5 ways to fail your Whole 30

Five Ways to FAIL your Whole 30 - great tips for anyone considering the Whole 30 - a must read!
 
So you’re thinking about trying the Whole 30? 
 
I say “Go for it!” But not without a little prep work first.  And I don’t just mean an all out Pinterest worthy meal prep session – although that wouldn’t hurt… 
 
Read on for the 5 most crucial tips to not failing your Whole 30.  And then, onward to a healthier you!
 

Mistake #1 Not reading the book

 
The list of restrictions for a Whole 30 is widely available on the internet for free.  Just skip dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, and alcohol for a full month.  Simple, right?  Not so much…  If the only thing you did was avoid those five things, you could still totally miss the point (and the benefits) of doing a Whole 30. 
 
The science behind why you’re eliminating those foods is fascinating.  And, especially if you’re dealing with chronic health issues, it’s incredibly motivating to understand how much your diet impacts the way your body functions well beyond the digestive system.
 
Also, as I’ll expand on below, it’s totally possible to eat 100% compliant foods and do it in entirely the wrong way.  The books helps you understand why you’re eating these foods and what proportions they should be consumed in.  Don’t be fooled, Pinterest is full of recipes that are “Whole 30 compliant” but are specifically mentioned in the book as recipes to avoid during your Whole 30.  As they say “a pancake is a pancake.” (Spoiler alert: pancakes are not Whole 30 compliant.)
 

Mistake #2 T-minus 29 days and counting…

 
This piggybacks onto the first mistake.  Whole 30 isn’t meant to be a random 30 day test of discipline or weight loss trick that you try after all your Facebook friends have posted about it.  It’s so much more than that!  It’s a way to commit one month to giving your body a rest from all of the things that might be adversely affecting you, then slowly reintroducing them one by one to evaluate whether or not each food should be a part of your long term diet. 
 
If you enter in to Day 1 simply counting down until your next binge, you’re missing the point.  It’s a chance to retrain your taste buds, retrain your brain, and form new habits.  It’s a really well thought out plan for finding the healthiest long term diet for you.  Including changing your perspective on “treats”.  I won’t ruin the surprise (since I know you’re going to read the book now) but I promise that the new perspective is NOT all treats are evil.  🙂
 

Mistake #3 Failing to plan

 
I imagine that a lot of people get a few days into their Whole 30 and think “this is just too much work!”  It certainly can require a lot more prep work and cooking time than you might be used to.  But I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Truer words have never been spoken. 
 
Sure, sometimes you’ll enjoy spending time in your kitchen chopping and peeling and stirring and sauteeing and roasting, but sometimes you’ll just need food asap with little to no effort.  If you haven’t planned ahead for these moments, you’re setting yourself up to fail. 
 
You have to rethink convenience foods, since the vast majority of prepackaged foods aren’t compliant.  Some of my new favorites were fritatta slices and spaghetti squash with a hearty meat sauce.  Both were easy to prep a large batch of and package in single servings to pull out of the fridge and pop into the microwave when needed.  I also kept a stash of leftover roasted veggies that I could quickly crisp up in a pan with some coconut oil or ghee. 
 

Mistake #4 Being afraid of fat

 
If you are 30 or older, you probably grew up with a not-so-healthy fear of fat.  After saturated fat was linked to high cholesterol and heart disease, grocery store shelves filled up with “fat-free” and “reduced fat” options of your favorite foods.  Today, there is plenty of science debunking that theory, but the effects on our perspective remains. 
 
Back to Mistake #1 – read the book.  Learn which fats are good for you and why.  And study the “meal map” section to learn how much of them you need to be eating.  If you skimp on the fat, you will be miserable and spend hours daydreaming of brownies and french fries and everything you can’t have.  Your body needs this fat.  My most difficult days during Whole 30 were when I stopped thinking about this and absent mindedly ate too many low fat meals without taking care to add in a good dose of healthy fat.  
 

Mistake #5 Overloading on nuts and fruits

Nuts and fruits are both perfectly compliant, however, they are meant to be consumed in smaller portions than your meat and veggies.   There are plenty of recipes for “Whole 30 granola” made with nuts and coconut flakes, but they need to be used with discretion.  A small bowl of grain free granola with coconut milk along with a hearty plate of eggs and veggies sounds great.  But if the granola and non-dairy milk is your whole breakfast, that’s not really a Whole 30 meal.  (Why not? Read the book…)

The same thing goes for faux baked goods made with compliant ingredients.  Even though these are specifically listed as non-compliant in the book – it’s not hard to see that many of these recipes contain a much higher level of fruits and nuts than recommended. 

