After online-committing to doing Whole30 last week, I’m spending some time early this week preparing for the next 30 days of clean eating. If you’re late to the Party, Ben and I will be starting Whole30 on Thursday of this week. Whole30 is a food detox program where you abstain from eating certain foods for a month in order to regain a balanced diet, discover any food aversions you might have, and break bad food habits you may have developed over time.
One of the things I love about doing a food cleanse, is to have the opportunity to learn about my body and how to take better care of it. Recently, I’ve been having a few digestive issues that I’ve never experienced before, and I’m taking this as an opportunity to pay special attention to what I eat, and to see if there are any things in my current diet that I need to take a break from.
I do want to take a moment here to say that Whole30 is not about weight loss or about eating less. If you struggle with rigid food guidelines, or if it is a trigger for an eating disorder you battle, I encourage you to talk to a nutrition specialist or a therapist about whether Whole30 is right for you. If you want more information about eating disorder support groups and resources, Eating Disorder Hope is a good place to start.
Okay, first things first: what the heck can’t you eat on Whole30???
- No added sugar of any kind. This includes things like stevia, honey, molasses, cane sugar, and artificial sweeteners. It EXCLUDES natural, fruit juices that contain nothing other than fruit and water. You may use these as sweeteners, sparingly.
- No alcohol. Bye wine, beer, brandy, midnight whiskey.
- No grains. This includes wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, sprouted grains, bulgur, millet, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, and any other grain you can think of.
- No legumes (cue tears). No beans of any kind, peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, soy, miso, tofu, tempeh, or edamame. The exceptions here are: green beans, snow peas, and sugar snap peas, which you CAN have.
- No dairy (enter my meltdown). No kefir, no cheese, no milk, no butter. The exception here is ghee (clarified butter), which you can use and cook with.
- No carrageenan, MSG, or added sulfites. These guys are often found in cured meats, and milk alternatives like almond or coconut milk. Read your labels carefully!
- No recreated junk food. This means no making Whole30 compliant brownies or baked goods. One of the main points of Whole30 is to break some of your cravings for sugary foods. If you make alternatives and that is all you eat, then the cravings will not go away, because you’ll still be fulfilling them.
- No weighing yourself or measuring yourself for weight loss results. At the heart of Whole30 is the desire to feel empowered by your body, and what it can do. If you do Whole30 solely for weightloss, you’ll miss out on celebrating your body, and loving yourself for where you’re at.
Okay, so now that we have those out of the way, WHAT THE HECK CAN YOU EAT & DRINK?
- Meat & Seafood
- Sparkling Water + Naturally Flavored Water (read, La Croix)
How I’m Preparing
The key to surviving Whole30, is to be prepared. I’m not going to lie to you: this takes a lot of work. But, it pays off when you’re hungry and can reach into your fridge or pantry to have a compliant snack. My biggest piece of advice during Whole30, is to pick a day of the week where you’re going to prepare for your meals for the upcoming week, whether that means cooking it all in advance so that you just have to heat it up, or chopping up your fruits and vegetables so that you have things ready to go when you’re ready to cook or eat.
In these few days leading up to Whole30 here are some of the things I’m doing to get ready:
- Cleaning out my fridge of non-compliant foods. This way there aren’t any temptations waiting for me.
- Cleaning out my pantry of non-compliant foods and donating any unopened non-perishables to a food bank.
- Making a list of my go-to Whole30 meals for when I just need to eat something fast.
- Making a list of foods I want to meal prep for to have on-hand during the week.
- Making a list of snack foods I can keep on hand for on-the-go meal supplements.
- Making a journal for my Whole30 experience to document how/what I’m feeling to help future me evaluate how my body is responding.
In my journal, I’m including the list of rules at the beginning to keep myself accountable. I’m also listing off foods to keep in stock, foods to prepare for the whole week, and some easy go-to meal ideas for when I can’t think of anything but cheese. The foods that I tend to meal prep are dressings and marinades as well as easy meats that can be tossed into a salad quickly.
One of the things I learned in last year’s round of Whole30 was that my food didn’t need to be bland. I think that’s one of the lies we tell ourselves about healthy eating: that it can’t be satisfying. By prepping marinades and sauces that elevate the flavors of my food, I help my future self break that lie.
I’ve also included a log of my current symptoms/reasons why I want to do Whole30 + some hopes about what I would like to see happen as a result of Whole30.
As a form of self love, I’ve also included a few motivational quotes for myself throughout the journal to remind myself that my worth DOESN’T come from what I eat/don’t eat, the number on the scale, or even my cravings. I don’t want to survive Whole30, and hate the whole process. I seriously want to enjoy this experience, and to use it as an opportunity to love my body and feel empowered by what it can do.
