• My Experience with The Whole 30: Prepared by Local Hoboken Chef {Abbey Bell}

    Written by:

    Social media is a beautiful thing, and if you follow HG on it {@HobokenGirlBlog}, you’ll know that I {Editor Jen} recently decided to take the Whole 30 Challenge. After a month {well, two months} of eating Christmas cookies, wine, and overall indulging…I needed a “detox.” But, not just a quick cleanse where I starve on green juice for 3 days and then go back to life as it was. So, I hired local chef Abbey Bell {of Abbey Bell Catering – whose Instagram is @theabbeybell} to prepare my meals for the month {no, this is NOT sponsored, I just love her food!}. I originally found Abbey who catered my blogger friend Style and Pepper’s delicious brunch last year, and then I hired her for my own birthday brunch because the food was thaaat good. In early January 2015, I found out on Abbey’s FB page that she was doing the Whole 30 challenge and preparing all of the meals for private clients — and knew I had to jump on it.

     

    Before I talk about my experience with that, I want to explain a few things that have come up from reader questions about the Whole 30.

     

    What is the Whole 30 Challenge?

    No sugar. No gluten. No bread. No alcohol. No dairy. The Whole 30 is basically a stricter version of a Paleo diet, focusing on organic, grass-fed or pasture raised meats, lots of veggies, some fruit, healthy fats, and nuts. It eliminates all grains, dairy, legumes, sugars, artificial additives and processed foods for 30 days. You can read all about it here. At the end of 30 days, the goal is to feel better and hopefully have picked up some healthy new eating habits you can take with you throughout the year. The thought is to eat only whole foods “like a caveman” — hence the paleo reference.

     

    The Meals:

    If you look on Pinterest and blogs, there are a TON of whole 30 recipes — it’s pretty exciting to see how many real food options there are in the sea of food blogs and recipes. BUT, if you’re not into cooking, don’t have time, or just need someone to spoon feed you some healthy meals {maybe not LITERALLY} while you get your 2015 life together — Abbey is your girl. When it comes to Abbey’s meals, the ones she makes are Whole 30/clean eating-approved, portioned breakfast, lunch, and dinner — made 3 days at a time and delivered to your door!

    abbey bell catering hoboken girl

    3 Yummy Days of Abbey’s meals, delivered — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks — all Whole 30 approved!

     

    Some of my favorites of Abbey’s meals were:

    – Breakfast Frittatas Large egg frittatas chock full of veggies, I was never hungry after one of these!

    Whole 30 Frittata abbey bell catering hoboken girl

    ‘Twas so good I already took a bite when I snapped the photo.

    – Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash — This is a medley of cubed sweet potatoes, peppers, and onions + a whole-30 approved sausage patty {all fresh/organic/natural}.

    Whole 30 abbey bell catering hoboken girl

    I added a twist and put some of it on a bed of spinach. Added Abbey’s homemade basalmic to glaze it.

    – Cauliflower Rice + Cilantro + Onion Chopped with Chicken and a Cashew Drizzle — Yes that would be cauliflower RICE {aka food processed cauliflower}. It’s uhhhhh-mazing.

    Whole 30 abbey bell catering hoboken girl

    Who would know that this amazingness is actually CAULIFLOWER? Yes, cauliflower made into rice with a food processor. RIdic.

    – Wild-Caught Dijon Salmon with Chopped Sauteed Zucchini This was heavenly! She knows how to bake her salmon! There was also a yummy salmon dish with cauliflower rice. Again, outta this world.

    Whole 30 abbey bell catering hoboken girl

    More cauli rice.

    – Egg Salad with Bacon Lettuce Wraps  — Unreal. Abbey makes her own dairy free mayo… and it tastes exactly like mayo in any egg or tuna salad! I wish I had a photo of these…but I ate them too quickly!

    Tuna Salad Collard Green Wraps —  These were so satisfying; I didn’t even miss the “bread” wrap – the greens were strong enough to be a perfect substitute.

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    Tuna wraps with some rainbow blend carrots on the side.

    Spiralized Carrots with Homemade/Paleo Bolognese —  I dream about this on the regular. 

    Abbey Bell Catering Hoboken Girl Paleo Whole 30

    YUM.

    As you can tell, the meals are hearty, delicious, and still made with all organic and fresh ingredients so you know that you’re getting quality stuff. I couldn’t make it better for myself ingredient-wise if I tried!

    Delivery:

    Hoboken Girl Abbey Bell Catering

    Delivery for the week — complete with fresh hard boiled eggs and avocado for snacking!

    Abbey delivers my meals twice a week. They’re made freshly, portioned into to-go tupperware, and delivered to my apartment. Usually I keep all of them in the fridge for the following days I’m going to eat them, but if I’m headed out to eat or have another to eat meal instead, I freeze the meal so I can keep it for later. It’s super easy to manage and store, and I just love eating all of her delicious creations!

     

    Results 2 Weeks in:

    Even though the goal isn’t weightloss, I’ve lost 3 pounds and kept it off — even on weekends! You’re technically not supposed to weigh yourself, but considering I put on several major pounds during the holidays, I really wanted to keep track {especially because I was going to blog about my progress!}. I feel like a big problem with dieting hardcore {which — don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a diet, more like a lifestyle} is that we worry about the number — it’s really more about how we fit in our clothes and the real food {not processed} that should be entering our bodies.

    Overall, my skin feels clearer, and after the initial sugar craving subsided, I find I have more energy and feel “happier.” Sometimes just knowing you’re nourishing your body in healthy ways makes you feel great about yourself, and it also has personally made me want to make better conscious choices of what I put in my body {which is the same feeling as after a juice cleanse — but I’m not starving as a result}. I’m excited to see what the next two weeks bring, and I could really see myself making this a lifestyle. They say that it takes 28 days to make a habit, and right now, 14+ days in, I could definitely see this becoming an excellent one. The cost of your health is priceless, cheesy as that sounds. Even if you can’t afford meal prepping with Abbey for the whole week, trying it for 3 days a week can make you realize the significance of how healthy eating can positively affect you. I’m only 2 weeks in and am already loving how I feel — I’m never hungry, and I love not spending money on takeout!

     

    About Abbey:

    Abbey Bell moved to Hoboken in 1997. She left the corporate world to either teach Pilates or cook. Pilates came first, but her love of cooking was never far behind…having learned to cook at her mom’s side. From there, she self-taught through cookbooks and her first love, Gourmet Magazine and was constantly experimenting in kitchen. Abbey launched her Hoboken catering business in January 2011 — which includes cocktail receptions, dinner parties, cooking lessons and most recently, this Whole 30/Paleo meal delivery. Her cooking is basically amazing if I do say so myself — and if you don’t take my word for it, just ask the Hoboken Chili Cookoff results — she’s a Hoboken Chili Champion, placing in the top 2 three years running, and won first place in 2013. A Jersey girl who believes in shopping and eating locally, Abbey’s words of wisdom ring true: “Know your farmer, know what goes in your body.”

     

    To get in touch with Abbey about meal prepping or events catering: email her at Abbey@abbeybell.com.

    Have you tried Abbey’s chili, catering, or meals? What did you think? 


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hoboken Girl. She started the site to discover and share the wealth of things happening in Hudson County. Her roots in the area extend to her maternal grandparents, who owned two textile factories in Weehawken and North Bergen. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event/volunteer project or editing her life away, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog + rescue pup, or watching the latest murder doc on Netflix with her husband.