Hello everyone! I'm back again for a Week 3 post. I hope everyone has had a wonderful week. There's a lot of exciting new things happening at the Tessemae's Treefort, and with that comes a lot of work and a lot of hustle. You will start to see some of these exciting things come to life very very soon but until then we've got our pedal to the metal!
I've found myself struggling this week to stick to a schedule and hold myself to the goals I set out to accomplish. If you remember my first post, I wanted to fix my habit of skipping breakfast. Well.. I've made some strides but I'm still not there. I've graduated to grabbing a banana on my way out the door and eating it once I get to work and get settled at my desk. And I definitely forgot one day and skipped breakfast all together. Sigh.
I'm feeling slightly discouraged after this week because I feel like I've been slipping. I haven't committed to eating breakfast enough, I didn't meal prep enough last week, and I relied a little too heavily on Larabars (Melissa is totally right about that one...). I let my busy schedule get the best of me and got a little lazy. I'll admit it.
I'm trying to get myself back on track this week! I spent the day meal prepping and made a bit more than I did last week, knowing I ran through my prepped lunches by Wednesday. Hard boiled eggs seem to be the easiest breakfast grab so I boiled a dozen of those in addition to picking up more bananas. I realized that meal prep doesn't have to be this daunting task of preparing 4 or 5 different full elaborate meals. Sometimes it can be as simple as washing, chopping and portioning out some fruit and vegetables.
How do you deal when you feel like the Whole30 is getting the best of you? Before writing this post I spent some time browsing through the #JanuaryWhole30 hashtag and realized I'm definitely not alone. There are plenty of us out there that are sick of chicken sausages and eggs! I'm determined to finish this out and feel like I came away with some valuable tools.
Happy Sunday! I'm back again and we've made it through Week 2! Tomorrow marks our halfway point. I don't know about you all, but I was a little doubtful that I had the willpower to even make it this far. My food choices are getting easier and I'd like to think that I'm a little less whiney at this point when my coworkers leave without me to go get pizza. To me, it would be a waste to turn back at this point. I've made it this far! Why did I put myself through those headaches on Day 2 and 3 if I was just going to ruin at all for a slice of pizza??
I love seeing everyone's grocery hauls, so I thought I would share with you some of the products that have gotten me through the last 15 days.
1. Aidell's Chicken and Apple Sausage - This product is the working girl's best friend. On the days I don't feel like dinner, I chop one of these guys up and throw it on a baking sheet with onions and peppers and roast away. On the weekend when I feel like treating myself to a big brunch, I fry two eggs and serve next to one of these guys. Something about the flavor is just perfect for breakfast OR dinner!
2. Grillo's Pickles - I love ANYTHING pickled. Pickles are my weakness. I still have secret dreams of starting my own pickle business. But it looks like I don't need to because these guys are doing it right. When I get a craving for salty one of these does the trick. And the ingredients are SO simple.
3. Nutpods - No Whole30 shopping list would be complete without Nutpods, am I right? For good reason. I was using a Califia Farms unsweetened almond milk, but these guys give that little extra flavor I was looking for with the vanilla. And they're on Amazon!
4. 5280 Meats Fresh Pork Side - If you are having a hard time finding sugar free bacon, I highly recommend ordering from 5280 Meats! They offer a nitrate free, sugar free, Fresh Pork Side that will satisfy your bacon craving. Yes, you have to pay for shipping, but why not stock up on a bunch of high quality poultry and pork products that you can trust? They also make a compliant chorizo that is to die for!
5. Larabars - I know this one is a touchy subject. I had tried a chocolate flavored one a coworker gave to me and to be honest, did not care for that flavor. But I had heard rave reviews, so into my Amazon cart the pack of W30 approevd minis went. These are great to stash under my desk when my stomach starts growling in a meeting and I don't feel too guilty since they are minis! Apple Pie is my favorite flavor.
6. Bubba's Fine Foods Righteous Ranch Snack Mix - Here comes another controversial one. Some of you may qualify this as a "snack", and snacking is off limits on the Whole30. This is where I made my own decision. To me, these were not SWYPO. Banana chips do not send me into a downward spiral. They're no potato chip. This brand makes amazing gluten free, dairy free, grain free, paleo and vegan snack and trail mixes. This one was another Amazon find. Will definitely be ordering again.
7. PRE Brands New York Strip Steak - I don't cook steak regularly, so I don't claim to be some cast iron cooking expert. However, PRE brand steaks come in an easy-to-store vacuum sealed bag with an easy-to-follow instruction card. I followed the instructions and ended up with a steak that could rival Ruth Chris. I was pretty impressed with myself.
8. Justin's Almond Butter - I have been a fan of Justin's for a long time. From a marketing perspective I always loved the story and the packaging. From a hungry girl perspective - it's just downright delicious. My favorite way to eat Justin's is warmed up, drizzled over slices of apple as a side for my lunch. YUM!
9. Trader Joe's Ghee - This one is a basic. Tons of Whole30 recipes call for it and I wasn't sure there was a way to get around not using it. My local Harris Teeter didn't carry ghee, so I ordered this guy off Amazon.
10. All the Tessemae's - You probably knew this one was coming. But it's true. I used the mayo to hold my protein salad together. I used Chesapeake mayo to spice up my second batch of protein salad. I used Dijon almost every night either smeared on a hard boiled egg, or to dip my Aidell's in. Hot Buffalo is my fried egg's best friend. Lemon Chesapeake to marinate my shrimp. Creamy Ranch for... well.. all occasions. And our pouches saved me for those occasions when I HAD to eat out.
I hope you enjoyed this list! Tell me about your favorites in the comments! Here's to a strong start to Week 3!
Good morning Whole30'ers! As I type this, it is Sunday morning and we have made it to Day 7, Week 1! For me this is a personal success. I made it through the weekend with no cheats, no skips, and no alcohol! I really thought the weekend would be my biggest test of willpower. I love to go out on the weekends in the city with my friends, but it turns out it wasn't so hard. Friday night I stayed and got lost in my book. I love love love to read but am never able to find the time to sit down for a few hours and focus on a book. Last night, I made a totally Whole30 dinner with a friend and then went and saw a late movie. Today I'm up early because I'm not feeling the hurt of a few drinks, and it feels great!
I thought I'd share a quick recap of my week in the form of pictures. What better way to get to know what someone's life is like than through a camera lens?! And I promise my food pics will get better...
The Weekend Before
The weekend before my Whole30 journey began started out bright and early at 5:30 in the morning on the roof of a building with a drone, our videographer Moe, and the Vetter brothers. We were working on a special project that you will get to see later! The view was breathtaking and inspired me to get an early start on this Whole30.
I went home, made my shopping list, and headed to my local Harris Teeter. The rest of my weekend consisted of meal prep. I made two versions of protein salad. Both were chicken, one regular mayo and one with our Chesapeake Mayo. Then I made a potato, pepper, and onion hash that I had for breakfast and saved the rest for Week 1.
Day 1 was a breeze...until I got home. It was Bachelor premiere night and I forgot that my roommate had invited friends over for a viewing party. If you know anything about our "viewing parties" they always include two things: wine and cheese. That night was no exception. I poured myself a glass of Kombucha and settled into the couch with them. I was going strong until they pulled out the Berger cookies. Rude! I reminded myself why I'm doing this, and posted my announcement on Instagram. The love that poured in was much stronger than my urge to grab one of the Berger cookies. Not this time, cookies!
Day 2 was the day the headache kicked in. And when I say kicked in, I mean it felt like it kicked me straight in the head. That day was rough, but I had coworkers to commiserate with. It was nice to know I wasn't alone in my hangover. Jody told me he felt like he drank a fifth of tequila the night before. All I have to say is thank god for under eye concealer because the dark circles were REAL that day. Chef Cindy and I filmed our "How to Poach an Egg" story on Instagram which was a nice break from staring at my computer. Everyone seemed to love it, so more to come with those! What other types of stories would you like to see from the Tesse Kitchen??
The headache was still there but not as bad as Day 2. I had hope it would go away. I had planned on a delicious dinner of roasted chicken thighs - until I remembered that I had forgotten to take them out of the freezer to thaw in the morning! Big mistake. I stayed at work late that night and needed dinner STAT! I ended up picking up from one of my favorites, Nalley Fresh - a local grab and go cafe. Think Chipotle, but for salads, wraps or broth/potato bowls. Endless toppings and everything is fresh! I did a little research on the ingredients for some items before I went. NO compliant dressings out of their 15+ offerings except for oil and vinegar. No problem, you KNOW I have a whole fridge of Tessemae's! I built my salad with my usuals, and it turns out the only thing I had to leave out of my regular order was cheese! Not the most glamorous picture but hey... it was a long day.
Day 4 was a quiet day in the office. Most of the team was away at a sales meeting. Earlier in the week I had placed a big Amazon order in a quest to find more compliant foods. It was what I called an "Amazon Blackout". If you were labeled compliant... you ended up in my cart that night. I ordered Cacao nibs hoping they would be some semblance of chocolate. These things are tricky! They SMELL like chocolate and LOOK like a chopped up Hershey bar! Let me save you the trouble, friends. A direct quote from Moe: "These are not good. And I eat EVERYTHING." If you have any tips on how to use these things... please send my way.
