For those that aren't familiar, the Whole 30 is 30 days of strictly clean eating. It basically cleans out all of the junk that slows your body down and detoxes it from everything that builds up inside you over time.
No processed food.
The next question we always get- "so what do you eat??"
The answer- Real food. Fresh meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy fats.
For anyone that knows me, the above list was basically my entire diet so to say this would be challenging is an understatement. I run on pasta, pizza, ice cream and Chick-fil-A. But honestly, I wanted a challenge. For the past five years essentially, my body has not felt like my own. Between four miscarriages, one healthy pregnancy and one exclusively breastfed baby, I wanted something that could make me feel like I was regaining control of my body. I also wanted to lose my last 10 pounds of baby weight so figured this would do the trick along with my trips to the gym.
We have rounded the halfway mark and honestly the first week was R.O.U.G.H. Your body essentially goes through major sugar withdrawals with symptoms I could only imagine are similar to a drug detox. When your body is used to running on sugar and foods with a high glycemic index, it takes some major adjusting to learn to burn strictly fat (which is one of the ultimate goals of the program). But by day 6, we were both starting to see the light. Now on day 16, we can honestly say we feel great. I have more energy, I wake up easier in the morning, have been sleeping better at night and have lost a few pounds. Those results are enough to keep me motivated to the end and even cleaning up my eating a bit after we're done.
But let's be real- this is not a total lifestyle change. I love food too much to give up my ice cream, pasta, pizza and Chick-fil-A all together. I will say that it's going to make me think about food differently. I used to look forward to cookies during naptime, ice cream at night and going out to eat for the food aspect of it. Now, I have more energy to be productive during naptime, will be able to look at ice cream as a once or twice a week treat instead of every night and can look forward to going out to eat for the relational aspect of it instead of keeping food as a focal point. I'm not going to lie, the Whole 30 is a very antisocial meal plan, so you can't really eat or drink when you're out with others. And when you do, you become one of those super annoying customers that needs a meal customized just for you. Dustin has been packing a lunch
Here is my list of tips for anyone considering doing the program:
1. Prep is key. Have plenty of snacks ready to go, because hangry is dangerous on Whole30. I make these coconut/date balls and this trail mix that we always have available. I also pre-chop peppers, onions and mushrooms in the beginning of the week and we cook those with eggs, spinach and chicken sausage every morning.
2. Stay busy during times when you're more prone to snack. You're less likely to eat mindlessly when you're mind is occupied with something else.
3. If you're feeling hungry all the time, you're not doing it right. Chances are, you need to add more healthy fats to your meals (pour in some extra olive oil, add an avocado, almond butter, coconut oil, etc.) I was starving the first few days and could not figure out why and it was because I wasn't bulking up my meals with enough good fat.
-Aidells chicken and apple sausage. I buy ours at Costco. This is what we have with veggies and eggs every morning.
-Hard boiled eggs, coconut date balls and trail mix make for the perfect quick fix snacks.
-Almond butter. So good on apples and bananas. I found the best deal at Costco as it's not usually cheap.
-Trader Joe's plantain chips, homemade guacamole, and red salsa autentica. You're welcome.
-Trader Joe's coconut oil, coconut oil spray and ghee for all your cooking needs.
-Trader Joe's dried pineapple. Most all of their dried fruit has added sugar except the dried pineapple and banana chips and some mixed berries that I haven't been able to find lately.
- La Croix. I like the berry, but if you buy the lime add some mint and lime and you have yourself a Whole30 mojito
-Trader Joe's canned tuna/chicken and Tessemae's mayo (found at Whole Foods). That was the only mayo I could find in stores that is Whole 30 approved. Or you can make your own if you have a lot of time on your hands.
-Bare crunchy apple chips . Again a great Costco find.
-Larabars. I buy the apple pie flavor from Costco and they're pretty good. Whole30 will tell you not to go overboard with these, but desperate times call for desperate measures and I always have them on hand in the diaper bag when we're out.
Lastly, these are a few of my favorite meals:
Breakfast- sausage, veggies, spinach and eggs. Also, I made these muffins minus the vanilla, because that really isn't Whole 30 compliant and they were amazing. I am fully aware Whole 30 says this is a big no-no, because you're not supposed to recreate baked goods. But cheater, cheater muffin eater right here :)
Lunch- leftovers or chicken salad/ tuna salad made with Whole 30 mayo in a lettuce wrap with some avocado. This ranch chicken salad is really yummy.
Dinners- Here are a few of my fave recipes...
Date, Shallot and Rosemary Chicken
Ground Turkey Plantain Nachos
Any type of zoodle pasta. I make a version of this with ground turkey.
Just about anything from this website, but especially the buffalo chicken stuffed peppers and carne asada. Tessemae's makes some great sauces that are Whole 30 approved and our Whole Foods carries a number of them in the store. I used the buffalo sauce with this recipe and their mayo with chicken salad, egg salad and tuna. I'm not going to lie, their ketchup was pretty gross, but I managed to mix it in with ground beef to make some mini meatloaf muffins.
So that's about it for now. I would love to hear some of your favorite Whole 30 recipes.