Traditional recipes

Taste Test: Whole Foods’ 365 Thin Crust Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Taste Test: Whole Foods’ 365 Thin Crust Barbecue Chicken Pizza

This crispy pizza is one of the brand’s frozen offerings

Dan Myers

365 BBQ Chicken Pizza

When it comes to frozen pizza, you can do a whole lot worse than 365’s thin-crust barbecue chicken pizza. Even though you won’t be fooled into thinking it’s from a pizzeria (a task no frozen pizza has yet to achieve), it’s satisfying, bakes up nicely, and doesn’t lack for chicken or barbecue flavor.

On the box, the pizza is advertised as “topped with savory white meat chicken, red onion, mozzarella, and smoked Gouda cheese.” Underneath it all is a layer of barbecue sauce, and it’s topped with a sprinkling of cilantro.

About 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven yields a pizza that doesn’t sag at all and mercifully doesn’t drip anything onto the oven floor below. After letting it rest for a couple minutes, a sharp knife was needed to cut through the crispy, not-too-crunchy crust. There was enough chicken on the pizza to make sure that some got into every bite, but the sauce was very sweet and overpowered just about everything else on the pizza. We didn’t taste much in the way of smokiness from the Gouda, and there were only a few discernible flecks of onion. That said, the chicken was easily identifiable as sliced boneless breast meat, the crust-to-cheese ratio was spot on (even though the crust itself was a little bland), and the pizza was very flavorful and not easy to walk away from unfinished.

The entire pizza, which is about 10 inches across, contains 1,020 calories, 39 grams of fat, 99 grams od carbohydrates, and 1,980 mg of sodium.


Wisconsin Wellness

Juneberries are at peak ripeness when they turn a deep purple color

Juneberries are here! If juicy blueberries and sweet almonds had a baby, you would have the irresistible flavor of Juneberries. Found wild and as an attractive urban ornamental, they (surprise!) ripen in June here in Wisconsin. If you don’t have access to fresh wild Juneberries, blueberries will work just fine for these recipes.

I normally freeze our extra berries so we can make smoothies year-round, but this year I decided to make some healthy, easy jams. I have a recipe for everyone: one is vegan and made with chia seeds, the other made with nutrient-rich gelatin. Both versions are raw, whole food, antioxidant rich, and free of refined sugar, preservatives, and anything icky.

Recipe 1: Juneberry Chia Jam

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh berries
1/8 cup purified water
1.5 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp chia seeds

Using a pestle or similar tool, roughly mush your berries in a bowl.

Add the water, honey, and chia seeds.
Mix well, move to a glass jar for storage, and place in the refrigerator.
After about 30 minutes, the chia seeds will set and be ready to enjoy.

Recipe 2: Juneberry Jelly

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh berries
2 tbsp purified water
1.5 tbsp raw honey
.5 tbsp pure gelatin powder (ideally organic)

Using a pestle or similar tool, roughly mush your berries in a bowl.
Add the water, honey, and gelatin.
Pour your mixture into a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Pureeing your berries releases more of the almond flavor from the seeds.
Move your puree to a glass jar for storage, and place in the refrigerator.
After about 30 minutes, the gelatin will set and be ready to put on fruit, English muffins, or your favorite snacks.

Megan Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Health Counselor/ Certified Herbalist/Holistic Nutritionist/Wild Edibles Guide

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Our Favorite English Muffins: Bays

The winning English muffin had a nice punch of salty flavor, which is welcome for sweet or savory applications. It had a very delicate sourness with "a nice balance of moist-flaky-crunchy textures" according to Zoë Sessums. One thing we didn't love is that these muffins are pre-split, and they are done so rather unevenly. But that wasn't enough to deter us from their superior flavor and texture. One thing to note: you'll need to look in your grocer's refrigerated section to find Bays, as they're kept there instead of in the bread aisle.


Delivery Pizza: A Taste Test

The number one question I get from guests at my A Whole Lot Of Awesome Air BnB is about eating options. As I tried to explain in this post, Juneau does not rank high on any sort of walkability scale. My little nest is located in the Mendenhall Valley which is akin to the suburbs and while there are restaurants, you generally need transportation of some form to get to any of them.

Enter the Great Pizza Delivery Taste Test Experiment!

Since food delivery is an option that interests most of my guests, I, with a little help from the Thunder Mountain High School 2019-2020 Girls’ Cross Country Team, set out to discover the best pizza delivery options available in Juneau, Alaska.

