If you follow me on Instagram you know that I've done a Whole30. I've actually attempted three and completed two rounds of the 30 days reset diet. I've had friends reach out for tips and advice on trying it, so I've put together this guide of getting started tips for the Whole30 so it can all live in one place.
First, do you know what the Whole30 is? Before reading this I would read, "Should I do the Whole30?" over here. Because all the tips in the world aren't going to help unless you know what you're getting into.
Online Resources from Whole30 Team
Before getting started you should know that almost all of the Whole30 "rules" are available via the Whole30 team online at Whole30.com or in the book. But it's a lot of information to take in. So here are the essential resources for getting started that will help you do a successful Whole30.
The full and comprehensive list of things you can't eat, and the non-food related rules to the program. (Like not stepping on a scale for the 30 days!) I'm going to be throwing around the word "compliant" a lot below when it gets to meals and products. Compliant just means the food item meets the requirements laid on out in the above-linked rules.
Technically your meals should fit a specific template. A certain amount of protein, fruits, veggies and plated fat in each meal. The PDF goes into all the details on what that means.
No added sugar, no sulfites, no dairy, no soy. The list seems like it's too long to remember. You are going to become an expert label reader, and this PDF is the full list of common additives that are a yes or a no while on the Whole30 when you're getting started.
People to Follow on Instagram for the Whole30
Bailey has an amazing weight loss journey that Whole30 has been integral in. She's a midwestern maven who makes Whole30 compliant recipes that are actually DOABLE. She makes simple, accessible, affordable recipes that you will actually make on the Whole30.
Paleo Bailey Recipe to Try: Sesame Chicken Chopped Salad
Alex is basically my idol. Who I would want to be if could have two fridges and afford to buy six jars of clam juice for a single recipe. Serious recipes for amazing home chefs she's a down to earth Texan who makes cooking real food with adventurous ingredients look easy.
The Defined Dish Recipe to Try: Whole30 Clam Chowder
It's a guy! You heard it here first (no, not really), men do the Whole30, too. And this is a professionally trained chef who makes tasty and beautiful recipes. Bonus points: He lives in Canada.
Primal Gourmet Recipe to Try: Instant Pot Ropa Vieja
No list of Whole30 Instagram accounts you should follow would be complete without Terri from No Crumbs Left. She's basically a legend and will give you all the tips for doing things from scratch. Don't miss her marinated onions. They're famous.
No Crumbs Left Recipe to Try: Marinated Onions
While I love following the above accounts for inspiration, I don't in fact always make a ton of their recipes. Case in point, the clam chowder recipe from The Defined Dish is what brought me to her account, but I've never actually made it! But what inspires you doesn't always have to be what gets the job done, ya know? So here are my favorite meals that actually get me through a Whole30.
Full transparency, the first time you make this, you'll have to invest in the ingredients. But after that, it becomes an affordable, quick and easy meal to add to your rotation. I now eat this weekly, even when I'm not on a Whole30.
I know I said it above, but Paleo Bailey has truly makeable recipes. I use this recipe for chicken thighs personally, and they're amazing. Something about the flavors that are so simple, but absolutely scrumptious.
Technically, I got this idea from The Wonky Spatula in her Instagram stories, but she doesn't have a recipe for it. Because, well, you don't really need a recipe. It's seriously just cut up zucchini and pan-fried Italian sausage. That's it. Heat pan. Add oil. Cut open a compliant Italian sausage and put the meat in the pan. Cook sausage. Cut up zucchini. Add zucchini to the pan until cooked. Eat said food. Quick, easy, and you can survive off this. Put this over some greens and drizzle on some dressing and it's even better.
Literally every day can be game day on Whole30. I wish I could tell you I haven't eaten cold buffalo wings out of the fridge for a meal on the Whole30, but I can't. But I would 10 out of 10 recommend it.
I will forever and always call frittata quiche, even though a frittata doesn't have a freaking crust. I know, but whatever. Egg bake, frittata, quiche, whatever you call it, you get the gist. It's the easiest meal that you can feed you for a whole week and be made in advance. Once you get the hang of making them you can throw them together ad hoc with meat and veggies that are on hand. And you can even freeze servings for easy heat up. Jessie B does a ton of these, so I linked one of her more classic egg bakes.
