If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Instagram, you probably know that I’ve been doing the Whole30 diet. Ever since I had baby #4 back in October, shedding the pregnancy pounds has not been easy. My go-to weightloss plan has always been The South Beach Diet, but it just wasn’t working for me this time around. I guess as we get older, our bodies change and what may have worked for us in our twenties, just doesn’t cut it during the big 3-0.
I had been seeing the Whole30 plastered all over Instagram and I was curious to see if it would work for me. My friend Melinda of Kitchen-Tested was raving about the diet, and after pushing it off for some time, I finally took the plunge! I chronicled my Whole30 diet via social media, sharing my meals for everyone to see. It held me accountable and made me feel like I had to stick to the program, or else I had a lot of people to answer to!
One of my biggest rules of dieting is to eat well. If I munch on salad greens every day, I feel deprived, miserable and hungry! On the other hand, when I take the time out to prepare a satisfying meal, I feel full and I don’t end up with cravings. Three meals a day becomes more than enough and I don’t feel the need to snack in between.
And so, each day, I challenged myself to come up with exciting recipes and dishes. Omelettes certainly became boring over time, so I turned to one of my favorite dishes – shakshuka. I prepared jalapeno shakshuka, marinara shakshuka and even meat shakshuka! But I really hit the jackpot with this incredible spaghetti squash shakshuka. The strands of spaghetti squash coated in runny egg yolk is so spectacular, you feel like you’re eating something so indulgent – and you are!
Dishes like these carried me through the Whole30 without a single mistep. I originally went on the diet to lose weight, but I never imagined the amazing after-effects that 30 days without sugar, dairy, carbs, legumes or alcohol would bring. Yes, I lost 8 lbs, but even better than that was that my sugar-cravings all but disappeared and I never feel the need to snack anymore. I eat when I’m hungry – and I eat well, but that is all! I feel so in control of my eating habits, and I don’t crave that added drizzle of honey or the teaspoon of sugar that I once did. In fact, just a few days after I completed my Whole30, I spent Shavuot with friends where I was surrounded by dairy delicacies and delicious dishes of all kinds. When I tried to eat a salad that had a sweet salad dressing, I was so overwhelmed by it’s cloying nature that I literally could not swallow it. There is no question that the Whole30 changed my taste towards food and my attitude as well. I much prefer savory to sweet now, in fact I plan to continue following the Whole30 diet until I lose another 20 lbs. After that, I will transition to a Paleo diet (the Whole30 is based on it, it just has more restrictions).
One of the other great outcomes of the Whole30 diet, is something I could have never imagined. When I began posting photos of all of the delicious meals I was preparing, the requests for recipes poured in. At first, I shared the recipes under the photos, but after a few days I realized, why don’t I just compile a 30-day meal plan? And so, without much ado, my Paleo ebook was born! Writing a cookbook has seemed so far away for the longest time – and a real, physical, turn-the-page kind of cookbook might be. But this ebook has allowed me to share over 100 recipes without nearly as much work as a hardcover book would be. I am still working on the last bit of edits and recipe testing, but the ebook should be available within the next 2 weeks! Stay tuned for more details in my upcoming posts and look out for the #Paleoebook hashtag via social media. I think I smell a giveaway.
Spaghetti Squash Shakshuka
1 leek (white and pale green part only)
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bag baby spinach
1/2 spaghetti squash (how to roast spaghetti squash)
splash of vegetable stock (about a 1/4 cup)
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh parsley, for garnish
Feta cheese, optional
Saute leek and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add baby spinach and continue to saute until wilted. Add spaghetti squash and vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Make wells in the squash and crack eggs in each well. Cook until eggs are set (it helps to cover the pot). Sprinkle with parsley and feta, if desired.