Whole30 and Well Fed

Did you see the awesome announcement? Whole9 is sponsoring another new year’s Whole30 that starts on January 1. To help everyone kick it off right, they’ve compiled a list of tremendously helpful resources — and Well Fed is included in their list. If you’re still thinking about trying a Whole30, I want you to commit. So in the spirit of getting you on board…


5 Reasons You Should Do a Whole30… NOW

1. You’ve got Well Fed to help you — and it’s Whole30 approved.

Well Fed is packed with recipes to make you want to smash in your face with joy and all but one are approved for use during your Whole30. In addition to recipes for dishes like Shepherd’s Pie, Scotch Eggs, Chocolate Chili, and Bora Bora Fireballs, Well Fed also includes lots of information for how to cook without a recipe — lots of ideas for ways to combine basic protein, veggies, and fats into something special that ensures you won’t get bored and you won’t spend all of your free time in the kitchen. Get your copy of Well Fed now!

(If you’re curious, the “offender” recipe is a fruit crisp that uses Whole30-friendly ingredients, but is too dessert-y to comply with the spirit of the Whole30. That recipe, however, is just fine for when your Whole30 is complete, and you want a sweet treat.)

2. It’s winter.
I’ve always thought of this time of year as the very best combination of looking ahead and lying low. The days are shorter, the nights are colder… we’re emerging from the holidays and thinking about what we want to accomplish in the coming 12 months. It’s really the ideal time — not for resolutions, but to commit to change, to a new philosophy, to new habits — and to allow time to unfold slowly as we hibernate, gathering our resources for when spring arrives. I like to think of a January Whole30 as the start of superhero training for what’s coming during the rest of the year.

3. It’s uncomfortable, but it won’t be forever.
If you’ve never give up your evening glass of wine or your Saturday morning pancakes, I know it probably seems very daunting. And I’m not going to lie: it can be very uncomfortable at first. But change is always uncomfortable — and we can’t evolve if we don’t ride out the discomfort.

If you’re a CrossFitter, you’ve endured the discomfort of Fran or the front squat or thrusters or [insert your least favorite move here]. But you did it because you wanted to get better. If you practice yoga and/or meditation, you’ve surely felt the discomfort of a pose that went on too long, or a meditation that woke up feelings you didn’t know you had. But you rode it out because you wanted to learn from it.

Giving up some of your favorite foods might very well be uncomfortable. But I encourage you to do it because you will heal your body; you will learn new things about how and why and what you eat; and you will ultimately, feel so much better than you do right now.

4. Why wait?
I would argue that you have no good answer to this question. Why would you wait to start a valuable healing process? Put yourself — your true self — first. Make yourself a priority over social commitments or fear or someone else’s expectations or the demands of travel. You must be your number one priority if you want to be valuable to yourself and others. Why wait?

5. I’m in, too!
I’ll be at it tomorrow, too. I’m continuing with the “rules” of The Healing Experiment and committing to at least 30 days of very strict eating so I can heal my body after the stress and celebration of the last few months. It’s so much more fun when we tackle this stuff together. Join me!

Bonus Reason: It will change your life.
Yes, it sounds sappy, and I wouldn’t try to predict how a Whole30 will change your life. But I know it will. You will be surprised, and I’d wager my last jar of coconut oil that you’ll also, ultimately, be delighted.

Happy 2012 to you! Happy Whole30 to you!


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  • Amen sister! Bring it – I’m ready!

  • KimO says:

    Joining! See you here and on the Whole 30 comments!

  • Melisa says:

    I am in. I’ve been dragging my feet to go paleo for several months now. I know in my heart and soul it’s what’s best for my body, but I’ve been dragging my feet. No more. I’m in 100%.

  • Libbi says:

    i am pumped to see how my body responds to this challenge. and it’s quite the challenge considering the hubby and i are both doing it, and january is our birthday month.

  • Lane says:

    Bought your book yesterday and we are getting ready to do the Whole 30 starting Monday. It’s going to take some creativity on my part as I don’t eat nuts, beef or citrus/tomatoes right now. But I love how you prep your food for the week so it’s not such a challenge to always have food that’s good for you easily available. Anyhow, we are excited about the change. Happy New Year!

