I love Trader Joe’s! The nearest one is an hour away so when I go I stock up! A picture is worth 1,000 words, so I headed over to take some photos of some of the foods that I stock up on. Everything listed below is grain, legume, dairy, sugar & artificial additive free. That means no peanuts, no soy or soybeans, no gluten, and no sneaky sugars! Some folks ask, well if you are going to cut all of that out, what’s left? As you will see there is plenty!
Download the pdf version of my Trader Joe’s Shopping Guide Here
Trader Joe’s has so many delicious options in their produce department that are not typically available in my traditional grocery store. The variety of organic produce is always great, and if you need some time saving prepared veggies they are available! Here are a few examples. Certainly there are more options and they will vary from season to season and store to store. Yesterday I picked up some of the Kohlrabi Salad Blend (which is new), Peeled Garlic, ORGANIC Sweet Potatoes (I brought home TWO bags of those!), a bag of potato medley, and if you hate dicing vegetables for salads and recipes grab a container of the Healthy 8 Vegetable Mix. This list is certainly not exhaustive! I regularly pick up a bag of avocados from this department and local tomatoes, lemons, oranges, and seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Prepared Food: Meats & More
Of course prepared meats may cost a little more than if you cook everything yourself. However, I find that it is a great thing to have some of these on hand for meals in a hurry or when I just don’t want to cook something. One of my “new favorites” is the Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage. It is rare to find sausage that has no sugar. This sausage is already cooked. I like to remove the casing and crumble it into a skillet with egg and let it heat as the egg cooks. Fast and delicious breakfast! I’ve tried ALL of these, and have most of them in my refrigerator right now! That Sauerkraut is the best, and I enjoy it with the Applegate Organic Beef Hot Dogs.
I pick up Raw California Walnut Pieces, Pecan Pieces, Hazelnuts, Raw Almonds &/or Almond Slivers, Pinenuts, Whatever you need they have it. I generally purchase walnut and pecan pieces (rather than halves) because they are less expensive, and most likely I’m going to chop them, anyway. You’ll also find some packages of snack sized portions of nuts, such as raw almonds. Remember, on the first 30 Days of our challenge, no peanuts (they are actually a legume and not a nut, anyway).
You’ll find about the largest assortment of dried fruit at Trader Joe’s that you will find anywhere. I like to keep stocked up on dried cranberries, berry blend, and I just picked up the Dried Berry Medley for the first time to try. These dried fruits make a delightful addition to all salads, but also chicken salad in particular. If you want to make your own trail mix, you can do it with an assortment of dried fruit, coconut flakes and nuts from TJ’s. Remember when you are purchasing dried fruits to check the nutrition labels. Some dried fruits will have added sugars. Fruit juice is okay as a sweetener, but during your first 30 days on this plan, our goal is to eliminate ALL added sugars and sweeteners.
Here’s where I really stock up when I go to TJ’s, especially since it’s an hour away and generally I don’t go but once every 4-6 weeks. Not pictured here is TJ’s Marinara Sauce. There are only a few that do not have sugar in them. The last time I went, the only one I could find with no sugar was the Marinara Sauce sold in the green can. I’ve seen a couple of others with no sugar, but they weren’t available at either the store in Georgia nor the one in Virginia when I shopped recently. Always read the labels to be sure! I shop for coconut oil, ghee, olive oil & avocado oil at TJ’s. They have a variety of sugar & additive free salsas which I use in recipes rather than on chips. TJ’s Fire Roasted diced tomatoes and their tomato paste in a tube are items I keep in my pantry all the time. For my emergency food stash I picked up cashew cookie Larabars, single serving pouches of olives and some Sacha Inchi Seeds, a super-food I discovered when I was living in Peru. Organic Coconut Amino’s are a great gluten, soy and sugar free alternative to soy sauce. I also keep almond & coconut flour on hand.
I can find some of the best frozen meats & seafood in TJ’s frozen department. From organic chicken breasts, grass fed angus beef, fresh caught tuna & salmon to a variety of perfectly portioned burgers.
Frozen Fruits & Vegetables:
I always pick up an assortment of fruits & vegetables in the frozen section. They have the best variety of frozen organic fruits and vegetables I’ve seen anywhere, and at good prices. I didn’t picture everything here, for sure! In addition to what is below I always pick up a several bags of frozen organic chopped spinach, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and whatever else catches my eye. I can find mashed sweet potatoes all the time at the TJ’s in Georgia, but here in Virginia I am told it is seasonal. Also, I know they have frozen Hatch Valley Chilies at some stores, but not at the one where I shopped today.
Cut flowers are food for my soul and I love having them in my home. Flavored soda waters are great to have on hand, for something fresh and sparkly, and I generally pick up some Kombucha when I’m at TJ’s since it is about 30 cents a bottle less expensive here. Sun dried tomatoes are another item nice to have on hand for salads and recipes.
Coffee With Kay
Day 18: This was a day spent at the library so I could have better internet access for conference calls and other on-line work. I’m having some frustrations with my website and the current theme I’m running and it has prevented me from sharing my 90 Day Challenge resources quite yet. I had thought I would have it up by now—however, such is life, and I still plan to have it up in time to do a fall challenge. That means 90 Days to get in your best shape ever before the holidays … and then some follow up for strategies to use during the holidays!
Easy breakfast, my favorite sugar free sausage recipe combined with scrambled eggs on the side. Yep, I like mustard on my sausage, so that is what you see slathered on top. Still regretting not shopping for much fresh fruit this past weekend, I grabbed a pear from the refrigerator and that was my carbohydrate for this meal.
Where are the Macro Nutrients in this meal: Protein: Sausage Patty and Egg Whites; Fat: One whole egg yolk & sausage; Carbohydrate: Fresh Pear
Lunch was in a hurry between phone calls, and I grabbed one of those servings from my Yellow Squash Frittata, heated it in the microwave, and there was a complete lunch.
Where are the Macro Nutrients? Protein: Egg Whites, 4 in each serving; Fat: Egg Yolk (one per serving) and a little bit of ghee that was used to saute the vegetables; Carbohydrates: All those veggies! Yellow squash, onions and some diced potatoes (about 1/4 cup diced potatoes per serving, along with a gracious plenty squash & onion).
Technically, this meal wasn’t balanced and I didn’t have all the macro-nutrients at this meal. Clams are basically just protein, and I didn’t dip them in butter (which I could have to add fat). This is sort of a traditional meal around here, and a local brought me a dozen clams from the bushel he dug for over the weekend. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity for this delicious delicacy. So I steamed them on the grill on my back porch and had a bowl full, dipping each little clam in just a bit of Old Bay Seasoning, just like the locals showed me how to do!
Stay tuned … I hear the crab pots are out, and some of the crabs that are being hauled in are big beautiful ones. If I’m lucky, like I was last year, I just might get a few steamed crabs brought to me. After learning how to pick the meat from them, and learning what goes into clamming, crabbing & oystering, I have a new appreciation for those foods and the cost! It’s no wonder that REAL crab meat costs what it does. Getting the meat out of those little buggers is a challenge. (I think I need more practice. 😉 ) The meat is delicious!
Coffee with Kay
Day 17: I realized that I’m really missing my Sunday prep day this week. I don’t have as much foods prepared in advance and since I also missed shopping over the weekend, I didn’t plan as well as I normally do. Breakfast has been fairly easy, although I am missing having fresh fruit around the house. I’ll be sure to pick up another one of those delicious cantaloupes this weekend at the Farmer’s Market! However, it did encourage me to try a few new things. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, right? I am finding that I am trying a lot of new things and eating a larger diversity of nutritious foods. I’m sure that you will, too when you take on the 90 Day Challenge to put yourself, your health, and self-care your priority! I suggest you take the challenge to make this program a commitment, just as you would if you took on a part-time job for the next few weeks. I know most of you would show up every day and do what was required. Simple and easy steps, one meal and one day at a time!
Okay, I promised, and I will deliver some breakfast meal ideas that don’t include eggs. This one was easy and delicious. It kinda reminds me of fall, which is right around the corner. This is a 2 ounce sugar free sausage patty (click here for my sugar free sausage recipe.) and some sauteed diced apple & raisins with cinnamon. I saved half the apple recipe for later and ate half with my meal. If you need a little extra liquid, squeeze the juice from a slice of lemon or orange into the pan. After realizing how easy and delicious this is, I decided to head to the grocery store and pick up a few canned fruits packed in water. I found some unsweetened organic applesauce and pineapple tidbits. I discovered something, too! Along with all the fruits packed in syrup (with tons of added sugar), there are some packed in natural juices, and then some are now being packed with the added sweetener, Stevia. Hmmmm … I’m going to avoid those, too, and I suggest you do as well. It does seem that food manufacturers are paying attention to consumers who want healthier alternatives and products with less added sugars. When we “vote” by purchasing truly healthy food options with NO additives, then we will get more of those choices.
Again, meal prep day makes putting together a fast easy lunch a snap! I grabbed one of my little mason jars with chicken and mayo in it (already portioned out) and dumped it out on a bed of organic field greens with a chopped organic heirloom tomato. I was in a hurry and didn’t add anything else, but this was perfect!
Where are the macro-nutrients in this meal? Protein: Chicken Breast; Fat: Avocado Mayo from Primal Kitchen; Carbohydrate: Greens and Tomato, and I had 1/2 a Kombucha, too.
