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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