It’s been about one week since Hannah and I finished up the Whole30 and while we’re not sure we could be Whole30 or Paleo forever we’re trying to still eat some Whole30 stuff. Well, we’re at least finishing up our leftovers from last month. For anyone else thinking about trying a Whole30 we’ve got some tips and words of warning lined up for you here.
I’m assuming you’re all familiar with the Whole30, you’re internet people, but in case you aren’t, the Whole30 is 30 days with no: sugar, dairy, alcohol, legume, grains, or soy products. I did a vegetarian version so I was allowed to have soy and stuck to tofu, tempeh, and eggs for my protein. The point of the Whole30 is to cut your sugar cravings, God Bless America + Sugar, and to ultimately find out if you have any food intolerances by completing a structured reintroduction phase after 30 days. Hannah and I were mostly using this Whole30 as a way to stop eating exclusively trash and try to be a bit healthier.
I bent the rules a little bit and ate plantain chips and paleo pancakes even though you aren’t supposed to make compliant versions of non-healthy foods you typically go for. But, if I wanted to actually stick with any of this, finding healthier alternatives seems like a positive. Yay, for plantain chips. You also aren’t supposed to weigh yourself, but I weighed myself a ton during the Whole30. The cauliflower bloat had me convinced I was gaining a zillion pounds during this, but it was just a cauliflower baby. Note: eating mostly cauliflower and sweet potatoes will have a large impact on your bod. Mashed sweet potatoes in, mashed sweet potatoes out. I had gained a few pounds over Christmas, so January was the perfect time to try to get back into shape. I lost about 8 pounds doing the Whole30, but TBH have already gained 4 back in the week off the Whole30. As Hannah said last week, we’ve been going to the gym for a full year and I have been tracking my fitness progress with pics since March, so I know that this is a long game. (Side note, should I share some before/current fitness progress pics online? I’m not sure I want to be that person, but also I’ve been workin’ hard and maybe it will keep me accountable?)
- MEAL PREP. This is honestly our number one tip for surviving the Whole30. Knowing what you’re going to be eating for every meal is crucial to staying on track. Plus, looking up new recipes keeps things exciting and gives you something to look forward to. The downside is that you spend a lot of time either looking for recipes, grocery shopping, or meal prepping.
- Make a huge batch of grain-free granola to take for breakfast and have as “dessert.” Meal prep is key and it can be hard to pull together breakfast before work. Also, I’m still working on my egg journey, my journey to be able to eat eggs without wanting to die, so trying to force myself to eat an omelet every morning wasn’t going to happen.
- Practice your plating and take pictures of your food. Time to bust out your spoon smear technique. Plating Whole30 food and adding an artful drizzle of cashew cream then blowing up Instagram with Whole30 food pics makes it a little easier to stick with the program. You can’t help but be excited to eat when your food looks beautiful.
- Buy bulk frozen veggies from Costco. I added the stir fry veggies from Costco to pretty much everything I ate and they are great. Clear out some room in your freezer first though because this bag is huge.
- Frozen fruit + coconut cream = yum. Not the same as ice cream, but frozen bananas and coconut milk or coconut cream is so delicious. Same for frozen mangos or frozen strawberries. Throw a little grain-free granola on top and you’re all set.
- Go to multiple grocery stores to save money. Not gonna lie, the Whole30 was crazy expensive for me. I spent about $650 on food in January. I know that about $100 of that was spices and weird artisanal flours that I still have leftover, but damn that was a lot of money. We’ll try to pull together our recommended items for each store, but we were hitting up Costco, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Heinen’s, and Whole Foods/Earth Fare several times a week.
We’ll be back next week with some of our favorite recipes and compliant purchases, but at this point we’re just proud of ourselves for completing this challenge! With a little bit of preparation (and a large grocery bill) it really wasn’t that difficult to stay on track. We’re looking forward to applying some of these new healthy habits into our everyday lives going forward.