Have you done the Whole 30? I really love the Whole 30 and in my practice it is not only a wonderful starting point but also the treatment plan for many ailments. What is it? It is where major food groups are eliminated, and then reintroduced later. There are many reasons why an elimination plan is indicated. Oftentimes clients are starting an elimination due to GI ailments: constipation, allergies, leaky gut, bacterial overgrowth or imbalance, others just want to feel better and/or try something new. The main goal here is to “eat cleaner,” meaning more alive foods, fruits/vegetables, nuts/seeds, fats, and less (or no) foods from packages.Most elimination plans take out major food allergens like soy, wheat, dairy, corn, egg, sugar, grains, and peanuts. All plans are individual, but, for example, a true Whole 30 eliminates grains, soy, dairy, sugar, and legumes for 30 days. If I feel this is too restrictive for some of my clients, we will commonly include legumes/minimal grains if indicated. This is also a nice guide to “clean up” your current intake, and the foundation truly focuses on eating more veggies!
I’ve complied some of my go-to advice to share with you, if you are thinking about an elimination plan or challenge, or want to rock your dietary boat a bit. Keep in mind I work with some really picky children, and these tips will make this process a lot easier for you and your family. We should not be cooking more than one meal at a time for our families. We can cook one meal that could morph into something that each person would like, if needed. For example: taco night: tortilla optional.
Here’s how to survive an elimination plan or clean up your nutrition:
- Let’s not call it a diet. I prefer food adventure, challenge, or plan. Keeping it positive is really important, especially when working with children. I like to send the foods that we are eliminating on vacation, and discuss that with your children ahead of time. Our words are very powerful, and when a child hears “You can’t eat that” there can be a big monologue in their head. We like to keep it positive, discussing what foods we are eating, and why. For example, discussing why we are eating more vegetables, more colors, to boost our body’s ability to fight infection. Adults are the same as kids! We don’t like to be told what we can and can’t eat. Let’s choose change.
- Have a short transition period where you try these suggestions, especially when working with picky children or spouses! Some kids are only eating 20 foods and this may not be appropriate for them to cut out 10 of the foods they eat. Their transition period would be focused on including more variety of foods regularly, and increasing their acceptance of new replacement foods. For example, incorporating smoothies every other day, trying new salad dressings, salads, vegetables, soup recipes, etc. 7-10 days for you to not purchase foods you’re avoiding, and empower yourself to accept the challenge by making soups, adding smoothies, and preparing your kitchen. Also, reading It Starts with Food can share some science and help motivate you in changing your eating patterns. You can read a blurb from the book here.
- Find (or make) a delicious salad dressing, or three! This will make your new adventure much more interesting. Depending on what you are eliminating, there are many tasty dairy free soy free dressings out there- Primal Kitchen has some fantastic ones, but some do contain egg. One of my favorite dressings is good old olive oil and vinegar, or even just a squeeze of dijon with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon over your salad. You’re welcome for that one!
- Incorporate smoothies into your routine.This can be in the morning, afternoon, or for lunch. This will make your life easier, by far! Also, I like to make freezer bags of the smoothies all ready to go (minus the liquid). I do prefer to line the freezer bags with bleach free wax paper between the food and the plastic as well but they wouldn’t photograph as well if I did that:).
- Prep soups by the masses! Lentil soup, chili, and vegetable soups are my favorite. We all know that eating animals breakfast, lunch, and dinner isn’t the best for us or the planet. Making vegetable based soups is a fantastic way to eat less animals and boost your intake of veggies! I like to eat some fresh, and then freeze individual portions for later. This also goes for school lunches. Please send soups with your kids! Test the warmth with your thermos on a weekend, and go for it! Easy peasy.
- Make a list of your family’s favorite vegetables. Always have these in the house! Easy as that.
- Stock up on bulk nuts and seeds, as well as unsweetened nut and seed butters. The bulk bins are the best place to go for this, but you may find good deals at Costco, or on Thrive Market.
- Cook as many things at once as you and your kitchen can handle. I’ve made it clear I’m a kitchen abuser, but that is because I’m a cooker! I always cook or prep or chop more than one thing at a time. I’m still working on cleanup efficiency, but my process gets it done! If I’m chopping veggies for a soup, I’m also making a salad or two for the week, stored in a tupperware. That bonus salad ALWAYS gets eaten. When you are hungry or on the run, there is nothing better than a gorgeous salad you made the night before and forgot you made. SCORE!
- Utilize first world conveniences to support your healthy venture. There are stores that shop for you, like Raley’s/ Bel Air eCart, where you don’t even have to get out of your car! You can shop in your PJ’s at home, and then pick up the goods without unloading a child or three. I haven’t used Amazon for produce but my sister has and the prices were great and the cauliflower was Organic and very fresh. I’m a Thrive Market lover as well, and sometimes order once a month or once per week. My current obsession is Farm Fresh to You, where you can customize your fruits, vegetables, and even add other California grown foods like eggs/oats/dairy/flowers for very reasonable prices. Delivered to your door. This has been fantastic through the wintertime. One less stop I have to make is more time I can spend chopping and cooking… and eating! Hey, here’s my code if you want to try Farm Fresh to You: use CHEL7958 you get 10$ off your first veggie box!
- Does this sound crazy to you? Do you think your family would revolt? Don’t let it stop you!! If you want to eat cleaner, your family does as well, they just don’t know it yet. These tips all apply if you want to improve your health without strict guidelines. Even if you are not going on a food adventure for a health ailment, I encourage you to come up with your own food adventure. We have an innate sense of what is good for our body, and what isn’t as good. We know what agrees with us, and what doesn’t. We just need to listen.
- Tune in. The reason you chose to complete a dietary change may have been based on your doctor, dietitian, or friend’s recommendation. How are you feeling? Did you experience a dip in energy? Do you feel hangry? How have your bowel movements been? How is your skin? What do you like about eating this way? I have had more clients than not say “I felt so great when I ate that way”. My question is why not continue? I truly do want my clients to be omnivores, but there are some foods that some folks may not tolerate. Also, the main takeaway/bonus from this plan is to eat more veggies, colors, alive foods rich with antioxidants and nutrition. I hope that if you completed an elimination plan, or another food adventure that you continue to incorporate that way of eating at least 80% of the time! We have so much to gain from eating more plants and alive foods.
Disclaimer- This guide is meant to help support your journey with better eating. This post is not endorsed by the Whole 30 authors, and this post is not meant to diagnose or treat individuals. The intention here is to share my health tips on clean and colorful eating. Also, I spend more time cooking and eating and less time taking the perfect photo. Hope you enjoyed a few new tips. Let me know your thoughts and feel free to share!
For more on the Whole 30, here are their Program Rules.