My Favorite Whole30 Resources & A Bonus Gift!

Whole30On

If you haven’t checked it out already, take a peek at my Whole30 page – it’s full of links that can help you on your Whole30 journey. 

I wanted to share a few of my absolute must-use resources and recipes for a successful and fun (and hopefully not too painful) Whole30 experience! Also: you can do it! The first week is tough, but after that, you can totally make it!

Cookbooks

Best Whole30-Friendly Cookbooks 

 I love using real, printed, cookbooks in the kitchen. Plus, in the event of zombie apocalypse, I’ll still be able to whip up some delightful food. 

  1. The Whole30: 30 Day Guide To Total Health & Food Freedom  by Melissa Hartwig
  2. Food for Humans  by Michelle Tam, aka NomNomPaleo
  3. The America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbookby America’s Test Kitchen (note: not everything is Whole30-friendly, but learning and using all the basic and advanced techniques, especially for meat, poultry, and fish, will make your meals more satisfying and you’ll feel like the cooking champion you are!)

Best Whole30 Recipes/Cooking Gear

  1. NomNomPaleo’s homemade mayo – you can’t beat it, and it is so, so good! Watch a video tutorial
  2. Anything from this Food & Wine 30 Awesome Whole30 Recipes list
  3. NomNomPaleo’s Kalua Pig – it really is amazing. Slow Cooker Recipe or Pressure Cooker Recipe
  4.  Instant Pot – I’ll review mine soon, but an Instant Pot is the single best piece of equipment you can have in your kitchen. It makes cooking a breeze, insanely fast, and keeps any cooking smells (like from bone broth) out of your house! Get yours here!
  5. Hip Pressure Cooking’s One Pot Roast Beef – actually anything from Hip Pressure Cooking is excellent, and even includes conversions between types of pressure cookers! It’s a goldmine, y’all.
  6. NomNomPaleo’s Crispy Potatoes – ultimate Whole30 indulgence. And don’t skip the lemon juice – it’s great. Also, I use dried parsley and it’s yummy (for when you don’t have fresh)

Huge Bonus Gift from Alden’s Apron

And, just for you lovely blog readers, here’s a downloadable grocery list with tips & tricks from my Whole30 journey! I hope it helps you a bit! Click on this link to get the PDF: Alden’s Apron Whole30 Checklist  

 

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Want To Fall In Love With Salt Again? Try Pink Salt!

PinkAndSeaSalt

I was talking to my mom recently about food. Ok, we talk about food almost every time we talk (or text), but this time it was about the most important spice in any kitchen: salt. And I made a recommendation to her that I’ll make to you – switch to Pink Salt. You won’t regret it!

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with salt for my entire adult life: I love how it brings out flavors in foods, but I hate how it makes me puffy, gives me sores on my tongue from overindulging, and has some pretty negative health side-effects. That is, until I made a life altering discovery. I met my new salty love, Pink Salt.

Six years ago, I was living in London, working on my Master’s degree, and battling some health issues. I knew I was gluten-sensitive, and I knew I had issues with certain foods, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. So, I dove headlong into health and food research mode, reading anything possible about food, hanging out at the Whole Foods on Kensington High Street, and soaking up all the knowledge my yoga instructors could dish out six days a week.

SpreadofSalt

This is a timely post for me, because the day I decided to take all of my newfound knowledge and put it to the test was this day, Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Supper Night aka Fat Tuesday aka the reason we have Mardi Gras) five years ago – and I made the decision to use the 40-day season of Lent to recommit myself to health and to treating my body the way I know I should. This was before Whole30 was a thing, so I didn’t have the resources we do now, but with the help of a few other great books (like those by Kimberly Snyder), and a Biblical reason focused on reflecting on the Lord and learning to do without through fasts and taking on new disciplines, I began a 40-day fast of gluten, sugar/sweetener, and anything artificial.

While prepping, I read about how salt isn’t great for my body, and how it elevates blood pressure, how table salt has all sorts of anti-caking agents (artificial stuff I couldn’t have on my new Lent plan) and possible contaminants in it, and I knew from personal experience that even a touch too much salt and I was bloated and puffy for days. I needed a new alternative to salt my food and bring out the flavors in my homemade meals, especially now that I couldn’t replace it with other flavor enhancing items like Soy Sauce (I hadn’t discovered Tamari yet), sugar, and lots of commercial spice blends. What would I put on my food for 40 days?

PinkSaltAllForms

I went into the Whole Foods on Kensington High street and ran into an employee there who asked if I needed any help. I usually say “Oh no, just looking, but thanks!” but this time I told her about my salt problem, and she led me to the spice aisle and introduced me to my new best friend: Himalayan Pink Salt. She told me about how

Needless to say, I was sold. I bought my first little shaker of Himalania Pink Salt. Then I graduated up to buying it in larger bags and uses my own salt grinder (to match my pepper grinder), and I haven’t looked back since. In case you’re wondering, in our house we use pink salt in place of any other type of salt – for eggs, for baking, to salt meat. I grind it with the grinder so I can choose the coarseness I need – very coarse for salting meat, fine for seasoning eggs in the morning, you get the idea.

PinkVWhite
You can use less Pink Salt than other (white) forms of salt!

