I got introduced to the Whole30 Program over four years ago after Casey [my hubby] took a new job in the health and fitness industry. His company prepared [and delivered] clean, organic, portioned out meals, mostly compliant with a Paleo diet. This meal delivery service was huge with Crossfit boxes as well as other fitness communities, and somewhere someone along the way recommended he read It Starts With Food. I don’t think he’s ever read a book so fast in his life! Upon completion he just decided to do Whole30 and since then has really changed the way he eats.
Now notice that I’m talking about Casey and not myself. The Whole30 Program really intimidated me at the time, but I did recognize the benefit of eating whole foods and eliminating junk from my diet. Therefore, I totally embraced Paleo meals and tried incorporating them into my daily routine as much as possible. I even started drinking black coffee, which was surprising because I always always drank it light and sweet. With that being said, I never ate 100% Paleo. I was willing to give up on coffee creamer, but not my vino or grains! Or cheese!! I really do love cheese! Haha!
I became obsessed with creating Paleo versions of traditionally non-healthy items. Pancakes, banana bread, cookies, you name it…I tried making it. Some recipes were awesome and others not so much. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with this…in fact, felt that I was being super healthy, but after reading It Starts With Food myself and committing to starting Whole30, I understand that this is a big No-No on this program. Basically, I need to get rid of my inner fatty and start craving foods that fuel my body.
So…What is Whole30?
“Established by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig (of Whole9) in April 2009, the Whole30® is our original nutritional program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”
“Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff.”
Before I show you this past week’s meal plan, I wanted to share 5 Things to Know Before Starting Whole30:
1. You CAN do this!
Now, no one said it’s going to be easy, BUT you need to believe that you can totally do this! Your mental state is EVERYTHING!! I started in less than ideal circumstances. We were still “on vacation” in New York, staying at my inlaws. I knew I’d be forgoing our traditional last supper at our favorite Italian restaurant. I knew I’d be spending hours in the airport and on an airplane traveling home. I totally could have waited four days, but was just so excited to start this program that I said, “to hell with my excuses, and I’m just gonna do it!” Stay strong. Believe in yourself. It’s just 30 days, and you will feel amazing.
2. You may feel like poop before feeling AMAZING!
The beginning is rough for a lot of people, so don’t let that deter you from starting or continuing on the program. My friends have reported having headaches the first two weeks, feeling super bloated, and making frequent trips to the bathroom. I know, I know…TMI, but I think it’s important to know that your body is going through a major detox. Any icky feeling is temporary. I’ve honestly been feeling okay so far!
3. Having a buddy will make things easier.
Of course it’s possible to do Whole30 on your own, but having a buddy will really make things easier. You can hold each other accountable, ask questions, and share tips and recipes. It’s just nice having a cheerleader in your corner who understands all the ups and downs you’re experiencing. In addition to having Casey doing Whole30 with me, I’m part of a Facebook group with several other bloggers all doing it: My Life Well Loved, Life In The Green House, Taz and Belly, Life Lutzurious, Two Peas In a Prada, Lauren McBride, A Lo Profile, Makeup Life and Love, Cake For Breakfast Blog, Fleurdille. Be sure to check them all out and read about their weekly Whole30 progress!
4. Meal planning and prep is key!
Set yourself up for success. Clean out your pantry and refrigerator. Pin your favorite recipes on Pinterest. [Make sure you’re following me and my Whole 30 Board!] Plan your meals before going to the supermarket! This will not only help you stay on track, but it’ll also help save money. Once you know what you’re making for the week, you can list out all of the foods and ingredients you’re going to need. Every Sunday do any and all prep work necessary so you have easy, ready to make or eat meals. You’ll be less likely to cheat if you have Whole30 approved foods and meals ready to go!
5. Dining out is tough, but possible.
My recommendation would be to try to eat food that you’ve prepared as much as possible versus going out to a restaurant or ordering in. Whether you choose to experiment with new recipes or stick to the basics, or do a little bit of both, that’s up to you! For me however, when I make a Whole30 meal that’s delicious and filling, I don’t feel as though I’m missing out. Maybe because I just started and my willpower isn’t that strong yet, but I’m trying to avoid temptation! With that being said, if you are planning on dining out, check out this guide for helpful information!
I started last Monday, January 2nd, so today marks Day 7! Here is what I ate [and plan to eat today]:
[B] two over medium eggs, 1/2 avocado, black coffee
[S] one small orange
[L] garden salad, fresh turkey
[D] steak, broccoli, sweet potato
[B] 2 scrambled eggs, broccoli, sweet potato, black coffee
[L] roast beef, garden salad
[D] pork chop, salad, sweet potato fries
[B] 2 eggs over medium, black coffee
[S] sliced cucumbers and tomato
[L & D] we were traveling this day, so ate a burger without the bun + split a garden salad with grilled chicken at the airport
[S] Rx bar
[B] poached eggs, 1/2 avocado, black coffee [I just got these silicone egg poacher cups and love them!]
[L] cauliflower rice + shrimp. This meal was a favorite of the week! If your local store doesn’t have cauliflower rice and you’re too lazy to make it with a food processor like I was, just chop up the cauliflower as tiny as possible. In a pan over medium heat, add coconut oil, garlic, half of a white onion chopped in small pieces. After a minute add the chopped cauliflower, salt, pepper, and coconut aminos. It’s the perfect substitute for soy sauce! Mix it all until mostly cooked. Add 1-2 eggs depending on the amount of cauliflower “rice” you’re making. Mix it for another few minutes, then add in the fresh cooked shrimp. This meal didn’t take long to make at all and it was so freaking good!!!
[D] crockpot organic chicken, sweet potato fries, arugula salad
[B] scrambled eggs with salsa
[S] apple with almond butter
[L] home made chicken salad with red grapes
[D] skirt steak, arugula and brussel sprout salad with avocado, grilled zucchini and mushroom, home made french fries
[B] eggs with spinach and salsa, strawberries, rosemary potatoes, bullet proof coffee [using this clarified butter]
[L] spinach salad with skirt steak
[S] lemon Lara bar
[D] salmon, broccolini, cauliflower rice [made the same way from Thursday’s lunch]
[B] eggs and salmon
[L] home made chicken salad with celery and red grapes
[D] zoodles and meatballs
[S] mixed strawberries and bananas with almond butter
So as I said earlier, I started my first week in less than ideal circumstances [for me]. I didn’t get to do my food shopping and my own meal prep until the middle of Day Four, but I didn’t let that prevent me from starting on January 2nd. There were so many times I talked about doing Whole30, but then chickened out, so I’m just really proud of myself for being dedicated this time around!
Surprisingly, Week 1 was not as terrible as I thought it would be. I do feel a little bloated, but no headaches or stomachaches. I’m hoping this continues to be the case and I’m really thankful to have Casey and my blogger babes as a support system! Stay tuned for Week Two’s update next Sunday!
If you are also doing Whole30 this month and plan to share any photos about your journey or pics of your meals on social media, be sure to use the hashtag #whole30jan so we can find you! Here are more Week 1 updates from some of my friends: