Just interested in the meal plan and giveaway? Scroll to the bottom!
I am on day 27 of my Whole30 and honestly, I haven’t felt better. As some of you know, I have been eating a generally Whole30/Paleo diet for the better part of 6 years now. My diet has absolutely evolved during that period of time, but for the most part, I have always focused on eating whole, unprocessed foods with as little excess sugar and processed carbohydrates as possible. Having said that, it’s been a long time since I’ve eaten a super, squeaky clean Whole30 diet for an extended period of time. Let’s just say, 27 days in and I am really, really happy I decided to do another Whole30.
Here are 5 things I learned from this month’s Whole30:
- I do in fact snack a lot… and it’s time to stop. Before this Whole30, if anyone were to have asked me if I snack a lot, I would likely have said no. Snacking, in my mind, has always meant really junky food eaten in large quantities throughout the day. It wasn’t until my Whole30 that I realized snacking can have other definitions too. For me, snacking doesn’t involve Oreos or Milky Way Bars, but I do tend to eat many small things throughout the day, rather than sitting down to a proper, filling meal. It’s incredibly easy for me to do this because I work at home AND operate a food blog + work for food brands, which means a quick walk to the kitchen for a Hail Merry Merry Bite or some Bubba’s Granola is practically something I do with my eyes closed. I often tell myself I don’t have time to make food because of my busy day or I simply don’t have enough ingredients in the house to make a balanced meal. Both of those are likely true, but the second one is especially problematic because whether I have enough food and the right food in the house is something I can control and change. Adjusting to eating three, full meals a day on the Whole30 is always a little bit of a struggle. At first, it’s sometimes difficult to consume such a large meal (when you’re used to just smaller, snack-y meals all day), plus it seems like a lifetime between each meal. Both of those things dissipate after about 5 days and it becomes a lot easier to adjust to the 3 meals per day structure. Eating 3 meals a day forces you to be mindful of your food choices. There is no mindless eating because the Whole30 simply doesn’t allow for it. Food becomes so much more exciting to make and to eat, because it becomes more of a ritual than a “I just need this to get through the day” habit. Post-Whole30, I am excited to continue eating meals as opposed to constant snacking. I’m not saying I will never have a snack, but this Whole30 will have made me so much more mindful of those choices so that I don’t overdue anything.
- Good food is not expensive. If you follow me on Snapchat or Instagram, you remember me showing you how cheap eating whole, certified organic food is. At $5-$6/meal, I really have no excuse for not having enough ingredients in the house to make proper meals on a regular basis. Sometimes I assume that running to a local restaurant to get a salad for $12 – $14 is going to be cheaper than buying all of the ingredients necessary to make a meal at home. The truth is, you have to shop strategically in order to really get the maximum savings. What do I mean by that? Well, planning ahead so that you know you are making meals with ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes to prevent waste. It’s so satisfying to plan accordingly and eat every last drop of what you bought. Home cooked food is truly better than any food you can get anywhere else and for only $5/$6 a meal, it’s completely worth it.
- More (healthy) food = energy and weight loss. It’s so unfortunate that we so often equate eating more food with weight gain. The fact is, if you are consuming, good, healthy foods, you will not only LOSE weight but you will also gain a lot more energy. Of course this doesn’t mean you should be going out and overeating cake and ice cream. But, if you’re like me and tend to eat snack foods all day or find yourself skipping meals either purposefully or accidentally (I am not talking about intermittent fasting), you could be doing both your health and weight a huge disservice. If you don’t eat the amount of food that you need, you will feel tired/unmotivated and your body will go into starvation mode, preventing you from losing excess body fat. Not only that, but not eating enough food can lead to hormonal imbalances, which cause a whole host of problems you don’t want anything to do with. I tell my friends, family and health coaching clients to eat more food on a regular basis, yet somehow, I don’t always take my own advice. Not only will keeping more (healthy) food in the house help me to eliminate mindless snacking, but it will also help me to create proper meals that fill me up and fuel my body/help me lose excess weight.
- Real food is really freaking delicious. It’s hard to pick a “favorite” thing about the Whole30, but this may be it. I eat a predominantly clean diet most of the time, but even still, I am always blown away by how delicious real, unprocessed food is when I’m on a Whole30. Preparing so much food at home really forces you to try new things and buy new ingredients. There are foods that I buy when I’m doing a Whole30 that I have truly never prepared for myself to date. Sure, I had certain things at restaurants, but there are some things that I never bought before that Whole30 influenced me to buy. It is so fun to recreate your favorite dishes at home and it’s even more fun to try new ingredients and experiment in the kitchen. Want so see some of the recipes I created during my Whole30 this month? Click here!
- My skin loves whole foods. As I’ve written about many times before, I have struggled with hormonal acne for the past 6 years. I have yet to disclose all that Ive done over the past year to finally get my acne under control, but that’s coming up REALLY soon, so keep your eye out! I have employed multiple strategies, including diet to address my skin issues over the past year. While I don’t believe that there is ever a magic bullet when it comes to addressing hormone issues, food plays a huge role. I still struggle with occasional acne (one small pimple every 7-25 days that heals pretty quickly), it is absolutely nothing like what it used to be (1-2 new pimples every single day). This June Whole30 helped a lot with reducing the frequency of my remaining pimples and it’s also addressed some lingering congestion I had on my forehead. On top of that, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in the overall complexion of my skin. Which, for someone with as much scarring as I had, is really important to me.
If you are interested in doing a Whole30, but haven’t before. I highly, highly recommend checking out the book. It will guide you through what the Whole30 is, why it’s so important to do and how it will change your life.
