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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Whole 30 Journey - 28 Tips and Tricks for a Successful Whole30 Journey

I have been taking notes on the tips and tricks that I have picked up over my Whole30 Journey and I would like to share them with you. This can be a daunting adventure and I think there are some great little tidbits on this list to keep you on a path to a successful Whole30. If you have any other tips or tricks to add please leave a comment!
  1. Read It Starts With Food. I didn't start reading the book until I was about half way through my Whole30 and I regret that. I wish I had at least started reading it at the beginning of my journey. There is so much good info in this book that is helpful to being successful.
  2. The Whole9. Check out the website and read some of the testimonials, they are very inspiring. There is also an email club that you can sign up for. They send daily emails for your 30 days. I didn't sign up for this because I didn't want to pay for it ($14 bucks or so), but I bet it would be very useful.
  3. What do you want? At the beginning of the 30 days write down what you are hoping to get out of your Whole30 Journey. Do you have acne you want to get rid of? Unexplained stomach aches? Joint pain? Weight loss? Need more energy? Want to sleep better? Whatever it is that you are hoping to achieve, write it down. You will want to refer back to this when you are doing your reintroduction. Plus, its good to keep goals in mind.
  4. Blog it. Writing about your experience can make a huge difference. Write about the ups and downs and how you are feeling, physically and emotionally. I loved journaling about my Whole30 journey on my blog. Its a great way to stay on track and to keep things in perspective. You don't have to publish your journal, but it's a great way to get encouragement and have a form of accountability. 
  5. Book Club. There is a local group of people who have started a paleo book club in my area. They meet at Starbucks and talk about the different paleo books out there. I think this is brilliant! If I didn't have two small children I would totally join! Start your own book club. Hang out with like minded people and stay inspired. Read It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, Wheat Belly by William Davis, The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf, The Immune System Recovery Plan by Susan Blum, Lights Out by T. S. Wiley, The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, The Paleo Diet Revised by Loren Cordain and Suicide by Sugar by Nancy Appleton. (These are just a few book ideas, I have only read [most of]  It Starts With Food, so I can't say how good or bad the other ones are, but I know my mom likes them :)  
  6. Watch the movie. The Perfect Human Diet is the paleo diet documentary. I haven't be able to find a way to watch it yet, but I am hoping Netflix picks it up soon. Otherwise, its on Amazon Prime for those of you who have a subscription.
  7. Cook club. Start a cooking club. Get together with some friends for a few hours (once a month, twice a month, once a week, whatever works for you!) and make up some meals together. Make stocks and frozen meals. Drink tea, chat and cook. Its a blast and having these things in the freezer will save you time and energy on busy weeknights.
  8. Buddy system. Having an accountability partner is a great idea. You can share how things are going, talk about frustrations and joys, swap recipes and maybe even go to the gym together. Buddies are awesome!
  9. Keep it in focus. Write down the Whole30 rules and post them somewhere in your kitchen where you will be reminded of them often. I wrote them on a dry-erase board next to my sink. I also put little sticky notes with the numbers 1-30 around the edges of the board. Every day that I made it through I got to remove a sticky note. I loved this! It was a great count down system.  
  10. Bring it with you. Going out for coffee? Bring a small jar of coconut milk. Having dinner with friends? Bring some oil and vinegar from home for your salad. Going to a dinner party? Ask if you can bring fruit to share for desert. Be proactive and make the situation work for you.
  11. Take recipe notes. I have been doing this since my freshman year of college. I keep a recipe journal, I jot down recipe ideas and notes on recipes that I have tried. I mark recipes that I have tried and include the date and if it was for a special occasion or just regular dinner. I write down what I served it with and what changes I made to the recipe. I also include what I would like to try next time I make the recipe. If someone really liked the particular dish then I make sure to notate that as well. I cannot tell you how useful this is, I always know what recipes I liked and who else liked them and what tweaks were made. Over the years my recipe journals have changed and evolved. I have printed recipes in binders, magazine clippings glued into notebooks, and a Pinned It, Made It! (kitchen) board on Pinterest.
  12. Be a follower. Check out the wonderfully addicting world of Pinterest! Find a few pinners who often pin paleo/primal/caveman recipes and follow them. This way you will be constantly inspired to make awesome food! Check out: Just Eat Real FoodPaleoHacksHomegrown Paleo, and my boards at Domestic 360 (I've got a few paleo boards - Yummmm Paleo, and Paleo Pantry). 
  13. Don't be a follower. On the other hand, consider un-following your friends' food boards (unless they are pinning paleo), you don't need any extra temptation. Likewise try taking a Food Network break. I know this helped me stay on track because I wasn't being distracted by wonderful looking cinnamon rolls and ice cream recipes. If you aren't into baking/cooking/food shows this may not be an issue for you, but it sure was for me!
