Friday 17 August 2012

Vacation - the Whole30 my way

Twilight RetreatI have been conspicuously absent these last couple of days. Today we left for a five night vacation - we have rented a little heritage home in an outport village four and a half hours from a major city. I knew grocery options would be limited out here, so the last two days I have been frantically meal planning, grocery shopping and preparing. As Dallas and Melissa say, failing to prepare for your Whole30 is preparing to fail - and that would really be the case if I came out here without a game plan.

Want to know how I have set myself up for delicious success? First, here's a little visual of how I like my plate to look:
    I tend to be a little heavier on the veg.
    Check out the Fitbomb site and spousal site NomNomPaleo for great recipes.

    1. Breakfasts/lunch: eggs (although I only have three of the dozen I brought with me left. One of my little helpers dropped the carton on the floor as we were unpacking earlier. Cleaning up broken eggs from a rustic hardwood floor is. not. fun); kale and pepper frittata; yummy banana blueberry muffins; bacon; smokey Tex-Mex turkey and sweet potato; apple, fennel and sage breakfast sausage patties; lots of freshly picked wild blueberries; coconut milk (that can be whipped as a fruit topping - or for frothing my coffee :-)
    2. Proteins: lemon and herb grilled chicken; garlicky pork souvlaki; rib steaks rubbed with an awesome homemade riff on Montreal steak spice; bolognese sauce; sesame, ginger and garlic marinated chicken thighs (using wheat free tamari - not Whole30 compliant, but ok with Mark Sisson's framework - and this is my Whole30. See more below.)
    3. Vegetables: the regular crudités (cucumber, peppers); curried apple and raisin broccoli slaw (made with homemade mayo); chopped tomato and basil salad with pine nuts; zucchini and yellow squash noodles, prepared this way - can you say awesome!!); avocados to chop and top Tex-Mex turkey and make guacamole; Odessa beets* (which we called purple monster salad tonight - kids tried it, one ate all of it - win!); marinated mushrooms. The last two recipes are first timers for me and come from the revered and classic vegetarian volume that I have owned for fifteen years, The Moosewood Cookbook. The two salads are incredibly flavourful, easy and completely Whole30 compliant. It's funny, although many think of the whole Paleo or Primal thing as having less variety, I have found removing grains from my plate has opened up a whole new place for twice as many vegetables.
    4. Snacks: aforementioned banana blueberry muffins; almond stuffed bacon wrapped dates; almonds; various fruits; raisins (for the kids, but I will likely enjoy a box); herbal tea (which I forgot, but I'll be getting some tomorrow)
So, one of the menu items I mention above is sesame, ginger and garlic marinated chicken thighs, based on Paleo superstar Sarah Fragoso's recipe. The original recipe calls for coconut aminos, a beloved ingredient in the Paleo community, used as a replacement for soy sauce. In fact, it's an ingredient in many of the recipes in Well Fed, a fantastic Paleo cookbook filled with awesome flavours to ensure you never get bored. But you know what? Coconut aminos  are absolutely not available in my neck of the woods. At all. Believe me, I even have one of our health food stores trying to make a connection with the Canadian distributor for the last six months and she can get zip. 

My last Whole30 I went without - and that without is a lot for me. I love savoury nut sauces with chicken satay and crudités, I enjoy the bright flavours of a quick stir fry with a splash of salty soy as part of the Asian flavour profile. And for whatever reason, my kids love it too - it's a sure fire way to have less struggle at the dinner table. Don't get me wrong, we may have it once every three weeks - it's not frequently part of the menu - but any Asian influenced dish needs that hit. I have known all along that Mark Sisson is completely ok with wheat free tamari, as you can see it's on his Primal Blueprint shopping list. So as I looked in desperation late last night at a huge tray of chicken thighs from Costco that had to be prepared stat, I reflected on this plus what a friend of mine has written about, and the recipe I had recently seen from Sarah Fragoso and thought, why not.

My reasoning is that I went completely without in my previous Whole30 and, upon reintroduction of it as a seasoning, suffered no ill effects. Last night's recipe I used about three tbsp. per ten thighs and I'll probably eat three of them. I am ok with that. This will likely be soy's only appearance on my Whole30 this time around - and it was wheat free tamari - and similar to the thought process of Jaclyn (you really should check out her awesome Whole30 blog journal), this is, after all, my Whole30. I am feeling great and I am being more adventurous with my vegetables this time around, so the variety (and nutrient punch as a result) has really improved. 

So tell me what you think... Am I over thinking this? Have I blown this Whole30? Should I just not eat the thighs?

*If you try the Odessa beets, I omitted the pineapple and added a couple of tablespoons of oil - you know I need my fats!


  1. Well, you know what *I* think. :) Glad you took the plunge. No, it's not compliant, but I highly doubt it would affect your "reset", as they say. Good for you for making this your own. :)

    On the subject of the tamari, was it hard to come by? Were there several brands to choose from? Will you let me know what the flavour is like after you've tried the thighs? I know my husband would *really* appreciate having an option like that in the house.

    1. We have been using tamari for at least a year now, instead of soy. I can't remember the brand off-hand, but I buy it in the organic section and all it contains is soybeans, salt and possibly water. We like it, but we likely don't have as discerning palates as someone used to fine Asian cooking like Francis (and yourself!)

  2. Hey Nicole,
    Just wanted to let you know I needed to mix things up a bit with this week's menu so tried both the chicken recipe in this post and the pork souvlaki and both were super easy and delicious!!! Will definitely do them both again so thanks!

  3. Hey Nicole, I was looking for coconut aminos last year, and there are a few places that will ship to you. is one if you want to try it that way!

    1. Thanks Ashley, I had seen that one before but balked at the $15 shipping charge. If you still order from them maybe we could combine orders to avail of lesser shipping :-)