Don’t know what the Whole 30 Diet is? Check out the article In a NutShell: What is Whole 30?
1. Read the book.
Before you start. Or, at least own it. Trying to figure things out on the fly can be frustrating, and if you read through the book ahead of time, or can consult it along the way, it’s super helpful. And while Google can help you solve the riddle of “is [some food I want] Whole 30 compliant?”, there’s enough tips, recipes, and other good info that the book is totally worth the investment.
2. Find a couple of stores that you like.
We shop at Kroger stores, but were having a hard time finding a few things. When we finally stopped at a Trader Joe’s, it was a game changer for us. We could get several key ingredients there that were important to succeeding with Whole 30.
3. Figure out some key substitutions (and stock up).
This one tip is a life-saver – and could be it’s own article!
With no dairy means no butter. We were in the habit of using butter a lot, and not just as a cooking fat. Learning that Ghee (or clarified butter) is Whole 30 compliant, and is as tasty and effective as butter, meant we didn’t have to give up the buttery flavor. Ghee is very expensive ($8-10 for 1.5 cups) – so we are experimenting with making our own (there’s a recipe in the Whole 30 book).
We very much enjoy a latte in the morning (I make them every morning with our own espresso machine – a fabulous investment!). However, no dairy means no milk. And no soy means no soy milk. Almond milk is OK, but isn’t our favorite. My sister tipped us off to NutPods (strange name, but tasty alternative), which is almond milk and coconut cream. It’s a bit tricky to find locally, but Amazon carries it. My sister has it on auto-ship from Amazon to be sure she never runs out. For us, thankfully we were able to find it at our local Kroger stores, and at a good price too. We considered making it, but aren’t sure that it makes economic sense.
Mayo is out (which I’m sure is fine with many of you!), but I enjoy mayo. Learning to make our own was actually easy, and I prefer the taste. We make a batch every couple of weeks, and it takes maybe 5 minutes to whip up.
Vegetable oil is out, so we used olive oil and canola oil (depending on the situation).
And we just tried out Coconut Aminos as a replacement for soy sauce. While not the same, it certainly delivered in flavor, and was quite good.
And lastly – you might find yourself getting tired of eggs in the morning, so a nice alternative like Chia Seed Pudding (not strictly recommended by Whole 30, but not prohibited either) is pretty great. It’s easy to make ahead and is tasty too.
4. Keep it simple.
We didn’t get too fancy: it was mostly meat (or eggs) and vegetables or fruit. With some good seasoning, we actually really enjoyed what we were eating. There’s no need to try and get fancy, but if you DO want to, there’s great recipes in the book.
5. Prepare food ahead.
We found it was much easier when we’d prepare breakfast or lunch the night before, and whenever make our favorite potato “hash”, we are sure to make enough for a few meals – which saves a lot of prep time.
6. Do it with a partner.
The support and accountability is invaluable. Personally, I couldn’t have done this without my wife. I would have cheated, then cheated again, then bailed on the whole idea.
7. Plan to do the reintroduction.
Knowing we were going to do the reintroduction phase, and do it seriously, shifted our mindsets and made it far easier to stick with the plan.
8. Do the reintroduction.
We learned a LOT about foods and their effects on us. Things we will remember, and take into account, for the rest of our lives. The reintroduction is easy.
9. Keep a journal during the reintroduction.
Journal your weight, what you ate, and how you felt each day. Being able to look back and see that “hey, the day after I ate grains, my skin broke out” helps make it much clearer what foods affect you in what ways.
10. Find ways to enjoy water.
Since you basically will be drinking only water, you may want to find some ways to spruce it up a bit. My sister sent some essential peppermint oil – one drop of that in a large glass of water makes it easier for me to drink enough water. Sometimes we’ll fill a pitcher with water, and put some sliced cucumber and some mint in the pitcher and let it steep for a bit. We can refill the pitcher several times without having to replace the cucumber or mint. My wife enjoys Le Croix (and other sparkling waters). Just make sure they don’t contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Curious how it went for us, and if we lost any weight? Check out Going Whole 30 for 30 Days