I’m sure you’ve heard somewhere along the line that the GAPS diet or the Whole30 or Paleo style of eating is expensive, right?
Let me set the record straight – it is!!
At least it’s more expensive than what we’re used to. My family and I did the Whole30 earlier this year and it was one of the most expensive six weeks in our grocery budget history!
Readers who have been following us on this journey have asked me just how expensive the Whole30 is. I’m pulling back the curtain today, showing just how much the Whole30 cost for my family, including the reintroduction, what what we spent our money on. The best part though, is I’ll explain how you can set your own Whole30 budget before you begin!
A few things to note before I jump in…
1. I’m including our receipts for the few weeks leading up to our official start date.
My husband has been struggling with anxiety for a long time and this year we’re getting to the root cause. Since so many health issues ultimately stem from food, we decided to start with the Whole30.
Mr. Crumbs cut out gluten and dairy two weeks before we officially began the Whole30. For the budget, it means there are some purchases in February reflecting that. Also, we knew the date we were starting the Whole30 as a family. Some of the earlier February trips were skewed because we were getting ready for the Whole30, before we even began.
2. I’m also including the recipes for a few weeks after we were done.
The Whole30 lasts for 30 days, but there’s an additional 12-14 day period when you’re introducing food groups one day, then going back to strict Whole30 eating for two days, then trying a new food group, then going back, etc. until you’ve reintroduced all the various food groups back into your system.
Because of this, I’m including all of our grocery receipts for the month of March, even though some of them were after we were officially done.
3. An even more restrictive diet.
Three weeks into the Whole30, Mr. Crumbs had a severe reaction to something he ate and Dr. Google recommended that he eliminate nightshades as well. It’s easier to plan and cook meals for the family as a whole than it is to cater to just one person, so we all essentially followed the Autoimmune Protocol Paleo diet (AIP Paleo) minus the eggs for the last 3 weeks of the Whole30, including reintroduction. I have no doubt that’s reflected in our grocery totals.
Note: My son and I are the only ones who will eat eggs as-is, but we all had Whole30 compliant ranch dressing that I made using my homemade mayo, which is made with eggs.
4. There is a learning curve.
This was our first Whole30 as a family and there was DEFINITELY a learning curve. When I told my husband about this post, I told him that I didn’t feel like I quite got the hang of the shopping aspect of Whole30 until the 30 days were over!
I shared my tips for doing a Whole30 on a budget after we were about a week into the challenge, but it was obvious there were still so many more lessons to learn as we kept going!
5. I’m tracking four categories.
- Produce includes both fresh and frozen.
- Meat includes fresh, frozen and canned.
- Non-dairy includes items you’re only buying because you can’t have dairy, like ghee or almond milk.
- Pantry is everything else.
6. There are a lot of shopping trips.
Early on I tried to limit my grocery shopping to just one big trip each week, but our small fridge and the increase in the produce we were eating shut that idea down pretty quick.
Instead, I modified my plan to make one big trip at the start of the week, and then one mini-trip as needed mid-week. This plan seemed to work out well for us… most of the time. My goal was to able to keep fresh fruits and vegetables on hand, but also stay out of the stores as much as possible.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Sometimes I needed something for a photo shoot and intentionally swung by the meat department to see if anything was in the clearance section. Sometimes what I bought to last 5 days was gone in just 3. So bear with me because one thing is for sure – there was a lot of shopping!
7. The people I feed.
My husband and I are in our mid-30’s and we have two upper elementary aged kids. We’re all a fairly active bunch, with my husband and I doing CrossFit 5 days a week and the kids doing KidzFit twice a week.
My husband inherited a gene that allows him to lose a few pounds by mowing the yard, so while many people have weight loss goals when they start the Whole30, we had none. His goal was to NOT lose any weight, which usually means eating more food. My goal was just to make it through and not get tired of cooking!
8. For comparison purposes.
Our normal frugal grocery budget is $330 for the four of us. This includes organic chicken, grass-fed beef and all the grains we could want to eat. This does NOT include food that I intentionally buy just for the blog.
The United States Department of Agriculture says that a family of our size should spend $638.60/month. I didn’t have a budget goal in mind when we started the Whole30, because I only found one article that shared actual costs of the Whole30. That article was in reference to one person who spend $496.43 and wasn’t much help.
Hopefully this post can help someone as they plan their own Whole30 budgets going forward!
9. Whole30 requirements and limitations.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Whole30, it’s an elimination diet geared to help you figure out what foods cause you to not feel good. For 30 days, you are not allowed to eat sugar, grains, gluten, alcohol, soy and legumes. You should also eat 3 meals a day and should not snack.
That’s a very brief overview, so if you’re interested in more of the nitty gritty, I highly recommend the official Whole30 book.
10. Hosting company.
We hosted two gatherings while we were on the Whole30 – an appetizer and dessert game night (we made hot wings and attempted buffalo cauliflower, but that failed) and Easter dinner with my good friend Katie and her family.
Okie dokie – with all that said, here are my shopping trips for the first month of our Whole30 experience!
How much does the Whole30 cost?
- Produce: $0
- Meat: $0
- Pantry: $12.96
- Non-Dairy: $5.95
A couple weeks before our official start date, I knew Whole30 was coming so I picked up coconut milk to stock the fridge. I also got olives, capers, mustard and non-dairy milk (one coconut and one almond so we could see which we liked better).
No produce or meat as of this point because we already had both on hand. Actually, that’s one way you can save money on the Whole30 – make sure to eat the compliant foods you already have!
- Produce: $81.61
- Meat: $44.94
- Pantry: $20.01
- Non-Dairy: $6.49
This was our first big trip for the Whole30 and it’s also when I realized that Whole30 compliant bacon is EXPENSIVE. It is so much easier and cheaper to just go without for 30 days. This would have saved me a good bit of money and I’d recommend that to anyone who’s thinking about doing the Whole30. If we do it again, we’ll simply be bacon-free.
My cart included a few things for very specific recipes and we ended up not using them. Hindsight is 20-20, right? If I had just kept to simpler recipes, I could have skipped those items and saved money there. Even now after the Whole30, I’m going to have to find specific recipes to intentionally use them up.
Also, while I enjoy shopping at Sprouts, I never leave there feeling like I walked away with good deals. Their meat is overpriced in my opinion. Even on sale, other stores in my area have better deals on a consistent basis.
If I were to shop at Sprouts on a regular basis, I would be wise to walk in knowing I was only getting produce. Then get my pantry and meat purchases elsewhere.
- Produce: $35.87
- Meat: $29.65
- Pantry: $47.14
- Non-Dairy: $0
My daughter and I were out of town for a few days in the previous week (visiting Stacy at Humorous Homemaking!) and since it was just Mr. Crumbs and my son, I didn’t bother doing a mid-week trip. They both said they could survive on the meat in the freezer and potatoes, so I let them have at it!
Coming home though meant our official start for the Whole30 as a family. Up until now, it was just Mr. Crumbs and me. Delicious homemade granola and waffles over the weekend meant I had to restart, so this is the first official shopping trip for the Whole30.
And it’s one of the smallest receipts!!
I truly didn’t purchase many things on this trip, but the items I did purchase were expensive. Almond flour, coconut flour, cashews, olive oil, extra light olive oil (for homemade mayo) and several marked down chickens make up the bulk of my receipt. There’s some produce of course, but that won’t change!
- Produce: $24.27
- Meat: $39.22
- Pantry: $20.27
- Non-Dairy: $0
Oh my – you can get A LOT of produce from ALDI on very little money! Organic selections are very slim, but if you’re looking for sheer quantity of produce (which for the Whole30, we were) then ALDI is where I’d recommend going.
Note: If you don’t have an ALDI in your area, Walmart’s prices aren’t far off. You can see my side-by-side comparison of ALDI vs. Walmart right here.
Purchasing organic chicken and grass-fed beef is a priority for us, but I kind of freaked out when I saw how much meat we were going through and bought conventional meat on this trip. Unfortunately, that wasn’t a good thing.
Some of their chicken has added carrageenan (which is not allowed on the Whole30 and we didn’t know it was added until after we cooked and ate it). I also learned that we’re not fans of canned meat either. I ate the can of salmon I bought, but the can of tuna included in the meat total is still sitting in my pantry.
On the flip side, ALDI encouraged us to try different cuts of meat! I bought skirt steak and stew meat, since the Instant Pot can turn any tough cut of meat into tender deliciousness.
In addition to the carageenan in the chicken, we also realized (after the fact) that some of their cashews contain peanut oil. Peanuts are a legume and they’re not allowed – in any shape, fashion or form – on the Whole30.
Big lesson learned: You MUST MUST MUST read ingredient labels – and pay attention to what they say – even on things you wouldn’t think you needed to.
- Produce: $67.09
- Meat: $38.34
- Pantry: $8.85
- Non-Dairy: $2.98
A big weekly trip. Lots and lots of produce and a few packages of marked down meat (pork chops and chicken – started testing almond crusted baked chicken). Minimal pantry items (coconut milk and salsa verde) and almond milk round out the bill.
I won’t bore you with tons of details here, but I bought a lot of oranges, apples and a couple pineapples. Also, I bought a few “staple” veggies that we kept turning to over and over again: potatoes, onions, mushrooms, cabbage.
I did buy fresh ginger, and also bought plantains! We had never had plantains before, but they’re a starch (like potatoes) and I pan-fried them on the griddle as a side dish. We liked them, but not enough to make them again.
- Produce: $32.59
- Meat: $21.25
- Pantry: $4
- Non-Dairy: $0
This was a mid-week pit stop for more produce and to check for meat markdowns. I found ground pork and organic ground bison marked down. Unfortunately, I thought the ground bison was an excellent deal ($5.99) until I realized that the packages were only 12 oz instead of a full 16 oz.
I bought more potatoes (testing oven-roasted hash browns), butternut squash, apples, peaches and grapes.
Total for February: $546.54
Kroger – $48.69
- Produce: $32.62
- Meat/Eggs: $8.08
- Pantry: $7.99
- Non-Dairy: $0
This first major shopping trip of the month seems a bit choppy (as you’ll see in a second), but that’s just how it goes sometimes.
Apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, limes, avocados, grapes and cherry tomatoes covers produce. Eggs and ground pork and one big bag of pecans.
ALDI – $23.75
- Produce: $1.49
- Meat: $0
- Pantry: $22.26
- Non-Dairy: $0
This was another quick trip mostly for cashews, since they’re much more affordable at ALDI than they are at Kroger.
I also picked up a spice, asparagus and almonds.
Publix – $12.38
- Produce: $0
- Meat: $0
- Pantry: $12.38
- Non-Dairy: $0
Kroger didn’t have coconut aminos (there was a spot on the shelf, but no bottles) so I swung into Publix to pick up two.
Kroger – $21.87
- Produce: $9.42
- Meat: $3.59
- Pantry: $5.87
- Non-Dairy: $2.99
This is the week where my son realized he liked olives. They’re a healthy fat too, and having them on hand made it easy to add to school lunches or to beef up the fat of any particular meal.
Coconut milk, ground pork, pineapple, celery, asparagus and apples covers the rest of my purchase.
Kroger – $73.93
- Produce: $49.71
- Meat: $24.22
- Pantry: $0
- Non-Dairy: $0
I picked up more ground pork (testing for homemade breakfast sausage) and ground beef. I know I could have gotten ground beef for less, but we are looking at buying meat in bulk from a local farm and I wanted to specifically try out their beef before committing.
Produce included sweet potatoes, cauliflower, bananas, grapes, apples, peaches and blueberries.
