My husband and I have decided to give the Whole 30 Program a try. A lot of people find this program intimidating because you do have to cut so many things out of your regular diet and they don’t provide a set meal plan, just a shopping list and some basic master recipe suggestions. I have tried a lot of various eating plans and cleanses and I have to say that the lack of specific instruction is exactly why I am loving this one so far. I can use so many of my normal recipes that our meals almost seem normal other than not being able to have any sugar or the occasional glass of wine.
General idea of the Whole 30 Program is 30 days without:
Sugar or sweeteners (real or artificial, including honey, agave, etc.)
Alcohol (not even for cooking)
MSG or sulfites
Replacement baked goods or junk food (GF, DF, Paleo, etc.)
I did some research on Whole 30 blogs and people’s meal plans but I honestly don’t know anyone who has the time or energy to cook 21 different homemade meals in a week. I certainly don’t want to do that, and I love to cook! Also, most Whole 30 meal plans are heavily reliant on eggs and I am allergic to them. So, I just read the book and created my own meal plan. I say that this is a realistic meal plan because it includes real life strategies like using leftovers and eating the same thing for lunch and breakfast more than once in a week. For example, on Day 1 I made a Pork Hash, something I made up and had never made before, and my husband has requested it for breakfast every day this week. We’ll get tired of it soon but since I can’t eat eggs, I’m guessing you’ll see a lot of variations of hashes in my breakfast meal plans. Although it is really good, we are getting a little tired of this same salad so we have been trying to switch it up with different meats but I have already decided that Week 2 will feature a lot of dinner leftovers for lunch.The key to lunch for us is having something tasty that is easy to pack to take to work with us. Also, we have found that with eating healthy, substantial meals, we aren’t always hungry for 3 big meals per day so you’ll see the meals where we chose to just eat some almonds and fruit to tide us over to the next meal because we just weren’t very hungry.
I’m going to blog each week about what we actually ate and I’ll link to recipes that I created to be Whole 30 compliant (links in bold, I’ll add more recipes as I can get them posted). Since I already exclude a lot of ingredients from my diet, my normal recipes are fitting in very nicely to this plan. For those of you who don’t normally deal with food restrictions due to allergies, I can imagine that it is a much bigger transition so hopefully you will find this helpful! I’ll also include where I added eggs to Gil’s portion so you have the option of doing it with or without eggs. (Although, I have to say that if I could eat eggs, you would definitely see an omelet or scramble or frittata for breakfast quite a few days).
Drinks: We have had 1 cup of pressed coffee with a teaspoon of coconut milk each morning and other than that we have only had water. I did make infused water by putting a few slices of lime, cucumber, and some crushed mint leaves in a pitcher of water. We leave this in the fridge and grab a glass any time we are wanting something other than water to drink and it really does help satisfy that craving.
For portion size of all meals – the protein should be about the size of your palm and the rest of the plate should be produce, mostly veggies.
Breakfast – Pork Hash & half of a peach
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole and Grilled Chicken
Dinner – Tilapia with Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Caprese Salad (pictured below)
Breakfast – Pork Hash (leftovers) & a plum (Gil also had 3 boiled eggs) (pictured below)
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole and Grilled Chicken (leftovers)
Dinner – Tarragon Cream Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Green Beans
Breakfast – Raw Almonds, a nectarine, and 3 strawberries (Gil also had 3 boiled eggs)
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole and Grilled Chicken (leftovers) (pictured below)
Dinner – Yellow Curry Chicken with Broccoli and Cauliflower (this was a recipe from the book and it was awful, I’ll work on a tastier adaptation)
Breakfast – Pork Hash & 3 strawberries (Gil also had 2 scrambled eggs) (pictured below)
Lunch – Spinach Salad with Guacamole and Sautéed Salmon
Dinner – Raw almonds, a plum, and a banana
Breakfast – Pork Hash (leftovers) & half of a peach (Gil also had 2 scrambled eggs)
Lunch – Dry roasted almonds & a banana (Gil also had 2 scrambled eggs)
Dinner – Sirloin Steak with Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Green Beans (pictured below)
Breakfast – Smoked Salmon with Roasted Potatoes and a peach (Gil also had 2 scrambled eggs)
Lunch – We had a late breakfast so we weren’t hungry and just ate dinner a little earlier.
Dinner – Chimichurri Steak Kabobs (from Whole Foods, I checked all ingredients) (pictured below)
Breakfast – Smoked Salmon with a handful of blueberries (Gil also had 3 boiled eggs)
Lunch -Chimichurri Steak Kabobs (leftovers)
Dinner – Mexican Chicken with Roasted Asparagus
Is is worth it?
So far, we are feeling great and I’m honestly not really missing anything very much eating this way. Gil is missing bread very, very much but is feeling pretty good and still on board to keep going. Other benefits: I have found that I love spending more time at the meat counter at Whole Foods getting high quality meats and I really love having a refrigerator full of healthy produce and actually eating all of it. We’re also saving a lot of money even though everything we ate last week was organic, grass-fed, pastured, etc. and was purchased at either the Farmer’s Market or Whole Foods. We do usually eat out quite a bit so not only are we saving money by eating at home, but we are finding that it feels like we have a lot more time together since we are working on the meals together and always at home after work. We have also found that we already have more energy and are getting a lot more things done on very long to-do list before we move to Spain (Read more about that here).
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the Whole 30 Program and this meal plan is simply my personal interpretation of the recommendations found in their book.