Whole30 Challenge Archives - Kohler Created

February Camping Trip

Divide and Conquer Weekend

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I hope your weekend was as fun as ours! Here’s a little recap!


Friday night was CrossFit, cheat meals (Billiards burgers) and coloring! I want to kiss whomever invented Color Magic Markers. GENIUS!


Camping Trip 2/6/16

Saturday morning Neil left for an overnight camping trip with some friends and KK and I got girl time. We watched movies and munched on Chex Mix, then hit a potluck at the gym. You just can’t beat CrossFit, so many activities!


We then spent the evening at grandpa and grandmas (my parents) watching Frozen. I just introduced them to the concept of looking for Easter eggs in Disney movies. It makes redundant watching so much more interesting. Did you know Rapunzel makes an appearance in Frozen?


Sunday morning we had breakfast and did all the grocery shopping. Neil got home and I then hit the gym for ROMWOD and some muscle-up work with some of the other coaches. My MU are pretty good, but I know they could be much better, so I’m actually being proactive and seeking help.

ROMWOD Mobility Classes - CrossFit Fringe

Super Bowl night was pretty low key. We food prepped, which involved smoking a ton of chicken, a huge pork butt and then homemade applesauce and hardboiled eggs. My brother got me one of these cool peelers for Christmas, and I’m definitely putting it to good use. It’s so much cheaper to make applesauce than it is to buy it.

Food Prep 2/7/16

KK helped clean…


…or not.

Food Prep 2/7/16

We dined on steaks, potatoes and salad and caught the end of the Super Bowl. KK ate her weight in steak, stealing most of it from my plate. I can’t believe how much she’s been growing lately, she is getting so long!

Whole30 Week 4 - Kohler Created

Whole30 Nutrition Challenge Recap: Week 4

By | Food, Menu Planning, MK, Paleo, Toddler Meals, Uncategorized, Whole30 | No Comments

A little-belated recap of our Week 4 of the Whole30/Nutrition Challenge and honestly it took me about 5 minutes to even remember what we ate last week. No joke, talk about zombie mom!

Our last week’s challenge meals were all comfort food. We started the week with big meatloaf we baked in our cast iron pan (seriously, cast iron all the way). Served with easy sides of taters and veggies. Kaitlan put away quite a bit of meatloaf so I have a feeling that will be back on the menu soon.

Whole30 Week 4 - Steak and Potato

Halfway through the week, we dined on steak, salad and baked potatoes. Again, steaks are such an easy way to feel like you’re eating out.

Whole30 Week 4 - Kimchi Braised Chicken and Bacon

We closed the week with the Kimchi Braised Chicken and Bacon. Definitely not as pretty on our plates as it was in Bon Appetit, but it was sooooo good. And Kaitlan loved it as well, kimchi and all.

Whole30 Week 4 - Smoked Chicken

We ended the week buying a smoker and making chicken and ribs. I honestly can’t wait grocery shop for what we’re going to smoke this week. We’ve been eating so easily this week!

Whole30 Week 4 - Smoked Chicken

If you follow me on Pinterest, you probably noticed the massive amounts of soup, bread, and toddler snack recipes pinned. Thinking ahead to our meals, I definitely think we’re going to attempt to make a few more of the convenience items we’ve been buying, including whole grain bread, crackers/puffs for Kaitlan and the ramen soups Neil sometimes grabs at lunch.

We’ll see what I come up with this weekend, but our first attempt at our favorite grocery bread wasn’t all that successful, even though Kaitlan loves it. I am so excited to finally feel like I’m in the kitchen more!

That closes out the weekly recaps for the Whole30 Challenge, stay tuned for the our thoughts and reflections!

Kaitlan napping - 17 months

Weekend Naps

By | CrossFit, Food, Meat, Paleo, Weekend, Whole30 | No Comments

The weekend feels like it flew by — probably because I spent a lot of it napping.


