Whole 30. So you’ve heard the buzz, but what is this “diet” that everyone is talking about? ::Insert eye roll here:: Surely it’s just another ridiculous program, right?! Think again sister! This 30 day program eliminates common food allergens (grains, dairy, refined sugars, legumes and alcohol) and focuses on real, unprocessed food to help create healthy immune function, minimize inflammation, support a healthy gut and beat sugar cravings.
It’s like pressing a RESET button on your body and starting a journey to long term health.
I committed to my first Whole 30 about six months after my second son was born. I had weight to lose, felt an overall feeling of “blah,” was struggling with constant headaches and terrible eczema break outs. I was extremely intimidated about trying this program and had a million different reasons why this program was not going to work for me. Surely I was going to starve to death if I couldn’t reach for a cracker or piece of cheese for a snack. No chocolate?! I had a panic attack just thinking about the changes that I was going to have to make if I drank the Whole 30 Kool Aide.
With some encouragement from a good friend, I decided to take the plunge into the 30 day program. My first Whole 30 experience was in June 2o15 and since then I have done the program FOUR TIMES. It has drastically changed the way that I look at food and has given me the ability to take a hold of my health. I experienced not only weight loss, but also a decrease in headaches, more energy, better sleep, significant reduction in skin flare ups, clearer mental focus, lessened moodiness, and overall taught me how processed food works against my body as a whole.
Curious about what this Whole 30 is? You can read the official Whole 30 guidelines here. My favorite thing about it: there isn’t a “program” to buy, no shakes or supplements to break the bank!
If you’re considering a Whole 30, here are some tips that I think will make your experience GREAT!
1. Educate Yourself
Read up on the program. Do your research and don’t start right away. I found the book, The Whole 30: The 30 Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom very helpful, especially since I was not familiar with clean eating and previously used lots of seasoning packets to cook with. The front of the book clearly outlines the program and what you can expect, while the entire back of the book lists easy recipes (with fabulous pictures) that your whole family will enjoy.
2. Have a Plan and Keep It Simple
This step really is key. Having a good meal plan in place along with compliant snacks on hand will make your experience SO MUCH EASIER. I recommend a ten day meal plan that you cycle through three times within the thirty days. That means that you are only eating the same dinner three times in the given month and most likely you won’t feel like the diet is redundant. Sticking to simple meals will make your job easier and you will be spending less money on groceries. Don’t plan extravagant meals with 700 ingredients – this will just cause you to feel burnt out and it will ultimately break the bank. No one needs to buy that exotic spice that you’ll only use one time and costs $40 on Amazon. HA! Which leads me to my next point…
It is totally possible to eat within the Whole 30 guidelines and stick to a budget that isn’t insane. If you’re planning accordingly, you will know exactly what you need for your meals and when you need it. I do most of my produce shopping between Aldi and Costco, depending on their stock and their prices. Aldi also carriers a wide range of complaint groceries such as guacamole, salsa and spaghetti sauce. Costco carries complaint spaghetti sauce, bone broth, freeze dried fruit snacks, canned chicken and coconut oil, to name a few! Every time I have done a Whole 30, I’ve always been able to stay within our family budget without going over. You can do it! Eating healthy does not always mean that it has to be expensive, you just need to plan, plan, plan!
4. Pinterest with Caution
Pinterest can be a double-edged sword in the world of Whole 30. You should be cautious of overwhelming yourself with extravagant recipes that call for exotic ingredients that are expensive and hard to come by. I’ve also come across many delicious and appealing recipes that are listed as Whole 30, but sadly are not compliant with the guidelines of the diet. So be aware and make sure you are educated so that you can weed out the non-compliant recipes you may come across.
5. Have a Buddy
Everything is always more fun with a friend! Friends can encourage you, uplift you and even bust your chops when you have an inkling to cheat! Friends keep you accountable! If you don’t have a friend or family member that wants to do the program with you, you are more than welcome to join the private Whole 30 Group that I created to help others who need encouragement, have questions, want recipe ideas and just want or need to stay accountable!