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Practical newbie seeking advice


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Hello everyone,

I'm new to all things Whole30! I have been reading and researching this approach to wellness for about the past week. I am excited to get started and have picked Monday as my start date. I'm anxious because I have not been able to make good food choices stick in the past for more than a day or 2. I really want (need) for this to work. It's a long story, but I have medical issues that will be much approved by better dietary choices. Not to mention the improved feeling of wellness which no doubt is the best part of this lifestyle.

My biggest challenge is that I am at best culinary challenged. I have zero confidence in the kitchen that is realistically based on past experience. I've cut myself, a couple of times severely, in the past chopping veggies and I've set my kitchen on fire once cooking. I wish I was kidding about this because it would be quite funny if it didn't cause anxiety that holds me back. 

I'm also very practical and like to keep things simple so I can easily become overwhelmed.

If you're still reading, well first thank you, I'm asking you to please post anything that you've found helpful in your process with this 30 day plan. It could be recipe/food tips (MUCH APPRECIATED!) or just a light bulb moment you've had in your new mental clarity. 

Looking forward to reading your replies and other posts on this forum!


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You can do it. It may seem overwhelming at first and we have all been there. The great news is at the end of the 30 days cooking will be easier. Just take it slow and easy the first 2 weeks. Make sure you leave yourself enough time for prepping and cooking. When I didn’t that is when things can happen.  Plan your meals for the week and when you will prep and cook them. Have a great one. I will be starting on Feb 1 

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You got this!  First off congratulations on making the choice to do your first Whole30.  It is life changing and you will learn so much during the 30 days.  I think planning your meals will be a good start for you.  Start with meals you might feel more confident in the kitchen with, and progress from there.  I found keeping it simple was a success point for me.  Chicken or steak with veges is my kind of simple.  Also making a casserole-type of dish on Sundays that lasts a few days, helped me a lot.  I am on Day #26 and am feeling amazing.  Wishing you the best with yours, too!

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First, WELCOME! I'm on day 27 of my first round, and I haven't felt this good in decades. I'm not even sure if I've lost weight (a welcome side effect if it happens, but not one of my reasons for doing this), but I definitely feel so much better in nearly every way, and I'm learning a lot about my habits and relationships regarding food.

Some specific pointers that will hopefully help --

Start Simple
It won't do you any good to go into this and immediately feel completely overwhelmed, and none of us is going to judge you for not making meals worthy of 5-star restaurants (in fact, I'd be supremely jealous if I started seeing that on any of my feeds! yikes!). In your shoes, one of my reasons for doing this would be specifically so I could gain confidence in the kitchen... which also won't happen if you try things that are too complicated. So simple is good, especially since you already acknowledge that you're practical and like simple things. This is maybe even more important if you're not cooking only for yourself, because the more you simplify things for yourself the less stress you're going to experience in the kitchen.

Have a Plan
The other ladies mentioned Meal Planning, but I want to touch on that also. Meal Planning isn't just about knowing what you want to make and when, it's also a way of making sure that you're shopping for what you need (and not feeling like you should buy a bunch of extra stuff that may end up going bad before you can use it) so that you're able to save time and money. The more fresh protein and produce you buy, the less time overall you have to be in the store because those don't have labels. There are still some things you'll undoubtedly get from the "middle" aisles, but over time it becomes easier to look over the label to make sure things are compliant.

Meal Planning Tips
See if your regular grocery store has a weekly ad that you can check online, and find out when their promotional week starts (for instance, Sprouts runs from Wednesday to Wednesday and has a day of overlap, but our Kroger runs from Wednesday to Tuesday). I review the ad(s) for whatever store(s) I want to consider, and use those as a source of inspiration for what to cook that week (i.e., if roast is on a good sale, plan to buy one and grab a recipe for preparing it; if romaine is marked down, plan for working salads into your days; if apples are on sale, find your recipes that incorporate apple into the main meal, like a pork roast with apples, onions, and cinnamon). For mine, I plan our weekly meals from Thursday to Wednesday, and shop on either Wednesday or Thursday; that lets me catch the sales and make sure I'm in there the day after the sales started, so less chance they've run out of what I'm wanting. Basic meal plans can be very simple, but it might take a little time to learn how you best like to do it.

