Thousands of people around the nation are completing, have completed, or are planning to complete a Whole30. I’ve spoken before about how I consider myself to be a Whole30 veteran (having completed 6 rounds at varying lengths over the last few years) but also about why I probably will never complete another one. But just because I do not have plans to complete another Whole30 does not mean that the things I’ve learned during my Whole30s are not applicable and have not stuck with me. For example, I was only able to find out I have a gluten intolerance because of this program and because of that I will be forever grateful. Not only that, Whole30 taught me how to cook, showed me my passion for cooking healthy meals, made me a label reading pro and so much more. I know the program seems daunting and I would be lying if I said it was easy. It’s not, but it’s worth it. And because I want everyone who attempts a Whole30 to succeed, I’ve rounded up a few tips to help you all on your journey, whatever that may be.
To start off, I would never have been able to complete a Whole30 without dedicated paleo bloggers. They make it so dang easy to search for Whole30 approved recipes, which completely take the guess work out of “is this compliant?” Luckily for you, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites. Now, I’m a strong advocate for buying and using their cookbooks (just ask my fiance) but when you are first starting out and do not want to invest a lot of money into a lifestyle that you are not sure you like, the online recipes are a lifesaver.
Top 5 Favorite Whole30 Bloggers
- Primal Palate: (http://www.primalpalate.com/) Bill and Hayley of Primal Palate offer so many great easy recipes and becasue they love the Whole30 program so much, they’ve added a separate section of their website completely dedicated to compliant recipes.
- Stupid Easy Paleo: (http://stupideasypaleo.com/) Ok, this should really be called Stupid, Easy, and Simple Paleo because Stephanie Gaudreau provides so many great recipes that are easy enough for a beginner and simple enough for someone who does not have all day to spend in the kitchen (aka ME!).
- PaleOMG: (http://paleomg.com/) Juli Bauer’s recipes are absolutely amazing! I have both of her cookbooks and cook out of them regularly. They are perfect for my skill set (moderate) and time constraints.
- Fed and Fit: (http://fedandfit.com/) Cassy Joy got me to eat (lemony) kale. Enough said.
- Nom Nom Paleo: (http://nomnompaleo.com/) I’m going to be honest, I do not cook from Michelle Tam’s Nom Nom Paleo as much as I would like, but I do follow her on Instagram and draw a lot of inspiration for meals from her posts. Plus, she has a dedicated section of her blog for Whole30 Receipes. She is definitely worth checking out.
These are just a few of the people that I relied upon to cook healthy, delicious, Whole30 compliant meals. But I also really loved cooking through the Whole30 Cookbook. And because I know that not everyone has time to review hundreds of recipes; below, I have included a few of my favorites.
Top 5 Favorite Whole30 Recipes
- Mongolian Beef with Cauliflower Rice: http://www.paleocupboard.com/mongolian-beef.html (leave out the honey. I promise it still tastes delicious!)
- Chicken Piccata with Mashed Cauliflower: http://www.paleocupboard.com/chicken-piccata.html
- Skillet Balsamic Garlic Chicken: http://cookiesandcups.com/skillet-balsamic-garlic-chicken/ (sub butter for ghee)
- Creamy Lemon Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms: http://www.wholesomelicious.com/creamy-lemon-chicken-with-asparagus-and-mushrooms/
- Sweet and Sour Chicken with Cauliflower Rice: https://thedomesticman.com/2014/04/24/sweet-and-sour-chicken-paleo-gluten-free/ (leave out the honey)
Having all of these recipes wouldn’t mean a thing if I did not implement my Top 5 Whole30 Tips.
- Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan (and meal prep, if you can). I’m terrible at meal prepping but I meal plan like it is nobody’s business. I usually meal plan on Fridays so that when we make it to the store during the weekend I have a list ready. I plan Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinners for the week and create a corresponding grocery list. I try to aim for 3 dinners and 2 breakfast recipes per week so that I’m not cooking every night and I can rely on leftovers to carry me through.
- Keep Whole30 compliant snacks handy. The dreaded hangry. There is nothing worse than being hungry without access to compliant food. As such, I always have a few Whole30 compliant foods in my desk, car, purse, and apartment. I would buy individual packs of compliant almond butter or cashew butter, almonds/walnuts, and an apple to have on hand at all times. I have tried RxBars, Epic Bars, and Larabars but for a variety of reasons none of them really worked for me although I know a lot of people love them.
- Develop a restaurant strategy. Without fail you will be forced to eat out during your Whole30 and in order to make it a little less painful I created my foolproof restaurant strategy. I would normally order either a burger no bun with toppings of choice (fried egg, avocado, tomato, onion, etc) with a side of veggies or I would order a plain chicken breast with sauteed mushrooms (even if they don’t have it on the menu almost every kitchen can saute up some mushrooms) with a side of veggies. Originally I thought that I would be stuck with salads for 30 days but I actually found it fairly difficult to order salads at restaurants because of the dressing. I am a complete dressing snob and no matter how much I tried to love just oil and vinegar I couldn’t hack it (give me my Thousand Island!) and most pre-made dressings contain sugar.
- Tea and Sparkling Water are your friends. I gave up soda and caffeine during my first Whole30 and never looked back. There are so many great varieties of tea, both caffeinated and decaf, that there’s no way you will get bored. I just stock my desk full of different varieties and enjoy them throughout the day. Sparkling water is also a lifesaver both during the day and when you encounter your first “let’s grab drinks” scenario. I would normally buy La Croix and keep them at work to avoid any cravings for soda. Additionally, I would order club soda (not tonic) at bars with a slice of lemon to pretend I’m having a vodka tonic (my Bar Strategy). Most people didn’t know the difference and a lot of times I would get my drinks for free so win-win.
- Enjoy the Process and Don’t be so Hard on Yourself. Ok, so this is more of a 2 in 1, but they go hand in hand. The first week, second week, or even third week can be really challenging and it’s ok to admit that. I know the Whole30 mantra “This isn’t hard…” but depending on where you started it really can be and that’s ok. I will never forget during my 4th round, calling up my best friend on day 10 almost in tears about how hard it was and how I just wanted a Reese’s Easter Egg (coincidentally, the food I had been gorging on right before I started, which made my first few days torture). But also, enjoy the process and recognize all those (maybe tiny and insignificant to other people but seem really big to you) non-scale victories like when you are finally sleeping better, waking up with energy, when fruits start tasting a whole lot sweeter because your tastebuds are changing, or when your pants fit a little looser. These are all signs that the process is working and you are changing your life!
I hope these tips help and that you complete a successful Whole30! If you have any questions that I did not answer, please leave me a comment and I will do my best to answer them (I’m not an expert just a veteran) and don’t forget to keep chasing that Tiger Blood!