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I am a homeschooling mother of five kids ages 10 down to less than a year.  We tried doing Whole 30 a few weeks ago and lasted a week before the grocery bill and time commitment got to be too much for us.


I just couldn't seem to find the time.  I felt great but still couldn't keep up with everything.  I couldn't even make it to the gym the entire week (which I try to do at least twice a week to get some time to myself).


Did I mention I hate cooking?  I'm willing do deal with that to get our family to where we need to be, but it's the time and money commitment that is the biggest obstacle.  Every extra minute I had was spent in the kitchen.


How do you keep up with cooking like this so often for so many people, not let go of your other responsibilities, and also not break the bank?

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You might want to touch base with forum member JustAMom http://forum.whole9life.com/user/25609-justamom/.  She's a homeschooling mom of 10, and has had great success on her Whole30s (has lost 50 lbs and 10 sizes since Jan 1st this year).  She's currently on her 4th Whole30.  Here's her blog: http://marthaamdg.wordpress.com/category/food/


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I don't have nearly that many people to take care of, but I do work full time and have a lot of other activities so I can offer some advice.


For the time issue: Whenever you are doing food prep try to double/tripple what you are making. If you are going to chop an onion, chop 3 and freeze the rest, if you are going to brown some meat do more and freeze the rest. I always try to make more than I need every time I cook. Also utilize time saving methods like the slow cooker and maybe have a 2-3 things going at once. It is a lot of cooking and it takes some getting used to but once you find a new normal it will get easier.


Don't worry so much about the gym right now, just worry about making the food transition.


For budget stuff prioritize organics for dirty dozen and for fattier cuts of meat. Buy the cheapest cuts you can find. Buy in bulk if you can. There are lots of things you can do to lower your food budget and stay on whole30. Perfect is the enemy of good. You may not be able to do the food quality you want on everything but just eating W30 style will go a long way regardless.

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Oh my gosh - you reminded me of how hard it was that first month!  We spent SO much time prepping and planning our meals and so much money buying things for the meals.  I was crazy thankful that I wasn't working much that month because there was no extra time for anything.  No way could I have gotten to the gym!!


I have no advice, but I do know that it gets easier.  As we began to internalize the recipes and get a hang of what we could make and what we'd eat, it just started taking less time.   Nowadays I throw a spaghetti squash in the oven an hour or two before dinner and then at dinner time we just wing it with whatever meat is thawed or veggies are available.   Kimchi and sauerkraut mixed into meat/veggie stir fry is our big trick for making bleh food taste good.


Stick with it if you can because it does get easier, but boy oh boy, it is HARD in the beginning!

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I'd be glad to say what worked for me if you're interested. I've 'converted' several women locally. I'll tell you what I advised them. The first month is a major adjustment. Some things to keep in mind that helped me.

1. The goal is improvement. Even small improvements are still improvements.

2. Consistency is more important than perfection. My first W30 I still had bulletcoffee with butter and a couple Icelandic yogurts a week. By the end of it, I'd stopped the yogurts. I didn't give up my buttered coffee (which was an improvement over a little coffee with cream & sugar!) until iirc my third round. It took me over a year to go from cream and sugar to black now.

I can't afford grass fed organic meats or all organic produce. I just can't. I make a few exceptions, but I don't pay extra for organic. It's more important that I have a steak and sweet potato than that they be organic.

Also, idk your family situation, but my kids are all eating like usual. They are twigs just like I was at their ages. But I think the easiest thing for adjusting the family menu is took look at how you can eat the foods you've always eaten.

For example, I still make Moroccan chicken. I just don't put honey in it anymore and I eat mine over lettuce or as a lettuce wrap instead of over rice like the kids do.

Also. Again, I think improvement is more important than perfection. For example I use canned rotel instead of fresh roasted and diced tomatoes in a recipe. Perfection? Nope. Better than a prepackaged meal or not eating an otherwise healthy meal? You bet.

My first whole 30 I think the only things I bought that I wouldn't have before was coconut oil and ghee. Oh wait. I *think* I bought a pound of pecans to crush as a breading.

Even with all those modifications and "cheats", I lost 10 pounds and 4.5 inches in my waist.

Oh and shop several different stores if you can. Never know when you'll stumble on a deal.

