Whole30 Hacks – Products I Love, V. 1 – Coconuts

I love the Whole30. I love what it does for my mind, body, skin, sleep, etc. This if my fourth round in two years, and I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way.

To start, here are a few products I really love that you might not find front-and-center in a typical Whole30 conversation. And today is all about the coconut!

Good, healthy fats are really important for satiety and overall health. I’m avoiding nuts and seeds this round, which means my go-to almond butter is out at the moment, as are my favorite Kirkland brand macadamia nuts. Instead, the delicious coconut is carrying me through.

Coconut Butter

Someone told me the other day that they liked the flavor coconut butter adds to their breakfast dish. I retorted that I really like the flavor coconut butter adds to my spoon.

This stuff is delicious and satisfying. Also, it’s pretty hard in its solid state, so it’s difficult to binge on, and it triggers your satiety pretty quickly as well. It’s the perfect way to bump up your fat intake, whether you’re having trouble balancing your macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbs), or if you’re needing to increase your healthy fats due to pregnancy or nursing (eat up, mamas!!).

I’m sure there are many ways to incorporate coconut butter into recipes, but as I mentioned above, all I really need is a spoon.

Coconut Milk

I’ve been using Nutpods in my coffee for a few months, but as previously mentioned, I’m avoiding nuts this round, so it’s just straight coconut milk for me at the moment.

For iced coffee, SO Delicious’s Lite Culinary Coconut Milk is perfect. It doesn’t clump, and it adds a nice creamy flavor to your coffee. (Look for it in the Asian cooking section of your grocery store. Again, emphasis on LITE, not original.)

For hot coffee, I scoop the cream from a can of coconut milk into my coffee, and use a coffee frother (one my mom accidentally left at my house, and I’ve since very happily added it to my daily ritual) to whip it into a delicious, frothy concoction.


As a bonus, I add a dash of Primal Palate’s Pumpkin Pie Spice for days when I’m feeling particularly sassy.

Coconut Chips

Add these to a snack of fruit and nuts, or simply to the palm of your hand, and enjoy!

That’s it for today. I’ll be back with future editions with information about my favorite cookbooks, spices, etc.

Yard Work Superpowers

First, I will say that I think I need to amend my daily workouts to help me better prepare for “real life.”

My husband woke up about an hour before I did yesterday to get a jump on yard work so that I could be helpful whenever I made my way out of bed. So I felt especially badly that after only about :30 minutes of me picking up leaves yesterday, he found me plopped on my back in the front yard whilst he continued to vigorously rake and rake and rake (and rake, and rake). I now know why he curses at the acorns or leaves when they just fall with reckless abandon after he works for hours in the yard. That sh*t is annoying.

After lunch, with all the piles of leaves now safely in bags, he was scrounging for ways I could help while staying out of the way, so he set me up to use the leaf blower (those dang leaves…) to clear off the drive and walkway. I’ve never used one of these before, and it is trickier than you might think, particularly if it’s windy, and doubly so if your next door neighbors are outside, watching you. I tried really hard not to blow the leaves into the neighbor’s yard, but there was really no helping it for this novice. I have no doubt that I looked rather dumb, or inconsiderate, or both, so I finally just gave up, figuring the wind would blow the leaves wherever in any case.

I did, however, very much enjoy watching the leaves rocket away from my feet; it made me feel like I was an X-Man with wind superpowers, just willing away debris in my path.

That part was awesome. And totally nerdy.

The (Not So) Sneaky Chef

Since you heard from me last, I’ve been seeing a nutritionist in hopes of developing an eating regime that will carry me healthily throughout my life, and one of the first things to go from my daily diet was gluten. Having recently eaten my way across Italy (AKA gluten-central), news that I must give pasta, bread, potatoes, etc (as I know and love them) the heave-ho was devastating. But, hey, if it works, I’ll give it a try. I’m also supposed to bid ciao, bello to vino, but, um… yeah… some days are better than others on that front! I’m only human after all!

I have, however, been largely “good” when it comes to gluten, though I’m sure I accidentally consume it on a regular basis in food prepared by others, but when it comes to my own kitchen, I’ve been rather successful at creating a gluten-free zone. This has not been without challenges. A) I love carbs. Like, as in, if you were to ask me “well, if you love them so much, why don’t you marry them?” I would probably respond “I will if it becomes legal and only if cheese doesn’t ask me first.” B) Most of the rest of the world eats these delicious goodies, which isn’t a problem if I’m around my fave treats, but it does present an issue when trying to prepare a satisfying meal for others.

Which brings me to last night.

Mom and Dad are in the midst of Kitchen Demolition 2011, and there’s nary a cooking surface or utensil in sight. They quickly became weary of dining out and were none too shy about extending invitations for them to come to my place. Well, of course I want to be with them and provide a home-cooked meal, but my schedule doesn’t always allow for that. However, this Monday I decided to throw them a life raft in the form of dinner. As soon as Mom hungrily said yes, I thought, well, crap, what am I going to make them? Mom is low-maintenance. I could make her a tuna sandwich, and she would be grateful. Dad, on the other hand, needs some man-food. I quickly did a mental scan of my kitchen contents and decided I’d make them some pasta — regular pasta for the gluten-tolerant, and brown rice pasta for me.

Well, my mental scan failed me. I didn’t have enough regular pasta to go around, but I had a full package of gluten-free pasta. In reviewing the package and its assurances that the contents within were not mushy (it really reads as such), I thought, heck, let’s give it a go. Surely it’s safe for the whole family!

So the moment arrives. Mom and Dad are on the way over, and I’m bustling around my kitchen preparing sauce (97% fat-free turkey, yellow onion, garlic and some store-bought sauce I had on hand), roasted broccoli; roasted onion, zucchini, squash and Chinese eggplant; sauteed spinach with fried garlic; and a rustic Greek salad. I have my pasta pot boiling, and when my dad isn’t looking, I dump in the faux noodles, purposely placing the package face down on the counter so no one would see what was up. Then, I turn my back to the pot to continue chopping. I see my dad out of the corner of my eye move towards the pasta pot. I hear plastic wrap crinkling between his fingers as he examines the package, and I turn around… “nooooooooooo!!!!” I exclaimed. “You’re not supposed to see that!!!” Dad just kinda shrugs, resigned to his fate of a potentially mushy meal, and wanders out of my hot kitchen. (I should note here that my dad is an EXCELLENT cook, and thus my anxiety was particularly heightened at wanting to please his honed palate.)

A few moments later, we’re seated around the table and have been joined by my fella, who, like my dad, also prefers substantive man-food. I take a tentative bite of the pasta, and instantly feel relieved. *I* love it. In fact, I immediately prefer it to the store-bought pasta I’m used to, and am reminded of the pasta I made while in Italy. I start to giggle like Beavis and Butthead, and ask the table: “Heh. Hehehe. do you like… hehehe… the pasta? Hee hee hee.” Dad looks nervous. He’s the only one in the know. Finally, he takes a bite. Adds some pepper. Looks up, and says:

“Darlin’, it’s awesome.”

Inspiration

Operation:

  • Kick Butt
  • Slim Down
  • Buff Up

is in HIGH gear. So far, it’s been pretty easy to stay strong and focused, but just when my mind wandered into my tummy, this ad popped up on my Pandora station, and I am INSPIRED!

Watch this space for my transformation.