Finish Strong
Peaches wrapped in prosciutto, topped with hazelnuts, mint and olive oil. 

Peaches wrapped in prosciutto, topped with hazelnuts, mint and olive oil. 

Wow them in the end. That's always been my goal. On stage, finish with your best song; on the track, score with your fastest 400 yard dash of the season; on New Year's, compliment your love with the best toast of the year.

And on a cleanse, finish strong. Don't cheat. 

Because if you do, you will regret it. 

My favorite meal of all 30 days, shrimp with tomatoes and zucchini, topped with fresh parsley. So easy. Preheat oven to 400 and roast cut tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and add shrimp to cookie sheet, roast for another 5 minutes. Serve over zoodles and top with fresh parsley. 

My favorite meal of all 30 days, shrimp with tomatoes and zucchini, topped with fresh parsley. So easy. Preheat oven to 400 and roast cut tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and add shrimp to cookie sheet, roast for another 5 minutes. Serve over zoodles and top with fresh parsley. 

There's a sick satisfaction with bragging rights. You've worked hard, you need recognition, you crave attention. Maybe that's why you did this whole thing to begin with? 

Or perhaps that is what your life has been about... attention? The world is a stage, yes?

Let's get back to food. 30 days of really good food. I hope I made this look easy. Because it is; it was. And it will be the next time I do (we do) another Whole30. I've decided to stick to this food plan, loosely. Yes, I will tear off a bite of that ridiculously good pretzel bread and warm butter before my Alaskan King crab and sautéed spinach, Yes, I will have a gorgeous glass of Cab with it. Yes, a bite of cheesecake every now and then. But moderately...proudly.

This goodness sneaks in with a major surprise. Blend 3 cups of spinach with one egg. Pour onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes on 400. Cook egg whites in a little oil, top with tomatoes and avocado, s+p. A fake breakfast burrito! Whole30 would not support this, as any sort of carb "fake" isn't allowed. I said screw it. 

This goodness sneaks in with a major surprise. Blend 3 cups of spinach with one egg. Pour onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes on 400. Cook egg whites in a little oil, top with tomatoes and avocado, s+p. A fake breakfast burrito! Whole30 would not support this, as any sort of carb "fake" isn't allowed. I said screw it. 

Deprivation is one thing. And it's no good. Take something away from yourself and all you will do is obsess over its loss. 

But moderate with balance, realize you're not "missing" anything, and know it's only 30 days. It's meditative, restorative. 

One of the only meals I didn't make on my Whole30, from the Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa, white and green asparagus with salmon topped with tomato compote. Marvelous. 

One of the only meals I didn't make on my Whole30, from the Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa, white and green asparagus with salmon topped with tomato compote. Marvelous. 

Ever since I was little, I've always romanticized the notion of 'being a writer.' Actually, I romanticize most aspirations in my life, but tend to focus more on the end result, rather than the journey. 

I wanna be a writer, go on a book tour, sign autographs, high five strangers; I wanna be a rock star, sell millions of albums, tour the world, fly my friends to special vacations on yachts; I wanna host a cooking show, spread my love of gathering, drink wine like an Italian, listen to jazz while slow roasting lamb. 

Wait, that last one... that's gonna happen. And I'll romanticize it until it's a reality. 

Tender meatballs with slow cooked rainbow chard and brussels sprouts.  Chop chard and sprouts nicely, cook in a little olive oil and s+p while you make the meatballs. Combine 1 lb. ground sirloin, pork or turkey with chopped zucchini, an egg, any herbs you feel like, s+p, grated carrot and red pepper, form into balls. Heat olive oil in pan and sear the meatballs for about a minute on each side. Add sauce to pan (you can either make sauce like this (no cream), or add jarred sauce, my favorite is Rao's marinara). Let simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes. Add to chard and brussels. 

Tender meatballs with slow cooked rainbow chard and brussels sprouts. 

Chop chard and sprouts nicely, cook in a little olive oil and s+p while you make the meatballs. Combine 1 lb. ground sirloin, pork or turkey with chopped zucchini, an egg, any herbs you feel like, s+p, grated carrot and red pepper, form into balls. Heat olive oil in pan and sear the meatballs for about a minute on each side. Add sauce to pan (you can either make sauce like this (no cream), or add jarred sauce, my favorite is Rao's marinara). Let simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes. Add to chard and brussels. 

