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I am starting Jan 1 and already freaking out about how to add all this shopping and cooking to my already crazy schedule.  So how do people get it all done- working, raising kids, keeping up with everyone's activities, running a household and keeping it clean, exercise, sleep, and healthcare?  In the past when I've tried to do a round I usually fail either because I'm hungry and have nothing compliant prepared, or because stress and frustration lead me to give in to my sugar dragon.  I know meal prep can help, but I already do all my chores and errands on the weekends as I work full time, and we (teenager and myself ) are busy with commitments a minimum of 3 nights a week, sometimes more depending on how many doctor's appointments or extra things are going on (we both have chronic illnesses which require a lot of specialists and therapies) so cooking or chores are really hard to do during the week.  Any tips or advice is appreciated!

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I like to have go-to meals that I call pantry meals - meals that take minutes and are made up of stuff I'm likely to have in my freezer/pantry.  It's important to remember that not every meal has to be a big production.  In fact, none of them do.  You don't have to follow recipes, or buy any specialty items if you don't want to.  Your meals can be the most boring, least picture-worthy-on-instagram as you want.

Examples of pantry meals:

Super easy coconut soup:  Bag of Frozen vegetables, can of coconut milk, can of salmon or chicken.  Heat.  Add salt and pepper.  Add curry spice if you want.

Or: Can of chicken or tuna, can of diced tomatoes, add some olives.

To minimize dishes, I also like to make sheet pan meals.  With two racks in the oven, for instance, I'll do meatballs on one rack, and roasted vegetables on the other.  

To maximize time, after doing the two trays above, I'll put another two trays in the oven while I'm eating dinner from the first two trays, and have leftovers available.

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Madeline, hope it's going well for you on day 5.  The planning and prep are what take the most time but one trip to Whole Foods to buy W30 compliant condiments has helped a ton so I make sure never to be hungry because now I have the basis for making simple meals.  I can tell you what I bought if you want to but I don't want to overload you with info if you don't want.  

I know what you mean about time.  I feel like all I'm doing is dishes or cutting up veggies but I'm sure as I get better at this and I don't have to "think" so hard for what to eat, it will become second nature.  Still, you have an additional challenge of working FT and I only work PT from home.

Good luck and hope you find a healthy rhythm for you and your family!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, I am a newbie,  I started Jan 1st for myself and my husband.  My husband was diagnosed with IPF last year (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis), and needs a lung transplant.  However, he needs to lose 30 lbs before they will put him on the list.  He tried to diet it on his own, but failed miserably.  When I help, he loses weight.  When I go back to my normal life and ignore his eating, he gains it right back.  So, he started my boot camp on Jan 1 which includes Whole 30 and he joined a gym!  My questions:

1) I would like to know the whole foods compliant condiments that sylvie 3355 suggests.  I have purchased some but not crazy about the mayos.  The salad dressings are helping.

2) It is soooo much work, as everyone is saying.  So any other hints would help.  I have been making everything from scratch.  But with working, working out, taking care of the house, and cooking, I am getting wiped out.  

3) I am really tired!!!   I lack energy which is opposite I know of what everyone is saying.  I had to give up my starbucks bc the cold brew with sweet cream is of course off limits.  I am back to my green tea, but it isn' the same.  And I think I have lived off of pretzels, salads and smoothies for the past 1 1/2 years (after both brothers, my mom passed and then my husband diagnosed with IPF)  So, I was hoping this program helps me get better eating habits.  However, I had a lot of energy on my "non whole 30" diet.  Is is normal to feel completely gorked on day 13 of this program?

4) I know I am not supposed to weigh myself however, I have gained 2 lbs.  My clothes don't really feel any different, so I couldn't help but get on the scale.  Please tell me I won't be gaining weight on this program?  And yes! I drink lots of water and always have. (I am not overweight to start, but wouldn't mind taking off 5 lbs.)

Thanks for your help!


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@CCfromVB Hi Caroline, it's totally normal to feel tired and also to be bloated during this point of your Whole30. Check out the timeline, which is a general guideline (so it's okay if it's not spot on). 

For #3 - You can definitely still get a cold brew from Starbucks, just don't get the sweet cream (difficult, I know. That sweet cream is sooooo good :P).  You could top it off with some Nutpods creamer.  I just got three containers of the stuff from Whole Foods because it was on sale for $2.49 each.  It won't be EXACTLY what you're used to, but it'll be coffee!

For #2 - Here are some easy easy meals I rely on:

- Sliced complaint hot dog with mustard (I like the German mustard from Whole Foods) (Total cook time: 30 seconds)

- Egg scramble with diced veggies and sometimes sliced sausage (Total cook time: 5ish minutes)

- Hot wings with celery: bake chicken wings and then toss in compliant hot sauce (Total cook time: 40ish minutes, but only 5 minutes of actual effort in the kitchen)

- Baked salmon (cook time: 15ish minutes, under 5 minutes of actual effort in the kitchen)

Obviously I have all these with sides of veggies, but sometimes that's a roasted broccoli (I like to season mine with olive oil and lemon juice) or sometimes I just open a bag of baby carrots and eat them with pre-made guacamole. I'm also crazy for diced sweet potato with compliant mayo (I season my mayo with McCormick Southwest seasoning because it gives it a great flavor to compliment sweet potatoes)

Depending on where you live, you can also find some convenience meals for your Whole30. I know Walmart carries some frozen meals in their brand.  I'm in the DC area and use a service called Territory, which allows you to filter meals by diet, including Whole30. Chefs prepare meals ahead of time and you just reheat them for 60-90 seconds.  So yummy. Check The Whole30 Approved products list to see if there's anywhere in your area (listed under Restaurants and Meal Delivery at the bottom).  This list also has a bunch of Whole30 condiment brands listed.

