Whole30 Survival Guide
Day One Breakfast
Today marks my fourth full day on Whole30. A few weeks ago, I shared that I would be trying the Whole30 challenge for the next month. I didn’t take much time to dive into the why’s or how’s though, so I thought I would do a bit more of that in today’s post. Part of this is selfish (announcing things on the internet is a great way to hold yourself accountable), and part of this is because many of you have asked me to.
So, I’m the first to give any popular food program the side eye. I’m an extremely skeptical person and don’t believe in cutting out major groups of foods without understanding the reason behind it. If you have a legitimate health intolerance or allergy, that is a different matter. Everybody is different and you should never allow anyone to make you feel bad about what you put into your body. That is not the intention behind this post. I’m just sharing my own experience and thoughts, because some people expressed interest in this!
In my opinion, food offers a lot more than just health benefits and nutrients. Food is emotional. Certain foods just taste really good and make life fun. I love dairy. I love pasta. I love bread and grains. I certainly enjoy baked goods from time to time. I don’t shy away from that. After all, my job revolves around food. So, you can imagine my very first reaction to the concept of Whole30. You can’t eat what?!
Favorite Guacamole Green Salad (minus the tortilla chips)
But I kept hearing more and more good things about it. I decided to buy the book It Starts with Food and read it. And guess what? Once I read it, I kind of wanted to do it! It was incredibly fascinating to me and I found that many aspects of the book, particularly the parts about cravings or foods-with-no-brakes, resonated with me.
I have always been curious as to how different foods impact me, but I’ve never really known how foods impact me. You can’t really know until you eliminate them and reintroduce them back into your life. While I love vegetables, fruits, and many other traditionally good-for-you foods, and consider myself fairly conscious about the food choices that I make, I have several ‘foods-with-no-brakes’. For me, that is pasta, bread, and grains.
I love ’em and crave them. A lot. A little too much. I’ve definitely picked up some bad habits in the last few years and my metabolism isn’t what it once was. Sigh. A lot of these habits are also making me less creative (and inevitably, more lazy) in the kitchen too!
I’m definitely aware of my weakness around certain foods, but I had a tendency to push these thoughts aside for the satisfaction of eating them. I eat a second or third helping because it tastes good, not because my stomach is hungry. To be honest, I think everyone has foods like this in their life! It isn’t about eliminating foods from my life altogether (I have no plans of doing this, really!), but understanding my relationship to these foods better.
That is the reason that I’m trying Whole30. To reset old habits, get back on track, become more aware of my food choices (the emotional reasons behind them, as well as how different foods affect my energy, body, and mood), and ultimately use this experience to become more creative with my everyday meals. I wanted to share the process with you all to prove that its possible to eat really delicious, exciting food that happens to meet all of the program requirements.
So far, the trick is to focus on all of the foods that you can eat, instead of focusing on the ones that you cannot. Just four days in, I’m already more conscious of filling my breakfast and lunch plates with healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, ghee, etc.) protein, and vegetables.
I’m prepping ahead and stocking my fridge with easy-to-grab choices (leftover roast chicken, hard-boiled eggs, sliced vegetables, etc.), which is making it extremely easy to make nutritious, thoughtful choices throughout the day. The best part? These foods are very, very satiating. Way more satiating than some of my go-to breakfasts or lunches in the past.
Leftover Meatballs, Zucchini Pasta, Salad, + Roasted Vegetables
Foods excluded from Whole30: grains, legumes (including peanuts), soy, sugar (including natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, etc.), and dairy (with the exception of ghee or clarified butter, which doesn’t contain milk solids).
Foods allowed on Whole30: vegetables, fruits, seafood, eggs, meat, poultry, potatoes, and tree nuts.
Things I like about the program: The rules are very clear and easy to follow in that regard. It forces you to branch out and become more creative. You’ll inevitably be picking up all sorts of vegetables, fruits, seafood, or meat just to avoid boredom with any of your meals.
