Hubs and I started the Whole 30 on January 19th following a month (okay really a year) of celebrations, eating and drinking. We picked a 30 day window that we thought would fit our life to commit to the Whole 30.
The Whole 30 is 30 days of eating clean, nutritious and whole foods. The Whole 30 was developed by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig and is based on the good food principles outlined in their book It Starts with Food. The principles are:
- That the food promotes a “healthy psychological response.”
- That the food promotes a “healthy hormonal response.”
- That the food supports a healthy gut.
- That the food supports healthy immune function.
If any food doesn't fit in to all 4 categories, it is out. It Starts with Food outlines the reason why certain foods do or do not fall in to these categories. The Hartwig's are tough. They are famous for saying, " the Whole 30 is not hard- beating cancer is hard, birthing a baby is hard, quitting heroin is hard but drinking your coffee black is not at all hard. They are also strict on the rules of the Whole 30 and if you mess up, you start over completely. They don't want to hear your excuses either. They say, "don't sign up for soccer and complain about not being able to use your hands". The rules are the rules.
The Whole 30 book outlines the program and provides some science behind these rules but to really get the full sentiment behind the program, I definitely recommend reading It Starts with Food.
There are many things that we are unable to eat during these 30 days and we must read our labels! We are not eating added sugar of any kind (at all, none, not even honey), no alcohol, no grains (none at all, no oats, corn, quinoa), no legumes, no soy, no dairy (waaaah I miss cheese), no carageenan, msg or sulfites and no recreating any junk foods with approved ingredients. (Complete Rules Here) But there are so many delicious things that we CAN eat!
Now, on to prepping for the Whole 30. My best friend Kate has completed a Whole 30 and was sweet enough to share recipes, key ingredients and her tips and tricks with me before we started.
Kate also warned me how important preparing is and recommended that we have at least one full day to prepare. I actually think the prep begins long before day -1. I began reading It Starts wtih Food and The Whole 30 book several months prior to beginning the Whole 30. I felt that having a clear idea of what I was signing up for early on and learning about all the potential benefits, took me out of "there are so many things I won't be able to eat" and in to "I cannot wait to feel and see results". Additionally, I ordered some essentials online (coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut aminos) that are hard to find in the store in large quantities. I also started telling people I was doing the Whole 30 and set a date- this helped me to feel more committed and prepared our friends for 30 days of no drinking with us...
The week before, I looked through many many recipes and decided on a menu that would keep us excited. It would be very easy to eat grilled vegetables, meat and sweet potatoes at every meal but being bored would definitely make these 30 days more challenging.
Our Week 1 menu included:
Spinach Frittata (from the Whole 30 book)
Paleo Pad Thai from Well Fed
Chocolate Chili from Well Fed
Slow cooker carnitas and guacamole
Salad with chicken and beets, oranges (from the Whole 30 book)
Pork with homemade salsa verde and grilled peppers
I also made my own almond butter for snacks and breakfast with fruit when I got tired of eggs. Recipe here
We went to Costco to stock up on bulk items. We purchased:
Canned Tomato paste (with no sugar added)
Canned diced tomatoes (again, no additives)
Canned tuna (no soy added)
Pre-peeled and cooked beets
Grass fed beef
Bacon (no sugar)
The meat was really key- we bought a ton of it and kept what we would use for week 1 in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer.
Other items I recommend having on hand:
- a lot of ziploc bags in a variety of sizes for leftovers, meat, half chopped onion, etc, etc.
- mason jars and tupperware for leftovers, meal prep, etc.
- larabars and other compliant snacks for emergencies only
- coconut milk and cashew milk for coffee (read your labels)
We also had to go to Sprouts to get some smaller items that were not available at Costco which was slightly frustrating but we know we won't have to go to more than one store every weekend.
We have learned a lot so far (full list of things we have learned coming in a later post... stay tuned). We are on Day 10 and I still believe the most important things you can do to prepare are:
- meal planning
- having a teammate to hold you accountable (or following any of the thousands of Whole 30 Instagram accounts)
- educate yourself about the benefits of the Whole 30