One of the biggest issues that many people (including myself) seem to have when they are getting the hang of the Whole30 is breakfast! Believe me when I say I get it. Just switching to Paleo showed me how often we rely on refined carbs and sugars for breakfast.
Oddly enough, these two energy sources are actually burned up very quickly by the body. This, and the lack of healthy fats, is what leaves you feeling like you are starving a few hours later. When you eat the correct amount of protein (1-2 palm sized portions), healthy fat (a thumb size portion) and veggies (the rest of your plate), you will be amazed at your energy levels, as well as your hunger levels (or lack thereof). Remember, the Whole30 is not about restricting your calorie intake! Starving yourself may help you lose a few pounds short term, but you will not feel your best. And odds are you will eventually go back to your old way of eating and gain that weight (and then some) back!
If you find that you are getting hungry within a few hours of eating breakfast, then you should look at your choices and ask questions. You may need to make some adjustments. Please note: It may take your body a few days to fully adjust to having adequate fat intake for breakfast, before you see the full effects; however, some difference should be noticed even with the first breakfast.
Here are a a few tips that I use to get me through a Whole30 breakfast:
- Find some quick Whole30 approved breakfast options that you like. Here are some of the big hits at our house:
- No-Egg Breakfast Bowl
- Butternut Squash, Kale & Ground Beef Breakfast Bowl
- Egg Cupcakes– If you do not have complaint bacon, then you can sub the meat for homemade sausage or any meat of choice. There are many veggie substitutes that will work as well.
- Throw some veggies and a meat/eggs in a skillet with some fat like in the picture above! Just make sure that if you use bacon or sausage that it is complaint.
- Keep it simple when you need to! A few hard boiled eggs, some avocado slices and some sauteed or raw veggies and you are good to go.
- Find some Whole30 approved breakfast options that you can freeze, preferably into individual portions. Two of my favorites are:
- Slow Cooker Breakfast Meatloaf– I omit the maple syrup and add 2 peeled and lightly sauteed apples, as well as 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary. I also cut the red pepper flakes in half, because I am not super big on spicy. Since I am not awake 3 hours before breakfast, I prefer to make this ahead and freeze it into individual portions.
- Carrot and Apple Hash with Cinnamon & Ginger– I love to cook these ahead and flash freeze them for easy access on serving day.
- Lose the breakfast label all together. It took me awhile to prefer “dinner” for breakfast, but one of my favorite things to do is to put a meal into my slow cooker at bedtime and wake up to a tasty breakfast. I often eat roast and soup for breakfast! Pan-Seared salmon and veggies is one of my favorite things to eat when I first wake up.
- No matter what you eat, know what you are going to eat before you are hungry, especially when it comes to breakfast! I personally plan my breakfast the night before. I know if I wait too long to eat or eat an inadequate breakfast, it can really make the rest of my day a struggle.
I know that mornings can be hectic, even without adding in preparing a healthy, balanced breakfast, but I promise you won’t regret it! What is your favorite Whole30 complaint go-to for breakfast?
DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist or here to give you any health advice. Nothing that I say is meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Always seek advice from your trained medical provider. I am simply a whole food advocate and food lover, that wishes to help you get back to cooking with whole foods, in hopes that it will help you as much as it has me. I believe the things that I share to be true, because I have lived them! Everyone’s body is different and there is no one size fits all diet for anyone.
When I asked people on my support group, “What do you struggle with the most when it comes to your healthy eating goals?” I received a variety of answers. Several of them were similar in nature, in the fact that they all were struggling to find affordable, simple recipes:
“$ (Money) it’s hard to find things here and when you can it’s marked up double or triple what it was back in CA.”
“Money-it’s so much more expensive to eat healthy.”
“Finding good recipes that aren’t overwhelming.”
“Quick, easy recipes that don’t require 30 different specialty ingredients. I know I need to be better about prepping on the weekend, but we only have so many hours in the day to get things accomplished!”
This was certainly a struggle of mine as well, when I first started out eliminating so many foods and cooking from scratch. Things like coconut aminos and toasted sesame oil are amazing, but they are also hard on my budget if used too frequently! So why don’t I struggle with this anymore?
