I’m back! And it’s that time again, time to hit reset and revisit the Whole30!
It’s been a while, I know.
After finals week last month I needed a break from this laptop. It was hell. Who writes three research paper in four days?! (Evidently I do)
I didn’t want to see this keyboard for some time. Mission accomplished.
Okay back to the Whole30. This is my third round of Whole30. To be honest, my regular day to day diet is not much different than how you would eat while on a Whole30 round.
On occasion I do indulge in paleo treats and decadent French food (which means the occasional use of flour). J’aime la cuisine française!
I decided to do another round of Whole30 because I recently came off of nine months of antibiotics.
Why nine months of antibiotics? Well, I can thank Indonesia for that!
That’s right, you know that paradise everyone always talks about, Bali? Yup, I have Bali to thank. Last year, while traveling in Asia, in addition to Dengue fever (a gnarly cousin of Zika), I was exposed to tuberculosis. Although not life threatening (because it wasn’t active) I was advised to go on antibiotics to avoid future complications, that and I work with kids.
During the last nine months I wasn’t allowed to drink alcohol, which I can say wasn’t as hard as many think (who needs empty calories?). Well, the nine months have come and gone and now I’m thinking it might be a good idea to give my gut a restful month.
Enter July’s Whole30.
Okay so I’m a little late, it’s day 7. But hey, better late than never!
I thought I’d share how I prepare for a Whole30 and things that have helped me on each round.
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
I can’t stress enough how important preparation is here. I’m not talking just meal prep (but we’ll get there in a second), I’m talking grocery lists, menu planning, and just being a few steps ahead of yourself.
Costco is your friend.
The first place I head to when starting a Whole30 is Costco, if you don’t have a membership, you should seriously consider it (especially if you’re trying to save money). Although I normally try to buy my veggies at farmer’s markets, Costco can’t be beat if you’re feeding more than one person in your household (sorry not sorry). From La Croix to Aidelle’s chicken sausage, to enormous bags of broccoli…. it’s a Whole30’ers paradise.
This past week my cart was loaded with;
- Organic eggs
- Grass fed ground beef
- Organic chicken breasts
- Wild Planet tuna
- La Croix
- Aidelle’s chicken sausage
- Organic super greens salad mix
- Brussels sprouts
- Wholly Guacamole
- Almond Butter (Kirkland brand)
- Gt’s kombucha
- Unsweetened almond milk (Kirkland brand)
- Lucky Jack’s cold brew
Pretty basic stuff that goes a long way.
Menu/meal planning, or not.
The key here is knowing yourself.
For example, I know myself very well. I know that there are days when I’m lazy AF and just want to lounge come the evening. For that reason, I veggie prep.
I pick about four vegetables and roast the heck out of them (because personally I love a good charred Brussels sprout). For me, the usual suspects are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and either asparagus or carrots.
Now, I’m not going to lie, it does take time. I set aside a good two to three hours to dedicate to veggie prep (this is also because I live in an apartment and my oven is not very big so I can only roast two trays at a time). It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just heat your oven up to 425ºf, throw your veggies in a bowl of your choice of fat (I go between evoo, avocado oil, or ghee) salt and pepper and roast 25 minutes or until your desired roast (in my world the crispier the better). Once they’re done, let them cool, I mean REALLY cool because if you try to refrigerate them warm, you’ll end up with soggy veggies.
Preparing your veggies ahead of times makes meal time a breeze, especially if you’re not into meal planning. On a whim you can fry up an egg and quickly reheat some veggies on a skillet (I don’t own a microwave) and boom, a meal. Or use grill some chicken, steak or salmon, reheat veggies, done! Salad? No problem, toss veggies over greens, add protein of your choice, dressing…. done!
Okay you get it.
2. Find a Whole30 Community.
This here has been a major contributor to my success on the Whole30 both in the past and now.
If you don’t have Instagram, you may want to consider it (if you’re against it, just consider it for this purpose only). Immediately follow the official Whole30 account. You’ll find a huge community of fellow Whole30 followers and contributors. Every week the official account has recipe developers/bloggers take over their account to feed you with inspiration, tips and hacks. That’s how I’ve found some of my favorite bloggers. Take Dolly from Dolly’s Whole Life, I came across her when she took over the Whole30 account. The girl is hilarious, and has many Whole30 compliant recipes. If you haven’t checked out her blog or insta account, you should do yourself a favor and check it out now… I’ll wait.
And while you’re there…
Also look up #Whole30, you’ll come across regular people like you and me, follow them, engage with them. They are some of the best inspiration when you’re questioning yourself or feeling stuck with your meals.
I myself have found such a supportive, encouraging and inspirational community there. To this day, I look forward to their posts and hearing their inspiring stories about their health journey.
3. If you have to eat out, browse the menu ahead of time.
Eventually the day may come when you need to leave your well planned/Whole30 compliant kitchen (this is dreaded by us introverts). Before you say yes to a restaurant, quickly pull out your phone, tablet or laptop and look up the menu. Make sure there is something you can eat there.
If you’re not in charge of choosing the restaurant, casually suggest restaurants you know will accommodate your needs. More often than not, your best bet is going to be Mexican or American food. You can always fallback on good ol’ fajitas or burger (sans bun) with steamed/roasted veggies or baked sweet potatoes (my personal favorite request).
Personally, I avoid eating out for 30 days, not only because I’m an introvert and prefer quiet days and nights at home, but because it’s amazing how great you feel when you make your own meals. But hey, I get that some of you out there may actually enjoy leaving your home, or may like having the night off from the kitchen.
4. Go easy on yourself.
If this is your first Whole30, take a look at this Whole30 timeline, it’s an estimate of what you can expect. Once you’ve read that, understand that it’s okay if you’re grumpy, or craving all things, things you may never have even craved before. It’s perfectly normal. Don’t let that internal dialogue convince you this isn’t for you.
Also, if you find that you’re comparing yourself to others on social media, put the phone down. That’s not what it was meant to be used for, however, it does happen. Unfollow anyone who doesn’t contribute goodness to your life.
Just because one person may be posting pictures of themselves running a 5k everyday while cooking up the most elaborate Whole30 meals does not mean that your journey must be the same. We are all individuals on different journeys, enjoy yours just as it is and as it comes.
Personally, I’m far from being that girl who wakes up and creates some crazy concoction using matcha and all kinds of magical herbs (to be honest, I don’t even like matcha… gasp I know). I’m gonna be real, I wake up, drink water and make my coffee with collagen (the only magic powder I need) and sometimes I workout and sometimes I sit and watch Friends re-runs for an hour. I allow myself to live my best life based on what feels right for me. I encourage you to do the same.
Be kind to yourself.
You can do this. It’s only 30 days.
One last thing…
Think of it as a lifestyle, the more you look at it as a lifestyle the easier it gets. One of the reasons I’ve found myself breezing through this round so far, is the fact that the Whole30 has created a foundation for my food choices. Like I said before, I do occasionally indulge in grain-free chips and honey sweetened paleo treats, but ultimately, thanks to the Whole30, I know what a diet of REAL food does for me…. I’m hooked on that tiger blood.
**For more on the Whole30 program check out my past post that includes a Trader Joe’s Whole30 visual guide including links to Whole30 resources.