9 Easy Recipes to Get You Through Your Whole30
I''m doing it again — the Whole30. It's my fourth go-around on this 30-day, detox-y, paleo challenge. Coming from someone who has attempted to start additional Whole30s and failed many times (always in the first few days), I can say definitively that there are a couple things that will help make it stick.
- Social willpower. You have to be committed to saying no to a glass of wine when your friend offers you one, and passing on a pizza night because you know you won't be able to pass on the actual pizza once you get to the restaurant. It sucks a little bit. But you know what helps? Telling your people that you're doing this thing and that the only thing they need to do to support you is to not put wine and pizza directly front of in your face for 30 days.
- Social camaraderie. Do this thing with other people (but don't push them into it because nobody likes that). If you do have some friends that are up for it, it becomes a whole lot easier when you can throw Whole30 dinner parties, potlucks, recipe swaps and just hang out together drinking LaCroix while everyone else is drinking Moscow Mules. (Or find some virtual pals like me and other bloggers/Instagrammers doing a Whole30 too.)
- Over-preparedness. You've really, really got to over-prepare for everything. You need to meal plan and grocery shop like you've never done before. Buy cookbooks. Bookmark recipes. Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables. Call the restaurant to ask questions ahead of time. It's a pain at first, but it really does set you up to get through those 30 days without slip-ups.
To help with the over-preparing step, I've prepared a list of nine easy recipes that work extra hard during Whole30s. In addition to these, I also rely heavily on this ol' meal trick:
boneless-skinless chicken thighs (or pork chops) + rotating spice rubs + whatever-vegetables-are-in-the-house
This is my Chipotle carnitas recipe hack. It's the most popular recipe on this website, and one of the easiest. When it's finished in the slow cooker, you'll have a bunch of very delicious pork to put in and on anything. Like sweet pepper paleo nachos, pictured above.
P.S. The other great thing about actual carnitas at Chipotle is that they are Whole30-compliant, so you can always fall back on a carnitas salad with extra peppers and onions, pico and guac when you don't have time to cook.
One of my favorite things to do is to cook for friends, and make things like this that are easy and don't require any paleo substitutes that are too obvious. I love zoodles as much as the next guy, but these lettuce wraps are naturally occurring paleo food! Just make sure you buy a sugarless fish sauce like Red Boat and hold the honey.
There's a reason this keema is another of the most popular recipes on this website. It's my go-to for ground beef. Peas are out for Whole30 and some people avoid white potatoes if weight loss is a priority. When I'm doing a Whole30, I'll omit those and mix the meat with a ton of spinach for Palak Keema. Or I'll just eat it with the next recipe below.
Yeah, it's extremely versatile and so much better when you do it in the oven. I like roasting a big batch and then using the leftovers in different fried rices throughout the week. Like Kimchi-Bacon Fried Rice and Chorizo Cauliflower Fried Rice. Or I'll just eat it with a spoon right off the baking sheet and it'll never make it to the plate. It's a healthy base for most any dinner.
Sneak all the vegetables you want into these little nutritious Asian meatballs. They taste like the inside of a gyoza, and you're going to enjoy that very much. Eat them with a side of veggies or in a lettuce wrap. Make sure to pick up some coconut aminos for a soy sauce substitute — this magic ingredient seriously saved my first Whole30 from imminent failure.
I legit make this about once per week and even more often when I'm doing a Whole30. I might have mercury poisoning, I dunno. It's not fancy and it's not photogenic, but it's quick and simple and you can make it using simple ingredients that you can always keep on hand in your pantry and freezer.
Without wine/beer/bourbon/lattes, you need something to keep you going, amirite? And even LaCroix doesn't cut it sometimes. Bulletproof coffee combines coconut oil and ghee to create this super creamy latte-like beverage that I love on chilly winter mornings. It's the one hot coffee drink I make at home, and it's especially good during Whole30s because of the added fat. (Other than this, I subsist on cold brew year-round. I make my own with this Toddy system, which I originally thought would be an unnecessary kitchen gadget, but now love.)