I was originally going to start my Whole30 diet on Monday, but when my decadent pre-diet feast turned out to be a horrifying abomination*, I figured maybe I’d be happer if I just got started on the diet right away. The Whole30 diet is based on eliminating the most common complication-causing foods from one’s diet for thirty days, then reintroducing them in a controlled fashion to identify the main candidates for permanent exclusion.
In my opinion, being now a one-day veteran of the Whole30 diet, the secret is planning. This may not be the case for my mother, who is an epic-level chef with the hardcore grit to cook a completely different meal every day and who lives a five minute walk from an organic-friendly grocery store, but us ordinary mortals, we should not just dive into Whole30 head-first. I took a half-Whole30 diet (No, not Whole15, that isn’t anything) last week to get a sense of how far I could go with my meal plan.
I had just bought a box of assorted meats at the farmer’s market, so my plan was to slow-cook a pasture-raised whole chicken on a bed of vegetables. These included carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, and onions as well as some diced garlic and ginger. I didn’t get started eating it until Wednesday because I was still finishing off West African peanut stew leftovers (peanuts are not Whole30 compliant). Nevertheless, to my surprise, I don’t burn through the chicken nearly as fast as I thought I would.
What was the secret to my sudden intuitive portion control? Twofold, I believe. One, I think that health concerns are less of a motivation for me than the sheer inconvenience of finding and making food in Whole30. A constant specter haunting me as I ate that chicken was the day it would run out and I would have to cook it all over again, so I portioned it carefully. Second, I did not think of food portions as discrete, but continuous. Rather than eat n meals per day and either finish each or not, I treated everything as a snack to eat until I was satisfied and then put back in the fridge for when I was hungry again.
Besides the chicken and vegetables, I had beet, carrot, kale, lemon juice, banana, water smoothies for breakfast. Yeah, water. No milk, soymilk, or yogurt on Whole30. It works better than you’d think. My other snack is hard-boiled eggs. This week I have several snacks. I’m so excited about the prosciutto and the smoked salmon that I have to remind myself they’re really there to rescue me when I run out of or realize I suddenly can’t stand my usual items. I mustn’t eat them all up on the first day. I still haven’t opened any of them. Just a little earlier tonight I was worried when I ate two hard-boiled eggs that seemed to do nothing for my hunger, but the effect was just delayed and soon I felt great. Fist pump for me!
This coming week I’m going to see if I can get through on two pork chops. I’ll have lots of veggies and hard-boiled eggs plus my smoothies so I think I’ll be in good shape. These thirty days are going to fly by!
*Think macaroni and cheese with two pounds of chorizo sausage. Or don’t. Yeah, probably you shouldn’t think about it too hard.