Oh that face…she’s becoming such a little person these days. I need to capture video of her stomping around the house like she owns the place. Such a little boss. I sometimes catch my breath on the thought that there was a time this house held no trace of this little person. It’s so much more our home now.

Kaitlan took two long afternoon naps on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday it was from 2-5pm, and on Sunday it was 12:30-3:30pm. Because we most of the time will nap with her or sleep while she sleeps, that meant I got two long naps in as well. I definitely missed some of the warm weather everyone else got to enjoy, but if I’ve learned anything from being a parent, it’s that you never say no to a nap.

January 2016 Friday Night Lights

January 2016 Friday Night Lights

It was still a pretty exciting weekend otherwise. Friday night we had our FNL (Friday Night Lights) event at CrossFit Fringe for January. I managed to squeeze in most of the workout while taking pictures of the event. It looked brutal, and there was sweat everywhere.

January 2016 Friday Night Lights

January 2016 Friday Night Lights

January 2016 Friday Night Lights

Sorry for the ugly flash, I forgot my external so was just using the stock camera one!


Saturday morning we ran a bunch of errands. With the close of our Whole30 Challenge just a few days away, we decided that an electric smoker would definitely help our meal prep moving forward. Several of our members have one and it was a lifesaver for them. We’ve been wanting one for years, so it seemed like the perfect time to pull the trigger.


Of course, the moment we bought one, the grocery store didn’t have any pork butts (they have literally had them every week for 2 years, I swear), so we ended up with chicken and ribs our first go-round. Not too shabby though (understatement). Good purchase decision.


In other food news, Kaitlan’s re-introduction to cow’s dairy after the stomach bug over the weekend was also successful, so that’s a relief! I also meal-prepped my rice pudding and Kaitlan’s sandwich bread for the week. I’m still playing with recipes to get the perfect one, but she loved this one, so here is the recipe. I find it a little bland for my tastes.


Sunday was our first ROMWOD mobility class at Fringe! We did a survey around New Year’s to gauge people’s feedback about our programs and services, and one of the clearest suggestions we received was the need for some kind of structured mobility offering. We offer a blended service of ROMWOD and a few of our own suggestions, and the first class went great!

All in all, a great weekend!

Kaitlan does Whole30

Whole30 Nutrition Challenge Recap: Week 3

By | Food, Menu Planning, MK, Paleo, Toddler Meals, Whole30 | One Comment

Whole30 Week 3 is done and gone, and there is just one week left!


Thankfully, this week went much smoother. Kaitlan seems to have completely recovered from her stomach bug and went back to daycare. Even though we haven’t reintroduced any dairy, she’s doing really well on almond milk and we found enough alternatives to make her lunches exciting (she loves Greek yogurt and string cheese — it was a legitimate concern).

This week she has been on an eating tear, not only NOMing through her portions, but ours as well. She must be in some growth spurt!? And she’s definitely sprouting some molars. Needless to say, we haven’t felt like we’ve gotten much of a break.




Dinners this week included a lot of chicken. Rotisserie chicken salads and NOM NOM Paleo’s Damn Fine Chicken (with mashers and broccoli) through most of the weeknights. We did one Chipotle day (we were desperately craving not to cook, and Neil was feeling over chicken), and will finish off this week with meatloaf and mashed potatoes.



Lunches were quiche and salad, and breakfasts were either eggs or the rice pudding (adapted from this recipe) I’ve been making every week (rice is one of my exceptions as part of the hybrid challenge.


Thinking ahead to life after Whole30

Being a parent is a mixed blessing when it comes to Whole30. On one hand, I feel like it’s made what used to feel like eternity spent on Whole30 go much faster. But on the other, the fact that SHE herself isn’t on Whole30 means there is non-Whole30 (albeit healthy) items lurking all over our kitchen.

That all being said, I can not believe we are headed into our last week already! Seriously, time has just flown by. And although our Challenge got a little derailed in Week 2, I’m so happy with how it’s gone.