  14. Make your own stock. When you are peeling and chopping veggies, save the stuff you would normally discard (carrot peels and greens, celery leaves, you can also save chicken bones), stick it in a zipper bag and toss it in the freezer. Pick a day to dedicate to the process and hunker down for a stock-making adventure. EatWell101 has some great info on making stocks, here. Alton Brown also did a great Good Eats episode ("True Brew IV: Take Stock") on making stock and using a stock pot, Chicken Stock Recipe. Freeze stock in muffin tins or ice cube trays or in two cup portions in baggies. Once frozen, pop the stock pucks and cubes out and put them in a dated and labeled bag in the freezer. Use it in soups and other recipes for tons of wonderful homemade flavor and none of the nasty stuff that is in store bought stock.
  15. Veggie bath! Wash your fruits and veggies as soon as you get home from the grocery store. Fill your clean sink with cold water and add about a 1 cup of white or apple cider vinegar. Remove the stickers from your produce and put it in the water/vinegar. Let it sit for 10 minutes (2-3 for berries), then remove and dry. Put your now clean produce in the fridge and use it throughout the week without having to worry about washing! This really does save time and energy. 
  16. Clean as you go. I don't know about you, but I am much more likely to give into the fast food monster if I have a dirty kitchen. No one likes to wash pots and pans just to mess them up again.
  17. Toss it! Have a clean out the pantry day. The day before you start your Whole30 clean out your pantry of all the things that aren't compliant. Toss them or give them away. Get them out of the house and out of your sight. I didn't do this because I didn't want to waist the money that I had already spent on these items and I regret that I didn't. Having those items in the house made it so much easier to go back to eating them as soon as the 30 days were up.
  18. Don't give your kids special treatment. Or your husband for that matter. Don't make one meal for them and one meal for you. If its good food for you then its good food for them too. My hubby didn't do the Whole30 with me and he ate whatever he wanted when he wasn't at home. But when he was at home he ate what I made. (To be clear, we talked about this before I started this Whole30 Journey and he said that he was fine with eating whatever I cooked. Don't blindside your family, be open and communicate.) 
  19. Use fresh herbs. If you have a small patch of land, a few feet of balcony, or a window sill, you can plant an herb garden. I have a small porch with some pots of mint, rosemary, basil, parsley, and cilantro. I love the taste of fresh herbs, sometimes its the difference between a blah meal and a fabulous one.
  20. Save bacon grease. Pour cooled grease into a mason jar and store in the fridge to use when sauteing veggies or greasing the pan for eggs, chicken or other meats. It adds great flavor and its free! 
  21. Buy a cow or pig. Every year my family buys one cow and one pig from the local 4-H auction. This is a great way to insure that you have quality meat on hand. 
  22. Freeze lemons and limes. I love lime in my seltzer water and lemons in regular water or iced tea. The problem is that I never use a whole lemon or lime before it goes bad. The solution? Cut your citrus into wedges and freeze. They act like little ice cubes and flavor water perfectly.
  23. Farm that market. Find a farmers' market that sells local, and preferably organic produce. Strike up a conversation with the farmers and see what they recommend for this week. Ask what is particularity flavorful and how to cook it. Don't be afraid to try something new. If you don't know what something is or how to prepare it, just ask. The farmers are usually very willing to talk about their food. Some markets also have local meats, so just keep an eye out. 
  24. Start the week off right. At the beginning of the week, cut up a bunch of veggies into sticks and strips and toss them in a zipper bag in the fridge. This way you have ready made snacks. If you work away from home put the veggies in individual snack-sized baggies that you can take with you. You can also pack up portions of dried fruit and nuts to take to work. Having readily available healthy snacks will help you keep on track. Grilling stake or chicken and cutting it into strips for quick salads is a great lunch time saver, so is making a big batch of shreaded chicken.

  25. Drinking plain old water getting boring? Try seltzer water. Or iced tea. Tazo Passion tea is amazing iced! Also try adding cucumbers, fruit or mint to your water. There are a lot of fruit infused water recipes floating around the internet.
  26. Buy in bulk. If you can find good organic ingredients in bulk and you have a little extra in the budget purchase a lot at a time. Amazon Subscribe and Save is a great option for pantry staples that may be hard to find if the regular grocery store (coconut flour, nuts, dried fruit without sugar, etc...)
  27. Make extra. When you are making a meal try doubling the recipe and freezing half. I do this all the time. Since it just me and my husband and 2 year old eating dinner we hardly ever eat a whole recipe's worth of food. So I keep those tin loaf pans handy along with freezer zipper bags and I just toss the extra in the freezer for a lazy evening. This really only works for soup and casserole type dishes, but its amazing for those!
  28. Use the right equipment. Here are some of my favorites:
    1. Sharp knives
    2. Tongs
    3. Wooden spoons
    4. Avocado Saver
    5. Cast iron skillet
    6. Spiral cutter
    7. Dutch oven
    8. Crock pot

I would love to hear your tips and tricks! Leave a comment!

Happy Whole30!


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