Day 26 has dawned. 26 Days without Sugar, Grains, Legumes, Dairy, Alcohol and Wheat. 26 Days without food additives. 26 Days eating Whole Foods. And Hubby is still there with me on this ride. Go figure!
Here are my thoughts on the Whole30 and what you need for success:
- Be Prepared. By this I mean understand fully what you are getting yourself into and what you want to get out of your Whole30. Check out their website and I would highly recommend buying one of their books (I like The Whole30: The 30-day guide to total health and food freedom). Be prepared for some tough days and the changes you are going to have to make.
- Plan. Plan when you start the Whole30. Melissa and Dallas Hartwig of Whole30 emphasize that you really should not start when you have major events coming up such as Weddings, Parties, Birthdays and Vacations. Plan your start date when you know you will have 30 days (and at least a couple of weeks after for reintroduction) where you can be focused.
- Plan. Plan your meals, if you can weekly, but at the very least one or two days before. Have a shopping list and stick to it. Whole30 has plenty of sources for shopping guidance available.
- Plan. If you do have a trip planned in your Whole30, like I had an overnight business trip this week, you must plan ahead of time of what you will eat and what you need to bring with you (such as an emergency RXBar) to stay compliant. Picture at the top is one of the meals I had on a business trip this week.
- Meal preparation is key. Know what you are going to prepare and try to prepare meals ahead of time, especially lunch if you work. Have left overs to cut down on preparation later in the week.
- Experiment with new recipes and ingredients. My mistake the first week of my Whole30 was not experimenting. By the end of week one my husband was frustrated with food (bland chicken breast, dry salmon and salad every day). I really thought he would quit, but the next week I started adding some of the sauces and condiments you can make yourself out of the Whole30 book. What a difference these made to our meals. Adding different proteins and different veggies to a meal perks things up as well. Experiment.
- Have a Partner. I fortunately had my husband along for this journey and it was a great help in being compliant. Truthfully, he went on board begrudgingly and has stuck with it for me, not really understanding why we are doing this. He has grumbled throughout, but I am amazed at his willpower to beat his diet soda and Splenda habit.
- Tell people. I was afraid at first to tell people I was doing a Whole30, but found that as I started talking about what it was and the benefits it was making me accountable to be compliant. During a normal day at work I get encouragement from my co-workers who want to know what day I am on and tell me that they are proud and amazed that both my husband and I have successfully navigated one more day on this program.
Do I still have some cravings? You bet I do. Am I worried about what will happen after these 30 days? Of course. But I hope that you are all with me as I explore ways to incorporate those foods that I love (cheese and grains) back into my healthy eating plan.