We did the heavy lifting so you don’t have to.

The perameters of this experiment were simple. I set about ordering the same kind and size of pizza from four different and popular local pizza establishments, located within a 2.5 mile radius of our home. Two of these establishments were chain restaurants you find anywhere in the U.S. The other two were popular local establishments. All were located in the Mendenhall Valley, as opposed to downtown Juneau, so this is not an exhaustive list but I wanted to compare similar variables like size, price, taste and delivery time.

Juneau Pizza

The first place I called was Juneau Pizza. Obviously, this was one of the popular, local establishments. I phoned at 5:22 p.m. and ordered a 16″, BBQ chicken pizza. They have 6 different sizes ranging from a 10″ personal pizza to a 28″ crowd-pleaser. I made up those titles, they just run with the measurements. The 16″ would have fallen under the large category. Juneau Pizza doesn’t have a website but they do have a Facebook page where you can find their menu and phone number. I asked for the pizza to be cut into 16 pieces and was told it would be delivered in 30-45 minutes.

Bullwinkle’s

I next called Bullwinkle’s at 5:24 p.m. Bullwinkle’s is the second and final local establishment on our list and they have been around, according to their website, for over three decades. They also have a Facebook page but then again, who doesn’t? I ordered a large, BBQ chicken pizza which I was told was 15 inches in diameter. I also asked for it to be cut into 16 slices. I was told it would be delivered in 30-45 minutes.

Domino’s

I called Domino’s at 5:28 p.m. and ordered the Memphis BBQ pizza. Like the others, I ordered a 16″, which is their extra large, and I wanted it cut into 16 slices. I was told delivery would be in 30 minutes.

Papa John’s

The final call and order of the night was to Papa John’s at 5:30 p.m. As per the rest of the establishments, I ordered a 16″ or extra large, BBQ chicken pizza and requested it to be cut into 16 slices. I was told it would be 30 minutes for delivery.

The Results

The first pizza to arrive was from Domino’s at 5:53 p.m. This equated to a delivery time of 25 minutes, well within the 30 minute time frame given to me at the time of the order. The pizza was cut into 16 slices, as requested and it measured at 16″ in diameter as advertised. The final cost came to $27.73 with tip. Being a carb fan, I really appreciate the crust on this pizza … I love the doughy goodness. There was a substantial amount of cheese and large slices of chicken. The sauce was tasty but sparse … I would have been happy with extra.

The second pizza to arrive was from Bullwinkle’s at 5:56 p.m. which was a 32 minute delivery time, within the 30-45 minute timeframe. It came with a couple of bags of complimentary popcorn which is one of the perks of Bullwinkle’s pizza. The pizza itself was cut into 18 slices as opposed to the 16 per my request. I ordered the large which was supposed to be 15″ in diameter but when measured was actually only 14″. The crust was very thin and the bottom was very pale, like a saltine cracker and tough like cardboard and frankly, overdone. Though to be honest, I am not sure how they achieved that since the underside didn’t appear to be cooked at all. The chicken pieces were small and sparse but there was some green onion added which gave it a nice color contrast. The total cost, with tip came to a whopping $39.58.

Juneau Pizza delivered the 3rd pizza 40 minutes after the order, at 6:02 p.m. The crust was substantial … a happy medium between the very thin Bullwinkle’s crust and the dough-y Domino’s crust. I measured it at 16″ which was exactly what I ordered. It was light in color and looked like it could have baked a couple of minutes longer, but it was crispy, done and delicious and really reminded me of homemade crust. Having made LOTS of homemade pizza, I not only appreciated this but really enjoyed it. There was LOTS of chicken on this pizza and the sauce was really tasty. The total cost of this pizza came to $30.88 with tip.

Our final pizza was delivered by Papa John’s at 6:05 p.m. which was 35 minutes after our order and five minutes later than they indicated. It measured at 15″ which was smaller than the 16″ pizza I ordered. The crust fell into that happy medium category … not too thin, not too thick. It was well-baked and the BBQ sauce was delicious … the best out of the four in my opinion. However, there wasn’t a lot of chicken. It was only cut into 10 pieces as opposed to the 16 slices I requested so I ended up cutting some of the bigger slices in half. The final total cost, with tip, was $30.71.

