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  • My Week As Gwyneth AKA My Battle With Quinoa

    I LOVE Gwyneth Paltrow's cook book "IT'S ALL GOOD". People can hate on her all they want but it doesn't change the fact that the recipes are downright delicious. Throughout the book she labels certain recipes as suitable for the "Elimination Diet". Gwen claims this is how she eats most of the time and is what contributes to her glowing skin, awesome bod and overall wellbeing. That all sounded pretty good to me so I've decided to set it up as a week challenge. I won't be going by her sample menu as a breakfast of a "nice pear" isn't quite enough food in my book, but instead will just be choosing recipes based on what's labeled "elimination diet". Everything I eat for the next 7 days will be from this cookbook. I've taken "before" photos and will take some "after" on the 7th day and embarrassingly share them with you. 

    Now, there are a few guidelines on top of the recipes. Gwen says no alcohol so I'm typing this from bed vaguely hungover from a prosecco-induced night out for Cinco De Mayo. I thought it was best to get it out of my system:). She also says little to no coffee so I'll be doing one small cup each morning and leaving it at that. Okay, let the skinny/feel good/beautifying week begin!

    Day 1

    B: Sweet Quinoa Cereal. This is literally the only breakfast item in the book suitable for the diet. As someone who hates oatmeal this made me nervous but a quinoa version is pretty delicious. I dressed this one up with bananas, coconut and almonds. But I can definitely see this getting old by day 7. (coffee is Grounds & Hounds with some homemade almond milk)

    L: Mango & Avocado Salad with a Roasted Sweet Potato So my mango wasn't fully ripe and I thought I had brown rice syrup for the dressing but it was really brown rice vinegar:) I also may have been a bit too excited to eat so forgot to add the basil BUT this ended up tasting pretty great regardless. Sweet Potatoes are always a win so no surprise there:)

    S: Almond & Kale Smoothie. Hungry, so hungry. I rushed home to make this smoothie. It's good but it's a smoothie. I'm still hungry:)

    D: Spicy Brussels Sprouts & Spanish BBQ Chicken. I subbed out the fish sauce in the brussels sprouts for tamari and it worked great. I was surprisingly full by the end of this meal and didn't get hungry again that night. That's unheard of. Day 1 success!

    Day 2

    B: Sweet Quinoa Cereal. First half -really delicious. Second half - I don't know how I'm going to eat this every morning for the next 5 days. Coffee is my saving grace.

    L: Spring Vegetable Soup (Asian Version) & Brown Rice. This was the easiest soup I've ever made and though super simple was very filling. I should probably give soup more of a chance going forward. Sorry soup.

    I start a French class tonight though and could really use a coffee round #2. I miss you coffee round #2.

    D: Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers, Roasted Sweet Potato & Beet Salad With Scallion Mint Pesto. OMG YUM. Confession: I ate 2 burgers!

    Day 3

    B: Sweet Quinoa Cereal. I can't believe it but I'm actually beginning to enjoy this. It's been a VERY long time since I could eat so little for breakfast and stay full till lunch. Nice work quinoa cereal!

    L: Spring Vegetable Soup (Italian Style) & Quinoa with Scallion Mint Pesto. There is so much prep work with this diet but it's really rewarding when things carry over for other meals. I made more quinoa to have on hand for the morning so had a cup of that with some leftover pesto from last night. I was able to make the Italian version of the soup with the pesto as well so this meal was easy peasy and didn't feel too redundant from yesterday.

    S: Kale Chips. My husband was eating potato chips. My guess is they were better but this was a nice healthy alternative. Need to go smaller on the kale sizes next time though because only the tiny pieces were crunchy. Getting excited for dinner...

    D: Teriyaki Chicken, Stir-Fry Brown Rice & Miso Almond Asparagus. Wow! I'll be making this all the time when I'm not on this diet. Both my husband and I were blown away by all of it, especially the stir fry brown rice (I didn't use the nori). Even better - this meal was so easy and quick to make and I was able to use the leftover brown rice from yesterday. The cooking time they provided for the chicken wasn't accurate (they said 3 minutes on each side and it was more like 10+ a side in the grill pan) but everything else was done in under 5 minutes!

    Day 4

    B: Sweet Quinoa Cereal. I miss you banana pancakes.

