It’s even stranger to follow up by clarifying that you have no intention of actually completely following the diet, and that you are planning to recap the whole thing for your secret lifestyle blog that you are unreasonably proud of, given the whole page view situation. Really this whole venture was unfairly freighted by the expectations and prejudices of the people around me, is how I’m choosing to justify it.
So here’s a recap of what it’s like to noncommittally follow a very specific diet plan for a week. Some caveats/notes: I went into this week knowing there were at least a couple nights when my work or social schedule would keep me from following the plan, so I did my best to switch meals around and grocery-shop accordingly on the first day (I still ended up with two broccoli crowns that I didn’t use and that are currently becoming soft and liquidy in my fridge). I also started this diet after Stephanie did it first (typical) and had the advantage of just skipping entirely the meals that she said were gross or not worth it. I don’t like to snack, so I didn’t bother with most of those recipes, or I added them to whatever actual meal seemed reasonable, like adding the roasted squash seeds to one of the salads. And before I did anything else, I deleted the calorie counts for each recipe and day; I have a tendency to get a little obsessive over calories when I track them, and it’s not cute to flirt with an eating disorder once you’re out of college.
Also, I paid no attention to the coffee and alcohol rules, but in general I only have one cup of coffee in the morning, and I try not to drink when I’m home alone because I’ve been told to stop doing that.
Methodology: if I reviewed every one of these recipes in detail, it would be a goddamn book, and none of us have the energy for that Pioneer Woman bullshit. So I’m going to word-associate this shizz, and give myself twenty words or fewer to sum up how each meal worked out. I reserve the right to break this rule. A lot.
Overall, I really liked trying a full week of being accountable to cooking at home, from scratch, with healthy, non-processed ingredients. But ultimately, I don’t think it’s reasonable for me personally to do so much cooking at home right now; it makes me feel lonely and gross to spend so much time just with my cat and “30 Rock” reruns on Netflix, and it’s really not that much cheaper to buy all of these groceries than it is for a single person to eat out. But I definitely am going to incorporate some recipes into my rotation, and have taken to heart the lesson that kale can be wilted into ANYTHING.
DAY 0 (SATURDAY)
$170 in groceries, fuck me.
DAY 1 (SUNDAY)
BREAKFAST: Kale, Sweet Potato, and Onion Frittata
Tasty, but not worth it to whip egg whites by hand. Just lightly beat and pour over the veggies.
LUNCH: Spinach Salad with Roasted Chickpeas, Tofu, and Blood Orange Vinaigrette
Ooh, tofu is good when seasoned! A+, would make again.
DINNER: Turkey-Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sage and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Note: in all recipes, triple all the spice amounts. This meal will give you gas (per my sister, not me).
PREP FOR NEXT DAY: Pumpkin Yogurt Bark
SUPER not worth it. Why would anyone freeze greek yogurt? This is some DJ Tanner popsicle ice cube shit.
DAY 2 (MONDAY)
BREAKFAST: Carrot Cake Oatmeal
Gross. I bought non-baby carrots for this?! I felt like Oliver Twist eating this mess.
LUNCH: Half of the Kale, Sweet Potato, and Onion Frittata (leftover from Sunday’s breakfast) with 1 apple
The problem with the whipped egg whites is that they have the consistency of a kitchen sponge. Otherwise good.
DINNER: Roast Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Barley
Barley took 3x longer to cook than anticipated. Fuck you, barley. Ate all the chicken while waiting for that bitch to cook.
DAY 3 (TUESDAY)
BREAKFAST: Tart Cherry Overnight Oats
Doubled all the flavoring and crunchy stuff. My favorite recipe so far! Seriously, this is delicious.
LUNCH: One half of the Ground Turkey-Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe (leftover from Sunday’s dinner) with ½ English cucumber, cut in slices or matchsticks.
Didn’t bother with the cucumber. Who would? Also a better version of this recipe stuffs the squash with Italian sausage and apple, just saying.
SNACK: ½ recipe roasted chickpeas (leftover from Sunday’s dinner)
Fine, whatever. I didn't find time to eat this.
DINNER: Curried Kabocha and Kale Soup with Crumbled Tempeh
HOW HARD IS THIS GODDAMN SQUASH? WHO COULD CUT THIS WITHOUT AN AXE? So this is the recipe where you need an immersion blender or regular blender. I planned for this by borrowing an immersion blender from a family member who owns tons of cooking stuff but only ever eats popcorn for dinner. This was a great plan, except when I pulled the blender out once the soup was ready to be blended, you know what wasn’t in the box? THE FUCKING MOTOR. So I just cooked everything another 10 minutes until it was REALLY soft, and then squished all the big pieces with the back of my ladle. TAKE THAT, culinary industrial complex. Also, this soup was really good.
DAY 4 (WEDNESDAY)
BREAKFAST: Pomegranate Pistachio Greek Yogurt Parfait
No part of this sounded good. I ate instant oatmeal with banana instead.
LUNCH: Cucumber, Tofu, and Barley Rice Bowl with Blood Orange Dressing
I mean…fine? Basically a homemade Lean Cuisine.
