For January and the new year, I’ve been writing about hitting a reset button on our eating and cooking.
I know a lot of people who use the Whole 30 system to help them refresh in the new year, or at other times of the year if they feel like their eating habits are getting a little out of control.
Whole 30 is touted as not being a diet because you are not limited by the quantity of food you can eat, but it comes with an extensive list of food groups that you are not allowed to eat while doing it. I’ve never done it myself, because I once tried giving up carbs on the South Beach Diet for just two weeks and I did not like who I became. Let’s just say there was a lot crying and an awful lot of hangry emotions. But my brother and sister-in-law have done it many times, and they say you can get used to it. And to those who can, I salute you.
I’m not going to discuss the whole program because I haven’t read the book, but here are the basics. For 30 days, you abstain from all sugars and artificial sweeteners, all grains, all beans and legumes (including peanuts), all dairy, all soy, all alcohol, and all processed additives. I think I could give up each of those categories for a month one at a time, but not all of them at the same time.
The program stresses not to mourn the loss of what you can’t eat, but to concentrate on what you can eat: meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and some fruits (some are too sugary). A big push is to get back to eating “whole foods,” which I’m pretty proud of myself for doing because I cook from scratch most of the time. But the majority of my cooking includes grains and dairy, and I’m kind of a sweet-tooth too. “To thine own self you must be true,” I always say.
But that’s not to say we can’t all enjoy a meal or two that would fit into the Whole 30 diet, so here are three ideas for giving it a try. First up, tuna stuffed avocados. This is basically tuna salad plopped on avocado halves, but it’s filling and a little decadent with eating all that avocado, so you shouldn’t miss having the bread.
Next, a spiced pork loin with carrots, parsnips and leeks. Simple, delicious, and whole-food friendly, you might be tempted to serve it with couscous, but try a double helping of vegetables instead.
And finally, for a little kick, Kung Pao chicken. No rice here, and a couple of ingredients you probably don’t keep on hand like coconut aminos and arrowroot, but I’ve included easy substitutions.