Thursday, May 28

Post Whole 30: A Whole New World

The biggest piece of advice for you post Whole30ers: don't plan a trip to Paris 2 days after you come off your Whole 30. It will not end well. 

So going into the Whole30 I knew that I'd be going to Paris at the end. I partially did the Whole30 to feel better going into this vacation, which I did. I lost inches, a few pounds, and was on the cusp of another smaller pant size. My post two days after the Whole30 were okay, I added some dairy (hard cheese) back into my diet, some sugar (honey) and wine (because commmme onnn). Not too bad. I packed my carry-on bag full of Whole30-approved snacks to combat the airplane munchies that accompany a 6-hour flight. When I got to the airport I realized I should probably eat dinner before getting on the plane and having the questionable food selections so I stopped and got a baked potato with butter and bacon and a grilled chicken breast. Again, not too bad.

On the plane I had a plethora of snacks including sweet potato chips, Larabars, grapes, raisin and sunflower seed trail mix and some already pre-peeled clementines. I only drank water (ginger-ale used to be my go-to airplane drink) and ate my little snacks and plugged my headphones in to watch "An American in Paris" (fitting I know). Dinner hour rolled along and the attendants brought our options: a choice of pasta or chicken. I chose the chicken and ended up just eating the 4 pieces of green leaves and the hunk of carrot and tomato salad. Mom was tempted to eat the chunk of bread that was there but we both knew it wasn't even worth it and left everything else on the plate. We spent the next 5 1/2 hours watching movies, reading and taking a quick nap before it was already morning in Paris and we were making our descent into the City of Lights. Naturally that meant another food run from the flight attendants- we were shocked that it wasn't a muffie and instead was a greek yogurt and granola. So we had that. Again, not bad.

Up until this point, I was like "oh man, we can totally do this Whole30 thing abroad. We've got this".

And then I got off the plane.

The biggest piece of advice for you post Whole30ers: don't plan a trip to Paris 2 days after you come off your Whole 30. It will not end well. 

Okay but honestly, I knew I was going to Paris and I knew I wanted to enjoy every last bite and I wasn't going to feel guilty about it. We had the most amazing trip and really it was one of my dream trips to take and we ate so many wonderful things that were so NOT Whole30 approved and I was completely fine with it. Croissants, baugette, fresh cheese, pastries, odious amounts of champagne and wine; you know the 'not-approved' list my friends- well basically I solely ate from that list. It was worth it. I would've a) starved to death because Parisians live off bread, wine and cheese and b) been so disappointed and sad if I would've avoided all the quintessential Parisian treats. 

A quick look at our lovely (#NOTWhole30) eating in Paris:

One of the funny things I always find while I'm in Europe is that I'm totally fine eating gluten. So far I've been able to eat gluten in United Kingdom, France, Spain and Portugal and have been completely fine. France was no exception (and considering the amount of gluten I ate...I was shocked). But the funny thing is- as soon as I got back to the States and ate something in the airport (secretly praying that I'll be cured of this stupid disease) I got sick again. Darnit. Back to a gluten-free lifestyle.

The hardest thing for me was coming BACK from Paris and getting back into a groove again. I was good for a week and then fell off the wagon again by letting dairy and sugar creep back into my life. So on the wagon I go again. I'm not sure what my #PostWhole30 life is going to look like, but I'm trying to figure that out. One meal prep at a time, one week at a time because after all it really is like a WHOLE new world.

Sunday, May 24

Jour 9 à Paris: A Parisian Birthday

Your birthday only comes around once a year, so you might as well enjoy it. Well this year I can whole heartedly say that I enjoyed every moment of my birthday. Waking up in Paris is a wonderful feeling. Waking up in Paris on your golden birthday is a whole other wonderful feeling. It was another bright and beautiful morning but being a Sunday it was quiet. Kids weren’t running around outside playing and people weren’t rushing off to work; it was slower, quieter and quaint. 

The cafés open later on Sunday so we ate a quick bite in our apartment before heading out to my birthday treat: a French baking class! La Cuisine Paris, a French baking school, offers cooking and baking classes in a multiple of different ‘themes’. We chose to do a morning baking class where you learn to bake some of the most iconic breakfast pastries: croissants, pain au chocolat, pinwheels with jam, cinnamon twists, and raisin bread. 

Emilie was our instructor and led the small group of us in making the perfect pastry dough to make fluffy French pastries. What I found out: it’s all in using rich high-fat content butter and fresh unprocessed flour. We sifted, rolled, folded and patted the dough until it was perfect. We set that dough aside and she brought out pre-made dough as it has to sit for hours before use. Then she started instructing us on the fun techniques to make all the different pastries.
In the end we had wonderful, warm, rich and gooey pastries that we got to enjoy with our tea and coffee plus we got to take the extras home!

 The class was lots of fun, Emilie was a wonderful instructor and I have to say I was highly impressed by our baking skills in the end. I wish that I could eat like that every morning and a) not get sick and b) not gain 50 pounds in a year! Wouldn’t that be a great birthday wish?!