    • Mel says:

      Good luck to you! You’ll be just fine without the nuts, beef, and tomatoes/citrus. With most recipes, you can sub pork, lamb, or ground turkey for ground meat — and for stews, swap in lamb or pork. Feel free to shoot me an email if you have questions about substitutions you can make in a specific recipe.

  • Renee says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’m in but have several friends who are on the fence. I’ll post this on my Whole30 Challenge facebook page and see if I can get some others to join me. I’m especially looking forward to Super Bowl Sunday and the great appetizers from your book to wow all the non-Whole30 eaters. I’m not looking forward to the 3-day business trip that falls right in the middle. Will have to figure out my strategy for that.

    • Mel says:

      I love making paleo SuperBowl Sunday snacks… and Chocolate Chili. Happy Whole30 to you — and by the time your biz trip rolls around, you’ll be a pro.

      • Renee says:

        I’m making the velvety butternut squash right now for New Year’s Dinner tonight. Haven’t tried it before but is sounds so good. It will go with a recipe Emeril demonstrated last week on GMA for slow cooker chicken. Perfectly Whole30 recipe with rutabaga subbed for the potatoes. Food is so good!

      • Renee says:

        I’m making the velvety butternut squash right now for New Year’s Dinner tonight. Haven’t tried it before but is sounds so good. It will go with a recipe Emeril demonstrated last week on GMA for slow cooker chicken. Perfectly Whole30 recipe with rutabaga subbed for the potatoes. Food is so good!

  • jeannie cooper says:

    I also am starting tomorrow. It is good to have support.

    Mel – the cookbook is AWESOME!!! Have already made the Velvety Butternut Squash, the Nori chips, the Creamy Market Spice Kale (and the Ras el Hanout) yum! and last night the Blue Ribbon Country Captain Chicken.

    Thank you!!

  • Jennifer says:

    I’m in. I’m excited. I Went shopping today so I’m ready for day 1 tomorrow!

  • Kathy says:

    I started my Whole 30 already to get it in before my winter vacation. Well Fed is my new best friend! Last night Rogan Josh with cauliflower mash- heavenly! Earlier this week, Chocolate Chili over spaghetti squash. I love your bold spices. Thanks, Mel!

    • Mel says:

      Thank you, Kathy! I guess it’s pretty obvious that I love spices. It feels like science and art mushed together to me — glad you like them, too!

  • Tami C. says:

    Mel, I just want to tell you something. You are a great encourager.

    Our neighborhood women’s Bible study group did a year-long lesson on being a good encourager. I’ve been pondering what that means for all that time and I think you are one of the best I’ve ever seen. Every time I see you comment somewhere you are always positive, upbeat, helpful, thoughtful and above all, encouraging.

    It’s uncommon in today’s world and I just wanted to let you know that I see it and I appreciate it.

    Keep on keepin’ on, girl.

    • Renee says:

      I ditto that!

    • Mel says:

      Wow, this really made my day. Thank you, Tami!

      I was just joking to my husband that if you guys had to hang out with me, you might not read my blog anymore because I’ve been a super cranky-pants today. But I do try to see the bright side, and I do honestly want all of you to succeed.

      Thank you so much for commenting!

  • Cheryl K. says:

    I’m in. I need to do the Whole 30 again to get off the dime and plateau I’ve hit. Thank you so much for the Well-Fed cookbook which will help me with different recipe ideas. I am making the Scotch Eggs tomorrow – Mexican style – and serving with the cumin roasted carrots. Can’t wait to try the Pad Thai, too! Your cookbook is great and I love your blog. Please don’t stop writing! 🙂 Happy New Year!

    • Mel says:

      Have fun with the Scotch Eggs — and the Pad Thai is crazy yummy. I like that one ’cause I can usually throw it together from stuff I have in the fridge already: cooked spag squash, cooked protein… just whip up the Sunshine Sauce and BAM! dinner.

  • Andrea says:

    I’m in but starting January 2nd…bought Well Fed for my mom and best friend for Christmas along with the Whole 30 Success Guide…I asked them to do the Whole 30 with me in January as my Christmas gift!!! it worked, they’re in!

