Preparing for the Whole 30

Starting on September 1st, I will be committing to 30 days of whole foods. The program I will be following is called The Whole 30 and I have described it in an earlier blog. There is a link to the website with all the guidelines in that blog. Today's post will focus on how to prepare yourself, your home, and your life for this commitment.

Let's start with preparing yourself, your mindset, for the big change. Some of us are "cold turkey" types. These are the folks who do best with a sudden change. It has to be all or nothing. If you know you work best when you dive off the deep end, then you will not need to ease yourself into this change.

However, some of us prefer baby steps. I happen to be more of a baby step person. For me, in order to enter the Whole 30 on Sept. 1st, I need to start working my way gradually in that direction now. I have already started cutting back on alcohol, grains, and sugar. I'm trying to snack more on nuts and whole pieces of fruit instead of cheesecake. And I am already starting to feel some benefits.

In terms of preparing your home, again this depends on the type of person you are. If you have a large family and they will not be joining you on the Whole 30, you may have to cope with foods in your pantry which are off-limits. In my opinion, this will make your month much more difficult! If possible, ask your family to keep those forbidden foods in a separate cabinet or fridge where you will be able to avoid them. If ice cream or brownies are your particular weakness, perhaps your family can agree to only eat those foods when they are out of the house? Getting the support of your loved ones will make a gigantic difference in completing this challenge. Ideally, your spouse and children can join you on the Whole 30. This way, everyone can reap the health benefits together.

If you are in control of your kitchen space, in order to prepare for the Whole 30, you will want to be sure to remove all of the processed, canned, boxed, and bagged foods which you will avoid for a month. Some examples: packaged cookies, breads, pastas, bagels, muffins, crackers, cereals, soups, helpers. You can try to use up these things up ahead of time. Or you can donate the excess to your local food bank. However you wish to clean out the space, it is probably best to get rid of anything that might tempt you to stray from your commitment to the Whole 30.

And once you have cleaned out your cabinets and your fridge, you may wish to take a look at your calendar and assess the upcoming trouble spots. Some examples: birthdays, weddings, parties, showers, and other special events. Make a plan ahead of time for how you are going to cope with these events. Will you bring your own food? Can you contribute a dish which will fulfill your commitment to the Whole 30 while also providing a portion of a buffet? Can you arrange to meet your colleagues at a suitable restaurant where Paleo options are offered? As I recently discovered, Panera has a Hidden Menu with healthy, whole food dishes. Chipotle is another excellent choice, as long as you avoid the grains like rice and tortillas. Burgers can be ordered without buns. Salads are almost always great choices, as long as you skip the dressing and the croutons. Olive oil and vinegar are both fine, though.

With a little bit of forethought, I am hoping we will all sail through the month of September without hitting too many snags. Please be sure to post your questions and concerns so we can all support each other as we prepare to clean up our diets and get healthier.