The Final Vote

The TMHS Cross Country Girls team tried each of the four kinds of pizza and voted accordingly:

  1. Papa John’s: 6 votes
  2. Juneau Pizza: 4 votes
  3. Domino’s: 1 vote
  4. Bullwinkle’s: 0 votes

The girls were voting based on taste and didn’t consider the other criteria by which I was evaluating each pizza. These criteria were:

It was a very close contest between Juneau Pizza and Papa John’s … the two were almost equal in cost with only a $.17 difference. Juneau Pizza had the better crust and was more generous with the chicken. Papa John’s also had a very good crust and a really delicious BBQ sauce. Two additional marks against Papa John’s is that the pizza we receive actually measured 15″ in diameter as opposed to the 16″ pizza that was advertised. Also, it was delivered in 35 minutes which was outside of the 30 minute time frame that I was given at the time of order.

If you’re on a super tight budget, Domino’s is the way to go and would go a long way to filling your belly. In dead last, not surprisingly from past personal experience, is Bullwinkle’s. Due to sub-standard quality, high price and meager value, Bullwinkle’s would only be my choice if I had a free coupon to order from there. The two bags of free popcorn were not worth the smaller, low-quality pizza and the almost $10 higher price.

All things considered and the fact that I am interested in supporting local businesses, my vote for overall winner of the Great Pizza Delivery Taste Test Experiment is Juneau Pizza.

Great. Now I’m hungry. I may have to order a pizza.

Thus concludes the great Pizza Delivery Experiment. I hope you had as much fun reading as we did conducting this taste test. If you are ever in Juneau and order pizza, let us know where you went and what you thought!


Our Guide to Grilled Pizza

Making grilled pizza sounds like a potentially disastrous endeavour for many home cooks. Placing pizza dough onto a hot grill, flipping it around, and then adding toppings seems like an activity fraught with culinary peril. While grilled pizza does require fairly quick handiwork to achieve the desired results, a little planning and preparation goes a long way towards streamlining the process.

The right dough for the job

Grilled pizza can be made using homemade or store-bought dough. Dough that is somewhat drier and less sticky than typical pizza dough will yield the best results. Stickier pizza dough is more likely to drop down between the grate when it’s first placed on the grill. If the dough being used feels tacky, knead it for a few seconds on a lightly floured surface. Test whole wheat and gluten-free doughs on the grill before making pizza as they have the tendency to be stickier than regular pizza dough.

Mise en place makes for easy assembly

Mise en place, a French culinary term meaning “everything in its place,” always makes cooking easier but it’s absolutely essential for making grilled pizza. Have all of the toppings prepped and placed into individual bowls or containers, including any sauces, pesto, flavoured oils, and cheeses being used.

Topping tips for the best grilled pizzas

Grilled pizzas offer plenty of opportunity to get creative with topping choices, the only caveat is that the toppings can’t be very wet, or the dough will be more likely to fall apart. Use a scant amount of tomato sauce, pesto or flavoured oil as a sauce, about half as much as you would use on a regular pizza. Consider the abundance of local produce available in the summer and get creative with seasonal fruits and vegetables nectarines, sweet peppers, figs, summer squash, blackberries, and roasted corn are all delicious toppings for a grilled pizza. Fresh herbs or dried chilies sprinkled on just before the pizza is done or immediately afterwards adds a bright pop of colour and flavour. Meat toppings should be used sparingly in order to avoid heat flare-ups on the grill prosciutto, pulled pork or chicken, pre-cooked pancetta, and fennel salami all work well.

When selecting cheese for grilled pizzas it’s important to use one that isn’t wet and to use small amounts. Firmer cheeses such as ricotta salata, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino romano or pepato, fresh chevre, or any crumbly blue cheese are ideal as they won’t melt all over the pizza while it’s cooking. If using buffalo mozzarella or bocconcini tear the cheese into small pieces and drain on a paper towel for 15 minutes before using.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat while preparing the dough. Stretch the dough into a roughly pizza-sized shape, making sure that it’s slightly thicker than a thin crust pizza so that it will be sturdy enough not to fall through the grate. Brush olive oil on one side of the pizza dough and slide onto the hot grill. Close the grill and cook for 2 minutes, lift the lid up and check to see if it’s browning on the bottom and beginning to bubble on the top. If the pizza is cooking unevenly or needs more time rotate it approximately 90 degrees and grill for another 1-2 minutes.

