The response to my Whole30 series has been fantastic. Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive. I’m thrilled many of you are interested in what a Whole30 might do for you.
In an effort to field all the questions and inquiries I’ve received, I thought it might be best to write a post of our tips and “hacks” so readers can reference them whenever it’s convenient.
Drum roll please…
1. Always have “approved” meats thawed and ready for quick cooking.
It’s the pits when hanger sets in and your chicken breast is still frozen. Make sure you plan ahead. While it doesn’t take more than a couple minutes to sauté vegetables, a frozen hunk of raw meat takes hours to prepare—unless you don’t mind rubberized microwaved meat (Yuck!).
Tip: We ordered bacon and breakfast sausage from U.S. Wellness Meats. They make several products “sugar-free”. You’ll find when you start shopping that virtually every variety of both bacon and sausage has some kind of added sugar, be it organic turbinado sugar, maltose, or high fructose corn syrup. We also loved having Aidell’s links on hand. We like both the apple chicken and tomato artichoke varieties. They are pre-cooked, making them a “fast food”.
2. Whole Fat Coconut Milk is Your Friend.
If you’re like me, you like food that is creamy. Diluted and watered-down soups, smoothies, coffee etc. are for those poor unfortunate people who have ruined their taste buds. If you want “creamy” textures, go for the good stuff. I regularly order AROY-D 100% Coconut Milk from Amazon. I finished my Whole30 more than two weeks ago, and I’m still drinking my coffee with with only a splash of this ambrosia. The refrigerated stuff is pumped full of chemicals and all (or most) of the fat has been removed. It’s just not the same.
3. When time is of the essence, fork over the bucks for the pre-chopped veggies from the grocery store.
Our local Albertson’s grocery store has an entire case of pre-chopped/pre-sliced fruits and veggies. Some are even packaged for specific purposes—fajitas, grill veggies, roasting veggies etc. Not only can you snack on these pre-washed, pre-sliced delectables when raw, they’ll save you time when you’re shuttling one kid to volleyball, another to gymnastics, and you have a meeting—and 25 minutes to feed everyone a dinner you’re going to have to make from scratch. When in a pinch, grilled or sautéed veggies and protein fill bellies and only take a few minutes to prepare if the prep work is already done.
4. Lara Bars are Life Savers.
The only pre-packaged bars approved for the Whole30 are Lara Bars (and only those varieties without peanuts and chocolate). Lemon, Lime, Blueberry, Apple Pie, and Carrot Cake were our family favorites. I kept them (still do) stuffed in my purse, the console of my car, and random jacket pockets. I can’t tell you the number of times a strategically placed Lara Bar saved me from a Whole30 fail.
5. Don’t torture yourself with bad coffee.
Thirty-plus days of black coffee can be a life-sentence if you’re used to masking acrid coffee by drowning it in sugar and milk. Turns out when you take out that sweetened bovine secretion your bitter coffee tastes…bitter. We discovered using a French Press and found a particular brand we really liked. I don’t bother with paying for high priced frou-frou coffees from the shop anymore. I’ve found I prefer my own French Press with a splash of coconut milk
6. Make more and Learn to love leftovers.
This wasn’t an issue for me. I’ve always been a leftover eater—and a bit of a magician with them. It has been a common occurrence in our marriage for Hubby to covet my leftover-based-lunch concoctions. This was a useful skill during the Whole30. Making more than we would eat at a meal and using the leftovers as meals the next day made life easier.
Tip: Add an egg to almost any combo of leftover meat and veggies and you’ve got breakfast. I also found a heaping pile of leftovers on top of a baked sweet potato makes for an easy meal as well.
7. Use the condiment recipes in the Whole30 book
Take the time to make condiments yourself. Mayonnaise, ketchup, the roasted red pepper sauce, etc. will transform a blah meal into something delicious. I can’t over emphasize how much difference the sauces make. If your kids are doing the Whole30 with you, this is even more important.
8. Trick your brain with a koozie and a nice can of La Croix
The no-acohol thing is a hang-up for a lot of people. It was especially difficult for us in those first social situations we encountered while doing the program. Hubby and I both discovered that if you put a can of La Croix sparking water in an insulated koozie and sip as if it were an ice-cold beer, your brain often falls for the trick—and you feel a helluva lot better then next morning. You’ll have to try several flavors to figure out which you prefer. I’m a Lemon or Lime kind of gal. Hubby likes Peach-Pear and Berry. Neither of us recommend the Coconut—we’ve still got at least a dozen sitting lonely in the back depths of the fridge.
9. When in doubt, go to sleep
In my case in particular, my body was dealing with some major stuff while I did this program. I found I could sleep more than normal. If I was grouchy or irritable, a nap or even a 8PM bedtime (just like my kids) was what I really needed. Give yourself permission during this time to rest. I think we should all be resting more. We’re over scheduled and over extended. But that is perhaps for another post. If for just the 30 days of the program, make sleep a priority.
10. Take it one day at a time
It is easy for me to dish out this little nugget when I’m on the other side of the 30 days. But this is valuable advice. Don’t think about how many more days are left. It will seem like it’s impossible when you’re on day three or four…or day twenty eight—to make it to 30. You can do it. Just worry about making it through the day you’re dealing with. The future days are going to pass whether you worry about them or not. Don’t fret. Before you know it, you’ll be writing a five part blog series about the experience.