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A confused noobie


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HI! My name is Matt. I'm a 21 year old college student from New Orleans.

I'll be honest up front: I've never eaten healthy. I'm 170 pounds and I've played rugby for my whole life and I continue to play for my college. I don't quite understand Paleo and when I look at the Whole9 shopping list I get really confused. I'm doing this to change my eating habits, and to hopefully one day encourage my unhealthy parents to do the same.

I plan to start memorial day weekend with a friend who has tried the Whole30 before. BUT, I have some questions.

Are there more detailed shopping guides out there for beginners? I don't understand what products to buy and how to make these recipes come alive. Every recipe I see has a ton of different things. How do I develop a shopping guide (For a COMPLETE beginner) that will help me cover the most ground?

I have very little cooking experience. Is whole 30 right for me? (I will be living by myself this summer so I'll have a kitchen to myself).

I feel extremely helpless, as you can tell. I desperately want to complete this program because I have read so many amazing testimonies that have inspired me. But, I feel like it is all over my head. I have the Whole 30 E book and I have read through it, and I still feel really confused.

Any help would mean the world.


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I just really started cooking within the last 6 months or so. I don't know what your financial situation is like, but there are a lot of good cookbooks out there. If you're looking for simple, I'd put "Well Fed" by Melissa Joulwan at the top of that list (we still make at least one "hot plate" per week out of that book)


I also really like the Everday Paleo Family Cookbook by Sarah Fragoso. If it's just you, the good news is that you can make recipes that serve 4, and eat the leftovers for days. :-)

One other suggestion...if you have an iPad, the "NomNomPaleo" app has a 30 days worth of W30 compliant meals.

You need some spices. Lots of quality protein. Fresh veggies. And healthy fats (coconut oil and olive oil, fo' sho').

Make a meal or two to start. Eat the leftovers while you learn another recipe. Don't overwhelm yourself or make this harder than it is. I work a full-time job, have four kids (all of whom play sports) and support my wife who also works a full-time job and is in grad school. If I can do it, there's hope for anybody. If you're concerned about more specific things, post them. We're here to help.

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First of all, if you can survive rugby, you can do Whole30. Promise. :lol: Rugby's a lot harder. :lol:

Second, you might look at Whole30 eating in a simpler, rather than a more detailed, way. Think about what you will be eating: meat, veggies, good fats, some fruits and nuts, spices. So a sample meal could be a hamburger (err, no bun), a big salad, a sweet potato, maybe some broccoli or another vegetable that you like. Add olive oil and vinegar to your salad for dressing (and avocado or olives if you like them), add salt and pepper as desired for flavoring, and chow down. Actually, you're a 21 year old rugby player, you might eat two or three hamburgers. :lol:

In other words, think about what is going to be part of your meal: meat, vegetables, fats.

You might also like the cookbook Well Fed, which gives great tips both for beginning cooks and more experienced folk. It's a great read for information and inspiration too.

You got this. Eat up and have fun! (And don't burn down the house.) ;)

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If you're dealing with a completely empty kitchen your first shopping trip will probably include a lot of spices and oil/ghee, so prepare your budget for that, but once you have those staples your shopping should get a lot easier.

In terms of a detailed shopping guide. My shops usually consist solely of: eggs. sweet potatoes. fresh fruit, veg and meat. canned tomatoes/tomato paste and coconut milk (check the ingredients for any added nasties). You can't get much more simple than that.

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Welcome Matt, wow, I'm the original rugby fan, my friends complain my flat has more rugby memorabilia than the Twickenham Rugby Museum :) Seriously you can do this, there's no need to overcomplicate it.

Look at the basic shopping list and from there develop your own, it's easy honestly. Think of the types of food you need to buy meat, eggs, veg and fat. Now think of the ones you like. If you can afford grass fed, organic that's great, if you can't don't worry, people have done a W30 on ordinary store bough food. Do you like fish, ground beef, pork chops, steak, roasts, boiled eggs whatever. Think of what you like and learn basic ways of cooking it. Feel free to ask as many questions as you have, we'll all help.

Now list all the veg you like or would like to try (since you're really active make sure you include some starchy ones like sweet potato, plantain, etc). Again, if you're not sure how to cook any of them - ask. Decide if you want to add in fruit and if so what ones. Think of what good fats you can cook your food with or add to your food like coconut oil, ghee, beef tallow, extravirgin oilive oil, avocadoes, some nuts (not too many) olives etc.

Look at the meal template http://whole9life.com/book/ISWF-Meal-Planning-Template.pdf and work out a couple of basic meals that will fit into it. Leftovers are your friend, if you're going to cook a meal, you might as well make enough to do more than once.

Once you have the basics down, you can get get adveturous with adding spices etc. I agree with the others Well Fed is a brillianrt foolproof cookbook - you can't go wrong with her recipes. One way to make your own shopping list is to use something like this http://www.lifeinyellow.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Meals1.pdf Write down the meals you want to make and work out exactly what you need, then you have your own list and it's not so daunting.

You can do this, anything you're not sure of, just keep asking, good luck and keep us posted how you get on

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This isn't a shopping list but when you are stuck for what to make, use Robb Wolff's Paleo Matrix. Google it for the full information. The short version: put healthy fat in a pan. Melt it. Add chopped up meat. Cook until done. Take meat out, add chopped veggies and spices. Start with salt & pepper & garlic if you are shy! Cook about 10 min. Combine. Eat. Wash pan. Done. I've never had a bad combo yet!

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I would suggest going to a good store like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Fresh Market, and some local farmers' markets. Eat closer to the earth, including meat/fish. I buy high quality meats and they're so much better. Whole Foods carries some pancetta and prosciutto that is not sugar cured.

Read labels. Take your time when shopping. Put anything back on the shelf that has sugar in it. I think one of the tricks is that if you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't eat it.

And make sure you read It Starts With Food if you haven't already.

If I can do this, so can you. I do cook, but it's been a challenge from time to time. Clarified butter is your friend (Whole Foods does sell ghee, a version of clarified butter).

Have fun with it and try new things. I'm on day 14. I chose May after my doctor suggested I try this to get my diabetes under control. I suspect I'll be eating close to Whole30 for the remainder of my life.

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