Crush the Whole30 with These Tips and Tricks
It is January and a Whole lot of people have chosen to take charge of their health and eat better this year. And a Whole lot of them are being radical in the steps that they are taking to do that. Can you guess what they are doing?
Yup. I’m sure you guessed it: The Whole30!
Now, I’m no Melissa Hartwig, but I’ve had my fair share of Whole30 meals. This was one of my favorite parts of my health journey.
Now for those of you that aren’t familiar with the program, the Whole30 is 30 days without ANY sugar, grains, dairy, legumes (including peanuts and soy), alcohol, MSG, carrageenan, sulfites, and no foods made to replicate baked goods, junk foods or other treats. (see the complete rules here)
For someone like me who lived for my milky coffee and homemade muffins, it was definitely a shock to the system. My husband did the Whole30 with me to be supportive. He wasn’t sure what he’d get out of the whole thing. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure that he would make it past Day 1. I mean, he used to drink about 1 tablespoon of sugar in each cup of coffee. Seriously. I’m not joking.
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And we survived! We did the full 30 days with no slips. And we even thrived. We were both really happy with how we felt, how much happier our tummies were feeling and even how much weight we lost. We did stick to the rule of no weighing ourselves for those first 30 days.
My husband liked the results so much that he requested to continue eating Whole30 compliant for an undetermined amount of time. I ended up continuing to cook this way for 4 months (until my husband had a 2-week long business trip where he had very little control over the foods that he could eat).
During this time (that 4 month period), my husband felt the best that he had since he could remember. He slept better, snored less, was able to handle stress better and was excited to fit into jeans smaller than what he wore when we got married over 10 years ago!
And I had some great results from those first 30 days as well. I lost weight, stopped having horrible stabbing pains in my stomach, and was able to cut down my caffeine habit from 3 coffees a day to only 1 because my energy levels were great!
You don’t live by the Whole30 rules for 120 days without learning some ways to make it through. And when I heard that a bunch of friends were starting the Whole30 this month I figured I should share some tips, tricks, and recipes that helped me thrive during my Whole30.
Here are my favorite ideas, tips, and tricks for a winning Whole30:
- Buy the book and read it! I really felt like having an understanding of why I was giving up peanut butter, hummus, etc. helped me be better committed to the program.
- Name your craving. I could be found walking around the house calling out “lasagna” or “ice cream” whenever a craving hit. I found that naming the craving out loud helped me to move past the desire to cheat.
- Full fat coconut milk in my coffee as a substitute for coffee creamer or milk. Check out my easy Cinnamon Vanilla Coffee for a delicious recipe! I tend to buy my canned coconut milk at Trader Joe’s, but also like this brand.
- Crushed ginger in black tea. Costco had a huge pack of organic ginger for a great price. Find it in the refrigerated produce section. (We call it the cold room.) Just peel it and crush. This was a great substitute for my milky tea. It has a bit of a kick and great taste! (You can always just add the ginger to plain hot water for a variation that can also help with nausea.)
- Rx Bars and Lara Bars have many compliant options (just double check the ingredient list since not all are Whole30 compliant). Ordering boxes from Amazon can make these more cost-effective. They are great to have a small stash in your car or purse/backpack for those times that you are in desperate need of food but don’t have access to other Whole30 compliant options. But they are very high in natural sugar, so save them for emergencies.
- Cook up a batch of pasta or rice to accompany your Whole30 meal for the kiddos, so you don’t have to do double duty in the kitchen. Or just pop in a couple pieces of toast to supplement their meal.
- Toasted sweet potatoes (just slice them lengthwise and toast until cooked) can be used as a sandwich substitute. You could make a fried egg and add compliant bacon for a breakfast sandwich. For lunch or dinner, you could always add sliced turkey, chicken or beef. Or just eat this toast substitute on its own with a little coconut oil and salt.
- Buy riced cauliflower to make life easier for yourself. I like the frozen riced cauliflower from Trader Joes. You can use this to make fried rice, use in a burrito bowl, or even have it as a side for your dinner.
- We love the Avacado’s Number guacamole from Trader Joe’s. You can buy it in a 2-pack of larger packages or in individual servings. I like to take the individual serving packs with me for a snack when I’m away from home. Just pair with your favorite raw veggies (baby carrots, celery, cucumber, bell pepper slices, etc.).
- Find a compliant salad dressing you love. You will probably be eating A LOT of salad. Since I’m on the frugal side, I preferred to make my own. Especially since I absolutely love this Easy Mustard Vinaigrette.
- Apple and almond butter/sun butter sandwich. Just slice the apple horizontally and core it (so it kinda looks like a bagel or donut). Take 2 slices, spread one with your nut butter and place the other piece on top. This is a great snack or even breakfast option.
- Aidell’s Chicken Apple Sausages are compliant and taste wonderful! We often had these paired with green beans and Baked Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Cinnamon. You could also eat these for breakfast! Costco has the Aidell’s sausage for a great price.
- Hard-boiled eggs are also great to have on hand. Eat them as is or use with compliant mayo (this is my favorite homemade mayo recipe) for an egg salad to top a green salad or on your sweet potato toast. Want to make them easier to peel? Use an Instant Pot! Here is my Easy to Peel Hard-Boiled Egg recipe.
- Other favorites from Trader Joe’s: canned tuna (most other brands of canned tuna have added soy); coconut aminos (a soy sauce substitution) are so tasty and inexpensive at TJ’s; canned chicken also without all kinds of additions); sunflower seed butter (they have a variety that has no sugar and won’t break the bank).
Have you tried the Whole30 yet? Share your favorite tips or recipes in the comments!