Along with starting freezer meal prep, these five things keep simple, delicious, healthy meals on our table (with a little time and effort):
- Fresh Herbs
- Fresh Spices
- Dried Herbs
- Fresh Spices
Learning to cook with herbs and spices has taken me from someone who used recipes every time I attempted to cook anything, to someone who can just throw “whatever” together! In fact, this is when I have created some of my tastiest dishes that so many people enjoy in my cooking classes and workshops. And as an added bonus, the ability to improvise using herbs and spices, can save you tons of time and money in the long run!
The most amazing thing about herbs and spices, is that they can make the EXACT same ingredients taste like completely different meals! Example, saute some chicken and veggies with:
- A Mexican Seasoning Mix
- A Thai Seasoning Mix
- An Italian Seasoning Mix
Even if you use the same vegetables for every dish, you will end up with 3 completely different tastes! This is why I feel the key to long-term diet change (for those who bore easily) is to know how to use herbs and spices. This does not even get into all of the health benefits of these amazing creations! (Which there are a TON!)
I am working on my first cookbook, which will have a more comprehensive guide for those who do not have the time to experiment in the kitchen. However, I don’t want to leave everyone hanging until then, so I thought I would type out a few herbs and spices to get you started on your journey!
Fresh Rosemary, Apples and Pork are always a winning combination. Also, be sure to try it out with some roasted lamb!
Cinnamon is most known for adding sweetness to your dish; however, it can also add a savory flavor that your dish is needing!
Fresh Basil is a useful herb to get to know as well. It is used to flavor things like sauces, soups and salads and goes particularly well with tomatoes.
Cumin can add a Middle Eastern, Mexican, Indian, North Africa or Southwestern US flavor to your dish; however, it is also used by some to sweeten their dish and even as a pickling spice. If you have never used this tasty spice, I highly encourage trying it out!
Fresh Parsley should be found in every refrigerator, since it can go into just about any dish you prepare! Flat leafed parsley is preferred for cooking since it holds up to heat the best, while curly parsley is used for decorative purposes most of the time.
Turmeric will add a yellowish color to your dish, as well as a mild woodsy flavor. It can be used in place of saffron for those on a budget and is great for making tea. Just be careful, as it can stain your dishes and clothes!
I prefer fresh herbs when possible, but here a great rule of thumb when they may be hard to find or if you are trying to use up what is in the cabinet:
1 teaspoon of the dried herb = 1 tablespoon of the fresh
Don’t be afraid to experiment and if you mess up, it isn’t the end of the world! I know it is hard to waste food, but it is all a learning experience! (And trust me, if you have to throw the food away, you will learn! I know. lol) Throw in some citrus fruits from time to time for that extra zest and you will be unstoppable! In the long run, it will save you money AND time, since you will be able to throw an amazing meal together from what you have on hand without all of the extras!
David Ramsey says, “Change is very hard and we change only when the pain of same is greater than the pain of change.” Let’s face it, for many people, cleaning up your diet is hard! I mean, unhealthy foods are EVERYWHERE and not to mention addictive (and cheaper). It seems so much easier to just deprive yourself for a few days or weeks, instead of actually trying to make long lasting positive diet changes. Really though, we are not talking about going on a diet, but instead about replacing nutrient poor foods with nutrient dense foods. I have rode along on the journey as several people have went through this process, as well as gone through it myself, so I know first hand how much some people struggle with it.
Any positive diet change is not going to be just for a few weeks or months like so many “diets” out there, but instead should be a lifestyle change, a whole new mindset if you will. I have had the pleasure of meeting some people who seem to make this lifestyle change with what appears to be very little effort. After reflecting on what these people had in common, I came up with the following tips:
- It has to be YOUR idea. Any major change can not be your wife’s idea or your father’s or even your doctor’s. It has to be YOURS, if you are going to have enough motivation to stick with this long term, YOU have to want it. When people that come to me say something like, “my doctor says I need to give up gluten, but I just don’t know”, I already know their chances of long-term success are minimal, because they lack the personal motivation to stick with it through the tough times, which are inevitable. That is not meant as a judgement of any kind, but I see it happen quite often.
