Day 4: Potlucks & Headaches

I made it to day 4! The Whole 30 book refers

Old Reliable

to days 4-5 as “Kill all the things,” quite appropriately. Much like the book predicted, I’ve been sluggish & have had a headache for 3 days, but today it ratcheted up to epic proportions. It started as a dull ache this morning, so instead of the fancy egg dish with steamed spinach for breakfast, I went with old reliable.

Lunch was interesting today. We had a St. Patrick’s Day potluck at work with all manner of delicious-looking goodies, including several beautifully-made desserts, to which I had initially signed up to make Chad’s famous buffalo chicken dip. You know, the one with the mounds of cream cheese and wing sauce in the crock pot that you can literally just eat with a spoon? But instead you pile it on tostitos scoops and shove it in your face until you can’t breathe? Yeah, that one. Anyhoo, given my new dietary choices, I decided it was best to leave the crock pot at home and instead just pick up some hummus & pita chips from the grocery store. It was still tempting, since hummus should be one of the 4 food groups in my humble opinion, but I managed to set it up in our break room and back away slowly.

Thankfully, last night’s dinner was the super delicious brisket, so I had zero problem happily munching on those leftovers whilst my colleagues ate allthethingsIwanted, er, I

Top: cart full of cake. Bottom: my salad.

mean, the wonderful food laid out on the table. And then I thought I was in the clear when we went to the faculty meeting, so I set myself up in the back of the room to crunch on my salad.

I made it! I didn’t eat any junk! And then my admin strolls in with a CART FULL OF CAKE and parks it right next to me. Really, Amy? Really? But I triumphed! Colleague after colleague came by to grab some cake, but I didn’t cave. I shoved forkfuls of salad in my face, one after the other, until at last the meeting got interesting enough that I stopped staring at the cake.

And then suddenly, my headache went from a 3 to a 10. Like, I felt like my right eyeball was going to pop out of my head. I couldn’t see straight and I felt like my colleagues were shouting while debating the latest promotion and tenure guidelines. I popped some Advil and hoped for the best, because right after the

Taste test! Fruity on the left, vanilla bean in the middle, & cinnamon on the right

meeting I had to teach a class. And after class, I had to hit the grocery store for the 2nd half of this week’s produce and protein.  Somehow I managed to get through it all like a champ. What I’m saying is that I’m kind of a badass.

I realized that the headache is probably a
mixture of the caffeine withdrawal and sweetener withdrawal, so I searched the hallowed shelves of Publix for a black tea (not a fan of green) with some kind of flavor that would make up for the fact that I can’t have my sweet, sweet stevia and half & half. I found 3 contenders, so I decided to do a taste test. Maybe tomorrow, then, I could drink some caffeine & avoid this headache nonsense!!

A dark photo of a dark tea

And we have a winner! The cinnamon flavor makes up for the lack of sweetener, but it still needs… something. My friend Karen suggested actual cinnamon sticks, so that’s next on the list! And the funny thing about all of this tea nonsense is that I’m realizing that while I thought I was going to miss my red, red wine the most every night, I’m actually pining for my cuppa English Breakfast with stevia and vanilla soy creamer! It’s more of a comfort thing than a desperate need for tea; just like how Sheldon is always offering people a hot beverage. So I’m determined to find a hot beverage I actually enjoy that fits within the confines of this program.

So, moving on to dinner. On the menu tonight: Perfect Oven-Baked Salmon with Broccoli, Onions, Mushrooms, and Squash with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.

I actually purchased my very first fish today. Ever. I felt like such a grownup going right up to the seafood counter at Publix and confidently asking for 2 salmon filets. I kept thinking, “act natural. They don’t know you’ve never done this before. Just hope they don’t ask you any questions.” It was quite the nerve-wracking experience. But I persevered! I walked around like a boss with my white-paper-wrapped sea monsters, headache and all.

And the great news was that tonight’s dinner took all salmonof 30 minutes to make. Even so, I was really glad when Chad got home (“Why are you laying down in the dark? Why are you not even listening to music? Why does it look like your right eye is popping out of your head?”) and was able to get dinner started. I was kind of sad not to be solo-prepping the salmon, as it was my first time, but I guess I’m committing to sharing the rest of my life with the guy, so what’s a little salmon? Super easy recipe:

Perfect Oven-Baked Salmon:

1 tablespoon cooking fat, melted (we used extra virgin olive oil)

2 salmon fillets (5-oz each)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper (we used more. we’re pepper people)

1 lemon, cut into wedges.

salmon2Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & drizzle the cooking fat over the paper, spreading it with a brush.

Place the salmon skin-side down on the lined baking sheet. Season the salmon evenly with the salt & pepper.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, remove from the oven, and transfer to individual plates. Serve with lemon wedges.

And the vegetables: steam ~1 head of broccoli floreveggiests for 5-6 minutes and set aside. While it’s steaming, heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in an iron skillet over medium heat, and add 1/2 onion (chopped) and 1/2 pint of mushrooms once it’s hot, stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add diced squash (we used butternut but the recipe calls for yellow) & 2 cloves of minced garlic and stir for about 5 minutes. Then take off the heat, add in the broccoli, and season with salt & pepper.

I had made a big batch of the roasted red pepper sauce the other day, so it was waiting patiently in the refrigerator for me. I’ll happily share the recipe if you want it! We put about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the veggies and voila! Dinner was served. And I’m not a big fish eater, but MAN was it good! A little lemon on the salmon, and some of the pepper sauce might have found it’s way onto the fish as well…

dinner4I give this two thumbs up. We’ll definitely do this one again!

Headache be damned.












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