Why do the Whole30? I’ll give it to you straight. Completing the Whole30 as a family is tough, but doable.
The rules are simple:
No grains, gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, alcohol, legumes or specific additives for 30 straight days. And absolutely no cheating – not even a bite. For 30 days, you can enjoy fresh fruits and veggies, quality protein like chicken and beef and fish, as well as nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices for cooking.
The Whole30 is meant to be a 30-day reset for your body. It’s not meant to be a long-term diet. Instead, it is a tool to teach you what foods make you feel and live your best.
You might be wondering – who is Whole30 for?
Do you tend to feel tired all the time or just don’t sleep well? How many of us get bloated after eating or have skin issues or always feel hungry? Or maybe you have chronic issues that slow you down like allergies or headaches or back pain?
You’re not alone if you answered “yes” to some of these questions. And the Whole30 might just be for you.
Now, the Whole30 won’t magically fix everything, but it can reveal areas where you can naturally help heal your body and therefore feel a whole lot better! Many people actually find relief and healing from chronic aches and pains like migraines, even brain fog.
I won’t sugar-coat it – completing the Whole30 requires a good amount of commitment, but I promise that it’s worth the effort and it’s worth doing as a family.
My family’s journey
We just completed our first Whole30 as a family, so I know it’s possible for you.
My kids are 4 and 2 years old. They are still so young which means everything is new, fun, exciting, and an adventure. Sharing that mindset made completing the Whole30 as a family much more doable.
As you know, kids are always watching us and taking their cues from how we respond to things. Our attitude during Whole30 will make or break it for our kids. When we have a smile on our face and are excited to eat a plate full of vegetables, they might jump on board and take the opportunity to try something new.
Don’t get me wrong, the struggle can get real but with some tough love and determination, you will be successful. It takes a lot of patience to reprogram your palate and your brain, but it is possible.
Don’t supersize, upgrade!
In our family we talk about “upgrading” our food. If we are craving cookies, then we will make a paleo version with natural sugars and nut flour. Ice cream? We will make our own using nut milk and frozen bananas. Chips? We’ll grab organic vegetable chips instead. We “upgrade” to something that is richer in nutrients and better for our bodies.
We also try not to use the language of food being “good” or “bad.” Food does different things in our bodies. Food is energy and understanding how different foods make our bodies feel can help us make naturally healthier choices.
Whole30 is one of the best ways to discover what your body needs in order to feel your best! It is also a great tool for your kids. Teaching them how to nourish their bodies is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.
Here are a few quick tips to completing the Whole30 as a family.
1. Get rid of the junk:
If you only keep healthy, whole foods in your house, then you can’t go wrong! Before beginning, I strongly suggest you eat up, hide, donate, or pass along to a friend all non-compliant foods in your pantry or fridge. It will make life so much easier for everyone if you don’t have junk food and candy tempting you each day.
2. Prep snacks:
Snacks are SO important, especially with kids! My husband told me having snacks was the #1 reason he was able to be successful at the Whole30. The more healthy snacks you have on hand to easily grab, the less tempted you’ll be to grab something non-compliant. It’s that simple. Prep for success! Here are a few of our favorites that we had stocked the entire month:
- Chomps meat sticks
- RX bars and nut butters
- Epic bars
- That’s IT bars
- plantain chips
3. Have a plan:
Write down meals your family loves and up-grade them to Whole30 approved dishes. For example, you can have spaghetti and meatballs, just swap regular noodles for spaghetti squash and use compliant marinara sauce and quality meat. That ended up being my kids favorite Whole30 meal. Also, I would encourage you to buy the Whole30 dressings and sauces. It will make your life SO much easier.
Here are a few of my favorite resources for recipes that are great for the whole family!
4. Drink lots of water:
Water not only helps prevent dehydration, but it also helps our bodies maintain electrolyte balance, transport nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, regulate our temperature, remove waste and bacteria, and repairs muscles and cushions joints. Water also supports digestion and detoxification of the body. One of the benefits of doing Whole30 is to detox the body of processed sugar and foods. (Check out my last post to learn more about detoxing the body!)
5. Have a plan for reintroducing foods:
What happens after the 30 days? You slowly reintroduce the foods you eliminated back into your diet. You do it one type of food at a time to learn how your body reacts to it.
Some Unexpected benefits of the Whole30
Something that’s different about Whole30 is that it’s not about weight loss. Instead, it’s about all the other amazing benefits to your body and even your mind.
Here are just a few benefits of the Whole30: Freedom from digestive issues like bloating, gas, and heartburn. Healing from acne, rashes or other skin conditions. Headaches and chronic pain, allergies or sinus issues alleviated or healed. Other things that less obvious like poor blood sugar control and a struggle with food cravings can transform into feeling rested, energized, and more in control of your life and choices.
I’ll admit I was really hoping to magically lose the last 5 pounds that won’t go away, get suddenly jacked and have the energy of a toddler after completing my Whole30. That didn’t happen. But I did come out of the Whole30 feeling clearer headed than I had in years. I wasn’t constantly bloated anymore, I did have an energy boost (Just not as much as my toddler), and I felt more whole. By that I mean, I found myself being more intentional in every aspect of my life. I felt more connected to my family and it had a lot to do with spending more time together in the kitchen. We talked, laughed and danced more. We prepped food and planned for the week ahead and we made sure to involve our kids in all of it.
Finding magic in the kitchen
Sitting at our table is one of our favorite places to be. There is something sweet and magical about eating simple, yet delicious food and talking with people we love.
As the holidays arrive, the kitchen is typically the hub of all the activity. The Whole30 could be a great opportunity to kick start some new traditions. The holidays could be healthier than ever and you could come out of this season feeling better than before. This year, try “upgrading” your favorite holiday foods!
For more tips on eating healthy during the holidays check out this post.
You got to eat to live right? Why not make food that will allow you and your family to feel and live your best? Do the Whole30 as a family and let me know how it goes! I would love to hear about it!