Hi there! If you’re interested in the Whole30, read It Starts with Food before you begin. I (Bekah), did not, but read The Whole30: The 30 day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. From what I hear, It Starts with Food is more detailed about the science behind The Whole30. I think it’s important to really believe in what you are embarking on. Because it’s hard. And if you don’t really buy into it and want to challenge yourself to approach food differently, I don’t think you’ll have a successful Whole30. Once you buy in:
1. Set your start date. And tell someone. Better yet, GRAB A FRIEND to do it with you!
2. Start collecting recipes. I have some (I made most) on my Pinterest Board
3. Make realistic meal plans/shopping lists. The more you prep, the more success you’ll have!
I did my first/only (TBD on that one!) Whole30 from January 25-February 23, 2016. I took notes all throughout the month which turned into these posts:
The rest of the info. on this page is a cleaned up e-mail I sent to a few friends who wanted to know more and wanted my advice as they start The Whole30. I hope you find it helpful. This is completely MY opinion on The Whole30 and it’s important to note I am a pescetarian who did NOT do the vegetarian Whole30. I did the real Whole30, but only had seafood and eggs as protein.
Ultimately: I am so very glad my friend Angela complained about The Whole30 on Facebook in such a way that I just had to try it for myself. I recommend it wholeheartedly!
Yes. The Whole30 is worth it, despite its difficulty. It was REALLY hard- especially for me and my lifestyle (Working hard, long hours, stressed a lot, wine is part of my routine, I don’t make time for meal prep etc. etc. (though I DO cook, often) eating out is easy, cheaper sometimes, convenient at 9 pm when I get home…) but I am so glad I did it.
Meal planning and cooking for me. Again.. I DO cook…. But… you rely on a can of black beans.. a sauce already prepped.. NOODLES to use with my homemade tomato sauce… RED WINE VINEGAR… it’s crazy how much I use that! I had no idea… And “prepping” is just not a thing I do. I can’t spend 4 hours on a Sunday cooking for the week. (Maybe that’s a skill you get once you have kids or something.) So that WAS the hardest part for me. Even harder than having no wine.
By the end I basically had a few meals I ate over and over:
–Tomato, avocado salsa for lunch (with olive oil, lime juice) Sometimes tuna. Sometimes a hard boiled egg
–Egg muffins for a quick breakfast
–BIG EGG DISH for brunch a few days a week… I basically saute veggies (kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, shallot, garlic) then either poach or fry 2 eggs (I like runny eggs) and put them on top with avocado and Frank’s hot sauce (only approved kind) at least 3-4 times a week *I make this all the time IRL.. I usually add quinoa. GOOD way to get rid of veggies/clean up stuff that you need to use!
-Salmon/Shrimp and avocado salsa from this recipe. Make a LOT of that spice mix.. it’s good on everything! I add a side of green beans (beans in pods are approved. Don’t ask me why) or broccoli with lemon/red pepper/garlic/ghee.. anything to help me forget I wasn’t having butter!
–Spiraled zucchini “pasta” with either a homemade sauce or Raos’ Tomato sauce (They have a few approved kinds and are sold in my Whole Foods. Not ALL their types are approved so check your labels! I found one other approved sauce at Whole Foods and one at Trader Joe’s, as well) I added mushrooms, you could add asparagus or anything going bad in the fridge! Make enough for leftovers for lunch the next day. I bought this Spiralizer 10 days into my month.
Those meals above were basically my last 2 weeks on the Whole30. I stopped trying to be creative and just ate what I knew I could make FAIRLY quickly and always had on hand. I did “Plan” my meals on the weekends and at least wrote down what I thought I might eat.
If you’re not a meal prepper like me, these ideas might help:
-Minced up a ton of garlic and shallots at a time so you can just grab them and not have to cut each and every meal
-Cut up veggies a few times a week instead of at every meal.
-Go through you spices and hide/get rid of unapproved spices BEFORE starting
-Find your oil of choice. I don’t like coconut oil.. so I used more EVOO than they recommend.