Seaweed Salad with raw Ahi tuna. I don't care what diet you're on. This will kill you every time.  Combine high quality Ahi tuna with a touch of sesame oil, garlic, coconut amino, s+p, red pepper flake and let marinade. I bought this seaweed salad from Gelson's and it ruled. This is a great recipe, minus the sugar and replacing the soy with coconut amino. 

Seaweed Salad with raw Ahi tuna. I don't care what diet you're on. This will kill you every time. 

Combine high quality Ahi tuna with a touch of sesame oil, garlic, coconut amino, s+p, red pepper flake and let marinade. I bought this seaweed salad from Gelson's and it ruled. This is a great recipe, minus the sugar and replacing the soy with coconut amino. 

I think life is a process of figuring out the joy thing... where do we get it from? Do we just pull it up like an onion from the soil and cross our fingers it makes a great base for life? Do we search for it with intent and purpose, or just let it arrive? 

Some people thrive on wellness and exercise, some cleanses and nutrition, some alcohol and drugs, some parenting, some addicited to work.  It's taken me this long, after being an athlete, a bartender, a singer, a songwriter, an actor, an assistant, a home cook, an organizer... (shit) to land in a spot that feels just right. Start with the heart of the home. the kitchen. And move out from there. 

Minestrone. One of my favorite make-in-the-morning go-to's. Recipe here. Skip the beans for Whole30 - and the pancetta if sugar is present. Use Pederson Farms bacon.

Minestrone. One of my favorite make-in-the-morning go-to's. Recipe here. Skip the beans for Whole30 - and the pancetta if sugar is present. Use Pederson Farms bacon.

This wins every time I make it. Turkey burger patty over spagetti squash, with avocado, salsa and fresh cilantro. First roast your spagetti squash like French does it here. The combine 1 lb. ground turkey with one small diced onion, fresh herbs, and an egg. Make patties, cook over medium-high heat in olive oil for 3-4 minutes per side. Let rest. Plate over squash and top with avocado, salsa, and fresh cilantro. Die.  

This wins every time I make it. Turkey burger patty over spagetti squash, with avocado, salsa and fresh cilantro. First roast your spagetti squash like French does it here. The combine 1 lb. ground turkey with one small diced onion, fresh herbs, and an egg. Make patties, cook over medium-high heat in olive oil for 3-4 minutes per side. Let rest. Plate over squash and top with avocado, salsa, and fresh cilantro. Die.  

I'm missing my Whole30, something to obsess over daily, a focus. When I'm not working or writing, cooking or parenting, I feel a void. I had to take a break from organizing to let my body heal. Cause I'm old. 

All I wanna do is feed people. Manual labor hurts. 

Simple salmon skewer with onions and red and green peppers. I just grilled this right on a stove-top griddle. And served with an arugula salad with avocado and peach... lemon vinaigrette.

Simple salmon skewer with onions and red and green peppers. I just grilled this right on a stove-top griddle. And served with an arugula salad with avocado and peach... lemon vinaigrette.

Three recipes - one day of your Whole30. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Start with scrambled eggs in coconut or olive oil, Whole30 approved sausage, fresh fruit and an almond milk latte. 

Three recipes - one day of your Whole30. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Start with scrambled eggs in coconut or olive oil, Whole30 approved sausage, fresh fruit and an almond milk latte. 

Breakfast above. Lunch below. Dinner follows. 

Chicken apple sausage with mustard, greens, mango salsa, red pepper and cucumber to dip into avocado crema. 

Chicken apple sausage with mustard, greens, mango salsa, red pepper and cucumber to dip into avocado crema. 

The best chicken chili you've ever had. In fact, I'll probably do an entire post on this recipe. I stole it from the Whole30 instagram recipe page. In a nutshell... get out your slow cooker in the morning. Add one diced red pepper (or two), one diced onion, 5-6 minced garlic cloves, 2 deseeded diced jalapeños to the bottom of your slow cooker. Add 3 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp chili powder, 2 tbsp dried or fresh oregano, 2 tbsp salt and freshly gourd pepper. Add 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast and cover with 4-5 cups of chicken or vegetable broth. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Return to pot and add one can of full fat coconut milk. Let cook on high for another half hour. Serve with fresh avocado and cilantro. 