I’ve always been a label and ingredient reader when buying store-bought items, but it will make you even more conscious and aware of the choices you make (aka. things in your pantry that shouldn’t need to contain added sugar probably do). If you are horrible at meal-planning, you’ll be forced to figure it out. Meal planning and food prep is key.
Things I don’t like about the program: You have to eat a lot of meat or seafood in order to create satiating meals. I’m not used to this though I have a feeling my body prefers it and is much more satiated when I eat more protein. I love that the program strongly encourages seeking out high-quality, grass-fed or pastured meat, but I still feel that it leaves out a lot of sustainable, plant-based protein options (legumes, grains, etc.). However, it is only 30 days!
Without grains or dairy, traditional breakfast options are majorly limited. You’ll get really bored of eggs. I’m already bored of eggs. I miss yogurt. Thankfully, I don’t mind eating non-breakfast-y things at breakfast. Ask me this question again in 20 days.
It’s very difficult to enjoy normal social gatherings that involve food. In fact, I don’t really anticipate eating out at all in the next month. Going out to restaurants or traveling is cumbersome and requires a lot of planning and forethought. Our upcoming trip to New York City this weekend is proving that quickly.
How I’m feeling: Good! Not overwhelmingly different. I’m feeling very satiated after every meal and haven’t felt the need to snack in between, which is pretty unusual for me! Usually, I need some fruit or snack to tide me over from lunch to dinner. Technically, snacking is discouraged on the program and I haven’t done much of it. I’m going to bed earlier, feel less bloated, more hungry in the morning (a good sign), and haven’t experienced any afternoon slumps or ‘hangry-ness’.
I haven’t experienced any massive sugar cravings which is something that most people experience in the first three to five days. But I wasn’t anticipating the no-sugar rule to be the hardest part of this for me. I have always craved savory foods over sweet ones. I’m an out of sight, out of mind person. If I have a loaf of banana bread or cake sitting on my countertop, I’m going to eat some of it. No question. If I don’t have those types of things sitting in my kitchen (my preference), I can go for a pretty long time without them.
I definitely miss grains, my sprouted bread and English muffins, and pasta. But I miss them less for taste, and more for the variety and texture that they add to meals. The most noticeable craving – if I can even call it that – is dairy. I miss milk and cheese. A lot! Mostly for the flavor they add. My morning coffee is not the same. There really is no substitute!
I can already tell that I’ll need to really mix up my meals in the next few weeks in order to avoid becoming bored. Food boredom is the worst.
Breakfast Hash, Avocado, + Fried Eggs
Since a bunch of you mentioned that you would be starting Whole 30 with me (or were interested in maybe doing it or just wanted to know more!), I wanted to share a handful of recipes from the blog that already happen to be Whole 30 compliant – or very close to it with a few small tweaks.
If you’re interesting in seeing more behind the scenes, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Instagram story videos. I’ve been sharing a lot a things behind the scenes (including my never-ending search for the best non-dairy substitute):
WHOLE 30 COMPLIANT RECIPES + RESOURCES:
- Ghee vs clarified butter (and how to make both at home!)
- Green Chile Adobo Sauce (put this on everything!)
