Whole30 can be a really big change for many of us. For 30 days you are cutting out sugar (real and artificial), alcohol, grains, legumes, white potatoes, carrageenan, MSG and sulphites. When you initially contemplate taking the plunge into Whole30 you may feel like you are giving up a lot and that you are in for a difficult time. It doesn’t have to be that way though! If you are thinking about doing a Whole30 I wanted to share some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way that may help you.
- Read It Starts With Food. If you are going to be giving up these foods I think it is worthwhile to understand why. You may or may not agree with some of their reasoning, but I would definitely recommend reading the book.
- Why are you doing a Whole30? On tough days you’ll want to remind yourself of why this challenge is so important to you. Write it down or share it with a friend.
Be prepared. Plan your meals and keep in mind how long it is going to take you to cook that meal versus how busy your day is. If you know you have a workout after work then don’t plan on making a dish that will take 2 hours to cook that night.
- Grocery shop on a weekly basis. That way you’ll have all the ingredients that you need for your dishes, helping to set you up for success. There is nothing worse than heading to the grocery store late after work, tired, grumpy and hungry. If you have healthy ingredients at home you can throw together a Whole30 compliant meal faster than you can get a pizza delivered.
- Try new dishes…new vegetables…new spices…you name it. Be adventurous! You never know what you might wind up liking.
- Discover new recipes every week. If you make the same thing over and over your tastebuds will get bored and it will be difficult to want to stick with the challenge.
- Not every dish has to be fancy. Stir fry up some ground beef and veggies. Have canned tuna on hand to help make a salad.
- Discover your local health food stores. You’ll be buying things you may have never seen before…like almond meal, coconut flour and coconut aminos. Some of these ingredients help to open up a wide range of recipes for you. It can be really difficult to find unsweetened, unsulphured dried fruit or coconut in your regular grocery store but you should luck out at the health food store. You may also be able to find sugar free, Whole30 compliant bacon at your health food store. They are worth exploring! Here in Calgary Community Natural Foods and Planet Organic were my specialty grocery store go-tos.
- Do you have an Asian supermarket nearby? Go explore them too! I found sugar free fish sauce there, coconut milk, curry paste, chillies and spices. One of my favourite super simple dishes is to sauté up some chicken and veggies of your choice. Add in coconut milk and a tablespoon or two of red, yellow or green curry paste. So easy and delicious!
- Costco or Sam’s Club is a great asset! You will be going through vegetables faster than you imagined. I appreciated having lots of varieties of big bags of veggies on hand.
- Are you training for something big right now? If you are in the middle of training for an endurance event you may want to save Whole30 for another time. You won’t be able to drink your usual sports drinks or take your usual gels. Decide if this is going to impact your training or race.
- Stay away from Pinterest in the beginning. My Pinterest feed is often full of delicious looking desserts. Don’t tempt yourself or it will be harder to kick that sugar habit!
- Give your water some pizzaz. You are going to be drinking a lots of it. Find some new teas to try (just make sure the ingredients are Whole30 compliant) or put a jug of water with some citrus or cucumber slices in the fridge.
- Duck fat. Unless we were making a dish with coconut milk I didn’t care for the subtle flavour cooking with coconut oil would impart. We also did a lot of cooking with ghee, but duck fat was the best. Check to see if your local butcher sells tubs of it.
These are a few of my favourite things that we have made:
- Crockpot Mango Chicken Coconut Curry via Fit Moms and Full Plates
- Kenyan Braised Collard Greens and Ground Beef via The Domestic Man
- Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls via The Healthy Foodie
- Moroccan Meatballs via The Clothes Make The Girl
- Garbage Stir Fry with Curried Cabbage via Nom Nom Paleo
- Maldivian Fish Curry via The Domestic Man
- Spicy Cocoa Chili via A Calculated Whisk
- Beef Rendang via The Domestic Man
- Lamb with Spinach Sauce via Nom Nom Paleo
- Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin via Happy Healthnut
- Creamy Tamarind Chicken Curry via My Heart Beets
- Thai Chicken Curry via Nom Nom Paleo
If you are embarking on a Whole30, best of luck! Have you already done a Whole30? Do you have any tips, trick or recipes to add?