After packing up our extra goodies we left the school and spent the afternoon in Paris! Sunday is definitely a quiet day and some of the shops are closed but I found it enjoyable and fun to just walk around the city (and buy myself a few birthday gifts too). 

Mom asked what else I wanted to do on my birthday and I honestly just loved the Jardin Tulleries so much, I just wanted to go back there and enjoy one more bottle of rosé before having to leave tomorrow. Sunday at any park in Paris is amazing because it is the epitome of rest and relaxation. There was live music, tons of families having time together, people reading, couples laughing and talking…it was just so different than what my typical Sunday looks like back in the States that it was so relaxing and wonderful- plus the rosé was amazing as usual!

Following our afternoon shopping and sitting in the park we returned to our apartment to get organized and pack up our belongings. After getting things together we packed our picnic bags, grabbed a few blankets from the couch, a wine opened and our coats and headed out towards the Eiffel Tower. I wanted to have a picnic under the Eiffel Tower and watch the lights come up and sparkle and that is exactly what we did. Kelly bought a bottle of champagne this week to toast my birthday and we enjoyed our picnic on the grass.

 As it got later and darker it was just a matter of time before the Eiffel Tower came to life and sparkled for the first time tonight and not too long after sunset, she came to life and sparkled. It was an amazing sight and it was the most perfect way to end the most perfect trip of the most perfect birthday a girl could ask for.

All I wanted for my birthday this year was to sit under the Eiffel Tower with a macaroon and a glass of champagne, and my wish came true tonight. This has been the most wonderful week ever. It makes me incredibly sad that tomorrow morning we will have to pack up and leave this wonderful apartment and this beautiful city but as Dr. Seuss once said, don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. So I reflect on this trip with smiles and memories that will laugh me a lifetime, especially because I got to take them with family. I’ve loved every moment and will dream of Paris from now until the day we get to meet again.

Saturday, May 23

Jour 8 à Paris: An Afternoon in Paris

After a few days of having to hit the road early and be traveling outside of Paris, today we decided we just wanted to stay in Paris and bum around and do a few things we haven’t had an opportunity yet to do. So today we woke up at a more leisurely time, got ready and walked to Café de Flor for a wonderful breakfast. I love how the French eat straight bread and carbs for breakfast yet they don’t really seem to mind. Secondly- I’m allergic to gluten but the bread here in France has been so wonderful and fresh and pure that I have actually been doing wonderful: praise the Lord!

Our breakfast at Café de Flor was the best breakfast we’ve had, hands down. Mom and Kelly ordered café crémes and I ordered a chocolat chaud,  all of which were rich and delicious. Then we had to get the fresh squeezed orange juice and it was just that- freshly squeezed. Yum! To ‘start’ our breakfast we all split pain au chocolat et croissants which were light, fluffy and perfect. Then for the main meal we felt like we needed some substance besides straight carbs so we split two pieces of quiche; my mom makes wonderful quiche but this was by far the best quiche I’ve ever had in my life (sorry mom!). Another reason that breakfast was just perfect was the pure ambiance of the place. It’s obviously an iconic café but we were able to snag an outdoor bistro table and watch people go by on the streets. Although I could’ve gladly sat there and gorged myself on croissants and hot chocolate all day, we wanted to move on and get some real shopping time.

Shockingly enough we’ve been so busy sightseeing and eating that we haven’t spent any time shopping; and coming to Paris, the fashion capitol of the world, and not shopping surely must be a crime. We spent the afternoon walking and shopping. We went to this large market called Le Grand Marche and picked up some food for our picnic tomorrow night (we decided that on our final night in Paris which also happens to be my birthday, we would have a picnic under the Eiffel Tower). We bought meats, chesses (not super stinky ones this time because last time we bought super smelly cheese and my whole bag smelled horrendous), biscuits and some fruit before going to a smaller Ladurée to get a small box of macaroons for my birthday!

The rest of the afternoon we just stopped into whatever shops we wanted on our way to le Jardin Luxemburg since we hadn’t been to that garden yet. It was another wonderful park with lots of outdoor cafés, people sitting on park benches and chairs and families out for the sunny afternoon. We spent some time here sipping on a few glasses of rosé and enjoying the scenery before realizing that we had forgotten to buy baguette for our picnic tomorrow! At this point it was late in the day and all the boulangeries were closing! Talk about the horror. A Parisian picnic without baguette- there is no such thing! Luckily my fluency in French food came in handy and a shop keeper was able to point out a bakery that was still open and wouldn’t you know it, the bakery had just made their last batch of bread for the day! (We purchased two baugettes for safe measure…and the disaster was avoided).

We took a long way home and ran into a street market which was super cool, full of foods, herbs, spices, soaps and handmade gifts. I think that is some of the fun of traveling- having unplanned, random and spontaneous adventures that allow you to see a whole different part of a culture that otherwise you would never see.

I can’t believe it’s been over a week since we arrived. I don’t think I’ll ever have enough time here. I don’t want to be sad that it’s over, because we still have one more wonderful day ahead of us to enjoy the magic and beauty of Paris.