  • breanna says:

    im in….but I’m worried my expectations are too high. I’ve been paleofor about 7 months now and stayed VERY STRICT (no grains or processed foods or sugar whatsoever for almost an entire year) but have let dairy creep it’s way back in and used some raw honey over the last month…I guess I’m jut worrie that I won’t see the awesome results I hear so muh about from whole 30 since I’ve already cut neary all of the big offenders…but I NEED some progress and improvements!! hoping this will help!!

    • Mel says:

      Yeah, when you’ve been eating clean for a while, you have to kind of look for the smaller, but significant benefits: better sleep, bright skin and eyes… but believe it: the commitment is totally worth it.

  • karen anderson says:

    Yay! This is exactly what I need. I actually started my second Whole30 this last Monday (6 days ago) with a stubborn resolve that I can get through New Year’s Eve no problem. It was sometime during the late afternoon today (NY Eve) after a tough WOD and helping my daughter move from her 3rd story apt. that I decided to make a conscious decision to have a glass of wine and the other junk that follows “a glass of wine”. I made this a conscious decision with the sounds of Dallas and Melissa’s words reverberating in my head “nobody just slips up”. Anyway I tried to cut myself some slack for tonight with the resolve to start a new 30 tomorrow. Therefore, so excited to see you and many others here will be enduring and getting healthier together. My first Whole 30 was truly an eye opener and I gained a whole new perspective on food, in addition to losing about 8 pounds and seeing muscles resulting from my sweat and hard work. I love the support that comes from you and the other readers. Thanks so much and Happy New Year!

  • GT says:

    I had such fantastic results from my first Whole30 a few months ago that I am gung-ho for another one. Count me in! (Resolution this time: eat more fish.)

  • Becky says:

    Just chiming in to say that it can be done, and done well. We started Paleo last January 1. For a couple of days I felt strange and angry, but then a sense of well-being and balance set in that was so desireable that now, after a year, we see no reason to go back to the SAD. We eventually added in a little rice now and then, but for you Whole 30-ers, forget I said that. 🙂

    Twenty pounds came off in the first 7 months, my thyroid medication was cut back by 2/3, and joint pain went away.

    I used to grind my own flour and bake bread, and can now look at bread with indifference and actual distaste.

    Keep going!

    And I agree that Mel is an Encourager! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Don’t you LOVE that list of things that get better when you eat clean? I’ve been reviewing my list as I ride out my sugar-withdrawal crankiness. Sound sleep and clear skin are my two favorite benefits, along with not being grouchy 😉

      • Becky says:

        Yes, the sleep!!! Utterly amazing. There are other amazing things I left off the list, respecting TMI. 🙂 But I WILL say one, that I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere: Breast lumpiness, tenderness, and weird sensations in: VANISHED!!! It seems like your whole body just sighs with relief and starts functioning calmly and efficiently, like it was meant to.

  • dana g says:

    In. So needed, so in. IN!

  • Meg says:

    I’m in! Trying to fix my own thyroid issues. Looking forward to good results!

  • Mel says:

    Best wishes, everyone, for a kickass Whole30 experience. Remember that each time, it’s different – and everyone’s reaction is different. Sometimes I start out feeling great and energized, then tank 10 or so days in and feel kinda crappy for a few days. Sometimes I feel the “carb flu” for the first few days, then feel AWESOME for the rest of the month.

    The important thing for all of us is to keep the commitment and ride out whatever discomfort may arise because I always end the 30 days feeling better than when I started.

    If you’re wondering, believe me: you can do it. Keep the commitment to yourself. Not to the rules. Not to the Whole30 organizers. To YOURSELF. You absolutely can do it — and we’re all here to help.

  • Julie says:

    I’m in too! Making a batch of your Scotch eggs right now in case a snack attack sneaks up. Plus…just ordered Well Fed and can’t wait for the postman to deliver it to my doorstep. A gazillion thank yous for all that you do to keep us inspired Mel!! Two thumbs way up!!

  • Laura says:

    I’m in! I just love your site, and really love your book choices! I am a huge reader and feel as though I have found a kindred spirit. Happy New Year!