It never hurts to repeat meals, in fact you can have the SAME meal more than once during the day if you like. I like that concept. For example if I eat out and have a delicious meal, generally the portions are too large for just one sitting. I eat part of the meal at one sitting, and then finish the second portion at my next meal, or for breakfast the next morning! I had another piece of my Yellow Squash Frittata for dinner.
Some days I’m thinking … hmmm … is this getting boring? Others I’m noticing how good I feel and how satisfying each of these meals are! Generally by this time in a plan, many folks start getting into a food routine and start eating some of the same things over and over—like me and my eggs and sausage for breakfast. That’s Okay, so long as you are not getting bored and it’s working for you. However, I’m going to encourage diversity, and try to show you some different options and easy, simple recipes going forward. Foods are seasonal, and diversity will help keep you from getting bored.
Coffee With Kay
A great start to a great day! I began reading one of the books I picked up over the weekend: May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein. The book has come to my attention twice in the past week, so I figured that was a “clue”—and also a simple way to add something positive to my morning routine! I’m pretty sure that I met Gabrielle at an event I attended in Orlando, Florida back in 2009 when she was launching her first book—it was just about to come out at that time and she was radiating positive energy. She outlines 40 days of little positive shifts we can make to improve out lives. The assignment for today, Day 1, is to be aware of where “fear” comes up throughout our day. Fear holds us back. She suggests noticing fear and to be willing to replace fear with love. Later in the day I was on a call with someone who is helping me with my business strategies, and he challenged (and frustrated) me. He asked me to step back and look at things, suggesting I may be headed in the wrong direction and need a “bigger and more clear vision of what I want to create and what my website/s should do. For the rest of the day I pondered this, and noticed where fear was coming up and might be keeping me from my highest potential. Could it be I’ve been playing small for a long-long time and, really, I don’t have to, and it doesn’t serve anyone? Food for thought.
To start the day I tried out my new recipe for Sausage Patties along with a scrambled egg with two additional egg whites. I decided to use an apple I had on hand, diced it and added dried cranberries, the juice from 1/4 an orange and fried them in the skillet, adding cinnamon to taste. I had of the apple mix to save a second serving for tomorrow.
Where are the macros in this meal? Protein: Pork sausage & Egg Whites; Fat: Sausage & Egg Yolk; Carbohydrate: Apple, cranberries & orange juice.
Lunch came quick! I’m still missing my meal prep day and didn’t have a lot to choose from. I looked in my refrigerator to see what was quick and on hand in a hurry. I pulled out two Applegate Organic Hot Dogs, which I heated in a skillet of water. Then I added Sauerkraut, cooked green beans & potatoes, and the remainder of an heirloom tomato that I’d cut yesterday. The weather is gorgeous here, so I enjoyed it out on the porch.
Where are the macro nutrients in this meal? Protein: Hot Dogs; Fat: Hot Dogs; Carbohydrate: green beans, potatoes, tomato and sauerkraut.
I had some summer squash in the refrigerator that I wanted to use. I like to make squash casserole with them, but my usual recipe calls for some soda crackers (grains) and cheese—which are not on my plan right now. I decided I could use a variation of my frittata recipe and it would work. I used the ribbon cut on my spiralizer and diced half an onion. I then melted about 1 Tablespoonful of ghee in a skillet and added the squash, onion & about a cup of frozen diced potatoes I had left over from another recipe. I sauteed them all together until the onions were translucent and the liquid had cooked out of the squash. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl I beat 4 whole eggs and 12 egg whites together. When the squash mix was done, I added it to the eggs, mixing well and added some salt and pepper. I transferred the mix to a ceramic pie plate, sprinkled it with smoked paprika and cooked it in my toaster oven for about 40 minutes (until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean). This is a complete meal. I ate one portion for dinner and wrapped the remaining three in plastic wrap for later.
Where are the macros? Protein: Egg Whites; Fat: Egg Yolks & ghee; Carbohydrates: Squash, onions and potatoes.
Coffee with Kay
Day 15 & Two Week Check In: I’m beginning my third week on the 90 Day Challenge and I’m so happy to report I’m having good results—down 6 pounds, my rings are getting loose Considering my knee injury which prevented me from doing much exercise at all the first week, very limited exercise last week, and I’m still being very careful with it. In addition, going to Yogaville was a challenge. I was almost 100 percent compliant in avoiding grains, legumes, sweeteners, etc. … but not entirely. Anytime I travel, I consider it a “win” if I am just able to maintain. So far, I’m feeling better. My rings are fitting looser, and the scales are affirming that I’m down 6 pounds already. I’m happy and I’m feeling really good about taking care of myself and the way I’m eating now. Self care takes only a little bit more effort and the benefits are so worth it!
Since I wasn’t home most of the weekend, I didn’t have a prep day and my pantry and refrigerator are pretty bare of pre-prepared meals that I can just reach in and grab in a hurry. Today I’ll do some meal prep and take care of that.
