5 Things to Know Before Starting Whole30
You have read all the rules, printed out all the shopping list and I am sure you are aware this is going to take time out of routine to cook until your arms fall off. There are some things that you didn’t think about and that is what I am here to tell you. I did Whole30 from May 31 – June 30, during a time when I was ramping up my triathlon training, getting wisdom teeth removed and traveling to see family.
Preparing for Whole30
I read up on a ton of literature (basically the Whole30 Blog and The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Whole30) to plan out my month and to make sure I was prepared. It took me about a week to prepare from cleaning out my pantry to finding the things I could have on Whole30. I took time to meal plan for each meal knowing most days I am away from home from 5:30 am to 8:00 pm (Epic Bars and Thunderbird Bars are the best). However there are a few things they don’t tell you about embarking on the Whole30. Before I tell you what those things are I want you to keep in mind:
- I workout about 10 – 15 hours/week. I did not decrease my calories at all while on Whole30 I just changed what I was eating.
- I did have one beverage with cane sugar on day 24. I did a dehydration study for BSX and the re-hydration fluid had cane sugar in it. After 6 hours with no water, you drink anything.
- I did not do this to lose weight, I actually did it as a dietary experiment. I believe that you should and can eat anything that feels good before, during and after consuming it. Plus, we eat every day, why not do something different for a short period of time.
5 Thing to Know Before Starting Whole30
Black is the New Coffee
You probably put a ton of $%&* in your coffee. This is the perfect opportunity to stop. I absolutely love coffee and it wasn’t until Whole30 I noticed how crappy the coffee at my work tasted. I used to cover it with sweetener and silk coconut milk, but the bitter taste was obvious when I took it all away.
My advice to you is to buy high quality coffee and a french press. After 10 days black coffee starts to taste delicious, plus you get in and out of Starbucks in minutes. Another option is to use some of the approved foods like coconut milk, cinnamon and cocoa powder (all with no added sugar, of course). Check out my recipe for coconut coffee.
Foods are Fungible
Do you remember those days where your parents would fix you breakfast for dinner? Or maybe you have wanted a steak for breakfast. When you commit to Whole30 you have to detach food groups and meals from the clock. Food is fungible, meaning food (nutritiously equal) can be easily substituted with any food. Go nuts! Have a salad for breakfast, have eggs for dinner and a steak with sweet potatoes for lunch. Don’t let the traditional meals or meal times force you into food you do not want. Think about it, you are already limiting your possible food groups (in comparison to the food available at a grocery store), yet you are expanding your palette by taking out sugar and adding in foods you probably never heard of. Do the same when it comes to meal times and experiment with different types of food during the day.
Get a Costco Membership
Who said you couldn’t eat healthy on a budget? When most people think Cost Co. they think electronics, cheap pizza and a lifetime supply of toilet paper. Cost Co. has over 150 items that are certified organic. Remember that it doesn’t have to be organic to be Whole30 approved, it just has to be real food. That being said I got everything from strawberries, high-quality frozen chicken, Mahi and even Aidellas Chicken and Apple Smoked Sausage at all Cost Co. When I did the math over 1 month of buying this kind of food at Cost Co I saved around $102 (especially since the frozen chicken was $20 for a 10 lb. bag and organic spring mix was $2.00 cheaper than at HEB).
My advice to you, go get a Cost Co membership since you will see the savings and buy what you need (mostly frozen) in bulk. The good news is just like a grocery store, stay away from the middle aisles when you get to the pantry section and all the produce is in the same section. The only downside is the amount of free samples they hand out, none of which are Whole30 compliant.
Athletes Beware – Low Carb in Disguise
When you take away all the grains you are left with potatoes, fruits and vegetables to fuel your workouts. Fruits are high is sugar which is great in moderation. Vegetables have a ton of fiber and barely any calories which is good for keeping you full. Potatoes are delicious and full of carbs and calories, but to be honest you can only eat so many. So what does this mean?
You shouldn’t eat a ton of fruit on Whole30 since it will push you back into those sweet cravings, so there goes easy sugar. Vegetables are hard to digest and produce a bunch of gas, so there goes a settled stomach for HIIT. And well potatoes, they are great, but for 30 days it can be grueling. So to all my athletes out there, beware that you might feel a bit sluggish, since you will probably be cutting your carbs in half. In fact I went from 130 -160 grams to barely hitting 80 grams, and it showed in my workout. My advice, eat sweet potatoes and berries before and after your workout within a two-hour window. This means those carbs will be put to use when you actually need them.
The best meal I found was my Egg White Muffin with Sweet Potatoes and Prosciutto. It had protein, fat and carbs all packed into a portable muffin.
Just because it is on the list, doesn’t mean you have to eat it. It is about your body approving it, not a list. For example, onions and kombucha do not sit well with me (Whole30 also has a low-FODMAP diet), so I do not eat them despite the fact they are on the approval list. Try out new foods, but do not stick with them if they do not sit right.
Just listen to your body, it is that simple.