And that’s it!  As my husband would say, you can do anything for 30 days.  And I promise you’ll be glad you did!

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Pumpkin Spice for Not-a-Latte {In Under 60 Seconds!}

Here's a Pumpkin Spice Latte DIY that you haven't seen yet! Transform your regular cup of joe in under 60 seconds and for less than a quarter!

Here’s a Pumpkin Spice Latte tip that you haven’t seen yet!  Transform your regular morning cup of joe in under 60 seconds and for less than a quarter!!!

I keep seeing posts about “sweater weather” but we’re in Texas currently where we’re still running our air conditioners everyday.  However, the power of suggestion is strong and I’ve been sucked into pumpkin spice hype yet again. 

You may have read about how I got my Starbucks Gold Card for free and I love my free lattes, but I also love a good homemade cup of joe.  While I’ve read all the recipes for making your own DIY Pumpkin Spice creamer, I just can’t get there.  I’m not willing to put quite that much effort into it.  I almost worked up the energy to make a pumpkin spice infused simple syrup, but then I had a brilliant idea when I saw the box of Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai tea sitting in my pantry…

Here's a Pumpkin Spice Latte DIY that you haven't seen yet! Transform your regular cup of joe in under 60 seconds and for less than a quarter!

Y’all… this was legit. 

Just plunk a pumpkin spice tea bag into your freshly brewed coffee and let it steep for a minute.  Not only do you get all of those delicious pumpkin spice flavors, but you can drink it black or add your normal amount of cream & sugar to it and totally control the sweetness and calories. 

This really is the Pinterest trifecta – it’s super easy, super cheap, and super amazing.  And really, it would work with any fall-inspired tea!  Not to mention that the black tea gives your coffee an added caffeine boost for those days when even your coffee needs coffee, if you know what I mean.

Happy fall, y’all!

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Real Deal DIY Donuts

DIY Donut Recipe - so fun and easy to make! Our kids loved them!My kids think that I am the coolest.  (Until I make them clean their rooms again, at least.)  Today we made donuts together.  It’s been a cooking project I’ve wanted to tackle for a while but as much as I love to eat deep fried foods, my experience with making them has always been messy and labor intensive.  I can’t tell you how many times my dutch oven has sat on my stovetop full of oil and fried chicken bits for days because I just couldn’t bring myself to deal with it.  I need a life hack for cleaning up after frying.  Maybe I don’t.  We do an appropriate amount of at home frying right now, it probably doesn’t need to increase at all…

DIY Donut Recipe - so fun and easy to make! Our kids loved them! So this is where you should just turn back.  Stop now.  Save yourselves.  You do NOT want to know how easy, fast, and totally not at all messy these were.  Seriously.  Go back and read that pin about training for your first 5k or something.  Don’t keep reading about this amazingly simple donut recipe.  And for the love of all that is greasy, don’t try it.  Whatever you do, don’t make these donuts. 

Or do.  Because whatever.  They’re flippin’ delicious.  And so easy that I didn’t shoo my kids out of the kitchen the way that I do when I get in over my head with a complicated recipe.  Nope, instead I invited them in and we watched with wonder as our little flat discs of dough puffed up into something wonderful right before our eyes.  And we took turns dipping and sprinkling and giggling and tasting and then devouring. 

DIY Donut Recipe - so fun and easy to make! Our kids loved them!

This will not be the last time we make donuts.  And if you try it, it won’t be yours either.  Don’t let the list of steps fool you into thinking this is a major project.  Also, 2 hours of that time is just letting the dough rise.  You could let it go longer.  In fact when I made these, I mixed the dough at 1:00, thinking we’d go run errands and I’d come back at 3:00 to make them as an afternoon treat.  But instead, life happened and I ended up making them at 5:00 and my kids basically had donuts for dinner.  (I totally made them eat something later that was less shameful and makes me sound like a better mom, totally.)
So there.  You’ve been warned.  And also kind of encouraged.  Choose wisely. 

 DIY Donut Recipe - so fun and easy to make! Our kids loved them!