Kroger – $88.35
- Produce: $56.36
- Meat/Eggs: $8.08
- Pantry: $20.92
- Non-Dairy: $2.99
A big trip for mostly produce!! Lots of bananas and apples (there was a really good sale on both!), cherry toamoates, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, avocado (testing the avocado chocolate mousse), pineapple, lettuce and cucumbers.
I also bought coconut milk for coffee as well as canned coconut milk for recipes. Jessica’s Monkey Salad became my kids’ favorite after school snack, so I picked up coconut chips as well. One package of ground pork (testing egg roll in a bowl) and two dozen eggs finish off the list.
Walmart – $45.67
- Produce: $16.44
- Meat: $0
- Pantry: $29.23
- Non-Dairy: $0
A super short mini-trip because we were low on extra light olive oil (required for homemade mayo, which is required for many condiment recipes) and coconut oil (our preferred cooking fat).
I also picked up lettuce, carrots, celery, parsnips, turnips, mushrooms and strawberries while I was there.
Sprouts – $139.60
- Produce: $61.17
- Meat: $32.55
- Pantry: $45.88
- Non-Dairy: $0
You’d think that I wouldn’t shop at Sprouts again after the first attempt, but knowing that I can double dip on sales on Wednesdays keeps me hopeful. That’s partially why we were able to get as much produce as we were: strawberries, asparagus, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, celery, cucumbers, pineapple, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, blueberries, oranges, carrots, apples, grapes, onions and bananas.
To my own demise, I bought a chuck roast (testing Instant Pot pot roast), bacon and ground beef. Lesson learned though – I haven’t been back to Sprouts since this trip!
There were also a few things for the pantry… almonds, cashews, almond butter, olives, and canned coconut milk.
Costco – $232.47
- Produce: $78.15
- Meat/Eggs: $93.37
- Pantry: $60.95
- Non-Dairy: $0
While I was working off a meal plan most of the time, my shopping game seemed very hodge podge up until this Costco trip. Finally though, I was able to get a few of the basics that we usually keep on hand.
For meat/eggs, that meant whole chickens and ground beef. For the pantry that meant coffee, cashews and almond butter.
This was a mega trip for produce: potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, bananas, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, pineapple, broccoli, mushrooms, blueberries, nectarines, and apples.
I also bought 100% all fruit bars for the kids, since there were a few celebrations at school that they couldn’t participate in. Anytime there was a birthday party or an ice cream party, they got to take a fruit bar with them to school. I’m happy to report that it’s only happened once!
Kroger – $48.24
- Produce: $14.24
- Meat/Eggs: $26.04
- Pantry: $1.98
- Non-Dairy: $5.98
Turns out that Mr. Crumbs likes almond milk and I like coconut milk. We’ve both tried the other in our coffee, but we both turn our noses up at the other’s preference!! This trip I bought one of each types of milk.
I also bought more ground pork and ground turkey, plus a beef roast and mustard. Our vegetables included parsnips, butternut squash, rutabagas, kohlrabi and turnips.
Aaaaaand…. this shopping trip marks the last official shopping tip for the Whole30!!
At this point in the month of March, we spent $734.95.
ALDI – $35.27
- Produce: $16.65
- Meat/Eggs: $10.78
- Pantry: $3.38
- Non-Dairy: $0
- Other: $4.46
This trip marked the first one taken after we made it the full 30 days!
According to the creators of the Whole30, you can relax the reins on sugar a bit. This doesn’t mean eat all the cake and ice cream you want, but it does mean you can buy bacon that has sugar in it. Which is what I did!
The kids were serious troopers through this experiment, so I let them choose applesauce cups as a reward. Still sugar-free though! We also needed apple cider vinegar.
The “other” category is for heavy cream, milk and orange juice. None of these things are allowed on the Whole30, but the milk was for us to reintroduce dairy. I needed heavy cream to make strawberry lemonade scones for an essential oils class I was teaching at my house, and I also served orange juice.
Kroger – $61.25
- Produce: $3.99
- Meat/Eggs: $54.77
- Pantry: $2.49
- Non-Dairy: $0
Nothing will make you eat more meat than the Whole30, so this was a replenishing trip via the clearance aisle! Lots of ground pork, some whole chickens, some drumsticks, and some breasts.
