It’s mid-January, so if you’ve embarked on a Whole30 to start the new year, chances are your enthusiasm may be starting to wane.
For those of you unfamiliar with Whole30, it’s a 30-day eating protocol where you abstain from:
Instead, you focus on eating meats, vegetables and healthy fats. Once the 30 days is over, you reintroduce the other foods one by one to see how they truly make you feel, so you can evaluate if they have a place in your overall diet.
A couple of weeks into my first Whole30, I started having dreams about bread and pizza; I hated my friends who drank wine in front of me; I felt tired and angry; and my eating habits felt so boring. In short, the midpoint of a Whole30 can be rough.
Certified Whole30 coach Todd Shipman agrees and wants you to know you’re not alone. “This part of Whole30 is well known as the ‘darkest days’ where most people drop off and go back to their past way of eating,” he says.
“We may be expecting to see or experience major shifts, which just haven’t made their presence known yet. It takes longer than just a few weeks to reverse a lifetime of eating the standard American diet,” Todd advises.
This recipe for chicken fingers frankly saved my second Whole30. My husband begrudgingly joined me for this one, and he experienced the midmonth lull—hard. He was really close to giving up when I made these chicken fingers along with a side of veggies and baked sweet potatoes one night for dinner.
He wolfed down the entire plate and said, “If more meals are like this, I think I’ll be OK.” He made it to the end of the month and lost about 25 pounds in the process. This recipe stayed in my regular rotation, and I still make it all the time—Whole30 or not.
For those medical marijuana consumers who’ve embarked on a Whole30 or are thinking of doing so, you can complete the program without having to give up your medicine. Whole30 founder Melissa Hartwig writes that the organization’s official stance is: Marijuana’s OK strictly for medicinal purposes.
She says if a doctor has prescribed you cannabis, that trumps Whole30 rules. And even if you haven’t gone so far as to get a formal medical diagnosis, if you take marijuana to treat crippling insomnia, pain from fibromyalgia or debilitating migraines, as long as it’s therapeutic and used responsibly, it’s acceptable within the Whole30 framework.
But you may be wondering how to consume cannabis and not give into the munchies, which can be a side effect of marijuana consumption for some.
The first tip would be to find a product such as Level’s Stimulate Tablinguals or cannabis strain like Durban Poison that doesn’t tend to stimulate your appetite. The cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)—found in both of these things—has been shown to reduce appetite.
But Todd has lots of great practical tips to keep your medical marijuana from derailing your Whole30: “Set yourself up for success. Keep the noncompliant stuff out of easy reach or out of your kitchen entirely. If it’s not there, it’s not an option. Be aware of your behavior and cravings that normally would come up, and plan ahead. My personal choice is a sliced-up bell pepper with guacamole, as I crave crunchy stuff.”
In general, Todd is a big believer in putting your Whole30 goals down on paper—even at the midway point—so you remember why you wanted to do a Whole30 in the first place. “Why did you decide to do this? What’s your motivation to stay committed? If you don’t have one, make one right this instant, because it’s what will keep your head above water when things get flooded,” Todd suggests. “Improved health, feeling better, increased energy, joint mobility, quality sleep, better digestion and family reasons are great starts for your why.”
I’ve added the cannabis tincture at the egg wash step, but if you’re making this for the family or are in a situation where only some people want to consume, you can add the marijuana tincture into any Whole30-approved ketchup, mustard or other sauce for dipping instead.
Photo credit: Sara Dubler