DINNER: Cauliflower “Rice” Bowl with Hard Boiled Egg, Tomato, Scallions, and Goat Cheese
This was good! And it turns out cauliflower "rice" is easier to cook than regular rice, which I always fuck up. Win!
DAY 5 (THURSDAY)
BREAKFAST: Blood Orange Creamsicle Smoothie
Fuck you, drinking my breakfast; what is this, a Slim Fast commercial? I would eat someone’s face off by 11am. Instant oatmeal.
LUNCH: ⅓ recipe Kabocha and Kale Soup (leftover from Tuesday’s dinner) with 4 ounces roasted chicken breast (leftover from Monday’s dinner)
Didn’t have leftover chicken from Monday, due to barley situation. Instead, I added extra goat cheese and it was yummy. As an aside, it was around this point that I realized that between the intense amount of fiber and the size of the portions, this diet creates way more food than I am (physically and digestively) comfortable eating. If you are going to try this plan, keep that in mind, maaaaybe cut the protein amounts down a bit, drink a TON of water, and FOR SURE buy some Miralax.
|*Not the author|
I knew I wasn’t going to make this; I had to work late, and the meeting host provided sandwiches. Also, I don’t like fresh salmon I KNOW IT’S WRONG. But it’s both sweet and oily…yeugh. So I bought smoked salmon to use in Friday’s salad and BONUS, there’s enough for bagels and lox once this nonsense is over. Should not have bought broccoli (see above, currently liquefying in fridge).
DAY 6 (FRIDAY)
BREAKFAST: Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Mug Cake
Stephanie said this was meh. I made Tuesday’s overnight oats again.
LUNCH: Marinated Fennel Salad with Spinach, Dried Tart Cherries, and Salmon
Pro tip: don’t eat this in the middle of a meeting. There’s…a smell. Of fish and licorice. Licorice fish.
DINNER: Seared Flank Steak with Steamed Asparagus and Turnip Sweet Potato Mash
Instead of doing this, I went over to Stephanie’s and played card games/got drunk/ate a burrito. WORTH IT.
DAY 7 (SATURDAY)
BREAKFAST: Eggs Baked in Kale and Turnip Sweet Potato Mash
Due to games/alcohol/burritos the night before, I did not have leftover turnip-sweet potato mash for breakfast. I DID have a hangover. Made eggs on mayonnaise toast. Come at me, bitches. (See Day 7+1 [Sunday] for recipe review.)
LUNCH: Flank Steak and Asparagus Cauliflower Rice Bowl
Was not prepared/still hung-over. "Made" tomato soup from a can. (See Day 7+1 [Sunday] for recipe review.)
DINNER: Parsnip “Noodles” with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, Tempeh, and Goat Cheese
Actually made steak and root vegetable mash stuff from Friday. The mash was fine. I think I was sold horse meat instead of flank steak: inedible. Overall, not worth the effort, as are most things made with turnips. (See Day 7+2 [Monday] for recipe review.)
|Also, yes, that is my carpet. I eat on the floor in front of my Netflix. I've read a lot of think pieces about what actually constitutes a member of the Millennial generation, but I'm pretty sure this is the answer. You're welcome, The Atlantic.|
See Day 7+2 (Monday) for recipe review.
DAY 7 +1 (SUNDAY)
BREAKFAST: Eggs Baked in Kale and Turnip/Sweet Potato Mash
Honest to God, who can manage to cook eggs in the oven? I couldn’t get them set enough, and so I eventually had to close my eyes and stir everything together really quickly to not see the squicky undercooked egg whites. Would not make again.
LUNCH: Flank Steak and Asparagus Cauliflower Rice Bowl
I didn’t add the inedible flank steak. Otherwise, this was fine. I was watching Hackers while I ate this. Boom. #MatthewLillardForLife.
DINNER: I invited myself over to the home of my relative who only eats popcorn for dinner. Ipso facto…
Also we watched The Martian. THAT’s who I need to be my boyfriend…GET ON THAT, WORLD.
DAY 7 +2 (Monday; Martin Luther King Day! I did not volunteer anywhere)
BREAKFAST: Pillsbury cinnamon buns in the pop and bake container. YUP
As always, did not taste as good as they smelled.
LUNCH: a chocolate croissant and coffee. YUP.
Off the wagon.
SNACK: two pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (homemade! That...counts?) and the “Autumn Hum” at the bar by my house where I’m writing this (a can of hard cider mixed with a shot of Fireball whiskey; when I call it an Autumn Hum they pretend they don’t know what I’m talking about BUT THEY DO.)
It’s possible that I’m currently a little drunk.
JOIN US NEXT TIME FOR THE EXCITING CONCLUSION! Will Katharine close her tab and go home to make parsnip "noodles"?!?! Will she remember to write about that experience, especially considering that there is an open bottle of port on the kitchen counter?! Why the fuck would anyone make parsnip noodles when regular noodles are a thing that exists? Next time on…Buzzfeed 7 Day Clean Eating Challenge 2016 Recap Or Whatever!