Happy Thursday, Beauties!
I knew I wanted to post a Whole30 guide as soon as the new year hit. It’s a new year, and many of you might have eating healthier as part of your New Years Resolutions. Coming from someone who has struggled with food their entire life, I am still making it a long-term goal to live a consistent healthy lifestyle. The Whole30 program is the only program that I have ever stuck with the entire time, which is ironic because it is one of the hardest and strictest “diets” out there. I was able to stick it with it because it delivered the internal and external results I was looking for within the first week.
If you’re freaked out about the idea of Whole30, it’s okay. I was so freaked out, too! It can get expensive, you literally can’t have anything that has the slightest unhealthiness to it, and there is so so much prep work. Whole30 sounds almost impossible for some people, especially if you are on the go 24/7. orrrrr…so you thought! So for all of you moms, college students, working #bossbabes, listen up. You totally have time for Whole30, my way. 🙂 I hope my Whole30 guide can help you!
If you have been following me for a while then you know I’ve done Whole30 already. For those of you who don’t know me, you can find my Whole30 recap, here. A quick little synopsis…I was totally unhappy with my body and how I felt about myself. I had a very negative self-image and an unhealthy relationship with food. No one would have probably ever guessed it because I was never overweight, but I definitely didn’t have good eating habits. Whole30 was tough on me emotionally, but after completing it I felt a real sense of accomplishment and I felt so good about myself and my body. My skin improved, I was in a much better mood, I slept amazing at night, plus so many other benefits you can read about on my recap. It was life-changing! Now I have less cravings, give in to less cravings, and I eat healthy, whole foods most of the time. (but I still like a Chicago dog every now and then). It’s all about balance.
But you’re not to the balance part yet. Right now, we need to get you on board with Whole30, where there is no balance. Ya just gotta do it. Sorry for the tough love, but ya gotta be prepared! So starting out, here are some of my tips you need to know before starting your first Whole30.
Here’s the Quick Rundown on What You Can’t Have
– No added sugar (real or artificial)
– No alcohol
– No grains
– No legumes
– No dairy
– No carrageenan, MSG, or added sulfites
– No recreating baked goods or junk foods
– No stepping on the scale
Whole30 is all about changing your outlook on food and if you are only concerned with loosing weight the entire time, then you are probably not going to finish. Definitely consult the Whole30 book for more information on what you cannot have and why.
Tips Before You Start Whole30
Read the Book
Seriously, you have to buy the book and read it. If you don’t, you’re going to be so screwed. You need to read the book not only so you know what you can and can’t have, but it gives you recipes, and the “why” behind you can’t have what you want. It really helps put everything into perspective. Later on, you’ll remember what the book said and you will want those bad foods less. Trust me, buy the book.
Get Rid of all Non-compliant Foods
You will just be tempted to eat them and like me you’ll find yourself staring at a bag of pizza rolls in your freezer contemplating how horrible and unfair your life is. If you live with other people who aren’t doing Whole30, try to encourage them to not flaunt the bad foods in front of you + talk them into incorporating some healthier foods into their diet. I lived with my mom and sister when I did Whole30 and they were awesome about not eating frozen pizza and other things like that in front of me. My mom even tried to make Whole30 compliant dinners some nights to make me feel better. Moms = the best.
Don’t Indulge Before you Start
I thought I was going to do this and I decided not to and I am soooo glad I didn’t. Don’t go out and have your “last” of everything. You’ll end up going out for your last: Mexican, Chinese, Pizza, Italian, fried chicken, 5 fast food chains, you’ll hit up Starbucks 10 times, etc. and before you know it you’ve gained 10 pounds of useless crap because you wanted to binge before you started Whole30. Not. a. good. idea. True story: I was watching Oprah the other day (bless, I love her), and she was talking about how she went out for her “last” of everything and gained 15 pounds before she started Weight Watchers. You think
Have a Support System
Either do Whole30 with a friend, or surround yourself with people who are going to support what you’re doing. I did Whole30 alone and it was so hard. Luckily, Nate and my family were really supportive and they never made me feel bad about having to cook my own dinners or not being able to eat out with them. (We will discuss eating out later, don’t freak out).
Know You’ll Have to Prep – Some
I get that you’re busy which is why you are reading this, but you have to do some prep work in order to do this successfully. Thankfully, there’s a way to do very minimal cooking and you don’t have to pre-make things like sauces, ketchup, etc. like you see in the book.
