Category Archives: eating

  What I learned from Whole 30!

Hi, my name is Charity and as of today I am a proud “graduate” of the Whole 30, healthy living program.

Have you heard of Whole 30 before? In short, the program is a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help end unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism and balance the immune system. You practice this way of eating for 30 solid days to complete the entire program.

The program consists of selecting foods that are clean. Fruits, veggies, and proteins (chicken, shrimp, steak & eggs) while eliminating any processed foods, dairy, alcohol and sugar or soy.

While I thought I was going to be lost without my morning yogurt, evening cheese, and red wine, I found other yummy things to substitute just fine. Pinterest & the Whole 30 website became great sources of recipe inspiration. Mr. C and I had a shared page for all sorts of recipes that we would share with one another to keep mealtimes creative and super yummy.

Everyone keeps asking if it was “hard” and to be honest it really wasn’t. I’m not saying it wasn’t full of situations when I wanted to quit…it totally was. It was SUPER tempting to dip into my sons Easter basket for leftover chocolate eggs and jelly beans but I resisted. It was not super fun to stay home while everyone celebrated Tribe Opening Day. I had to pass up a few fun bloggers dinners (and drinks) out and that was very unlike me. And…OMG…the cooking and cleaning up and cooking and prepping was OUT OF CONTROL, but we made it.

So while it wasn’t HARD per say, it was a focused effort for 30 days to eat clean and control exactly what went into my body.

My 3 biggest takeaways from our Whole 30 experience.

#1 Meal prep is key.
Sunday evenings were reserved for chopping, dicing, hard boiling, roasting and grilling. I tried my best to make a weeks worth of “grab-&-go” breakfasts as well as some key dinner options that would eventually roll into leftover lunches. If I wasn’t able to get all my prep done, it really made for some late weeknights. There is no way around this part of the experience, there are no shortcuts to eating clean just a bunch of cooking and even more clean up.

#2. The scale isn’t the only validation.
If you know anything about Whole 30 you know you are NOT supposed to step on a scale the entire 30 days. As someone who has always had the case of the “yo yo’s” I HAD to know how all the clean eating was affecting my weight. To be honest, in the end, it didn’t make a huge difference, a nominal weight loss but there were many other motivators. One afternoon I got a “congratulations” notification from my Fitbit that my resting heart rate had dramatically dropped so that we pretty cool. I also saw a difference in my blood pressure and as someone who has a family history of high blood pressure, this was assuring. So while I didn’t loose a bunch of lbs, I gained health measurements that made all scrubbing pots and pans worth it.

#3. Better sleep. Glowing skin.
Since I wasn’t being “over-served” for 30 days, morning wake-ups were easy peasy. Weekend mornings I bounced out of bed ready to take on the day and I could go strong into the night not feeling sluggish or tired. I don’t think I ever experienced the infamous Whole 30 “tigers blood” but instead for sure had a level of alertness that carried me through the entire 30 days. My skin also benefitted from the clean eating approach. I’m not sure if it was all of the kombucha mocktails or the lack of baked goods, but I don’t think I had one imperfection during the month. I actually had a few “your skin looks great” compliments and I just smiled and chalked it up to lack of alcohol, pizza, and chocolate.

Next steps? So what’s my strategy for next steps? I plan to eat mostly gluten and dairy-free and to limit my alcohol, grain, and legume intake. Eating things like bread, beans, and rice only a couple of times a month, rather than daily. I will slowly re-introduce alcohol but not every night, two glasses approach…at least not for now. Have you done Whole 30? Have any special tips for me? Want to geek out and talk about ghee and coconut aminos? Drop me a note and we can all geek out together!

(photo of homemade pickles…I also have become a huge fan of homemade ketchup…both without any sugars!)

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  gift of graeters

Like I mentioned yesterday, I have been receiving emails left and right about upcoming spring events, and I have been trying my best to touch base on most of them..but when this SWEET opportunity came across my desk I just couldn’t say no.

While this site isn’t usually a place for product reviews but more of a “what’s happening in Cleveland type of blog” I justified the following by letting all the Cleveland GRAETERS fans know that our local Giant Eagle would now be carrying Oprah Winfrey’s favorite flavors in Northeast Ohio….forget it, “they had me at hello ice cream!”

So a large Styrofoam cooler arrived at my office where I excitedly pried open the lid to my excitement of four pints of this special creamy concotion. I quickly stuck it in the freezer with plans on sampling it that night at home. I invited one of my close friends over, with spoon in one hand and glass of vino in the other we spent the evening tasting all four flavors; mint chocolate chip,  black raspberry chocolate chip, vanilla chocolate chip and I believe the last flavor was mocha chocolate chip (brain freeze!)

How had I lived in Ohio for over a dozen years and never experienced the oh-so-famous Graeters? It had a totally different creamy texture than my local favorite Mitchell’s. It’s more traditional flavor options were in no way competing with those unique Jeni’s flavors (Bangkok Peanut!) NOW, I finally understand what all the hype and excitement about the arrival of Graeters to our community represents.

So thanks Graeters for letting me in on your super sweet secret, I now need to go run on the treadmill for hours and hours (Did you know you only burn around 100 calories per mile run? Put’s things in perspective, right?) but it was TOTALLY worth every delightful spoonful! Thank you!

