Happy holidays! We have (almost) made it through our annual gamut of holiday parties and are turning our attention to getting 2018 off to a healthy start. Would you join us for the January Whole30? Would you, could you, in a house? With a mouse?
In all seriousness, the Bare Bones team is gearing up for our second Whole30 as a team, and we would love to have you join us and thousands of other people across the world in a food program that may, quite literally, change your life.
Don’t believe me? It’s practically identical to the program that erased all signs of my arthritis. Yeah. That’s for real. You know this because I would never joke about arthritis. That ish is painful.
We decided to document our Whole30 journey this year, and I’m the lucky delegate for sharing our story. It’s partially because I’m a recovering journalist, but also because I have an extra-special reason to be cleaning up my diet and resetting my gut right now: Ryan and I are expecting a baby boy, due early April.
That’s right: Bare Bones, which we jokingly refer to as our firstborn, is going to have a sibling!
If pregnancy isn’t a good reason to clean up your food act, I don’t know what is. But let’s talk about that for a second, actually.
Why Do The January Whole30?
First, let’s get clear on what the Whole30 is and isn’t.
What it is: A “reset” button for your health, habits and relationship with food.
What it isn’t: A “diet.”
It’s called the Whole30 because this is a temporary (30-day) lifestyle change designed to help you reevaluate and rewire your brain when it comes to food habits.
Ryan and I eat pretty clean throughout the year – and I’ll bet you do, too. But there’s always room for improvement when it comes to our food consumption and our relationship with food. That’s true no matter who you are.
Why? Because you can start off with pristine food habits, but then life happens. Parties happen. Roommates, kids, quick desk lunches, travel and sickness happen. Heck, pregnancy happens.
Nobody is immune. We can all benefit from a reset every now and then. That’s why we are choosing to do the Whole30 again. We do it in January because everybody’s doing it (read: many of our friends, and probably yours, too) and it’s fun!
So we’re starting on Jan. 2, the official start date of the #JanuaryWhole30.
The best thing about the Whole30 is that, once you’re done, you get to make well-informed choices about what foods to reintroduce into your lifestyle, and how. It’s all about achieving food freedom forever.
A Prenatal Whole30
About that “pregnancy happens” thing I said earlier.
I was on a ketogenic/intermittent fasting regimen when I got pregnant (more about that in a future post someday). And do you know what I was able to eat during my first trimester? Fruit and Saltine crackers. I kid you not. For about 12 weeks straight. I couldn’t even stand the sight or smell of our own bone broth without getting nauseated. My doula told me not to sweat “eating right” until the morning sickness/intense aversions went away, so I didn’t. I’m now 26 weeks and only just beginning to sip broth and eat meat again without losing my appetite.
Meanwhile, I’ve been eating what I can get down: Dairy, legumes, grains, vegetables and lots and lots of fruit. So much fruit, y’all. And fruit juice. These are foods that inflame my body, and I know it. My shoulders and feet are screaming at me to stop it.
So my food habits have changed, and my relationship with those foods has changed. In unhealthy ways, in many cases. This is why it’s time to reset those relationships.
The Ground Rules
They’re pretty basic. For 30 days, you eliminate five food groups:
- Sugar – the added kind. You might be surprised at some of the foods that have added sugar in them! I’m looking at you, salad dressing, bacon and – YEP! – broth.
- Alcohol – you know why.
- Grains – wheat, oats, rice, corn, barley, millet…all the grains. Even whole grains. They make over-consumption all too easy, and also contain proteins such as gluten that are pretty inflammatory for most bodies and create bacterial imbalances in the gut flora
- Legumes – they’re not super nutrient-dense, and in fact contain some anti-nutrients. So we eliminate them for a while.
- Dairy – it can be inflammatory for your body, and produces a pretty high insulin response in our bodies, contributing to conditions like obesity and diabetes.
Our friend and Whole30 founder Melissa Hartwig has also published several NYT Bestselling books that can help you along your Whole30 journey. We relied heavily on The Whole30 for our first Whole30 last year. A lot of those resources are available on the website, but I really liked the layout of the book. Made it easier to navigate and find exactly what I wanted/needed.
