4 Super-Satisfying Whole30 Recipes.

Day 14. Almost halfway through my second Whole30! Besides the fact that I’m just now getting over a two-week cold, I’m feeling fabulous. Lighter. More energetic. Happier. Clearer. So I thought I’d share a roundup of my favorite Whole30-friendly recipes. These are the recipes I’ve made over and over again, for years. They’re all super-satisfying and reliably good, which means they’re perfect for days when you just can’t have another kale salad.

Tomato Sweet Potato Noodles with Chicken & Artichokes by Inspiralized


I discovered this two years ago during my last Whole30 and have made it at least 15 times (including twice for guests). So sublimely satisfying, but not heavy. Plus, it’s even better as leftovers.

Almost 5-Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie by PaleoOMG


Sure, it’s not the prettiest. But this is SO GOOD. And simple. Just eggs, spaghetti squash, Whole30-approved sausage, pizza sauce, and onion. My husband doesn’t even like spaghetti squash and he always takes seconds. I usually make it on a weekend, then have it for several days.

Paleo Almond Chicken Fingers by Generation Y Foodie


All the crunch of normal chicken tenders, without the carbs. These are dipped in egg then “breaded” in almond meal and baked.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs by SkinnyTaste


These are perfect party snacks, craved by Whole30-ers and common folk alike. (Also, they’re super easy to make.)



Day 8. Becoming a Bullet-Journalist.

Have you heard of this thing called a bullet journal? I guess I live under a rock, because it only floated onto my radar maybe six months ago. In short, it’s a notebook that’s part planner, part to-do list, and part diary. You capture things in short spurts, or “bullets,” instead of writing novellas about your day. This BuzzFeed, WTF Is a Bullet Journal and Why Should I Start One? , is a spot-on intro for beginners.

If you want to dig deeper, just search #bulletjournal on Insta. You’ll lose hours of time down a rabbit hole of pretty pens and hand lettering, like this…

Anyways, a week into my Clarity Project, I decided that in order to completely clear my mind, I need to get my sh*it together. Translation: ORGANIZATION. So today I started a bullet journal. Here’s what happened:

1. I spent too long at Target staring at pens. Then splurged on the following supplies:

  • A Moleskin Journal. Blogs recommend either the Moleskin Large Dotted Journal or the Leuchtturm1917 Medium Dotted Journal. But that wasn’t available when I stopped by the store, so I grabbed the Moleskin “Chapters” Dotted Journal. At only 128 pages, with lay-flat pages, I think it’s perfect for my beginner’s needs. Plus, it was less than $10.
  • All the Pens. Google”bullet journal pens” at your own risk. There. Are. So. Many. Options. And so little time. I ended up grabbing the classic Pilot G-2 Extra Fine Gel pens for my everyday writing (you can find them anywhere), plus a 10-pack of Staedtler Triplus Finelines to jazz things up. The Staedtlers are fab, although the color choice could be better. (Does anyone really use brown??)
  • A Six-Inch Ruler. This is an absolute must.
  • Washi Tape. Because I don’t have the artistic talent of the above Instagram post.


2. Next? I filled out my index in the first two pages of my journal. You fill this out as you go along.


3. Page 3-6 are my “future log,” which basically means a yearly calendar.


4. Next? It’s my January monthly page and to-do list.


5. Lastly, I created my January habits page, where I’ll track how many days I actually do certain habits this month (like go to yoga or meditate). Fun, right?


Tomorrow, I’ll start on Day 1 of my Daily Journal, where I’ll track tasks and occurrences on an everyday basis. Although my journal may be more basic than the Insta-world out there, and, sure, my handwriting is severely eh, I’m feeling good. This is fun! Now, here’s to hoping it leads to more clarity down the road.

Day 4. The Brain Book List.

Four days in, and it’s official: Food can’t be the only thing I focus on during my Clarity Project. But… what else? I have vague ideas of where to start. Meditation, for example. Or digital detoxing. But I’m no expert, so I figured it was time I turned to one for help. Or maybe eight.

Cue this list of eight brain books topping my 2017 reading list, covering topics like brain fog, memory, and… gut microbes (promise, it seemed thrilling!). Now, brb while I get to reading for the next 5975935895 days.

  1. The Brain Fog Fix: Reclaim Your Focus, Memory, and Joy in Just 3 Weeks  (Goodreads 3.58/5)

  2. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything (Goodreads 3.84/5)


  3. Mind Gym: Achieve More by Thinking Differently  (Goodreads 3.48/5)


  4. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life (Goodreads 4.06/5)


  5. Super Mind: How to Boost Performance and Live a Richer and Happier Life Through Transcendental Meditation (Goodreads 3.53/5)


  6. Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets  (Goodreads 3.86/5)


  7. Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To (Goodreads 3.91/5)


  8. Thinking, Fast and Slow  (Goodreads 4.06/5)


Day 2. Turmeric, The Brain Spice.

