An interesting challenge that I’ve added to my life this year is called the Whole30.  Some of you may have heard of it- it’s a 30-day paleo eating challenge that a lot of people use as a nutritional reset. The challenge, just like most paleo eating plans, focuses on real food: meat, veggies, fruit, nuts and healthy fats. No processed anything- including sweeteners, snack foods and even meat with hidden ingredients (bye bye, grocery store rotisserie chicken)! My particular interest in the challenge was to learn to cook vegetables in a variety of ways (and learn to like them) and to wean myself off of the mostly processed food diet I seem to have adopted in the last few years.

I’m not a picky eater- in fact, there are only two foods in my life that I now refuse after trying them : papaya and blood sausage. I’m happy to try anything at least once, though I will say that I have yet to try liver or other organ meats on their own (I did enjoy haggis, though). I do have a can of sardines in the pantry, but haven’t quite been brave enough to bring that out. 😉

My biggest problem is that I prefer processed foods. I’m not a very imaginative nor intuitive cook, and being in the kitchen kind of scares me. I don’t really even know how to fry an egg, and every time I try, it never quite turns out right. Fernando happens to be the exact opposite of me in the kitchen- he can pull together a fabulous dinner off the top of his head without having to consult 17 different websites like I do. I thank his mum for that- she told him growing up that he would likely not marry a girl that knew how to cook and so he’s been cooking since he was 12. Gracias, Gloria! I appreciate your wisdom more than you’ll ever know.

If you’re rolling your eyes at me right now because you remember all the other ill-fated food experiments I’ve attempted in the past (vegan, vegetarian…), don’t worry- my eyes are rolling with yours! I find it fun to take on different challenges and see what my body likes best. I’m learning that my body seems pretty happy without grains and dairy. I’m on day 11 of the challenge and I haven’t experienced a lot of the, erm, tummy trouble I’ve been facing lately. I do find it a struggle to eat so much meat, though. I usually lean toward the vegetarian end of the spectrum for a lot of ethical, nutritional and environmental reasons, so it’s been quite the process.

I’m also trying new foods. One of my all-time favorite foods is mashed potatoes, which is eliminated on this challenge because white potatoes aren’t allowed. Luckily, I found a great replacement: mashed cauliflower! I don’t particularly enjoy raw cauliflower, but this stuff is rad. I’ve eaten it almost every day and brought some to share with my colleagues, who gave it rave reviews! It’ll be on a permanent rotation in the household, I can assure you!

Oops- now that I’ve practically written a novel, I’ll stop yammering your ear off and go finish eating my sweet potato. Yum! After 11 days with no sugar, it seriously tastes like marshmallows.


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