The pizza should now be cooked over indirect or low heat, depending on the type of grill being used. The grilled dough can either be moved to a work station or the dough can be carefully flipped over and the pizza can be assembled directly on the grill. If removing from the grill, place the pizza onto a work surface with the cooked side facing up. Brush with a small amount of olive oil and begin with a small amount of sauce, pesto or flavoured oil (don’t brush the pizza with olive oil if using this as a base). Add the rest of the toppings, finishing with a scant amount of cheese. Grill over low or indirect heat, covered, for anywhere between 3 and 9 minutes. Remove from heat and finish with fresh herbs or dried chilies.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Konnyaku (Yam Cake)


This block of Konnyaku has been sitting in the fridge for quite some time. Dd kept asking when are we going to try it - but I had a hard time figuring out if you can eat it raw. never did find out but we taste tested it raw anyway.

It looks very unappetizing and using the name cake in it is deceiving - it's like calling a bar of soap a cake of soap (which I've heard). but it's nothing like cake at all.

Konnayku is marketed as a weight loss food (not the reason I purchased it) - for a 3 oz serving is has 10 calories.

One article I read said that it expands like 500 times in your innards filling you up and therefore keeping your from eating more fun - thus losing weight. The idea of something expanding any amount of time in my innards was not appealing. I think the whole expansion idea might be more myth than medical. Other articles claim that it is totally tasteless and very chewy and glutinous (a horrid word when describing food!).

Ingredients are "purified water", yam flour and hydrated lime.

I opened the bag and took a sniff. Kind of fishy smelling - totally unexpected. I was ready to hurl it into the trash (rather than risk hurling). I told dd to smell it and she said, "It smells like the area in the zoo where the penguins live." Good I thought - we can toss it. So I said "I guess you don't want to taste it then?" "No - I do want to taste it!" She added enthusiastically.

Dd tried it bravely. "Tastes like NOTHING. chewy and no flavor at all."

Ds also eager to try it, "Same thing (tastes like nothing) but also like bamboo shoots." "Yeah that's what it tastes like," the girl agreed.

I was very hesitant to taste it. It looked like a clearish white block of cheesey rubber. I don't like jello as a rule - and it had that appearance - but firmer and cloudy. I tasted it.

It did indeed taste like "nothing". I know some people just add it to a stir fry - some say it takes on the flavor of other stuff - some says - it remains flavorless.

I threw the rest away. Dd was upset. She wanted more. "Whenever I don't like something you want me to try another bite and now I like this and you threw it away." She unhappily commented.

This tasteless block was about $2.00.


I Tried 12 Kinds of Grocery Store Whole Wheat Bread and Here's the Best One

Before we get into this whole wheat bread taste test, there&aposs something you should know about me: I have been spoiled rotten in the bread department.

I grew up with parents who baked off loaves of fresh sourdough—two white loaves, two wheat loaves𠅊lmost every week from a decades-old starter. That&aposs how I ate my turkey sandwiches and PB&Js and slices of cinnamon sugar toast until I moved out. While, nowadays, my siblings and I swoon over that just-out-of-the-oven slice when we&aposre back home, my parents like to remind us that we used to ask—no, beg—for the bread from the grocery store. You know, the squishy loaves, with animals or idyllic scenes or polka dots on the plastic bags, piled up in the yeasty-smelling aisles. Our request was always soundly rejected.

As a result, there&aposs always been a bit of intrigue surrounding those supermarket loaves. I&aposve had my fair share by this point𠅍on&apost get me wrong𠅋ut it&aposs usually been in other people&aposs kitchens, or surrounding picnic tables outside, and I haven&apost been picky about or particularly observant of my carb-delivery system. So I decided it was time to take a closer look, and try just about every whole wheat loaf you can pull off of grocery story shelves. Ranked from worst to best, here&aposs what I found out.


Taste Test: Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives

I agree. Not a big fan. But it got me thinking about oat milk.

I had my first encounter with the milk substitute last year. It was in latte form, but I don’t remember where I was. I don’t even think I was in Dallas. It doesn’t matter. What I do remember, though, is thoroughly disliking the incident. The milk was denser than almond and soy varieties and it coated my mouth in a bitter film. I recall having a stomach ache afterward, too, which I know could be attributed to a billion other factors. But I associate it with that experience.

The milk alternative was invented by Swedish company Oatly in the 󈨞s but it didn’t start “trending” until 2017. The beverage is made by soaking oats in water, pulverizing them, and then straining out the hunks. It’s so simple, you can do it at home. According to a study published on Refinery29, oat milk sales grew 425 percent from 2017 to 2018. That’s a considerable leap, even for a product that didn’t have much buzz preceding those years.

