By Judith Looking to save a little money this month? Or just need to stock up on some of your favorite products before the September Whole30? We’ve got you covered! Here’s a round-up of some… More
You’ve read the book and are ready and raring to go. Put the brakes on a moment and take some time to PURGE! Your kitchen and your mind can use a little attention before you get started.
I got in the habit at the beginning of a round to do a purge and get myself set up ahead of time. Here are six things you can do to get ready:
- Set Aside Fridge Space for Compliant Items Clean out a little space in your fridge for your Whole30 items. I take one of the shelves inside of the fridge door…ok, two shelves. Put ALL your Whole30 sauces, dressings, olives, etc. there.
- Organize your fridge I know, I know–this is a dreaded task but let’s get things off to a good start. You can pick away at this! When you share a kitchen with roommates or family, things can easily get mixed up and you don’t want to accidentally grab that non-compliant mustard! And, you might not want to share your fancy-shmancy compliant bacon that you paid way too much money for!
- Sort Your Spices They might not seem like something that would have extra stuff in them but there’s been more than one occasion that we’ve seen somebody ruin their Whole30 from not reading the labels. If you have the space, separate your compliant spices or homemade spices blends (read this post for ideas here) . If you don’t have the space, grab a package of sticky coloured dots and put them on the jars of spices that are compliant.
Set Aside Shelf Space for Compliant Pantry Items The first few rounds I was always pawing through my shelves to find what I was looking for. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to set aside a space for my Whole30 pantry items. Now, everything is in one place and it makes it A LOT EASIER to see what I have on hand to make meals with. If you’re short on extra space, dump it all in a basket–it’s gotta go somewhere anyway so might as well be together.
Stock Up or Make Compliant Items After all this organizing, you need something to put in these Whole30 spaces in your kitchen. Check out our Premade vs. Homemade: Getting Ready For A Whole30 Round post. You want to hit the ground running on Day1 and not worry about where things are or what you’re cooking.
- Get Rid of Temptation Do you think that you’re going to feel the call of those Oreos sitting in your bottom shelf? Ditch them! Hide Them! Take them out into your yard and burn them! OK, maybe don’t burn anything but do set yourself up for success by removing food that might get you in trouble.
Have you heard about the hangover days? Carb flu? Yeah, they’re not fun. Good news though, not everyone will get it. Chances are if you were eating well beforehand that you’ll be fine. I was eating pretty awful before my first round and had a couple of rough days in the beginning. Here are six small changes that you can make before your round to ease into Day1 nicely.
- Start Cutting Down On Sugar Passing up desserts is the obvious choice but you’ll be amazed at what sugar gets sneaked into. Many premade rotisserie chickens usually have brown sugar in it so be sure to read your labels. Start reading labels on everything and make better choices ahead of your round.
- Go Dairy Free With Your Coffee The idea of not having coffee with cream and sugar in it to kick off your morning can be awfully daunting. Luckily, there are some great alternatives. You can make almond and cashew milk or dairy-free creamers like nutpods, which is almonds and coconut milk. I’m obsessed with nutpods and it tastes better than cream in my opinion. Click here to read more about coffee while on Whole30. You can get 15% off on nutpods on their website using the discount code jujuswhole30
- Add More Veggies To Your Meals There’s no way around it—you are going to be eating A LOT of veggies in your thirty days. Go into the produce section of your supermarket with a brand new outlook and take stock of all that you can choose from. Then, choose it! Pile those veggies on your plate ahead of your round. If you’re not a great cook or a picky eater, this is a wonderful time because by Day30, you’ll be a force in the kitchen. Check out our Pinterest page for recipe ideas.
- Make Some Proteins Or Meals To Freeze When you come home at the end of a long day, the last thing you might want to do is cook yet another meal. More cooking? Ugh. I always have stuff tucked away in my freezer that I can grab and heat up. You don’t want to be stuck in a panic with nothing to eat so do yourself a favour and freezer something. There have been times where a frozen hamburger patty that I made a few weeks prior saves my day!
