January is the perfect month for a Whole30. The holidays have come and gone, depending on where you live it's likely the dead of winter and the Whole30 team has one of two official group Whole30's (the other being in September) to kick off the new year. Of course you can do a Whole30 anytime of the year, but it is nice to do it (especially if it might be your first or second time) alongside one of the big group traditions to give you a little extra motivation, encouragement and additional meal ideas to help you through those thirty days.
I won't go into all the details about the program, but in case you are not clued in to what this thing called Whole30 is all about, you can read all about the program over at the Whole30 website. Suffice to say, I love the Whole30 program and it truly changed my life, my thoughts around food and drastically improved my mental (and physical) health. I credit a lot of the positive changes I have made in the last year in part to Whole30. And, even when I'm not doing a round, I still tend to make the majority of meals at home Whole30 compliant.
Today I want to share some tips and tricks that I have picked up over the last fifteen months having completed three rounds of Whole30 in that time. My mom, aunt and another family friend will be doing their very first Whole30 this January. I am so very excited about them joining the Whole30 fun that I wanted to give them a few ideas, tips and motivation as they prep for their Whole30 and in doing so I hope that I can help others as well.
Read, read, read.
There are seven offical Whole30 books available to help educate you on the program. The books include program rules as well as delicious recipes to help you make throughout the 30 days.
It All Starts With Food
The Whole30 Cookbook
The Whole30 Fast & Easy Cookbook
The Whole30 Slowcooker Cookbook
Food Freedom Forever
Whole30 Day by Day
But that is not all, there is also a ton of great information and downloadable PDF's right on the Whole30 website. You can adequately prepare for Whole30 without having to purchase a book but I recommend checking out a your library if possible or buying one and sharing with a friend as they are pretty helpful. Definitely use these last few days of December to read up and help prepare yourself for January.
Purchase the Whole30 Day by Day book.
If you buy any book, I recommend this one as it will help you every day of your Whole30 journey. While I LOVE my Whole 30 slowcooker and the Whole30 cookbooks (they are totally worth it), the Day by Day book is a journal that you can complete daily throughout your Whole30. It includes advice, tips, inspiration and includes areas for you to journal your experiences. I didn't have this during my first round but used for my second and third and it definitely made a difference!
Sign up for the Whole30 newsletter.
You can sign up for the Whole30 email on the Whole30 website and you'll get tips and recipes straight from the Whole30 cookbooks.
Follow @Whole30Recipes on Instagram.
If you're an Instagram user, search for @Whole30recipes and follow them right now. I found the majority of my recipes, many that I still make today, through this account. Each week a new person takes over the account and shares their recipes, tips, tricks and motivation. You'll uncover a lot of other Whole30 bloggers that you can then follow and continue getting more recipes and helpful information.
Don't be too hard on yourself, please give yourself grace.
Yes, there are rules for the Whole30 and you should absolutely follow those rules but if you need flex within them while you get going it is okay. Do want you need so you can and will stay committed and not fail. For example, you'll read that snacking is not encouraged on Whole30 but if you need something when you wake up especially if you're an early morning exerciser like myself and can't/don't have time for a full meal, eat something like a Larabar. Don't make it a habit, but keep it compliant when it happens and you'll be okay.
Not every meal has to be Instagram picture perfect.
You can see the desired Whole30 meal template here and definitely use this to your best ability. Sometimes it just might not work for whatever reason and like mentioned above, give yourself grace. If your meal is missing a veggie, you added a little extra fruit or lunch is simply a scrambled egg and a Chomps meat stick, don't sweat it. Your are staying compliant, you will make a better meal for dinner and nobody, least of all yourself, will think less of you.
If you are hungry, eat.
As said above, snacks aren't encouraged but a girl has got to eat and in time you will learn how much in a meal is right for you and will hold you over. For me, I always have a Larabar (compliant one) in the morning before my workout. I don't want a full meal and I need the sustenance to keep me going. Same goes for a mid-day hunger strike. Eat the food, make it a mini meal, keep it compliant and them prepare better the next day. Over your thirty days you will get better about meal planning and how much you need to eat during those meals that these hunger strikes will be few and far between as time goes on. But when they pop up, fuel your body and eat.
