Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Top 10 Ways to Prep for Whole30

Top 10 Ways to Prep for Whole30.

So, you’re thinking about doing a Whole30 in January? Great! Here are my top 10 things you should be doing now - yes, now! - to get ready. 

(You can read about my health journey and how Whole30 has played a big part in it here).

1. Learn the program. If you can read It Starts With Food before January, great. But if not, get over to and learn what you can and cannot eat. 

2. Try out some recipes. A quick Whole30 search on Google or Pinterest will return thousands of Whole30 compliant recipes. (You can follow my Whole30 Pinterest board to see what I’ve found so far). December is the time to experiment. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a Whole30 and trying a new recipe that flops. 

3. Invest in a new cookbook (or three).  Just because it’s “paleo” doesn’t mean it’s Whole30. But paleo cookbooks are a great place to start. My personal favorite Whole30 cookbooks are Well Fed and Well Fed 2

Olives are an awesome source of fat!
4. Prep your pantry. Stock up on Whole30 staples. Whole30 compliant coconut milk, coconut oil, ghee, light olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, diced tomatoes, tuna, olives, nuts and seeds. If you buy all of it on January 1st, your budget is going to feel it. Once you start searching, you may discover that it’s difficult to source some things. Can you even find compliant coconut milk where you live? You might need to order it online. If you have an Amazon prime membership, online shopping might make your life a lot easier (it does mine).

5. Organize your fridge. Before we start a Whole30, we read labels and move all the non-compliant food to one side. Think ketchup, maple syrup, and barbecue sauce. Then we put the foods that are Whole30 approved on the other side. Buy some compliant pickles and olives. Get the good bacon (no sugar added). Check your mustards and curries. Some will be okay, some won’t. 

Homemade Mayo - A must have!
6. Learn to make mayo. I know. I know. But trust me. Whole30 approved mayo will make your life so much easier. It’s not that hard. You just need some patience and a food processor or blender. And you need to follow the instructions here. The sauces, salad dressings, chicken salads, and tuna salads you’ll be able to enjoy are totally worth the effort.

7. Find Whole30 compliant restaurants in your area. The best way to stay completely compliant is to make your own food. But do you really want to make all 90 meals? I don’t. So ask questions now. Are the eggs cooked in butter? Can you get the chicken cooked in olive oil? Can you get a salad that will work? Does the steak have a rub or can you get it plain? In our area, Tropical Chicken Grille has a couple of Whole30 compliant options. We eat there at least once a week. The Chicken Fresco chop over lettuce with a side of guacamole keeps me sane. Especially around Day 23 when I start thinking if I have to cook another meal I’ll throw my cast iron skillet out the window.

8. Freeze a few favorites. I have Chocolate Chili, Spaghetti Sauce, and Breakfast Sausage (I double the crushed red pepper, skip the brown sugar) in the freezer. There’s nothing like having your day run off the rails and then being faced with having to cook a meal. When you're exhausted (or you have a recipe fail), you can thaw some chocolate chili, dice up some onion and avocado while it’s reheating, and you’ve got supper in ten minutes flat. 

9. Try some new beverages. Your beverage choices will be somewhat limited on Whole30. Coffee? Sure, as long as it’s black. Tea? Go for it. Unsweetened. Juice? Nope. Smoothies. Nada. Water? As much as you can handle, bro! But flat water can get boring, so this month, give sparkling waters a shot. 

LaCroix in Pamplemousse - Love it!
I HATED LaCroix the first time I tried it. By Day 15 of my first Whole30, I’d decided they weren’t awful. Six months later, I actually crave them. Our favorite LaCroix flavor is pamplemousse (grapefruit). We also like the White Rock brand (which we buy at Whole Foods) in pomegranate blueberry. 

If you’re panicked about the coffee situation, I feel your pain. I was a wreck about it. Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee (black) saved the day. (A huge shout out to our coaches at Five Forks CrossFit for stocking it for us while we searched for a local source!) It’s sold refrigerated and concentrated. You mix it with water and it’s good cold or hot. It’s very smooth and not at all bitter. I drank it iced for the first 10 days. By then, I was able to handle my regular coffee black. 

Another option…try your coffee with coconut oil instead of cream. My husband drinks his this way every day. You can buy a mini-aererator like this one (we picked it up at Bed, Bath and Beyond with a coupon for $15) and get a nice frothy, creamy feel to your coffee.

Pistachios make me happy.
10. Find some compliant emergency foods you actually like. Stash them in your car, purse, desk drawer, etc. No, a lunch comprised of beef jerky and a Lara bar isn’t ideal, but it can keep you in compliance until you can get to a salad bar. My emergency stash includes nuts (check what kind of oils are in there), dried fruit (check for added sugar), Lara bars (watch the ingredients), and beef jerky (choose carefully). 

That’s my Top 10 Ways to Prep for your Whole30 list

If you've completed a Whole30, what would you add? Do you have any questions about Whole30 you'd like me to answer in a post? Tell me about it in the comments!

My next Whole30 post (coming next week) will include my favorite Whole30 foods. I’ll be talking brand names and where to buy/order, so check it out. 

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amy said...

Thank you, Lynn; these are great tips!
Some of my Go Tos:
* boiled eggs for on the go snacks (google how to bake these);
* coconut aminos (a soy sauce substitute I use all the time for roasts marinades -along w/compliant balsamic);
* keep chopped veggies avail @ all times - trader joes often has bags this time of year - u can flash freeze many for use in soups, sautes, bakes, etc;
* piggy backing on Lynn's suggestion to make & freeze ahead - do this even with the meats u dont get into recipes - brown ground beef, sausage, cook (compliant) chicken & shred
* if u like crab, keep an unopened can of lump crab in fridge (trader joes has a good one w/a good shelf life) along w/ a bottle of lime juice for ceviche in a pinch - use on salad, avocado, endive/romaine leaves;
* when you're stocking up, look for cartons of compliant broths for recipes (you can make your own; Pacific brand veggie does not have sugar added)

This Whole30 takes time & prep & determination, but it can be done! Even if youre doing it alone in your house, how you will feel toward the last half is worth it!

Lynn Huggins Blackburn said...

Those are awesome suggestions, Amy! Thanks! I still can't believe you survived a Whole30 over THANKSGIVING! You're amazing!