- Cut down on Alcohol Use to having a glass of wine with your supper? Try putting something else in that wine glass…have you tried Kombucha? Sparkling water?
- Take Stock Of Social Events During Your Round Chances are you probably have at least ONE social situation to navigate through during your round where you’ll be by a mountain of sugary treats, alcohol, pastries, and more. Start to figure out how you’re going to navigate these situations.
Take the rest of the week and work through this list of to-dos to get started. Small changes ahead of time will make a big difference! If you have any ideas, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prepping is such a key part to being successful on a round. Before a round, I carve out a little spot in the fridge for my Whole30 stuff. I also have a Whole30 shelf that ONLY Whole30 products go on! It makes it easy to see what I have at hand and what I need when I need to go to the supermarket.
A couple of years ago when I started my first Whole30 round, there weren’t many products on the market that were compliant.. Now, there are lots and lots of choices. Homemade is usually the cheaper of the two but premade products are convenient and save time. Whatever your budget and inclinations are, there’s something below for you.
You can purchase most products on Amazon or give Thrive Market a whirl. I have a membership there, LOVE the prices, and get most of my staple items here! You can get 25% off your first order and free shipping with any purchase more than $49 with a trial membership. If you’re low-income, a veteran, a teacher, a student, you can apply for a free membership through their Thrive Gives program. You can apply here.
SAUCES Having the same plated fats can get boring after a while so I love grabbing a sauce and using that. No thinking, just pour.
Homemade First, Eat The Gain’s Spicy Chimichurri Sauce is one of my go to sauces. It’s good on EVERYTHING. I don’t want to burn the enamel off of my two and six year old’s teeth by making it too spicy so I usually set aside a little of the sauce before I toss in the jalapeno. It makes everyone happy! Second, pesto sauce. Another super versatile sauce that works on everything. Put some on your roasted veggies! Third, another favourite, is Paleo Gluten Free’s Creamy Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing. While they all may seem similar, they are quite different in their taste. Once you get use to making them, you won’t even need the recipes and can toss things into a food processor and come out with your own creation.
Premade I love Saucy Lips zesty cilantro on pretty much anything. When I don’t want to deal with whipping up a sauce, these do the trick. Every sauce is a winning combination. They’re a small family business that are growing and those are the kinds of businesses I want to support. You can get 15% off your order and free shipping with any order 45$ and over here by using the discount code WHOLE30.
RANCH DRESSING The Holy Grail and most talked about dressing on Whole30. This is such an easy way to get a plated fat in any meal and it so delicious. Dump it on anything–seriously, it goes with everything!
Homemade Whole Sisters Dump Ranch is one of the most popular recipes amongst our readers. Use it with fresh herbs to kick it up a notch–you won’t be disappointed though it taste delicious with bottled herbs too.
Premade For those are slightly frightened of eating a raw egg now matter how delicious it looks whipped up into a ranch dressing, Primal Kitchen has an awesome ranch dressing that I love. Yeah, I’m one of those that can’t get past the raw eggs. You can also get it through Thrive Market here.
KETCHUP There’s no need to give up ketchup during a round. There are lots of options to stock your fridge with and you can keep making potato wedges, hamburgers, and meatloaf.
Homemade Dates add a nice taste to ketchup but, if you’re like me and short on time, you don’t have time to mess around with preparing them. Check out 40 Aprons’ Whole30 Ketchup recipe that’ll take no time to make!
Premade My favourite ketchup is from Good Food for Good–it’s thick and rich…and the taste–out of this World! You can order Good Food for Good’s Ketchup or Spicy Ketchup through Thrive Market (their ketchup is shown on the left) or get it on Amazon here (25% off right now on their 4 and 6 packs!).
MAYO Again, no need to give up egg, chicken, or tuna salad while on a round. That’s great news because it makes for quick and easy lunches!
Homemade One egg, some oil, and a few other ingredients are all you need to make homemade mayo–how easy is that? Check out The Movement Menu’s Homemade Paleo Mayonnaise. It takes 1 minute to make!
Premade If you’re in the no-raw-eggs-for-me-camp (Welcome, I lead that camp!), then Primal Kitchen’s Mayo with Avocado Oil may be for you. I must admit that I found the flavour a bit different when I first tried it. No sugar plus avocado oil instead of soybean oil will do that but I love it now! You can order it through Amazon or Thrive Market.
BUFFALO SAUCE This became a staple in my kitchen when I was on a round–I need that kick in dishes every now and again. This is a must have for The Real Food Drs’ Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Spaghetti Squash and Peas and Crayon’s Buffalo Shrimp Lettuce Wrap Tacos.
Homemade This will take you about 10 minutes from start to finish to make which is always a plus given the amount of cooking we need to do on a round. Get the recipe from The Real Food Drs’ for buffalo sauce here.
Premade The New Primal for the win! You can get their buffalo sauce in Mild, Medium, and Hot here on Amazon or can get 25% off your order directly through their website. Of course, you can grab most everything at Thrive Market like a lot of us do.
COFFEE ‘CREAM’ And lastly, we can’t forget our coffee drinkers out there. Some, of which, may be in a slight panic about the prospect of drinking their coffees black. Don’t worry, we have you covered!
Homemade Turns out cashew cream is super easy to make and quite tasty. Carla posted a her recipe on how to make cashew milk. I’ve tried it and really liked it. It’s worth a try–so simple! You can get more coffee ideas on our Whole30 Coffee Guide post here.
Premade I got used to drinking my coffee black. It took a month of trying in order to get there but I did it–I’m actually sipping on an iced coffee sans anything in it right now but that’s because I haven’t managed to get over to Judith’s to pick up some Pumpkin Spice nutpods that she has waiting for me. Nutpods is made from almonds and coconuts and is, quite simply put, DIVINE! It comes in original, French Vanilla, and Hazelnuts flavours BUT, if you’re feeling like something a bit different, try their vanilla lemon, peppermint mocha, pumpkin spice, and dark chocolate orange flavours! Click here and use the discount code jujuswhole30 for 15% off you order.
So, there are the six things you can make or buy to stock your kitchen for a round. Food does NOT need to be boring on Whole30 and you always have to have a plated fat so why not make it something delicious? For more sauces and condiment ideas, check out our That Special Sauce blog post. Enjoy!
In every single round I’ve gone I’ve had a few days where NOTHING is appealing, usually around day 20 or so. Seriously, you could take my biggest food weakness (it’s chocolate by the way!) and put it in front of me and I wouldn’t touch it.
Each time that this has happened, I’ve found something that has helped snapped me out of that. If you’re at that stage, I hope one of these recipes will tempt you.
Tostones – Be still my beating heart, these are AMAZING! If you’ve never had them before, run to your grocery store and get some. No, they don’t taste like bananas–it’s more starchy like a potato. You can get the recipe here.
Smashed Potatoes No complicated recipe here. Just grab some little potatoes and toss them in some EVOO. Add some seasonings of your choice and roast them. When they’re almost done, take something flat and squish them (you don’t have to get all crazy and actually smash them!). Brush a little EVOO on them and put them back in the oven for 10 minutes. They’re crunchy and perfect with pesto!
Chicken Chili This recipe from the Whole30 Slow Cooker cookbook (I did it in the Instant Pot instead) did the trick–food boredom gone! It’s taste hint of lime that did the trick for me! If you haven’t got the book, it’s worth getting–lots of great recipes to choose from!
So, these are my food boredom busters. What are yours?
