I’m officially finished! Well, except for the reintroduction phase. I’m not sure if I’m going to follow that fully, because I have done it before and know which foods cause inflammation for me. If you’re doing Whole 30 for the first time, I would DEFINITELY recommend following the reintroduction protocol in the book, It Starts with Food.
–Salsa potatoes with avocado
I didn’t feel well this morning (just congestion and sore throat), so I started with bone broth and had the potatoes later. As you can see, I’m still a bit sick of eggs. (:
–Spaghetti Pizza Bake
Leftovers. Easy meal when you’re feeling lazy. (:
-Porkchops with Dijon Brussels Sprouts and Bacon
-Rubbed in sea salt, pepper, garlic, dill, smoked paprika
-Seared on the stove on both sides for a few minutes
-Cooked in bone broth
Dijon Brussels Sprouts
You will need:
-15 Brussels sprouts
-2T Annie’s djion mustard
-1/2 red onion
-3 cloves garlic, smashed
-sea salt, pepper, smoked paprika
1. Cook Brussels sprouts, garlic, and diced red onion in olive oil on the stove for 10-15 minutes, until soft.
2. Then, add dijon, lime, and seasonings. Stir!
Food prep: dinner
Feeling/Morale: I feel like I just ran a marathon. I’m envisioning myself crossing the finish line. I did it! Whenever I finish, I just want to plan my next Whole 30 month. It’s a great accomplishment.
This is the third time doing a Whole 30 month, so I thought I’d share some advice with you in case you’ve never done one.
Whole 30 Advice:
1. Stock your kitchen with the proper appliances. It will make your life so much easier and allow you to take shortcuts while cooking. Here are the ones I recommend.
-Julienne Peeler/Spiralizer (to make “noodles” out of zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes)
-Food processor (to make sauces, dips, pesto, and to chop veggies)
-Cast iron wok
-Can opener (for coconut milk)
-Stock pot, regular pot
-Crockpot (this was hard to me to decide between Highly Recommend and Must Have. It’s convenient and quick, but I actually barely used mine during this Whole 30. If you work full time and have more time to prep at night, this would be a great idea)
-Blender (for juices, smoothies, almond milk)
-Nut milk bag (for straining juices/almond milk)
-Immersion blender (for homemade mayo, bisques)
-Muffin tins (for individual sized fritattas)
-Pressure cooker/canner (if you want to make meals faster or can items)
-Fruit infusion pitcher (has a chamber to add fruit combos)
2. Have your family/spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/friend join in.
It’s probably easiest if your entire household could do the Whole 30 together, but I know that’s often not possible or realistic. At the very least, try to convince a friend to endure the journey with you. If not, know that you can do it on your own. It’s 30 days that you’re investing in yourself and your health.
3. Hide non-compliant foods.
If you can box up the cookies and chips, or at least put them on a separate shelf in your closet, it will help you avoid those foods during the month. Personally, I just moved the honey, brown rice, etc. up to the top shelf in my cupboard. My fridge and freezer actually didn’t have any non-compliant items in them, since most of my food comes from farmers’ markets. If you live alone, this will be easier. If it’s not in the house, you won’t eat it!
4. Shop at Costco.
There are some items you’ll realize you’ll want to buy in bulk. For me, it’s raw almonds (to make almond milk!), organic/grassfed meats, chicken stock, spinach. You’ll probably find items, too, that make sense to buy in bulk during your Whole 30 journey.
5. Become a super meal planner.
I recommend making a Pinterest board for each of your four weeks of Whole 30. Spend some time browsing recipes and pinning ones you’d like to make. Check to make sure each board is balanced: do you have at least one breakfast recipe? Enough veggie side dishes? Are you repeating a lot of ingredients? Will it be enough food for the whole week? I tend to add 1-2 extra meals beyond what I think is enough, especially meals that I could make and freeze for the following week if I do have enough food.
When I first started Whole 30, I only pinned 4-5 recipes a week. That was not enough to live off of. Now, I pin 12-14. Some recipes will be JUST the meat, or JUST a veggie side. And keep in mind, some you may be able to eat for leftovers, especially if you’re cooking just for you. Obviously, adjust this according to how many people will be eating Whole 30 with you.
6. Make one shopping list and stick to it.
For cost purposes, I would make a shopping list with JUST the ingredients from that week’s Pinterest recipe list and stick to only that. You may find that you enjoy buying whatever you feel like eating at the store without recipes in mind, and that’s fine. Just once, try planning it out this way and see if that helps you keep on track. I found it actually saved me money, especially if I planned my meals around what I already had in the freezer and fridge. Some weeks, I only have to buy 10 items in order to make ALL my food for the week.
