Happy New Year! First of all, if you're reading this, I'm guessing that you might have decided to take the plunge and seek a healthier lifestyle for 2019. I commend you! It's been said time and again, but there is truly no better investment you can make than investing in your health. I love the Whole30 because it isn't gimmicky, or a fad, it's about understanding food addictions and cravings, breaking cycles, and developing a taste for a healthy, nutrient dense diet. I've learned so much from the program that I really feel has changed the course of my family's health indefinitely.
There are several staple items that helped me survive the Whole30 that I have since incorporated into our daily lives. The purpose of this blog is to share with you the arsenal I built in our pantry to assist in having ingredients that would help us stay on track.
First off, if you have a flare for a little fire with your meal, I love adding some hot sauce. My husband and stepsons are constantly adding this to everything anyway. I was so relieved to know I could kick up flavors and meals with a little hot sauce whenever I pleased and still remain compliant. One of our favorites, was to create somewhat of a dairy free omelet with whatever fresh veggies were available and top it with hot sauce.
Later this week I'll be sharing my favorite compliant recipes. It's possible when talking about my favorite lunch recipes you may be a bit curious about how compliant the use of mayonnaise is for chicken or tuna salad. I know I was. I was excited to find that there is affordable mayonnaise that tastes good and is made from avocado oil. You can find it here or we have it at our local grocers as well and as long as you pay close attention to the ingredients and additives (or lack of) you should be in good shape. Otherwise I know you're able to make some from home as well. This is my personal favorite:
Perhaps you're like my husband and I, we love all varieties of ethnic foods and flavors. The thought of the Whole30 came across very limiting because of our love for different flavors, but really it taught us that we can enjoy the flavors and dishes we love with minor adaptations that are equally as appetizing without the inflammatory elements. For the Asian dishes we enjoyed, we found Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos. I'm still amazed at how savory these sauces make our meals. They offer the original or a variety pack. These I've not been able to find in the store quite so easily.
Speaking of coconut, it's probably the primary staple item we depend on for a healthier lifestyle. Whether we use it as aminos, flakes, milk, or oil, it is versatile and vital to have on hand. I'm a huge believer in the beneficial attributes of coconut oil and developed an even stronger appreciation for it throughout the Whole30. I start each day with coconut oil in my coffee to help me feel a little more full. Since it's also a three-chain fatty acid, it helps with an energy boost as well. I'll take all the help I can get when it comes to energy levels! Coconut oil is a great substitute for cooking spray and we even stirred it in the almond butter for our apple breakfast to make the almond butter smoother. Using coconut oil helped us to avoid microwaving any element of the meal which my husband and I always think lends to being healthier. I'm sure you know you kind find coconut oil just about anywhere at this stage in the game, just make sure it's organic extra virgin coconut oil for added health benefits.
There were times that I found coconut oil made the meal a little too sweet. There were also times during our first Whole30 experience that we didn't really have faith in ourselves that we could go without butter (in hindsight, I promise you can do it!). When we really felt that we needed butter, usually on baked potatoes, we relied on ghee butter. Ghee butter is Whole30 complaint and in the baking aisle at our grocery.
A surprising personal adjustment that I discovered when participating in the Whole30 is that I didn't always feel the need for salad dressing. Many times I would incorporate other vegetables and fruits that provided a variety of tastes and texture. When I did want to use salad dressing, I discovered Tessemae's Balsamic Vinaigrette was compliant. Although this was my favorite flavor, I know there are several others that are still compliant. I was also able to find this one at my local grocery store.
While all of these products are great as you're cooking and developing new family meals, it's still always good to plan for those moments when you can't fight a craving or are hungry before you've had time to prep a meal or snack. Obviously, the goal is to break snacking habits, the goal is to break sugar cravings. I tried not to rely on these too often, but there were several bars that I really learned to enjoy during my thirty days and ever since as I've tried to incorporate wholesome foods into my daily routine. The ones I've listed here can also be found at the local grocer, but please keep in mind that you're not shopping a brand name. Just because it's a Lara Bar, Rx Bar, or Kind bar does not mean that it is compliant. The ones I've listed are hands down my personal favs and these flavors are compliant.
I sincerely hope this list helps you while you navigate your new path to health. Although I've double checked and believe all of these items to be compliant, the creators of the Whole30 (who are far more experienced and knowledgeable than I) are frequently making updates and adjustments to the program. Please always read your labels and if you have a doubt, seek out the Whole30 discussion boards to confirm that you're making the healthiest choice to meet your needs and goals. Thanks so much for reading! I'm proud of you for making this investment in your health!