Before you get your panties all up in a bunch, I’m NOT talking about whole30 treats here in the sense of egg + banana pancakes, brownies, cookies, double triple mocha lattes with coconut milk + cocoa powder + dates (sheesh, people are really getting creative here), in the sense of SWYPO. (noun): Sex with your pants on: turning whole30 compliant ingredients into treat-like-substances that fuel your dessert and sugar cravings. Don’t do it people, just don’t do it. You’re trying to be healthier right? Well, a cookie is still a cookie, even if it has less sugar in it. IT’S A COOKIE, PEOPLE.
No. Today we’re talking about ways you can treat yourself on the whole30 that do not involve SWYPO treat-like substances, that won’t wreck your waistline, won’t put you smack dab back in the “vicious cycle of overconsumption -> guilt -> shame”, and won’t wreck your end whole30 results (um, hello, looking great naked DUH). Check yourself before your wreck yourself. And your whole30.
Well, okay. Maybe not the mimosas part. But you get the idea.
I was listening to a podcast with Gretchen Rubin about habits the other day, and she talked about how too often we want to reward ourselves for our new good habits with something that reinforces a negative habit we were trying to get rid of in the first place. Like when someone says they “earned” this piece of chocolate cake after a long run or as soon as they lose 10 lbs they’re going to eat cheesecake/oreos/fill in the blank not-good-for-you food here. This goes for all kinds of habits, when you’re trying to form new ones, not just when you’re hyper-conscious of them like when you’re doing a nutrition challenge.
(Hermione voice) For example. At the end of your whole30, I do not recommend consuming an entire gallon of ice cream at one time. Guaranteed you will regret that. If not within 20 minutes, at least within an hour. And probably for the next few days. Remember that Charlie Sheen-type hangover on days 2-3 of the whole30, which came from that sugar bender you went on right before you started? Multiply that by ten. Yep, it’s gonna hurt. You’re gonna feel like balls. This is the same process, but in reverse. Your body is essentially cleaned out of all sugar and junk, and running smoothly, so when the sugar, dairy, gluten, etc. comes back in all at once in tub of ice cream form…yikes. Not only will your stomach and every cell of your being hate you for it, but you aren’t really rewarding yourself for the huge achievement of completing the whole30 (or coming this far) in a way that makes you want to continue those healthy habits.
Your body feels really freaking fantastic at the end of your whole30, right? (If it doesn’t yet, you’ll get there!) You’re getting all those awesome side effects like sleeping better, you’re happier, you have more energy, you feel like you can do ANYTHING (well, maybe not anything)!! Why would you immediately do something when you finish that you know is going to make you feel like sh*t?
Why would you “reward” yourself for “being good” or healthy by doing something that makes you less healthy?
Why, for accomplishing the task of maintaining healthy habits for a whole month, would you give yourself a “negative behavior” award which only reinforces that bad behavior you were trying to get rid of in the first place by taking on this challenge?
So. How DO you treat yourself on the whole30?
And what about a reward for after you’re finished, without falling into that tub of ice cream (and old habits, and a giant stomachache)?
Treat yourself with something that will reinforce the good behavior, the new habit you’ve been working on! Check it out: If you’ve been cooking a lot at home on your whole30, why not treat yourself to a cookbook that has a lot of great whole30 recipes in there?
TREAT. YO. SELF.
Like to cook at home and want to get super fancy?
Go buy yourself a nice a** cut of grass-fed, organic steak, great quality wild caught seafood, whatever strikes your fancy, and grill that sh*t up. Put a fancy sauce or spice blend on it, and I’d say that’s a great whole30 reward at the end of the day. Wouldn’t you?
Or treat yourself to a new a fancy kitchen ingredient…
Like truffle salt or some fancy a** infused olive oil, and then google some whole30-friendly recipes you can make with that. Because putting truffles on anything by default makes them super fancy. Right? And delicious.
Sure, these ingredients might be a little bit more pricey than you normally spend. But just think of all the money you’re saving by cooking mostly at home! You’re not going out to restaurants as often, getting takeout, spending money on alcohol…so treat yourself! But in a healthy way, not the faceplant into an entire double chocolate layer cake that would leave my insides in stitches for days/weeks on end. And probably yours too, if you’re this far into your whole30!
