Over January I went on the Whole30, a dietary program that seems to be part elimination diet and all nutritious diet. It was designed by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. And now, I’m going on it again!
What is the Whole30®?
Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?
Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health. The most important reason to keep reading?
This will change your life.
It is a program that gets you eating good, real food and excluding all processed and refined food, grains, dairy, legumes, potato, alcohol and sugar (even ‘natural’ sugars) and it is going to get you feeling pretty good, pretty soon! In a way, I like the constraints of this 30 day program as you I didn’t really have to think much what to cook/eat. And remember it is just for 30 days.
I’m not going to lie, however- the Whole30 is pretty strict. And if you haven’t spent much time cooking your own real food (generally speaking) (read here about the benefits of cooking your own food) this could be a bit of a jump for you. But it doesn’t take long to get into the swing of things.
I think the stand out for me in this program, is that it aims to help you let go of the idea of certain junk foods.
For me, if there is one thing to remember while following the Whole30, it is that to not ‘re-create’ foods that make seem like ‘paleo’ versions of a junk food. And to avoid having dessert, which is hard I know. But remember it is only for 30 days!
How to prepare:
- For me, one of the best things ever to do to prepare for the Whole30, was write a big list of potential foods I would like to eat and then at the start of each week I would choose what I wanted to cook that week and then I would turn the weeks menu into a shopping list and then get everything I needed for that week.
- When you cook each nights dinner, cook a bit extra and keep that for your next day’s lunch.
- Don’t buy anything that you will be avoiding on this 30 day program – it will just be making it too hard for yourself.
- Prepare food on the weekend to give you more time in the week.
Meal ideas (these could be used for any meal):
Nb: Many of these ideas I had on my own whole30, others I’ve added as you may like to try them out. Many of these I need to write up recipes for – so stay tuned!
- Eggs, lots of eggs! Eggs were my go-to breakfast and quick-to-make lunch for much of the Whole30.
- ‘Sweet’ breakfast omelette.
- ‘Sweet’ breakfast omelette with blueberries.
- Scrambled eggs with fruit: This is something Dallas Hartwig suggested to me via Instragram (so I cannot take credit for the idea). I just beat two eggs, cook them in a bit of coconut oil or ghee and then mix in chopped peaches and stir until the eggs are scrambled. Top with basil leaves and pecans. This is actually really delicious!
- Basil and Tomato Frittata
- Cooked canned sardines.
- Sweet potato and coconut soup.
- Boerwors (South african sausage)/any good quality sausage will do.
- Meat balls in tomato sauce.
- Meat balls, spinach and bone broth soup.
- Cleansing and delicious salad.
- Cleansing and delicious salad version 2.
- Homemade ‘Peri Peri’ chicken: chicken thighs or breasts marinated in lemon juice, jalapenos, garlic and salt & pepper and then baked in the oven until cooked.
- Tuna/sardines on top of an avocado.
- Bone broth soups. Such as my Grass-Fed Bone Broth Pho.
- Apple, cucumber and basil salad with chicken: 1/2-1 green apple cored and chopped into cubes, 1/2 avocado cubed, 1 Lebanese cucumber cubed & a few basil leaves served with a piece of chicken.
- Chilli & Lime Prawns with Jalapeno, Mango and Tomato Salsa.
- Sesame-Crusted Sardine, Fennel and Sweet Potato Cakes.
- Baked golden sweet potatoes topped with a tsp. of ghee & served with your protein source of choice.
- Sweet potato cakes.
- Meat/fish/poultry served with a colourful salad.
- Meat and veggie nori wraps.
- Purple cabbage, mango and cucumber salad: 1/2 purple cabbage finely sliced, 2 mangoes cubed and 1 cucumber chopped into cubes. Mix together.