New month, new experiment with food. I decided to start Whole30 as a way to cleanse and reset after quite an indulgent summer. I made the decision back in July to start the program as soon as the summer was over. For the next few weeks, I’ll be documenting my journey with Whole30 and sharing recipes I cooked to stay compliant. I am in no way a Whole30 expert, but I hope sharing my story inspires others who may be considering this program too.
Whole30 is a popular program that has really taken off among those who want to redefine their relationship with food. The rules are concise and bring the participant back to the basics, with a focus on protein, vegetables and fruit. Listed below, you’ll see it’s clear what you can and cannot eat, the hard part though, is actually sticking to it for 30 full days!
The Rules: What to AVOID
- Added Sugar
- Grains – wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat
- Legumes – beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts, this also includes all forms of soy
- Carrageenan, MSG, sulfites
- Junk Food
The Rules: What is allowed
- Vegetables (including potatoes)
- Fruit (including avocados!)
- Unprocessed Meat
- Nuts and Seeds
- Olive Oil and ghee
- You CAN have green beans, snap peas and snow peas. Although these are technically legumes, they are more “pod” than “bean.”
- Fruit juice – can be used as a sweetener
- All vinegar but malt vinegar is allowed
- Non – dairy milks are allowed: almond, coconut, cashew milk. Oat milk is NOT allowed.
- All nut butters are allowed EXCEPT peanut butter
- Salt is allowed
During week 1, I didn’t find it too difficult to stay compliant. However, I did find I had to read nutrition labels a lot more closely because some foods I thought would be allowed actually weren’t due to 1 or 2 ingredients. I’ve also found eating out is pretty difficult and requires some planning ahead of time to make sure there is something compliant on the menu or that there is a dish I can make substitutions to.
So what did I eat during week 1? A lot of homemade meals! See below for a variety of the meals and snacks I ate with recipes linked. I’ll also share blogs I read to prepare ahead of time and get meal inspiration.
I read this blog post by Shutterbean to get ideas for snacks. She has such a great assortment of ideas that I felt I would never run out of snack options!
Sautéed Shishito Peppers
Guac and Plantain Chips
Apples and Cinnamon
Some other snacks I ate (but didn’t photograph) were: frozen grapes, carrot sticks/celery with almond butter, hard boiled eggs and the banana bread Lara Bar. Side note: there are about 11 Lara Bars that are Whole30 compliant (just be sure to check the ingredient list!)
For breakfast this week, I prepped egg cups. These are so great because they are easy to store, portable and can be made in a variety of ways. I mixed and matched a bunch of different vegetables (unfortunately no cheese though) including: tomatoes, asparagus, onion, spinach and peppers. I made 12 cups at a time and would bring 2 to work each day along with a side of fruit (raspberries, strawberries and blueberries). It’s very simple to make the egg cups: heat the oven to 350, whisk about 9-12 eggs, chop the veggies you desire, fill the muffin tin spaces with your veggies and then pour the egg mixture on top. Cook for 20-22 minutes and then store up to 6 days.
I’m very fortunate to work in an office that provides lunch daily. We have access to a full salad bar so I am able to make a compliant salad for lunch every day that consists of: tomatoes, peppers, grilled chicken, avocado, broccoli, snap peas, walnuts and cabbage. For dressing, I use either lemon juice, olive oil or balsamic vinegar.
For dinner, I took inspiration from several blog posts and the Whole30 starter kit (a free resource for anyone trying Whole30).
Turkey Meatballs and Zucchini Noodles
Curry Coconut Cauliflower Rice Soup
Turkey Lettuce Wraps
This recipe was of my own creation for taco night with my boyfriend (he had taco shells, I had lettuce wraps). I sautéed onions and peppers with a pound of turkey meat seasoned with chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. I topped the turkey mixture with guacamole made of avocado, red onion, lime juice and salt and BAM there’s a Whole30 compliant “taco.”
Bonus: Dining Out
I went to lunch with my parents and had to do some prior research to find a restaurant with a complaint meal. Luckily, I found the below salad with grilled chicken, tomatoes, avocado and cumber. The trick is to ask for dressing on the side and ask for no cheese.
And there you have it: week 1 of my Whole30 journey. Stay tuned for week 2 next Sunday and additional compliant dishes!