    • Mel says:

      Happy New Year — and happy Whole30 — to you! I have a bunch of books I read recently that I need to tell you guys about. Just need a few quiet hours to write…

  • Amanda Arthur says:

    I’m also in! After “completing” a (kind of half-a**ed) Whole30 last year, I’m ready to go all in and stop making excuses. I’ve been way too lax in my food choices over the last month, so I’m in need of strict rules. I feel prepared and determined this time, along with the Whole9 resources and Well Fed (made the Chocolate Chili last night – sooooooo good and it will last my husband and I for several dinners)!

    So encouraging to see all these folks doing it together 🙂

    An aside question, Mel: I saw on the Whole30 comments that you had some “garbage-free turkey bacon” – is that something you’ve found from a local farm or from a store? All the ones I’ve found still seem to have the “less than 2% evaporated cane sugar” – BOO! Ha, not that I can’t go 30 days without turkey bacon, but just curious.

    • Mel says:

      Sadly, I use Applegate Farms, which does include trace amounts of sugar. It’s out for Whole30 but a great option the rest of the time. I’m on strict no bacon now for the foreseeable future ’cause my Whole30 may be more than 30.

  • Laura says:

    I made the Chocolate Chili last night too and just had it for lunch; amazing!

    I’m also interested if there is a new version of the PDF, but saw that it should be coming soon.

  • Emma says:

    Hi Mel,

    I just bought your book (pdf) yesterday and I LOVE it!! I live by myself and your hot plates are such a fantastic idea, I can’t wait to try them next week. I love the layout of the book too.

    I’ve been trying to transition to a more paleo-friendly lifestyle for the past couple of months and have been mostly successful (apart from alcohol and the occasional pizza binge), but I hadn’t actually heard of The Whole30 until yesterday, but I think I’m going to give it a go. Thanks so much for all your recipes, ideas and motivation!

    • Mel says:

      Glad you’re enjoying Well Fed, Emily! The Hot Plates can be really fun — hope you have fun experimenting!

      The Whole30 is pretty great. TOTALLY encourage you to give it 30 days.

  • Tracy says:

    So, on advice from a friend, and after five months of unbearable leg pain, I started Whole 30 two days ago. While I could bear to lose about 10 pounds, my goals are to reduce the inflammation in my hips (diagnosed as hip bursitis). I’ve always been in good shape, and it’s been torture to go to work, sleep, sit, and worst of all, it’s been tough to play with my two little kids!!

    Well, are you wondering how it’s going? After three days so far on the whole 30 (being pretty strict except for the amounts of fruits), I can sit comfortably, and I took the kids ice skating today!! The pain is still there, but after only three days – it’s about 60% better!! I’m hopeful that my swelling and pain are due to an allergy that I’ll discover after some slight reintroduction of dairy, etc after my 30 days. Or, possibly, I’ll just stick to it for life 😉 I just ordered your book – my husband and I look forward to the well reviewed recipes!

  • Mel says:

    Tracy, congratulations on your Whole30 and the beginning of what is going to be an awesome experience for you. How wonderful that you’re already feeling better! Fantastic!

    Hope you enjoy Well Fed. Keep us posted on how you’re doing!

  • Bre says:

    I bought your ebook today, and I am indescribably excited for deliciousness like Scotch Eggs and yummy nummy salads…. but how how how do I make a meal plan for a week? I am completely at a loss. I am trying to reform my eating habits and my boyfriend’s (who is an avid lover of all things SADish), but what is the easiest way to make a plan for an entire week’s worth of meals?

    • Mel says:

      Hey, Bre! If you read pages 16-20 of Well Fed, that should answer all your questions about how to put together meals for the week. Have fun with it!

  • John says:

    Which recipe isn’t Whole 30-approved?

  • Kathy Sawyer says:

    Will your book be coming out on Kindle? Any sense of the timing?


    • Mel says:

      We’re working on the Kindle version right now. I’d say it will probably be 2-3 weeks. Will definitely make a big announcement when it’s ready.

  • Jill says:

    I made your peach crisp (only as apple crisp with Granny Smith apples) for a nonpaleo dinner party….it was a hit! Thanks!