Are you sick of hearing about Whole30 yet? Don’t worry, me too. I fully admit that the popularity of the program + the gung-ho attitude of those of us who have found success with it can become annoying. You get it, we’re eating healthier, shut up about it already, right?
I hear you and I agree. When people are so overzealous and enthusiastic about a topic, especially related to diet or health, it can become really annoying and preachy. It raises all these red flags in our cynical brains and we start to file things like Whole30 in the “fad diet” or “weight loss trend” categories. Much of the media coverage that Whole30 has received aids this perception, which is a real bummer because at its core, Whole30 is not about losing weight at all.
During both times I’ve completed a round of Whole30 (first in August then November – ending just before Thanksgiving), I’ve struggled with how to succinctly explain to people what it’s all about. I try and avoid the word diet and all the negative connotations that come with it. I explain it as more of a detox, to reset your mind and body on how different food groups effect you. More importantly, to break addictions to sugar and eat for a healthy gut. But the bottom line is this, I have never felt better in my life, than when I’m eating this way.
I’m not bloated, I sleep really well, I have energy all day long, my mood is regulated*, and I think more clearly. I feel motivated, accomplished, and truly just healthier – my skin looks less like a hormonal teenager and clothes fit better. Yes I’ve lost weight and inches, and that part is awesome. . . BUT, if I wasn’t feeling so great overall, or if I was really feeling restricted and deprived, then I wouldn’t stick with it, and the pounds or inches wouldn’t have gone away. For me, those parts are a bonus to the bigger picture goal of general health and wellbeing that come from eating real, whole foods and eliminating the junk.
Where I’ve made missteps thus far, is on day 31 and beyond. After the previous 2 rounds of Whole30, I haven’t properly reintroduced food groups into my diet to determine what affects me and how. That is one of my big goals for the January round of Whole30. I really want to have the process help inform what’s going to be best for my day-to-day diet and health moving forward.
In the last month or so I’ve had a few friends ask me questions or tips on Whole30 and I’m so very happy to answer! Mainly because I’m eager to help and excited for them to try Whole30, but also because I had a couple friends do the same for me and it was invaluable when I was trying to navigate the program during my first round. Here’s what I’ve shared time and again:
Read the book It Starts With Food and/or comb the free Whole30 website so you learn the ins and outs of the program and know what to expect. The more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be, I can’t stress that enough. Do whatever you can to set yourself up for success– clean out your fridge and pantry, tell friends and family what you’re doing, don’t make plans that involve eating out for at least the first couple weeks, carry approved food options with you at all times, etc. Take your weight, measurements, and pictures on day 1 and 31. Especially the measurements and pictures – they are much more motivating than the scale. The most difficult part of Whole30 is the all of the time it takes to prepare, cook, plan, and repeat. Also, the amount of dishes. . . I’m not going to lie, that part sucks.
These are the things I eat a lot of during Whole30. All of which, of course, are compliant options sans added sugar and other crap, but always make sure to read ALL THE LABLES: eggs, avocado, guacamole (wholly guacamole single servings from Costco are my BFF+E), baby carrots, lara bars, pickles, tuna (with guac), sweet potatoes, apples, almond butter, coconut milk, applegate brand all beef hotdogs and roast beef slices, aidelle brand chicken sausage, homemade almond milk, raw nuts. This isn’t all I ate of course, just a few favorites and suggestions.
Pantry & Cookbooks
Pantry staples for me include coconut oil, avocado oil, EVOO, vinegar options for dressings, and lots of spices. . . I love using red pepper flakes and cumin on sweet potatoes and sautéed greens. I’m also anxious to try Flavor God seasonings that we’ve recently ordered. While Pinterest and Instagram are full of fantastic recipe sources, if you’re looking for a tangible cook book I really love the Against All Grain books – I have the original one and Meals Made Simple. I’m also a fan of Nom Nom Paleo, Well Fed, and It’s All Good. A couple e-book favorites are Clean and Colorful Cooking and Jenna’s Kitchen.
After indulging over the holiday season, I’m so very excited to use the brand new year as a jumping off point for Whole30 round 3. Ryan took the plunge and is doing his first Whole30 with me, so I’ll be anxious to hear about his experience as the month continues. Let us know if you’re joining in, there’s anything you’d like to ask, or if you have any tips to share with us!
Happy New Year, dudes.
*relatively speaking of course and not accounting for the “Whole30 hang over” that happened the first round when I would have killed for cheese and bread those first 10-ish days.