Did your holiday hangover leave you with a not-so-fresh feeling? I hear you. Even Paleo die-hards can get sidetracked during a long month of cookie parties and holiday get-togethers. We are human, after all. But the good news? We can always push our chairs away from the family feast, and bid farewell to last year’s eggnog and candy canes and chocolate yule logs. After all, January’s the perfect time to remind ourselves of how good food can positively affect our health and wellness.
So let’s leap into 2016 with a good, clean kick in the pants!
In my opinion, one of the best ways to hit the dietary re-set button—to clear away all the gunk and see with crystal-clarity how different food choices make us feel—is to do a Whole30. Longtime readers know that I’ve completed several Whole30 protocols in years past—and that I do my best to eat mindfully throughout the year. Many of you have successfully completed a Whole30, too.
But for those of you who are new to Paleo, here’s a quick intro: the Whole30 is a tried-and-true 30-day dietary reset that eliminates all the foods that could potentially mess you up big time. (Yes, that’s the scientific term.) Over the past few year, “Paleo” has come to mean a lot of different things, but consistent with my personal definition, the Whole30 is all about making sure you’re eating real food that’s more healthful than harmful.
Specifically—for 30 days, you commit to cutting out the bad-for-you stuff, and eating whole, nutrient-dense foods instead. It may take you a couple of weeks to adjust, but by Day 30, you’ll feel like a brand new person—and you’ll have a much better understanding of how different foods affect your well-being. After your Whole30, you’ll be able to systematically reintroduce foods back into your diet to see how they make you feel, which’ll help you develop your own nutritional blueprint. A Whole30 will help you figure out which foods will help make you the best version of yourself.
The best part? It’s just 30 days. So what have you got to lose?
Frankly, if you’re doing the Whole30 in January, the biggest challenge you’ll face this month will be boring food. But I’m here to keep that from happening! Be sure to bookmark this post, ’cause I’m about to drop a truckload of goodness that’ll not only help you survive a Whole30, but thrive on it. Ready?
TIP #1: Start reading!
Go straight to the source: get yourself a copy of The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. This is the definitive guide to the Whole30—and it’s packed with recipes, too.
If you like to nerd out on the science behind the Whole30 program, pick up a copy of It Starts With Food, too. In this book, Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, the creators of the Whole30, explain how different foods affect our health, and answer your burning questions about the program.
In a rush? Review this post, which is chock-full of links to everything to help you dive right into a Whole30. You can also sign up for my free email newsletter and I’ll send you a weekly roundup of my latest posts and recipes. Plus, every new recipe I post this month will be Whole30-friendly, similar to the bulk of the ones in my recipe index.
TIP #2: Get inspired!
Need a day-by-day, recipe-by-recipe guide to the Whole30? I’ve got you covered. Not only can you read up on my previous Whole30 experiences here, I’ve also compiled a list of TWO MONTHS’ WORTH of daily Whole30-friendly recipes for you. Check ’em out here!
Looking for even more nomtastic Whole30 eats? Go pick up a copy of Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, my James Beard Award-nominated, New York Times-bestselling cookbook.
It’s stuffed to the gills with Whole30 goodness—in fact, just about all of the recipes in the book are Whole30-compliant. (Want to get specific? Here’s a downloadable and printable list of the 100+ Whole30 recipes in my book!)
And if you have an iPhone or iPad, download my newly-updated, Webby Award-winning cookbook app, which contains over 140 (and counting!) step-by-step recipes, a 30-day meal plan that takes you through breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and an entire category of recipes devoted to Whole30 dishes. The app is super-slick and interactive, and is brand new to the iPhone. (Breaking News: Apple selected Nom Nom Paleo as one of the App Store’s “Best New Apps”!)
If you already own the app for your iPad or iPad Mini, don’t forget to download it on your iPhone for free!
TIP #3: Get support.
Enlist your family, friends, and co-workers to join you on a month of healthy and adventuresome cooking and eating. You can coach and support each other through the many ups and occasional downs, and best of all, you can share food (along with the cooking and cleaning duties)!
You can also sign up for the Whole30 Forum, where you’ll find free encouragement and answers from others who are on the same journey—especially if no one in your immediate circle is willing to accompany you on your January Whole30. (WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM? Kidding. Just so you know, you’re not alone: most of my bestest friends in the world aren’t Paleo, and I still love them.)
TIP #4: Get cooking!
Start by tossing the crap from your kitchen and go grocery shopping. Looking for advice on what to buy? Download these free PDFs, and read my recent post about how to stock your fridge, freezer, and pantry. (Just don’t stock any treats during your Whole30!)
TIP #5: Become a ghee whiz!
Finally, a word to the wise: make some ghee. I say it every year, and I’ll say it again: ghee is my favorite Whole30-compliant cooking fat, and I use it in a lot of my recipes. If you’re planning to cook through my Whole30 recipes this month, you’ll definitely want to have your ghee game on. (If you don’t want to make ghee, you can buy it here.)
Keep your kitchen adventures fun and your taste buds excited, and you’ll cruise through the Whole30. Make this journey a delicious one, and it’ll become a lifestyle.
Here’s to a tasty, healthy, and eye-opening January!
Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my Webby Award-Winning iPad® app, and in my New York Times-bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel 2013).15