Get Ready for Week Two!

We’re four days in to the WholeMe challenge. I’m blown away by the beautiful photographs of major meal preps and the bounty of vegetables people are posting! You all are providing lots of inspiration during this first and scarily chilly week of 2015. Thank you for that.

Starting Monday, January 12th, we’ll add on to the challenge by eliminating grains from our plates. Logistically, this means that from January 12th through January 18th you will receive points for the following:

  • being grain-free (1 point per day)
  • getting 8 hours of sleep the night previous (1 point per day)
  • drinking one gallon of water (1 point per day)
  • going to the gym (1 point per day)
  • giving yourself personal time (up to 3 points per week)

You can use the star system in WODify to track points for the first four goals, keep track of any personal time points in the free text log provided in the journal, and at the end of the week add the personal time points to daily points for the weekly sum!

Please note! With each additional week, we will continue with the previous weeks’ challenges but will no longer receive points for them. It’s an honor system–as an example, we hope you’ll continue to eat three cups of vegetables per day after week 1 and continue to build the challenges on top of one another. You and your accountability partner can provide support for each other through having that access to each others’ food logs–it isn’t easy sharing this stuff!! It is really brave of all of you to be sharing this information, so I personally want to say one big THANK YOU!!! for participating in this challenge with us and trying out these new health-related challenge ideas.

Why No Grains?grainfree

The reasons why? Mark’s Daily Apple sums it up pretty well (although I disagree with his title calling grains unhealthy.) There are certain attributes to grains (phytates, lectins and gluten [not all grains contain gluten, however]) that make them more difficult to digest than other sources of starches. This can be an impediment to our health. Long-term, I’m not here to tell anyone to ward off of certain foods forever. But I think challenges like these are really awesome for people who maybe aren’t feeling great–if removing a food from your daily diet improves how you feel, that’s note-worthy. And it doesn’t mean you have to remove that food forever, or that it’s a?bad food. There are no good or bad foods, really. I’m going to say this a lot, but I think health is very individual. This challenge is way more about discovering how foods make you feel, and the importance of natural, fresh, unprocessed vegetables, meats, legumes, beans and fruits. I’m not negating that brown rice or other grains can be part of a healthy (if properly prepared and eaten by those with guts that can appropriately break down the grains) lifestyle, by the way.


One caveat to the grain-free nature of this post: white rice can be eaten this week, if you prefer. Why? It’s essentially starch, without much other stuff that is difficult to digest (as always, there are individual caveats. Some people really don’t do well with white rice. Just like some people maybe don’t do well with watermelons. Or how chicken makes some people feel bad. Right now, with goals for this challenge, I’m speaking in generalities. Listen to your body, as always.)

As a good rule of thumb, when you eat a starch like rice, you want to add it into your recovery meal. Hannah will talk more about this in Monday’s post, but hopefully you can start planning for next week.

So! What are the starches that are grain-free? Check out this infographic I linked to last week for starchier food options that are grain-free, or read my not-as-pretty list:

  • cassava (yuca)
  • taro root
  • plantain
  • yam
  • white potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • parsnips
  • lotus root
  • winter squashes
  • onions
  • beets
  • carrots
  • rutabagas/turnips
  • jicama
  • kohlrabi
  • pumpkin

Also to be noted–especially starting this week since we’re now shifting carb choices–is that this challenge is not low-carb. While it’s recommended that you consume carbohydrates around your workouts, don’t fret about adhering to a prescribed amount of grams of carbs per day. If you’re eating these natural sources of carbs, please know that generally, your body knows what to do with them. Be sure to take a look at both of the cookbooks Hannah and I uploaded to the WholeMe facebook group for way more recipe inspiration (go to the group page, and click the “files” link directly under the main image header for the group!)

So I was wondering which recipe to post. Sweet potatoes definitely seem to be the darling starch of the paleo world. Paleo can mean a bunch of different things these days, and it’s a pretty confusing dietary label. Luckily, this challenge isn’t paleo. Whew! And luckily, sweet potatoes are quite delicious, so here’s a recipe that is nom-worthy during these dastardly cold days and includes a few carrots, too.


Tropical Sweet Potato Mash

4 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup coconut oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
1 inch knob of ginger root, peeled and finely minced
1/2 to 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup coconut flakes

Place sweet potatoes and carrots in large pot; cover with cold water and bring the water to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. While vegetables cook, melt the coconut oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, turn heat to low, and gently cook for 5 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown! Take the pan off the heat and allow the infused oil to cool a bit. Once the potatoes and carrots are cooked, drain and place back in their pot. Begin to mash, then add the coconut oil with the garlic and ginger. Continue mashing and add the salt and pepper. Finally, begin to add the coconut milk, starting with the 1/2 cup and adding more to create a smooth, delicate texture. Toast the coconut flakes over medium heat until brown and sprinkle over the mashed sweet potatoes. Serves 4-6 as a side.


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