Planning for Leftovers / Continued Use
As the others mentioned, making a big batch of something is a great way to reduce your everyday workload. My family is too big for me to do this effectively, but if it's just you or only a couple of people then it's extremely easy to have a casserole last several days or make a double batch of meatballs to carry over in lunches. There are a ton of "meal prep" recipes online, where you essentially roast a bunch of stuff on a sheet pan and then split it all up into containers to use for lunches all week (or dinner on nights you don't want to cook).

Planning Ahead with Shopping
If you have the space to store additional food when things are on a really good sale, and if your budget supports doing it, it can help SO MUCH. For instance, when pork loins are buy one get on free, we usually grab two. We'll turn one of them into pork chops and split the other into roasts (for my big family, that's basically 4 meals, but it's probably more like 6 or even 8 if you're cooking for only 1-2 people). Just toss the extras in freezer-safe bags to use within the next couple of months. I also buy extra cauliflower if it's on sale; then I rice it (in a food processor) and freeze it to use over the next month. Remember: if your meal plan includes only dinners (some plan out all their meals, some don't), please remember to buy things you'll want for breakfast and/or lunch, for days when a salad or leftovers aren't going to sound appealing.

Preparing for your Safety
You mentioned cutting yourself in the past, and I'd definitely suggest investing in a couple of things to help make that less likely. First would be some kind of hand/finger-guard to protect you from cuts during prep. Second, use a food processor if you need shredded or grated veggies; it'll be so much safer and since you won't be worried over your fingers, you'll lose less to waste. Third, having a good peeler and just going slowly with it, until you can get the rhythm and feel comfortable with it, also helps in keeping you safe while you prep your food. Third, you'll want a simple little kitchen timer that you can carry around (or an alarm app on your phone), to help you keep up with when you need to be in the kitchen even if you do have to walk away for a few minutes. Lastly, make sure a fire extinguisher is somewhere that's easily accessible in the kitchen (and that's a good idea for ALL of us).

Recipe Collecting
Some people love to collect recipes on paper (books, cards in a box, printed pages in a binder, etc.). I'm really not one of those people. I just want to SEE the recipe clearly while I'm trying to follow it, but I prefer to keep it all online where I can access it from anywhere on my phone. I use Copy Me That (https://www.copymethat.com/) to collect recipes I like from food blogs and to add my own; it's free to make an account and use it, and includes a recipe keeper (with complete editing ability and tags), meal plan section (which allows you to add recipes or just notes, so you can say "baked potatoes" if you'll have that but don't need a recipe for it), and even ability to add recipes to your grocery list (which can be edited as well). I highly suggest taking a look :)

...Just Breathe...
Seriously, do it. You've got this. You are strong and courageous. You are taking a drastic step to improve your quality of life. You can do this, including everything in the kitchen, just take small steps and allow yourself to get familiar with your own flow and how things feel in the kitchen. Don't let your past experiences hold you back; use them instead to inform your path forward, and rejoice when you make even tiny bits of progress (especially when it's progress in areas where you know you have anxiety, like kitchen skills). If anything feels overwhelming, take a step back and look at the situation to see what you can remove to make it all more manageable, then move on from there. If you're the type that enjoys support groups, try to hook up with a few people who start roughtly at the time you do/did so you can be accountable and get some good moral support going -- and if you can't find any, please feel free to message me privately and I'll be happy to be an accountability buddy; I'm doing a slow-roll reintroduction, so I'll be mostly compliant through all of February.

Ahem, and now I apologize for writing you a book :)
I'm going to stop looking back over this now, so I'll stop adding in new thoughts!

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Hi there.