Now onto the fun stuff! When I was taking over the @whole30recipes page on Instagram a couple weeks back, A LOT of people were asking me to outline all of the kitchen tools I use in my recipes. Since I truly believe that with the right tools, ANYONE can create amazing recipes in the kitchen, I wanted to be sure to tell you about the exact tools I use.
- Vitamix. I’ve been a Vitamix owner for about 6 years now. These machines are powerful and are durable enough to last you a lifetime. I recently got a Vitamix 750 Professional Series in copper, which I am obsessed with. But I also had the Vitamix s50 personal series for a long time, which was also great and perfect if you’re on a tighter budget or have a small kitchen. Two of my favorite Whole30 Vitamix recipes are my Deli Style Cole Slaw and Paleo Green Chili Sauce!
- Spiralizer. How could I survive a Whole30 without a Spiralizer? I really do not know and hope I never have to find out. I have had the Paderno Spiralizer for years and it’s served me very well. My Creamy Bacon and Avocado Zucchini Noodles are a must for every Whole30.
- Herb Keeper. I love my herb keeper! I think everyone out there can sympathize with buying herbs and having them go back before you use all of them. During a Whole30, that is especially annoying. This handy Herb Keeper keeps herbs fresh 3-4 times as long. I use mine constantly, it’s such a genius idea and a huge help in the kitchen.
- Instant Pot. If you haven’t heard of the Instant Pot right now, I’m sorry but you must be living under a rock! This amazing machine is a 7-in-1 cooker. It’s a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker… you name it, it does it. I was so happy to get rid of a bunch of appliances and replace it with one Instant Pot. I make my Slow Cooker Pulled Pork and Beef Brisket in an Instant Pot. My friend Jennifer is also coming out with an Instant Pot cookbook next year so be sure to pre-order it!
- Food Processor. I love food processors so much that I have two of them. Yup, two. One small one and one large one. I definitely use the bigger one most often… but I love the smaller for quick recipes and less cleanup. My Dairy-Free Walnut Pesto is a must have for any Whole30 and I make it using my Cuisinart food processor!
- Wooden Cutting Board. I use my wood cutting board so often that it doesn’t leave the kitchen counter. Unlike plastic cutting boards, wooden ones are actually really pretty and personally, they inspire me to cook! After using mine, I simply rinse it off and place it back on the counter for my next meal.
- Sharp Knife. This is by far the most important kitchen tool, regardless of whether or not you’re doing a Whole30. Recipe prep can take 3 times as long without a large, sharp knife. There are a ton of different options out there, but this is one of my favorites. Love the white handle!
- Lodge Cast Iron. My cast iron skillet is another one of those kitchen tools that I leave out at all times. This pan sits on my stovetop 24/7. As long as you take care of it properly (wash it right away, dry it and rub with oil after every use), you can cook just about anything in it. I would say this pan gets used for 85% of my meals.
Looking for more recommendations? Check out my Essential Kitchen Tools posts here and here. I also linked to a ton of my favorite foodie-friendly tools in my paleo holiday gift guide this past winter!
Now, onto the 1 Week Whole30 meal plan and shopping list!
As my Whole30 has progressed, I’ve gotten a little bit less organized about my meals. At the beginning though, I was very organized as I knew that planning ahead and strategizing would help my first week on the program less difficult. This 1 Week Meal Plan is not just any meal plan, it’s pretty much identical to what I ate my first week of this Whole30!
Before you save this, I have a few disclaimers.
First, this is a meal plan that worked for me and worked for my husband. There may be some dishes or ingredients in there that you don’t like or that don’t work for you. If that’s the case, take them out and replace them with something else. Curious about a recipe or something else on this meal plan? Comment below and ask! I am always happy to answer any questions.
Secondly, You may find that this recipe has more fruit than you might want on your Whole30. Personally, over the past year or so, I have discovered that I do a little better when I have more (unprocessed) carbohydrates. Going too low carb affects my hormones negatively and that’s bad news bears for my acne. I am also very active as is my husband, so this plan works for us. Again, feel free to adjust to your own needs!
This meal plan and shopping list serves roughly two people and might last you 1.5 weeks as opposed to just 1.
When I list things like “1 pear + handful of nuts” that refers to the portion size for one person, so be sure to double that if cooking for two people. The recipes I include serve either 1, 2 or 4 portions and I’ve separated them throughout the week accordingly. If you want to serve more or less people with this meal plan, look at the recipes and figure out if you need to increase or decrease the ingredients to fit your needs.
As I mentioned, you will likely find you have a bit more food than you need and could likely make this last for 1.5 weeks. I would prefer I give you a plan that leaves you with extra food, as opposed to not enough. Everyone is different in terms of what they need for portions, so if you sense something isn’t going to be enough or there might be too much of something, tailor it to what works for you. If you don’t know my recipe style by now, it’s very casual. I do that not because I am too lazy to put in additional details, but because I think we only learn how to cook when we are forced to take risks, experiment with different ingredients and adjust dishes and meal plans to fit our needs. If I gave someone a cookie cutter perfect meal plan that didn’t force them to experiment a bit, I don’t feel that I would be doing my job. But that’s just me.
Lastly, this meal plan and shopping list are clickable PDFs for your convenience! Download the meal plan by clicking on the image and download the shopping list by clicking the link below that. Then, select download. I’ve linked out to all of my recipes and fave products highlighted in turquoise.
Aaaaand now, for the part you’ve all been waiting for, my Whole30 giveaway! As many of you know, I am a huge fan of clean, sustainable products and I am never hesitant to support the brands that I believe in. While I utilize all of these products in my daily life, they became especially useful during my Whole30. I will be posting a separate post about all of my favorite Whole30 Approved & Compliant products, but for now, I wanted to give some of my faves away to you!
Simply enter your email address below and follow each of the brands + me on IG for your chance to win! Enter before Thursday at midnight PST. Contest open to US residents only.