I used to hate cooking. Not so much bc I hate cooking per se but bc it's not relaxing. I'm always in a hurry. And it's usually consumed rather than enjoyed iykwim. It won't always be like that.

I never go to a gym. If I can't do it at home or with 8-10 kids in tow, then I rarely do it. And gyms are expensive!!! For cheaper than a family gym membership, I bought a 4x16 above ground pool from Walmart, drafted the kids grabbed shovels and together we installed it in the backyard and had an entire summer of fun physical activity for the whole family.

I'm currently doing Leslie Sansone's walk away the pounds DVDs. They are easy and a real workout. I can do them even with a bum hip and ankle. Which was my primary concern wrt exercise. I've worked hard to not need physical therapy anymore. The last thing I want to do is hit the gym, get an injury and be stuck on the sofa on pain meds for 2+ months.

I hope that helps some and encourages you not to give up.

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Thank you all so much!  I have much more confidence now.  I especially love your "improvements to perfection".  I want to try again in January once I'm finished with a few commitments that are hanging over my head but didn't want to wait until then to start being healthier in general.  I don't think I'll have the kids do it either (at least not the first round) and that should keep the grocery bill down :)

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I focused on myself for my first whole30 and then expanded it to the family for the second.  I don't have an easy life - two children with severe ADHD (fetal alcohol syndrome), and a demanding husband who is not always supportive.  I really enjoy cooking so find myself trying out a lot of whole30 recipes as I try to develop a core of favorites to replace our SAD rotation from previous years.  My husband's bigggest complaint - that the kitchen is ransacked almost daily, as home cooking requires a lot of pots and pans.


My favorite for me -- I have been making my own chicken stock/bone broth weekly.  I also have been making roasted butternut soup.  I freeze them in muffin tins in 1/3rd cup portions that I then pop out and store in my freezer.  Each morning I grab a puck of stock and a puck of soup, nuke them together, and enjoy a delicious cup of soup for breakfast.  My kids like it too.


Last night the kids and I made spiral zucchini noodles for the first time.  I'm addicted to a paleo pork/apple/roasted veggie stuffing I made for Thanksgiving, so we ate that on top of the zucchini noodles.  Truthfully, my kids didn't love the noodles, but they did eat them.


I made spiral sweet potatoes and then roasted them for spiral sweet potato fries.  Not sure if those are whole30 because of their format.


I love the concept of pre-chopping.  I have difficulty making myself eat non-starchy vegetables.  I am finding that beyond pre-chopping, I need to make up a hash of a meat and the vegetables (such as the paleo stuffing concept), or I still am not great about grabbing the prechopped vegetables to eat on their own.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've found the "weekly cookup" idea from Well Fed to be super helpful (ie, on Sunday you brown all of your meat and steam-saute all of your veggies for the week, then pop them in the fridge to pull out as needed for sauteing in spices), see here: http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2010/01/14/paleo-kitchen-the-method-behind-my-madness/


Also, I've never tried it, but there's a thing called Once A Month Cooking, and someone adapted it to the Whole30 not too long ago.  See here: http://blog.stuffimakemyhusband.com/p/whole30-oamc-freezer-menu.html, and here: http://onceamonthmeals.com/menus/paleo/.


The idea is, you spend one day cooking most of the meals you will eat for the month, then freeze them for later (either finishing in the slow cooker or simply defrosting and eating).  If you hate being in the kitchen, that might be a great way to cut down on it -- you spend one day out of the month going nuts, and then you don't really have to do it again until the next month.


We bought a quarter cow and a half of a pig from a local farm for meats -- it was more cost-effective that way (still more expensive than conventional meat, but less expensive than whole foods or buying pastured stuff piecemeal).  If you can't afford that route, then don't worry about it.  Buy the leanest cuts of conventional meat you can and drain the fat off (the fat is where the bad stuff is stored).  When we lived near a farmer's market, we did almost all of our grocery shopping there -- the locally grown, seasonal veggies were typically MUCH cheaper than the stuff at the grocery store, the milk and eggs were about on par, and the meat was more expensive -- our grocery bill actually didn't go up (mostly because we cut way down on the packaged junk food).


I'm also highly dependent on cans -- tomato paste, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce.  I buy a bunch when it's on sale (or I go to Sam's Club), and I never buy organic brands (like Muir Glen) unless they're on sale. 


Good luck!

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