Make yourself a daily accountable calendar.
I did this my second and third Whole30 and found it super helpful. I made a calendar, posted it to my fridge and crossed off each day as I completed it. It helps to show your progress and its exciting as well as rewarding to mark off the day after your finish your dinner.
Failure to plan is planning to fail. Meal plan and prep is crucial. Think over your meals for the next week the weekend prior or go one step further and start lining up meal ideas for January now. I always plan for leftovers when I meal prep because I know it will save me from having to cook an extra meal or two during the week. Having something you can heat up easily especially for breakfast and lunch is really helpful. Casseroles and skillet dishes are great options for make ahead breakfast and lunch.
Take advantage of the internet to buy some of your kitchen/pantry staples.
Depending on where you live, you might not have access to a grocery store that has all the extra Whole30 compliant/approved goodies like dressings, condiments, sugar-free meats, etc. You can definitely make your own dressings for example, but I like to take the easy way out and buy them so you can do the same. Tessamae's is a great on-line shop for compliant dressings and condiments like ranch, ketchup and BBQ sauce and they are delicious. Amazon has a ton of compliant options too and can sometimes be less expensive than your local grocer. ButcherBox is a great on-line grass-feed beef, pork and chicken mail delivery service.
Find friends to join you.
Accountability rocks and could just be your saving grace! Find friends to join the journey with you and help keep each other committed. Whether your friend is your neighbor or its an on-line Whole30 accountability group, let this support system help you through the Whole30. It's nice to have someone to reach out to when you have a question on a recipe or just need to vent when you are frustrated because that chocolate craving just won't go away!
You can stil dine out, just do your research.
Dining out on Whole30 is not always easy but it is doable if you do a little prep work. Know your menu's before you go and what you can or cannot eat and don't be afraid to make specific requests to your server.
Purse dressing/condiments are totally acceptable.
I did this during my Whole30 especially when we went out to a local BBQ restaurant. I knew the sauce at the restaurant was not compliant (#addedsugar) but the meat was compliant. Before leaving home, I put a little Tessamea's BBQ in a mini container and brought it with me. It was awesome, we could still go to eat as a family and I could still have BBQ sauce with my pulled pork or chicken.
Drink your Kombucha in a wine glass.
One of the biggest things I hear people say is that they can't give up their wine/beer/insert drink of choice for thirty days. It is possible friends to survive without our alcoholic beverages for a few, okay thirty, days and you'll probably notice a few days in you will be sleeping better and have less overly sweet or salty cravings with alcohol removed. At the end of the day when I used to be finding myself with a glass of wine, I'd pour a glass of my favorite GT's kombucha in a wine glass. It gave me that idea of a nightly relaxation routine but free of alcohol!
Be prepared for dishes.
You will cook on Whole30, a lot. I know you aren't suprised by this but I'm just preparing you and your dishwasher. You'll have dishes. A lot of dishes. Get your dishwasher ready and be prepared to run that guy at least a couple of times per week.
Pyrex is life.
Because of all that cooking, you get leftovers and I live for leftovers. It's nice to not have to cook every single meal while on Whole30 so save those leftovers and use them throughout the week. Change them up or eat them the same, but whatever you do, don't through them out! Get some nice pyrex that you can store your prepped or cooked food.
Hopefully these Whole30 tips and tricks have given you a few ideas and encouragement as January approaches. If you are on the fence and don't think you can do it, you totally can! It's only 30 days and while I make that sound easier said than done, as someone who has been there before, with a little preparation and thought, you will rock your January Whole30 and head into 2019 feeling better than ever!
You can check out these previous posts on my blog of my favorite Whole30 recipes and Whole30 must-haves. There is still a couple of weeks to prep, start thinking of your first few recipes and get your mind right and ready. Whether it is your first, fifth or tenth time through, you have got this! I will be there right along with you this January so I'm here to help! If you have any questions, need some good recipe ideas or a friend to vent or talk to, I'm here for you!