People dig oat milk. I had to give it a second try.

I decided to bring my colleagues along with me on this journey. After all, my love language is Quality Time. And I needed content for the blog.

I drove to Whole Foods on my lunch break to pick up some oat milks but there were only two to choose from: Pacific and Dream. This wasn’t enough for a proper taste test, so I ditched the idea and reworked it. We would taste every type of milk alternative that Whole Foods offers. Yes! Genius! (I just discovered, after a quick Google search, that this is not an original idea. God bless the collective consciousness.)

There were nine volunteers. This is four more than last week’s egg salad taste test.

I poured each milk into a tiny shot glass and took them back like a Buttery Nipple or a Melon Ball—one of those sweet shots you don’t mind tasting before you swallow. They were fine. I pour cashew milk on my cereal at home, and occasionally drink almond milk in my coffee, so I suppose my ‘buds are accustomed to nut-beverages. I didn’t even hate the oat milk. I’d be open to trying it in another latte.

Some of my colleagues, however, reacted like their palates had never been exposed to anything but a cow’s udder. There were gags. There were angry remarks. “This must be her passive aggressive, aggressive, aggressive way of getting back at us for not liking us,” muttered executive editor, Kathy Wise. One person, who asked to remain anonymous, complained of gas afterward. You’d think I’d asked them to drink a glass of room temperature turpentine with muddled Band-Aids. I felt bad. But only for a fleeting moment, because then I remembered that I’d brought them bagels for breakfast that morning. With two flavors of cream cheese. Plus, this wasn’t torture. It was research.

Afterward, I hopped on a call with Murray Street Coffee owner Doug Davis to get a local business owner’s take on milk alternatives. “We offer almond, soy, coconut, and oat milk,” he says. “When we first opened the shop [in 2005] 15 to 20 percent of our espresso beverage sales were with milk alternatives, now we’re up to about 40 percent.” While Davis prefers heavy cream with his espresso, when he does opt for dairy-free, he digs oat milk. He says it steams the best. He also says that coconut milk is excellent in cold drinks.

So, which milk alternative is the best according to the persnickety palates of the D Magazine staff?

This smells like a yolk that’s flirting with turning sour. It tastes much better, like liquidized oatmeal. I guess this is the oat milk? I’m not mad at this, actually. Just don’t smell it.

I remember the good ol’ days when we used to taste test pizza and cake.

Oh, wow – it’s a little weird it has a pretty distinctive grainy flavor. I like it.

Smells like soy milk but tastes like rice milk. I think this one is vanilla flavored, and it’s a little too sweet for all-purpose milk use. Also, this might be the pea milk. I don’t like this very much.

Tastes like rice porridge but slightly sweet.

Light, sweet, a little rice-y.

Decent, slightly sweet, would be good with cereal.

This brought me back to the time I had hives and was put in an oatmeal bath. I think I was maybe three or four. I remember trying to eat the oatmeal. This is surely that exact taste.

This smells like nothing! That is an improvement from A. It leaves a weird chalky film and kind of tastes like what I imagined sweetened chalk would.

Yikes—why are there chunks. Texture is awful. Tons of stabilizer. I feel like I’m drinking a cornstarch slurry.

This one looks like coconut milk, smells like nothing and tastes like cow milk mixed with water. Inoffensive but texturally a little off.

Watered down cream. Looks like chalk water.

It looks odd, cloudy, are there specs floating in there? CHONK. Coconut milk!

Tastes good. Mild and sweet. But it’s kind of chunky.

This smells like cardboard. It looks like a whitened Pepto-Bismol. Is that cashew? God this sucks. Why am I doing this? I don’t even like milk. This makes me want to go back to A. Which also sucked.

What kind of fucked up cow did this come from.

Oh, God, I hate this. Ugh, watery and wimpy.

This one smelled like almond milk but tastes like straight up peas. If this isn’t the pea milk, I really don’t know anything. (Directly after typing this, Catherine told me it’s not the pea milk. It does, I guess, taste like cashews now that I’m thinking about it.)

GROSSSSSSSS. NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS.

Tastes like dust/what I imagine paint would taste like.

EWWWWWWWW. Vomit. Puke. Barf.

Tastes like the crust of a cheap pizza, like Red Baron. I like cheap pizza but I don’t like drinking cheap pizza.

Looks like dookie water. Not even sure what this tastes like. It’s kind of seaweed-y. Get this out of here. Get this all out of here.

So nutty brown! I like this. There’s a nice savory-sweetness to complement the soy. Nutty, a little bean-y.

This is the color of a cappuccino but it tastes not like a cappuccino. It tastes funny, with a flavor that reminds me of toasted nuts or maybe a very dry grass.

I like this but I can’t put my finger on what it tastes like. Kinda has a coffee aftertaste?

Hmm. Soybean? Not a fan. Pea milk?

Tastes like almonds? Not awful.

This smells really yeasty. Like making Play-Doh out of flour. The aftertaste gave me an embarrassingly dramatic reaction.

What is this, milk of magnesia? No. No. NO.

This will appeal to people who like a sweeter alternative milk. It’s like Frosted Flakes: pour it on Cornflakes, and you’ve got it.

This is definitely vanilla almond milk. It tastes good, less sweet than A but still pretty sweet.

Ooo. This one tastes good. Kinda sweet like almond milk.

I like this one. It has a nice vanilla-y taste.

The nutty taste was overpowering kind of in an aromatic way? I felt it in my nose. Other than that, passable.

This one looks like skim milk. That is, somehow, a good sign. Oh this one tastes like oats too. I’m not mad at that. It doesn’t infuriate me.

Oh, I like the rice-y or hempiness of this. Nice. I can imagine it on granola or oatmeal.

Too thin for my taste and a weird texture. It does have a clean, plant-based flavor going for it.

Coconut-y? Tastes like cereal milk.

A very light flavor, a slight taste of hay, a slight taste of vanilla. Slight taste of Play-Doh.

Tastes like broccoli, don’t care for.

I feel like this is what breastmilk would taste like. I can’t believe I just wrote that.

This tastes like soy. It smells like cardboard. I’m guessing it’s soy milk. I remember I used to eat soy protein shakes in high school because I was a late bloomer and my football coach wanted me to bulk up. It didn’t work. This doesn’t work for me. It just tastes like bad nostalgia.

Punches your taste buds right in the face.

Blech. This tastes protein fortified. It’s a little too thick for me. More like a protein drink.

This one is thicker and creamier with a grassy under taste. This could be nice in coffee. I don’t love the way it tastes, but I don’t dislike it.

Is this American soy milk? Too thick. Not a fan.

This is what I imagine frat-boy-Chad takes before hitting the weights at the gym. It’s thick and tastes synthetic.

One time I had to get a CAT scan of my stomach and they had me drink some odd concoction with dye in it so they could get a clear image. This tastes exactly like that. Chalky and medicinal.

Oh my god this is chalky. No. This is over. I’m done with this. I’m going to Whole Foods and I’m turning over the fake milk aisle. This is it for me.

1/10 would rather drink belly button milk.

Particular. I think this is soy, as it has that boxed mylk flavor. not horrible, definitely not good.

My eyes started tearing up on this one because I could feel part of my soul leaving my body. Big fowny face. What did I ever do to you, Catherine?

You made Eve cry. Personally, I didn’t think it was that bad. Not my favorite but it has a sour-ish aftertaste. Tastes like watered down milk.

Bad bad bad aftertaste, like bricks.

This is extremely oatish. It tastes like the time I made overnight oats wrong and it was a soggy mess. No, thank you.

The winner is Blue Diamond Almond Milk. This outcome makes sense. Almond milk is super popular. So popular, in fact, that according to this study by UCSF, our love affair with almonds could be doing harm to the planet. This is in no way meant to make you feel ashamed for liking almond milk. Everything in moderation, right?


The Beginner’s Guide to the Whole30 Diet

We all need a little food reset from time to time. If you’re looking for a plan that will get your rear in gear , we feel you. Here’s one way to do it: the Whole30 program.

Whole30 is a 30-day (duh) clean-eating plan designed to revamp your eating habits by cutting out certain foods. And yes, we’re talking about some foods that are super hard to give up: dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, and alcohol.

Committing to the Whole30 is breaking up with the booze-filled, dessert-every-night, carb-fueled diet we’ve come to know and love (French fries are vegetables, right?). Instead, you’ll be swiping right for clean proteins and veggies. Let’s break that down.

  • Meat. Yes to a burger, no to a bun.
  • Poultry. So. Much. Chicken. Sausage.
  • Fish. You can even eat the canned stuff.
  • Veggies. Your options are limitless.
  • Fruits. An apple a day keeps your sweet tooth at bay.
  • Fats. Avocados every single day.

