Beginning a second Whole 30 was surprisingly smooth, it showed me how far I’ve come in the past year. While in the past doing something like Whole 30 would feel like an intense diet and restriction to make myself look more like a certain way, now it’s something I do out of self-love, pursuit of science and a passion for the natural foods of this earth. A lot of people have told me that they “could never” do Whole 30 or even put time into eating well like I do. I always tell them, yes you could! Anyone could.
Ten years ago, I knew nothing about food, nutrition and wellness. I didn’t know how to eat well because I didn’t even know the basics. Five years ago, I thought I knew a lot about nutrition, but turns out a lot the science we’ve been taught has either been disproven or has generalized all people into one category. The knowledge I have today about food and more importantly the science of nutrition took a long time to understand. Diving into research on things like Whole 30 was a big part of my journey. Whole 30 has brought me back to the basic understanding that food from the earth is meant to be eaten in its original form, free of additives and non-processed. Whole 30 is so simple – eat fruits, vegetables, meat, nuts, seeds, herbs and oils in their most natural forms. These also happen to be the foods that keep our blood sugar regulated, our gut healthy, our digestion normal and inflammation down (among many, many other things).
I pooled together the questions I got from you guys into a few big categories and gave my answers below. For more info, visit the Whole 30 website.
How do you prepare for Whole 30?
I am obsessive about planning. I strongly believe in the idea that if you plan for nothing, you’ll get there every time and that hope is not a strategy. Whole 30 or not the number one most important thing going into my week is sitting down and planning all my meals, making a list, going to the grocery store and getting my fridge set up for the week. This process is so essential to the success of my week that it’s a non-negotiable on Saturdays or Sundays. When I have a fridge stocked with all the Whole 30 food that I need throughout the week, I don’t have to make a difficult decision when I’m hungry and looking for a snack. When it’s dinner time, I know exactly what I’m making and don’t have to wait until I’m too hungry to cook something good. Especially for Whole 30, I love keeping lots of nuts and fruits around so I can have those whenever I want something quick and satisfying.
What kinds of meals do you eat that are simple?
When I plan dinners or even lunches, I typically just think of one protein and at least one vegetable I want on my plate. By doing that, I can piece together sheet pan meals or one-skillet meals that are quick and nutritious. One night I’ll do roasted chicken with broccoli and asparagus, another night I’ll do salmon with spinach and sweet potatoes, and another I’ll do ground turkey lettuce wraps with cut up veggies. Having a great sauce to bring it all together is also important – I love extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, pesto and coconut aminos. You can find all kinds of tasty and easy sauce recipes on Pinterest or Instagram too. By keeping your meals simple, you can avoid complication and meals that take a lot of thought. When you’re feeling more adventurous, there are thousands of Whole 30 recipes online that I love to try out.
Are there any Whole 30 compliant foods that you still avoid?
Honestly, no. I love doing Whole 30 because I don’t restrict myself and I eat until I’m full. I don’t feel guilt or even physical pain after I eat because the foods I’m eating are natural and unprocessed. While I used to have “fear foods” like bananas, apples, sweet potatoes and other starchy vegetables, I’ve found myself feeling freer and less restrictive. I know that these foods come from the earth and are meant to be enjoyed without counting carbs or calories. The only foods that are compliant that I don’t eat are foods I personally don’t enjoy. It is important to note however that paleo baked goods, “nice” creams, cauliflower crusts or other healthier treats are still not Whole 30 compliant given the idea that it is a 30-day period where only completely natural foods are eaten.
Would you continue Whole 30 for longer than 30 days?
Yes and no. I’ve learned so much from doing Whole 30 and have made so many simple switches since the first time I did it in November 2019. While I plan to continue to eat similarly to the Whole 30 plan after it is over, I don’t plan to eat like it forever. Grains and dairy have slowly become lower and lower percentages of my diet, and with so many amazing alternatives in the market today I plan to continue opting for grain and dairy free foods. Additionally, I always try to stay away from processed foods, foods made with added refined sugar or foods cooked in inflammatory oils like canola and vegetable oil. Whole 30 is a model for what the perfect plate might look like, and I want to continue to follow a similar lifestyle with more wiggle room for things like natural sweeteners and paleo baked goods.
What would you say to someone who wants to try Whole 30 but knows nothing about it?
Do some research! I didn’t know anything about Whole 30 until about a year ago and found so much valuable information online just by researching and checking out their official website and Instagram page. Also, there are tons of bloggers out there who specialize in Whole 30/ Whole 30 recipes that have a wealth of knowledge. Be sure to research the science behind it and why processed, refined and modified foods are so damaging to our bodies and its systems. The one thing I’ll stress is that it never hurts to try it out! If it doesn’t work for you, that’s totally okay.
These questions just scratch the surface of everything that Whole 30 is and what it can do for you, but I hope they were helpful. I have another blog post here that I wrote after my first time trying it. If you’re unsure if Whole 30 is right for you, talk to your doctor and do some research!