Whole30. You may have no clue what I’m talking about or you may be a Whole30 alum. Either way, welcome!
In August 2018 I successfully completed my second round of Whole30 with my husband. I did my first Whole30 in February 2018 (you can read about that here) and the experiences were quite different. I learned a lot from my first round and having the support of my husband who was in the trenches with me made a world of difference.
If you’re not familiar with the Whole30, let me take a moment to explain. Whole30 is essentially an elimination diet. You cut out the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Food groups like sugar, gluten, grains, dairy, legumes. You can whole, unprocessed, healthy foods for the 30 days to reset your body and give your system a chance to heal and return to baseline. You can learn more about the Whole30 Program here straight from the source.
With this post I wanted to give you a glimpse into our Whole30 experience. Share some of our favorite meals, our results, and our best tips. If you’re considering the Whole30 or just seeking some encouragement for wellness, I hope this is helpful!
Our favorite meals
My favorite thing about Whole30 is trying new recipes! We tried these and many other yummy ones during our 30 days, most of which I would love to make again. Tip: keep a binder or folder for printed recipes to reference in the future! I have a ton on my Pinterest board, but it can be a pain to find my favorites again. Plus, you can jot down any notes right there on the recipe to remember for the future.
Chicken & Zoodles
- Cook zoodles on stovetop until warm
- Bake or cook chicken on stovetop, add to zoodles once cooked through
- Top with your favorite sauce (make sure no added sugar) and sprinkle nutritional yeast if that’s your thing
Zoodles & Shrimp
Chicken sausage, apple, sweet potato
Homemade chicken salad
- Shredded chicken
- Whole30 compliant mayo (I use Primal Kitchen), enough to coat chicken
- Add pepper to taste
When in doubt, salad! Good way to use up fruit/veggies/meat before they go bad. Also super easy to mix it up or eat out, just be mindful of dressings.
Chia seed pudding
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 cup liquid (I use unsweetened almond milk)
- Put ingredients in a cup and store in fridge for at least a couple hours
- Stir up and then let sit, ideally overnight
Roasted sweet potato & broccoli
- Clean and cut up
- Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper
- Roast at 425 for 20-30 mins (or until tops of broccoli start to blacken)
- Add an egg for yummy breakfast or meat for lunch/dinner
Weight loss was a motivating factor for us to do Whole30, but it wasn’t the only thing we were after. And it certainly wasn’t the only benefit we experienced. I lost 10 pounds and Eric lost 18 pounds during the 30 days. Wow! More importantly, I want to share some of our NSVs — our Non Scale Victories! At the end of the day, weight will fluctuate and the scale can’t really be trusted. If you’re doing a Whole30, you can download this to mark your achievements.
Here’s a look into what we experienced apart from the scale. Although it’s a long list, it’s not exhaustive. It was a powerful, life shifting 30 days.
Improved performance at job.
You think more clearly.
You feel generally more productive.
You fall asleep more easily.
You sleep more soundly.
Energy levels are more even.
You no longer need to eat every two hours.
You need less sugar or caffeine.
You can exercise longer, harder, or faster.
You feel more athletic.
More knowledgeable about nutrition.
New cooking skills.
Meal prep is organized and efficient.
Maximize your food budget.
Healthy eating habits have brought your family closer.
People ask what you’re doing differently.
Longer, stronger nails.
Clothes fitting better.
Feeling more confident in your appearance.
You’re more patient.
You’re more optimistic.
Improved body image/self-esteem/self-confidence.
Healthier relationship with food.
No longer a slave to sugar/carbs.
No more food guilt or shame.
Tips to be successful
Meal plan + prep: Whole30 is pretty much impossible without this. Make food you’ll be excited for! There will be a ton of dishes to do, but the prepped food is so wonderful! This will help keep you on track because you won’t be starving and reach for something that isn’t beneficial for you.
Tunnel vision: Instagram stories can be the worst on the weekends. Everyone is out to brunch or partying or celebrating something with cake. This can be super tempting and make you crave all the things, but stay focused. Be mindful of what may trigger your cravings and avoid it if you think that’s best. You do you, boo.
Remember why you’re doing it: You are doing this for YOU! Even on the hardest days, remember it’s worth it in the end. If you stick with it, you will learn so much about yourself and your body. You are stronger than you think!
Start on the 1st: This isn’t a must, but it sure makes things easier. You don’t have to remember what day you’re on because the calendar will tell you.
Accountability: As with any goal, accountability is huge! Maybe your spouse, best friend, or mom will do Whole30 with you. If you aren’t doing it with someone, utilize social media and the Whole30 community. You’re not alone! At the very least, be open with the people close to you about what it is you’re doing and why. They can still support and cheer you on!
Commit to yourself + your Whole30: You are worth it! Commit to completing your Whole30. Don’t let excuses or cheats sneak in. You’re only cheating yourself…
Utilize the resources: As I mentioned previously, there are so many resources that can help! Instagram was big for me to follow coaches and Whole30 accounts that share recipes and encouragement. The Whole30 website is full of good, free resources. I also highly recommend the books (I’ve read It Starts with Food, Whole30, and Food Freedom Forever). Google is also your best friend if you have a question!
Be willing to try new things and think outside the box: This experience will be a lot more enjoyable if you’re open to new things. New foods, new cooking methods, new thoughts. You may need to get creative at times too. It’s all good!
Keep it as simple as you need: You do not have to be a gourmet chef to make this happen. I actually find it easier to keep it as simple as possible. Get as fancy as you’d like, but it’s totally okay if you end up eating the same lunch all week because that’s what you prepared and you just can’t handle making another recipe and doing more dishes. There is joy in simplicity.
Putting the tips into practice
We put many of these tips to the test with a family trip to the beach. We were gone just two days, but a lot more preparation goes into it when you’re eating a particular way. I was honestly a bit nervous how it would go, but we had a wonderful time.
We didn’t eat out at all since I didn’t want to bother with being tempted or trying to figure out what’s compliant and being complicated with the waiter. I prepared our food in advance (breakfast, lunch, and dinner… although I did accidentally forget my smoothie bags in the freezer at home, bummer) and packed it all in our cooler to take. Of course we didn’t have alcohol, so I brought a few sparkling waters I had on hand otherwise we just took jugs of water to the beach.
We saved a ton of money since we didn’t eat out or do any extra grocery shopping. We also had extra time to just relax because we didn’t need to use time to get ready and drive to a restaurant. We had slow mornings, enjoyed a long family walk in the morning and evening, and spent the day on the beach. It was wonderful, but I am looking forward to a shrimp burger on our next visit 😉
I’m so glad we did it! We pushed ourselves and resisted pleasures in the form of food/drink in order to gain long term. We gained a better understanding of what we’re capable of and what our bodies need. We also gained confidence and clothes that fit so much better! It was challenging, but oh so worth it! Now, what questions do you have?