Oh, and coffee! There are also a few ridiculously good store-bought foods that are Whole30-approved. They’ll make this plan a wee bit easier. Hello, clarified butter and coconut aminos.

  • No sugar or natural or artificial sweeteners. Nope, not even maple syrup.
  • No booze. Unless you’re talking about the trace amount of alcohol in kombucha.
  • No smoking. We mean weed, too.
  • No grains. Time to empty your jar of quinoa.
  • No beans or legumes. No chickpeas, no peanut butter.
  • No soy. Tofu is a goner.
  • No dairy. Cheese is dairy, guys.
  • No processed additives. Carrageenan, sulfites, MSG.
  • No fake treats, even with Whole30-approved ingredients. Sorry, cauliflower crust pizza and Paleo pancakes, you’re off-limits. This rule is all about building a healthier relationship with your food, and we think it actually works.

You got this. It’s just 30 days. *Insert sweating emoji*

Before you run away, there’s good reason those foods are off-limits. We can’t guarantee everything on this list is going to happen to you, but these are the most common benefits some people have experienced while on (and after) the Whole30.

  • Weight loss. We can’t complain.
  • Health conditions may improve.Headaches now only happen when we’re hungover.
  • Digestive problems resolved. We can finally poop twice a day!
  • Skin is clearer. No more teen acne in our 30s.
  • Energy levels are through the roof (a.k.a. Tiger Blood). What third cup of coffee?
  • An entirely new list oftasty recipes. Seriously, it’s good food.
  • Transformed taste buds. Cravings for pizza subside faster these days.
  • More effective workouts. We didn’t stop to walk at mile 2 during a 4-mile run.
  • Improved sleep. We had the energy to wake up for said run.
  • Discovered what foods make us feel like crap. This is different for everyone and something some noticed once processed foods were added back into the diet on day 31. For some, it’s cheese. For others, it’s bread.

You’re going to miss your morning doughnuts for sure, but this isn’t like any diet you might be used to. Here’s why:

  • You’re not tracking calories.
  • You shouldn’t feel hungry.
  • You won’t be eating based on a points system.

Whole30 co-founder Melissa Hartwig actually doesn’t like calling the Whole30 a “diet” at all. “Most diets are spent white-knuckling your way through deprivation, restriction, hunger, tuning out your body’s signals, and obsessing over tracking and weighing your food,” Hartwig says.

She doesn’t think that type of behavior is sustainable, and if you’ve ever tried dieting, you probably agree. Also, weight loss isn’t the sole focus. You’re not even supposed to weigh yourself, except for on days 1 and 30.

Of course, sliding into your usually-too-tight jeans on week three feels pretty damn good, but Hartwig wants the focus to be on feeling better overall. Weight loss is the cherry on top.

Why 30 Days?

Why not 27 or 43? “Thirty days is a good compromise. It takes 66 days for a habit to stick, but if we told someone to do this plan for that long, it’d be pretty intimidating,” Hartwig says. This amount of time is long enough for you to see results but not so long that you’ll be afraid to start [Lally P, et al. (2009). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world].

No cheating, kids. Hartwig emphasizes the importance of sticking to this plan with zero slip ups, so you give your body the complete break from not-so-healthy food that it deserves.

If life happens and a glass of wine or a piece of bread gets in the way, Hartwig recommends starting over. She wants you to feel the full benefits of the entire 30 days.

We’re not gonna lie: Some of us have let a glass of wine slip before. We didn’t start over and still felt on top of the world at the end. We aren’t suggesting you do the same, but we’re just being real.

Here are some official and unofficial rules we follow to get us through the program.

Do it with a friend

Surround yourself with support. “Touch base with [other Whole30ers] every single day. Ask for help when you need it. Be authentic with your successes and your struggles. Share resources and take the time to offer advice to others where you can,” Hartwig says.

You can also follow Whole30 on Instagram to connect with like-minded people.

No fake treats

This one was hard for us to grasp, so it deserves some explanation. If a Paleo pancake calls for nothing but Whole30-approved ingredients, such as eggs and bananas, the flapjack is still off-limits. The Whole30 wants you to change your habits and your emotional relationship with food.

“Your brain doesn’t know the difference between an almond flour brownie and your mom’s recipe, it just knows you crave sugar. So, if you keep eating those sweets during the 30 days, your habits aren’t changing,” Hartwig says.