I know my breakfast looks a little bland here, but it was filling, and I’m back to having my micro-nutrients at each meal. I had some boiled eggs still in the refrigerator and decided it was time to use some of them. Right now I’m wishing I’d gotten more cantaloupe because my only readily available carbohydrate, unless I wanted to cook something, was an apple and some raisins. That worked!
Where are the Macro Nutrients in this meal? Protein: Egg Whites; Fat: 2 Egg Yolks; Carbohydrate: Apple & Raisins
Okay, for you who say you don’t like cooking—this isn’t really cooking. It’s way too easy. I purchased a whole chicken at Saturday’s Farmer’s Market, and I popped it in the oven after coating it with Ghee, salt & pepper. I covered a cooking sheet with aluminum foil and spread sweet potatoes on it and put it in the oven along with the chicken. Meanwhile I went and took a shower, unpacked and got ready to head to the library. 70 minutes later, everything was done. All I had to do was take the chicken and potatoes out of the oven and let them cool. After the chicken cooled I removed the meat to use in several recipes, then dumped the carcass and drippings into a crockpot, adding every vegetable I could find in my kitchen: the rest of last weeks celery, some onion, garlic, okra that I’d brought back from Yogaville, diced potato, tomatoes and various spices to taste.
Lunch was easy—I grabbed one of the leg quarters from the chicken I’d roasted, some of the whipped sweet potatoes I’d cooked and added some broccoli.
Where are the macro nutrients in this meal? Protein: Chicken; Fat: There is fat in the dark meat of the chicken as well as the skin, which I left on; Carbohydrate: Sweet Potato & Broccoli
Dinner was field greens topped with one of those heirloom tomatoes I brought home from Yogaville, a crumbled buffalo burger, avocado and bacon bits (from the bacon I purchased from Barefoot Provisions – Sugar Free!).
Where are the macro nutrients in this meal? Protein: Buffalo Burger; Fat: The Buffalo Burger had lots of fat, also I made sure I drained and patted it with a paper towel, and the avocado has healthy fat, too—and the bacon (this meal was a little “fat” heavy; Carbohydrate: A big ol’ heirloom tomato & field greens.
So starts the beginning of Week #3—already! I do know that my progress may stall if I don’t start getting more consistent exercise, so that should be my goal for this week.
Day Trip to Yogaville in Buckingham, Virginia
Yogaville is only a three hour drive away, so I’ll have plenty of time to get there before check in at 4:00. I’m a little apprehensive about what I will do about staying on my 90 Day Program, so I’m glad it turned out that I’m only staying over night this time. Here’s what I ate on Day 13 of my 90 Day challenge …
I’ve done a good job this week of using what I have in my kitchen and not letting anything go to waste. I decided to have my last serving of the Veggie Frittata, smothered in Hatch Valley Green Chili Sauce for breakfast. I really wasn’t very hungry this morning, so I actually didn’t finish the last few bites. If you’d like a copy of the recipe, follow this link for my Veggie Frittata Recipe.
Okay, the Macro-Nutrients. Do you remember where they are in this meal? Protein: 4 Egg Whites per serving; Fats: Egg Yolk; Carbohydrate: Potatoes, veggies, salsa. Yum!!!
I made certain I had time before lunch before I hit the road to Yogaville. I used the last of my mason jar chicken salads, adding a fist full of grapes and some walnuts to make it complete. I know some salad greens would have been nice, but I just wanted the basics this time so I could get on the road!
Macro-Nutrients? Protein: Chicken; Fats: Primal Kitchen’s Avocado Mayonnaise & Walnuts; Carbohydrate: Grapes
I arrived at Yogaville in plenty of time to check in and get situated in time for a 4:00 Yoga Nidra (Deep Guided Relaxation). Dinner was shortly after, and I was very pleased to find out that I would not starve! 😉 Everything was very clearly labeled, including the salad dressings. I couldn’t eat the vegan “main course” but there was a salad buffet with every sort of imaginable vegetable and garnish! I made myself a heaping plate and found a salad dressing made with the right oils and no sweeteners. Everything was beautiful, especially the Yogaville Farm heirloom tomatoes!
Where are the Macro Nutrients in this meal? Protein … Hmmmm … no significant source of protein in this meal; Fat: Salad dressing; Carbohydrates: All those delicious vegetables!
After dinner they had Satsung, which included some Kirtan singing & chanting, some talking, and a play about Hanuman done by a children’s yoga group camp that comes to Yogaville every year.
Not too surprisingly, I was hungry again before my day ended. So for my fourth meal, I ate an RxBar that I’d discretely packed in my suitcase. (RxBars have egg white in them and eggs are not allowed in Yogaville.) I made sure no one saw me eat it and I didn’t even leave the wrapper in their trash, but packed it away to take home with me.