There’s also a package of Brussels sprouts and coconut chips on the list.
Walmart – $31.14
- Produce: $31.14
- Meat/Eggs: $0
- Pantry: $0
- Non-Dairy: $0
Quick stop for office supplies and more produce: oranges, celery, zucchini, bell peppers, kiwi, carrots, apples and blueberries.
ALDI – $41.89
- Produce: $25.36
- Meat/Eggs: $2.56
- Pantry: $13.97
- Non-Dairy: $0
- Other: $0
More produce!! I bought cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, pineapple, cucumbers, peppers, blackberries, cauliflower, zucchini, cabbage, parsley and grapes.
I also picked up two types of almonds for the pantry.
This week we tested non-gluten grains, so I bought gluten-free wraps as well.
Kroger – $65.62
- Produce: $36.36
- Meat/Eggs: $3.29
- Pantry: $19.99
- Non-Dairy: $5.98
(are you tired of hearing it yet?) More produce!! Bananas, grapes, apples, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, okra, asparagus, oranges, kale and potatoes.
My husband did this trip, and he also picked up coconut milk and almond milk, as well as ground turkey.
Total Spent for the Month of March: $970.12
Total Spent on Whole30 (including reintroduction): $1516.66 ($758.33/mo)
- Produce: $674.53
- Meat/Eggs: $440.73
- Pantry: $360.51
- Non-Dairy: $33.36
Final Thoughts, Looking Back and Looking Ahead
1. What do I think about these totals?
I’m not surprised they’re this high, but I don’t think we did too bad. This is the first time I’ve EVER planned for any restrictive diet of any sort – let alone for the whole family.
It took me several years to get our regular grocery budget down to $330/month. I’m sure I could lower this Whole30 budget by quite a bit with some practice.
As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t feel like I got the hang of shopping for the Whole30 until we were nearly done!
Also, when I compare this number to what the USDA recommends, we fall in between the “low-cost plan” and the “moderate-cost” plan. Which says to me, there are many families out there who pay a lot more than this and don’t eat nearly as healthy.
2. In full disclosure…
These totals include ALL of my recipe testing for the blog. It might sound simple – that what I make for my family is simply what I post on the blog – but there are things to take into consideration so that YOU end up with food that looks AND tastes good.
That means when I share no-bake blueberry coconut pie or mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice or chocolate avocado mousse or sheet pan Hawaiian shrimp or egg roll in a bowl or almond crusted chicken… I’ve made it for my family no less than THREE times to ensure that the recipe works and tastes good every time.
If I wasn’t a blogger, I would have made some of these things again, but likely not everything and not three times because of budget constraints.
3. In hindsight…
I wish I would have shopped at ALDI more.
Seeing that our produce total was over 50% more than meat/eggs, and knowing I can get some of the best produce deals at ALDI, I wish I would have shopped there more often (and I wish I had tallied my receipts earlier too!!).
Unfortunately, ALDI isn’t open when we drive by in the mornings. Mr. Crumbs picks the kids up from school and since I’m the one who makes the meal plans and knows how to get the best deals, it simply isn’t convenient to shop at ALDI all the time.
However, knowing what I know now, if we did the Whole30 again, I would intentionally carve out time – perhaps on the weekend – to stop by ALDI and get as much produce for the week as I could.
The Whole30 is a short-term goal to reach a long-term result, and I’m willing to make concessions like this (very similar to how we made concessions in order to buy our house in cash.)
4. Aside from Costco, clearance meat is my saving grace.
As you can see, we ate A LOT of meat. Making a point to always check for clearance meat items helped to keep our budget in check, but I next time I would also make a point to drop into Kroger more often.
5. I wish I would have shopped at Costco more.
Like ALDI, next time I would intentionally make a point to shop at Costco more often. They have the best prices on whole chicken, cashews, olive oil and almond butter.