    Update: I have not been able to start my day. After breakfast and a quick shower I had to go back to Whole Foods to stock up for the next two days. By the time I got home it was time to walk the dog and... I was already hungry. So time to start lunch. I'm swimming in dishes. Some still from yesterday afternoon. I've also managed drop a bunch of stuff. Can you tell I'm overwhelmed? This diet is exhausting. It's far too domesticated for what I was ready for. I'm about to eat lunch and then I'm getting into bed to watch a movie for my French class. The dishes can sit there. I don't care.

    L: Turkey Meatballs & White Beans, French Style. I may have undercooked these meatballs. I'm not entirely sure. I'm just going with it. 

    D: Crispy Roasted Chicken/Broccoli Rabe /Quinoa w/ Butternut Squash, Scallions & Parsley There was no butternut squash so I just did it without. Honestly any other night this meal would have been a win but right now I just want someone to hand me a glass of bubbly and make me a steak frites:)

    Day 5

    B: Sweet Quinoa Cereal (are you surprised?!) This morning I added cinnamon to it. Things are getting wild.

    L: Chicken Kebobs/Black Rice With Coconut/Scallion Mint Pesto for dipping sauce. The chicken was delicious. For some reason the rice refused to be anything but crispy (in a raw rice kind of way) so after 2 bites of copious chewing I bailed on it and ate leftover quinoa from last night. Once this diet is over I'm going on a quinoa cleanse.

    D: Roasted Cauliflower w/ chickpeas, mustard & parsley/Spicy Brussels Sprouts/Roasted Sweet Potato. I'm getting so sick of chicken, so tonight went pure veggies! I wasn't totally into my sweet potato so I decided to take the flesh from it and turn it into Bernard's Pumpkin Pie shake. The shake was surprisingly delicious and was the perfect thing to fill me up for the night!

    Day 6

    B: Sweet Quinoa Cereal. I forgot to take a photo of this but by now you know what it looks like:) Added some vanilla protein powder leftover from my shake last night. It almost made it taste new again, almost.

    L: Millet Falafel. My balls wouldn't stick together (that's what he said) so I ended up with one giant millet pancake. I'm pretty sure portion control is important on this diet but I ate the whole thing. Whoops.

    I saw that there was a little bit of coffee stuck to the bottom of my mug from this morning. Added some water and voila! Coffee water! I'm not getting desperate at all...

    D: Chicken Burgers, Thai Style/Carrots with Black Sesame+Ginger/Korean Slaw. I was very appreciative of how easy this meal was. It was also extremely delicious. I'll definitely make these again. My husband ate his burgers on buns and LOVED them. I practiced willpower and only ate 1 burger this time. Small victories.

    Day 7 (Hooray!)

    B: Do I even need to say it? I took two bites and couldn't eat any more. I spent the rest of my coffee dreaming about my breakfast tomorrow.

    L: Chicken Burger, Thai Style/Carrots with Black Sesame+Ginger. I'm keeping everything simple today. My willpower from last night paid off! I ate my leftover burger and what remained of the carrots. I didn't have to chop, mash, mince or marinate a thing!:)

    D: Chicken Kebob/Stir-Fry Brown Rice/Leftover Korean Slaw. As I said earlier. I'm keeping everything easy peasy today. These were the 2 easiest and most satisfying meals this week so they won.

    S: I went to a party tonight with an open bar & ridiculously good looking food. I went home and had a teaspoon of almond butter. Good night.

    The Day After

    I couldn't get to breakfast quick enough. Banana pancakes & sausage, I have new appreciation for you and if I weren't already married I'd get down on one knee!! But for reals, here are my thoughts on the diet...

    My Thoughts!

    Though I didn't necessarily see a difference in myself physically (see embarrassing photos below) I did have a ton more energy. Usually by 10pm I'm ready for bed but on this diet I could keep going if I chose. I was also easily able to fall asleep if that's what I preferred. I'm sure if someone were to do this diet and not make everything from the same cookbook it could easily be adapted into a lifestyle. I was also significantly fuller between meals and felt less of a need to snack in between as I usually do. I wasn't expecting that and it was a nice surprise. If you look at my "sample menu" I created before the diet, I had allotted myself 2 snacks a day:) 

    Will I Do This Ever Again?

    I could see myself giving it another go but not doing everything from the same cookbook. (it's like eating at the same restaurant every day for every meal) But for now, I'm going to snack on crackers, eat a steak, have a glass of wine and throw out any remaining quinoa from my fridge.

    xo

    Before & After Photos (I may be skinnier in the before from my hungover dehydration!:))

    Sample Menu