The best chicken chili you've ever had. In fact, I'll probably do an entire post on this recipe. I stole it from the Whole30 instagram recipe page. In a nutshell... get out your slow cooker in the morning. Add one diced red pepper (or two), one diced onion, 5-6 minced garlic cloves, 2 deseeded diced jalapeños to the bottom of your slow cooker. Add 3 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp chili powder, 2 tbsp dried or fresh oregano, 2 tbsp salt and freshly gourd pepper. Add 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast and cover with 4-5 cups of chicken or vegetable broth. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Return to pot and add one can of full fat coconut milk. Let cook on high for another half hour. Serve with fresh avocado and cilantro. 

And a few more ideas before you decide to join this Whole30 journey...

I hate this picture. But the meal was excellent. Roasted sesame seed crusted pork tenderloin with cabbage, apple and pear slaw, topped with thyme. Combine 5 tbsp olive oil with a lot of minced garlic (like 5-6 cloves) s+p and whisk for a minute. Add the marinade and pork to a plastic bag and let flavors combine for at least a half hour. In a bowl, add half a head of chopped green cabbage, one sliced green apple, and one sliced pear. Top with fresh thyme. For the dressing, combine 3 tbsp olive oil with juice of half a lemon, s+p in a bowl and whisk. Add dressing to the cabbage combo and let sit. Preheat oven to 400. Remove pork from bag, cover all sides in sesame seeds and press into the meat. Sear on high heat on an oven safe griddle for 3-4 minutes per side. Place in oven for 14-16 minutes. 

I hate this picture. But the meal was excellent. Roasted sesame seed crusted pork tenderloin with cabbage, apple and pear slaw, topped with thyme. Combine 5 tbsp olive oil with a lot of minced garlic (like 5-6 cloves) s+p and whisk for a minute. Add the marinade and pork to a plastic bag and let flavors combine for at least a half hour. In a bowl, add half a head of chopped green cabbage, one sliced green apple, and one sliced pear. Top with fresh thyme. For the dressing, combine 3 tbsp olive oil with juice of half a lemon, s+p in a bowl and whisk. Add dressing to the cabbage combo and let sit. Preheat oven to 400. Remove pork from bag, cover all sides in sesame seeds and press into the meat. Sear on high heat on an oven safe griddle for 3-4 minutes per side. Place in oven for 14-16 minutes. 

Sauteed, one-pan goodness. Ground turkey with sweet potatoes, spinach and topped with parsley. In a large sauce pan, bring one tbsp olive oil to medium heat and add one small diced onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add ground turkey and brown meat. Add diced sweet potato and cook on medium-low for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 3 cups of spinach to the pan and let wilt. Cook for 3-4 minutes to combine flavors. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. 

Sauteed, one-pan goodness. Ground turkey with sweet potatoes, spinach and topped with parsley. In a large sauce pan, bring one tbsp olive oil to medium heat and add one small diced onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add ground turkey and brown meat. Add diced sweet potato and cook on medium-low for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 3 cups of spinach to the pan and let wilt. Cook for 3-4 minutes to combine flavors. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. 

Turns out diet can help reduce inflammation. Over the last 30 days, my thyroid levels have gone down, my overall sleep has set records in my life, and my general attitude about food has shifted.

This stuff really works.

It's only 30 days, remember? 

2 week Whole30 Shopping List

Proteins:

  • 1 dozen organic brown eggs
  • 1/2 lb. deveined shrimp
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey / beef / chicken (or combination)
  • 1 packet chicken apple sausage
  • 8 oz. turkey sausage
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken
  • 1.5 lbs. wild salmon
  • 1/2 lb. ahi tuna
  • prosciutto
  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 8 oz diced pancetta

Vegetables / Fruits:

  • tomatoes
  • 6-8 zucchini
  • 2 large onions
  • head garlic
  • head green cabbage
  • shredded carrots
  • white and green asparagus
  • rainbow chard
  • brussels sprouts
  • 3 red peppers
  • scallions
  • seaweed
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • spagetti squash
  • spinach
  • romaine lettuce
  • 2 cucumbers
  • celery
  • avocado (at least 3)
  • jalapeno
  • lemons / limes
  • strawberries / blueberries
  • mango
  • 3-4 peaches

Spices / Herbs / Pantry:

  • basil
  • cilantro
  • thyme
  • parsley
  • mint
  • salsa
  • coconut aminos
  • almond milk
  • almonds / hazelnuts
  • olives