When Jules asked me if I wanted to do the Whole30 thing with her several months ago, my answer was an enthusiastic “Not a chance, but I’ll support you if you want to do it.” She’s asked me probably twice a month for the last 5 months, and my answer was always the same. That was, until a little over a month ago and she actually did attempt to do it on her own. That lasted a day. I mean, how could it possibly last longer? I do the cooking! So as unenjoyable as it sounded, I dove in.
Honesty time: Whole30 will not be my new normal. My cravings for bread, cheese and everything else wonderful have not gone away. Where I work, we rarely have potluck lunches. Maybe two the entire time I’ve been there, before a month ago. Well they had two in the past 3 weeks alone, and it was straight up torture. This is not my new lifestyle, and I can’t wait for this weekend when the bars are lifted.
That said, I have seen some positive impacts, and I’m glad to have done the program. I’ve lost a little weight, as best as I can tell (you’re not supposed to weigh yourself during the thing, so I don’t know for sure), and my acid reflux is much easier to manage. I’ve also been surprised at how much will power I’ve gained, because that’s something I always struggled with. While I don’t plan on eating Whole30 all the time, I can see myself eating at least one Whole30 meal each day, and swapping out some rounds of candy with cashews or an orange or something. I feel confident in my ability to make better choices going forward.
Another thing I’ve learned over these past few weeks is how to pack some serious flavor in without using sugar or dairy as a crutch. So in honor of football season (which I seriously couldn’t possibly care less about) and our recent diet, I’m gonna share a new favorite recipe of ours. And it’s good enough to eat even if you aren’t Whole30’ing it.
The prep on these wings is super easy. 6-7 ingredients, bingo bango bongo, done.
Put this stuff in a blender:
1/2 yellow onion
1 can high fat coconut milk (for Whole30, use something that contains guar gum, instead of that other stuff)
4 garlic cloves
zest of two limes
juice of two limes
1.5 Tbsp red curry paste
1 red jalapeño (stem, seeds and ribs removed)
1/2 tsp fish sauce (not pictured)
Now blend it until smooth. Taste it, add salt if needed, and put it in a zip top bag or sealable bowl with the wings and toss to coat. This makes enough marinade for probably up to 50 wings or so, but you don’t need to make that many. Cut the recipe down if you need. Marinate 2-6 hours.
About 45 minutes before dinner, put a pan in the oven and heat it to 425. About 35 minutes before dinner, quickly remove the pan from the oven and close the door (to prevent heat from escaping), spread the wings out evenly with the fatty sides down and quickly place back in the oven, to prevent heat loss. About 20 minutes before dinner, quickly remove the pan from the oven again (taking care to close the door etc) and flip the chicken so the fatty side is up, place back in the oven, bump the heat up to 450, and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the skin renders and browns. Remove from the oven and toss in 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Serve with a salad of sorts (keep an eye out for the recipe for the one in the pictures – purple cabbage slaw with ginger almond dressing – fantastic).
So, even though I crave candy and snacks and ice cream and snow cones and Dirty Dr. Pepper and grilled cheese sandwiches, it’s meals like this that kept me going. I even found myself, on occasion, thinking “Whole30 ain’t so tough.” And it’s a great meal to make when having guests over (as we frequently do), because it doesn’t feel “diet-y.” So give this a try, even if you’re not doing the Whole30. And if you are – you’re welcome.