I know this isn’t my usual content, but I figured with 2019 just beginning, now would be the perfect time to share this. I know many of us each new year have the goal to exercise more + eat healthier. I’ve really gotten into food in the last year in half, and in February/March of 2018 I had the opportunity to do my first Whole30.
What It Is
Whole30 is basically a diet. It’s not the diet where you count calories, carbs, or whatever else though. It’s about sticking to a strict, thirty-day plan of eating only healthy, real food. If you cave and eat something non-compliant during the thirty-days though, you have to restart. It’s about completely detoxing your body and forming new dietary habits. It’s also about changing the way you think about your relationship with food, both physically and mentally. What constitutes as healthy though? For Whole30, it means that unhealthy food is the kind that can often cause inflammation and sugar dependence. Healthy food is the stuff that fuels your body efficiently and doesn’t cause, or even reduces inflammation. That’s just the short explanation though- I’d highly recommend reading, “It Starts with Food” to get all the information. The Whole30 website also has TONS of information!
So, what’s not allowed during Whole30?
Sugar (in any form, including table sugar, coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, etc. the list goes on. The exception would be dates.)
Dairy (including cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, goat’s milk products, etc. The exception is ghee)
Grains (wheat, barely, rye, corn, rice, etc. the list is long!)
Legumes (soy, peanuts, all beans, etc.)
Alcohol (not even in cooking)
No re-creating junk food or baked good. Even if the ingredients are compliant, you shouldn’t be eating banana pancakes, muffins, treats, plantain chips, etc.
Okay, I know that seems eliminate about everything! BUT, there is so much out there that you can still eat! You can have seafood, meat, healthy fats (avocado oil, ghee, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc.), lots of vegetables, and fruit in moderation. Trust me, it’s not as hard it seems!
I chose to do Whole30 to tackle some health issues I’ve been experiencing the last few years (chronic fatigue, nausea, migraines, and blood sugar stuff to name a few). I also have been looking for a way to clear up acne (because, you know, I’m almost 22 and my skin is worse than it was at 15 haha). I had already been eating a strict gluten free diet because I have celiac disease, and I had also been strictly dairy-free for almost a year due to constantly reacting to it. I had been eating a semi-paleo diet, but I was looking for something more. It took a few months before I was ready to take the plunge. I read up all I could, and finally, I was ready for it.
Honestly, it was harder than I thought at some moments, and easier than I expected at the same time. I struggled the most with wanting to cook up compliant ingredient treats, which I knew I couldn’t do. Also, if I was on the go, and realized my blood sugar was getting low, it was hard to find something to eat. I had to learn how to always be prepared for such instances. During the last few days of the program, I had a hot minute where I was really hangry, and I didn’t want to cook for what felt like the tenth time that day. Thankfully, my sister, Lauren, came to the rescue with a Lärabar though.
For me, Whole30 wasn’t the magic bullet, which in my mind, I had hyped it up to be. I had wanted a cure-all for the things I’m going through, and I’ve learned diet isn’t enough for me (I also did an even stricter diet, the Autoimmune Protocol, or AIP, for two months and didn’t get life-changing results).
Despite this, I learned a lot from Whole30, and I’m so glad I did it! I learned how to cook good, clean meals, that I continue to make regularly. I had markedly less nausea flare-ups and stomach bloat. I kicked my obsessive gum-chewing habit (I used to chew 5+ pieces a day). I became so much more aware of how food affects my mood, and how much I unnecessarily snack on “healthy treats”. I learned how much junk is stuck in food/how to read nutrition labels better. It wasn’t my goal, and I actually had to work to put the weight back on, but I lost 10 pounds as well.
These benefits alone made it worth the one-month trial. I’ll gladly do it again.
To anyone who is still reading (and interested) at this point, I challenge you to try Whole30! It’s one-month, and you have nothing to lose. You’ll learn how to cook great, new, healthy recipes; lose weight; and see if eliminating food for thirty days can help you have more energy, sleep better, and feel your best self. It isn’t easy, but I know that everyone is capable of doing it. That’s why I’m providing you with a link to my pinterest with five day’s worth of food planned, links to those recipes below, and also, a downloadable 5 day meal-plan template!
MEALS + RECIPES
Fried eggs in ghee + Aidells chicken and apple sausage
Pork Carnitas served over mixed greens of choice + mashed avocado
Chicken Salad with bacon and scallions, served in a lettuce wrap
Turmeric Pork Skillet (omit cilantro from the recipe, not complementary to the other flavors, also, you can replace garlic oil with 2 tablespoons olive oil + 3 minced garlic cloves)
Your key to success during Whole30 is to keep it simple, meal plan, and meal prep! When you can, eat leftovers. It saves $$ and time!
Bone Broth is very expensive to purchase, but you can easily make it at home in the instant pot. I like this recipe. the recipes I recommend call for beef bone broth, but chicken broth tastes just as good in all of them.
Whole30 compliant bacon (sugar-free, nitrate free) is super hard to find. I’d recommend looking at Natural Grocers or Whole Foods (read labels carefully here, it’s easy to buy the wrong thing).
Make sure to purchase compliant tuna. A lot of brands out there put soy and other junk in their tuna. One brand I love is the Wild Planet tuna. If you’re on a budget, Sam’s Club also has Member’s Mark Solid White Albacore tuna, packed in just water, without extra additives.
You can easily make ghee at home instead of buying it. Just use Kerrygold Unsalted Butter. I recommend this recipe. Make sure to let it brown to a caramel color, it is so flavorful this way!!!