I first heard about Whole 30 from friends who were doing it. And I thought it was nuts! Why in the world would anyone WANT to do this thing? Removing all grains, legumes, dairy and sugar from your daily diet. How much work is that?!
You know what? It is nuts. I admit that. It is alot of work to put into food. Where usually there is minimal thought put into what goes into my mouth. The time I learned about this program I was not in a place to participate.
Fast forward a year later and I find myself joining a group of friends in a FB group. The intention was to encourage each other through the group and meet weekly for a pot luck. Well, we managaged one pot luck at the start of September. Then Hurricane Irma blew through my hometown and my Whole30 Journey.
Promising myself that I would finish what I started, I began again ( somewhat on my own) in late October. I finished my 30 days just before Thanksgiving. It was a great experience, I learned a lot about cooking ( that my skills in this area have come a long way) and I enjoyed eating it. This was crucial to being successfull. Food is meant to be enjoyable.
Thanks to my friends who are veterns at Whole 30 I got some great advice that helped me along the way.
1- Figure out the Why behind doing it. Everyone has a different reason for trying it out. My why was to see if I could do it but also to better understand my relationship with food. This is an area that I have had trouble getting a handle on.
2-Figure a time that works for your life. This is 30 days of a lot of cooking, planning what you will cook, how you will eat. Seriously, if you wake up each day not knowing what Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be then you will fail for sure. Double up on recipes, you can portion it out, freeze some for later etc.
3- Prepare to stock up your pantry ( I suggest start getting things a few weeks out so you don’t end up having to spend a lot all at once). Some of the items can be pricey but worth it, especially the Light Tasting Virgin Oil, Coconut Aminos, Dates. I did not buy all the oils because I could not afford it. For instance for some recipes I substituted apple cider vinegar for rice vinegar. Ghee I used a few times and hardly used the coconut oil.
4- Prepare your loved ones. They will need to understand there will be some limitations to what you eat ( especially for family gatherings). But also let people you live with know whats up. You will need space in the fridge and pantry for your food. You do not however need to tell everyone. Face it when the work place donut, cake, pizza comes around all I had to do was say No Thank You. Or as my boss persisted in offering me food I found saying I had eaten sufficed.
5- Get a support system. The FB group fell apart after the craziness of the storm but I still had a few friends I checked in with through out my journey. For other questions I googled Whole 30 forums. As always accountability helps to achieve goals. Having to report where I was at made me want to succeed even more.
6- Read Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig. This helped prepare myself mentally.
7- Have grace for yourself. You will forget to read all the ingrediants, realize that meal planning was only enough to get to halfway through the week. OR life will happen and you aren’t able to continue.
I am by no means an expert on Whole 30, and I am sure there are those out there who would say I did this or that wrong ( which I am sure I did). But I did my best, I enjoyed cooking and trying new things out. I am now in the reintroduction phase ( more on this later). But I now feel as if I have a foundation to return to when I find myself getting off the rails. That to me is the most important thing.