Plan on Eating Lots of Small Meals
I felt like I was constantly eating on Whole30, probably because I was. I started out just trying to eat 3 big meals a day, but I was quickly getting burnt out on it and I would get so hungry and cranky in-between meals, which added fuel to the cravings fire. I started eating several smaller meals throughout the day and noticed a huge difference. My mood improved and I had less cravings.
It’s okay to treat yourself when you’re on Whole30! When you take on such a strict diet your mood will be allover the place. Take care of yourself by enjoying a bath at night, watch a movie, go for a walk, anything that helps make you feel at ease, do it. Don’t be like me and retail therapy it up every single day. Treat yo’ self, but like in a healthy way.
Like I said, I did Whole30 alone, but I had some inspiration from others who were also doing Whole30. I joined the September Whole30 group on the Whole30 website and I got to follow along with others who were doing Whole30 as well! Everyone talked about their struggles, successes, shared recipes, and it was just an awesome support group! I highly recommend following along with one when you start Whole30.
Let’s talk about some shopping list items that were total must haves for me on Whole30.
Shopping List Must Haves:
Whole30 Approved Condiments:
- Tessamae’s Dressings – These are awesome since you’re going to be too busy to make your own dressings. Almost everything from Tessemae is Whole30, so definitely check out their website if you want some more ideas, but here are a few of my favorites. Lemon Garlic (for marinating chicken), Southwest Ranch (salad), Ketchup (if you can’t live without it).
- Primal Kitchen Mayo – This stuff is amazing. It’s made with avocado oil so it’s totally on plan and I think it tastes just as good as regular mayo. I mix with this mayo with tuna and a little bit of pickle and you have a basic tuna salad you can dip veggies in! It will keep you full and you won’t feel like you’re being deprived. (Also, don’t buy this on Amazon, buy it at Whole Foods, much cheaper!)
- Frank’s Red Hot Sauce – Might sound silly, but when I found out I could have Frank’s, I knew I was going to be able to do this, haha. I put this hot sauce on my eggs every. single. morning, which is something I’ve always done so luckily for me I didn’t feel deprived. You can also marinate and bake your chicken in it, if you like your food spicy!
- Whole30 Compliant Seasonings – There’s a ton! Check Pinterest + do a basic Google Search. My favorite was the original Mrs. Dash!
- Ghee – If you can’t live without butter in your life then I suggest buying some ghee from Whole Foods. I didn’t want to pay the $$ for it so I just went without for a month!
Potatoes (Sweet or Russet) – I buy a 10lb bag. Seriously. You can cut them up like french fries and bake, or cut up into 1 inch pieces and bake! They get so crispy and yummy! I ate a form of potato every single night.
Chicken Breasts – I ate chicken almost everyday, get creative with how you cook it.
Ground Chicken – For taco salads! One of my favorite meals + leftovers!
Steak – When I got super tired of chicken, I tried to mix in some steak. I usually just bought whatever was cheap or on sale because for me, steak is steak and always good! Sirloin is my favorite.
Ground Beef – Try to buy the lean or grass fed kind, but it is expensive. I personally didn’t mind splurging on the better quality meat because it tasted so good. However, if you’re being budget conscious, ground beef is just fine!
Eggs – 18 count at least, you can hard boil them and cut up for salads or for scrambled eggs in the morning!
Romaine – Cut it up for several days worth of salads. Great for lunch at work!
Steamable Vegetables – These are so easy to just pop in the microwave and cook! + always leftovers!
Fresh Vegetables – I love taking carrots and a cup of Tessamae Ranch in my lunch.
Fresh Fruit – Grapes, strawberries, pineapple were my go-tos. I cut them up and separated them into individual fruit salad bowls to take in my lunches everyday!
Almonds – Whole30 says not to eat a ton of nuts, so eat these in moderation. I would eat a handful in the afternoon sometimes if I got hungry between lunch and dinner.
Lara Bars – These are so good to have on hand when you are on the go for a quick snack! Apple Pie is my favorite! I always try to keep 1 or 2 in my purse. Be careful in which ones you choose because not all of them are Whole30 compliant.
Read Your Labels
Always, always read your labels! Something you might think is Whole30 might not be. Something that shocked me when I first started was how sugar is literally in everything. Even in the foods you wouldn’t think to have it. Added sugar is one of the huge no-no’s of Whole30 so be extra cautious of this when shopping.