  Ice cream & cocktails!

We have heard the buzz that Great Lakes Brewing Company and Mitchell’s Ice Cream were partnering for a new holiday flavor…a zero waste partnership per say…well, as of Tuesday, the new sweet treat is out. Get yourself a pint of the “Gingersnap Christmas Ale” creamy ice cream and a pint of the actual spicy alcoholic brew and kick of the holiday season Cleveland style!

If ice cream and beer aren’t your thing, you might be interested to know about my favorite libation at the new improved Crop Bistro, “Mr. Figgy!”  Their homemade fig infused Makers Mark, rhubarb bitters, fig reduction with a slice of sugar coated, bruléed bacon (making a perfect swizzle stick) is simply sweet and salty heaven. The new Crop is stunning, the drinks are stiff and the food is not only beautiful but yummy and unique. You’ve got to check it out!

Happy Thursday Cleveland. Cheers to a city filled with great food, sweets and cocktails for all!

  Day 12 : Ohio City Pasta

Well, here we are just a few days until the end of 2010 and begin our exciting trip on 2011. I have a feeling this next year is gonna be HUGE! Lots of change, tons of excitement, bike rides in the sun, weekend excursions, perhaps a triathlon and a trip abroad? Have you started planning your new year? What’s on your list of “goals?”

Today’s final giveaway is from my favorite Tuesday-night dinner ingredient…Ohio City Pasta. Last year I set out to try all of their ravioli flavors and while  I can’t say I ate everyone, nearly a dozen different combinations (at least one a month) were consumed at my place usually during glee my Tuesday go to night!

The winner of today’s $25 gift card can go to the West Side Market and purchase a few dozen of the special, hand crafted pasta delicacies. From asparagus, to goat cheese, to crab and mushroom, there is sure to be a raviolis for everyone. AND, if you go on Monday’s it is often Buy One Get One, so you can DOUBLE your certificate!!!

To enter to win today’s LAST giveaway, friend Ohio City Pasta on fb and then return back here and tell me what pasta (it doesn’t have to be ravioli necessarily, they have other awesome stuff!) you would purchase if I sent YOU the $25 certificate! (please include your email, winner will be drawn “next year!”…Monday)

(photography by Blaze Photography)

  Day 4 : Gatherings Kitchen, Supper Club

Wow, happy Friday Cleveland. What a winter week we’ve had. The snow, the traffic, the sparkling winter decorations, it’s all just lovely.

Thank you to everyone who have commented on Day 1, 2 & 3 of the holiday giveaway. Your comments and facebook traffic have been a great way to support these local businesses and for that we are thankful….Now, onto today’s goods…

Have you ever been inspired to stay in with a group of friends on a Friday and cook a feast fit for a king, all while picking up some new culinary tips (knife skills perhaps?) while downing your favorite cocktail or vino?

If you answered YES have you heard of Gatherings Kitchen? A professional culinary kitchen located in a charming storefront in Lakewood, this complete gourmet catering operation is the brainchild of Chefs and fellow entrepreneurs, Ruth and Doug.

While their weekends and most weeks are filled withwriting recipes, shopping for the finest ingredients, teaching aspiring chefs-both young & old(er) new techniques, catering intimate dinner parties, corporate lunches, hosting birthday, anniversary and engagement soirees, Ruth and Doug take time every week for an event near and dear to their hearts called “Supper Club.”

Once a week you have the opportunity to gather together with a group of fellow food enthusiasts to work on a common goal, a Friday night meal. The menus are pre-set monthly and focus around the time of the year or what’s in season. You enter the warm dining room, drop your bags and bottles of wine at the door and let the evening unfold. Everyone is introduced, the menu gets presented and then the individual recipes divided up. Once the cooking begins the sound level in the kitchen gets louder and louder, or perhaps that’s because of the BYOB beverages.

After dinner has been prepped, the Chefs send you into the dining room where all of your creations are then served to you in a formal “going out to dinner” manner. No details unturned, so much food you can’t imagine, so much fun learning about new recipes and new people.

For todays giveaway Gatherings Kitchen would like to offer i heart cleveland readers a pair of “Supper Club” passes (valued at $110). So invite your fellow foodie to enter the contest to increase your chances of winning.

To enter please “Like” Gatherings Kitchen on thier Facebook page and tell us why you would like to attend a Supper Club. Are you looking to learn to make pasta? Are french maccaroons something you’ve been hoping to master (that one would be mine)? Do you like the idea of communal cooking? Why would you like to be part of a weekly Supper Club? (please include your email, winner will be drawn Thursday, December 16th)

On a similar food note, please take the time to read my fellow blogger and friend Cleveland Foodies post about the aspiring program called Veggie U. This national orgainzation gives teachers and students the opportunity to educate and learn more about nutrition, agiriculture, farming and the like. There are 157 participating classrooms in Northeast Ohio and we MUST support this continued leaning. Donate today to this intitiative and have the opportunity to win over $2,000 worth of gift cards to area restaurants, just for donating. It’s a win win for everyone. Winner will be drawn December 23rd, please support this effort.