A few weeks before its annual January reset, Whole30 asked Instagram: “What’s your one piece of advice for someone who is just starting Whole30?” With hundreds of thousands of folks committed to food freedom, the response was enormous. And with so much raw feedback, full of wisdom.
But who has time to read all 969 comments?
Well, we do.
For all folks beginning their first Whole30 (and for seasoned veterans), may we present you advice from folks who have been there, done that.
Plan for and prep more than you think you’ll need
Wondering what the top tip is for all Whole30 newbies?
As you scroll through all 900+ comments, you’ll notice these words echoed over and over again: Plan. Prepare. Precut. And stockup.
In real life, this may mean doubling up a recipe so that you have leftovers and you’re not scrambling to find something for lunch.
You might put aside a couple hours on Sunday to prep food for the week ahead. Or – if two hours is asking too much – follow Mel Joulwan’s advice and do a mini cookup: Set aside an hour to prepare staples like baked sweet potatoes, riced cauliflower, or spiralized zucchini. And if that’s still asking too much, do your mini cookup while preparing dinner.
The idea is that you never start from zero. You’re always a little ahead of the game.
If you have the time, you can even precut veggies and freeze them for later in the month. There’s no rule that you must stick to weekend meal prep for the week. Do what feels right for you and best fits your lifestyle. But, plan to do it.
Whole30 headmistress herself, Melissa Hartwig writes:
Plan for and prepare more food than you think you’ll need. There are three DNX bars in my purse at all times. Literally.
Simplify and stick to what you know
With a little help from Google, you can find hundreds of tasty, Whole30 compliant recipes within seconds. But what about all those ingredients?
And how about the kitchen tools that you’ve never used before. The several new jars of spices you will need. That pricey cut of meat that you’re not quite sure how to cook. All the chopping and dicing – will you even have time for all that?
Breathe. And choose to stick with what you know.
While a wide range of new recipes for every day of that week keeps things interesting, they can quickly become overwhelming. Instead, look for recipes using ingredients you’re familiar with and steps that make sense to you. Or, if all the measuring that goes on in a recipe still seems too tedious and elaborate, batch cook large quantities of meat and veggies. Then, use as needed.
Sauces, mayo, and spices – yes, please!
With all the meal prep and repetitiveness – er, simplicity – you may find that sauces save you. They transform a dish. Make it a little more fun, unctuous, or memorable.
So, invest in your pantry.
Canned tomatoes, coconut milk, ghee, mayo, hot sauce, and salad dressing. If you’re striving for easy meals that fill you up and taste good, condiments can make your basic shredded chicken dazzle.
Do it for yourself
A lot of folks agree that Whole30 challenges your mindset about what you think you need or what you believe can and cannot do. It pushes your relationship with food to its limits. And because food is so personal, it pushes your relationship with yourself and you end up walking away from Whole30 with some profound insights.
Keeping a journal – like this one created for Whole30 – can help you track where you began and what you’ve gained from your 30 days.
Those who have done Whole30 explain that it’s important to do it for yourself. Not for a certain dress size. For bigger muscles. For someone else’s expressed or unexpressed approval.
Do it because you want to feel good in your own body. You want to sleep deeply and wake up with a rush of #tigerblood. Do it for food freedom.