This past January, after a few months of eating cleaner, Matt and I kicked it up a notch and committed to do a January Whole 30 together. There’s a reason why you’re hearing everyone and their brother is doing the Whole 30, simply because, it works. It’s a great reset that focuses on eating whole (not processed) foods for 30 days. There’s no gimmicks, magic pills, or supplements. It’s simply eating nutritious whole foods. Keep in mind it’s not Whole365, it’s Whole30.
By eliminating known inflammatory foods; sugar, gluten, legumes, soy, and dairy, you are left with fruits, vegetables, animal meats, seafood, nuts, and healthy fats. It allows your body to normalize itself and our hormones to rebalance our biological satiety signals.Too often we eat because we’re bored, tired, or “deserve it” after a long day. Initially, the Whole30 does sound restrictive and scary but it’s only 30 days of your entire life. You can so do it!
If you’re contemplating a Whole 30...here are my 6 best Tips:
Craft your Why. Reflect on why this is important for you and write it down. It’s great to revisit it especially on those days you’re struggling and missing xyz. See the picture below of my Why’s. I wanted to prove to myself that I could. I’ve literally fallen off every “diet” or plan on the books. I’ll do another post on that someday. Detailing your “Why” is a pretty universal truth to achieving any big goal. Keep your “Why” in the forefront of whatever is you’re doing and it will motivate you. Similarly, on completely different notes. When I ran the Boston Marathon, reaching the finish line after fundraising for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society was my “Why”. When I was in the delivery room, meeting my unborn son or daughter, was my “Why” to help me get through the arduous 2 day labor. It’s a game changer, when your mindset in the right place.
Seek Support. Tell your close friends and family. Best of all, get your spouse on board if you can. It was huge to have Matt doing this with me. We shared with our family and low and behold, his mother, aunt, and cousin’s family joined in too. Whole30.com has so many free resources. Whether Facebook or Instagram is your jam, follow Whole30 for some great ideas. I also put out an inquiry to the Windham town page, if anyone else was interested in joining us, 75 members from town joined! Every day we shared recipes, encouraged either, and commiserated on the hard days. At the end, a few of us met up for a celebratory drink. My Instagram @cleanerstephanie chronicles my Whole30 journey.
Be your own sleuth. Get familiar with the rules before you begin. It takes a lot of mental effort to constantly ask yourself “Can I have __?” One of my biggest takeaways was label reading. Crappy vegetable oils and sugar hide in SO many of our foods. I’ll dive more into the oil piece in a separate post. But really, “vegetable” or soybean oil is super inflammatory and I avoid it now post-Whole30 as well. Your healthy oil friends will be extra virgin olive oil and Avocado oil. What I love about eating whole foods too is there is NO label reading. A banana is a banana is a banana. No sketchy food additives, dyes, or added sugar. Also, sugar, has like 20 different names. Do a quick google. Some of the products I was most surprised to find sugar were chicken broth, salsa, bacon. Why? Why does chicken broth need sugar? It just doesn’t.
Prep. I know that word alone sounds daunting and overwhelming. But food prepping will pay off in the end and your future self will thank you. Do yourself a favor and make a huge batch of chicken vegetable soup, or one of my favorites, breakfast casserole. Both will last you for days and take the “decision making” piece out of the equation. It does take some time and effort but I found the hardest part was just getting started. Go easy on yourself. I repeated that same breakfast casserole for 3 weeks with different flavor variations to keep it interest. Soup options are endless. Also, no need to complicate things. You don’t need to have gourmet meals 3x a day. Simplicity is your friend. Think about getting a protein, vegetable, and healthy fat on the plate at every meal. This can be as simple as a sheet pan of chicken, potatoes, asparagus roasted in ghee. Boom, you just hit all food groups.
Convenience. When things are convenient we are more likely follow through on them. You’re going to spend a LOT of time in kitchen for the next 30 days. Make some things easier for yourself. Yes, while it IS easy to make mayo or homemade ketchup, this might add to your feeling of overwhelm in the beginning. Order a Whole30 starter pack of condiments from Tessemaes. Also, order some compliant coffee creamer if you need to. Matt loved the Nutpods- available on Amazon. As well as some “emergency foods” to pack in your bag or office that won’t spoil, we liked the Rx Bars and Larabars- most flavors are compliant (Cherry Pie and Apple Pie were my favorites.) Again, just check those labels.