Time for another personal post, and this one is all about one of my favorite food things - The Whole30! I just completed my second Whole30, and I’m sharing it ALL from my favorite Whole30 products and recipes to my top tips for Whole30 success!
Don’t know what Whole30 is? Here’s a quick summary:
“The Whole30® is designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”
On Whole30, you cut out things such as dairy, grains, legumes, desserts, junk food, and all kinds of additives from your diet for 30 days. Then, in the following days, you slowly add these foods back to your diet and look for any differences.
So, what was the Whole30 like for me? I’ll tell ya!
I love, love, love Whole30, BUT sometimes I hate it too. That’s possible, right?! On one hand, I love the results and how I FEEL on it. On the other hand, I was often frustrated in social situations where I wasn’t enjoying my favorite treats like wine or ice-cream. The 30 days can feel like you’re on a literal rollercoaster. But, in the end, it’s a good, well worth it ride. In those moments of frustration when everyone was eating chips and queso besides me, I reminded myself that this is just for 30 days and I don’t need tortilla chips to enjoy an evening out with my friends. This mindset opened me up to having better, more engaged conversations because I wasn’t focused on food. Overall, sticking to Whole30 at home was fairly easy, but eating out always felt like a challenge! But, I seriously LOVED the way I feel when I eat in the paleo/Whole30 style. I had more energy, better workouts, and was overall more productive.
My Top Tips for Whole30 Success:
Buy the book Whole30 Day by Day.
This new journal/book by Melissa Hartwig is a game-changer for any Whole30-er. I cannot stress enough how helpful this book has been for my second Whole30 go-around. Every day you have a short morning read offering helpful tips, motivation, and an overview of what to expect that day. At night, you journal about what went well that day, what didn’t go great, and all sorts of other great prompts. This book made me say daily “YOU GET ME!” as I was often experiencing the exact emotions, cravings, and symptoms the book tells you to expect.If you’re doing Whole30 without this book then you’re really missing out!
Don’t do it alone.
Whole30 is the most fun (and productive) when done alongside friends or family. This year, my mother-in-law and I did the Whole30 together, and it’s been so much fun! We kept in touch daily via text message and held each other accountable. She also visited halfway through the program so we could meet Melissa Hartwig at the Whole30 book signing event in Nashville! If you don’t know anyone who's doing a Whole30, there are many Facebook groups for Whole30 that would be great for offering support! But, no matter what you need someone who’s there for support.
Meal Prep and Plan.
I don’t think it’s possible to maintain Whole30 eating longer than a week without some serious planning and prepping. Before grocery shopping each week I picked out the exact meals I was going to cook and purchased exactly those ingredients. I always made enough of each item for my husband and me to eat it multiple times, which cut down on the cooking I had to do. Because of this strategy, lunches were usually leftover dinners that could be quickly heated up and enjoyed. This was perfect for eating a fast lunch on busy workdays!
Get the off-program food out of the house if possible.
My very first Whole30 attempt failed miserably for this very reason. The food I was trying to avoid was staring me in the face EVERY TIME I opened the pantry. This round, I moved the off-Whole30 foods out of our pantry and into a box on the top shelf of our hall closet. Although my husband, who wasn’t doing Whole30, often grabbed some Oreos or candy from the box, I was never tempted by it. Out of sight = out of mind.
Buy the book Food Freedom Forever.
Last summer I read this book somewhat randomly. It was my favorite personal development book I read last year because it was so life-changing. It’s especially helpful as you transition away from the structure of Whole30 to a “food freedom” lifestyle. I suggest this book to anyone and everyone that wants to improve their relationship with food and form new healthy habits. You can read more of my thoughts on this dynamite book, here!
Eat the foods you love.
Whole30 is just like any other dietary change. If you don’t like it, you can’t stick with it. Do what’s right for you. The beauty of Whole30 (and why it’s so effective) is that you’ll see results no matter which recipes you choose to eat. Pinterest is an amazing resource to find Whole30 recipes that are perfectly made for your taste buds!'
Don’t be hard on yourself.
