Whole30 Veggie Hash

Life update: I’m in the middle of Whole30! I’m celebrating because as of today, I’m on Day 22, almost three quarters done! ICYMI, Whole30 is a 30-day food and lifestyle challenge to encourage people to eat exclusively REAL foods with no chemicals, preservatives, or sweeteners of any kind (including the natural ones!). There’s an emphasis on eating three nourishing meals a day that are fulfilling and satisfying, which will ultimately squash mid-day snack cravings or the need for dessert. Think lots of animal proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats, and a removal of all grains, legumes, and sugars. In other words, a Paleo-ish diet.

This is not my first rodeo. The first time I did it 2 years ago, I was literally bouncing off the walls with energy, feeling so amazing and wanting everyone and their mom to try it (seriously, I got my mom to try it, and even SHE loved how it made her feel). 

But I have mixed feelings about Whole30. Sure, I love how it encourages the masses to eat real food -- one of the biggest things you can do to feel healthy! There’s a clear blueprint with no nonsense guidelines that make it crystal clear and easy to follow. On the other hand it is, by default, restrictive. My food past involves lots of bingeing and restricting, labeling foods “good” and “bad,” and extreme food protocols that have sent me nose diving into a carton of coconut milk ice cream.

Somehow, THIS journey to Whole30 felt different. Despite my weary feelings on restricting entire food groups, I felt drawn to challenge myself, even if just for 30 days, to eat entirely REAL foods again to help me feel most alive. Feeling alive and healthy is a drug to me. There is no greater feeling than being high on life, on my own energy supply. And since I’ve felt it before, and was feeling it less and less in recent months, I was craving it like a drug.

How did I get here? Yes, I eat lots of healthy foods. But I spent the second half of 2016 also eating a lot of unhealthy foods. After 6 months of living in boxes, traveling on a 6-week road trip, and finally unpacking our belongings in a brand new city, I was feeling sluggish, slightly depressed, and overwhelmed. I’m gonna call it like it is…

I used food to cope with extreme change.

Whether it was snacking in between meals, craving sweets daily (and obliging daily), or ordering lots of cheesy and/or fried foods at restaurants, I was certainly relying on my old tried-and-true crutch. FOOD. I chose to ignore it because I was still eating loads of veggies, but my body was starting to show the effects –- trouble sleeping through the night, pesky pimples, missed periods, acid reflux, bad breath, yuck all around. Amazing how just a few months of not paying attention to my body could have such a huge effect on my health, huh?

Something kept bringing back to Whole30. I liked that it’s only 30 days. I liked that after those 30 days, there’s a slow reintroduction to the foods that are cut out, like grains, dairy, and legumes. Whole30 isn’t against these foods, it’s more of a protocol to help heal our gut and determine food intolerances, while also re-setting our habits around how we eat.

Is it a “diet?” Maaaaybe. But each time I go through Whole30, it feels easier than ever to eat well. So far, my cravings for sweets and party substances has completely lifted, at least for the time being. I’ve never been on a diet that has me feeling so nourished and taken care of. While there are things I’ve "restricted" from my daily meals, I legitimately don’t feel like I’m missing out.

One of the keys to successfully completing Whole30 is to cook a TON at home. After all, when we eat out, we rarely know what shortcut ingredients they’re using in the kitchen. Here’s one of my new favorite Whole 30 approved recipes I’ve been making again and again. Whether you’re on Whole 30, or just have a desire to eat healthy, trust me, you’re gonna looove this one.

Veggie Hash
Servings: 2

Ingredients:
8 stalks kale, stalks removed, torn into 1” pieces
½ small onion, thinly sliced
½ small sweet potato, cut into thin 1” slices
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small tomato, cut into 1” chunks
2 tbsp. coconut oil, divided
½ tsp. red chili flakes
Sea salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a 10” non-stick skillet over medium heat (I love this pan!). Once heated, add 1 tbsp. coconut oil, sweet potato, pinch of salt, stir potato to coat with oil, and lower heat.
  2. Let potato cook until lightly browned, about 4 mins. Add onions, toss everything to coat in oil and allow other side of potatoes to brown. Let onions sweat (releasing juices), stirring occasionally until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and garlic, stirring to coat, and cover pan to allow tomatoes to steam.
  4. After 2-4 minutes, they will look swollen and ready to burst. Add remaining 1 tbsp. coconut oil, greens, salt, and chili flakes to pan, stirring to coat. Cover and allow to steam another 5 minutes.
  5. Check the hash; kale should be wilted and sweet potato browned yet cooked through inside.
  6. Serve alongside protein of choice: burger patties, sustainably caught fish, or pastured eggs. Enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. LITERALLY ANY TIME!

Now I want to hear from YOU! What's your go-to healthy recipe you're loving on right now? Tell me in the comments below!