At one point you will want to eat a burrito. And taco meat is an easy batch recipe that can make it possible to throw together taco salads all week long and can be surprisingly filling with tomatoes, olives, avocado, peppers, onions, and cilantro. Unless you're like me and think cilantro tastes like soap. :shrug:
Along the lines of taco meat, you'll eventually want a burger. And you can fry or grill up a few and keep them on hand to throw between some romaine leaves or over some slaw. Add some guacamole, marinated onions, and compliant ketchup and you're set.
Easiest meal ever and it doesn't even require you turning on a single appliance. At some point in this journey, you will want to die rather than cook another meal. Personally these days I just throw in a compliant mayo and stir. Nothing crazy. But in case you need more than that, I linked a list of recipes above.
I was going to just list this below in my favorite products but wanted to make it clear how great Aidells' Chicken Apple Sausage is. It's compliant, yummy, and the easiest protein for a meal. You can chop it up and put in a veggie stir-fry, put it in a lettuce leaves to eat as a dog, dip directly into mustard; I honestly think the options are endless.
Full transparency, doing a Whole30 is not cheap. Your first round will be SUPER expensive because you'll be re-stocking your pantry with compliant, no sugar added, sulfite-free condiments and such. And honestly, you can buy an easier Whole30 with money. Lots and lots of money. It's plain and simple, if you make #allthethings from scratch, it will be less expensive. But I would 100% recommend investing in the below to make getting started easier.
You could always make your own mayo, like many a Whole30 cult member raves about. But I live in the real world, so I buy the expensive compliant mayos. The regular flavor of this is like, okay, but the Chipotle Lime is the greatest invention ever. I mix 2 tbsp of this with 2 cups shredded compliant rotisserie chicken over greens and I'm good to go. Worth every freaking penny.
You should probably own this already. Because it's legendary. But if you don't, it is compliant and you can put it on anything you want, not just wings. Only the original is compliant, so read your labels.
The basis of most Asian inspired meals, this stuff will change your life. I use it on all the things, not to mention the above recipes Eggroll in a Bowl and Salt and Pepper Chicken.
I switched to Avocado Oil from Olive Oil a few years ago. Not to say you can't use both! I just find the mild taste and high smoke point to be extra awesome for cooking, whether you're on a Whole30 or not.
Okay, okay, okay. If you've read the rules, ya know like I asked you to HERE, you know that there are some guidelines you have to follow. One of those rules is no snacking between meals. But there are compliant RxBars and Lara Bars that will save your life at some point on the Whole30. People will get into full-on wars of words over this though. But I'm team use them if you need them, and try not to be mean to people for eating fruit and nut bars on Whole30.
Hands down the yummiest pre-made dressing for Whole30 is the Tessemae's Ranch. Another crowd favorite is Primal Kitchen's ranch though. Either way, this makes putting together quick and simple salads for lunches or dinners a breeze.
Here they are again. Be still my heart. The holy grail of Whole30 which are unavailable in Canada. You can buy them in bulk at Costco or at any freaking grocery store anywhere. If you're doing Whole30 and you're stateside, you need these sausages.
You should know by now that you can't eat dairy on Whole30. You knew that right? Okay, good. Ghee is like the loophole of Whole30, though there are details as to why it is technically allowed. But hands down the best ghee is by 4th & Heart. You can cook with it, and I put it in my coffee. It's expensive, but it's worth it.
Coffee drinkers everywhere, I'm pleased to introduce you to your saving grace. Nutpods. They're a dairy and sweetener free Whole30 approved creamer that is to die for. Just trust me on this.
Prep and Then Prep Some More
I think the biggest tip I can give to someone who has committed to doing a Whole30 is to prep. Prep for a couple of weeks before your start date. For that matter, settle on a start date. Read the Whole30 book, start reading labels while at the grocery store, finish eating or throw out non-compliant items in your house, make meal plans and grocery lists. The more time you put into preparing for the Whole30, the easier it will be.
Commit to 30 Days
The first time I attempted the Whole30, I called it the Whole30 Champagne Diet. I let myself drink, weighed myself daily, snacked, and failed. I can honestly say I didn't learn much.
You can learn so much about your body, your eating habits, and why you eat the way you do from Whole30. I know I did once I really and truly committed to doing the program. It's not something that will transform you if you do it half-assed. I mean, #faux30 is a thing, so it's not the worst thing in the world. But my advice is to go for the full true compliant 30 days so you can get the full effects.
When it comes down to it, if you're ready, you should commit to wholeheartedly doing the Whole30 for 30 days. Follow the rules and learn the program. If you're going to do it, do it.