One of the first things you need to do after you’ve decided to complete a Whole30 is to clean out your pantry. I mean, really clean it out.
The easiest way to fall off the wagon is to have tempting non-Whole30 foods in your pantry, refrigerator, or cabinets so that when the day hits where you don’t want anything good to eat and you’re cranky, tired – and did I mention cranky? – is to spy the half-empty box of cheez-its hiding in the back shelf or that frozen chocolate bar you hid in the freezer “just in case”. If you want to succeed with 30 days of extremely clean eating, you need to get rid of all those temptations.
Before I go any further, let me give a quick disclaimer. The pantry clean-out phase is only going to be applicable for those whose whole household is completing the Whole30. For those of you who may be going it alone while your spouse/significant other/children/roommate etc. continue to eat whatever they choose, this isn’t going to work for you for obvious reasons. Fortunately for me I’ve never had to worry about that, and so I apologize in advance to those of you in that category. (For what it’s worth, I give you far more credit for completing a Whole30 with all that stuff in the house. I’m pretty confident when I say I’m not sure I’d have that much willpower.)
For the rest of you – there are a few ways you can go about this pantry clean-out:
1. In the weeks leading up to your Whole30 start date, you can binge on all the non-approved foods in your pantry. I don’t really recommend this approach – it’s going to make your Hangover phase that much worse. The cleaner you eat, the better your body feels and the less time it takes to adjust to eating good, whole, healthy foods. By gorging yourself on processed foods and sugar snacks you are overloading your body with toxic chemicals that will take longer for your system to expel. Regardless of how clean you eat prior to starting the Whole30, it can still be a shock to the system. Not only that, but when you eat a lot of junk your body feels more like junk. So again, while this is technically one way to clean out your pantry…I strongly suggest a different option.
2. Throw out all the non-approved foods from your pantry. This is another option; but depending on the amount of food you’re looking to purge, this can be a pretty expensive option. Also, there are some foods you may start eating again after the conclusion of the Whole30 – like honey, or maybe rice, canned green beans, or the jar of pizza sauce you didn’t realize had sugar in it. I’m not suggesting you get rid of these things forever – the Whole30 is meant to be a reset, not a forever lifestyle.
3. Donate your non-approved foods to a neighbor or local food bank. – This is a great option, particularly for the foods you probably shouldn’t eat even after the Whole30 concludes. Obviously this one doesn’t work for the opened items, so feel free to toss those.
4. Box up the non-perishable, non-approved foods and store them somewhere else – This is a great plan for those items you plan to re-incorporate into your diet once the Whole30 concludes, and this is what I typically do with items such as rice, canned beans, popcorn kernels, and all the condiments or spices that include sugars or other non-approved ingredients. As long as you have the storage space and the will power to not go digging into the box somewhere around day 20, this is a good way to go. For those of you who are concerned about your will power, try asking a neighbor or a family member to store your box for you until the 30 days are up.
So, what do I recommend? Surprisingly, a mix of all four options, as I share below. There are some non-approved items that Kevin and I are happy to consume prior to the Whole30, but there are just as many (if not more) things that I’m content to toss. And although we don’t normally have items that require donation, only since we’ve maintained a relatively clean eating lifestyle for years, we frequently pack up a box that gets re-opened in 30 days.
Here’s a breakdown of the things we need to get rid of, and what we plan to do with them:
– cheese (mozzarella, aged gouda, drunken goat) – chili (made with beans)
– opened box of rice, gluten free baking mix – opened box of Nut-Thins (processed)
– cooked bratwurst sausage (processed) -individual hummus packs (legumes)
– opened package of bacon (contains sugar)
– Spaghetti sauce, popcorn kernels, rice, honey, agave nectar – Unopened box of rice, gluten-free bisquick
– cans/jars of refried beans, pumpkin tagine simmer sauce, indian chicken korma sauce – boxes of macaroni and cheese and popcorn (for when Baby Bear is with us)
– turkey summer sausage (great for hiking or camping despite added sugar) – venison snack sticks (also great for hiking or camping despite added sugar)
– calabrese salami (great snack despite added wine) – jar of lupini beans (legume)
-opened jar of dijon mustard (includes sugar) -partially used cream cheese, goat cheese, butter
-opened jar of salsa (includes sugar) -opened jar of hot pepper jelly (gift from a friend)
– opened container of rolled oats (too little to use or give away)
– gluten free brownies (bake and give to neighbors) – canned beef broth (includes soy, wheat, etc)
Now that you’ve gotten rid of all the things you won’t be eating for the next 30 days, let’s hit the grocery store and stock up on what you will be eating!