Some other ideas for fun new ingredients to experiment with:
Black Truffle salt
Garlic Gold Garlic Infused Olive Oil
White truffle oil
Fig Balsamic Vinegar
Kalamata Olive Spread
Mina Harissa (mild)
Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette w/Avocado Oil
Primal Palate Spice Blends
Grass-fed steak (with Chimichurri Sauce!)
Lobster (oh you fancy, huh. Serve with melted ghee instead of butter!)
And if you experiment with these? Guaranteed to make your cooking fancy as sh*t in under 5 seconds. Or, you know, as long as it takes to cook that steak. You’ll also be leaps and bounds ahead of your friends who are stuck in whole30 boredom land. Oh, you’re still eating eggs and bacon for every meal for the 21st day in a row? I’ll just be over here, eating my perfectly grilled steak with truffle aioli and plantains with chimichurri sauce. Yeah, whole30 food is soooo boring, right?
Speaking of whole30 boredom, if you’re lacking food inspiration, try out these cool new little things I found called Paleo Dice. Basically, there’s one die each for meat, 2 veggies, and 2 spice ones – you roll them, and you have an instant flavor combination idea for a meal! Pretty sweet, huh? Now if somebody could just send me some of those? That’d be great. Kthanks.
What about some non-food treats?
How about some new kitchen knives that you’ve been meaning to replace forever because the edges are so dulled down they can barely cut through tomatoes? The struggle is real. I can’t even tell you how much more enjoyable cooking is with a SHARP chef’s knife.
The whole30 folks also have a great article on cool kitchen gadgets you can reward yourself with (TREAT. YO. SELF) on the whole30! Guaranteed to up your kitchen game and make your life SO. much. easier. Especially when it comes to preparing food for the whole30 (or, you know, life in general)! My favorite picks?
UM HELLO WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE. You guys know how much of an avocadoholic I am. Avocado on allofthethings, please and thank you. Then you can make perfectly ripe Secret Recipe Guacamole EVERY TIME!!
I use my immersion blender practically every day, whether it’s to make bulletproof coffee, homemade 30-second mayonnaise, my paleo ranch dressing, chimichurri sauce, soup…all of the things.
This pretty much goes without saying, but if you don’t have a slow cooker…you should probably get one. #1 time saver when it comes to cooking, especially for easy whole30 meals! I would buy one JUST to make my Ginger-Garlic Pulled Pork or Smoky BBQ Pulled Pork. Uuuughhh so good. I can’t even.
This is tool I use most in the kitchen, besides my trusty knife. If you’re looking for something in the kitchen that makes your life easier in so many different ways, this is it! Chopping onions (for like every recipe ever), shredding carrots or sweet potatoes (for my sunny sweet potato hash), making sauces, mayonnaise, soup, (no bake cookies…but not on the whole30)!
If there is ONE thing you want to splurge on, it should be a GOOD chef’s knife. You don’t necessarily need the whole block of them, but it’s worth investing in a good one!
What about treating yourself outside of the kitchen entirely?
Been doing more yoga? Treat YO SELF to a new yoga mat. Or some new yoga clothes. They’ll probably fit better than they would have before too (thanks, whole30!) Been going to the gym more? Get yourself a new pair of gym shoes. I just bought myself some new oly weightlifting shoes, and let me tell you. Nothing is more motivating to get ready for a killer workout than lacing up a new pair of fresh new neon kicks like these . Okay, maybe a pair of bright neon pants. Maybe. See my point though?
What about other treat yourself ideas? Get a massage or a facial at the spa. Get your nails done. Buy yourself a concert ticket! Go out to a movie and bring your own whole30 snacks. God knows that’s a treat because going to the movies is so damn expensive these days! Sheesh, now I sound old. Back in the day when movie tickets were only $5….
So basically, TREAT YO SELF. You deserve it.
Just remember: stick to things that will motivate you to continue the good habits, instead of reinforcing old ones. That means you, chocolate lava cake with coconut milk ice cream. I’m saving you for my birthday. And maybe a little after I finish the whole30.
P.s. I am NOT saying you should totally avoid having a reasonable treat at the end of your whole30 as a good job for finishing the program. Just watch out of that tub of ice cream, she’s a doozie.
How do you treat yourself on (or after) the whole30?