6. I wouldn’t shop at Sprouts again.
I know they have great deals on produce on Wednesdays, but the lure of one-stop shopping ruined my budget (in my opinion). It’s a personal preference, but I would much rather make two stops and feel confident that I got amazing prices, than make one stop and feel a bit cheated when I walked out of the store.
7. We could have easily saved more money if we ate more potatoes.
I’m well aware of that. Potatoes are cheap, they’re filling and eating them at every meal is an easy way to make your dollars stretch.
But as I mentioned earlier, we eliminated nightshades on Week 2 and that included potatoes. Besides, potatoes aren’t exactly packed with nutrition.
The heart behind the Whole30 is to eliminate foods that cause problems and instead fill your bellies with foods that are high in nutrients. Which in my book, doesn’t include potatoes at every meal. I’d much rather we eat broccoli or a salad or any other fruit or vegetable than a potato.
Creating Your Own Whole30 Budget
First and foremost, you need a grocery budget in the first place. I highly recommend starting with this post, and then if you still need more help, browse this page for all of my 6+ years worth of practical grocery saving ideas. If you still need help (like the kind of help that spoon feeds you what to do and how to do it), then I encourage you take my course Grocery Budget Bootcamp.
If you already have a grocery budget, expect to spend at least double if you venture on the Whole30. Honestly, I’d give yourself an extra 10-20% on top of that because those first couple weeks really are tricky!
I’d scout out your local stores for Whole30 foods a few weeks before you start so you know whether or not to buy some things online to save a few dollars.
Finally, read my own Whole30 on a budget post for some great ideas to get started and ALWAYS make a detailed meal plan for every meal, for every day for the week. After you’ve made it past the first week, come back and let us know how it goes!
Writers being honest about what they spend on specific eating plans really helps me out. Our family is on a extremely tight food budget and unfortunately it has to be the first criteria for whether or not I can try a plan. While I am interested in the premise of Whole 30 it fails the budget test although it cost less than I expected it to. Thank you for the transparency of your spending.
You hit the nail on the head when you said you didn’t get the hang of shopping until the end of Whole 30. The initial sticker shock is hard to take the first time around because you are having to restock your pantry with a lot of basics that you will use throughout the month – flours, nuts, oils, “milk”, etc. In the normal course of eating/budgeting you usually don’t restock your basics all at once. However, if you do the Whole 30 a second time, you will find that your cost drops significantly because you will already have a lot of that on hand. And you also will have a better idea of what your family likes so there isn’t as much trial and error with a bunch of new recipes. We have done it a couple of times and the second time around was SO MUCH easier. First time around it feels like you are reinventing the wheel with regards to cooking and eating but the second time around it feels so much more “normal” and requires less brainpower, cooking, and expense because you will have figured all that out the first time around! The lessons learned are so valuable, even if you don’t do it more than once. Like many said…it’s only 30 days 🙂
YES!!! We’re still eating Whole30 80% of the time, and since we keep those basics on hand (ghee, milks, nuts… like you said) I wouldn’t have to stock any of that. In fact, we could start the Whole30 again tomorrow and I wouldn’t have to buy anything for at least a week, and then it would be veggies, LOL. It makes me look forward to doing this officially again!
I loved your Whole30 meal plan! My husband and I try to eat around 80% paleo during the week and have for a couple of years now. Shopping at Aldi has been a game changer for that and I get as much as possible from there. We live in Germany so are able to shop there still (but it’s SO hard saying no to the amazing bread here sometimes…). I haven’t noticed a huge change in the budget since we’ve been doing this for so long. Thank you for being transparent and all the great tips!! 🙂
You’re so very welcome Sarah!
Oh Tiffany! Thank you SO much for this post! Realistic expectations are SO helpful and very hard to find where cost meets Whole 30. I needed this encouragement today!! Also, I totally identify with you and Mr. Crumbs preferring different cream for coffee, ha!
You’re very welcome!! Isn’t it funny how preferences can be so stark sometimes? LOL!!
