When I talk to people about Whole30, the question I get asked the most is, “What do you eat?” As I stated in the previous post, I am currently in the middle of my second official program. I completed Whole30 for the first time in 2017, and I’ve grown immensely as a home chef and as an expert in the guidelines since then. Cooking real food requires a lot of preparation and cleanup in the kitchen, but my efforts have paid me back tenfold.
I start my mornings with a smoothie consisting of unsweetened almond milk, frozen black cherries and blueberries, kale or spinach, and collagen peptides. Although smoothies aren’t encouraged on the Whole30 program, I’ve decided to keep them in my diet. Your brain registers that you are full when you chew your food, and that’s how you know to stop eating. The Whole30 team argues the following: When you drink your meal, your brain isn’t getting the feedback it needs to tell your body that it’s had enough of what it needs. I don’t consider my smoothie to be a meal, and if you are going to fall prey to consuming it as such, perhaps you should steer clear. Don’t use fruit juice for the base or you’ll have prediabetes in no time. Too much sugar (even the natural kind) isn’t ideal.
The base for my midday salad usually consists of romaine lettuce, spinach, and spring mix. After chopping and washing the lettuce, I spin it dry. The spinach and spring mix that I purchase from Trader Joe’s is pre-washed. After establishing the base, I move on to add-ins, such as red peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes (seeds removed), olives, hard-boiled eggs, and roasted beets and Brussels sprouts (cooled). I favor walnuts and pumpkin seeds as garnish. For the main protein source, I usually opt for either baked salmon, warmed sardines, tuna fish, or an omelette with an avocado on the side. If I have an omelette, I’ll refrain from adding boiled eggs to the salad bowl. But, when I make chicken salad for lunch, I’ll add it directly to the bowl of leafy greens and forgo the dressing.
Brands to consider for dressings, marinades, and sauces include Tessemae’s, Primal Kitchen, and Whole30. Out of the three aforementioned brands, I’ve only ever tried Tessemae’s products. I’ve been making my own mayo, garlic aioli, and ketchup lately. I also made this ranch dressing that got my husband’s stamp of approval.
Dinner at my house usually consists of a protein source and one or two sides of steamed or baked vegetables. Carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli are our three most common sides. Sometimes we’ll have air-fried yucca with garlic aioli or air-fried sweet potatoes topped with cinnamon as a second side. Proteins that commonly appear at our dinner table: burgers wrapped in lettuce, chicken thighs, BBQ drumsticks, and salmon. No matter the meal, sparkling water has a permanent place at the table.
The grapefruit Sprindrift and the coconut La Croix are real treats. I’ll also drop essential oils into a can of unflavored water from Trader Joe’s. Other treats include apples with almond butter, dates, and warmed RXBARs. If you’re going to misuse RXBARs, don’t buy them. But, the brand’s delicious vanilla almond butter should not be overlooked. Two handfuls of roasted walnuts, almonds, pistachios, or cashews helps to keep hunger at bay too. Fruit and raw vegetables are also ideal snacks.
I often look for new Whole30-compliant recipes on Pinterest, but improvising in the kitchen is satisfying too. Whole30 continues to encourage my cooking creativity and nourish my health, which is why I generally adhere to the rules when I’m not officially on the program. Imagine all of the benefits you could reap from this life-changing opportunity. Are you ready for a change?
Lettuce wrap: bacon (although, not a diet staple), roasted turkey breast, boiled eggs, and garlic aioli