We finished our Whole30 this past Friday – 30 days of ‘clean eating’ with no grains, sweeteners, dairy, legumes, soy, or anything artificial. Truthfully, we’re going all the way until Easter Sunday before we go off plan, but we decided to bring back dairy in after our 30 days. Not just any dairy, though: dairy from our own backyard! Raw goat milk that is unpasteurized and non-homogenized and unbelievably creamy and delicious.
We did Whole30 about 2 years ago, and it was a disaster. This time was much better. We thought that we would need to do a lot of meal planning this time around, but in truth it wasn’t the planning that made it successful. There were 3 things that made a huge difference: the Ninja, the Air Fryer and potato flakes.
I’ve always had a blender, but I’ve only recently had a Ninja. This appliance has made everything to do with blending so easy. We’ve been having smoothies most Sundays, when mornings are hectic and cooking just isn’t going to happen. We also used it to blend a spoonful of coconut cream into our coffee. Although it added a mildly nutty flavor, neither of us cared for the watery taste almond milk imparted. And just adding a the coconut cream on it’s own (like we did in our previous Whole30 attempt) left a slick of oily residue on the top once the cream had melted in. Whizzing it in the blender emulsified the oils in the cream and was a perfect way to start the morning! In fact, even though we’re adding milk to our coffee again, I’ve kept on giving it a quick whirl in the Ninja to give it a bit of extra creaminess.
Next is the Air Fryer. The air fryer doesn’t technically fry anything- it’s nothing more than a high powered counter top convection oven. It has a basket that fits into the bottom piece, and using it is as easy as spritzing whatever you’re cooking with a little oil, dumping it in the basket, and turning it on. Any extra oil falls below the basket and you get a really great crisp, just like deep fried food. Our favorite thing to make has been sweet potatoes. Sweet potato fries, sweet potato coins and diced sweet potatoes, they cook up beautifully! I also like it for simple things like whole baked potatoes, which would normally take an hour or so in the oven but can be done in 40 minutes in the fryer. Handy if the oven is occupied with something else, or if I’m making a late dinner for Steve and don’t want to turn the oven on for a single potato.
And speaking of potatoes, I discovered the amazing product that is the potato flake! (Not potato flour, specifically potato flakes. Like what you would make instant mashed potatoes with, but plain.) We used coconut flour a lot for breading last time, and while I like coconut it gets really old as an underlying flavor with every meal. It also had a somewhat strange texture that got soggy quickly. Potato flakes elevated our Whole30 to a whole new level. Moist, tender meatloaf and meatballs. Crisp chicken tenders. Golden fried haddock. In fact, we liked them so much that bread crumbs are going to be a thing of the past in this kitchen! We’ll be sticking with them for good, even when we’re completely done with Whole30.
I really appreciated what I’ve been able to take away from this Whole30. It was a little eye opening to realize that despite the fact that we are fairly careful with our food choices, there are so many additives, even in seemingly innocuous foods. (Sugar as an ingredient in frozen hash browns? Really? Aren’t hash browns just…potatoes???) And in order to avoid food boredom, we got more creative with our fruits and veggies than we normally would have. I’m going to enjoy incorporating the recipes and cooking techniques into our ‘normal’ diet, which will definitely be looking a little different moving forward!