Starting your first, third, or twentieth round and wondering how to be successful on the Whole30? I’m sharing my best tips and tricks to help you last the full 30 days and end up feeling better than ever!
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If you follow me at all on Instagram, you may have picked up on the fact that I do the Whole30 from time to time. Yep, I have jumped on that January Whole30 bandwagon in my day and normally, and I don’t look back.
On that same path, if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you may have noticed that the past me has had a love-hate relationship with the Whole30, with more of an emphasis early on with the ‘hate’ aspect.
If I’m being honest with myself and honest with a lot of you, I had a terrible time coming to terms a few years ago with my “new way of eating” post my Eosinophilic Esophagitis diagnosis.
It was tough to swallow (no EOE pun intended) that the foods I had eaten and enjoyed for years were all of a sudden ganging up on me and causing my body to react differently than normal. I had a tough time accepting that my body just wasn’t the same anymore, and that I couldn’t carry on with previous behaviors or eating patterns, for that matter, that I had found “success” with early in in my quest for a healthier lifestyle and weight loss journey.
So I was bitter and I bashed the program, when the truth of the matter is, I honestly feel my best when I follow a paleo-diet and one similar to what the Whole30 outlines.
For me, I feel the best physically (and let’s be honest – emotionally) when I cut out gluten and dairy. I also have to be honest in that I realize food does bring me pleasure, and I refuse to live a life deprived of some of my favorite treats. Which is why I personally follow a lifestyle where 90% of the time I eat gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo-ish foods, and the other 10% of the time I indulge and enjoy the foods that I probably shouldn’t be eating.
You’ve probably seen me mention my “Worth-It-Meter.” This means I realize that maybe devouring a pizza might make me feel terrible later on – but I also realize that I absolutely LOVE pizza and that sometimes I want to be able to order it in with my family and enjoy every single bite of it.
So, sometimes I decide that feeling bad later is totally worth it for the short-term displaced happiness that pizza might bring me. And I’m okay with that. There have been plenty of other times where I’ve looked at something I may have previously loved and thought – nope. Not this time. It definitely doesn’t feel worth how I’ll feel later. Really learning and understanding how my body and my mind react to certain foods has been essential for me finding my own version of Food Freedom that the Whole30 teaches.
So if I already follow a 90% paleo-diet, then why did I feel the need to do the Whole30, you may be asking? It’s simple. I’m human, just like all of you, and around the holidays I tend to find my Worth-It-Meter getting a little biased, a little lax, and a little lazy. AKA I overindulged and ate far too many things that I typically don’t, and found myself craving them a lot more than I typically do.
I needed something to help get me back into my normal pattern; something that involved a little structure to keep me in line, and get me excited again about taking care of myself. So, Whole30 it was.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I get that sometimes the struggle is real. It’s hard to stay committed to something because there are literally temptations everywhere. That’s why I’ve put together a list of a few of my favorite Whole30/Whole30 compliant recipes that will hopefully keep you excited and on track to finish the rest of this month strong! I may even share some other tips I’ve learned toward the end, so keep reading!
How to be Successful on the Whole30
Research and Plan
It makes a world of difference when you go into something like this when you’ve had time to really research and understand the program then when you go into it blind.
It’s all about mindset, and no matter what program you may be starting, if you go into it looking at all of the things you can’t do, or you can’t eat, then you’re setting the tone right away that this is hard and it’s going to be a struggle because look at all the things you can’t do that everyone else can while you’re following this program. So more times than not, people quit. Been there, done that. I can preach it because I’m just as guilty as everyone else (read more about how having an all or nothing attitude can really screw things up).
Focus on Foods you Love
So having over a year of following a paleo lifestyle has helped me go into this new Whole30 round with a fresh set of eyes. Because I’m no longer focusing on those foods that I can’t have, I’m choosing to think about all of the delicious meals I can have. And luckily, I know my tastes pretty well, so I only cook the foods that I love. Not the ones that I don’t. It helps – think about it. Some may even venture as far as to say that it’s logical.
When I first wrote this blog post I had told everyone that I absolutely despise Brussels Sprouts. Hate them, couldn’t stand them. No matter how hard I tried. And my advice was that if you hated a food that vehemently then you should avoid it, too. And not force yourself to eat that horrid food.