It’s halfway through your Whole30 and you’re feeling frustrated. Your clothes don’t seem loose, you’re not feeling that different, and to be honest, oftentimes you’re dragging. You’re thinking about quitting – but you want to follow through with what you started.
So, what do you do?
Before you throw in the towel, it’s smart to have a heart-to-heart with YOURSELF. Here are some questions you can run through to make sure you’re on track. Remember to be honest with yourself – these points are key to your success on Whole30.
Are you eating per the meal template? Whole30 is not about eating unlimited amounts of bacon and RxBars. It’s about following a meal template, which we’ve outlined here. As a base, start with plates that are at least half filled with vegetables. To that, add 1-2 palm-sized portions of protein and some healthy fat. Take a hard look at your meals and make sure they are plated by the template. It’s recommended by Whole30 because it works!
Are you eating enough fat? We’ve all been brainwashed that fat is bad (hello, 1980s and 1990s!) so undoing this one is hard for many people. Whole30 suggests that you add a healthy fat (think avocado, nuts, olive oil, ghee, olives, etc.) to every meal. The fat keeps you satisfied, happy, and it provides your body with essential nutrients to keep it operating. Take a look at the official Whole30 meal template for more ideas on healthy fat sources. And check out a blog post on some of our favorite sauces, which can serve as added fats on your plate. Don’t skimp on the fat! It will backfire in the end. However, be mindful of portion sizes when it comes to healthy fats like nuts. It’s easy to mindlessly grab handful after handful – so we recommend portioning them out and putting the bag away before you start grazing!
Are you eating a variety of vegetables? I’ll be honest: It can get easy to get lazy on Whole30. Maybe at the beginning, you were eating a wide range of veggies and now on Day 21, you’re eating a potato and some cucumber slices with your chicken and calling it a day. Make sure you are eating a broad array of vegetables – A good rule of thumb is to aim to get every color of vegetable on your plate (and in your body) daily! A tip that I am implementing more and more is to start each meal with a bed of greens and build from there. That knocks off one vegetable without any thought. Potatoes are fine (and encouraged!) on Whole30 – Just be sure they are not taking up all of the space on you plates and crowding out other nutrient-dense veggies.
If you have access to a local farm, farmer’s market or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share this summer, those are good options for getting lots of delicious, fresh vegetables to your plate at reasonable prices. I just started a 20-week CSA and I love knowing that I will have a new supply of local veggies every week – They taste amazing and the variety keeps me happy.
Are you eating too much fruit? Fruit is certainly encouraged on Whole30, and there’s certainly a bounty of it in the summer. (Hello, local strawberries!) But fruit has (natural) sugar and that sugar can awake your sleeping sugar dragon if you keep feeding it. We suggest eating fruit with your meals and not generally as stand-alone snacks during the day. That way, you are not feeding your body straight sugar but eating it alongside protein, veggies, and fat. Also, be sure to check your quantities. A few handful of blueberries on a salad is great, for example, but we would not advise you to eat a giant bowl of fruit salad at every meal. Be honest with yourself and keep your fruit portions in check. This also applies to dried fruit – which is even sweeter and can become a substitute for candy for many. If you’re constantly popping dates or dried figs or raisins into your mouth, are you really changing your habits around sugar?
Are you getting enough sleep? Your body is going through a lot on Whole30 – It’s working hard to change how you source energy from your food (from sugar to fat/protein.) You’re also probably spending more time than usual in the supermarket and kitchen, shopping, prepping, cooking, and cleaning. It’s exhausting! Sleep is a beautiful, restorative thing and it does not serve you (or your Whole30) if you skimp. Try to get to bed earlier (even work on this in increments of 15 minutes), shut off electronics earlier, and focus on being calm and relaxed as you hit the sheets. My issue is that I don’t always “schedule” enough time for sleep but over my years doing Whole30, I have improved on this. I can feel the difference when I get enough sleep – it’s the BEST feeling!!
