So you’ve decided to start a round of Whole30! You’ve made an amazing decision to change your life, whether it’s for emotional eating issues or even health problems that could be solved by an elimination diet. Either way, starting Whole30 can be overwhelming and you may want to buy ALL THE THINGS.
First of all, what is Whole30? You can find more detailed info on the Whole30 website; but basically, this is a 30-day elimination diet to see how foods affect you and which foods you should eliminate for your health. You get to enjoy lots of meat, eggs, fruits, veggies, and nuts. Oh, and coffee! Lots of coffee.
I just completed my first round and had an AMAZING experience with healing ongoing skin breakouts. (This post will be updated with a full review soon!) Those 30 days were hard, but I found things that really helped get me through. Are you thinking about starting a round of Whole30? Here are 12 things for your first Whole30 that were just plain essential during my round:
The Whole30 books
Before anything else, I highly recommend getting at least some of these books. Whole30 gives you specific instructions on how to do the program, so that’s my top pick. It Starts With Food goes into the science of WHY Whole30 works, and it includes a few mix-and-match recipes in the back which really saved my sanity.
Here are some other titles to help you in your journey. Check your library first to see if they have these titles:
- The Whole30 Day by Day– Highly recommended to keep track of how you feel each day!
- Food Freedom Forever
- The Whole30 Fast and Easy Cookbook
- The Whole30 Cookbook
I’m gonna say it- I would not have survived Whole30 without my coffee. I completed a 21-day Daniel Fast a week prior to starting Whole30- and while each of these were done for different reasons, I dragged my way through the Daniel Fast because of lack of caffeine.
The problem with Whole30 is that I couldn’t have half-and-half. And almond milk just wasn’t cutting it. Then I discovered these Nutpods, and my life is changed.
Seriously, this stuff is creamy just like half-and-half. It’s incredible. They come in Original flavor, French Vanilla, and Hazelnut. I’ve only tried the French Vanilla, but it’s delicious. You can buy them in a 4-pack on Amazon, in 12-ounce cartons; but I found them at Kroger for $3.79 for a 16-ounce carton, much cheaper!
So, you’re not supposed to snack on Whole30. But truthfully, I only made it through one day without snacking. Maybe it’s because I’m active, or maybe it’s just a habit I can’t break. Either way, Larabars were my must-have when out and about.
Not all Larabars are compliant, though! Here’s a list of bars that are approved. My favorites were the Cashew Cookie and Pecan Pie.
RXBars are also good emergency snacks, although they’re a lot more expensive. I bought maybe one during my entire Whole30. Almost all flavors are compliant, except the ones that have peanut butter, so be careful.
I didn’t realize how much meat I would consume during these 30 days! Chicken and ground turkey can get boring after awhile, so every so often I would buy a package of deli meat for variety. Read the labels carefully to make sure they’re compliant! This particular type of Applegate turkey is compliant; I’ve also tried Plainville Farms turkey (Found at Costco) and that was delicious as well.
The only problem is that they’re pretty expensive, so buy them sparingly if you’re on a budget.
I’m a sucker for hot dogs and sausages, and thankfully there are a few compliant brands out there. Aidell’s Chicken and Apple Sausages were my favorite! I cut mine up and added it to cauliflower rice, broccoli, and sweet potatoes for a delicious bowl meal.
Teton Waters Ranch is beef, not chicken, but their brand of sausages is super good too! I found them at Costco and used them as hot dogs and cut them up to add to my morning eggs.
I’m pretty cheap- which is why I have a frugal living blog! I did not want to pay $5.00+ for a jar of compliant mayo or ranch. So I made my own mayo, using 40Aprons’ recipe. I used this stuff for everything- my eggs, potatoes, as a salad dressing… it probably sounds really gross, but for real, homemade mayo is awesome. You need some sort of fat at each meal, and this helped break the monotony of guacamole.
If you don’t have a good variety of spices, you’ll get bored fast. You can take a roll of ground beef/turkey and turn it into whatever you want- breakfast sausage, taco meat, Italian sausage, curry meat… I started making frittatas every week and just changed up the seasonings and veggies, and it was like having a new meal each time.
Spices don’t have to be expensive either! I get most of mine at either Dollar Tree or Big Lots for a dollar each. Some of the fancier ones you’ll need to get elsewhere, but those two stores are good for the basics!
Hot sauce is king. And when you don’t feel like making your own sauces, this is a great substitute. I added it to almost everything, including mixing it with my homemade mayo for variety.
I got some of this before starting my Whole30, and it tasted terrible. It was like horribly watered-down soda and I wondered why everyone was saying this was the best stuff ever.
But halfway through the Whole30, my tastebuds changed. My body must have rid itself of all the added sugars I was eating, because suddenly LaCroix tasted awesome. Still not sweet like soda, but it has just enough flavor to get by, and the carbonation really helps too.
Cashews and Almonds
Again, you’re not supposed to snack- but nuts really helped me when I was between meals. Make sure you read the labels and avoid the ones roasted in peanut oil! Raw cashews were really hard to find, but Planters Nut-rition brand actually had some.
Almonds were always my pre-workout snack; and a small handful right before my workout was just enough to get me through.
While I used this mostly for the Slow Cooker function, the Instant Pot was a godsend. Like I said, I ate meat a LOT. Like 4 times a day, counting my post-workout meal. So I had chicken in my Instant Pot every few days, each time with different spices. My favorite combination was red curry paste and curry powder!
I used my immersion blender more during this Whole30 than I have in the past 6 months! I mostly used it to make the homemade mayo, but I also made mashed potatoes pretty easily on the stovetop. It’s much faster than a blender, not to mention easier to clean!
There are many other items I’ve seen people recommend, like pre-made salad dressings and compliant bacon. But I’m all about frugality, and none of those fit my budget! The items above seriously saved my sanity during my first Whole30 and I hope you’ve found at least a couple new things on this list.
What else can you not live without on Whole30? Leave a comment and let us know!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.