Have you ever considered a food makeover?
We don’t think twice about refreshing the kitchen but what about an overhaul on the food we eat? Could certain foods trigger your chronic headaches or other health issues?
Everyone loves and, on occasion, needs and deserves a makeover. Like me, you’ve at one time experienced an organization makeover/challenge or a wardrobe makeover. I’ve even participated in weekly mini-makeovers for my handbag, refrigerator, or bathroom cabinet. Makeovers call for preparation.
So often, we willingly and enthusiastically spend a lot of money on expensive gadgets and products to streamline our daily routine, improve our quality of life, or extend the longevity of a youthful body.
I recently ready where a family shelled out a handsome sum for a sound bar gizmo for their TV so that they could reduce the need for multiple remotes. Okay, I respect that decision event though for my cable-free, DVD access only TV, one remote family that sounds complicated.
You could commit to a basic, inexpensive (compared to the hefty price of some of the high-tech gadgets) thirty-day food make-over that could serve as your gateway to a lifetime habit of healthful eating.
In case you are wondering, I am not an affiliate for the Whole30 nor do I receive any promotional benefits from the founders of the program. The only reward I receive is the satisfaction of imparting information and awareness about the gift of eating real food.
I know crazy, right? Eating, something all of us do every day without really thinking about the long-term ramifications of what unhealthy food does to our body. We buy the fancy sound bar for our TV but ignore our gut.
Prepare for one of the most valuable makeovers you could do. Now is the best time to implement a food make-over with the Whole30 program.
Prepare for Your Whole30 Food Makeover
Alexander Graham Bell declared, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” The first time my family did the Whole30, preparedness did not score high on the chart. I read the Whole30 book, visited the Whole30 website, and even downloaded the top notch Whole30 menu plan from Kelly Smith at The Nourishing Home. Even doing those three seemingly proactive tasks, we still scrambled around the first week in a zombie-like state. In retrospect, we should have been preparing weeks prior to our start date.
The e-zine Kitchn asked Whole30 co-founder, Melissa Hartwig, “What common mistakes do you wish people knew to avoid? Melissa’s response, “The biggest mistake people make on Whole30 is going into it unprepared.” Melissa’s response coupled with my family’s unprepared maiden Whole30 voyage inspired this post. As you embark on this incredible food adventure, prepare the room where you will spend a lot of your time over the next thirty days: the KITCHEN!
For some people, the kitchen is the room in the house to avoid because it screams, work and mess. Remember, the Whole30 program is about changing your health, your habits, and your relationship with food. If the kitchen is a drop off station for a quick fix, processed foods, then this is a habit to alter.
Foods to Prepare Prior to Your Whole30 Start Date
At first, the Whole30 will be like ascending Mt. Everest, especially during the first week. When a climber decides to trek to the summit of Mt. Mt. Everest, he resolves to prepare. During the Whole30 food makeover, your base camp is your kitchen. At base camp, you will spend time whipping up condiments like catsup, salad dressing, BBQ sauce.
You will do these preparations in advance because, after a long day at the office or a horrendous mom-day, the last task you will want to do is make a batch of Whole30 compliant Ranch Dressing! You will want to reach into your refrigerator and grab a jar of homemade, Whole30 compliant mayo to add to your canned wild caught tuna. With a little preparation, it’s just that easy. Do it ahead of time. Condiments are to Whole30er like thermal underwear is to to the climbers trekking to Mt. Everest.
When you decide to grill chicken breast and the grill master of your family requests BBQ sauce (Whole30 compliant, of course), it’s great to be able to reach for the Whole30 sauce because you gave away the forbidden BBQ sauce, the one with high fructose corn syrup, to your neighbor!
Seriously, invest in your health, your budget, and learn to make the Whole30 condiments.
Whole30 Friendly Kitchen Gadgets that Will Save You Time
If you haven’t figured it out by now, you will, but prepping for Whole30 meals requires lots of chopping, dicing, peeling. In cultures where real ingredients are a staple in recipes, meal prep is not as dreaded. In America, meal prep usually consists of ripping open a box and pouring its contents into boiling water with the accompanying spice packet.
I remember talking with a Haitian friend who spent some time in the United States. During our conversation, she remarked how quickly a meal is prepared in America because most meals come “in a box.” Whereas, in places like Haiti, despite the scarcity of food in this developing country, food is prepared with real food ingredients.
For the next thirty days, you will spend time preparing your meals, and I guarantee it will heighten your appreciation for food. At some point during the Whole30, meal prep will become relaxing, and you will begin to notice the vivid colors and various textures of foods.
The kitchen tools that you will find to be most useful:
- a set of quality knives (or be sure to sharpen your old knives)
- cutting board
- a playlist to listen to during meal prep
Start Looking for Whole30 Approved Foods
Before you begin the program, scan your grocery store for foods with the Whole Stamp of approval. Most likely, you will find these items on the perimeter of the supermarket because that is where the real food is housed.
The Whole30 program trains participants to be laser-focused food label readers. Whole30 omnivores will learn to read meat labels to dispense of any product with sugar, nitrates, and other non-compliant ingredients. There are apps available to help you decipher and define the nutrition and chemistry of food ingredients.
While on the Whole30, your plate will become the canvas for plant foods of many colors. The colors signify different antioxidants, phytochemicals, and nutrients. If you select fruits and vegetables in season, then your wallet will love you. Unless you live in a state blessed with a year-round growing season, your local choices of produce are dictated by the season. With the Whole30, you have the green light to consume as many varieties of fruits and vegetables that nature provides.
Begin now to develop a habit of eating produce in season.
I live in the Mid-Atlantic, currently, our produce season encompasses asparagus, strawberries, cruciferous vegetables, and leafy greens. These products are not only less expensive but abundantly available.
For omnivores, it is turkey season here in my corner of the world, so we grill wild turkey this time of year. Find a local farmer who raises grass-fed livestock or poultry.
In order to maintain control of your food, learn to grow your own or get to know a local farmer.
One Final Thought
We are all busy looking for ways to streamline our lives. This winter, I reorganized a cabinet and created a “coffee station,” which reduced the kitchen chaos for the early risers of this farm family. Nothing could be more important and vital to your health than making a conscientious decision to do a food makeover.
The key tool to the Whole30 is real food, not a kit of supplements or a countertop scale. There is no weighing and measuring of food. You can enjoy eating food groups simultaneously, no separation of meats and carbs. Whole30 makes eating and food liberating!
I cannot overemphasize the value of preparing in advance for the Whole30. Prepare and enjoy your Whole30 food makeover!