Whole30 Saving Graces
Without the prolific help of Pinterest, I would have spent my Whole30 month eating nothing but chicken breast and steamed vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, they get the job done, but everyone wants variety when it comes to their meals. I’ve discovered naturally Whole30 options, like Red Curry with Cauliflower rice, and ways to adapt my favorites, like Chicken Fajitas. There are blogs upon blogs dedicated to creating exciting new recipes out there!
Unfortunately, eating healthy in this country doesn’t come cheap. I usually shop at HyVee, as one is located a block from my building. But buying fresh produce and meats 1-2 times a week gets expensive. A friend reminded me of the amazing prices at Aldi, so I stopped in during week 2, and cut my grocery bill in half. Another great way to save money is to decide on 2-3 meals you are going to make that week and have leftovers for the other 3-4 days. It keeps you focused on your diet, as well as on your finances.
Every Day Must-Haves
Larabars are vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, and so much more. Not all of their bars are Whole30 approved, but the ones that are, are lifesavers when in a pinch for breakfast or a midday snack.
I typically eat almonds but got into cashews during my Whole30. A nice sea salt cashew hits the spot, and the healthy fats keep you full.
I’ve always been a huge fan of fruit, but Whole30 reintroduced me to how delicious it can be. When you cut out all added sugars, fruit really does begin to taste like dessert.
I’ll be the first to admit I am not the biggest fan of vegetables. The one I eat consistently is carrots. Almost every lunch includes carrots and without them, I would have eaten significantly less veggies in my 30 days.
When you cut out pop, sweet tea, sports drinks, alcohol, etc during Whole30, you start to wonder what is left besides water. Whole30 allows water, coffee, and tea. I have always been a tea person, and find it more variable than coffee in flavors. And while I love the smell of black coffee, I can’t get myself to drink it.
Luckily, I jumped on the Whole30 bandwagon when they decided to allow all potatoes. This not only meant that I didn’t have to give up my favorite starch, but that I felt much fuller at dinner time. It takes a lot of veggies and meat to get enough calories in the day when not eating carbs like bread, pasta, and rice. Potatoes helped me feel fuller longer and made sure I wasn’t under eating.
Fresh and Dried Spices
Seasonings are allowed with Whole30, but I really began to appreciate adding fresh flavors to my meal with parsley, cilantro, garlic, etc. I’m not going to lie, before Whole30, my most commonly used spice was cheese. I know, cheese is not a seasoning, but that is how I saw it. Now, I enjoy the flavors of fresh spices and garnishes more than cheese. Yep, I said it.
If you are like me, eating a ton of meat can get boring and a bit uncomfortable for your gut. I am not someone who eats a lot of red meat, so ground turkey played a big role in my experience. I used it to make bunless burgers, spaghetti meat sauce, and breakfast turkey sausage. It’s a great lean meat that fills you up without weighing you down.
Welcome to your Whole30 saving grace. Not only is cauliflower rice extremely easy to make, it adds a great texture and heartiness to your meal. When you would use traditional rice, or what a more substantial dinner, this rice does the trick. I use it with curry, chicken fajitas, taco skillets and more.
Nothing ever has or ever will replace noodles in my life. The texture is one of a kind and it creates the perfect base layer for sauces. Yet, zucchini noodles are the next best thing. Low in calories and mild in taste, these make a great choice for your spaghetti meat sauce or dairy-free creamy alfredo.
Cutting out sugar and desserts was by far the hardest part of Whole30 for me. One of my favorite things to do on Friday mornings is stop in for a vanilla latte and cinnamon roll at Smokey Row. In a day, those options were gone. One day, while dangling from a brittle, tired, long limb early morning, I decided to go to Smokey Row and order a PLAIN latte with soy milk. I was convinced I would hate it. I don’t know to this day if it was the complete lack of sugar in my life or my desperate need for caffeine, but in that moment, nothing tasted better or sweeter than that latte. Soy milk has a natural sweetness to it that makes the latte taste almost chocolatey when mixed with the espresso, and now it’s my go-to coffee beverage.
Not drinking alcohol is a bummer, so I decided to cheat (but not really). GT kombucha is sugar-free and Whole30 approved. Not only was the tangy flavor great, I got to drink a little alcohol, even if it was only trace amounts.
Fruit smoothies with soy milk are a great treat post workout or for “dessert.”
I hated La Croix. I thought it was dumb bubbly water that only smelled good and tasted bad. Once again, I was craving a fizzy drink and reached for it at the grocery store, thinking I would hate it. Turns out, when you don’t consume sugar, everything else tastes sweeter. For the first time, I could actually taste the natural essence in the water, and I still have one with my lunch every day. For me, it’s a great way to stay hydrated while feeling like I’m being bad.
I hope this was helpful to you on your Whole30 journey! I still maintain a Whole30 diet 5 days a week (or as best as I can), because I do truly feel better when I eat better. If you have any tips or Whole30 holy grails, share them in the comments below.