BUT.. I’ve matured since this was first published and I actually honestly love Brussels sprouts now. Especially these air fryer brussels sprouts with bacon.
Focus on the foods that you love that will help you stay satisfied and excited about what you’re doing during your program – no matter which one it may be.
Easy Whole30 Recipes
Sweet Potato Egg Cups
This is a recipe that I came up with awhile ago, and it’s been a go-to ever since. It’s such a nice basic and it’s perfect for prepping in bulk, and then being able to grab and go as your week gets hectic.
You can check out the full recipe here.
Whole30 Bangers & Mash
One of my favorite recipes from the Whole30 book is the Banger Sausage Patties with Sweet Potato Mash & Caramelized Onions.
I make this meal about once per week and it’s a spouse favorite; Chad will ask for this meal by name. When I’m not following the Whole30, I’ll also steam a bag of peas and add as an additional veggie (sorry, though.. peas are not approved while doing the Whole30).
Whole30 Inspired Chili
This recipe is inspired by the Classic Chili recipe found in the Whole30 book, however, when I went to make that recipe, I found myself modifying it so much that before I knew it, I had my own original-ish recipe that’s become a favorite in our house.
I’m sure going by the book is amazing, too – I just typically don’t eat a lot of red meat, which started the modification train rolling.
- 1 pound ground meat your choice (lean ground turkey, ground beef, ground chicken, ground pork, etc)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 peppers (red, green, yellow, or orange) chopped
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 2 cups broth
- 1-3 large potatoes
- Cook meat until brown
- While meat is cooking, chop your veggies and add to a large sauce pan with the seasoning and let simmer on low.
- When the meat is finished, add to your sauce pan. Add in the broth and diced tomatoes.
- Chop your potatoes and add to the mixture.
- Let simmer on low for up to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While this isn’t exactly a meal or full recipe, one of the easiest and most delicious staples I cook on the regular is pulled pork. Cooper honestly asks for this one all the time (and I’m making it as I type this so he’s pretty excited). One of the perks is that we can get so many different meals out of one protein. I’ll give some examples below, but first – here’s what you need and what you’ll do:
- 2-4 pounds bone-in pork shoulder
- Garlic powder
- Place meat in a slow cooker
- Season with garlic powder
- Add 1/2 cup water
- Cook on low for 9-10 hours
Once it’s Cooked:
- Remove bones from slow cooker and throw away
- Take two forks and shred the meat
That’s it. Your prep time is literally less than 5 minutes, and although it takes 9-10 hours to cook, you’re not physically having to do anything. Those are my absolute favorite types of meals to make.. the ones that require minimal effort but end up tasting amazing!
Here is how we all usually eat our pulled pork:
Chad :Over a baked sweet potato with corn, onions, and bbq sauce
Coop : On a whole wheat bun with bbq sauce and a side of veggies (and maybe some fries if he asks super nicely).
Me : I like to saute a coleslaw mix on low heat for about 5 minutes with a little bit of olive oil and veggie seasoning. Once it’s warm and soft, I mix with my pulled pork and usually have a sweet potato on the side. This is literally what I’ll be eating tonight and Cooper and I are both counting down the hours until dinner time!
You can also make my favorite pulled pork tacos!
Other Whole30 Fast and Easy Tips
There are also a few things I try and keep on hand for when I’m running low on time, need to grab something and go, or if I run out of my prepped meals or don’t have time to prep for the week.
- Deli Meat
- Raw Nuts (walnuts are my personal go-to)
- Fresh Fruit
- Bags of lettuce/greens
- Compliant bars (RX and Lara – but read labels, not all flavors are compliant)
Some of my favorite compliant brands:
- Primal Kitchen (compliant mayo and ranch)
- Tessemae (all sorts of dressings; bbq, buffalo, etc.)
- RX Bars
- Lara Bars
- Nut pods (coffee creamer)
- Epic (jerkey)
Have you ever completed a Whole30 round, or have you done anything similar? I’d love to hear about your experience and some of your best tricks and tips! Drop a comment below!