We all have those friends, you know the one’s I’m talking about. They are the ones that go on some crazy crash diet or juice cleanse and it is like they have found God. All they can talk about is how AMAZING it feels to “cleanse the toxins” out of their body, or how they are “really not hungry at all” and that “you get used to it”. Forget having a meaningful conversation with them – life is just about their diet. I hate to admit it, but I have even BEEN that person. I cringe at the memory of trying to convince my friends that they absolutely HAD to try [insert fad diet here] – that it will change their life. Inevitably, after you have finished your diet, and return to the world of the eating, your sanity will slowly return (as will the pounds that you shed).
When my husband and I discovered Whole30, and started to see and feel the results, I will admit it, we became THOSE people. We wanted all of our friends to share in this amazing discovery, and couldn’t understand how everyone wasn’t doing this! The biggest issue we discovered, was that most of our friends were intimidated by the cooking. Most of them would say something like “well it works for you because you like to cook” or “that just sounds like too much work”. After two years of periodic Whole30’s, and living a mostly paleo life, I barely notice that I tend to cook more than most of my friends, but it is true. I can see how the cooking could be an intimidating barrier to some. I started to notice a trend, of friends saying something along the lines of “if you cook my meals for me I could easily do this.” Of course, i thought they were joking … but what if they weren’t?
Last week I was talking with two of my friends at work, and the Whole30 came up. I started to explain what it was, and how it worked. Sure enough, I got the usual response “too much work” – “could do it if you cooked for me”. So, I said okay. I won’t cook FOR you, but I will cook WITH you. We would cook (or prepare) food together on Sunday, and have it to eat throughout the week. Once they got used to it, we could break up the meals and take turns bringing in lunches and breakfasts for the three of us.
This Monday marked Day 1 for our group Whole30 Challenge. Saturday night I sent out a menu for the week, and assigned everyone a portion of the shopping list. Sunday we gathered for our first cooking party. While cooking may be intimidating to do on your own, it is a lot of fun in a group. We had the music blasting, and with so many of us chopping, the work was done quickly.
To make it easier, I decided we would prepare one breakfast for the week, and 3 “entrees” that could be eaten for dinner or lunch and provide variety throughout the week. I also thought it was important to incorporate snacks and dessert, so no one felt deprived. Here was our menu for the week:
- Breakfast: Mini (crustless) Quiche, filled with spinach, mushrooms, onions, nutritional yeast and ham.
- Entree 1: Chili Con Carne with Guacamole
- Entree 2: “Chicken Parm” and Cauliflower Rice
- Entree 3: Lamb Meatballs with Zoodles and Pesto
- Snack 1: Sweet Potato Fries with Aioli
- Snack 2: Plantain Chips and Guac
- Dessert 1: Fresh Berries
- Dessert 2: Apple “Pie”
I will post all of the recipe’s throughout the week, and update you with our progress, but so far everyone is enjoying our little “experiment”. The cooking party was a wonderful way to take the intimidation out of the cooking. We ended up having a great afternoon, and everyone went home excited and with their week’s supply of food locked and loaded. All that is left to do for the rest of the week is the easy part – enjoying the delicious food!