Week 3 is typically the time when most people start thinking about life after Whole30. While it’s easy to get caught up in wanting that first beer, or a slice of pizza, I know from experience that the transition must be undertaken with a plan and goals in place for what comes after 30. At even just 3 weeks in, I’m seeing some physical results and I’m definitely feeling them. Where do we need to be in order to eat better, and keep our results, but not feel deprived, depressed or socially isolated? In our conversations so far we’ve talked about:

What we need to do better:

  • The amount of prep for Whole30 is too much for our lifestyle, but we could definitely be prepping/planning for meals other than dinner. We were doing great until Halloween, but the holidays always seem to throw us for a loop.
  • Meals out need to be special or something we really want, not just out of laziness.
  • We definitely don’t need all the snacks we were buying. Much of it is mindless snacking that could be eliminated with better meals.
  • If we are paying so much attention to eliminating processed foods, we need to do so in our health/beauty/household products as well.

Why Whole30 doesn’t work for us long-term:

  • Our lifestyle just doesn’t support it. That’s not a cop-out — you can’t work full-time, have a toddler, own a business, and essentially have a part-time job and spend as much time food prepping as we have. Not without something (mostly our sanity) giving way.
  • We are feeling less energetic. We’re just really active people, and can’t prep/eat enough to alleviate it, nor do we really want to be constantly eating.
  • Because we’re busy, we batch a lot of things, and they get redundant fast — like chicken.
  • We miss the diversity in our meals (we like Asian food and homemade bread).
  • We definitely miss the life balance 80/20 gives us a much-needed break on Fridays and Saturdays with a pizza or dinner out.

I think most of all, we just like to enjoy food and feel balanced. We’ve never been super regimented or strict. I don’t believe food should become punishment or something you don’t look forward to. I’ll definitely be sharing more about life after Whole30 in a few more posts!

Paleo Crock pot Chili

Whole30 Nutrition Challenge Recap: Week 2

By | Food, Menu Planning, MK, Paleo, Parenting, Whole30 | No Comments

Whole30 Week 2

Sorry for being a bit belated, but Whole 3 week 2 in the books!

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t perfect. Neil had pre-arranged plans in Tulsa with friends for a concert over the weekend. About 45 minutes after he left on Friday morning, Penny our daycare provider called and said that KK had thrown up. She’s never been sick, so that kind of threw a wrench in the fun things I had planned for us, as well as trying to stay on track with Whole30. I didn’t eat terribly, but I did survive on mostly peanut butter sandwiches, protein shakes and fruit. A little more on that below.

Whole30 Week 2

The rest of the week prior went great. We finished off the hot wings and then did a big pot of paleo chili that carried us through most of the week dinner-wise. We did salads and quiche for lunches. Simple to prep, delicious to eat. I swear, I could live on those hot wings — they never get old.

Whole30 Week 2

Whole30 Week 2

KK even dug the chili a bit…

Whole30 Week 2

A lot of the “hangover” symptoms from Week 1 abated during the week and I even felt a bit more energy in the tank during workouts. Definitely not 100%, I still feel like I’m working with just enough energy for a good workout, but nothing much more. I definitely probably need to just eat more at this point, as it was my goal not to drop any weight and I have.

Now from yummy food to tummy trouble…

Whole30 Week 2

As for KK’s vomiting, we’re not sure what is going on. While the other little girl at daycare also appears to have come down with a stomach bug, Kaitlan’s vomiting has occurred only after dairy products. Not all dairy, but milk and Greek yogurt for sure. She’s had diarrhea, but no fever, and no vomiting outside of the 15-20 minute window following dairy consumption. We’re hoping it’s just a noted symptom of the stomach bug, and not an emerging issue on its own.

Whole30 Week 2

At the suggestion of Penny, we thought it might be the whole milk and dropped to 2%, but it gave her enough stomach pain/cramps that we took her to the emergency room Sunday night. After about 90 minutes of screaming she started to calm down, but I’ve never seen her in so much pain and scared the crap out of me. Because milk is so integral to getting her to nap, we bought some almond milk and she thankfully loves it and experienced no issues so far.

