Winter the whole30 is coming. (update: WINTER IS HERE YOU GUYS) Game of Thrones anyone?? Luckily, no white walkers here. But let’s talk Whole30 Survival here. I have a whooooole bunch (pun intended) of my favorite recipes and resources for all your upcoming Whole30 needs! Note: I originally published this post in January 2015!! The program and my experience with it have changed a lot since then, so I’m giving you guys some brand-spanking new resources, recipes, tips & tricks so you can have the most successful Whole30 possible. Let’s doooo this.
Whole30 survival tip #1: Know the guidelines, ya big dummy.
Do NOT be that person who just googles Whole30 recipes from a bunch of random websites, and then starts doing the program. Trust me, it really helps to understand the WHY of the Whole30 – to help heal your health, your habits, and your relationship with food through real, nourishing food choices. Do you really think you’re going to break your daily pancake habit if you change over from gluten-filled pancakes to “Whole30 pancakes” every morning (p.s. WHOLE30 PANCAKES DO NOT EXIST)? Spoiler alert: NO.
What is the Whole30?
The NEW Whole30 Program Rules
*Whole30 Rules vs. Recommendations*
Whole30 Downloads: Shopping List, Autoimmune Shopping List, Meal Planning Template & a bunch of other awesome resources!
Whole30 Resources Roundup from The Clothes Make the Girl
30 Reasons to Whole30…beyond weight loss
Buzzfeed’s How to Go Paleo (with some great tips!)
Whole30 Starter Kit from Thrive Market
Pick up some Whole30 books & cookbooks, duh!
- It Starts with Food
- The Whole30 Guidebook: 30-Day Guide to Health and Food Freedom
- Whole30 Cookbook: 150 Delicious and Totally Compliant Recipes to Help you Succeed with the Whole30 and Beyond
My Favorite Whole30-Friendly Cookbooks:
- Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans,
- Nom Nom Paleo: Ready or Not?
- Well Fed
- Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat
- Well Fed Weeknights
- the Performance Paleo Cookbook
Need some recipe inspiration? Follow @whole30, @whole30recipes, and @realfoodwithdana on Instagram!
Pro Tip: KNOW YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND GOALS for THIS round of Whole30: but go in with an open mind.
As of August 2017, I’ve done 7 (yes, seven) rounds of Whole30. The coolest part? Each one is TOTALLY different for everyone – based on the season, your goals, your level of activity (once I was training for a crossfit competition, once preparing to be super healthy before a foot surgery, once for a half marathon, and once just lounging on my butt and going on vacation), or any health problems you may be dealing with.
Sounds profound but it’s true. You know what I mean if you’ve done one (or multiple) before. For me, my first round back in 2013 really taught me how to cook, and helped me realize that the scale is a lying piece of sh*t and shouldn’t determine your self-worth by a number you see every morning. My next one, I learned how freaking hard it is to not only do a Whole30, but to do an Autoimmune Protocol Whole30, which really tested my creativity and patience in the kitchen. Another, I learned how I needed to eat completely differently while training for a half-marathon, and the next one, I learned how I again needed to eat differently from my last one as I was recovering from adrenal exhaustion (and yes, those last two were connected. Le sigh).
Whole30 Survival Tip #2: meal planning & prep is KEY to your Whole30 success (and enjoyment).
Lucky for you, I wrote a whole post about it! Do some digging in (kicka**) Whole30-friendly cookbooks like Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, Well Fed & Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat, get a pen and paper, and write down some meal ideas for the week.
I like to batch cook and prepare a bunch of things in advance on the weekend (like hard boiled eggs, roast chicken, pulled pork, roasted sweet potatoes, etc.) so I have to cook less during the week, and you can easily throw together super quick lunches or dinners! Nom Nom Paleo’s newest cookbook, Ready or Not, is also PERFECT for this! Oh, and learn to love leftovers. They will make your life easy as pie. Paleo shepherd’s pie, that is.
Some of my favorite humans/Whole30 bloggers:
- The Castaway Kitchen
- Little Bits of Real Food
- I Heart Umami
- Paleo Running Momma
- Anya’s Eats
- Pretend it’s a Donut
- The Real Food Dietitians
- The Whole Smiths
- Living Loving Paleo
- Nom Nom Paleo
- Stupid Easy Paleo
- Physical Kitchness
Whole30 Survival Tip #3: Learn to love your slow cooker.
That thing saved my life my first Whole30 and we’ve been in a lo ever since. Plus, it will help save you SO much meal prep time, and makes dinner amazingly simple without compromising on flavor. Chuck some meat in there in the morning with a spice blend, throw the top on and let it go low and slow until you come home from work – BOOM, dinner is done!
Some of my favorite Whole30-Friendly slow cooker recipes:
Nom Nom Paleo’s Slow Cooker Kalua Pig.
Nom Nom Paleo’s Slow Cooker Roast Chicken & Gravy.
Chili Cilantro Lime Crock Pot Chicken | Paleo Pot
Slow Cooker Italian Pork Roast | Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed
How to Make Ghee in your Crock Pot | Health Starts in the Kitchen
Whole30 Survival Tip #4: Keep it interesting! Try out new recipes.
Everybody gets bored of eating the same thing every. single. day. (especially when it’s for a whole month.) Seriously, don’t try that. You’re only setting yourself up for a serious all-of-the-non-Whole30 foods binge on day 31. Which can be 10 times worse than a whole-body Charlie Sheen-style hangover.
Whole30 Survival Tip #5: If you have to look it up, it’s probably a no.
When you first do the Whole30 (or even your 2nd, 3rd one), you’ll probably have lots of questions about what you can / can’t have on the program. This is totally normal, and fine! As a general rule of thumb, we’re sticking to WHOLE, UNPROCESSED FOODS, found in the perimeters of the grocery store. But when you venture into those middle aisles to find the tomato sauce, salsa, etc., it can get a little tricky with additives and stuff. While some are okay (ex. guar gum in canned, full-fat coconut milk), some are definitely not (any form of sugar, carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites). But while you’re reading your labels and you come across an ingredient you’re not sure about, just check out this handy-dandy guide…
I’d highly recommend you bookmark that page, or even keep it open on your phone for the duration of your Whole30!
Spoiler alert: no form of pancakes, waffles, cookies, brownies, cakes, etc., are Whole30-approved, even if they don’t have any added sugar or non-Whole30 ingredients.
Whole30 Survival Tip #6: Do it with a friend. Or your gym. Or join a Whole30 Facebook support group!
#1 way to make your Whole30 as hard as possible? Do it by yourself. Especially when you’re just starting out, you need someone to help you through those hardest days, to give you recipe inspiration, or to even swap meals with. Someone to text when you want to bit everyone’s head off on days 4-5 or you feel like your pants are tighter on day 10 (both of these will happen. Expect it. Embrace it – it’s all part of the process).
In my opinion, the best way to get support from people is to join a Facebook support group with friends, gym-mates, co-workers, etc…like-minded people who are in the same boat as you. You can exchange recipes, ask questions (and get the answer pretty much instantly), vent about how you want to kill your desk-mate who brought in chocolate cake today, and people are active all the time. Just make sure the group is led by someone who knows the ins and outs of the Whole30 program, who you like, know and trust…like me!
Join the Whole30 with Dana: Whole30 Facebook Support Group for this fall! First group starts September 1st with the Worldwide September Whole30 group, but you can join in whenever you’re choosing to start!
Want even more Whole30 Survival resources, tips & tricks? Check these babies out.
What are your favorite Whole30 Survival tips and recipes? Comment Below!