Real Deal DIY Donuts
Yields 12
An old school, make it from scratch recipe for donuts!
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Prep Time
2 hr 30 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
2 hr 35 min
Prep Time
2 hr 30 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
2 hr 35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 packet active dry yeast
  2. 1 tbsp sea salt
  3. 1 cup lukewarm water
  4. 3 tbsp sugar
  5. 3 tbsp melted butter
  6. 1 egg
  7. 3 1/2 - 4 cups flour
  8. 3 cups canola oil
For the icing
  1. powdered sugar
  2. milk
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix lukewarm water with yeast and salt.
  2. Combine melted butter and sugar, add to the salty, yeasty water.
  3. Throw the egg in there too.
  4. Add flour in cup by cup, mixing as you go. Once you have 3 cups of flour mixed in, add flour 1/4 cup at a time until it seems just smooth enough to work with. Too much flour makes for stiff dough and stiff dough makes for sad donuts.
  5. Throw a towel over the mixing bowl and let dough rise for two hours.
  6. Place dough on an oiled surface for rolling (cookie sheet, baking mat, parchment paper - just do you, you know?) and press it out with your hands.
  7. Put a medium saucepan on the stove and heat canola oil over medium high heat.
  8. If the dough resists, browse Pinterest for 15 minutes and then come back and roll it out to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. (Try not to worry - they puff up to real donuts. Promise.)
  9. Cut out donuts and holes. (Don't have biscuit cutters? A large plastic cup and the cap of a plastic bottle will do the trick.)
  10. Mix powdered sugar (a lot!) and milk (barely a dribble!) until you have a smooth, thick glaze. A whisk is tremendously helpful.
  11. Wait for oil to reach 360 degrees. *
  12. Fry each donut until golden on each side. 30-60 seconds depending on how closely you watch your oil temp.
  13. Place on paper towels to absorb the extra oil.
  14. Dunk donuts into glaze and place on rack to dry.
  15. Sprinkle with toppings and make someone's day with a homemade donut!
Notes
  1. *Get a thermometer. Don't resist. I skip every possible step in the kitchen and try to make all cooking as free form as possible, but frying anything is made so much better/more consistent by knowing the exact temperature. Too hot and it burns before cooking through, too cold and it absorbs too much oil before fully frying. Any other kind of temperature I judge by touch, but I advise against putting one's hand in a cauldron of hot oil. 🙂
sarainshanghai http://sarainshanghai.com/

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Antipasto Salad – 5 ingredients to make you swoon!

Antipasto Salad - Just 5 Ingredients! This is the perfect summer salad. Must try! Every summer, I go through a phase where the only foods that sound even remotely appetizing have to be ice cold.  I probably consume half of my yearly intake of fresh produce during a six week span when the temperature peaks.  Snacking on fresh veggies with dip, eating my fill of frozen blueberries or grapes, finishing off giant bowls of watermelon in one sitting… For those of you who enjoy mild, temperate summers where a late July panini or pasta dish doesn’t seem absurd – can I come visit you? Please?

 

 

This summer, I created this Antipasto Salad after discovering that they now sell Olive Garden’s salad dressing in Target!  Yum!  Yes, please!  I dropped it into my cart and excitedly scurried around the store grabbing the other ingredients that I knew it needed to be paired with.  Tangy sun dried tomatoes, little creamy ciliegini (which is fancy for “cherry sized balls of fresh mozzarella” – buy them, buy them now), genoa salami, and crisp hearts of romaine.

Antipasto Salad - Just 5 Ingredients! This is the perfect summer salad. Must try!

I have been guilty of eating this salad more than once in the same day.  It’s that good. 

And sooooooooooo easy that I can even throw it together when the summer sun has stolen my will to live.  (Too dramatic? Nah.)  There’s something about this salad that feels so indulgent, which is a hard feeling to come by when you’re living on cold fruits and veggies.  Things feel refreshing and delicious and lots of other wonderful things, but indulgent?  Not too often…

5 Ingredient Antipasto Salad
Serves 1
A deliciously indulgent summer salad with all the flavors of an amazing antipasto plate.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups hearts of romaine, chopped
  2. 2-3 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, diced*
  3. 3 balls of ciliegini mozzarella, each quartered
  4. 4 slices of genoa salami, sliced into strips
  5. 2 tbsp Olive Garden salad dressing
Instructions
  1. Grab a cutting board and good knife. Chop your romaine and sun dried tomatoes. Toss them into a large salad bowl.
  2. Next, slice each ball of mozzarella in half, then in half again. Roll your slices of salami into a cigar shape and slice to create thin strips. Toss salami and mozzarella into the salad bowl.
  3. Add your dressing and toss to coat evenly. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. *I strongly prefer the sun dried tomatoes that are NOT packed in oil. You can buy them in a little resealable bag.
sarainshanghai http://sarainshanghai.com/

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