Read the Whole30 book

The Whole30 book is helpful, clear, and will get you motivated. Want even more Whole30 ideas? Hartwig’s cookbooks may not have the nitty-gritty plan details, but the recipes are solid.

Clear your house of temptations

Hartwig calls these “foods without brakes.” The ones that give “once you pop, you can’t stop” true meaning. Say goodbye to everything on the “no” list. Toss it, pack it, send it to your grandmother. Just get it out.

Celebrate with coffee

You can’t drink alcohol, but you can turn your after-work happy hour into a midday coffee date. You can drink black coffee with a splash of unsweetened non-dairy creamer.

Plan and prepare

This is Hartwig’s No. 1 tip when it comes to success on the Whole30. No more grabbing a slice of pizza on the way home from work.

“Before day one, you should have your first week of meals planned, grocery shopping done, pantry stocked, and you should have some Whole30-compliant emergency food stashed away,” Hartwig says. Here’s a Whole30-approved shopping list to get you started.

Don’t make it complicated

You’ll be exposed to a ton of new, delicious recipes. If you know you’re not the cooking type, start simple.

Instead of making the fancy egg-bake in a cast-iron pan, grab some eggs, veggies, sausage, and avocado then scramble your breakfast. Top it with sugar-free hot sauce, and you’ll have yourself a solid meal in seven minutes.

Don’t be afraid to make that for breakfast five times a week — making similar meals over and over again is easier than trying to whip up new complicated ones.

Always make leftovers

For lunch and dinner, make extra so you have leftovers. There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing your meals are already cooked and ready to go for the day. Pat yourself on the back and have a party.

The Whole30 is too legit to quit, so we asked Hartwig to give us advice to help us get through it. We’ll leave you with this:

“The struggle is a normal, necessary part of the process. Changing your food is hard. Changing your habits is even harder. Changing your relationship with food is the hardest part of all.

The process requires struggle — it’s how you know you’re growing — but don’t make it harder than it has to be! There is no such thing as the “perfect” Whole30, so if your beef isn’t grass-fed or your travel meal doesn’t look exactly like our meal template, don’t sweat it.”

Your only job is to stick to the Whole30 rules for 30 days, and some days, you’ll have to let good enough be good enough. And high five yourself for the victories you’re achieving every day, no matter how small.


Lentil Tacos with Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing

Trying to lose weight, reduce portions, reduce inflammation, regulate digestion, improve diabetes, treat anemia, increase energy, prevent cancer, improve atherosclerosis, support heart health, help your nervous system, live longer, or grow a healthy baby? Lentils, a part of the human diet since Paleolithic times, may be your new best friend. This pulse even has more disease-fighting phenols than apples, cherries, plums, broccoli, cabbage, grapes, & onions.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • I large tomato, cubed
  • 2 cups of cooked lentils
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 2 cups of shredded red cabbage
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 4 medium carrots, shredded
  • Cilantro to garnish
  • ½ avocado, sliced or cubed
  • 8 organic corn tortillas

Sauce Ingredients:

  • ½ cup organic plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • ½ pureed avocado
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute the onions for 3-5 minutes or until translucent.
  2. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic, turmeric, salt, cooked lentils, and tomatoes to the onions, and stir well for another 5 minutes.
  3. Place your carrot shreds and cabbage shreds in their own bowls. Cut your lime in half and squeeze one of the halves over the carrots and cabbage. Sprinkle with Himalayan salt.
  4. Prepare your sauce by mixing the yogurt, avocado puree, ¼ tsp salt, and the juice from the remaining lime half together in a bowl.
  5. Serve on warmed tortillas as pictured and enjoy!

Megan Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

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Qualitative Measures

  • Steaks/chops/chicken breasts: With lots of practice, the "poke test" provides a quick gauge for doneness. The poke test compares the tension in the fleshy part of your hand at the base of your thumb with the tension you feel as you press your index finger into the center of the cut of meat.
  1. For rare: Bring your thumb and index finger together gently and press the base of your thumb to test tension.
  2. For medium: Bring your thumb and middle finger together gently and press the base of your thumb to test tension.
  3. For well-done: Bring your thumb and pinky finger together and press the base of your thumb to test tension.
  • Whole chicken: Insert and skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. It&aposs done if the juices run clear. Or wiggle the leg, which should be loose.
  • Fish: Flesh is done when it turns opaque breaks into large, firm flakes and pulls away easily from any bones.


Watch the video: Frozen Thin Crust Supreme Pizza - 365 Whole Foods Market (December 2021).