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Whole30 on the Go: Traveling on Whole30

   
Traveling on Whole30
Pexels

Traveling on Whole30 wasn’t something I ever envisioned having to do, but smack in the middle of my current Whole30 (number 6!) I found myself hitting the road for work.  This was totally new territory for me.  All my previous Whole30 rounds were completed in the comfort of a very controlled home environment.  At first I was worried, but after some research and pre-trip planning I think I got a handle on traveling on Whole30.

       

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #1 – No Kitchen

I stayed at a place with no kitchen.  There was only a mini fridge and microwave.  The options with this arrangement weren’t spectacular, but they were definitely better than nothing.  The ability to store and heat food allowed more flexibility with what I could buy and eat.

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #2 – Limited Restaurants

My favorite Whole30-friendly restaurant is Chipotle and luckily there was one within walking distance.  Other options included Salad and Go and a burger joint.  These are probably not ideal places, but based on their menus I could come up with some customized meals that will work.

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #3 – Limited Shopping Potential

I was traveling in an area off the beaten path.  Without wheels Wal-Mart was my only outlet for shopping.  At first I was really down about this, but after some research on what to buy there during Whole30 I realized that I wasn’t as limited as I first thought.

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #4 – Office Food

I have the extreme luxury of not working in an office.  While there are tons of benefits to this: no commute, no dress code, etc., one of the major benefits is not having to deal with office food.  No bagels, no donuts, no vending machines, no candy bowls, no catered lunches or brought in pizzas, the list could go on and on.  I had to fend off all offerings related to office food to stay on plan.

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #5 – Is it Worth it?

Was all the effort worth it?  I asked myself that while worrying about how I would handle this trip.  Part of me feels it seems silly to put this much thought and effort into eating.  Part of me gets really angry about why you to have to fight so hard to not eat crap.  Another part of me says yes, it is worth it because you really have to take care of yourself.

The Results

So what did I end up eating?  A quick trip to the store yielded cherry tomatoes, bananas, tuna packets, Aidells chicken sausages, green olives and smashed avocados.  This supplemented what I brought with me: Larabars, pumpkin seeds and raisins.

I further supplemented my meals with some offerings from the hotel food selection.  The meals they served were not even close to compliant, but I was able to snag bits and pieces. I found mixed spring greens, baked potatoes, mustard and other condiments for dinner and scrambled eggs and fruit for breakfast.   Unfortunately I was on the fence about the scrambled eggs so I only ate a very small portion one morning.  The server indicated they did not contain any dairy, but I have a feeling there were some mystery ingredients hiding in there.

In the end it actually wasn’t as hard to stay compliant while traveling on Whole30 as I thought it might be.  One of the benefits of travel can be experiencing new and different cuisine and this Whole30 pretty much sucked the joy right out of that.  Aside from that issue it wasn’t too bad.  Would I travel on Whole30 again?  Yes, if I had to I definitely could do it, but I probably wouldn’t if there was a way to avoid it.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week, both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends!

Want to see more Whole30 posts? Check these out!

Disclaimer: This post chronicles my personal experience while working through the Whole30. This is not a recommendation or suggestion for you to do the same, nor is it an endorsement of the Whole30 program. Before you begin this or any diet or exercise program you should discuss it with your doctor or qualified health care provider to determine whether it is safe for you. This post is based on my personal situation and is for information purposes only. Anything contained herein should not be treated as guidance or advice.

Transitioning off Whole30 and Reintroduction

   

Transitioning off Whole30

       

I’m one day away from finishing my fifth Whole30.  Transitioning off Whole30 has always been a challenge for me because by the time the days are up I am done.  Like annoyed, fried, a bit angry at food and plain grumpy about eating.  It’s been this way almost every time.  While a slow reintroduction would probably be good I am so over it that eating anything off plan sounds absolutely delightful.  Does this result in tummy aches?  Of course.  Does it result in regret?  Occasionally.  Does it ruin the progress I made?  Nope!

Transitioning off Whole30 in an orderly fashion (aka “Reintroduction“) is meant to give you greater insight into how certain foods affect you.  Adding food back one group or type at a time allows you to experiment with how you feel after eating.  This way you can take control over items or groups that may cause you trouble.  Maybe beans or oats or rice don’t bother you a bit, but alcohol or dairy sends you into fits.  You may never nail down the source of potential issues if you add back lots of different foods at one time.  The Whole30 website lays out a 10 day plan for reintroducing potential agitators.  It’s a smart plan, but in all honesty I’ve never had the patience to follow it very closely.  Even without following the plan I’ve still been able to identify some potential trigger foods so I don’t think I’ve cheated myself too bad.