Are you moving your body? Movement is not a formal part of Whole30 but we all know that movement helps support a healthy mind and body. If you were exercising before beginning Whole30, hopefully you can keep it up (maybe with a few adjustments, such as pre/post-workout meals if needed and varying the intensity of your exercise.) If you were not exercising prior to Whole30 (and have the OK from your doctor), now is a super time to start moving in tandem with your new way of eating. It does NOT have to be complicated. Start with walking (going for a walk, adding in steps by parking farther away from a store or getting on a subway at a stop or two earlier), take the stairs when you can, do some at-home yoga (there are lots of online options for free yoga or check out yoga DVDs!), or sign up for a class at a local studio. (Many studios offer your first class for free!)
Are you truly prepared? Whole30 is a big endeavor, especially your first round. Your meals do not have to be complicated or beautiful but there is some element of preparedness that is necessary for success. And it’s different for everyone! For some, it may be just having compliant ingredients, quick protein, and pantry staples on hand (Be sure to check out Thrive Market – www.thrivemarket.com/everydaywhole – if you need to stock up!) so you can whip something up after work. Others need to prep meals for the whole week on Sunday. Whatever’s the case for YOU, make sure you have what you need in your house to get it done. Compliant food is not going to magically appear when you’re hungry so be true to your style of prep and you will be sure to succeed!
Have you had to check in with yourself during a Whole30? What did you discover you were doing well or could do better?
I must confess that I’m not much of a meal planner. I usually cook a bunch of stuff and stock up my fridge with lots of goodies for the week. Then, I just grab and reheat whatever I’m in the mood for. Here’s what my weekend cooking looked like.
Herb, herbs, and more herbs
Fresh herbs rock! They’re perfect to toss in your eggs, potatoes, other veggies, and just about everything else. This week, I got some dill, parsley, and cilantro. I’ve found that if I chop it up and put it in little containers that it’s less likely to wilt and go to waste in my fridge. I use herb scissors to get the job done quickly.
Here’s what I do with veggies on the weekends:
- Roast them Grab some potatoes, radish, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, and/or butternut squash and toss them on a sheet pan with parchment paper and roast, roast, roast.
- Cut them up I usually have eggs in the morning and love opening the fridge and grabbing some pre-cut veggies. Save yourself the time and do the cutting on the weekend.
- Try a couple of new veggie sides to stave off food boredom. Here are the recipes from the pictures above:
- Keep it Simple I usually have a bag of green beans that I can microwave, potatoes (regular and sweet) that I can toss in the microwave, and some frozen cauliflower on hand. I’m not cooking gourmet on the weeknights–I need fast and simple!
This doesn’t need to be complicated. Here’s what I made this weekend:
- Marinaded two lbs of salmon for the afternoon in The New Primal’s Citrus Herb marinade and put some dill on it when I baked it. Supper and lunches…done!
- Meatballs–no recipe. I just toss an egg, a bit of almond flour, and spices in with a pound of ground turkey or beef and they’re ready to go. I put in onions, grated zucchini, garlic–whatever I find in the fridge. I’ve found that it’s quicker and less messy to use a cookie scoop to make them. I throw them in a frying pan and cook them. The nice thing about this is you can toss them in some sauce, pour on some Frank’s Red Hot, or eat them naked.
- I don’t want to cook all my proteins in one go so I have some chicken thighs in the fridge to toss in the oven. I season it with TJ’s Umami seasoning and it’s done in less than an hour with leftovers to spare.
- In my freezer, I always have TJ’s frozen turkey burgers and I always make sure I have some beef burgers on hand in the freezer too. Take a pound of ground beef and make some patties to freeze. Plan ahead!
- Some weeks, I roast a chicken–it’s really the easiest way to get a bunch of protein to eat.
In my kitchen, I have black olives, green olives, nuts, and salad dressings.
I love, love, love these two sauces and make them all the time. Try them, you won’t be disappointed.
What do you do to prep for the week?