How To Get Started
First, you just decide to do it. It’s a commitment, and I won’t lie to you: The going gets tough some days.
Then you start planning. Because, as Ryan likes to say, failing to plan is planning to fail – in this case especially.
2. Gather up your list of Whole30 Approved convenience foods
In a perfect world, we would make our own bacon, ketchup, salad dressing, wing sauce, breakfast bars and bone broth, but let’s be real. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Fun fact: Bare Bones was the very first Whole30 Approved bone broth, more than three years ago. We can attest that their standards for evaluating and approving products are rigorous. Melissa has even been known to revoke Whole30 Approved certification from products if their ingredient standards change, or if Whole30 participants wind up using those products in a way that isn’t in the spirit of the Whole30.
3. Make a meal plan
I don’t plan out the whole month at once, although I probably should. I do one week at a time, and the key here is to keep. it. simple.
Especially your first week, you don’t want to be making super complicated recipes. That’s just discouraging and you’re not going to feel like keeping up for another 3 weeks. Plus you’re probably going to be dragging/feeling lethargic while your body adjusts to the lack of carb/sugar dumps into your system.
Here’s our Week 1 meal plan:
- Frittata for breakfast every day (I’ll make the frittata on Sunday, slice it up and portion it out for quick grab-n-go breakfasts throughout the week).
- Whole30 Instant Soup-In-A-Jar for lunches. This is our first time trying this and I’m excited! Planning this for 5 lunches for 2 people.
- Dinner leftovers for the other 2 lunches.
- Roasted veggies with compliant sausage and sauerkraut (I’m obsessed with Farmhouse Culture’s Smoked Jalapeño kraut) for dinner 2x and lunch 1x.
- Grilled veggies with turkey patties + compliant buffalo sauce for dinner 2x and lunch 1x.
- A large batch of compliant chili, like this Sirloin and Squash Chili we made a few weeks ago, for dinner 3x.
4. Clean out your pantry
Now is the time to get rid of temptation. Hide the alcohol out in the garage, give away those half-eaten bags of chips, and toss the sugar-laden condiments. If you’re like me, they’re coming up on their expiration date anyway. Now is also the time to finish off the last of the Christmas fudge and other goodies.
Read the labels on your lunch meat and get rid of or eat any that has sugar in it. You still have time to squeeze in a few sandwiches before the Jan. 2 start date, after all.
5. Stock up on your Whole30 essentials
Make a grocery list of the pantry and fridge staples you rely on, and compare that with a list of Whole30 compliant and Whole30 Approved foods. Make a second list that includes only those foods/brands that are compliant. Add anything you need for your Week 1 meal plan. Finally, add a few veggies/other things you haven’t planned into a meal, just in case you’re not feeling leftovers one day at lunchtime.
NOTE: Everyone has different food preferences, even within the bounds of a Whole30. So get whatever Whole30 compliant foods speak to you. It’s a good idea to stick with ones you know you’ll eat. Love broccoli? Get a giant bag of it and plan to roast up half of it and keep the other half raw for snacking. Hate asparagus? Then don’t force it. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables out there that will fit your palate.
Here’s my list for stocking up and Week 1:
You don’t see snacks on my list, but I highly recommend you throw in a few Whole30 compliant snacks, just in case. We like to keep a stash of RX Bars and Pressed By Kind bars on hand for emergencies. I also could eat my weight in SeaSnax.
- Raw almonds
- Almond butter
- Pressed by Kind bars
- RX Bars
- Zupa Noma – all the flavors
- La Croix
It’s important to note here that a lot of the pantry staples and condiments will last you the whole month – so don’t panic if your grocery bill is a little higher than usual.
Joining Us For The #JanuaryWhole30?
Drop us a line if you’re participating in the Whole30 program this January – we’d love to share in your journey and hear how it’s going! I’ll be posting here each week to update you on our progress and talk about any challenges we’re facing and how we’ve overcome them.
ALSO: Follow @Whole30Approved for some sweet giveaways throughout the month, including a couple from Bare Bones!