Hope that helps!

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  • Whole30 Certified Coach

@CCfromVB - Carolyn -

You can order a lot of compliant condiments online from our Whole30 partners: https://whole30.com/whole30-approved/ . Just select "pantry and fridge stables" as the filter, then hit "Apply". You can also find restaurants and meal delivery service in your area by selecting "Restaurants and Meal Delivery" then "Apply". Always read the ingredient labels to check for compliancy.

One of the Whole30 rules (non-negotiable) is no weighing, so technically, you weighed, so you should restart your 30 days. Do not let the scale rule your life, trust the process, review the timeline and stop weighing yourself. Your two pounds could be due to many things, did you weigh at different time of day, is it that time of the month, did you have a big meal the night before? 1-5 pound fluctuations can happen daily, that's why we say stay off the scale.

Whole30 is not a diet, it is a 30 day nutritional reset designed to help you learn what foods work best for you and what don't, by eliminating them, then systematically reintroducing them over 10 days. Whole30 has helped so many people clear their skin, reduce inflammation, reduction in joint pain, heal their gut... focus on the non-scale victories rather than a number a piece of plastic/glass/metal barfs out at you: https://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-nsv.pdf

Changing the way you've been eating IS hard, cooking and cleaning IS hard, but it's worth it to change your relationship with food. Remember, any kind of change is hard, but you have to find what works for you. Maybe you need to look into batch cooking, some people like to cook up a ton of proteins and vegetables and eat it in varying ways over the week. Many will cook double batches and freeze half for later. Some like to cook every day or every 2-3 days eating leftovers in between. Everyone can tell you what has worked for them, but you and your husband will need to find what works best for you, as that will be sustainable once the 40 days are up. Emily's given you a great start. Maybe you need to look at slow cooker or instant pot recipes or stir fries....

As far as being tired, get more sleep than you usually do. Changing the way you eat is tough on the body so extra sleep helps your body detox overnight. Hydrate. As Emily said, cold brew + nutpods is an option, but it sounds like you are missing the sugar from the sweetened cream. Don't be afraid to eat potatoes or fruits on Whole30, just be aware if you are using fruit as a crutch for your sugar dragon, you'll have to spend some time sitting with those feelings/cravings. 

Rules: https://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/
Timeline: https://whole30.com/revised-timeline/

Hang in there, and trust the process!

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Thank you Shani and Emily for the tips.  Yes, I didn't realize it was a faux pas to weigh yourself.  (I've done it most days in my life to keep myself in line). Like I said, I am doing this program because my husband has to lose 30# for a lung transplant.  I was looking at it for the decrease in inflammation for myself.  I have skipped dinners for a long time, so in order to help my husband, I had to find a good program that was doable for life, (not just for awhile), and needed to include 3 meals for him.  I just didn't want to end up gaining weight.  

Thanks for the ideas.  I will try some of the short cuts.  I have been making the Real Plans for whole 30 meals, and they are very time consuming.  I have made 6 days of meals to leave with my husband because I am leaving to see my son and grandchildren, in NY.  For myself, I am taking apples, almond butter, hard boiled eggs and will buy salads.  It tends to be coffee and bagels in NY, which I won't be able to do.  The biggest difficulty for me with the change in diet is that I don't usually eat dinner because I just lost interest in food after my mom and brothers passed away, and my husband isn't any help with meals.  That's how I got addicted to starbucks cold brews.  They're  easy and satisfying and a treat.  Dairy is definitely inflammatory for me, so to try a dairy replacement will be great. 

Actually, the sluggishness was finally better yesterday and today. 

PS I have tried the pre made meals but my husband won't eat them.  That's why I ended up making the decision to do this plan and have gotten into making so many time consuming meals.  

Thanks again, Carolyn

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  • Whole30 Certified Coach

If you're cooking every day, you probably should consider cooking every other day. Leftovers are life on Whole30 and helps cut down on having to cook and clean all day, every day, especially if you weren't doing this before. Maybe you can double or triple the recipes you're cooking. And you should also make your husband more accountable for his own health. Cooking isn't hard, it's a skill, so everyone can learn it. This might also encourage him to find foods he wants to eat, and not just wait for you to hand him his meals.

Generally, most people lose weight when eating whole, unprocessed food. I gained 2 pounds on my second round, and when I reviewed my food journal, I was eating a lot of nuts and nut butters, so I cut those out on my subsequent rounds and am more mindful of it in my food freedom. Focus on eating smaller mini meals (protein, veg, fat) rather than continuously snacking on fruit and nut butters, and work through the "am I hungry or is it a craving" question. Don't let the scale or weight rule you and make you neurotic. We are so much more than a number. 

There are a ton of paleo options in New York, just spend some time doing research. In NYC, there is Hu Kitchen (while not Whole30 approved) they have a menu that can be altered. Your health is worth a little bit of effort to find places to eat. 

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