, I still ate it. And it was delicious. So balance my friends. Balance.


Sunday Brunch
I went to brunch at The Butcher's Daughter in Venice. Oh I was in love with that place! The decor was fabulous -- a little bit vintage and whole lotta flowers. I ordered the cauliflower grits. Goodness they were delicious. The base was cauliflower and topped with an egg, sautéed mushrooms, and micro greens. It was supposed to come with adzuki bacon. I didn't know what adzuki was so I asked the waitress and she brought the allergy list for me to check out. That's another super helpful tip - ask your waitress for the allergy information - it lists all the ingredients so you can see if it's compliant or not! Turns out adzuki is made from black beans so I couldn't have it because there's no legumes on Whole 30. So I asked if I could sub for potatoes and she said yes! The perfect delicious meal.



My First Week Experience
I definitely missed the sugar!! I thought that just because I already wasn't eating any added / processed sugar, I would be fine. Boy was I wrong! I was used to make banana bread with maple syrup or adding dark chocolate chips to my oatmeal. Um, no more of that! And I could feel it. But, I was able to push through. I did also have some fruits like banana in my morning smoothie that helped. Overall, I am so happy to be doing Whole 30. I feel like it's a necessary way of life. I miss the quinoa and cheese but I'm good!! Stay tuned for Week 2!