Queen Liv embarks on her first ever diet – the Whole30 – for #monthofchange

I’m lucky enough to have reached my late 20s without ever having felt the need to diet before. An active lifestyle and a small appetite means I’ve pretty much felt content with how my body looks for most my life. So it came as a shock to me, while struggling to fasten up my favourite pair of trousers after discarding several other outfits which felt too tight, that my body was indeed changing with age (and plenty of cheese and wine), and that I probably needed to do something about it, or else buy a whole new wardrobe.

Time for change

As inviting as the prospect of new clothes was, I instead started researching diets with some trepidation. The diet industry has taken a lot of flack in recent years. With the rise of the Body Positivity movement, fad diets have been laid bare as the gimmicks that they are, designed to make money off people’s insecurities rather than actually make people healthier and happier. I didn’t want to buy in to one of those diets.

Which is why Whole30 appealed to me. It isn’t a diet that promises you’ll drop a dress size in three days, it doesn’t restrict calories, there’s no uncomfortable weigh-ins, and it doesn’t try to push you into spending all your money on branded “foods” or depressing shakes.

Instead you simply eat whole, fresh, unprocessed foods for 30 days. It’s not just a weight loss diet – it’s designed to reset your eating habits and help you to reevaluate your relationship with food. It also cuts out any food groups that might be causing inflammation, allergies and health problems. It’s a full mind and body detox.

Foods you can eat

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Eggs

Foods you can’t eat

  • Dairy (with the exception of ghee)
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Sugar in any form (yes, that includes honey)
  • Processed food
  • Foods containing certain additives
  • Alcohol
  • Foods containing added sugar

If you want to find out more about the diet you can visit the Whole30 website.

October seemed like a good time to start, what with all the seasonal squash hitting the shelves and people less likely to peer-pressure you into drinking thanks to Sober October.

What we ate

I love food. I love eating it, preparing it, planning meals, cooking it, shopping for it, looking at it and reading about it. So I decided to document what we ate during our Whole30 journey. 

Just because I’m on a diet doesn’t mean I have to eat sad, depressing meals. The idea of Whole30 is that you eat filling portions high in protein and fats, to keep you fuller for longer and train your body to metabolise different food groups, rather than relying on carbohydrates (sugars) for energy.

Day 1

Breakfast: Omlette with olives and red peppers

Lunch: Chicken baked in a tomato sauce with roasted veg and sweet potato

Dinner: Chicken kebabs with mediterranean veg and boiled potatoes

Day 2

Breakfast: Poached eggs with avocado, spinach and tomatoes, slices of apple and cashew nut butter

Lunch: Leftover chicken kebabs

Dinner: Cottage pie with kale and green beans

Day 3

Breakfast: Bacon, scrambled eggs and spinach with banana and almond milk smoothie

Lunch: Leftover chicken kebabs

Dinner: Cottage pie with kale and green beans

Day 4

Breakfast: Sweet potato hash with spinach and fried eggs

Lunch: Cottage pie

Dinner: Slow cooked Lamb Rendang with cauliflower rice and mango salsa

Day 5

Breakfast: Butternut squash “noodles” with poached eggs, tomato, avocado and bacon

Lunch: Leftover lamb curry with cauliflower rice and mango salsa

Dinner: Steak, home made chips and cauliflower with mushroom sauce

Day 6

Breakfast: Sweet potato “smoothie bowl” with cashew butter, berries, nuts, seeds and almond milk

Lunch: Tina nicoise salad with homemade mayonnaise

Dinner: Lamb curry with purple cauli-rice and mango salsa

Day 7

Breakfast: Fry up with homemade sausage patties, bacon, mushrooms, homemade hash browns, scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes

Lunch: Roast beef with vegetables and potatoes

Dinner: Egg bake with brussels sprouts, bacon and sweet potato, with a side of kale chips

Day 8

Breakfast: Egg bake

Lunch: Chicken salad with walnuts, blueberries and mixed leaves

Dinner: Turkey and pork meatballs with a tomato sauce and courgetti

Day 9

Breakfast: Egg bake

Lunch: Pumpkin and aubergine soup

Dinner: Smoked mackerel with roasted veg, yellow courgette salsa and samphire

Day 10

Breakfast: Bacon and fried plantain dusted with cinnamon

Lunch: Chicken salad with blueberries

Dinner: Cottage pie with kale and broccoli

 

Helpful tips

Sauces and spices

Stock. Up. Spices are your saviour for changing up meals that might get samey towards the end of the month. A good chilli sauce goes with poached eggs, boiled potatoes, meat, mash and salad. Buy a good balsamic vinegar and olive oil to go on salads, kale and vegetables. Sauces and spices make otherwise bland dishes interesting.

Snacks

The Whole30 guide recommends trying not to snack if you can help it, but if you’re like me and need some extra sustenance come 3pm at work, always be prepared. Nuts, berries and Nakd bars are all compliant, as is some Biltong. We bought 24 pack of Beefit Biltong online to keep us going for the whole month.

Meal planning and prepping

Whole30 means there’s no shortcuts with jars of curry sauce, pasta sauces or ready meals (they pretty much all contain added sugars, preservatives and other nasty additives). That means a lot of cooking. Save yourself some time and batch cook meals so you’re not spending hours in the kitchen every night.

Breakfast

Whole30 also means there’s no quick fix for breakfasts either. No grabbing a slice of toast as you run out of the door or crunching away on your favourite sugary cereal. So get used to eating eggs. lots of eggs. We made an egg bake one evening and cut into breakfast-sized slabs for the week.

Check before you buy

Don’t make the same mistake I did by buying a huge jar of olives and gherkins only to realise they both contain sulphites. The Whole30 site has pdf guides to additives, preservatives and other ingredients whose names you can pronounce. They’re great to use for reference when you’re reading the labels in shops. Never heard of xanthan gum or sodium metabisulphate? Neither had I before starting out; now I know the first one is allowed but the second one is the devil.

Pinterest is the best

I’m doing Whole30 with my boyfriend so we made a shared Pinterest board of recipes and meal ideas. There’s tons of great dishes on there if you’re looking for inspiration!