Thursday, January 2, 2014

Whole 30 Debacles, Day 1 -- BLT Salad with Chipotle Mayo Dressing

TL;DR: I am doing a Whole30 Challenge this month. This post is going to talk about that a bit, so if that's not your thing, please skip down to the recipe. QLCC is not, nor will it ever be, a weight loss or diet blog. However, I can't afford to cook two totally different sets of meals this month, so my recipes WILL be in accordance to my diet for the next 30 days. After this initial post I will be chatting less about the diet/weight loss aspect, and simply posting my usual recipes and quirky things. Let me know what you think!

Condensed version of Christmas Vacation: Cory and I were thankfully able to fly home for the holidays. It was the first time we've seen our family since the move, and we definitely packed a lot into just one week! We tried to make the best of family time (three Christmas celebrations) and friend time (a holiday dinner/party) even though the time was so short. Click here to see my Year in Review post.

We landed on New Year's Eve and spent a quiet night in with friends playing board games, eating food, and drinking. My drink of the evening was Chambord and Champagne--I was inspired after winning a Facebook contest on the Chambord page for a prize pack. It was delicious! I love sparkling wine, but champagne can be a bit dry and bitter. Adding the Chambord made it the perfect drink, just enough sweetness!

And now it's the new year, and I've decided to take a challenge I've been meaning to for years--Whole 30. I remember my first brush with the Paleo diet was when my asshole former coworker was on it and WOULD. NOT. SHUT. UP. about it. Like, he would verbally judge my lunches and scoff at how "not paleo" they were and how I was soooo unhealthy or whatever. So I got into the habit of thinking paleo = asshole. In reality, it was just coworker = asshole, and the more I learned about Paleo, the more intrigued I was. Plus, in recent years I've discovered that dairy and gluten--two no-no's on the diet--cause me a ton of discomfort.

Somewhere between asshole and intrigue I discovered that my former science teacher from high school, Stephanie, had started a paleo cooking blog: Stupid Easy Paleo. The recipes looked amazing, and since my tummy already wasn't too thrilled with me, I started to incorporate more and more paleo recipes into my rotation. You may have already seen some on the blog.

Then I turned 25 and the Butt Fairy paid me a visit with the result being I was two dress sizes too big for most of my clothing. While I still remain in the single digits and friends roll their eyes when I stress about my weight gain, it still bothered me. A lot. So I started going to the gym every day, counting calories, the works. Nothing helped and I hated exercise. A personal trainer told me to go Paleo. But it's been hard.

I'll be good for a week, then I'll let myself cheat. I'll eat 2/3 meals with no gluten or dairy, then eat fried chicken for dinner. I'll make excuses and treat myself and do all the bad things you're not supposed to do, and then I feel like crap. Then I scroll through my Facebook feed and see a handful of friends seeing amazing fitness results while focusing on Paleo, while my tummy gets ever so slightly more soft and pudgy. When the holidays hit this past year and I gorged on every treat I saw, with the worst stomach pains yet, I knew I needed to do a Whole 30.

Whole 30 is a month of clean eating, designed to recharge your system by eliminating potentially inflammatory foods. It's also an introduction to the paleo way of eating. Strict-Paleo: no sugar, nothing that can turn into sugar, limited fruits, no legumes, no dairy, no gluten. Basically, meat and veggies. Eggs. Some fruit and nuts. I know the criticisms of the Paleo diet and I know how people say it's just a fad, but I figure, a month of eating good quality meat and veggies won't kill me, and it's likely I'll see more positive results than negative. You can survive anything for a month, right? And bacon is totally okay here... Might as well try!

My goal is to create some healthier eating habits, learn a new way of cooking, and hopefully kick start my body into being ready to lose weight. Honestly... the weight loss is a big thing for me. I've always been "skinny" and now I'm suddenly not. And I know, realistically, and logically, that it's OKAY to not be skinny. It's OKAY to have a body with some more curves. But... it doesn't feel like my body. I miss feeling confident in my body, feeling good in the clothes I wear. I've never had to exercise, and years of dreading gym class has made me loathe all forms of exercise, so it's been tough for me to get into the mindset of becoming healthy--because I didn't just gain two dress sizes for no reason. I'm getting older, and this is my body telling me to wake up. Clearly there's some psychological aspects of this I should work out too, but again. If a month of eating clean will help, then why not try it?

So here was my first meal, trying to be Whole 30. And, in typical Ashley fashion, I effed up my first day of Whole 30 by going to Sonic with my fiance when we realized we had no food in the house. Then I woke up this morning, ready to go, and got a large sugary coffee on the way to an interview. OOF. Baby steps, I guess! Aside from the coffee though, it's been a decent day, and hopefully tomorrow I will be in it 100%.

It's going to be hard, but it's also probably going to be fun. I don't expect to go full-on Paleo afterwards, but perhaps it will make me think twice about my eating habits and help me totally get rid of my trouble foods. I won't chat too much about Paleo and Whole 30 from this point on, but I might give tiny updates about my progress. Or I'll bitch for a while about how much I miss cheese. Either way.

This salad is fantastic whether you're on Whole 30 or not!

BLT Salad with Chipotle Mayo Dressing
(Inspired by Stupid Easy Paleo BLT Bites)

  • 4 strips bacon
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1-2 handfuls your favorite lettuce--I used romaine
  • Extra: handful of broccoli slaw mix


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-1.5 cups light flavored olive oil
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers + 1 tbs chipotle liquid

-Cook your bacon to your liking. Reserve the fat to use for cooking later, if you're doing Whole 30--it's one of the approved cooking fats.

-Assemble salad, crumble bacon on top.

-For the dressing: in a small blender or food processor, blend the eggs, cider vinegar, and salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil--as slooooowly as you can manage--until the mixture thickens and begins to get fluffy. Add the chipotle peppers and blend until well mixed.

-Drip as much mayo as you want onto your salad. Eat!

PS. Becky from A Calculated Whisk is also doing a Whole30 this month. We're going to help support each other. She's on Day 2, Check out her post!


  1. Love this post! The Butt Fairy visited me years ago :). This salad looks delicious. I'm still kind of wigged out by the raw eggs in mayo, but might get braver this month. Glad we're both doing the Whole30 so I can get more inspiration!

  2. Ooo, I hate those crazy obsessed coworkers! Those that obsess about paleo also tend to obsess about Crossfit. Bonkers, all of them. I like cheese. :) I like salads though too, so this recipe is good with me!

  3. I loveee the look of this salad, paleo or not. Sounds delicious!


  4. Hey, hang in there! You are doing great just by changing out 1 meal, or 2 meals a day. Even if you started that day with a coffee treat. Don't beat yourself up because the minute you start worrying about all or nothing, the more stressed you'll be. I can tell you from my experience changing my diet to address health issues that the more you do it, the more you'll feel better, and the more you feel better the more you'll have the energy and enthusiasm to continue eating that way. Plus, obviously, with time that way of eating will become second nature and that makes it much easier every day. I hope I don't sound preachy, I just want you to know that you can do this!!

  5. this salad sounds fabulous! and with whole 30.... most people are psycho about it so i think a relaxed approach sounds good. don't beat yourself up! that dressing looks wonderful.