What’s up guys!
If you have been scrolling through IG lately, you may have seen some posts about the September Whole30. I completed my first Round of Whole30 in January 2019. I found it so interesting that I’m working on my Exercise Nutrition Certification through Precision Nutrition. I’ve been totally slacking but been wanting to get a post up about my first Round of Whole30, it’s coming I promise. But I did want to share some of my best tips that worked for me during January that I will be using throughout September.
What is the Whole30?
The Whole30 is a food experiment where you eat real, whole foods such as meat, seafood, eggs, fruits, veggies, natural/healthy fats, and herbs/spices/seasonings for 30 days. You will eliminate common foods that causes disruptions in our bodies. So that means no: sugar, dairy, gluten, grains, drinking alcohol, legumes, carrageenan/ MSG/ sulfites. Also, no making treat/snacks with “approved ingredients” and no stepping on the scale. After the 30 days, you will re-introduce foods in a particular order and see how your body reacts.
Of course there are some exceptions. The only form of dairy you can have is ghee or clarified butter. You can use fruit juice in recipes as a sweetener but not for drinking. You can have certain legumes that are more pod than bean such as green beans or sugar snap peas. You can use vinegar, coconut aminos, and salt in recipes (just make sure to check your labels).
You can get the full breakdown from the Whole30 website or any of the books.
Read the Whole30 Book / Rules:
In January, I read and re-read the book and the rules tons of times. I really wanted to make sure that I stuck to this one hundred percent without ANY chances of a mess up. In mid-August when I started to plan out, I read the book again, just for a refresher. I also felt that I didn’t re-introduce foods back in the suggested way so I definitely wanted to brush up on that.
I added tons of recipes in my Evernote sheet and added post its to my books. I purchased the Whole30 and Whole30 Fast & Easy Cookbook from Barnes and Noble as a set in December. The Free Library had the Whole30 CookBook and Slow Cook so I borrowed them to see if it was worth buying them.
When in doubt, check the Whole30 website or google. There’s tons of info out there!
Have a Plan:
For this September Whole30, I probably started planning about two weeks out. Purely based on how my schedule is but I know that I needed to start getting everything laid out so I wasn’t scrambling last minute. For those who don’t know, I’m a Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer so my schedule changes weekly and daily so being organized is key to keeping me accountable with my meals.
I researched some new recipes on the Whole30 website as well as a quick Google search. I used most recipes in the Whole30 Book and Fast & Easy during my first Whole30 as well as throughout the year. I really wanted to stay on top of meal prep and get back into a routine – probably my favorite victory from January. I found some Summer Recipes to try that looked easy for meal prep. I made a quick Google Spreadsheet listing each day and meal. (If you would like this, I will definitely share!) On the Whole30 you have 3 meals and it’s not recommended to “snack”. But with my schedule and amount of activity, I’m adding in extra pre-workout meals along with my Emergency food allowing 5 meals per day. This will vary to my class schedule so some days I may only need 3 meals.
I like to mix and match my meals for the week so I don’t get bored. Breakfast is usually some form of eggs, veggies, extra protein in the form of bacon or sausage. I get up at 3:30am 4-5 days a week and after the first two weeks, I couldn’t eat eggs that early. My go-to breakfast was banana with compliant almond butter topped with chia seeds, slivered almonds, and coconut shavings. I’ve been on the hunt for other “approved” breakfasts that don’t have eggs. I’m thinking about trying Sweet Potato Toasts.
When looking for recipes I try to find at least 4 dinners that I could double for leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.
Some New Recipes I Tried For September Week 1:
- Berry Protein Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Grab + Go
- Mexican Chicken Burgers
- Beef Brisket with Garlic Mashed
- Sheet Pan Breakfast Fajitas
*Stay tuned for a full recap of of each Week of my September Whole30.*
What I Keep on Hand At All Times (Emergency Food):
- Epic Bars
- Chomps Sticks
- Larabar – Apple Pie (check labels to see if it’s complaint)
- Dried fruit (been on a mango kick) + Nuts (my faves are almonds or macademia nuts)
- Veggies – I love mini peppers!
Making Meal Prep Easy:
I’m all about meal prep. And easy meal prep. This time around, I tried to find recipes that the ingredients could cross over to other recipes for a few reasons. One, to keep the costs down. Two, to not waste food.
Always check your freezer, refrigerator, and pantry to make sure you don’t grab things that you already have on hand. As much as I try not to do this, I end up grabbing something thinking I don’t have it and that’s how I end of up with 4 cans of diced tomatoes. (lol)
I make my list in Evernote in my phone and break it down by category (protein, fruit, veggies, etc). My fiancé usually comes with me so by doing the list this way, we can divide and conquer the store.
Make your list and check in twice. I tend to shop at Whole Foods, Wegmans, or Trader Joes. I also just started using Thrive Market for my pantry items and during this past grocery haul, I compared prices and I did save some money.
Before I headed to Whole Foods, I looked on the app to see what was on sale. I also use the Ibotta App for additional savings/cash back. I try to stick to the sales and buy organic fruits and veggies if they are on the Dirty Dozen list or we eat the skin. Also, I looking for recipes with cross over ingredients.
Have some “back up” meals that you can make in minutes in case you have a long day at work or just don’t have the energy to cook a full meal. I keep Applegate Hot Dogs on hand and just heat them up with a side of broccoli. I’m also a big fan of Snap Kitchen. I can grab Whole30 meals and snacks in a pinch. You can save $45 towards and meal plan or $15 off your first meal with my code hmur-3tf
Have Fun with Experimenting:
I think my favorite part of the Whole30 experience is trying new foods and recipes. I really enjoy cooking and meal prepping. I find it relaxing and a sense of relief knowing everything is ready for a successful week.
Try out different proteins. Discover new recipes. Find new companies that make complaint dressing and sauces. The options are truly endless. Don’t be afraid if the recipe didn’t come out perfect. As long as it’s still compliant, it’s all good 🙂
Be Prepared When Dining Out:
- If you are planning on dining out while on your Whole30, have a plan. Offer to select a place that you know will have compliant options. You can do a quick search and find something in your area.
- Take a look at the menu prior to arrival. You can order a salad with olive oil and lemon on the side with steamed fish or grilled chicken.
- Don’t be afraid to tell the server that you have some dietary restrictions and ask questions about the menu/substitutions.
- Worse case, eat something before you go if it’s more of a social situation. Or bring your own food. I went to a Bridal Shower in January and brought my own Salmon. #NoShame in my Whole30 Game!
Well, that’s all the tips I can think of! I will add more if anything pops in my head to assist you on having a successful Whole30.
Overall, I really do enjoy how I feel during and after my first Whole30. You could totally live this way forever and to be honest, I may keep it pretty close to the program afterwards. With the exception of a glass a wine or piece of cake here or there. I found to have less headaches, clearer skin, less joint pain, more clarity and focus, and much more.
Feel free to reach out with any questions, I’m happy to help in anyway I can!
Until next time friends,