We did a family whole 30 a couple years ago, but we did modifications for the kids because we knew we couldn’t afford it otherwise! So they still got rice, oats, and tortillas but otherwise generally ate what we ate. But we still spent twice our normal budget!
It was definitely a great experience still. And like you, we’ve incorporated plenty of the recipes and cooking methods into our everyday menu.
“potatoes aren’t exactly packed with nutrition” I beg to differ! Potatoes are one of the most vitamin-rich foods out there! They have nearly every nutrient we need, and if one ate just potatoes, one would get pretty much all of those nutrients in the necessary quantities. Here’s some pages World’s Healthiest Foods (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=48) and a page detailing the percentages of all the vitamines http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2770/2.
Potatoes really get a bad rap, due to french fries and chips. But, aside from having lots of carbs (which can be a problem for many, especially my husband who has Crohn’s and cannot eat starches), they are a marvelous food source. For almost a year straight, to save money and make sure I was getting enough nutrients while breastfeeding, I ate about a pound or two of potatoes per day.
Hi Tiffany to save more money go vegan no fat or oil, plus Bibically pork is unclean. You will spend a bit extra in the beginnings to stalk your pantry, but in the long run will save you lots of money and your family will be much healthier. Anyways trying to order your tool kit and it won’t accept Kitchener, Ontario. Canada N2A 2R3. I really want it andwill pay extra shipping, please help.
Hi Sandra! Can you send me an email for the toolkit? tiffany(at)dontwastethecrumbs(dot)com. Thanks!!
You must not understand what the Whole30 diet means because (healthy) fat is what it’s about.
How did you get your kids on board cutting out sugar and other favorite foods? My daughter is a very selective eater and probably wouldn’t eat much more than fruit on this diet. That’d be my main concern.
Mary, As a nurse and a mom I can understand your concern. Getting your child “on board to cut out sugar and other favorite foods” probably isn’t going to happen. Selective eaters are a problem but the fact is that is your daughter gets hungry enough she WILL eat what you give her. She may not like it, she may give you a hard time but she won’t starve. It is really much harder on the parent than on the child. I have a friend who is also a nurse and a mom. She explains it this way: As a child he or she’s job is to get what you want, when you want it,, by whatever it takes. i.e. temper tantrums, holding your breath, refusing to eat certain things etc. etc. As a parent your job is to give the child what he or she needs, not what they want. Eventually (this is the hard part) the parent wins. Luck and let us know how it goes.
Why does somebody have to “win”? I know I’m the parent, but as such my job is not to make my child’s life miserable by not allowing things that make her happy. My job is also, yes, to provide for her needs. I do that. But there doesn’t have to always be a battle where somebody “wins”. It’s not about that for me. It’s about teaching her to recognize what her body needs without me around. If I’m always controlling what she’s eating she will not learn this until she is older. I’d rather she learn it when she’s yoing.
That’s a valid concern Mary, and I’m going to be frank with you. Please know that I mean this out of love.
You are the parent As such, you decide what your kids eat and you enforce the rules. I totally understand children having preferences, texture issues, etc., but giving them ONLY what they want contributes to the selective-ness. We as parents must introduce our kids to a variety of foods, otherwise they’ll be very happy to eat their same favorites every day! We have rules in our house (and I’m dedicating a whole post to Whole30 w/kids next month) that includes the two-bite no thank you – they have to try two bites and if they don’t want more, they say no thank you. The first bite overcomes the fact that they simply don’t want to eat it and they’re testing you to see if they can get away with it. The second bite is the one where their taste buds actually recognize what they ate.
They also have to have two vegetables. I offer a variety (usually at least 3) but they can choose any 2 they want. This came from them wanting to have meat and a roll and one single piece of broccoli.
They also must have some sort of protein.
I never give them more than they can eat, but if they don’t finish, whatever is leftover must be finished at the next meal before they can eat with everyone else (i.e. if they didn’t finish the banana at lunch, that gets set aside for dinner and they have to finish the banana before they can have dinner). This stemmed out of their behavior – they thought they could skip something at lunch and not have to eat it. After a couple days, they’d start eating only what they liked from their lunch (which was just the fruit) and skip everything else. So we made a rule that overcame that.
