This is the time of the year where seemingly everyone on social media is on a mission to “best” each other with self-righteous conscious eating or newly adopted dietary restrictions. New Year’s resolutions are never as obnoxious as they are during the first few weeks of January.
While we’re not so much fans of weight loss resolutions, January is an excellent time of the year to commit to a reset. If you’re anything like us, your holiday season was filled with cream cheese, mulled wine, and camping out on the couch in your cozy Christmas PJs — I mean, how else were we meant to binge the new season of The Crown?
If you’ve opened your phone in the last week, Whole30 has likely presented itself to you via every person on social media. Whole30 is definitely trendy, but the program genuinely has resounding positive effects — if you can stick to it. We’re here to shut down the excuses you’re likely to make while on your Whole30 quest with some simple tactics to keep yourself on track.
What is Whole30?
Whole30 is simply the careful and systematic elimination of a litany of foods and ingredients that are burdensome on your digestive and immune systems — a complete reset for your body and overall health.
While participating in Whole30, you commit to cutting sugar, alcohol, and processed foods completely out of your eating habits for 30 days. Instead, you fill your plate with whole foods in their most natural state and avoid dairy, legumes, soy, and grains. Basically, you consume lean proteins, whole vegetables, some fruit, and a few nuts. After the 30 days, you introduce foods back into your diet in a strategic way.
As simple as Whole30 is, it’s not always easy. The following are the biggest hurdles we crossed while committing ourselves to this well-rounded eating and how to combat the excuses.
“I’m too busy to grocery shop.”
Keeping ample amounts of leafy greens and healthy protein on hand at all times requires A LOT of time spent at the grocery store. When you embark on your Whole30 journey, you must accept that you will be stopping for top-ups on produce every few days. In the long run, this is the more economical way to grocery shop — but the time investment will take some getting used to.
If you’re not so great about running post-work errands, set yourself up for success with a meal delivery service. Admittedly one of the kindest things I did for myself during my run with Whole30 was signing up for Blue Apron, my personal spirit guide throughout this process. Two times a week, Blue Apron has my back with home-delivered Whole30-approved meals that actually tasted like thoughtfully prepared dishes — a stark contrast from the weird mix of things I would throw on a plate next to a baked sweet potato. For eight weeks, Blue Apron is offering two Whole30 approved recipes and ingredients delivered each week to help you keep your Whole30 plan on track. There’s no calorie-counting, tracking, or weighing — but it’s the #1 way to make sure you have no excuse to cheat.
Do yourself a favor and opt into Blue Apron’s Whole30 meal delivery — we’re giving you $40 off your first two weeks to make your Whole30 experience that much easier. Eating healthy for less than what you’d drop on a build-your-own burrito with the upcharged guac? Yes please.
“I can’t eat out at all.”
While Whole30 is fairly restrictive on paper, it’s definitely not impossible to enjoy time spent in the outside world while participating in it. If you can stand to sit across the table from your friends enjoying their piles of Belgian waffles and a vat of mimosas at Sunday brunch, there are some definitive workarounds when eating out while on Whole30.
Every restaurant has a salad on the menu, some grilled or steamed vegetables, and some whole protein — just do your research beforehand. A restaurant is not going to mind if you bring your own Whole30-approved salad dressing or sauces, but they will mind if you try to extensively modify their menu, so be reasonable with your requests. If the happy hour spot doesn’t have an extensive list of options, make time to eat before you go. Looking at margaritas and guac won’t be easy, but you can manage it on a full stomach.
A resolution I made alongside Whole30 was the decision to invest the money I might have otherwise spent on a dinner out with friends back into myself. Remember, Whole30 only lasts for thirty days — a manageable amount of time to decompress and hang out with yourself. I politely declined offers to spend too much money on unhealthy restaurant food, made a few FaceTime dates, and spent that money on a facial instead.
“I’m sick of eating the same things every day.”
It’s easy to assume that Whole30 will be incredibly boring because it is seemingly so restrictive. But an interesting thing that happens when you eliminate sugar from your diet is that boring ol’ vegetables suddenly taste incredible. Added sugar and the sodium contained in processed foods stunt your taste buds’ ability to fully appreciate the natural depth of flavor in real food.
Whole30 will challenge you to learn new cooking techniques, different flavor profiles, and how to better work with herbs and spices. Spend an afternoon on Pinterest or treat yourself to a new cookbook to flex your culinary muscles. With a little creativity, it is truly impossible to get bored while on Whole30. You can also try one of our pre-approved Whole30 meal prep recipes.
“My cravings are taking over my sanity. I don’t want to live in a world without pizza.”
You can be riding an impossible high while on any diet and feel utterly untouchable, but inevitably you will get a whiff of a piping hot pizza or be trapped into viewing a Haagen Daz commercial — this is when your allegiances may falter.
Once again, the best part about Whole30 is that it is time restrictive — you’re not staring down the barrel of an endless diet where you have to pretend you’ve never tasted a Krispy Kreme donut. The cravings are the worst at the very beginning, but seriously dip out once your body adjusts to life without processed carbs and added sugar. If you can tough it out for the first couple weeks, you’re in the clear.
Supplementing with magnesium was extremely helpful during Whole30. Magnesium, one of the more universally deficient minerals among adults, is extremely helpful in the battle against sugar cravings and regulating our bodies’ glucose levels.
“No alcohol? No thank you.”
Admittedly, my personal difficulty in Whole30 was (temporarily) saying goodbye to my nightly passionfruit La Croix and vodka. Even the hardest part was only a minor adjustment to make at the beginning of the process.
Instead I invested the money I would have spent on alcohol and made “health cocktails” using different mixtures of kombucha, apple cider vinegar, and herbal teas. I learned that it wasn’t so much the alcohol I needed at night, but rather the ritual of making myself a night cap. If you aren’t already obsessed with kombucha, let me introduce you. It’s basically fermented tea — but if you aren’t making your own read your labels carefully and look for sugar listed on the labels and ingredient list.
If you’re worried about your social life during Whole30, take a deep breath. You don’t have to be the troll under the bridge for the duration of your 30 day stint without alcohol. It’s far easier to pretend you’re drinking with a lowball glass full of soda water with a lime rather than making your Whole30 experiment something you have to defend for the night. Or you can always stay in and take that would-be bar tab to Sephora instead — just saying.
This post was in partnership with Blue Apron, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.