Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Come out swinging - Prep Tips

We are just a day away from the next Whole30! Excited? I hope you are. I know I am, I'm super pumped and prepared. We've already had one guest post from Sandra the Skeptic, Nicole has some links to yummy recipes in her post, and I've given a few tips on preparedness. Onward and upward from here! I decided to pull the rest of my tips into a single post. Especially since Nicole has recruited just about everyone she knows for this Whole30 and I won't have to worry about struggling for blog topics. Enjoy the few ideas I have below.

Fantastic Idea #2: Pre-washed, pre-cut, or flash frozen

Nicole may not agree with this tip, but I figure sometimes you need help. I try to buy as much in-season, local, organic produce as possible, however here in Newfoundland, there isn't always a great selection. Plus, I have days where I just can't bear to face all the prep work that would be required to start from scratch. I will sometimes pick up a bag of broccoli slaw mix (ensuring that all the ingredients are Whole30 compliant) and have that available in my fridge for when I need a quick side, or lunch. I've used the slaw mix as a salad itself (it's awesome with homemade mayo, curry powder, some diced apples and slivered almonds); in a salad for crunch; or sauteed in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil. And you can use it as a substitute for rice in some recipes such as serving it under curry.

In my opinion, I think it's better to take the easy way out sometimes if it means that you can stick to your overall goal.  But NO, I am not condoning cheating, even though it is kind of circumventing the Whole30 framework in a way. If you decide to use this tip, you still HAVE to be mindful of what you are putting in your body. The best way to be mindful of what you are eating is to prepare meals from scratch starting with fresh, whole ingredients. Take the time to savor the preparation and cooking process and take ownership of your good food decisions. Think of the meal as your own creation. Take pride in the process and the end result. Make the meal your creation.

Fantastic Idea # 3 - Get a food processor with the grate option and the slicing option

I've been using my food processor for everything from making mayonnaise, to grating sweet potatoes, to chopping onions and carrots. It's fantastic and totally worth the investment. But be prepared because they can be loud!

Fantastic Idea # 4: Utilize seasonal produce

Worried about variety? Availability of quality produce can vary greatly depending on your geographical area. Make sure you take advantage of seasonal items, buying local where possible. One advantage we have during this Whole30 is that we are smack dab in the middle of the fall harvest. And that means tons of root veggies and gourds. Since root cellars aren't really accessible to everyone, stock up on squashes, pumpkin, carrots, turnip and turn them into something freezer friendly. Dice these veggies and freeze them in labelled freezer bags, or better yet, turn them into soup. This is the perfect season for soup making and a large pot of soup can feed you for a number of meals. And the best part about soup? You can eat it for any meal! Yes, even breakfast! I'll leave the recipes up to Nicole, since I'm sure she has some good ones but the ultimate must have base for all your soups is this Mineral Rich Bone Broth.

Fantastic Idea # 5 - Buy meats in bulk

Buying in bulk can really help you out on those days when you didn't actually plan a meal. You know, those evenings when you are just too tired and would normally have turned to take out? Not on the Whole30! And having a fully stocked freezer just makes it easier to pull together a fast evening meal. I usually buy my meals in huge quantities at Costco and then break them down to meal sized portions for freezing. Wanna be even more prepared? Go one step further and buy ground meats in bulk and pre-make your favorite Whole30  hamburger patties. Freeze them with a piece of parchment paper in between each burger or wrap them in plastic wrap and voila! 

So, remember, the freezer can be your friend! If you have any prep tips or fantastic ideas, please share in the comments below. 

Happy Halloween! 

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