Here’s to a much less eventful week 3!

Whole30/Nutrition Challenge test WODs at CrossFit Fringe

Whole30 Nutrition Challenge Recap: Week 1

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If you’ve done Whole30, or any kind of nutrition challenge, you know that Week 1 is largely spent “coming off” your normal routine. Even if you eat pretty healthy normally, it’s much like having a hangover that lasts a good 3-4 days.

This year, Neil is opting to do the strict challenge, while I opted to again do the hybrid, which is three added whole food items to the base Whole30. Whole30 is tough to do if you’re active and with a 4 day-a-week gym habit and the past few months being insanely productive, I just didn’t want to see any of my progress diminish. I chose rice, plain Greek yogurt, and string cheese. The string cheese is random, I know, but KK eats it quite often and I need a versatile and quick go-to food item.


For us, Week 1 came on a pretty busy week. We were having work done on the house (childproofing the upstairs railing so we can work up there), buying a new bed (upgrading to king), and oh yeah ALL OF MY COURSES WERE DUE AT WORK. Talk about the worst time to give up some of my go-to coping mechanisms.

But we survived.


We definitely were feeling hungry and deprived early in the week, especially doing the challenge test WODS, but after a grocery deli salad on Thursday and baked hot wings on Friday, I feel like we’re starting to turn the corner a bit on satiety and mood. A quick rundown of meals this week:


I think satiety (full or satisfied after a meal) is one of the hardest things to achieve on Whole30. Over the past few years we’ve kind of tried different approaches to the challenge, and have come away with a pretty solid weekly plan that involves prepping and having food on hand to reheat, but also trying to insert some “special” meals/snacks in there that feel special or do the trick for curing the hangry:

  • We typically throw steaks and baked fries on the menu once a week. It’s super easy prep-wise, and a little salt goes a long way toward curbing the chocolate cravings
  • Smoked or baked hot wings with sparkling water — I might just eat this the rest of the challenge
  • Over-easy egg on home fries. Okay, over-easy egg on everything is good — pulled pork, salad, you name it
  • Apples or bananas with almond butter are heaven
  • Kale chips

I also feel like satiety comes from the experience of eating and enjoying a meal, which is why we’ve never been huge on container meals. We enjoy cooking and freshly prepared meals, but we also like convenience so we’re still re-adjusting to the Whole30 reality of prepping everything we eat.


All in all, although we grumble through some of the conveniences we’ve lost or the inability to kick our feet up with a beer, I will say that adjusting to Whole30 this round has been the easiest yet. I contribute it to the fact that we’ve really worked to maintain a good 80/20 balance.

What’s the hardest part of Week 1 for you?

Whole30 Resources - Kohler Created

My favorite Whole30 Resources (ongoing)

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Whole30 Resources - Kohler Created

Over the years of trying to be more conscientious about what we eat and doing several Whole30 Challenges, I’ve amassed quite a few Whole30 resources that always serve to keep me positive and motivated to carry on with eating healthy and living our best life.

I’m definitely not the first to create a list of resources for the Whole30 Challenge, but I find many of the lists are long and hard to follow and quite frankly, overwhelming. I’ve tried to curate just a few things that you might find useful to get started or shake things up if you need a change.

Still questioning why you should try a Whole30 Challenge?
Need a meal plan?
How about our favorite recipes?
Other meal resources?
Need some cool peeps to follow on social media?
Our favorite Whole30 Pinterest boards/social media accounts

More curated mini-collection posts coming!

Disclosure: Image Designed by Freepik.

kaitlan eating cauliflower - Kohler Created

Week 3: Whole30/Nutrition Challenge

By | Food, MK, Paleo, Whole30 | No Comments

Let's brighten up this winter day...

I ate my weight in salad and meat last week — and loved every minute of it.

