I know some of you are planning on a January Whole 30. If you’re dreading New Year’s Day, might I suggest to go ahead and jump in with both feet … now?
(If paleo’s not your thing, have no fear. Most of these tips apply to any dietary experiment you’re taking on in 2014.)
Regardless of when you begin, here are my tips for diving in:
1. Read the book. I started my first Whole 30 before I’d completed It Starts With Food. Big mistake. While you don’t need to read the book to have a successful experience, the book provides piles of background information, plenty of extra info that helps you get it right, and the motivation you need to carry it through.
2. While you’re at it, might as well be thorough. One of my key motivations for doing this last year was to pinpoint the source of some nasty headaches. My doctor said coffee and wine were likely suspects, so I gave up coffee, even though it’s officially allowed.
If you suspect tomatoes give you heartburn, or caffeine makes you queasy, save yourself time and trouble in the future by giving it up for your 30 days.
3. On that note … if you’re a coffee drinker, this is the month to drink good coffee. Cream and sugar are out, so you can’t use them to camouflage mediocre coffee. (Yes: coconut cream is allowed … but I put that in my coffee once, and I’m never doing it again.)
4. Stock up: the Whole 30 relies on fresh, whole foods, so make sure you’ve got ’em on hand.
5. Embrace routine. It’s much easier if you don’t have to cook three new recipes from scratch everyday. (Unless that’s your idea of a good time–in which case, can you come cook for me, too?)
6. Batch prep. This isn’t necessary, but stocking your fridge or freezer with grilled chicken strips, browned ground beef, soups, and stews will make your life easier during your 30 days. (Check out the “weekly cook-up” in Well Fed for inspiration.
7. Don’t be a produce snob. Frozen vegetables make my life so much easier during the Whole 30. (Who am I kidding? We use frozen vegetables all the time, regardless.) Pro tip: some brands are better than others. Experiment to see which ones you like.
8. Don’t spend a fortune: There are plenty of frugal Whole 30 hacks. My big three are eggs, whole chickens, and in-season produce. I also ordered a few staples from Amazon, like coconut flakes, canned tuna, and organic tomatoes.
9. Get a new cookbook to keep things interesting. I’ve tried a lot of paleo cookbooks, and my favorite is Well Fed 2, closely followed by the original Well Fed. I actually do recommend beginning with Well Fed 2 because it has a substantial section devoted to the Whole 30. (Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it’s twice as long and significantly cheaper on Amazon right now.)
I’ve created a Whole 30 Pinterest board to share some of my favorite tips, recipes, and resources.
My previous Whole 30 posts are here:
Are you thinking about a January Whole 30?