-Get your spices in order
-Buy a spiralizer (I like Vegetti Pro)
-Have a good sea salt on hand (I just use Whole foods or Trader Joe’s)
-The little hand juice squeezer for lemons and limes is your bff
-Stock up on Sparkling Water
-Have ghee on hand (Trader joe’s has it)
-Always have rip avocados!!!!
Try different things and see what you like. I’m not a huge sweet tooth but crave carbs like it’s going out of style. Options:
-Almond butter + apple ( MY snack of choice)
-Lara bars (there are some flavors approved- they are SO gross.. but try them)
-Dates- for sweet craving.. Not my favorite
-Salted Almonds. Trader Joe’s are TOO Salty. Whole Foods are great. Check packaging for anything added
-Plantain chips – only found them at Whole Foods and they aren’t everywhere. But they are SO good and gives you that crunch you’ll be missing. The are made with salt and palm oil (approved, limited) and you can make/buy (check ingredients) GUAC and Pico! YUM
-Avocado with red pepper flakes and lemon and salt … I usually eat that for lunch on bread in non whole30 times… I snacked on that/ had it for lunch a LOT
Post about it on social media. Complain. It’s HELPFUL…. so many people came out of the woodwork to support me because they’ve done it before… and others were supportive in their comments! Support is key. It’s HARD. I cried at times… Part of that, I think, is I was protein deficient but once I upped my eggs and seafood and it got better. But after a long stressful 10 or 11 hour day when it’s 9 pm and I know I have to be up at 6am, and I have NOTHING to quickly throw together or I can’t go to the taco shop down the block and get a cheap meal? I cried. Multiple times.
But…. after all that.. YES. It’s worth it. First of all, it’s only 30 days. It feels like forever once you’re in it… But it went… fast. Second of all… I feel great. No… it’s not the “Tiger Blood” they are talking about. It’s not bursts of energy. I haven’t slept better… (I haven’t slept ENOUGH to be honest due to a busy schedule)…. My face just NOW is looking clearer (bad skin.. might take me much longer than 30 days) and it took me a good 2 weeks at least to start to feel less bloated/gassy/insert-comment about TMI stuff that happens in the bathroom (see below). I have talked about my digestive system to more people than I ever though I would…. ! I live with constant bloat— we all do… I want to know WHY and what foods do that to me… Will I cut them out? Maybe…. Or maybe I just KNOW that I’m going to regret that cheese plate & bread combo with that delicious glass of wine but at least prepare myself for it mentally…. (Still unsure…!)
I lost 6 lbs on the Whole30. I did not do this to lose weight, but I wasn’t sad that I did!
Watch this Buzzfeed video: What does your Poop Mean. Seriously. You’ll be glad you did. Your body is going to do some weird things. It’s especially important to know what is “normal” in the beginning and for the re-introductory phase. It’s gonna get weird. You’ll get through it. Trust me 🙂
For my urban-dwelling, DINK (dual-income, no kids) lifestyle, we spend a lot of money on Food, Groceries, Restaurants and alcohol. Like, a disgusting amount of money. But I’ll be honest about it here. For science.
In January 2016:
-$119 Alcohol *that was low since we knew we were starting in Feb.
-$905 Restaurant and Bars
In February 2016: (month of Whole30)
-$10 Alcohol (Took Beer to a party)
We saved $763 on The Whole30. And yes, our grocery bill was higher
I’ll update this after I complete it, but this is where I am at the time of publication. And honestly this seems like the hardest part. What am I going to continue to cut out? How can I get back to a normal lifestyle for ME but with the good habits I picked up? I don’t know. Wine tasted great this week. We went to a restaurant we love that honestly had a lot of food I could’ve eaten on Whole30. I didn’t FEEL great, though. I don’t know what it was, and (TMI) My body told me how it felt about my decisions the next morning. I’m eating the Whole30 way for the next little while and tryng different things to see if I determine what I CAN and CANNOT handle!