For me, being half-way through any challenge marks a shift in mindset from survival to planning ahead. I hit a rough patch about midway through the week, but when I came out on the other side (despite a little nutritional stumble), I became even more resolved to start thinking ahead to after the challenge and how I want our nutrition, habits, and traditions as a family to evolve.

A little background on why this is so oddly important to me. I grew up in a big German family steeped in food and tradition, and it was something I took HUGE pride in as a child. I was always bragging about our food-filled family holidays, my aunties, and my cousins. It also made me feel really secure growing up — which as a small, quiet kid I really needed.


Because my extended family is now bigger, more distant, and hundreds of miles away, I feel like Neil and I have a blank slate to kind of forge our own traditions with Kaitlan, especially when it comes to food. And while we strive to eat clean and make our meals fast and efficient through the week, I definitely still want it to be fun and memorable for her. It feels like a daunting thing to approach, especially since she’s on the doorstep of solid meals already and the time to make some of these things habit and attempt new traditions is quickly approaching (maybe that’s just me though).

There isn’t some magical conclusion to this post wherein I figure it all out and have a bullet-point plan to share, just lots of thinking and dreaming at this point. Of weekend cast-iron pizza movie nights, and cookie jars with my mom’s peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe, but also plenty of garden veggies, homemade breadmaking and healthy meal prep on Sundays. I definitely envision a balance of health and fun, but most of all togetherness and enjoyment when it comes to our collective relationship with food.


Thankfully she’s also with my awesomely food-centric parents twice a week, so she’ll have double-duty on the good eats and traditions — and probably cookies.

For the moment though, I’m feeling really good mentally, and confident about how I look. I always wondered how eating similarly to how I did during my pregnancy would look on the “postpartum me,” and I’m definitely keeping it — it’s worth it.

We are currently in the last week, so next week will have some fun comparisons and concluding thoughts!

How do you balance your weekly eats to be both healthy and fun?

bacon-wrapped pineapple - Kohler Created

Week 2: Whole30/Nutrition Challenge

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Week 2 feels much calmer than week 1, isn’t that always the case? While it still wasn’t perfect, I feel more motivated because I’m feeling the results. And I think I know why. We were having a discussion on our Challenge Facebook group and one of our members hit my biggest issue on the head:


Mindless eating. I went from hugely pregnant and barely able to finish a dinner salad to breastfeeding and always hungry in the span of two weeks. And with all the contradictory information out there about what really affects breast milk supply, I did what I do best — over-prepare, or in this case, over-eat.

Now, the negative effects weren’t by any means staggering, but I did feel bad and my mid-section was actually starting to look worse than it did when I returned to CrossFit at 6 weeks postpartum. Not good.

So while the cause was genuine (breastfeeding), it quickly spiraled out of control into eating almost whatever and whenever because I’d justify to myself that I’d likely be hungry again soon anyway. Or, in total “new parent” fashion, I’d reward myself for surviving something or getting out of the house. So while I was mostly eating healthy, it definitely wasn’t in check, and I had quite a bit of room for improvement. Optimally, I’d like to get back to something a little closer to what I maintained during pregnancy. Because in truth, what I eat is about to matter more than ever because she’s starting solids, and watching EVERYTHING we eat. While she might not have a great understanding now, that’s going to change very quickly — and I want to model the right relationship to food and wellness for her.


Excuse my finger in the shot…

As far as meals for the week, we again stayed pretty simple. We made a huge pot roast that lasted us through Wednesday for dinners (we beefed up the meal on day 3 by serving over cauli-mash, which made it taste like pot pie — yum!), and Thursday and Friday were an easy pork and veggie stir fry. I ate egg sammiches and salads for lunch and oatmeal and bananas for breakfast.


We also had our “halfway” potluck this week, which was a welcome diversion and special treat as we definitely miss eating out.


Oh, and I finally got to make bacon-wrapped pineapple. Definitely lives up to hype!


While things are manageable because we’ve kept them pretty simple, I hope next year we can do more fun meals because Kaitlan will be a bit bigger and eating right alongside us!

How was your week in food/eating?