As you know I started my second #JanuaryWhole30 on Tuesday January 2. With the hardest days (days 10 and 11) ahead of me, I wanted to sharing some strategies for overcoming Whole30 challenges. After a very serious stomach bug had me hospitalized while 9 months pregnant with Linc, I adopted a primarily paleo-ish Whole30 diet until my delivery. Since then, I have always thrived when eating whole foods and limiting sugar, dairy and heavy carbs. While I am no pro, I wanted to share my advice for overcoming Whole30 challenges. Melissa Hartwig’s tough love mentality resonates with my personality. No, Whole30 is not hard – getting over a drug addiction or cancer is hard. Eating well is not hard. But it does come with a set of challenges, and I am here to help you navigate those. I thought long and hard about a handful of hurdles I personally faced, or things that friends struggled with. Here is my advice for overcoming Whole30 challenges:
I may be the minority, but I genuinely enjoy the true taste of coffee. Light and sweet was never my thing and I always brew mine strong. I am definitely on team Starbucks versus DD. While I do enjoy a seasonal pumpkin spice latte, that’s a once in awhile treat and I only use coconut or almond milk. Cow-dairy in a coffee beverage actually grosses me out. I do think this mindset helps me not miss sweet coffee. But, all this to say MOST people find the initial black or unsweetened coffee on Whole30 repulsive and downright depressing. Califia Farms almond milk creamer uses coconut cream and the texture is perfect. If you are struggling with your coffee, this creamer could definitely help in overcoming Whole30 challenges.
Feeding the Family (Specifically the Kids)
Toddlers (and even husbands!) can be emotionally driven hangry lunatics. I get it. I live with 3 boys and it seems I’m forever offering snacks and calming hunger-based temper tantrums from all 3. (Kidding, sorta.) Find recipes that work for EVERYONE. For example, I will make paleo meatballs with spaghetti squash or zoodles for me, and boil some pasta for the boys. I will make mild chili for all of us and maybe bake some corn bread or offer tortilla chips for the kids. And give them a fun muffin tin with different toppings that they can use (sour cream, shredded cheese, olives, etc.)
Time for Meal Prep
Time for meal prep is crucial for Whole30 success. You need healthy food prepared ahead of time. I schedule time for meal prep as I would a meeting. It’s a non negotiable uninterrupted time that I set aside to help me reach my goals. Ev supports this time just as I support his gym time (and since I feed him he definitely makes sure I get this time! 🤣). By treating this time as a meeting I put it top in my priorities because it is THAT crucial to my success. And everyone’s happier when mama gets her stuff done! Pretty sure Ev loves having a fridge of these containers filled with yummy healthy meals for a quick fix too.
I find the key to combating boredom on the Whole30 is finding the right balance of simplicity and mixing it up with meal prep. When I planned out my full month of January dinners, I stuck to an every other week rotation for Monday thru Thursday. Since Friday was usually a take out night for us, I reserved that for some traditional style “comfort” meals. Saturday and Sunday I have more time and freedom so those days I try new recipes.
Lack of Social Life
Sharing food and drinks is a huge part of my sanity and me time as a busy mom. Happy hour, shopping and lunch – won’t I miss it?! Bringing a good friend along on your Whole30 journey is a great way to stay on track. Social eating and drinking can play a big part of your “you time”. It’s also a big way to connect with others. My friend Emily is usually my go to for happy hours, pizza play dates and apps with drinks on the weekend. With her on board for Whole30 I know we can support each other in our goals and help each other stay on track. I won’t let her drink wine and she won’t let me eat chips! Having a partner means we can continue our social life while having a friend to vent to.
Ideas for Meals
There are TONS of resources online. Many food and lifestyle bloggers follow a paleo and/or Whole30 diet and share recipes on their blogs or social channels. Pinterest is a wonderful resource that brings all of these ideas together in one unified platform. With some of Pinterest’s new settings I am able to filter what types of meals I would like to see. This also lessens temptation. (See below)
It is EVERYWHERE! As a blogger I do spend some time scrolling Instagram and Facebook daily. I consciously choose healthy feeds to follow. I also thrive on organization so I keep a bin in the pantry and the fridge of complaint options at eye level.
A great way to cut cost is to use the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 for purchasing organic produce. It focuses on the 12 most contaminated fruits and veggies that you should ALWAYS buy organic if possible. I also find buying in season helps. The produce tastes more delicious and since there is an abundance it is less expensive. Trader Joe’s is a goldmine for complaint foods, as is Amazon and Thrive Market (online). Many people have great luck at budget friendly stores such as Walmart and Aldis. Lastly, don’t get hung up and buying ALL the things. Eggs are compliant, and are also super inexpensive with tons of options for cooking. Pick 1 or 2 dressings or condiments you love and treat yourself but no need to go crazy. You can stay in budget while following the Whole30.
OVERCOMING WHOLE30 CHALLENGES & A WHOLE30 GIVEAWAY
Since I know Whole30 can put a bit of a dent in your grocery budget, I partnered with one of my most loved Whole30 compliant companies Primal Kitchen. You can read my review HERE. They are kind enough to spread the love and give away one of their Whole30 Kits. Guys – trust me you WANT THIS! I am obsessed with their Green Goddess dressing. I had it over salad topped with roasted sweet potato, roasted fresh cranberries and paleo bacon on the side of my chicken soup last night. Primal Kitchen Whole30 Kit (Advanced) includes: Mayo, Chipotle Lime Mayo, Greek Vinaigrette & Marinade, Ranch Dressing, Green Goddess Dressing, Balsamic Vinaigrette & Marinade, Caesar Dressing and Avocado Oil. Valued at $59!