I might sound like a harsh parent, but we’ve been doing this since my kids were 2 and 4 (they’re 8 and 10 now) and we don’t have any issues with not having sugar or not having their favorite foods. They know that food was created to feed their bodies, and that some food is fun (i.e. pizza) and that some food isn’t fun (i.e. cauliflower), but that it’s important that we eat all of it. Now that they’re bigger, we’ve explained the reasons behind our rules and they understand that we’re looking out for their best interest.
Thanks to the Whole30, my carb and sugar loving daughter is excited about broccoli and asparagus… and while we ate this pre-Whole30, eliminating sugar truly changes the way food tastes. Sugar makes us want more sugar, and without it, we can taste the sweetness in a sweet potato or in carrots. Without sugar, the real flavor of the food you eat shines!! It might sound hard, but it’s one of the best things we’ve done as parents! ♥
I don’t think you sound harsh. While I disagree with some of what you said, I do appreciate your frankness. I hope I didn’t come off as making it sound like I allow my daughter to eat whatever! And I do serve a variety of foods. My issue is when mealtime is about what we are or are not eating rather than enjoying time as a family. The conversations we have during mealtime are more important to me than whether my daughter ate what I served. This is an issue that I myself have struggled with for years and have finally come to terms with. I do like the 2 bites idea and will probably implement that. Again thank you for your thoughts!
You’re so welcome Mary. Thank you for taking my thoughts with a grain of salt! ♥
What was it like to stop eating grains and sugar? Was there an adjustment period? Just wondering because that is what scares me, however, I would like to start eating like that. I know you said you feel great, so it must have been worth it.
It wasn’t too bad for me personally, but I have friends who had a really hard time for the first week or so. I think it depends on how much sugar/grains you’ve been eating up until then. Definitely don’t go on a binge before you start, LOL!!
It wasn’t “hard” to stop eating them, but how I approached cooking had to change. Instead of thinking, “What’s fast and easy,” every meal was the viewpoint of “meat + 3 veggies.” Yes, this meat + veggies could be fast, but that had to become the second thought in the process instead of the first. After a week or so, I started batch cooking on Sundays and that made the rest of the week a lot easier.
I do feel great – the best I’ve felt in a LONG time. There are so many benefits to the Whole30, and this style of eating in general, that I’d recommend it to anyone. Worst case, it’s only 30 days. Best case, you change your life! ♥
Amazing article. Two questions: first knowing what you know now, would you do the entire Whole 30 again? and second, how is Mr. Crumbs doing? Did you find out anything significant?
Thanks Charlotte! Yes, we’d absolutely do it again. In fact, we feel so good that 80% of our meals are essentially Whole30. We’ve lessened the reigns slightly on “added sugars” in things like oyster sauce, but we don’t let the kids go crazy with syrup and ketchup either. Mr. Crumbs is doing good! There’s a lot of back and forth involved with testing, but we’ve learned that nightshades, grains and dairy are possible triggers for inflammation. Sugar plays a role in his anxiety (which may or may not be exacerbated when combined with dairy… i.e. ice cream!). My daughter doesn’t tolerate gluten well, but my son and I don’t seem to have any major issues with any food groups. In general though, we all feel better when we eat sugar-free and low grain. 🙂
Things I have personally found helpful for anxiety (sugar free, potato free, anything that breaks down quickly…I mostly eat quinoa for carbs) and the herb Passionflower. Passionflower is amazing if you have generalized anxiety disorder! I take the Solaray brand (super cheap… only around $7 a bottle on Amazon).
Funny I read this because yesterday I was reading that gluten may be a source of the anxiety and depression I’ve been dealing with. Did your husband notice a positive change?
Hi Julie! He did, but we think it’s more than just that. We’re looking into a naturopath to rule in/out vitamin deficiencies.