Each Whole30 has helped me a little bit differently.  I’ve learned there really are certain foods that bother me more than others.  I’ve learned that eating greatly impacts my sleep.  I discovered that alcohol, while occasionally enjoyable, is pretty much not my friend.  I’ve learned that I can eat more by volume (a hugely surprising amount) of quality food and actually lose weight.  I’ve found that Whole30 helps me reset my cravings for sugar and junk food.  I also learned that food actually starts to taste different once you aren’t eating sugar and processed goo.

I didn’t step on the scale once or take measurements or even pictures this time.  This time it was about cutting out food that wasn’t nutritionally sound and killing my cravings for junk food.  In the past I’ve wanted to stick with Whole30 principals and for a while it has worked, but eventually the bad stuff has crept back in.  Instead of letting things spiral into an eventual free for all I’m making a different plan this time. I’m going to to eat fairly close to Whole30, but add dairy back in.  Dairy is something I miss terribly when I do Whole30 so I feel like if I allow some latitude with this food group maybe it will be easier to stick with eating better.

Are you thinking about starting a Whole30 or doing one right now?  Follow my Whole30 Pinterest board for ideas and inspiration!

 

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week, both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends!

Want to see more Whole30 posts? Check these out!

Disclaimer: This post chronicles my personal experience while working through the Whole30. This is not a recommendation or suggestion for you to do the same, nor is it an endorsement of the Whole30 program. Before you begin this or any diet or exercise program you should discuss it with your doctor or qualified health care provider to determine whether it is safe for you. This post is based on my personal situation and is for information purposes only. Anything contained herein should not be treated as guidance or advice.

The New Nutrition Facts Label

   

Have you seen the new nutrition facts label from the FDA?  On May 20, 2016, the FDA finalized a new version of the nutrition facts label for packaged food and there are lots of positive changes coming to consumers as a result.  While the general format is still one we are all pretty familiar with there is some new and different data being presented on labels that will hopefully help consumers make more informed food choices.

       
new nutrition facts label
From the FDA website

What’s the same on the new nutrition facts label

The general format is basically the same one we are accustom to seeing.  Calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, protein and vitamin info is all listed like normal.

What’s different on the new nutrition facts label

The serving size is now listed in bold.  The serving size has also been updated to reflect more realistic portions, i.e. a 20 oz. bottle of soda is now shown to be a single portion, as is a 12 oz. can.  Packages that are larger than a single serving, but could potentially be consumed as one serving, will show dual columns of info, one for an individual serving and one for the whole package.

The calorie count for a serving is now shown in larger, bold text.

Added sugar must now be declared under the carbohydrate stats.

Daily value information has been updated to reflect newer scientific research.

Specific nutrients listed have been updated to reflect the addition of vitamin D and potassium in this section.  Vitamins A and C are no longer required to be listed.  Nutrients are also listed as an actual amount and a percentage now, rather than just a percentage.

Why I like it

Added sugar
Ever since doing Whole30 I have been keenly aware of added sugar. It lurks in the strangest things from chicken stock to pasta sauce and nearly everywhere in between. I have lamented it’s inclusion on many occasions. Added sugar can be a bit tricky because there are so many different ways it shows up. It can be listed as sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, lactose, maltose and this isn’t even a complete list. With so many ways for it to sneak into the ingredient list you really had to play detective to make sure you knew what you are getting. The added sugar section will now help you quickly identify whether additional sugar has been added to a product above what is there naturally.  In my opinion everyone wins with this update (except the sugar industry who seems very angry over this change).

Serving size
Sure, you can mathmatize any current package to see just how many calories and nutrients you are eating when you go over the single serving portion, but not everyone has the time or inclination to do so.  Making serving sizes more realistic, along with providing nutritional information for entire packages when it’s likely to be eaten in a single serving will help everyone make choices based on a broader picture.

Overall I think the changes to the the new nutrition facts label will be very positive.  A more informed consumer will have the power to make smarter decisions.

