The Whole30 program is an elimination diet that calls for avoiding grains, legumes, dairy, added sugar, and alcohol for 30 days — and last month, I did it.
Eliminating multiple food groups from my life wasn’t something I had ever really wanted to do — because, well, I love way too many foods and didn’t want to be susceptible to bingeing down the line, which can happen with super restrictive diets.
But when I started having some ~gastro issues~, my doctor suggested I temporarily remove certain food groups from my diet and then gradually reintroduce them in order to find out what was causing the trouble. We decided Whole30 would be a great way to do it, since the popularity of the diet meant there were a million recipes online, so I wouldn’t be left to my own devices to come up with what to eat in order to nourish my flesh prison.
That said, Whole30 isn’t for everybody, so make sure to check with your doctor before starting any meal plans.
Given that I’m a pretty shitty cook with limited patience for both complicated recipes and gross food, finding a few solid staple recipes was necessary for getting through Whole30.
Because of that, I can promise all of these recipes: are simple and easy to make
* don’t use any fancy appliances because I have a tiny-ass kitchen and three roommates
* require no outlandish ingredients, except for a few Whole30-specific things that you’ll probably be stocking up on anyway (like coconut aminos, which are actually worth it, btw)
* lend themselves well to meal-prepping and leftovers, since I only ever wanted to cook 1-2 times a week
* are tasty and filling enough that I rarely felt like I was being deprived of anything (except alcohol and dessert, RIP)
Here were my favorites:
1. Roasted garlic chicken salad in bell pepper cups
Listen, I don’t mean to be dramatic, but discovering bell peppers as alternative receptacles for sandwich fillings was NOTHING SHORT OF LIFE-CHANGING. Using lettuce is fine and all but ultimately very messy without much payoff, whereas bell peppers are crunchy and delicious and also easy to assemble into yummy little chicken salad boats at work. YOU TOO WILL BE A CONVERT, I PROMISE.
2. Cauliflower fried “rice”
This recipe scratched my take-out itch, because SHOCKINGLY, my Seamless habit was not sustainable while observing Whole30. Cauliflower rice, btw, is just cauliflower chopped or processed till it’s the size of grains of rice. Or if you’re lucky, you can get it frozen or pre-chopped at the grocery store.
3. Potato avocado “toast” with poached eggs
I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I understand the marketing of this dish as toast instead of loaded hashbrowns or something, but whatever, it made for a great brunch-y meal for me, Girl Who Really Missed Boozy Brunch and Eggs Benedict. You can find some useful tips for poaching here, but it’s good with a fried egg too, if poaching is too intimidating for you.