Back in January I did my first Whole30. I had no energy, weighed more than I wanted to (although I had started losing a bit of weight), had constant bad stomach pain, and just generally felt crummy. I was desperate; something had to give. I've sort of become a bit of a hippie in some respects as I've gotten older, and I didn't want to just throw pills at the problem. I was convinced that there had to be another way. Enter my friends Eric and Kathryn. Eric is an avid Black Box crossfitter, and told me about this eating plan that he'd done in the past that might help. We decided to do one together in January, and although it was hard (really hard) at first, by the end I felt so much better! I had energy, I was sleeping better, I lost 15 pounds, and my stomach pain problems were milder and less frequent.
The Whole30 wasn't all sunshine and roses, however. It's hard to eat that way all the time. I don't like to cook, and it's pretty impossible to eat out on a Whole30. So I compromised and made simple meals. I'm talking SUPER simple. Plain hamburgers with some roasted zucchini on the side. I ate a lot of steamed veggies. Kept the food simple and bland. It was fine at first, but by the end I was frustrated. I missed food with FLAVOR and TEXTURE. I was glad to be done. The benefits from my Whole30 were too great to pass up though, so I decided that I would continue to eat mostly Paleo, which is slightly more relaxed than Whole30. I also started jogging/running, and ran my first 5K (which is a story for another time, but MAN was it fun!).
In April my coworker Amy told me she was going to be doing another Whole30 (she did one in January as well) in May and asked if I'd like to do it with her. I'll be honest- I wasn't terribly excited about the idea. But I had stopped losing weight, and was unhappy with my food choices. I figured it couldn't hurt, so I grudgingly said yes. This time around however, I figured if I was going to do it, I might as well enjoy it. I didn't think I could survive another month of bland food. So I resolved to still keep it simple but try and add more flavor. Spices, new recipes, and trying new vegetables. I knew I had to change my mindset. If I was unhappy and felt obligated the entire time, I would never make it the whole month! I had to DECIDE to be excited about it.
Okay, okay, I'll be honest. I cheated a few times on this Whole30. But overall I still did really well and was proud of myself for what I did accomplish. And Amy did awesome and never cheated, and I know girl missed her cocktails! Anyway, this was a long story, but the point is this: Amy and I wanted to show that good food can also be good for you! We had the idea to throw a brunch at our friend Allison's house, making only Whole30-approved foods. We invited a few friends, decorated, cooked, and ate. And it was all delicious and so much fun! I decorated and took pictures, and Amy cooked. She did a great job. Watch her blog in the coming weeks for her take on the day!
I had so much fun decorating the table for this brunch! I decided that since the "theme" of this brunch was whole, REAL food, then food should be the star. Simple white and glass serving dishes let the decorations shine. Herbs, lemons, limes, radishes, tomatoes, apricots, and peppers brought such amazing color to the table! It was also very inexpensive to decorate with food, and we had zero waste after it was over! We just divvied up the veggies and called it a day. No glitter or confetti to throw away. :) I also printed up a few quick menus to attach to each setting with twine and a sprig of rosemary.
Cantaloupe, proscuitto, almond, and spinach salad. The pairing of proscuitto and cantaloupe was out of this world! Salty and sweet, and perfect texture. We drizzled it with a little olive oil for dressing, and it was a perfect light salad.
Freshly squeezed orange juice! It tasted amazing and I'm still craving it today. It made up for the fact that we couldn't have cocktails, and gave us something to drink besides water, although our water was tasty too! We froze berries/fruit in ice cubes the night before, and as the ice melted in the water glasses, it infused the water with fruit! It just made the water feel a little bit fancier, you know?
Sarah did our makeup. She's a local airbrush makeup artist and waxer here in Bryan/College Station, and one of my good friends. She's amazing at what she does, and I'm so thankful that she was there (although she had to leave for another appointment before we sat down to eat).
Zucchini and breakfast sausage frittata. When we did our test run of some brunch recipes, I was really impressed with the zucchini frittata Amy made. I didn't realize that frittatas were so easy! I've been a frittata-making fiend since then. It's super simple to switch out flavors by just adding and subtracting veggies. By the way, I think at some point Amy will have all these recipes on her blog! So you should watch for that too.
We had poached pears with a raspberry cream sauce for dessert! Does it sound like we cheated? We totally didn't! The recipe came from It Starts With Food, the book written by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, founders of Whole30. It explains the science behind the Whole30, and I found it very helpful to know why I was eating what I was eating.
We also had a little side of salmon ceviche with sriracha. It wasn't the most popular dish on the table, but I still really liked it! I found that surprising because I typically don't like spicy food, but this had just a nice little kick that I thought was flavorful without being too hot, and the texture of the fish was just right.
I'm doing this out of order, but we also had avocado and cucumber soup. It was definitely creamy, and this time Amy added some roasted garlic and other spices to give it a bit more flavor. I thought it turned out pretty well.
I know this post has been really photo-heavy, but I just couldn't pick my favorites! I had so much fun at this brunch, and plans are already being made for our next party! Fancy summer pizza party, anyone?
These are just some of the pictures. Warning- there. are. a. lot. :)