- Homemade Garlic Confit
- Mexican Hash Brown Stack (substitute oil with liquid ghee)
- Breakfast Hash (omit oil; substitute ghee + add compliant sausage)
Soups + Stews:
- Roasted Cauliflower Soup
- Garam Masala Carrot Soup
- Butternut Squash and Leek Soup (substitute butter with ghee; omit the creme fraiche)
- Creamy Tomato and Avocado Gazpacho
- Authentic Mexican Tortilla Soup (omit the cheese + tortilla chips)
- Roasted Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
- Slow Cooker Winter Vegetable Soup (omit the lentils + cheese; add chicken or homemade mini meatballs)
- Guacamole Greens Salad (omit the tortilla chips)
- Radicchio, Pear, Pomegranate, and Walnut Salad (omit the gorgonzola; add roasted chicken)
- Za’atar Grilled Chicken Bowls (omit bulgur; substitute cauliflower rice or salad greens)
- Seared Salmon with Adobo Sauce and Frisee Salad
- Middle Eastern Spatchcocked Chicken with Vegetables
- Spicy Sausage with Broccoli Rabe (omit pasta; substitute vegetable noodles)
- Weeknight Broiled Salmon with Chermoula Herb Crust
- Indian Braised Chicken (omit chickpeas + yogurt; substitute coconut milk)
- Trout Almondine (omit flour; substitute butter with ghee)
I’ll be sharing more recipes over the next few weeks! Let me know if you found this post interesting, and if you’d like me to share more about my experience doing the program!
20 Comments on “Whole30 Survival Guide”
I am on day 6 of Whole30 and am taking the collagen peptides too. I put mine in almond milk with turmeric golden milk powder and matcha tea. I feel good and it hasn’t been too hard to stay on track, but I am going on a spring break trip so worried about that. ?
Is almond and cashew milk allowed on whole 30? I’ve done paleo which is slightly less strict than Whole 30. I’ve made my own almond milk and really enjoyed it in my coffee. I was about to give up at first because I love my coffee with cream! I’ve used coconut milk (the full fat, real stuff) and its not as good. Good luck on whole 30, I’m thinking about doing it to kick start me back into full paleo again. I felt so much better on paleo than I’ve ever felt eating in general. No bloating after a big meal, lots of energy and a feeling of overall wellness.
It is allowed as long as it doesn’t contain added sugar or carrageenan (which I try to avoid anyway). I have made my own almond milk in the past and actually love it in smoothies, but am not as big of a fan in coffee. I don’t mind it, but I think I’m just so accustomed to my normal milk cappuccinos that its a hard adjustment. 🙂 I agree that coconut milk (full fat or even light) is not as good, but I think that’s because I don’t enjoy flavored coffee in general and it gives it a coconut taste.
I’m so curious to see how I feel in the next two weeks! So far, I really don’t feel any different (maybe a bit more energy?), but it’s definitely be an interesting challenge creatively!
Glad you are liking the Whole 30! I transitioned to this lifestyle a few years ago too. For non-dairy creamer I use full fat coconut milk in my coffee, recipes – pretty much anything that requires cream. This is my favorite brand that has no preservatives – a lot of Paleo peeps use it too. When you open the box preserve it by pouring into ice cube trays and freezing. Pure coconut milk can go bad after a few days. I do Bulletproof coffee every morning so I drop a cube of coconut milk nad blen in my Vitamix. http://amzn.to/2mXksT4
You should also consider Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides it works amazing in coffee and smoothies too. http://amzn.to/2n6deLA And if you are really wanting to see a change in your metabolism consider Intermittent Fasting then you don’t have to worry about breakfast so much. All your meals are consumed from 12-6 or within a 6 -8 hour window during the day.
Good luck with your Whole30 journey!!
I actually have been using Collagen Peptides (after hearing so much about it!) for the past 3-4 weeks. I’m really liking it! A great way to get some extra nutrients, protein, etc. without any weird flavor.
I love full-fat coconut milk in cooking, but am not loving it in coffee yet. I think I’m just a milk girl 🙂 I haven’t tried Aroy-D though, very interesting! Thanks for sharing Alison!
Have you tried Nutpods in your coffee? I recently discovered them and I’m crazy for the hazelnut. It’s coconut and almond, and unsweetened. I’ve been doing programs similar to Whole 30 for years off and on, and also programs from a different perspective—vegan stuff, always short to medium term, trying to find out what approach best serves my body. Annoyingly, since I, like you, am crazy for cheese, the one thing I have found is that dairy foods ( except for live cultureds like kefir and yogurt,) really increase my inflammation. So I’ve been hunting alternatives awhile! Ive found good recipes for cashew parmesan and almond feta, and keep seeking new alternatives for cheese…my body thrives on nuts. Nutpods are my new obsession tho. The tongue does adapt to cream-free living eventually! Best wishes with your 30 days!