Whole30 is a super strict and structured system. But, in its strictness, you can still have grace for yourself. We often carry SO MUCH guilt when it comes to our diets. Eating is an emotional part of life. Whatever happens during your Whole30, there is NO reason for guilt. Whether your Whole30 lasts 3 days or 30 days you will have learned something! And, the good news is you can always start again.
My Must-Have Whole30 Food Items:
I’m a creamer kinda girl, 100000%. I even sell a coffee mug in my Etsy shop about how great creamer is, haha. But, this stuff stopped me in my tracks and showed me that I can really love coffee without all the sugary artificial flavors. Coffee Booster is made up of just 3 organic ingredients coconut oil, grass-fed ghee, and raw cacao powder. I use ½ a tablespoon in my morning coffee along with some coconut or almond milk for a flavorful, filling drink. This is a new MUST HAVE for my morning coffee - Whole30 or not, it’s fabulous!
The key to creating a delicious drink with Coffee Boosters is to froth your coffee. Do not miss this step! After added the Coffee Booster and almond milk, use an immersion blender or shaker bottle to blend! It will get foamy like a latte.
I discovered my love for plantains on Whole30, and I'm SO glad I did because this delicious food will be a part of my regular eating now! I really enjoyed sweet plantains pan fried with a little coconut oil and cinnamon, or green (non-sweet) plantains cooked into "chips" to be used with guacamole or as nachos!
Trader Joe’s Chicken Burgers
Like burgers? Then these are for you! Cook one up for a very quick dinner with some avocado, Whole30 mayonnaise or whatever your heart desires for a compliant burger option. These were a life-saver on Whole30 when I needed a super quick meal. They are sold frozen, so they are a great item to keep on hand.
La Croix's are really just my life must-have. Amen, am I right?! I’m not a soft drink consumer ever, but when I’m craving some wine or a cocktail, this definitely helps curb the cravings! Kroger also has their own off-brand version of La Croix that is much less expensive and still delicious if you want a more affordable option! Lemon is my favorite flavor!
If you reallyyyyy want to feel like you’re sipping on something bubbly, put some Kombucha in a champagne glass and enjoy after dinner! I tried not to have too much Kombucha on my Whole30. Although some brands are Whole30 compliant and there is zero added sugar, it can still activate that sweet tooth and increase cravings.
My Favorite Whole30 Recipes:
These are so delicious that my husband and I make them ALL the time, Whole30 or not! I’m a meal prep kinda girl, so I love recipes that I can make once and will actually taste good when reheated. These meals all make the cut!
I kinda thought I would hate this the first time I made it. Instead, I ended up eating this almost EVERY DAY of my Whole30 for breakfast! If you like sweet and savory, then this is for you! The plantain and apple add a nice bit of sweet, while the bacon makes it perfectly savory! Be sure to top it with a fried egg. I would make a batch at the beginning of each week, and just microwave it for a super quick morning meal.
This might be my all-time favorite Whole30 recipe. Be sure to drizzle it with some Tessemae ranch at the end!
First of all, if you’re not making homemade mayonnaise on your Whole30, you’re missing out! It’s totally easy to make and delicious. I recommend this mayo recipe. Secondly, I’m a huge chicken salad fan and this is my favorite chicken salad recipe I’ve ever made! Yep, EVER. My husband, Adam, loves it too. You can add nuts, celery, or whatever your heart desires to switch things up. This is perfect to make ahead for a quick lunch.
Potato-lovers unite! This one is a win for when you are really craving some rich, carb-y comfort foods! I added shredded chicken to the potatoes for some added protein.
This was my husband’s favorite recipe all month! The homemade cashew cream and roasted spaghetti squash make for a delicious meal! It’s unique and fun to make. This is the perfect Whole30 recipe to prepare if you’re hosting a dinner and want to make something impressive.
If you’re trying to save some money on your Whole30, then definitely opt for making your own ghee. This recipe walks you through how to make it on the stove top. It’s fast, easy, and will make you feel like a total pro in the kitchen.
If you're considering doing a Whole30, GO FOR IT. It really is a life-changing experience. If you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments!