My Whole30 Kitchen- The Pantry: Part One

I have had a few people ask for more information on my Whole30 so I decided to do a little mini series on what I learned, what I eat, ect.  Going through it was such a great experience and I learned so much that I thought it would be great to put it in one place for reference.

My husband and I are still eating mostly Whole30 meals with only a few adjustments here and there.  It is pretty hard to stop eating this way when we both feel so great and we are both not yet at our goal weights.  Additionally the end goal here is to hopefully help improve our fertility.  We have both been really considering what we eat (if it’s off plan).  Sometimes we treat ourselves, but we don’t make those decisions lightly.  Sometimes it’s just not worth it to indulge and sometimes it is.

In my first few posts I am going to focus on preparing for Whole30. It may not seem like a big deal, but if you want to be successful I would highly recommend spending some time preparing.  This includes researching Whole30 compliant recipes which sound good to you, making a meal plan for your first week, and stocking your kitchen appropriately.  There is currently a shelf in my pantry dedicated to only Whole30 friendly foods.

In this post I will focus on some pantry items which I find to be key in Whole30 cooking.

First is the cooking fats.  Coconut oil, Ghee (clarified butter), and olive oil are by far the most important three fats to have on hands.  Almost every Whole30 recipe includes one of these and they are all unrefined and good for you.  If you want more info on how this kind of fat is good for you, I highly recommend that you read “It Starts With Food”.  Actually I highly recommend that you ready it if you are going to do Whole30 in general but more on that later.  I also stock avocado oil because I make my own mayo and this is a key ingredient.  Finally I also have some sesame oil, which should be used in moderation but can give food a delicious and powerful flavor.  I buy avocado oil and coconut oil at Costco.  It is much much more economical to buy it there than at a grocery store.

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My next set of must have items include the vinegars and a few other special items.  I would highly recommend that you stock balsamic vinegar coconut vinegar, and apple cider vinegar.  They are common ingredients in many Whole30 recipes.  Additionally having coconut aminos on hand is a great idea as it is a substitute for soy sauce and also a common ingredient.  Finally Whole30 Fish sauce such as Red Boat appears in lots of recipes.  Just a little goes a long way with this one, and it doesn’t have a great smell, but it does add great flavor.

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Finally below are some of the condiments we keep.  Compliant hot sauces and salsa were super important for my husband and I as we like things on the spicy side.  We also found having Dijon and whole grain mustard (without sugar-check labels!) on hand was helpful.  Finally finding compliant pickles was huge for me!

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When I first started shopping took forever.  You literally have to check every label because they sneak preservatives and sugar into everything!  I was excited to find compliant salsa and hot sauce at Trader Joe’s both for cheap!  The salsa is also organic!

All in all I found that I did a combination of shopping at Costco, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and a local grocery chain called The Nugget to full stock my house.  Obviously you do not need to go out and get EVERYTHING on my list but hopefully you found some of this information helpful!

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The Pre-Tox

In my last post I detailed my plan for refocusing my health over the next few months and hopefully lose some weight in the process. What I failed to mention was how I am/have been preparing for this very drastic change. Since I am a dork I am calling it the Pre-Tox (Pre-Detox).

Step one: Indulge

The week of Christmas I literally consumed anything and everything I wanted. This included unlimited beverages (lattes, soda, cocktails/beer/wine) and treats. For me that was a lot of chocolate, cheesecake, and rice krispy treats! I initially took this approach because I wanted to get a “last taste” of some things that I wouldn’t be having for a while, but it actually was great because after a few days I was totally sick of junk food and I was actually craving to be healthy.

Step Two: Cut back

The week after Christmas was kind of weird because I was traveling for most of it, but I made a conscious effort to scale back (significantly) junk food and caffeine. I limited myself to only one serving of caffeine per day. I would say before I was having 3-4 servings per day so this was a big improvement. I also drank a lot of water and Gatorade because we were at a higher elevation and it was definitely having an effect on me.   Thankfully my husband’s parents were up for cooking most of our meals but we did go out to eat a few times on the trip. When we went out to eat I ordered what I wanted from the menu (I was on vacation after all!). The drive home is pretty brutal as far as food choices go because the only choices are fast food. Even in times of my worst eating I am not big on most fast food. Occasionally I will have In-and-Out Burger or Chick-fil-a but that is a very infrequent splurge. The only choices on our drive back were Taco Bell, McDonalds, or Burger King. I will tell you the Tacos I had only made me want to eat heathier that much more. Sunday I started my day with a really wonderful vanilla latte from Starbucks, and I relished every moment because I knew it was my last one for a long time.

Step Three: The Real Preparation

Monday I officially cut out all caffeine, dairy, and gluten. I’ve actually done a good job of being like 85% already on Whole30. Actually all I have had in the last four days that doesn’t qualify for Whole30 is some gluten free multi-seed almond and brown rice crackers, quinoa, soy sauce, and Worchester sauce. I have also started to cut back on meat in preparation for my juice cleanse, and today I am not eating meat at all. Also in preparation I started having 1-2 juices per day. I’ve started every day with a green juice and had something a little fruitier in the afternoon for a pick-me-up.

I won’t lie….the first two days were not fun. Day two was the worst. My headache came on around 10 am and stuck with me all day, despite how much peppermint essential oil I slathered on. I was cranky and had zero energy. I seriously could have gone to bed at 7. Even though I felt full after meals I had this feeling that something was missing. My brain was trying to trick my body into thinking it was hungry even though I had just had a meal!

Day three I expected to suffer just as much as day two. Actually sort of figured I would be pretty miserable until the end of next week when my body adjusted. I was pleasantly surprised that I felt great all day yesterday! No headache all day! And I had a good amount of energy, which was a blessing because I needed to do quite a bit of work in the kitchen last night to prepare for today.

Today I woke up feeling awesome! I was actually kind of giddy this morning and had way more energy! This is so encouraging for what is ahead and I am totally shocked that I feel so great right now.

A few things that really have helped me through these few days in case you are interested:

Sleep- There have been plenty of times in my life I have gone to bed with a headache only to wake up with next morning with a migraine. I was very afraid of this happening this week, but I made sure to get 8 hours every night, and even on my worst day I at least woke up feeling good.

A warm/hot bath with essential oils- Never underestimate the power of a good soak. It really helped me relax and I think even release some toxins. On Tuesday after work it was a lifesaver. I soaked in a combo of Eucalyptus and peppermint oil.

Oranges-A few orange slices after a meal has been a great way to keep my body from craving sugar. I figured that the extra vitamin C during cold and flu season can’t hurt either!

Peppermint Essential Oil- Admittedly I am obsessed with this stuff anyway, but since I will absolutely not take a pill while I’m doing this (unless I actually get a migraine then I cannot hold to that promise), this is all I have for headache relief. It made my headaches on Monday and Tuesday manageable which was so appreciated.

Lemon water- On Sunday I thinly sliced a lemon and each morning I throw a few slices in my water bottle. I have a hard time chugging straight up water in the morning and this has helped a ton! I am managing to get down about 64 oz just at work (and of course peeing every 10 minutes!)

Peppermint Tea- I drink peppermint tea pretty regularly, but usually with raw honey. This week I tried it without honey, and while it’s not as good I can still drink it and it gives me that sensation of having something warm in the morning. It also helps with the #2s (which is a huge issue for me to begin with) and sans coffee in my life I can use all the help I can get in that department!

A few things I am going to have to get a handle on for this to work for the next month:

The dishes- OH EM GEE! I don’t like dishes to begin with, but this style of cooking is pretty intense with the dishes. Last night I made fresh juice, hardboiled eggs, veggie stir fry, sweet potato hash, and dinner (which was ground bison to have Mexican food style). I ran my dishwasher twice from the time I got home from work until I went to bed. And I washed like 4 pans, some of them more than once! It was a lot of dishes. Also packing food to work every day creates its own set of overwhelming dishes to do!

The prep- I actually did a pretty decent job of prepping stuff on Sunday but there are just some things you can’t do ahead of time. I have a feeling ill be using my food processor a lot more but that just creates more dishes! I’m sure I will get a system down eventually to cut back on dishes and simplify/shorten the prep!

Meal planning- I have had the best intentions to meal plan a head of time for the last like…5 years…and its happened probably four times. Now it is a must! Shopping for and prepping for the Whole30 will require planning. A friend who has done Whole30 recommended Nom Nom Paleo’s app, which I can say is worth every penny of the $6 it cost. I am very impressed that it actually has a category for just Whole30 recipes. Love that! And they look really good!

Tonight I am going to Pressed Juicery to pick up my cleanse. I am actually excited. My husband will be gone for the weekend so I will mostly get to relax and keep it low key. I am supposed to work in the nursery on Sunday morning at church and I am a little worried about that. I also need to do some shopping and prepping on Sunday. Hopefully I’ve got the energy!