Okay, so most of you know by now that Andrew and I attempted the Whole 30 diet in January. After the holiday season last year, we were both feeling like we needed a major reset on our health. We had some friends who told us about Whole 30 and said it truly changed the way they eat. At the time, Andrew and I were thinking “how hard could this be”…we already ate healthy meals during the week, it was just the weekends where we went a little crazy with the carbs. Little did we know, we were in for a real food awakening.
If you haven’t heard of Whole 30 before, it’s a program designed to change your life in just 30 days. It’s supposed to help get you to a point where you won’t crave unhealthy foods anymore. But, in order to get there, you need to cut out all the alcohol, sugar, grains, legumes (beans) and dairy from your diet. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking…what, no CHEESE?! I know, I know. It’s hard at first, but it gets easier. The first week I wanted to curl into a ball and cry because I was so tired, and I felt like I was constantly hungover – LOL. Your body goes through a major detox, so this is normal. I’ll admit, Andrew and I only lasted two full weeks without cheating (eventually, our pizza craving broke us), BUT, we got right back on the wagon and still try our best to follow the program in our daily lives. Even just after two weeks, I found myself feeling overall happier, my energy was higher, my clothes fit great, and my skin had never looked so good. These feelings made it worth giving up the cheese, trust me.
My one piece of advice for those of you who are thinking about doing the Whole 30 is….DO IT NOW. There is no time like the present and there will never be a good time to start, so stop making excuses for yourself and just give it a try! No more thinking “ugh, I don’t know if I could ever give up carbs or dairy,” and know that you CAN. If I can do it, then you can too. The recipes are super tasty (I’ve linked my favorites below) and you’ll probably learn something that will impact the way you eat forever.
Lauren’s Whole 30 Tips
- Find a partner. I couldn’t have done this without the support of Andrew. When one of us was feeling like giving up, we had each other for motivation to keep going. If you live with someone, like your husband or wife, it’s important to get them on board to do this experience with you. It’s 100x easier than being around someone who is eating ‘normal’ food, while you’re trying to change your life!
- Get rid of all the non-compliant food in the house. Your craving for that bag of chips will eventually go away if you don’t have to see it sitting there every day. Get rid of all the food that doesn’t comply with the Whole 30 rules.
- Know your staple ingredients (and read the book if you can). There are quite a few things you’ll be using over and over again for cooking, like Coconut oil, Ghee, Coconut aminos, and more. You can get all of these things for a good price at Trader Joes.
- Read the label before you buy it. This was frustrating for me because I had NEVER looked at any labels when grocery shopping. I learned that sugar is in pretty much everything. Even if the nutritional label says zero sugars, be sure to check the ingredients list because companies are allowed to round down on the labels.
- Be prepared to cook and have a messy kitchen. Embrace the messiness. Just think of all the good you’re doing for your body, and the mess is worth it. I’m typically the one making the mess (aka the cook), and Andrew will do the dishes. Bless him.
- Meal plan and prep. Every weekend, I take 30 – 45 minutes to sit down and plan our meals for the week ahead. Since I don’t have time to go shopping during the work week, it’s super important that I plan my meals according to how long the food will last (I’ll also freeze the meat to last longer). Whole 30 is all about fresh fruits and veggies, so make sure you’re not letting anything spoil. Once you’ve got your plan, prepping is the easy part! Sunday is my meal prep day, and I use it to make breakfast, lunch and snacks. It saves us so much time during the week and we don’t have to think twice about what we want to eat.
Lauren’s Favorite Whole 30 Recipes
- Egg Muffins (we eat these religiously with grapes and avocado. You can prep these for the week.)
- Turkey Lettuce Wraps – fill with your favorite veggies like avocado, cucumber, tomato, red onion, or peppers
- Chicken Salad on Apple Slices or BBQ Chicken Salad (NOTE – to be Whole30 compliant, you need to make your own mayo)
- Dinner leftovers – ha! This isn’t a recipe, but eating leftovers got us through a lot of lunches.
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes – a random but tasty snack
- Lara Bars (compliant flavors – our favorite is Cashew Cookie)
- Fruit (natural sugar is okay to eat)
- Stuffed Avocados w/ Garlic Shrimp (I add a side of sweet potatoes)
- Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Chicken Stir Fry (one of Andrew’s favorite)
- Chicken Broccoli Casserole (another one of Andrew’s favorites)
- Egg Roll in a Bowl
- Baked Salmon w/ a side of brussel sprouts and red potatoes
- Zuppa Soup
- Baked Italian Meatballs w/ Zoodles
- Frozen Banana Chunks (I crave dessert, so this gave me something to look forward to after dinner)
Tell me about your Whole 30 experience below!! xoxo – Lauren