The idea that I can’t do something usually immediately results in my desire to do that thing. I’m not sure why I wasn’t a more rebellious child/teenager. I looked at the Whole30 and assumed it would be too hard, too restrictive, too lonely. If you’re not familiar with the program it’s based eating three healthy meals, limiting snacks, and eliminating soy, sugar, grains, dairy, and alcohol. I read everything they offer on their website Whole30.com, including the very helpful “But can I have…” FAQ page. I decided what I agreed with and what I wanted to amend (yes to the occasional glass of wine and fresh corn, no to strictly keeping to three meals) and declared the pizza I was eating while reading to be my last for THIRTY WHOLE DAYS.
I’m not going to lie, it’s not really fun or easy. I got the “carb flu” – look it up it’s a real thing. I had to BYO snacks and drink to the movies (the new Xmen was SUPER good) and my coffee has coconut milk or nothing in it. My delicious ice cream is just chilling in the freezer and cinnamon toast crunch boxes sit unopened in the pantry. BUT I am glad that I’m doing it. It’s only been a week but I can see positive changes in my body and sleep. (You’re not supposed to weigh yourself but I needed the extra motivation.) It’s not a diet – it’s a challenge that will hopefully create healthy habits. Here’s a few tips and tricks I’ve learned so far:
1. Get a buddy. Either have your spouse commit to eating compliantly when with you or convince a friend that they should do it with you. I’m the primary when it comes to making dinner (he’s the primary for dishes 😉) so that part wasn’t hard. He can eat whatever he wants at work, but when we’re together he’s eating what I eat. Notable exception was the movies, but he made sure I was happy with what I had to eat too! I also have a good friend who just started and my sister starts in June. This also helps you to discuss the program in a constructive manner instead of complaining all. The. Time. Which you will probably do anyways because you want carbs and sugar and milk in your coffee.
2. Follow Whole30 and Whole30Recipes and other healthy food bloggers/bakers/cooks on Instagram. The added motivation and inspiration is so helpful. So many of them post the recipes right there and you’ll quickly find yourself saying “I have all those ingredients!” Also get a Pinterest board up and running. Here’s mine!
3. Prep your kitchen. DON’T throw non-compliant food away. Give it away, put it in a box, do whatever, just don’t throw it away. I HATE how many paleo/Whole30/healthy eating blogs said STEP ONE GET OUT THE GARBAGE CAN. What I mean is stock your fridge with fresh fruits and veggies, tons of avocados, interesting proteins, coconut milk, and almond butter. LARABARS ARE ON SALE AT TARGET RIGHT NOW
4. Figure out how to handle social situations with food. Check menus before making plans, call and ask what the ingredients are, suggest Whole30 friendly restaurants. Be prepared to eat a lot of eggs and salads and to take the buns and cheese off everything. I brought a can of seltzer and apple and plantain chips with me to the movies. Technically that’s compliant, but not in the true spirit of Whole30. But I’m a spirited person so it’s fine.
5. When cooking and prepping double recipes/amounts so you’ll have extra food and ingredients for tomorrow’s lunch or to be frozen and used later. This makes everything easier and you’re less likely to give up because you don’t have time to pack a lunch or cook dinner. Whenever I adopted an “eff this, it’s too hard” attitude, I was a mean combination of hungry, tired, and lazy. Making a PBJ is easier than making a whole compliant meal, but more difficult than just heating up leftovers. MAKE IT EASY.
And here’s some photos of what I’ve been eating: