I've had a lot of friends asking about our Whole 30 journey so I came up with a few tips I wish I would have known before starting Whole 30. This journey has been great, but it definitely hasn't been easy. Paul and I feel great and definitely notice a huge change in the way our clothes fit. We're not all the way done yet (we're on day 25) so we don't have all our results and stats.
1. Planning is key.In order to succeed you must plan! Plan to pick 30 days that work well for you, this journey is quite a commitment and you can't allow yourself any cheats, so plan accordingly. If the upcoming month is full of weddings, birthday parties, tropical vacations, and family reunions--maybe choose to wait until the following month. There's always going to be at least one social event over the course of 30 days, but try to make it easier on yourself by picking a season of less-busy.
Planning is also key with your daily meals. Make sure you're planning your meals for the week out and grocery shopping for the week. If its 5:00 and you still don't know whats for dinner, you're more likely to order a pizza or eat something processed and junky. If you know what your dinners are for the week and you've done your shopping, you're more prepared to make something healthy and whole30 compliant.
2. Commit.You've really got to commit to this thing. If you're "eh, sort of committed" but have plans to cheat at next week's birthday dinner, what's stopping you from cheating again? And again. And again. No cheating, friends. Or else you've got to start over. Committing also means ridding your house on non-compliant food. If it's not there, you're less likely to slip up and eat it. I went through and threw away everything in my refrigerator that wasn't Whole 30 compliant. For the things I couldn't part with/knew I would eat again once Whole30 was over, I put on the bottom shelves and covered them with towels. Out of sight, out of mind. Just know, what you eat is a choice. If you've made a commitment to stick this out for 30 days, you need to make good choices. I used to think I had no control over my cravings, and my need for cookies or the 7th slice of pizza. The commitment to 30 days has helped me realize that I can say no to those cravings.
3. It's hard, and it's time consuming.I'm not going to lie, it's hard, especially the first week... But the further in you get, the easier it gets. It also takes a lot of time. The first two weeks I felt like I was in the kitchen or at the grocery store ALL THE TIME. But again, the further you get in the easier it gets. Grocery shopping takes twice as long because you have to read all the labels. And cooking may take longer if you're not used to chopping lots of veggies. Again, it's so worth it.
4. Read all your labels.Every. Single. Label. You'd be surprised at how much stuff has sugar in it. Things you would never think of. Salt. Some salt has sugar in it. Bacon, yep, sugar. Deli turkey, yes again, sugar. Sugar is everywhere! So really, if it comes in a box or a jar, read the labels--even if you think it would be compliant. Just because it's organic, doesn't mean it's compliant.
5. Nutrition labels are NOT the same as ingredient lists.In the first couple of weeks I was determined to find sugar free bacon. I called my local Sprouts to see if they carried any sugar free bacon. The butcher put me on hold to go check. He came back and said, "Yep! Our store brand of bacon has 0g of sugar." 0g of sugar is NOT the same as no sugar. I was at the store later that week and checked the ingredient list and the second ingredient was brown sugar. If there is less than 1g of sugar, they round down to 0g, but there still is sugar in it. Make sure you're reading your ingredient lists and not the nutrition labels.
6. Don't be afraid to ask to see the label.At the deli in my grocery store I ask to see all the labels before purchasing an item. At the butcher counter, I ask them to print an item sticker with the ingredients listed of all the sausages before I buy them, even if they have the flavors of an item listed, make sure you check the label. (Example, the sausage label says, "ground pork mixed with apples and fennel" there are probably other ingredients in the sausage.)
One day I was getting turkey from the deli at Target. I asked the lady working to see the ingredient list of the turkey. She had the turkey in her hands and said, "turkey, salt, and water." Great! I bought a pound. I got home and scarfed some down and went to put it in the fridge and I read the printed sticker on the bag, "turkey, salt, water, and carrageenan (a big no no!)"... I panicked! I just scarfed this turkey down, but the lady didn't mention carrageenan! I got in my car ready to go to Target to throw a fit (I was going to have to start my Whole 30 over! I was MAD.) I couldn't believe I hadn't asked to see the label myself, I ALWAYS read the label myself. I got to the deli, ready to throw my fit, and asked to see the label. Thankfully, the label didn't have carrageenan in it, the product USED to have it and Target hadn't updated their computers yet. Phew.
Another time Paul and I decided to try out a new Paleo restaurant near our house. They were very proudly advertising sugar free, Paleo friendly food. I was so excited to not have to cook! I decided on a BLT of sorts...Before ordering I asked the owner if their bacon had sugar in it. Nope! She beamed. She seemed very confident of this. I was excited too, sugar free bacon!? YES! I asked what brand it was in hopes of finding it in the store. She went to grab a package to show me... Again, the second ingredient? Sugar. "Oh! I had no clue that was in there," was her response. Don't be afraid to ask to see the label.