On a daily basis, I’m going to do my best to journal my meals, my emotional and physical state, to keep track of the changes in my body. I’ve also left some pages blank throughout my journal, and have committed to doodling and writing some motivational quotes for myself on the days I’m not feeling it.
Foods I Keep In Stock While On Whole 30
- Lara bars: There are some that are not compliant, so make sure to always read the ingredients. Our household favorite is apple pie. I try to keep us stocked on these for emergencies. They are great pre/post workout snacks, and while we’re on Whole30 I try to keep at least one in the car and in my purse for times when I’m out and about and am tempted to eat something non-compliant.
- Biltong Jerky: this is both paleo and Whole30 compliant and is a great snack for days when I need some protein on the go. We usually take these when we go hiking. It’s not a bad idea to have some in your desk drawer, or in your backpack for those days when you need something in between meals.
- Nutpods creamer: these creamers are totally compliant (no sugar, no dairy, no added carrageenan) and while they’re no match to my current obsession with peppermint mocha creamer, they definitely do the trick to to soften up your coffee if you just need a little bit of something in there.
- Dang Toasted Coconut Chips: These are a great form of healthy fat and make great snacks.
If you haven’t noticed by now, Whole30 takes a lot of foresight. Knowing your body, and the looking ahead to the times when you’re likely to cave to a craving is key. Those, for me, are usually times when I’m craving something really fast. Since most of the food you eat on Whole30 takes work, it is super helpful to keep snacks in abundance for those moments of desperation where all you want is some chips or a cookie (we’ve all been there).
Other miscellaneous foods I stock a lot of are:
- Eggs. You will eat so many eggs, y’all. So. Many. Eggs. Fried, poached, hard/soft boiled, baked. Eggs are your friends. They’re great for breakfast and lunch protein boosts. While on Whole30 we eat close to 2 dozen eggs a week. Nobody tell me that’s a bad thing or I will lose it.
- Potatoes. Can I tell you a secret with no judgement?? I’m not the biggest fan of sweet potatoes. I KNOW, I KNOW it’s crazy. It’s just not something I grew up eating, and every time I’ve had them I can’t get past the texture. Someone convince me otherwise, please. I know I’m missing out on a major food fad there. But anyway, a few years ago, Whole 30 legalized all potatoes. PRAISES BE, PEOPLE. Now, you probably shouldn’t eat potatoes at every meal, because that would probably defeat the purpose of eliminating other carbs. However, know that they’re there to fill in the gaps for weekend brunches and steak nights.
- Assorted greens. Watercress, kale, spinach, chard, collards, arugula. Don’t just eat one green over and over until you can never look at a spinach leaf the same again. Diversify your green investments. It will keep your tastebuds on their toes, and it will keep you from getting greens fatigue.
- AVOCADO. Y’all. Stock. Up on Avocados. Make roses out of them to make your food beautiful + instaworthy. Let them convince you that life is still good.
Joining Us For Whole30? Make A Plan.
I know, I know, I sound redundant. But y’all, I can’t stress enough how much planning Whole30 takes in order to go smoothly. When we’re on Whole30 we plan all our meals out for the week. We spend 2-4 hours cooking, chopping food, and pre-making as many things as possible to simplify our lives.
If you’re going to commit to Whole30 I encourage you to sit down, do some research, collect some recipes, and plan out as far in advance as you can. This book is a great resource for recipes, meal planning, and compliant grocery lists.
Some additional support:
I started following these three accounts on Instagram last week and they’ve been super helpful so far:
- Whole30: this is the official Whole30 account. It provides encouragement, helpful articles, and food inspiration.
- Whole30 Recipes: this account is curated by the official Whole30 account and rounds up a collection of approved recipes. This is PERFECT for days when you need some inspiration for meals.
- Whole 30 Approved: this is also curated by the official Whole30 account, and it rounds up brands of food, snacks, dressings, etc., that are Whole30 compliant. Look here if you’re needing some more snacks for on-the-go life. As an added plus, they also do some fun giveaways!
That’s all I have for now! If you have any questions about Whole30, feel free to send them my way! If I don’t know the answer, I’ll ask google for you 🙂 Be on the lookout later this week for my first Whole30 recipe. Also, if you currently aren’t signed up to receive my newsletter–you can sign up on the sidebar to the left! It’s a weekly Newsletter centered around three pieces of life around the table: food, conversation, and gathering. As a quick spoiler alert: news on the street is I’m sending out a free download of a couple HOC recipe staples this week.
Thanks for following along! I’m excited to navigate Whole30 with you all.
Love & Meal Prep,
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