Good for you on doing the research and planning for your next 30 days food experiment.

I´d say don´t worry about it too very much and keep it simple till you´re ready for a little more adventure in the kitchen. I like cooking ( although I do sometimes get a bit fed of of being in the kitchen LOL ) but I am away from home all day so I tend to batch cook and freeze. A slow cooker is a great help, even for popping in a couple of sweet potatoes so they are ready when you get home from work or get up in the morning. I´ve done quite a few roasts, pulled pork etc.  Enough veg in the steamer to last me a few meals and maybe some sauces / dressings such as salsa or mayo to liven up the dish.

If you find your self having the headaches, bloating, gasses and tiredness at the beginning, hang on in there. It´s worth it. I had all that and didn´t start to feel really good till a few days ago ( I´m on day 25) although I haven´t had much problem with cravings or hunger all through it.

This is my third attempt with a long long time in-between and many different forms of eating. I can say now that this way of eating seems to be what suits me best. I think maybe the first time I concentrated too much on the protein aspect and ended up very sick of meat and fish. I´ve done it differently this time and  although I am eating meat and fish it´s in smaller amounts whilst eating more veg and although not a lot of fruit more than I normally do.

I feel I am learning a lot about my body and relationship with food. It´s about time I can tell you. ! I´ve been trying to get it sorted for way too many years. LOl

I wish you a great 30 days  and that you´ll be feeling great very soon.


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Welcome @KimG74 I'm on Day 26 of my first W30 (and yes, there will be another one as needed)

Find the Your Whole30 Log page and post everyday - I found keeping tabs on the day to day experience very helpful and fun to look back on. Plus, sometimes people comment so you feel like you've made a connection.

I've relied heavily on my Instant Pot which I bought specifically for doing the W30. Knowing I could stick a seasoned chicken, some veg and a cup of water in the pot when I got home and have dinner ready in 45 minutes from start to finish has been very helpful. 

I think I'm really fortunate because I can't imagine a time when I would get sick of eggs - I love them. Boil a dozen and keep them handy - I just bring the pot to a boil, turn the heat off and leave them in the water until it's all cold - nothing special there.

I prepped a ton of veggies ahead on time - put 4 onions into my food processor, chopped them all then into an airtight container in the fridge. Did the same with garlic but covered it in oil. Everytime I wanted to cook, those things were ready for me. I also have a local organic grocer that sells things like chopped kale - a little more expensive but amazing in a time crunch. I put chopped kale into everything!

All in all, enjoy this amazing process - it's probably the most interesting and educational thing I've done during my 40 year battle with my weight. I actually feel like W30 is a truce! 

Best wishes for a successful W30!!

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On 1/26/2019 at 9:13 AM, KimG74 said:

Looking forward to reading your replies and other posts on this forum!

Wow!  My starting advise for you would be to buy as much pre-cut/chopped produce as you can afford for a while.  Fresh or frozen.  I love Cascadian Farm Organic Fire Roasted Sweet Potatoes. It's so easy to have sweet potatoes without having to wash/peel/dice/roast.  Check your local market to find compliant brands. 

Whenever you do buy whole (broccoli, cauliflower etc) WORK SLOWLY with as small a knife as possible for the job.  My paring knife is used on 90% of what I do in the kitchen.  Meat is a whole 'nother thing.  But still, as small as needed.


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You will amaze yourself within a few weeks!  Cooking is REALLY a wonderful way to gain confidence and feel sooo empowered!  Taking control of your health!

Start with simple things...and add something new regularly.  This really is LIFE Changing! 

I'm on day 29!!  But, immediately starting a WHOLE (new) 30.  Feels THAT great!


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Wow, ladies! Thank you all so much for the information. Unfortunately, I've moved my start date back to this coming Monday, February 4th due to illness. However, I'm more ready and motivated than ever before! 

I'll be including all these replies in my research this weekend. I especially like the check-in daily advice from @Lorna from Canada! Seeing progress is very motivating for me.


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