Shop on Sale
Whole30 can be expensive because eating healthy whole foods costs much more than a box of ramen. If you are shopping on a budget take advantage of the sales. For example, buy meat on sale. When I was eating steak for dinner, I wasn’t eating filet mignon. I ate sirloin or whatever was on sale. In my opinion, steak is always good. Also, Whole30 pushes you to eat all organic, but it’s not a requirement. Organic eggs are $4 and totally unnecessary. Go the cost effective route and stick to the $1.50 eggs. Same with chicken and beef. If you want to spend more and go the organic route, that’s totally up to you. Sometimes there were good deals on organic chicken and I bought it, but again, it’s not required. If you have a Whole Foods in your area the Tessamae dressings go on sale a lot as well. They are normally $6.50, but I try to stock up when they are on sale for $4.50. Still expensive, but they are so yummy and beats making your own!
My Favorite Basic Meals
Breakfast every single day consisted of eggs. I never got tired of them because I could do different things with them if I wanted to. I usually made 3 eggs and put Frank’s red hot sauce on top. If you wanted to get fancy and less lazy you could mix in some veggies. I did peppers, onions, and avocado on occasion.
Most of my lunches consisted of a grilled chicken salad with avocado, a hard boiled egg, and Tessamae dressing. I also ate a lot of vegetables and fruit with it. If I wasn’t feeling a salad I just ate a piece of chicken.
My favorite Whole30 dinner was pot roast. It’s an amazing comfort food and it doesn’t taste healthy at all. In fact, it tastes like something you shouldn’t be able to have. Plus, so. many. leftovers and minimal cooking time because all you have to do is throw it in the crockpot before you leave for work.
Pot Roast Ingredients:
– 2 lbs. chuck beef roast
– 1 diced onion
– 3 carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
– 3 celery stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
– 2 cloves garlic or 1 teaspoon of mined garlic
– 2 springs thyme (sometimes I skip this and never notice a difference)
– 3 cups of beef broth (cover half the roast)
Step 1: Set your slow cooker to low for 7 hours
Step 2: Add the roast, onions, carrots, celery, garlic and thyme springs to the slow cooker
Step 3: Add the beef broth to cover the roast half way
Step 4: Put the lid on and leave
Step 5: After 7 hours the roast should be able to fall apart with a fork, if not, cook it for another 30min-1 hour. Let it sit for 15 minutes before you serve!
Optional: I serve my pot roast with roasted potatoes!
My Roasted Potatoes
– Two large Russet potatoes
– 1/2 t. minced garlic
– Olive oil
Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Step 2: Wash your potatoes with warm water and dice into 1-inch pieces
Step 3: Line a baking sheet with foil and pour a tiny but of oil onto the pan and heat in oven for a few minutes. (Be careful not to make your kitchen smoke up like I have done a few times due to too much oil)
Step 4: Toss the potatoes in a bowl and mix with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and minced garlic
Step 5: Put the potatoes on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes
Step 6: Flip potatoes over (I do them one by one because I’m OCD) and bake for another 10 minutes
Step 7: Flip one more time and bake for 5 more minutes
Step 8: Potatoes should be golden brown and crispy. Serve!
Going out to Eat
Here is my best advice on going out to eat. Try to avoid it at all costs. I know how hard it is, especially on the weekends when your friends, S/O, or your family want to go out, but try to talk them into coming over to YOUR place so you can cook them a Whole30 compliant meal instead. However, if you can’t escape going out to eat make sure you are the one speaking up and suggesting a place. Look at restaurant menu’s ahead of time and figure out what you can and can’t have. Grilled chicken and veggies, hamburgers with lettuce buns, or order a salad and bring your own dressing or ask for olive oil with balsamic vinegar. Make sure you are asking your server questions like the oils they use to cook with because not all of them are Whole30 compliant. When I really craved fast food I went to Chipotle. The ONLY thing you can order on the menu is a bowl with carnitas, mild salsa, lettuce, and a lot of guacamole. It helped my sanity a time or two.
Hope you Enjoyed!
I hope you learned a little something about Whole30 while reading this post and feeling less intimidated by it. Whole30 was one of the best decisions i’ve ever made for bettering myself, and I hope that if you are struggling with yourself or with food in general that you take the leap and just do it, no matter how busy you are! Only good things will come from doing this program and I cannot recommend it enough. So if you’re thinking about trying Whole30 I hope these tips were able to help you a little bit!
If you have any Whole30 questions or thoughts, I’d love to hear them in the comments!
See ya soon,