How To Get Started on Your First Whole30
You may have recently seen a lot of talk on Social Media about the #JanuaryWhole30 or the #whole30 program and wonder what it is or want to get started but don't know how. Maybe you didn't want to do a bunch of research, maybe you felt like you didn't have time, or maybe you felt like you just didn't want to give in to all the hype. I totally get that. I am, and always have been, a "push back against the norm" type of person. But if you're having second thoughts and maybe want to try a Whole30 but don't know how or where to start, this post is for you. My lovely parents inspired me to write this post. My dad Facetimed me today and asked, "how do I get started with this Whole30?"
I've been doing the Whole30 program on and off for over a year and a half. I absolutely love it. But this post is not to try and convince you to do a Whole30. If you're interested in more of how the Whole30 totally transformed my life, check out an older post I wrote here. This post is simply how to get started. I'm also going to list some resources I've used that are straight from the Whole30 website.
First and foremost, the Whole30 is a completely free program. Melissa Hartwig, the co-creator of the program, says it is and always will be free to the public. Yes, she's written many books and I would suggest getting all of her books, they're just that awesome. BUT, none of them are required to complete or succeed in your Whole30. I will link the books she's written at the end of this post.
To get started on your Whole30 Journey:
- Pick a start date. Make sure you don't pick a month or period of time during an important event in your life (wedding, vacation, etc.) You don't want to set yourself up to fail right away.
- Look through the Whole30 resources available online. You need to know the rules before you start. Here are a few great "getting started" resources and "downloadable content" resources. Pay close attention to the Common Additives Cheat Sheet. I would print this off and carry it into the grocery store with you to help you read labels.
- Look through your pantry, fridge, and freezer and see what's "compliant" and what's not. You do not need to throw away all of your non-whole30 compliant items! You can collect them into a box and ask a friend to hold on to them for you or put them up in the top of your closet. Just get them out of your face so you're not tempted to have foods that are not allowed on the program.
- After finding what you already have that's compliant, make a meal plan. Sit down with yourself, your significant other, your cat, whomever and write out what you want to eat that's compliant. If you're just getting started and are already feeling overwhelmed here, just remember to keep it simple. Eat real, nutrient dense foods--protein, vegetables, fruits. List out what you are going to eat for Meal 1, Meal 2, Meal 3 for your first 7 days. Here's an example of what I eat in a Whole30 day:
- Meal 1: Three scrambled eggs and Bulletproof coffee. Check out how I make my coffee here.
- Meal 2: Chicken Apple Sausage (check to make sure it's compliant) with a side of green beans and carrots with compliant ranch (I love Tessesmae's.)
- Meal 3: Slow cooker pot roast with carrots, red potatoes, and butternut squash.
- Optional snack: Chomp's meat stick
- After making your meal plan and checking your pantry, make a grocery list of all the foods you will need to purchase. You do not have to break the bank to do a Whole30. Keep it simple and fresh.
- Go to the grocery store with your Common Additive Cheat Sheet. Stick to what's on your grocery list. Read labels and be smart! If you run into something and you don't know if it's compliant, Google it! Literally Google the item you're not sure about. Example: "Yeast Extract Whole30." Generally you will find out if the item is Whole30 compliant right away.
- Come home from the store, organize your life and your groceries, meal prep if you need to and boom! You are ready to do your first Whole30!
- START. Do the damn thing. Just start it. Keep track of how you're feeling throughout and check in with the popular Whole30 timeline to see if you're feeling like everyone else who does the Whole30.
- When you start to reach the end of your Whole30 check out the Reintroduction phase to see what's next!
YOU CAN DO IT. It may seem daunting, you may feel like you can't give up your beloved cheese, beer, potato chips for 30 days but I promise you, you can. It's only 30 days. If you're wanting to learn more about yourself, your body, what you're sensitive to, why you always have a headache in the morning, or why your joints are aching so much after eating fill in the blank, try this program.
If you do decide to try a Whole30, let me know! I'd love to help answer any questions you may have! I've done multiple rounds myself and have experienced many ups and downs!
Thanks Mom and Dad for inspiring this post!
Here are some links to the Whole30 books: