Updated 11-26-14: This post was originally written for a Whole30 program I was unable to complete on the blog due to technical issues that prevented me from making new posts.
I'm doing a Whole30 starting tomorrow and I'll be blogging about it while sharing some new recipes with you! No clue what the Whole30 is? Read on. You might become interested in doing one at some point and I'll have the info here for you to come back to!
In a nutshell, Whole30 is 30 days of eating food that's unprocessed, free of dairy, added sugar, legumes, soy, booze, and grains.
Before you freak out and get all like, "EFF THAT," calm down. It's okay! As someone who loves all foods and has completed a Whole30 a couple times, I can safely tell you it's really not that bad. The first few days are hard - I won't deny that! Once you're over that slump, though? You'll feel absolutely amazing and the pay-off is huge.
Why do a Whole30?
If you've never considered a paleo lifestyle, you might be asking, "what's the point?" Even if you aren't interested in being all-the-way paleo, there are tons of reasons why I think people should give it a shot. Melissa Joulwan over at The Clothes Make The Girl tells it best with her 30 reasons to Whole30 post. (P.S. that blog is one of my favorites).
These are my top three reasons to Whole30:
1. You learn how food affects you. Before going paleo-ish, my diet beforehand was pretty bad. I ate all of the dairy and gluten and for a long time, the food I ate made me physically ill. I was exhausted all the time and just felt overall uncomfortable in my own skin. While I haven't omitted either of those things from my diet, I do limit them now (especially gluten). Or at least, I try to. 😉
2. Sugar is in a lot of food and you might rely on it more than you realize. Seriously. Do you look at your food labels when you shop? There's a high chance sugar is in there. Whenever I Whole30, the first week or so is not pretty because trying to kick the sugar is the worst part. I'm talking daily "hangovers" in the morning, overall tired and groggyness, and cravings that sometimes get so bad, you want to punch someone in the face. The good news is the cravings don't last very long and it won't be like that the full 30 days! Now, if you know me, you know I have quite the sweet tooth, but if something you put into your body makes you react like that? That's not exactly a good thing. With that said, I do love my treats, but it's all about balance and limiting them and all that jazz. I don't need to have sugar in my tomato sauce or mustard. Check out Whole9's guide to sneaky sugars here.
3. You'll sleep so, so good and you'll have energy like whoa. This is my favorite part. It might take you a week or so to reach this point (it took eleven days for me on my first Whole30), but after dealing with those stupid "hangovers" and days of exhaustion like I just mentioned just a minute ago? One morning, you'll wake up and it will all be gone. You'll wake up alert and ready to go and that energy will stay with you all day. I'm not even joking. And the sleep that's happening before the waking up part? THE BEST. I rarely suffer from insomnia these days and it's a problem I used to deal with frequently.
Whole30 Prep: How to Make It For The Next 30 Days
1. Plan Your Menu! Planning a menu during the Whole30 is pretty much necessary or you might end up feeling overwhelmed about what to eat! And that's bad news bears.
2. Clean out your fridge and pantry. You don't want to keep food around that's not Whole30 friendly, especially if you get those cravings. Toss it out or if you have anything unopened, you can donate it!
3. Dedicate some time to prepare your food for the week. Every Sunday is my big food prep day. I usually go grocery shopping early in the morning and get it all ready for the week to make cooking much easier. I clean and chop my veggies and cook some food to have it ready to go for the next few days. It makes having to cook dinner throughout the week easier and it's really helpful to have some food cooked in advance for snacks or lunch.
4. Embrace the garbage bowl! You may have heard of this if you ever watched Rachael Ray, but this bowl has been famous for a long time! Any large bowl will do. Keep it on your counter to throw all your scraps in. It will help you clean as you go with less clean-up to deal with later. Frequent trips to the trash = time sinker and we don't want that, people!
5. Don't lose your cool. The first few days can be brutal, but I promise it will be worth it once you're over that slump. If you have a bad craving for something sweet, eat something with fat instead! Avocados are a lifesaver. Or maybe you made some tasty brisket. Eat these things!
I'll be blogging about my experience and I will have more recipes for you too!