- You must have some kind of plan. In the land of convenience foods, pizza parties and donuts at the office every friday, it is critical that you make a plan before starting your diet change. You are going to be tempted, you are going to get busy, things are going to come up, you will not always be eating at home and sometimes there will be no options available. All of this will undoubtedly happen when your motivation has already left the building! It can really help to know what you are going to do in these types of situations before you reach them. You need recipe ideas and to know what you are going to buy at the store. You simply can not wake up one day and say “I want to clean up my diet” and instantly do so perfectly 100% of the time. (And if you somehow did, please email me and tell me how!) Freezer meals, weekly meal prep, doubling meals and help from my boyfriend are the main way that we make it work in our house. It took us a few years to get to this point though, so be patient.
- Only wanting to lose weight is not enough. In my experience, there tend to be two types of people that make the effort to clean up their diet. People who are trying to lose weight and people who are sick and in pain, and of course many people experience both reasons. Those people who are only trying to lose weight will eventually go back to eating unhealthy if that is their only motivation. That is not to say that many of the people who try diets like Paleo for weight loss reasons, do not eventually change their mindsets, because so many do. They feel so much better eating nutrient dense foods that their bodies were craving, that they don’t even worry about the weight loss anymore. Those people who are sick and in pain tend to do a better job of sticking to the path out of necessity. Having a gallbladder attack or migraine will quickly remind you that “cheating” is not an option for you!
- Focusing on what you can eat, instead of what is “off-limits” is crucial. When I first started eating Paleo, I really focused on some of the things that I could no longer eat and drink. It made it really difficult. When I eventually stopped focusing on things I was suppose to be avoiding, I realized that there is actually more things that I eat now than when I was eating a Standard American Diet. I mean really, when you really open your mind, there are soooo many things you can make out of meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and healthy fats! For example Beef and Broccoli Cashew Stir Fry, Beef Bourguignon, Pineapple Meatballs and Ground Beef Stroganoff are use a few amazing Paleo friendly recipes just for beef. Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sweet Potato Pie, Mexican Chocolate Pots de’ Creme, Eskimo Pies and Flourless Zucchini Brownies are just some of the amazing Paleo “friendly” desserts. (Of course, these desserts are not healthy if you eat them all the time, but they are great options for those people who can’t or do not want to eat bad oils, flours and fake foods when they want a treat.) Another way to look at this is to start adding in good foods, instead of focusing on removing the bad ones. This can be the kick start that some people need in order to achieve their goals.
- Doing what works best for YOU can give you the extra step up that you need to succeed! When some people enter a swimming pool, they dive in, and take in the full shock of the temperature change. While this can be very uncomfortable for a moment, it doesn’t last long. When other people enter the swimming pool, they ease their way in, little by little. This makes for less of a shock, but it does drag out the process. The point is, that either way both people eventually are adjusted to the temperature of the water and in the pool…. Gretchen Rubin discusses the difference between abstainers and moderators in this episode of Underground Wellness Radio (start at 33:00). Moderators are the ones who can eat one tiny square of chocolate a day but the thought of no chocolate is too much for them, while abstainers, by contrast are the ones who can’t eat any chocolate because they will eat the entire bar! Neither strategy is right or wrong, you just need to find what works best for YOU! If one way is not working, maybe you need to try the other way.
- Know your triggers and act accordingly. When I was finally able to kick my soda pop habit for good, I couldn’t eat any fast food, because when I did it would send my cravings through the roof! I am sure it was partly the addictive foods themselves, causing me to craving my glass of Dr. Pepper, but I also think it was the memory of always consuming it with my fast food meals that made it worse. Personally it was too hard for me, so I just avoided fast food for a few months (that is really never a bad idea, is it?!?).
- Persistence. Persistence. Persistence. When I quit smoking cigarettes several years ago, it took me 9 tries before I finally kicked the habit for good. I tried the patch, the gum, Chantix (prescription medicine), cold turkey and the list goes on and on. You want to know why I finally was able to quit? Because I stuck with it! I made a goal and nothing was going to keep me from it. I kept that same intensity for a few years until I finally figured out what worked from me (which goes back to tip #5). The ability to stick to your goal (remember it must be your goal) is one of the top traits that will ensure success when transitioning to a healthier diet. These are the people who are able to adjust their plans and make things work through all the bumps in the road. These are the people who despite failing 197 times, they keep trying until they find what works, because they are determined at all costs to reach their goals!
- Forgiveness. Being able to forgive yourself when you make a mistake or when you fail is possibly the most important trait to have when trying to make a diet change. People who beat themselves up for failing are, in my experience, not going to make the change long term; however, those who frown, brush themselves off and move on, are more equipped to make the a lifestyle change instead of just “dieting” for a few weeks. Winston Churchill once said, “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Failure is not permanent and you must never let it steal your hope. Forgive yourself and move on.
And while I decided not to add it to the list, because I have seen many people accomplish their goals without it, support can be very necessary for some people so I thought I should at least mention it. It never hurts to know that you have some people on your side! Of course, many people have also used the motivation they get when everyone doubts them. Either way, other people opinions can help add fuel to your fire and give you the extra incentive that you need to accomplish your goals.
I also have to add making the right diet changes are extra important for long term sustainability. If, for example, you try to go on a low fat diet, I suspect you will be hungry all the time and it will be near impossible for you to sustain with all the unhealthy tempting choices that we are bombarded with on a day to day basis. Check out The Paleo Mom or Robb Wolf if you would like to understand more about how Paleo can be a great starting point for you to find out what works for your body. Check out Nourished Kitchen to get started with real food. If you are in the Columbia, Missouri area, join us for a Meal Prep Workshop to set yourself up for success! And hopefully this blog will be helpful to you on your journey as well!
Are there any tips you would add to this list?
I host a semi-annual Whole30 and was asked to make a simple short shopping guide. I actually wanted to make a video instead, but there are only so many hours in the day, so maybe the next Whole30 I can make that happen. For now, please use the following when at the grocery store during the Whole30 (and remember that the Whole30 is stricter than Paleo, so there are things that aren’t allowed that even on Paleo).
Buy local, pastured, grass-fed/finished, and wild-caught when it is available and fits into your budget. If you live around Columbia,MO, you can find all of this (except the fish) at the local Columbia Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. If you receive EBT and have a child under 12, you may be eligible for their swap program, which allows you to “cash in” $25 dollars of your stamps for $50 in tokens.
Many people think that red meat is unhealthy, however if you get it from a source that cared for the animal correctly, where it was allowed to eat it’s natural diet and wasn’t injected with hormones etc., then you don’t need to fear it! Check out this article from Chris Kresser.
You still need to avoid added sugar so watch you sausage and bacon (almost all have added sugar). Things like bologna, hot dogs, and most lunch meat are off limits. I was able to find a no sugar added turkey from the deli at Hy-Vee. If you ask them the ingredients they can print your labels if they are unsure. Many canned tunas have soy in them and should be avoid.
While eggs are not meat, I wasn’t sure where else to add them, so I will include them here. Eggs are also not to be feared! Locate a local source when possible. Cage-free does not mean anything so don’t pay extra for these.
Short Version: Pork, Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Bison, Duck, Deer, Sugar Free Deli Turkey, Canned Salmon and Tuna, Fish/Seafood, Eggs
Depending what your diet looked like before, you will probably be buying somewhere around double the amount of fruits and vegetables. Always purchase local and organic when possible. Check out the dirty dozen if you are on a budget. Eating in season is always a good idea, but isn’t a must. A local farmer’s market is always a good option.
Fruits do need to be limited to some extent, especially if weight loss is a goal; however, if you are coming from a sugar and carb heavy diet, the first week or two, it will be easier if you eat more fruits. Then the last 2-3 weeks you can cut them back. The only canned items that I personally can use are tomatoes. Avocados are an excellent fat source. If you are having trouble losing weight though, they should be limited.
Frozen vegetables are also a great option. Being so busy I use them a lot. Just cook some protein and throw some frozen vegetables and spices with it. Bam! Dinner is served. Also, after the first week do your best to try some new thing you haven’t or didn’t like before.
Dried fruit is ok, but shouldn’t be eaten alone. For example, instead of eating a handful of raisins, add them with some tuna, spinach and olive oil for a quick salad. Larabars are a great on the go option (just avoid the ones with chocolate chips), but they need to be limited, because they are made with dates. I personally am going to limit myself to no more than 3 a week this Whole30.
Short Version: Get tons of vegetables and some fruits. Maybe even double of what you typically buy. Grab a few larabars in case you need something quick.
NUTS AND SEEDS
Nuts and seeds are a healthy addition to your Whole30, but should be limited also. Adding a handful to a salad adds a nice texture though, so don’t be afraid to use them sometimes. You want to purchase raw nuts and seeds. The bulk section is a good place to get these if your store has one. If you buy them from a package just be sure to check the label for added ingredients! Almonds are high in Omega-6’s so do not overdo them especially.
You can also purchase nut butters like almond and cashew butter or even sunbutter. As always, be sure to read the labels as many of these have added sugar. Many stores have a machine that will grind the almonds right there so you know exactly what is in them. Hy-Vee and Clover’s in Columbia have these machines.
Nut flours are a great option for replacing all-purpose flour. While you are not allowed to make things like pancakes on the Whole30, you can use nut flours to bread chicken etc.
Please note that peanuts are a legume, not a nut, so they should be avoided.
Short Version: Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds Etc.(Raw), Nut Butter, Nut Flowers
I know that coconut is a nut, but I decided to list it separately because it offers so many great options! The coconut offers us oil, chips, flours, and milk. Be sure to get extra virgin (or virgin) coconut oil and full fat coconut milk. I purchase Nature’s Valley in a can. Yum!
The oil is awesome because it has a high smoke point, so you can cook with it. You can use it on your teeth, hair, and body also!
Short Version: Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Coconut Flakes, Coconut Chips, Coconut Flours, Coconut Milk
Since we are no longer using vegetable oils, you need to know what to use in place of them. There are lots of great options. As mentioned above coconut oil is one of them. Avocado oil is another one. Olive oil is great, but should not be heated much and is better used for dressings.
Beef fat and duck fat from quality sources are great options. This one might make you think I am crazy, but lard is also an excellent and tasty option. If you are in the Columbia area check out Sullivan Farms at the Columbia Farmer’s Market for some high quality lard that I personally use. You do not want to use store bought lard, since those pigs were probably not taken very good care of. Since fat stores toxins, this lard would be full of them.
Short Version:Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Olive Oil, Duck Fat, Tallow (beef fat), and Lard (pig fat)
There are items that do not fall into any of the above that are Whole30 approved also. Mustard and balsamic vinaigrette are two of those. I did not cover everything, so be sure to check your labels. If you are unsure, screenshot the label and post it to the group to find out.
Short Version: Mustard, Balsamic Vinaigrette, and READ YOUR LABELS
Check out these posts if you are wondering what a Whole30 meal looks like or what our first week of the challenge was like last time. This post may be helpful also! And if you think you are fat, please check this post out! The first week or two might be rough, but you will feel better when they are over!
Have you ever cooked sweet potatoes in a crockpot? If not, then I STRONGLY URGE you do it. Like right now, stop what you are doing and go put some sweet potatoes in your slow cooker. You can thank me later!
Pictures are awesome I know, but I will have to edit this post to include them later. People NEED to know about this and my camera is out of batteries! 🙂
- Wash, scrub and rinse 3-4 organic sweet potatoes.
- Place in slow cooker on low for 8 hours or 4 hours on high.
- Try not to eat them all.
I promise it will be the best baked sweet potato you have ever had! We make them a lot in our house, because as far as effort goes, this amazing side dish is about as effortless as they come, short of popping open a bag of unhealthy chips. Baked sweet potatoes pair well with a variety of dishes. Add some butter from a grass-fed cow and cinnamon for a sweet snack!
Say hello to the person who motivated me to start this business- My mother!
Not only has she lost tons of weight, dropped several pant sizes and lowered her blood pressure and cholesterol over the last 9 months, but for the first time I can ever remember she is HAPPY with her body. I have watched her struggle with her body imagine my entire life. It is so awesome not to hear her putting herself down. I love that she is getting healthier, but even more so I love that she is happy!
If you are struggling with your self imagine, please don’t say you’re fat. I do not care what the scales says. You are simply a skinny person, who needs to lose a few pounds. Until you correct yourself imagine you will NEVER be skinny enough! Please check out this old post of mine.
Also, after being on almost every diet there is, she says this is the first time she hasn’t felt like she needed to go eat an entire package of Oreos. She is staying full and has tons of energy. No counting calories or points, just eating real food. For her, it is no longer a “diet”, it is a lifestyle!
Remember your diet matters (but not being on a “diet”)!! back2basicscooking.net
Eggs are so fantastic! We eat a lot of them at our house. Like a few dozen a week between the three of us. My son doesn’t like eating them unless they are mixed into other things, but he lovesss to crack them!
If you are eating a lot of eggs, it can come in handy to be able to crack an egg using only one hand. After a little practice you will, not even remember not being able to crack an egg with only one hand! Check out this quick video I made to demonstrate one handed egg cracking for you.
I went to a health fair today to discuss my business, which offers whole food cooking classes and workshops for children and adults. One of the people I spoke with was very shocked (as many many people are) when I said that cooking with lard from well taken care of, pastured pigs is actually healthy. Not to mention it is cheap compared to most healthy cooking fats, so it is great for people like me on a budget!
It was hard for me to wrap my head around this concept at first as well, considering that the thought of lard previously made me instantly think clogged arteries. Not to mention eating pig fat? What?! Ugh. But that was then and this is now. And now I feel empty inside when I am out of lard. haha But really, it has truly become a staple in our home these days. My son ate all of his vegetables at dinner tonight! At 2, this is not an everyday occurrence. But really, who can resist anything roasted with lard?
I enjoy learning the science behind how food affects us;however, I believe it is best to leave it to the experts when it comes to explaining it. Below are a few links to check out regarding what fats are “healthy”, including our good friend lard:
Check back next week for my Grain Free Sweet Potato Pie recipe, just in time for the holidays, made with, you guess it, lard!
I get my lard from my local farmer’s market. Either Sullivan Farms out of Fayette or Crocker Farms out of Centralia. Remember all lard is not created equally.
In the end, as always, it is your decision on what you put into your mouth, so don’t take my word for it (or anyone else’s). Do your homework and decide for yourself; but, please just don’t throw lard out without a fair trial as I previously did.
If you use lard like me, what is your favorite thing to prepare with it?
I previously wrote a post about 5 things that were helpful to have around during a Whole30 challenge. Since I am in the middle of hosting a Whole30 challenge through my business Back 2 Basics Cooking, I thought I would write another post about helpful things to have around during a challenge. So,here are they are:
I have been without Lard for a few weeks, because the farmers that I like to purchase Lard from sell them in tub that are around $20 each. While it is large and worth every penny, it can still be hard to afford when on a limited budget. Roast some vegetables in Lard and you will get a small taste of heaven. It is also a cheaper cooking fat than coconut or oil olive.
2)Red Boat Fish Sauce
Seriously, this stuff is amazing! It is pricey but a little goes along way. I can not even remember what life was like without it. I will be doing some free video demonstrations soon with ways to use this fantastic stuff. Add a little usami to your food today!
Cauliflower rice anyone? Need I say more?
These bars of fruit and nutty goodness are great emergency foods to keep you from making bad choices when you are hungry and without a plan. However you must be sure not to use them to satisfy a sugar craving, as sugar=sugar=sugar. Even when it is natural sugar.
This is one thing that is not just helpful to have around, I believe it is, in almost every case, essential to have. For the majority of people, they need some kind of support to sustain something like the Whole30 for the entire 30 days, especially if this is their first time cleaning up their diet. I myself do not feel as if I would have made it through this Whole30 (I am not done yet, but I can see the light) if I would not have had the support of the group who came together to participate in the program with me. Because while a Whole30 is not hard, it IS hard. The support groups (both on-line and in person) have provided encouragement, meal ideas, some fun and time/money saving tips. It really has been an invaluable resource!
There are so many awesome foods that was difficult to only pick 5. This “diet’ has so many options once you stop focusing on what you can’t have!
What is your favorite thing to have around during a Whole30?