I’ve heard a LOT about Nutpods, but haven’t found them (or ordered them yet!). I definitely would love to compare it to traditional almond milk or coconut milk. I’m actually not used to have cream or half and half in my coffee, I just miss the taste of regular milk. Very interesting about the inflammation. Do you mean just overall you feel sluggish or have more joint pain? I’m so curious about this!
I have really enjoyed all of your Instagram posts as you take this journey. Even though I’ll never do this one, your insight in general has been great!
Thank you so much Christi! I’m so happy to hear that and really appreciate the feedback! 🙂
Thanks Laura. Looking forward to trying some of these. I do miss my many varieties of cheese that I usually use. I wanted to mention that Tracy over on Shutterbean shared a couple weeks of her Whole30 adventure and her meals are quite tasty in my opinion. Nice to have a few trusted sources for recipes;)
Are you on Whole30 right now? Or have you cut out dairy? I LOVED Tracy’s posts (and love her blog in general) on Whole30 and need to check them out again this weekend. I totally agree about having trusted sources for recipes, especially since you end up cooking a LOT – and I already cook a lot in general – when doing it.
I’m rethinking my desire & willingness to commit to this Whole30 plan. I prefer getting back on track with a balanced diet of real food. Over the past year I started eating junk, processed food and snacks way too much. I’m going to do an Atkins 2-wk jump start and then balance our meals better. I am glad that I tried this whole30 out though. I’ll still be following you because your recipes are really good 🙂
One of the things that attracted me to Whole30 in the first place is that it is ALL about real foods. I’ve always eaten a ton of vegetables, fruit, and high-quality meat, but I’m eating more of them now than before! I really see it as a reset and way to get back on track and have a better understanding of your relationship to certain foods, rather than any sort of ‘diet’. Thanks for following along regardless of what you decide! Again, not trying to convince anyone that this is a good decision for them, just sharing my own experience 🙂
Whole30, always something new to experience . . .
I am always interested in what’s new in the name of eating healthier, (i.e. Farm to table, whole foods). In my younger days it was about exercise and diet to lose weight, not so much for health as for appearances. Now that I am older and hopefully a bit wiser, I have discovered it is important to find a balance regarding healthful eating, exercise and appearances. I believe much of the success of any “diet” is a mind set regardless of the diet structure and content. I personally do not want to eliminate healthful foods that do not fit into a specific diet plan for the sake of that diet unless I medically have to. Having said that, I am still interested in reading about this new way of eating and perhaps incorporating some ideas into my whole food way of eating, but always with a little something forbidden on the side, after all life is too short to not enjoy everything, in moderation of course ?
Totally agree with all of this! I don’t really see it as a ‘diet’, more of a way to understand how your body responds to different foods (so basically an elimination/reintroduction thing). It eliminates certain foods for a time simply because they can cause digestion issues for some people.
It really is all about real, whole foods too! Tons of vegetables, fruit, and sustainable sourced protein.
After about a week, breakfast becomes known as “Meal 1.” Leftover chicken thighs and veggie soup? Sure, why not. As long as it’s not eggs!
Haha! I am very close to not wanting to see another egg. I’m going to make a lot more soups next week, because they seem like such an easy quick meal and having them for breakfast sounds good!
Wonderful post!! Starting Whole30 on Monday!! Thanks for all the meal ideas 🙂
Glad it was helpful! Hope it’s going well?!?!
Like you.. I’m sooo food bored!!!! Though, I did make these coconut lime chicken breasts over cauliflower rice that were pretty yummy. BUT I would still love some sugar ha! My coffee is pretty boring and chocolate sounds amazing right now. Day four… I CAN DO IT 🙂