Please note – Info provided within this post may not include or reflect all the specifics on the new nutrition labels.  I make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy of the information posted here.  If you want the full scoop straight from the source be sure to check out the FDA’s website regarding Labeling & Nutrition.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

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This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Foodie Friday: Garden Edition

   

Foodie Friday: Garden EditionIt’s Foodie Friday and today I’m doing a Garden Edition.  Last year was my first adventure into gardening and it brought me closer than ever to my food.  I discovered the rewards for growing food are many.  Not only do you reap the benefits nutritious food, you benefit from the physical labor as well.  Gardening can be quite intensive with it’s lifting, shoveling, raking and more.  It also brought the joy of being outside and feeding others, which were things I wasn’t expecting at all.

       

I am loosely using the “Square Foot Gardening” method.  Last year I was fairly rigid in following the recommendations for plant spacing.  I also diligently marked my squares with bright string.  This method worked really well in some ways and not great in others.  Some of the recommendations for spacing seemed off (zucchini in one square is totally not happening!), but the organized set up made things very tidy.  This year I am following the same approach, but not being as strict.  I spaced things a little differently and gave a wider berth to things I knew were going to be big.  I probably could have crammed a lot more plants into my space, but I wanted to keep things manageable.

Gardening seems to be a learn as you go type of affair.  You can read, study and get advice, but in the end, there’s still a lot of trial and error.  Last year I was ambitious in trying lots of different things.  Lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, green beans, cukes, strawberries and herbs were all in the garden.  Some things worked, some failed and some were just so-so.  This year I narrowed things down to focusing on what we really liked and what worked and I bailed on the stuff that I didn’t think was worth it.

I was so worried that with the timing of my recent surgery I would not be able to get out and get things planted this season.  Luckily my hubby jumped right in and provided all the heavy lifting (and more!) to get everything all set up.  With his labor and my plans the garden is now fully ready to go.  With some water and love I hope to see little seedlings popping up in no time.

This year there are four varieties of tomatoes: Black Krim, Black Cherry, Pineapple and Green Zebra, three varieties of peppers: bell, banana and Carolina Reaper, pickling cucumbers, dill, cilantro and basil.   I am especially excited for green tomatoes and cucumbers so I can try fermenting them.  There are also green and lush strawberry plants from last year that already have huge green berries clinging to them.

There are so many more things I would like to try growing in the future.  Rhubarb, raspberries and possibly some fruit trees are all on my list, though the permanence of those things makes planning for the long term more important.

I can’t wait to see this year’s garden take off and enjoy and share the healthy bounty that it offers.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Gluten Free Treats Recipe Round Up

   

Foodie Friday_mini

       

Gluten free treats have become a bit of an obsession of mine lately.  From candies to breads to cakes, gluten gets kicked to the curb and often times you get a sweet treat that’s nutritional profile has been improved.  Don’t get me wrong, gluten free treats are still sweets.  Just like conventional goodies, eating too many gluten free treats can and will definitely wreak havoc on your diet,  the key is moderation.

I’ve been collecting, trying and tinkering with tons of recipes.  Here are some of my favorites as of late:

Gluten Free Treats
No Bake Banana Bread Bites

From Big Man’s World: No Bake Banana Bread Bites. When I stumbled upon Big Man’s World one day on Pinterest I knew I had found a gold mine.  Arman creates recipes that are gluten free, vegan, dairy free, and even paleo.  Nearly every recipe I have seen includes instructions for customizing it to your dietary needs too.

These No Bake Banana Bread Bites came together in just a few minutes and were delicious.  I subbed half of the coconut flour in the paleo version for almond meal, nixed the added sugar and the chocolate too.  They were a perfect treat when defrosted just slightly from the freezer, per Arman’s suggestion.  Next time I might try adding chopped walnuts to make it even more banana bread-like.

From Busy But Healthy: Homemade Quest Protein Bars. Oh Quest Bar.  I really like some flavors (and detest others), but if I wanted to eat them all the time I simply couldn’t afford it.  When I discovered this recipe I also discovered the secret to the texture and nutritional profile of the Quest Bar: IMO (isomalto-oligosaccharide).  What the heck is IMO?  It’s a syrup that acts as a sweetener, binder and contains tons of fiber.  Now that the mystery behind the texture and ingredients of the Quest Bar has been solved I feel like making them would be a snap and a huge money saver.