When I make this list, I make section headers: Produce, Protein, Herbs/Spices, Dry/Other. It helps me know which section of the store to tackle. Then, I’ll click on each recipe on Pinterest, add the items to the shopping list, and add a tally after each item if I needed more than one. It makes shopping quick and easy, and I only went to the store ONCE a week.
7. Designate at least one meal prep day.
It worked for me to shop on Saturdays (maybe make a meal or two Saturday night), then meal prep ALL day Sunday. Yes, it is exhausting, but you’ll be happy to have a stocked and prepped fridge for the work week.
8. Speaking of meal prepping, invest in glass Snapware/Pyrex containers (or something similar) and Mason jars. You’ll also want some Ziplocks in various sizes, foil, and plastic wrap.
You can find the glass Snapware sets at Costco for $20 some dollars. I bought two entire sets for two people to complete the Whole 30, PLUS two sets of Pyrex glass food storage containers. That’s a lot, but when I was prepping work meals for two people for the week, it sure came in handy. Also, you’ll want to freeze some leftovers or meals, so they do get used up.
Mason jars in different sizes are perfect for drinking water, homemade smoothies, or freezing bone broth (just be careful to leave lots of space, because they can crack).
Ziplocks are handy (though not as green) to have on hand for a variety of reasons. My favorite reason is for freezing/blanching veggies to use later.
In my freezer now, I have frozen chopped peppers, leeks, onions, tomatoes, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. I got all these items fresh from the market and looked up how to freeze them online (actually, tomatoes were the only ones I really had to blanch). Then, once they’re chopped, freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a Ziplock and they won’t clump together in the freezer.
9. Stock a big spice cabinet.
You can have most spices on Whole 30. Over the last few times I’ve done the program, I’ve accumulated maybe 30 different spices. Here are some that I use frequently:
-Celtic/Himalayan sea salt
-red pepper flakes
If you don’t have a lot of spices in the house, wait for a sale. Many times, they’ll be on sale buy two get one free. Also, Whole Foods has bulk spices and that’s a cheap option instead of buying the whole container.
10. Read the book It Starts with Food.
This is where Whole 30 began. You’ll learn the rules properly (there are some tricky ones, like no corn, no legumes (peas!) etc.). You’ll also learn WHY the rules are the way they are and what certain foods to do your body. There is a beginning recipe list in the back. I would NOT recommend starting Whole 30 without reading this book in its entirety.
11. Drink a LOT of water.
Your body will be detoxing. Flush out those bad toxins with lots of water, especially in the beginning week, but all throughout.
With the fruit infusion pitcher, you can make flavored water without “cheating.” Some of my favorites were strawberry mint, orange/lemon/lime, watermelon basil. Play around! You can do the same with mason jars, but the pitcher holds the fruit all in the same place so you don’t have to deal with the chunks.
12. Be open to new foods.
I never bought coconut milk, ghee, or coconut oil before Whole 30, but now they’re all staples in my house. I also didn’t really cook spaghetti squash, Brussels sprouts, or beef AT ALL. It’s really changed my relationship with food in a positive way.
13. Be prepared for questions.
It’s inevitable that people at work will question your meals in the breakroom. Be prepared with an answer you’re comfortable with. I actually told co-workers ahead of time, because I was excited to start, and also for extra accountability.
You will probably hear jokes about your “rabbit food,” or questions about, “what CAN you eat?” but maybe your healthy month-long endeavor will inspire those PBJ+Lean Cuisine-touting co-workers to add some good veggies to their repertoire.
14. Make some other health goals during your month.
Maybe you’d like to walk every other day, or do yoga twice a week. For me, it was trying to be consistent about oil pulling, meditating/yoga, and walking.
Make a calendar count down if you’d like. I would record which “extra” I completed that day, just to have a record.
15. Seek online support.
Check out Whole30.com for forums, recipe ideas, rules. Also, the Facebook page is helpful for questions.
There’s a timeline that shows how you might feel during the process.
Just be careful, because not everything on the internet tagged “Whole 30” is actually Whole 30. That’s why you should know the rules for yourself!
16. Have fun!
It will be a time of experimenting, trying new recipes, maybe throwing some away…😦 but just remember to enjoy the process. You’re taking this time to heal your gut and change your relationship with food. Be proud! Try new things.
Maybe take pictures, blog, or journal. That can help keep you accountable, too!
Any other Whole 30 tips?