Posted in diet

Why I Love Purple Carrot’s Performance Meals

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Purple Carrot, and I’m definitely not affiliated with Tom Brady. I’m just a customer and now fan of Purple Carrot’s TB12 Performance Meals, and I buy them with my own money. I just want to talk about them because, quite honestly, I love them, and I think that maybe you would, too.

I saw the TB12 meal service advertised online a few months ago, so I thought I would check it out. I had recently been talking to my husband about reducing the amount of meat we prepare our meals with, I just feel like we are consuming too much and also wasting too much. I don’t think it is necessary anymore to eat meat at every meal, and for several reasons think it would be helpful to reduce animal-based protein by even one day a week. I feel like if we are going to consume animal flesh then we should make sure we are purchasing it by the happiest animals that ever lived, who are respected in life and in death, and how can we guarantee that if we’re not doing it ourselves?

You might have thought I was blaspheming the Almighty God in heaven above for suggesting we do not NEED meat all day all the time, and that I should just take up residence in the crunchy city of Northampton and start my totally unnecessary vegetable commune all by myself. You know you’re on to something when the children start getting upset by your crazy Earth-mother ideas, because you have my son. My son who told the

turnip cakes and quinoa tabbouleh

Subway sandwich artist to load up his sandwich with bacon when she asked him what he wanted for veggies. The son who at 5 years old started crying when I informed him I would no longer be purchasing chicken nuggets for him anymore after reading the book Skinny Bitch and I could no longer fathom preparing animal flesh. We definitely eat vegetables at our house, and somehow my bacon-loving son prefers vegetables to anything else he is plated and will finish them first like they are some kind of green deciduous dessert. We also definitely prepare meat. We are also aware of the CAFO Industry, and if you’re not, please educate yourself on it. I started to become aware when reading Skinny Bitch which quite frankly disturbed me and changed my life. I recommend The Omnivore’s Dilemma as great starting point.

So back to plant-based stuff. Another disclaimer — as you might have guessed, I’m not a food photographer, I’m barely even an adequate food describer. All my pictures were taken with my iPhone in available lighting, and sent through an Instagram filter because did you really eat it if you didn’t show everyone on Insta? I don’t usually take pictures of my food, either, but I took pictures of *this* food because it’s like, Tom Brady’s food and also I wanted to show comparison between my plate and the recommended image on the recipe card.

ramen bowl with broccolini and amaranth greens

So this TB12 meal service. The menu is pre-planned and is shipped out on Monday. I’ve been getting my delivery on Tuesday. It comes in a nice box with two great big ice packs, like the one you stole from the school nurse if that ice pack was a baby and the Purple Carrot ice pack was Vin Diesel. x2. You can opt-out of any week completely hassle-free by logging in and checking a box. Super easy, no guilt. (But after tasting this food–why would you want to?)

So I’ve got to say, Tom Brady knows what’s going on in the kitchen. Or his people do. Every meal I have cooked up so far–and that is every meal delivered to me from week one–has been fabulous. My favorites so far have been the turnip cake meal (pictured above), and tonight’s stuffed sweet potatoes. I love that everything is pre-portioned, I don’t need to rummage through my cupboards for seasonings. At most–olive oil, salt, and pepper. Seriously. Everything I have received has been super-fresh. The past couple of weeks, these ingredients have sat in my fridge until the weekend before I could do anything with them. Like Sunday. It’s been crazy over here, don’t ask. But everything has seemed as fresh as the day it was delivered–a  testament to the quality of these ingredients. No produce, none, that I buy from the grocery store lasts 3 days never mind the 5, 6, 7 days it’s taking me to pull this stuff out of the crisper. And the grocery claims to source local. I have worried about the time it takes me to start cooking up, but it’s been for no reason. All ingredients have been pristine.

mung bean dal with tamarind, popped sorghum, and gluten-free naan

The flavors in these recipes have been such a pleasure. I have tried food I didn’t know existed, and with the exception of the radishes — have loved everything.

Some of the reviews of the TB12 performance meals call these meals a pain to make. I guess that’s true if you’re used to preparing boxed food. I am not a stranger to preparing meals from scratch, and am also not intimidated by cooking, either. I guess if you don’t consider yourself a cook or are unable to follow recipes, then this might not be the service for you. You will have to prepare everything. That naan over there? I had to mix it WITH MY BARE HANDS! That was probably the most challenging thing I have made so far. Also I scorched the sorghum a little but it tasted FINE and who knew what sorghum was or that it popped like popcorn and you can put it on your mung beans? I never even knew about the mung  bean until yesterday. I like the mung bean with tamarind paste. I was afraid of the chili peppers, but for no reason because there wasn’t too much heat, in fact, I didn’t detect any heat.

My husband finds it to be a hassle, but I don’t mind. I have actually enjoyed it, as I have found the whole thing an experience, really. Maybe I’ve been dazzled by the intriguing new recipes. Whatever the case, it’s been worth the work! And look at Tom and Giselle. Those bodies are WORK, people! Yes, work that they hire other people to help them do, but work nonetheless!

IMG_6671Another thing I have liked it that they tell you it is 2 servings, but in most cases–it’s more than what 2 people can eat. And I don’t eat like a normal person, and even I can’t eat half of what is prepared. I discovered that you don’t have to eat meat to fill your belly. Seriously. You know on those diets how people are always lying to you, saying “there’s so much food–I’m never hungry!” That is shit. They’re starving and 2 seconds away from inhaling a box of oatmeal creme pies.

You know it. I know it.

I’ve always wondered how the heck I would stay full if I went plant-based. All I could imagine was endless, sad passes at the Stop N’ Shop salad bar, scooping the same old lettuce leaves and sunflower seeds into my crappy plastic container. It was a sad, sad thing to imagine. But Tom Brady fixed me. I just didn’t know how to put these things together into meals and make them taste good. You really can get filled up on plants. I seriously had no idea before now.

Stuffed Sweet Potato

These meals are high in calories, I have noticed. Not sure why, other than maybe the olive oil? I know there’s some diet doctrine that says a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Look at the dude who lost weight eating twinkies every day. But there’s other doctrine that tells us the type of calories you consume are important. 1,000 twinkie calories are not going to be processed in the body the same way 1,000 vegetable calories will be. Know what I’m saying? Insulin is a really important factor in why bodies store fat, which begins with diet and the type of sugars you consume, and the body’s reaction to those sugars. There is a difference.

I never feel bad stuffing myself full of this food because I know everything in the meal is good for me. The meals are vegan and gluten-free, yes high in calorie, but super low in guilt. You know how they say the Americans are an over-fed but under-nourished population? It’s important to your health to understand that paradox. You can feel good putting these meals into your body knowing you’re fueling yourself with wholesome nutrition… And if it helps me to look anything like Giselle, just take my money!!

Posted in diet, paleo, whole30

Week One Whole 30 Recap

So we’re on day 8 of the whole30. I’ve made it a whole7 without caving in to social pressure or delicious media images of what I used to eat. I have trolled Pinterest for things that I would like to put in my face, but won’t. And there was one close call where I almost tested the kid’s pasta to see if it was cooked.

I was feeling thinner so I pulled on a pair of my size 8 shorts. I guess it was all in my head, hoping that I could drop a dress size in week. The shorts still wouldn’t button. Same as before. I so want to pull my scale out, but I haven’t, and I will not. I will not break the rule.

Things I have made from scratch this past week:

  1. mayonnaise
  2. pork breakfast sausage
  3. potato chips (I know, I know)
  4. cauliflower “rice”

Things I made last week that I have never made before:

  1. Stuffed peppers with grass-fed ground beef, cauliflower rice, heirloom tomato sauce, and spices (loved it!)
  2. Egg frittatas, various ingredients

Yesterday, for some reason, I felt happy. It was a beautiful day. The baby took naps longer than 10 minutes long, so I went outside and pruned the hedges and scrubbed the pool to get the algae into the filter. I didn’t want yesterday to end. I remember from my first attempt at a Whole30, having a change in my general disposition from one of grouchiness and lethargy to just being in an overall better mood. Maybe it’s back? I also feel like my skin is improving. The pores on my face look like they’re clearing out. It’s not perfect, but I don’t know… It just looks better to me without makeup.

So on to week two. Week two will come with a couple of challenges. First, my husband’s birthday is this week and he wants a pineapple upside-down cake (that he shouldn’t be eating!). Second, it is labor day weekend and we will be going to my mother’s for a barbecue. Rob and I have already talked about bringing some of our own food to make sure we stay compliant. We are worried it will hurt my mother’s feelings. She mentioned she wanted to give us a wedding cake at the barbecue since no one was at our wedding and we didn’t celebrate at all. She looked disappointed when I told her we would be doing a Whole30. We’ll see if she has a cake for us and figure out the best thing to do.

I’ll keep updating our progress through Twitter!

Posted in diet, paleo

I Know, I Know, It’s Only Day Two

As day two of our Whole 30 is coming to a close I want to say what a difference it makes emotionally to have someone at home to do it with you. I am so impressed with the enthusiasm my husband is showing for this program. It has been such a difference in him from all the times I wanted to go at it alone. I know it’s only day two, but if he wasn’t doing it with me, I wouldn’t have made it past day one. For real. I’ve tried before.

Today, we put the baby in the car and drove all the way to the Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s markets which are not conveniently located to us, unfortunately. The produce there is noticeably so much more beautiful than the produce at our local grocery store. For the first time, after years of criticizing my label-reading, Rob was helping me read labels to ensure Whole 30 compliance. Hopefully we found enough ingredients to make enough compliant meals for us. 

ALSO! When we got home, we took our before pictures and took note of our before weights. I was actually pleasantly surprised by my before weight. When Rob told me how much he weighed, given all of the eating out and over-eating I have been doing, I thought I would weigh almost as much as him (my fear was I could have weighed more!). Come to find out I’m only a few pounds off of my pre-pregnancy weight and enough off his his weight to be satisfied with for now. It’s still too big a number for my comfort, but it was a nice surprise. I will share my before and after and total pounds lost (if any) when I complete the 30 days. We did take our weights on day two. We acknowledge you aren’t supposed to step on the scale for the entirety of the program, but we had no idea where we stood weight-wise, so we wanted a baseline to start with. We missed doing it yesterday or the day before. Actually, we didn’t even have a scale. But now I know! And I will be looking forward to comparing photographs next month. I think if it shows good progress physically, it would really motivate me to continue a Whole 9 type diet. 

So anyway, again, I feel so good about having a partner–my partner–going through this program whole-heartedly with me. Yesterday, he made his own mayonnaise, people. His own mayo. He said he didn’t even know before yesterday that you could make your own mayo. And now we have home-made mayo in our house for the first time. He is even telling his friends about the home-made mayo. I love it. 



Posted in diet

Just a Number

It’s time to go for it again–I’m talking food, folks. Real food. If I ever had a reason to before, it is now. Baby girl is breaking out, having belly-aches, and liquid dumps.

A few years ago, an old friend of mine posted on her Facebook that she just started a Whole30 program. I had never heard of it, so I looked it up. In the course of the day, I pored over the website. I thought I could never follow that diet, but something on their website somehow encouraged me to try. So I started right then. I made it a few weeks and the change in myself was obvious. Obvious to me and obvious to those around me. But someone came to my home, told me I couldn’t do that to myself… Couldn’t keep it up. Others chimed in with their agreement. And just like that, it was over. I stopped. I was discouraged. I gave in.

I wish I had kept going.

And I tell everyone how wonderful the diet is. How much sense it makes. And I still read nutritional books as often as I can. I research it online. I subscribe to Facebook pages that align with the Whole9 nutritional beliefs. Yes, I’m basically a paleo wannabe.

I have a friend who didn’t believe in it… and then her husband went away for 6 weeks. And she tried it. And she believes in the virtues of it, too. She gets it.

So I know that if I can eliminate inflammatory foods, not only will I feel better and healthier, my baby will feel better, too.

I’m not planning on doing another Whole30, just following the Whole9 as closely as possible. It’s a bit less strict, where the Whole30 is eliminating anything that could cause an adverse gut reaction in an effort to re-set your system.

I’m hoping my baby will soon become more comfortable and be able to self-soothe a little better if her gut isn’t freaking out by the contents of my breast milk.

I am also hoping my boyfriend will be more supportive of this choice than he has been in the past. He said he would be, and I think the difference is that now my diet is affecting his baby girl. His only concern is that I eat enough to nourish us both. I don’t think this will be a problem as I don’t like being hungry. I just have to make sure I keep enough of the right foods on hand so I don’t resort to an inflammatory choice.

Society has made such a big deal out of food. We have so many choices in the grocery stores and of grocery stores. Restaurants everywhere in varying levels of price and quality. There are television programs and entire television networks devoted to food. Nutrition and food preparation professions. Zillions of magazines about food. And books! So many books. And everyone has their opinion on every diet and option. It’s really confusing and not hard to imagine why there is such disfunction surrounding the American diet.
I feel like I have a grasp of what to do and how to do it–it’s the execution of it that I continually fail at.

I really need to be successful this time. If I can’t manage it for myself, then for my daughter who depends on me completely for her nutrition. I am hoping the gains I make and the progress I see will serve as motivation for me. As I sit here typing, I’m watching my little girl sleep, but she isn’t peaceful. She is visibly uncomfortable, moving and grunting. This, after hours of trying to get her to sleep. I need to help her.

I gained over 50 pounds this pregnancy. I was horrified by this. I sat in the midwifery and couldn’t control my tears when I saw the number on the scale. It’s just a number, people say. But it’s more than that for us, for our society. It feels like it’s worth. And so my worth was diminished that day with that number. And then the nurse blabbed the number to everyone in the delivery room without my permission. I was mortified.

I’m 5 weeks postpartum now, and 35 of that 50 pounds has vanished, thankfully. The other 15 I suppose is weight that never should have been put on. And I could easily lose 30 pounds to be where I feel I should be. It may be just a number.
And I may be a victim of this messed-up, vain, society.

So here we go again. The paleo thing.
I know it’s the right decision.