From Wicked Spatula: Paleo Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. I’m one of those people who ends up with far less finished cookies than a recipe typically indicates because I’ve sampled the dough (repeatedly). This recipe takes the guilt out of sneaking nibbles and cuts straight to the chase – edible cookie dough you’re actually supposed to eat with a spoon.   The bonuses to this recipe are that it’s free of grains and it’s a single serving so you can eat the whole thing!

Gluten Free Treats
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

From A Baking Girl: Greek Yogurt Cheesecake. I try to eat well most days.  I try to plan and buy good stuff so I don’t have a lot of extra temptation around the house.  I was on a Greek yogurt kick for a while and my intentions were good, but my taste buds were over it.  I found this recipe when looking for clever ways to get rid of my yogurt and I was really surprised at how well it came out.  Clearly I took some liberty with the recipe given that I baked it as squares.

Here’s how my version differs from the original recipe:  I omitted the crust.   To make my version mix the following until combined:

2 cups fat free plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
5 drops liquid stevia
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2+ tsp vanilla extract
1 T tapioca flour

Pour into baking dish sprayed with cooking spray, bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes.  It will still be wiggly – don’t worry, it will set as it cools.  Refrigerate until fully chilled.

I was amazed at how spot-on the texture and flavor of this cheesecake was.  It’s perfect as a snack, dessert or even breakfast.

From The Kitchn: 2-Ingredient Nutella Brownies.  Clearly these are not healthy in the least.  The fact the Nutella has tried to market itself as some kind of healthy breakfast spread makes me want to scream.  Nevertheless I am not opposed to eating tasty things in moderation.  These brownies are so rich, only a bite or two will suffice anyway.  The trick here is that you really do have to whip the eggs until they are fluffy.  I’m not going to say it can’t be done by hand, but I feel like your best bet would be to use a stand mixer to achieve the best results.

Gluten Free Treats
Date Paste

From The Healthy Foodie: Date Paste.  This isn’t really a sweet treat, but something you can use to sweeten tons of stuff.  I’ve used this date paste in everything from baked goods to pasta sauce to ketchup and had excellent results.  The ratio of sugar replacement is not an exact science so I try to go by taste and adjust accordingly.  You absolutely must soak your dates and check every single date for a pit or stem-end before blending (ask me how I know this).     If you think you’ll be using this for sweet and savory recipes omit the vanilla.

From Power Hungry: Grain-Free Cut-Out Cookies. Definitely not a health cookie, but oh so much fun!  These are the perfect cookie for decorating and I am really looking forward to making them for the holidays.  I think almonds will make an excellent blank canvas and I can see adding extracts or flavorings to enhance this simple recipe.

From Gluten Free on a Shoestring: Chocolate Chip Gluten Free Zucchini Bread. This was my first foray into baking something that would have previously been made with wheat flour.  Like I always do, I made some minor adjustments.  I lowered the sugar and oil, nixed the chocolate, subbed the xanthan gum for psyllium, but lo and be hold, this made a lovely loaf of bread.  I knew I was taking risks by making changes, but everything turned out incredibly well.  My only real issue was the Bob’s Red Mill flour I used had a strong (seriously strong) flavor of garbanzo beans.  I don’t even mind garbanzo, but there was something about it that was faintly bitter to me.

Gluten Free Treats
Gluten Free Acorn Squash Bread

On my second try I decided to get even more adventurous and substituted cooked, mashed acorn squash for the zucchini.  I used the same gluten free flour because I couldn’t justify tossing it and amped up the spices to include triple the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ground ginger.  This loaf also came out fantastic and the spices seemed to mask some of the beany-ness of the flour.   I am guessing most people would never guess that there was no wheat flour in it.

From Gluten Free Girl: A Guide to Gluten Free Baking.  Not a recipe at all, but an incredibly helpful guide on how to start baking without gluten.  This is were I learned you can sub psyllium husks for any recipe calling for xanthan gum in equal measure.  Every time I’ve used psyllium I’ve had excellent results.  What I love most about this guide is that it encourages experimentation, which is basically the only way I know how to roll in the kitchen.

I am a recipe collector of sorts and my bookmarks are brimming with both good for you and less than healthy recipes that I am anxious to try. I hope you enjoy this gluten free treats recipe round-up today and if you have a delicious, gluten free recipe posted on your site please feel free to leave your link in a comment below!

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.