Ever since wrapping up Whole30, I’ve had a whole slew of questions sent my way. While I’m not a Whole30 expert – I’ve only done this once! – I thought I would share a few Whole30 tips and tricks for those considering a Whole30.
(You can check out my Whole30 results right HERE)
Read the books.
My friend told me to read
It Starts With Food before beginning Whole30. I can’t recommend this enough. I read it the week after Christmas and was fascinated. It breaks down how foods interact with the body, and explains the science behind why certain food groups are eliminated without being too science-y for the casual reader. It made me excited to start Whole30 and throughout Whole30, I had a good idea as to what was going on, thanks to reading the book.
Prep is key.
Whole30 requires a lot of work. There is no way around it. To be successful on Whole30, you’re probably going to spend a lot of time cooking. Prepping meals ahead of time will help you stick to the plan. For me, I reserved Sunday evenings to cook my meals for the week – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I also looked ahead in the week to determine when I was teaching barre classes, attending a Junior League meeting, or going out with friends so I could plan accordingly.
Make a list.
This tip coincides with prepping. When you plan your meals each week, make a grocery list and stick to it. I know I’m guilty of going to the grocery store sans list – on or off Whole30 – and buying whatever looks good. I inevitably end up with a bunch of food that may not be as healthy, or is tougher to work into an actual meal than if I had planned ahead. I like to group my list according to where things are in the store – all the fruits and vegetables, the meats, canned goods, etc.
Let go of the “usual.”
One of the hardest things about Whole30 for me was getting past the idea that breakfast had to be breakfast food, dinner had to be dinner food, etc. It’s okay to eat brussel sprouts for breakfast, especially when week two rolls around and you just cannot look at another egg. My go-to breakfast was Sweet Potato, Apple, and Chicken hash – definitely not bacon and pancakes, but still oh so delicious.
Read The Labels
It may be obvious, but read the labels, especially on any food that comes pre-packaged. I spent what felt like a half hour in Wegmans, reading labels on salsas. Every.Single.One.Of.Them had sugar in them, including the “organic” ones. I ended up buying a can of Rotel (after reading the label) and later found compliant salsa at Trader Joe. Sugar is truly in EVERYTHING – along with soy and other sneaky ingredients. Check those labels!
Have a “go to” place
On day two of Whole30, I figured out Blue Ridge Country Store stocks compliant
RxBars in addition to having my favorite salad bar in town, and a selection of grab and go fruits. When I was in a pinch and needed a snack to hold me over, I went straight for Blue Ridge. Find a “place” near your home and/or office that you know you can find compliant foods. It will make those in a pinch moments so much easier to navigate.
Don’t beat yourself up.
You will read often that there is “no such thing” as the perfect Whole30. You’ll also read that if you “cheat” or “mess up,” you’re supposed to start all over again, even if you’re on day 29. If you have a sip or two of wine or a nibble of cheese, don’t beat yourself up. Give yourself some grace – you’re only human. Just don’t use that as permission to go to your nearest Olive Garden and eat all the pasta, breadsticks, and dessert you can hold – save that for gluten reintroduction day!
Do it with friends.
I did Whole30 with several friends, and I’m so glad I did. It was so great to have them to lean on, especially in the first two weeks. We texted each other when we were struggling, shared recipes, compared how our bodies were reacting, and cheered each other on. I am so grateful I had friends to lean on during Whole30 round one.
There are plenty of tips and tricks to conquer Whole30 out there. I even created a Pinterest board for Whole30 tips, resources, and recipes. I’m planning to do Whole30 again in March with a few friends and family members. If you want to join us, let me know – I’ll start a Facebook group for us!