The Whole30: My Experience, Tips and Tricks!

Dr. Kyle, Dr. Erin, our intern Kim, and many others have embarked on a Whole 30 journey this month! The Whole30 program helps focus on whole foods by eliminating all processed food groups (dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, alcohol).  After 26 days, I (Dr, Erin) feel fantastic and have already seen some health improvements such as improved energy, decreased cravings, shinier and fuller hair, as well as a slightly looser waistband.

In addition, with fewer physical cravings, I have really been able to isolate my emotional cravings for unhealthy foods and build new and better ways to address them. 

But let it be known - finding food with no added sugar, unhealthy oils, etc. can be tricky!  Here are some tips that I have found helpful:

Meal prepping:

  • When cooking, make food in triplicate so you have lots of leftovers
  • Snack/quick protein foods: eggs (HB or deviled), celery with almond butter, fruit (sparingly unless a child/pregnant/nursing), raw nuts, RX bars, beef sticks.
  • Investing in a Whole 30 cookbook was worth it for me.  The recipes were delicious and made for good variety
  • Sauces – Recommended sauces made with healthy oils include: Tessemae's and Primal Kitchen. I made my own BBQ using apple juice and dates for sweetener and used it for ketchup
  • Drinks – Kombucha is compliant (yay!)- in a wine glass it feels even fancier.  I also enjoyed LaCroix frequently.  I drank my coffee with nutpod or blended with coconut oil and collagen.

Going out to eat in the Twin Cities:

  • Chipotle carnitas salads are compliant!  No rice or beans or dairy, but as much veggies, salsas, guac, etc. as you would like!
  • Foxy Falafel near the St. Paul campus of the U of MN has an AIP special that usually is compliant!  They also have a delicious bone broth.
  • At a lovely new restaurant in SW Mpls, Book Club, my server was aware of the Whole 30 and pointed me toward a delicious meal - a turkey leg confit that was fried in its own oil as well as olive oil.  Baby potatoes were also prepared on the oil.  Kombucha was also on tap, which was a big treat!

Traveling:

I was away for 2 ½ days at a seminar in Atlanta, which was the most difficult part of doing the Whole 30 well.  Here are my major travel tips:

  • Carry RX or Lara bars, avocado or fruit, raw nuts, beef sticks in case of plane delays or no options
  • At a healthy restaurant, I felt free to order a salad that I know had healthy oil with lots of toppings.  If I wasn’t sure about the ingredients, I would simply order a meat with no sauce, and a salad with olive oil and vinegar.

As I round out my Whole 30, I’ve decided to maintain a modified version long term. I will slowly introduce foods (chocolate will definitely be first!).  Grains, dairy and legumes may always stay off limits for me because I’ve been feeling so good!  I can’t recommend the Whole 30 highly enough – whether to lose a few pounds, support an underlying autoimmune disorder, or to break a craving (slay the sugar dragon in Whole 30 terminology!).