Summer is one of the absolute best times to start a round of Whole30. If you find yourself considering a reset like the Whole30 in the middle of these hot summer days, LISTEN TO YOURSELF and try it because there is so much to love about the Whole30 life during these months. Here are a few of my favorite things about Whole30 in the summertime.
Fresh Produce: The farmers’ markets are hoppin’ during these months, making them perfect for a mostly-local Whole30. When you ditch a lot of the processed stuff on our supermarket shelves, you truly open yourself up to new horizons in the way of fruits and veggies. It’s a good tip to focus on what you can have, with a mentality of abundance, because the truth is there are so many options on Whole30, especially in the summer! My favorite summer fruits are watermelon and tomato, while my favorite summer veggies are cucumbers and snap peas.
A bit of a side note- I’ve been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. This book is an account of her family’s year spent “living off the land.” They grew, purchased, and consumed almost exclusively local produce and meat during that year. She tells a lot about the history of our grocery store culture and some of it is absolutely heartbreaking. I’m only a few chapters in and I can’t tell you how compelled I am to shop from local farmers for in-season produce. I highly recommend this book. Besides being something of an expose, the book reads like poetry because, well, she’s Barbara Kingsolver. She’s convinced me to frequent the farmers’ market for my Whole30 produce needs.
Cookouts: One of the biggest stressors for new Whole30ers is the party/social gathering situation in which you have to be THAT GUY or THAT GIRL asking about all the sauces/seasonings in the food. Well that stress if virtually eliminated during summer because so often, you’re going to an event in which grilling is the main form of cooking protein. Simply grab some Applegate hotdogs for yourself or just ask your host to make your burger with salt and pepper only (if any seasoning at all) and bring your own huge salad for everyone to enjoy! Bonus if you bring this burger sauce as a dressing. Then you’ve got the meal template on lock. Don’t forget an ice cold La Croix or two (or four, in my case).
Sunshine: I’ve been listening to lots of folks in the wellness world who are telling me to get in the sun for at least 15 minutes each day for the purpose of vitamin d production and circadian rhythms. We’ve spent many years telling ourselves to stay out of the sun to protect ourselves from the risks of it’s rays, and while I take those risks very seriously (skin cancer runs in my family) I also know that direct sunlight without burning does the body and mind so much good.
So what does sunshine have to do with Whole30? Simple, the benefits of safe sun exposure for your mood and sleep are numerous. When you’re getting good sleep along with eating good food, you’re unstoppable. I have had clients complain that they “still don’’t feel good” a couple weeks into their rounds. They’re itching for the Tiger Blood and can’t seem to find it. In my experience, good sleep is the first thing to add to your tool belt when the real food doesn’t seem to get you where you need to be. Don’t underestimate the power of Whole30 to show you changes you can make for your overall wellness even outside of the realm of food.
Instant Pot: This is less of a reason to love the summer and more of a summer pro-tip! They’re amazing year-round, but the summer months make it particularly useful because turning on my oven or stove when it’s literally fifteen million degrees in Arkansas, well, it’s just not gonna happen. The Instant Pot can be used in countless ways. Cook a roast from frozen. “Hard boil” eggs so that the shell slides off with ease. Or make my Instant Pot Ranch Chicken, which is delicious served hot or cold, according to my husband.
Bathing Suit Season: Yeah, I said it, but I put it last for a reason! If you’re taking on the Whole30 from a Standard American Diet, you’re very likely to lose some weight. At the very least, you will be dropping some bloat and feeling better in your summer clothing. Let me always be clear: there is nothing wrong with having a goal of feeling better in your own skin! I welcome aesthetic goal with open arms, but it’s up to each and every person to be honest about their attachment to the number on the scale, and their compulsive tendencies to weigh/ measure. Whole30 strictly forbids you from knowing your “numbers” throughout the 30 days, and with good reason.
If this is particularly difficult for you, try focusing on how you feel in clothes that once felt too tight. See if you have to tighten your belt like my husband did yesterday (we are on day 8 of a summer Whole30 right now). See if shorts from a few summers ago fit with ease. And yes, put on a bathing suit and go to that Fourth of July pool party that you skipped out on last year because you weren’t feeling good in your own skin. Offer to bring a big salad made from local greens and bell peppers, topped with dairy-free ranch and hot-off-the-grill pastured chicken. Your body will thank you and you’ll involve your community in your Whole30 round. There are ways to focus on aesthetics while doing a Whole30, just don’t put yourself in a place where you’re a slave to the number on the scale ever again. That’s no way to live and I want better for you.
That’s all I have, folks! What are your favorite parts of a healthy summer?