Pink Salt made my first 40-day sojourn into health easier. And, a client of mine in London (I edited academic papers for graduate students), ended up writing a paper on Pink Salt from her home in Peru, and her first hand accounts of harvesting and using the gorgeous mineral gave me much needed third-party validation that Pink Salt is the best salt. So, if you are on your own health journey, and you either miss being able to use salt, or you think a salt alternative could be good for you, go get a little thing of pink salt. If nothing else, it sure is pretty!

Bonus: You can find pink salt at almost any grocery store these days, but be prepared to shell out for it. For the best deals, either try Tuesday Morning (you can get a huge grinder bottle there usually for under $10 that will last you at least six months), online, or check around for prices at local healthy food stores.

Top 5 Saving Graces of Whole30

  1. Ghee. Oh that sweet, sweet, it’s almost butter – but magically without the dairy – goodness.
  2. Avocado. Guacamole on carrots? Tomatoes? Burgers? Chicken? A spoon? Yes, please!
  3. Potatoes. Red ones, white ones, sweet ones, small ones, big ones, if it’s a tuber, it’s allowed. No stinky ketosis (anyone remember that from Atkins?)
  4. Tea. A caffeine source I can drink without copious amounts of sweetener and creamer, aka, God’s gift to my mornings, afternoons, evenings…
  5. Mayo. Whole30 Mayo, to be specific. Use NomNom Paleo’s recipe. Heavenly, homemade mayo that can transform into a variety of sauces and dips and reinvigorate that chicken! 

 

Mayo
image from whole30.com

Confession: Part 1 (of 2)

I have a confession. Since last spring (2015), several people have asked me:

  1. “How do you look so great?”
  2. “How did you cook [insert meal posted to Instagram]?”
  3. “How can I do it, too?”

While flattering, it also scares me to be truly honest about what I consider “triggering” subjects for most women – namely weight loss/ diets/ getting healthy/ lifestyle choices. I’m scared to lead people in the wrong direction. I’m scared that if what worked for me does not, in fact, work for someone else, resentment and mistrust might build.

But, I started a blog called The Nestette (blithely sitting on an airplane en route to London, momentarily forgetting that a blog I love, Myquillen Smith’s, is called The Nester… oops) anyway. I did this without resolving these feelings and doubts, wanting a place to store and share my recipes, hobbies, tips/tricks I’ve been taught or learned, and stories. It obviously ended quickly because of the aforementioned fears.

After taking time to wade through these feelings, and learning about a concept called “the fear of man” (basically the root of what we currently refer to as lack of self-esteem, confidence, and trust… for more read this book), I realize that if not now, when? So, I’ve made a commitment to do a Jon Acuff-inspired “Do Over” challenge and put things out there, and to NOT let the potential opinions of others be a road block.

So, welcome to my [new] tiny corner of the internet, Alden’s Apron. All opinions, photos, recipes, trips/tricks, and more are mine, unless otherwise noted and with sources linked, if possible. My husband and two pups support this endeavor, but aren’t responsible for [most] of its content. 

Confession: Part 2 (of 2)

Onward and upward to the [possibly] more exciting and informative part of this experiment: What are these things people ask me about, and how can you do them, too? (Sidenote: more in-depth explanations to follow and will be covered extensively throughout this blog.)

Here’s the rough outline:

Q: “How do you look so great?”

A: Whole30 and Jesus.

Q: “How did you cook [insert meal posted to Instagram]?”

A: At home, usually for far less moolah than you’d think, and, sometimes, even without as much time/effort as you might believe!

Q: “How can I do it, too?”

A: By taking on only one new challenge at a time, being patient with yourself, and by doing things for [mostly] the right reasons.

I’ll go over Whole30, bits of my spiritual journey (mostly wisdom given graciously to me by people much smarter and deeper than myself), to be or not to be Gluten Free (like me!), DIY tutorials for Whole30/Gluten Free recipes, knitting, & crafting; homemaking tips/tricks, and my grocery store/shopping hacks. If you have more detailed questions or want me to do a tutorial of something specific, email me or leave a comment on this post.

You might also wonder what all this blog might cover. While I make no guarantees, as I have a wide spectrum of interests, the general list [probably] is as follows:

  • Whole30: how, what, & why
  • Gluten Free Living, Cooking, & Traveling
  • Book Reviews and recommended reading lists (Follow me on Goodreads here)
  • Marriage & Homemaking: from laundry and cleaning to best practices we’ve been lucky to learn
  • Dave Ramsey tips: budgeting, coupons, making it work, & why it’s worth it
  • Health: healthy life = happier life
  • Spiritual Life: how mine came about, cool things you can do for yours, books to read, & things to think about
  • Knitting: how to do it, what to use, where to buy it, etc.
  • Life with dogs: occasional tails (hmmm) of our two rescue pups Rosie & Ruger
  • DIY everything: I assume I can figure it out, make it myself, or find a less expensive workaround 90% of the time. This’ll be my outlet for sharing my nerd-alert level of research that helps me do it, the how-tos, and the loads of bloopers/blunders
  • Lists: because who doesn’t love a good list?

Feel free to ask questions below or request specific things to be covered! I love nothing more than a good research challenge, so please, put my obsessive research tendencies to good use.