So, I'm on Day 15 of my Whole 30 and thought I'd update you with how it's going.
Generally, I think I'm enjoying it. Is it upsetting to turn down biscuits when I'm at a friend's house for tea? Yes. Did I gaze longingly at the naan breads wafting past me at the Indian restaurant while I sat there with my pile of chicken tikka? Yes. But I already feel better and more energetic, my eczema is clearing up and my clothes are fitting a bit better. Plus, I've enjoyed the challenge of producing tasty meals within the confines of the plan.
A couple of lists for you. We all love a list...
Read the Book - Reading a whole book about a way of eating may not sound like the best way to spend your time but I promise it's worth it. It Starts with Food is a really accessible, entertainingly written book which sets outs why we're cutting all the yummy stuff out.
Empty your Cupboards - Before you begin, get rid of or hide all the non-whole-30 stuff you've got filling up your cupboards and fridge space. It will make things much easier to avoid when you get started.
Plan Ahead - I have found it really helpful to plan my week of meals every Monday, so I know what's coming. This has included a couple of meals out, when I've looked at the menu online and worked out the best option at that restaurant - it stops you being tempted last minute by the mini doughnuts with chocolate dipping sauce (I was SO CLOSE to breaking but had already decided to go for an apple, mint and ginger juice for dessert. Not the same, but ON PLAN!)
Stock Your Cupboards - You don't want to end up starving hungry (or hangry as I'm often accused of being) with nothing but some white sliced bread in the house. You will eat the bread. So make sure you have lots of lovely compliant food in the house at all times - fruit, vegetable crudités, almond butter, pistachio and macadamia nuts are all great snacks to have on standby.
Experiment - Meat and five veg can get a teeny bit dull when it's every meal every day. So it's definitely time to try new things. Pinterest and Instagram are full of tempting ideas and there are whole blogs dedicated to the Whole 30 / Paleo way - get digging.
Spiralize - One of my experiments was buying a spiralizer and giving it a whirl. I made this Slutty Spaghetti last week and it was a revelation!
Spice It Up - Spices are never far from my hands when I'm cooking anyway but they are invaluable when Whole 30-ing. Bringing zing and flavour to meat and veg, they can turn the same ingredients into totally different meals depending on which way you go with them.
Prep Early - If you know you're out for the whole day, try and get your dinner prep done before you leave. Chopping and peeling veg isn't much fun when hungry.
Tell your Chums - Get support from your significant other, family and friends. It might stop them cooking divine sweet treats when you go round so you can avoid temptation!
Love your Water - I've been adding all sorts of lovely things to my water jug this month. It almost makes up for not having wine. Not quite but almost. Check out these ideas from Jamie Oliver - all yummy!
Stay Focussed - It's only 30 days but it can feel like a loooong time. 15 days has already! The first week wasn't much fun for me, I got lots of headaches and felt exhausted. Apparently that was the withdrawal process. Now I'm at the other end of Week 2 I feel much better and am getting used to saying no to cake and asking for my tea black. When you feel like you want to quit, remind yourself of why you're doing it. And that you don't want to have to start again from Day 1!
Coconut Oil - Don't buy this from the posh ingredients aisle at the supermarket, or from a health food shop. It's half the price at Asian food stores or in the Global Foods aisle at the supermarket. Use for frying and cooking things at high temperatures. It doesn't taste much like coconut but just leaves a faint nuttiness which I actually think is yum.
Ghee - Another great option for cooking at high temperatures, particularly good for roasting. Put this on your Asian food store shopping list too.
Almond Butter - A spoon of this makes a great snack, also delicious as an alternative satay sauce.
Avocados - I think I've eaten one every day. Winning.
Free Range Eggs - Breakfast staples and emergency dinner ingriedients!
Coconut Milk - Great for curries but can also be used to make other sauces and dressings creamy.
Capers - I love salty stuff so these are like crack for me. I have been seen eating them on their own.
Anchovies - See above.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Use for dressing salads and meat after it's been cooked, not for frying or roasting as the heat does bad things to it.
Fresh Herbs - I planted some a few weeks ago and have been using them on everything - sprinkled on eggs, torn up in salads and to marinate meat and fish.
Coconut Aminos - A soy sauce substitute that actually does the job.
Frank's Hot Sauce - Compliant spicy sauce - useful to keep in your handbag to pep up dull meals out!
So that's my thoughts at this half way point. Are you Whole 30ing? Have you done it already? Let me know your top tips and best buys in a comment!