Day two, and feeling… horrific. My husband and I both woke up with a miserable case of the sneezes and sniffles. Between the two of us and our dog, who recently got diagnosed with Lyme disease, we’re a sad bunch.

For a quick boost, I brewed some Turmeric Coffee. Paleo folks typically add grass-fed butter to theirs. But Whole30 is dairy-free, so mine is simply a cup of coffee, a little less than a teaspoon of turmeric, a few pinches of cinnamon, and a splash of unsweetened natural almond milk. The spices go in the bottom of the glass, then the liquids on top so they don’t get clumpy, then stir. My sinuses always clear after I drink it. Plus, it’s a BRAIN FOOD. Here’s the scoop.

Turmeric root and powder

The Brain Science Behind Turmeric

Commonly known as “that stuff that makes curry yellow,” Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in India as a spice and medicinal herb, which brings it to the top of my list of to-try “Brain Foods.” Its secret lies in curcumin, a chemical compound known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

But how does that relate to my brain? Studies have shown that curcumin increases neurogenesis, or the production of new neurons in the brain. This TED Talk explains it in layman’s terms (more on this talk later, it’s fab). But, in summary, yes! we can still grow new neurons after we’re children! And yes! Curcumin has been identified as one of those magic brain helpers that will help us do so.

To dig deeper, we get into something called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is essentially a growth hormone in the brain. Curcumin has been identified to increase BDNF levels. Depression and Alzheimers have been linked with decreased levels of BDNF. Simple math, which highlights curcumin as potentially effective in delaying or reversing brain disease and age-related brain deterioration, as well as improving general cognitive function.

Studies also note that curcumin helps stimulate production of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) from ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). What? I know, explain. Basically, both of these acronyms are omega-3 fatty acids. DHA has been proven to be especially important in nervous system function. It’s the kind of fatty acid we get from salmon and sardines, but not much else. ALA, on the other hand, is way easier to get in our daily diets. Its found in small amounts in a large number of foods. Curcumin can stimulate enzymes that help turn more-common ALA into less-common (and brain-powering) DHA. Done and done.

OK. Now What?

Before we all start pounding turmeric (ech), let it be known: Turmeric only contains about 2-5% curcumin per root weight. Sources vary greatly on the recommended amount of turmeric to consume per day, but several recommend 1-3 grams per day, or about .5 to 1.5 teaspoons, which fits perfectly with my morning turmeric coffee ritual.

Here are the other recipes on my list for the weeks ahead (most are Whole30-approved, but some will need tweaks):

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato, Apple, & Turmeric Soup by  Real Food Whole Life


Healing Bowls with Turmeric Mashed Sweet Potatoes by Pinch of Yum


Turmeric Deviled Eggs by Just Paleo Food



Day 1. The Whole30.

It’s Day 1, and I’m nursing a champagne hangover. For the first time in ten years, I slept ungodly late. 1PM! It was blissful and I have zero guilt. Then hub and I binge-watched travel shows to get inspired for the trip to Eastern Europe and Israel we’re taking in September. Somewhere between all of that, I ate this: Arugula, Tessemae’s All-Natural Lemon Garlic Dressing, Brat Hans Mild Italian Chicken Sausageand an Applegate Farms Uncured Beef Hot Dog


I know. RANDOM. But there’s method to my madness. Two years ago, I completed a Whole30 in January. For those of you who are all ??? right now, it’s an elimination diet where you cut out all alcohol, grains, sugar, dairy, legumes, and soy. In their own words, “Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.” It may sound like the perfect path to weight loss. But that’s not the end goal here. While Whole30 quotes that over 95% of participants lose weight, they also tout other benefits like “consistently high energy levels, improved athletic performance, better sleep, improved focus and mental clarity, and a sunnier disposition.”

Let’s pause there. Improved mental clarity! Yes! Two years ago, after a full 30 days, my mind was clearer than it had been in years. So I knew I had to do another one as part of my Clarity Project. (Although I’m seriously contemplating eating soy this year….)

Rewind to the random mix of randomness that I called lunch. When I went into the fridge today to start Day 1 of Whole30, I realized that, alas, I had not gone Whole30 shopping. The fridge was packed with champagne, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, and leftover pizza. There wasn’t even an egg to be found. So what else is a girl to do? This bowl was entirely Whole30-compliant. A surprisingly satisfying start.

But just so we avoid having to repeat this meal every day for 30 days, I’m off to Whole Foods now to stock up on Whole30-approved eats, plus a few foods people swear boost their brainpower. More on that later…

Day 1. Project: Clarity, Commence.

I can’t pinpoint when it started. It was, I think, sometime within the past five years. There was no injury catalyst that brought me here. I never drank more than the rest of them. I didn’t dabble in hard drugs. But somehow, at some point, my brain began to fog. My mental recall started slipping. The lucidity I used to define myself by was gone. Names became harder to remember. Memories blurred around the edges. Where did they go? Is it still possible to find them?

This blog is my Project: Clarity. A year-long deep dive into the culprits of a cluttered mind.

Wish me luck.