I woke up on Day 5 feeling great! Is this what Tiger Blood feels like? The headache was gone and it seems like it will all be uphill from here. We'll see! On Friday I worked on honing my iPhone food photography skills and read the report (and Melissa's response) to the U.S. News ranking of diets for 2017. If you didn't hear, the Whole30 ranked dead last as "unhealthiest diet". My opinion on diets has changed quite a bit since working at Tessemae's. I don't consider the Whole30 a diet. To me, it's a re-calibration that forces you to take a good hard look at the food you put into your body, and then hopefully make better choices afterward. How can a "diet" that encourages real food with tons of protein and vegetables be unhealthy? The report continually uses the word "restrictive". I think the Whole30 is restrictive in that it takes some real work and effort to get away from the standard American diet. I can't go the pantry and grab whatever I want. Take this "diet" to a third world country, and it is probably much closer to the norm. It seems W30 is being penalized just out of good old American laziness. What do you think about the report?? Check out this screenshot from the Paleo Foundation's IG. This was a REAL news report.
Congrats again on making it to Week 1 with me! We've got a ways to go, but I've never felt more supported than I have at this moment. Even my best friend (looking at you Ashley!) who was not happy when she found out I would be giving up drinks and sushi has come around and is now encouraging me. This community has my back, and it has yours too. Bring it, Week 2!
P.s. We are holding a HUGE giveaway this month to celebrate the #JanuaryWhole30! Enter here to win over $600 worth of swag for your kitchen!
Hi, friends! My name is Jaime and I’m the Digital Marketing Manager here at Tessemae’s! You probably better know me as the voice behind our social media. I’ve decided to do the January Whole30 right alongside you all! I’ll be sharing my journey with you on our Instagram account (@tessemaes) and recapping each week here with a blog post. And if you’re wondering – yes, committing to doing this for the first time in front of 53,000 people on Instagram and all of you reading this blog is a bit scary.
A little bit about me – I joined the Tessemae’s family in March of last year and it’s been a non-stop roller coaster ever since! I manage our social media, our online store, and our advertising. Basically, anything you see on the internet about Tessemae’s has probably come across my desk first. I’m a single girl in my 20s living in downtown Baltimore with two awesome roommates. While my work life can be pretty hectic running from photo shoot to video shoot, I try to make plenty of time for socializing and enjoying the city life.
Behind the scenes on the set of our latest video shoot with Brian Vetter
I decided to commit to this Whole30 journey for a couple reasons. I’ve never felt I had a particularly “bad” relationship with food, but I also know that I could do better. The motto around this office is “live the culture”. You won’t find any Fritos in the vending machine or even sugar at the coffee station. We’re about all natural, good for you, whole ingredients - duh. I’m definitely one of the rebellious ones around here when it comes living the culture. I will occasionally stop at Dunkin on my drive in for a coffee. And...I'll admit that I’ve scarfed down a bacon egg wrap in the 30 seconds it takes to get from DD to the office just so I don’t have to bring it inside with shame. (Greg if you’re reading this, I’M SORRY!). On the days that I don’t have time to stop (most of the time) I don't eat breakfast at all, which is probably my worst habit. I end up starving around noon which is prime meeting time around here. And if I don’t carve out the time to eat then, I end up running out for food around 3pm, or shoving my face with the closest thing I can find when I get home from work. Which then creates the vicious cycle of snacking again later around 9pm, leading to not being hungry for breakfast when I first wake up….you get the picture.
The Tesse fam got together for my birthday with you guessed it.. carrot cake!
I’ve also battled with stomach issues on and off for the last couple years. I’d get stomach aches at night, or become inexplicably bloated after eating just a couple bites of my meal. I never cared enough to do anything about it, because let’s face it – cheese is life and I couldn’t bear the thought of giving that up.
While I’m terrified to start this journey, I’m also excited. I have a ton of questions and I’m lucky to have the support of plenty of people in the office. I was chatting with our CEO, Greg Vetter, this morning in the kitchen. He’s done multiple rounds so I knew he would have some words of wisdom for me. I told him about my attempt to cut out dairy the week before starting so it wouldn’t be SUCH a shock to give up all the things I love. He told me to expect to feel like I’m coming down with a cold. Something about lack of mucus intake will cause a runny nose…the more you know! I’ve also got Whitney, our VP of Operations, who is a seasoned pro and lives the Whole30 lifestyle most of the time. If you know her, you know she’s an overachiever and won't be surprised by this. And most importantly, I have Chef Kristen and Chef Cindy in the kitchen who I KNOW I will be running to with 234935872 questions. Can I have this bar? Is this compliant? WTF do I do with coconut milk? How do I poach an egg?? ARE YOU MAKING LUNCH TODAY??
I hope you follow along with me on my #JanuaryWhole30 and find some inspiration and support here. I know I’ll need it! Comment below and let me know why you are choosing to participate this month. I’d love to hear! Don’t forget to follow me along on Instagram, @tessemaes. I’ll be posting there more often and sharing my adventures in the kitchen both at home and in the Tessemae’s kitchen! Let’s do this!
P.s. We are holding a HUGE giveaway this month to celebrate the #JanuaryWhole30! Enter here to win over $600 worth of swag for your kitchen!